The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 19 Brings Us to New Jerusalem (3)

Revelation 19 has much to say about Jesus Christ Himself and His accomplishments to end this age, bring in the next age, and open the door for New Jerusalem to come down out of heaven.

In verse 19:14, “The armies which are in heaven followed Him on white horses, dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” The white and clean garments indicate that these believers are approved by the Lord. These garments are not merely gifts to them. Rather, the garments manifest the believers inward condition and daily living.

This clean living includes the cleansing of our sins, and also the transformation of our inner being. The first is the forgiveness by Christ’s redemption (Eph. 1:7). The second is accomplished by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) and also the purifying of our souls by our obedience (1 Peter 1:22).

New JerusalemThe garments qualify us 1) to attend the marriage dinner of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9), 2) to be part of His victorious army, and 3) to participate in New Jerusalem.

Forgiveness of sins is a necessary step in becoming part of New Jerusalem, but it is not the only step. We also need the renewing of our inner being to match the newness of New Jerusalem. This is the renewing of our mind by the Spirit in our spirit (Rom. 12:2, Eph. 4:23).

Those who are wearing white garments are on white horses. These match the white horse on which the Lord sits (v. 11). By the Spirit’s renewing, we are being renewed according to the Lord’s image (Col. 3:10), thus matching Him in many ways. We thereby become His expression now as the new man (Col. 3:10-11) and eternally as New Jerusalem.

New and Being Renewed for New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:1-2, John tells us, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth….And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem.” Both the creation and the city are new. We are looking at an article in the Christian journal Affirmation & Critique*. It states,

The new creation is new because God has been wrought into it; the New Jerusalem is new because it is full of God. In order to be part of the New Jerusalem—the new creation of God and for God—the believers in Christ need to be thoroughly and absolutely renewed (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23). Since Christ Himself is the realm of newness, the New Jerusalem will be the ultimate consummation of Christ as the realm of newness and as newness itself.

New JerusalemChrist is the realm of newness and because of this, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). To get into Christ by believing is to have a positional change from the old creation to the new creation.

After this beginning, we still need an ongoing, inward, experiential renewing. This dispositional change is presented to us in Romans 12:2, “be transformed by the renewing of the mind” and Ephesians 4:23, “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”

In the daily process of renewing (2 Cor. 4:16), God’s element of newness is added into our being to replace and discharge our old element, as the renewing Spirit (Titus 3:5) imparts the divine newness into our being to make us a new creation with the divine life and nature. Through this process of renewing, we are transferred from the realm of the old creation into the realm of the new creation to become the New Jerusalem (Col. 3:10; Rev. 21:2).

First we believe into Christ to become the new creation in Him. Then the Spirit works within us throughout our Christian life to renew our whole being, including inward attitudes and outward living. This produces an organic transfer in us which brings us fully into the new creation for New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique (A&C) is a Christian Journal published twice a year, © Living Stream Ministry. A&C presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications over the entire Christian era. A&C exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. This group of posts has short extracts from the article The New Jerusalem—the Consummation of the Divine Economy according to the High Peak of the Divine Revelation by Ron Kangas in the Fall 2010 issue.

God Constitutes Us to be New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

Here are a few more excerpts from the issue of Affirmation & Critique* focused on New Jerusalem. Each excerpt is tagged with the author’s initials and is followed by a related verse.

In Christ God has become man to make man God in His life and in His nature [but not in the Godhead] so that the redeeming God and the redeemed man can be united, mingled, constituted, and incorporated together to become one entity, the consummated corporate God-man—the New Jerusalem. (RK)

We “have put on the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where…Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:10-11

Just as the church as God’s house is not an actual physical house, so the New Jerusalem is not an actual physical city. The city of New Jerusalem is a sign signifying the church’s function in eternity to be God’s dwelling place. (WL)

“The house of God, which is the church of the living God.” 1 Timothy 3:15

Through His death, resurrection, ascension, and descension, Christ, the second man, was enlarged from an individual God-man to a corporate God-man, the one new man. (DY)

Christ, in His death on the cross, abolished “in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two [Jews and Gentiles] in Himself into one new man, so making peace.” Ephesians 2:15

The New Jerusalem is new because it is fully saturated with the Triune God of newness. Throughout eternity the New Jerusalem will ceaselessly unfold the fresh newness of the Triune God to the universe. (DY)

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, they have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

All of these excerpts portray New Jerusalem as the consummation of God in Christ flowing into, being one with, constituting, and radiating out of His chosen people.

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

Created and Saturated for New Jerusalem

God’s eternal purpose was hidden in Him before time. It expresses His desire and points to New Jerusalem in eternity future. As presented in the first half of the song we are reviewing, God wants to dispense Himself into people to build them together in Himself for His glory and praise.

God created all the plants, fish, birds, and animals according to their own kind (Genesis 1:11-12, 21, 24, 25). In contrast, God did not create man according to man’s kind; rather, God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26) because God created man especially for fulfilling His purpose, .

The man created for God’s purpose has a human spirit as the center of His being. Zechariah 12:1 says, “Thus declares Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.” Here the spirit of man is ranked with the heavens and the earth.

New Jerusalem4_As the center, as the kernel,
____Of God’s plan our spirit is;
__Calling on the name of Jesus
____Makes our spirit one with His.
__From the center to circumference
____God would saturate each part;
__Feeling, mind, and will renewing,
____Making home in all our heart.

The first action God takes in us to fulfill His plan is to enliven our human spirit. This is to be born again, to be regenerated. John 3:6b says, “that which is born of the [divine] Spirit is [our human] spirit.” This regeneration is our first experiential step towards New Jerusalem.

The result of being born again is 1 Corinthians 6:17, “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” From our spirit, God desires to spread to our mind, emotion, and will; for example, Ephesians 4:23 speaks of “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”

This renewing by the Spirit (Titus 3:5) in our spirit makes us divinely new to match New Jerusalem, the consummation of all the newness in the Bible.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

Our Father, Thou Art Forever New !

“He who sits on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Only God can make all things new. We are already new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17); corporately we are the new man in Christ and we are being inwardly renewed to His image (Colossians 3:10-11). Ultimately everything God has done will be displayed in the new heaven and new earth with New Jerusalem at the center.

New JerusalemThe first verse and chorus of a hymn* extols God’s newness and freshness:
__Our Father, as the evergreen,
____Thou art forever new;
__Thou art the ever living Lord,
____Thy freshness as the dew.

Chorus
O Father, Thou art unchanging,
__Thou never hast grown old;
Thru countless ages, ever fresh,
__Thy newness doth unfold.

The fourth verse of the hymn speaks about us. We are a new creation and we have a new spirit and new heart, which were promised in Ezekiel 36:26.
__Now we Thy new creation are —
____New spirit and new heart;
__We’re daily from the old renewed,
____New life Thou dost impart.

The fifth verse includes the new heaven, new earth, New Jerusalem, and the tree of life bearing twelve fruits (Revelation 21:1-2, 22:2).
__The earth and heavens will be new
____And Thy new city share;
__New fruits each month will be supplied,
____For all is newness there.

Eternally New Jerusalem will manifest the ever new God with His thoroughly renewed people as God’s masterpiece in the new creation.

* author: Witness Lee, composer: George F. Rootwordsmusic.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Newness is God Himself Filling the City

New JerusalemGod Himself is the definition of newness and the standard for newness. New Jerusalem is divinely new and eternally new because it is saturated with God.

In the human realm we call many things new but they get old quickly. What was “new” last week or last year or last decade becomes broken or traded in or thrown away or no longer in style. Human “newness” is very fleeting.

Here are examples of divine newness:
• In Luke 5 the Lord spoke about Himself as the Bridegroom and added a parable about a new garment and new wine. He is the reality of this parable as the new garment to cover us and the new wine to fill us.
• On the cross Jesus Christ created in Himself one new man (Ephesians 2:15). The crucial matter is, Where are we? To be in the new man we must be in Christ.
• “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Again, Where are we? If in Christ, we are a new creation; if not in Christ, we are in the old creation.
• “He who sits on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Only God can make things new according to His definition of newness.

Although God was present at times with people in the Old Testament Jerusalem, that city was neither in God nor constituted with God’s essence. Hence it was not new. In contrast, New Jerusalem is of God, in God, and constituted with God. Thus it is new and will remain eternally new as the consummation of all the newness in the Bible.

Photo by Louis Haynes, courtesy of U.S. Forest Service, Creative Commons 2.0.

Aspects of the Christian Life and Church Life Seen in the New Jerusalem

In April there was an international meeting of Christians with the subject, Aspects of the Christian Life and Church Life Seen in the New Jerusalem. Following that time, the eight messages became the basis for eight weeks of a book with daily verses and reading portions. Daily enjoyment from those portions was posted by Stefan at A Normal Believer in Christ.

I encourage you to look at Stefan’s overview, which has a one line summary/link for each day of the eight weeks. Here are the titles of the eight messages, which are also the subjects of the eight weeks in the book, along with a link to one of his daily portions:

The Throne of God and of the Lamb, the River of Water of Life, and the Tree of Life
Whenever we Enthrone God in our Being, we Enjoy the Flow of Water of Life Within us!

The City and the Bride
Experiencing the New Jerusalem as a City Representing the Kingdom of God Today

The Pearl Gates and the Golden Street
Being Conformed to Christ’s Death by the Power of His Resurrection for the New Jerusalem

The Fellowship of Life
The Fellowship of Life is the Flow of Life with the Supply of Life in the Believers

The Intrinsic Significance of the Name New Jerusalem and the Dimensions of the Holy City
Being Renewed Day-by-Day and Being Constituted with Christ for the New Jerusalem

The Lamb as the Lamp with God as the Light
Living and Walking in the Light Today – a Foretaste of the Light in New Jerusalem

The Triune God as our Constitution, Existence, Enjoyment, Living, and Expression
Partaking of and Living According to the Divine Nature, the Base of Gold in the New Jerusalem

Having the Glory of God
Christ is Coming to be Glorified in His Saints: He is in us as the Hope of Glory!

Stefan – thank you for presenting this to all of us!

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory

New Jerusalem is the living conclusion of everything positive in the Bible. Four recent posts identified some key elements in this conclusion, then three posts focused on New Jerusalem as the conclusion of all the newness in the Bible.

New JerusalemIn reading John 17, I was stirred to look at New Jerusalem as the consummate glory in the Bible. Historically, the first clear reference to glory seems to be in Acts 7:2—the God of glory appeared to Abraham. Lord, appear to us and attract us to follow You as Abraham did.

God’s glory is praised in Exodus 15, after Israel crossed the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army was drowned. This indicates that the redemption of the Passover, along with our exodus from the world and its power, releases the glory of God. In New Jerusalem we will still celebrate redemption, praising the Lamb on the throne. And we will be separated from the world and its power which are in the lake of fire. Lord, thank You for Your redemption and for bringing us out of the world.

God’s glory appears several times in Exodus. At the end of Exodus, when the tabernacle was completed, the glory filled it. When Solomon’s temple was inaugurated (1 Kings 8), the glory filled it. The glory also filled the restored house in Ezekiel 43. In Haggai 2 it is prophesied that the latter glory will exceed the former. How much more will the glory fill New Jerusalem! Lord, operate in us to complete Your New Testament building work.

God’s glory appeared to all the people when the priestly service was initiated in Leviticus 9. How much more when all God’s people serve as priests in New Jerusalem!

Psalm 8 is a praise and a prophecy about Jesus; both involve God’s glory. Psalm 24 also praises the Lord as the King of glory. Other verses also mention the glory.

The visions in Ezekiel 1 conclude with an open heaven, a throne, and a man on the throne. He tells us that this is the appearance of the glory of the Lord. Eternally, in New Jerusalem, we will see an open heaven, the throne of God and of the Lamb, and the glory of God.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem, Consummate Newness (3)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem, the consummation of every positive matter in the Bible, is the consummate newness in the Bible. Besides the “new” matters touched previously, New Jerusalem is eternal reality of the new man.

Adam was a man created by God for God’s purpose. When Adam fell from God, he and all his descendents became the old man. Later God came in the man Jesus to redeem us from the old creation and to bring us into a new creation.

Ephesians 2:15 tells us that on the cross Jesus Christ created a new corporate man in Himself. This new man is not separate from Christ; it is in Him and He is the new man’s element and life in us.

Colossians 3:10 tells us that we “have put on the new man.” This same verse tells us that the new man “is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” The fact is that we have put on the new man; the experience is that the new man needs to be renewed by Christ’s newness saturating us day by day.

This renewing takes place by the operation of the Spirit in our spirit that we may be “renewed in the spirit of our mind” (Ephesians 4:23). According to Colossians, this renewing is “according to the image of Him [Christ] who created” the new man.

In Colossians 1:15 Christ is the image of the invisible God. Thus, the renewing of the new man brings forth the image of God in Christ, the image which ultimately and eternally is displayed by New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem, Consummate Newness (2)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem, a living city built up with God and His people, consummates every positive “new” item in the Bible.

The new creation, expected in 2 Peter 3:13, is revealed with New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:1-2. However, we need not wait. The spiritual reality of the new creation is present already although the consummation is yet to come.

In 1 Corinthians 5:7 we are a new lump. This is based on the sacrifice (the death on the cross) of “our passover Christ.” We should therefore “keep the feast” (v. 8) not with the old leaven of evil but with Christ as our pure, new food which energizes us to live Him (John 6:57). Our passover Christ and the feast that He established will continue into New Jerusalem.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 any man who is in Christ (by believing into Him) is a new creation. This is not visible in the physical realm, but Christ in us is reality in the realm of resurrection. What is invisible within us will become visible when He returns and will be fully manifested in New Jerusalem.

Based on our being a new creation, we should walk in a way to care for this new creation, for Christ as our life. The rule for our walk (Galatians 6:15-16) is not “do this, don’t do that.” The reality is not in outward forms, performances, appearances, or rituals. The reality of the Christian life, now and in eternity, is “of the heart, in spirit” (Romans 2:29). This is to keep our walk according to the divine nature, the one street of New Jerusalem.

Today we are, we have, and we can live the spiritual new creation; soon we will also see it and New Jerusalem visibly and participate in it fully.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Newness

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem, a living city which is the mingling of God and His people, is the consummation of everything positive in the Bible. Four recent posts present an overview of this consummation. Since “New” is part of the city’s name, this post looks in a little more depth at New Jerusalem as the consummate newness.

The Old Testament has new moons and first days of years which are shadows of Christ (Colossians 2:16-17) as our new beginning. Many times in Psalms we read of singing a new song to the Lord. Singing to Him is a great way to taste His freshness.

Isaiah 65–65 has prophecies of the Lord doing new things and bringing forth new heavens and a new earth. Peter spoke of this, saying, “according to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 2:13). This is fulfilled in Revelation 21:1—John saw a new heaven and a new earth as the setting for New Jerusalem.

In Jeremiah 31:31-34 the Lord promises a new covenant. Jesus, through His death, enacted this covenant, saying in Luke 22:20, “This cup is the new covenant established in My blood, which is being poured out for you.” Our receiving of this covenant brings us to New Jerusalem. Jesus not only enacted this new covenant; He is now also its Mediator so that “those who have been called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15). Surely this eternal inheritance includes all that is in New Jerusalem.

Along with His mediation, the ministers of the new covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6) are ministering the Spirit who gives life for the building up of the Body of Christ unto New Jerusalem.

The new beginnings, new creation, and new covenant are examples of the new thing which have their consummation in New Jerusalem.

 

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of Everything Positive in the Bible (4)

New Jerusalem is the eternal consummation of everything positive in the Bible. This consummation includes

God, man, eternal life, redemption, the Spirit, light,
love, holiness, glory, the kingdom, the priesthood,
righteousness, resurrection, and marriage

There are too many items to list individually, so here are some groups:

New JerusalemFruit of the Spirit: since the Spirit is in New Jerusalem, all the fruits brought forth by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in God’s people should also be there.

More Fruit of the Spirit: this note on Galatians 5:22 links to New Testament verses which mention additional virtues which proceed from the Spirit in us.

God’s Actions in Eternity: God foreknew us, selected us, and predestined us. In time, these eternal actions bring us to salvation and eventually to New Jerusalem.

Judicial Salvation: redemption was included in a prior post, but the death of Jesus also accomplished forgiveness, positional justification, and reconciliation. All of these prepare us for God’s organic salvation. Some verses which speak of both the judicial and organic aspects of salvation are John 19:34, Romans 5:10, Galatians 3:13-14, and Revelation 22:14.

Organic Salvation: God’s salvation in life begins with our regeneration. It continues with nourishing, dispositional justification, renewing, sanctification, transformation, conformation, and glorification. The ultimate step of glorification, the consummation of the other steps, is clearly seen in New Jerusalem.

Image and Dominion: According to Genesis 1:26, God created man in His image so that man could express God, and gave man His authority so that man exercise dominion for God. These objectives are fully fulfilled in New Jerusalem which radiates the glory, the expression, of God, and which is the eternal kingdom of God with His throne and His slaves reigning with Him.

These items paint a broad picture but much more will be in New Jerusalem.

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