New Jerusalem: Now or Later?

In Revelation 21:2 John declares, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Two thousand years ago John saw New Jerusalem. This is God’s word.

In God’s eternal view, outside our temporal limitations, New Jerusalem exists, and in spirit the angel showed the city to John. In our time-limited view, New Jerusalem is in the future. Yet, God works in us through time to bring forth the city.

New JerusalemToday all believers are members of the Body of Christ (Rom. 12:5). This is our position. Now we need perfecting in our condition and function that we may grow into Christ for the building of the Body until we are full grown to match New Jerusalem. This is Ephesians 4:11-16.

Today we are also constituents of the new man created by Christ on the cross. This is another aspect of our position. Now we need the Spirit’s renewing (Eph. 4:23) to have a proper living in the new man.

By the Spirit’s work in us, the new man is “being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him…where Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:10-11).

When Christ is everything in our living then the new man will fully express Him. Reaching this goal will bring us to New Jerusalem. Yes, John saw the city, but in our present human situation we still need the Lord’s mercy to respond to Him for our growth into Him.

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Deny the Self for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemWe have, objectively, all that Christ accomplished through His death and resurrection. Now this must become our constitution by Christ increasing in us and our self decreasing.

This decrease is through our denying our self to apply, in spirit, the death of Christ to our natural being. Our denying ourself is part of our journey through the cross to New Jerusalem.

The Lord’s words about denying our self, our soul life, our natural life, are in five different chapters. In Matthew 10:38 He said, “he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” The next sentence has denying the soul life. If we do not take our cross / deny our soul life, we are not worthy of Him. How then could we be worthy to participate in New Jerusalem?

In Matthew 16 the Lord spoke again about denying the self, taking the cross, and losing the soul life. This is in the context of His building the church, his Body, which He is building by flowing out through His members, as revealed in Ephesians 4:15-16. His Body, composed of Him mingled with His believers as the members of His Body, is the forerunner of New Jerusalem.

 

Living Water Flows to, in New Jerusalem (5)

The “river of water of life” flowing from the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1) is the eternal continuation of the living water the Lord Jesus promised in John’s gospel and of the bountiful supply of the Spirit in Philippians 1.

The river of living water is also the rich supply which comes to us from Jesus Christ.
Col. 2:19: “the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied…grows”
Eph. 4:15b-16: “the Head, Christ, out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply…the growth of the Body…”

New JerusalemThe rich supply from the Head, Christ, to His whole Body, is the gushing fountain in John 4 and the river in Revelation 22. We receive this rich supply by holding Christ as our Head and by growing up into Him in all things. This growth is to be headed up by Him in all details of our lives, so that Christ, not our natural preferences and desires, is in charge.

The rich supply results from our holding Christ. It also comes through the joints, gifted members given by the Head for the growth, the building up of His Body. The rich supply is not for our individual Christian progress; rather, it is for the knitting together of us as members of His Body.

This rich supply is God Himself flowing to us. Remember that “rivers of living water” in John 7:38 are “the Spirit” in 7:39. This is the flow in New Jerusalem; the Spirit flows out from the throne of God and the Lamb. By this flow “all the Body, being richly supplied…grows with the growth of God” (Col. 2:19).

God in Himself is perfect but He does need to grow, to increase, to spread in us. This is for Christ’s Body today and for New Jerusalem eternally.

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The Light of the World, A City (2)

The Lord Jesus told His disciples, “You are the light of the world.” (Matt. 5:14). “You” (plural) are “the light” (singular). All of us, as His disciples, are a corporate light to the world. Eventually Jesus Christ, the Lamb, shines within New Jerusalem to be light to the universe.

New JerusalemJesus continued, saying, “It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” We, the corporate light, with Him shining within and through us, are the unhidden city. Ultimately we are New Jerusalem, His expression to the universe.

All who have believed into Jesus Christ are today His body (Rom. 12:5). We are all the one new man (Eph. 2:15. We are all God’s spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5). We are all the city of Matthew 5. And we will all be the eternal city, New Jerusalem. Matthew 5:14 is a foretaste of New Jerusalem. The body, new man, house, and city are God’s eternal purpose—a living, corporate expression of Himself in a corporate humanity filled with Himself.

In position, we are in this corporate entity, but we need care to keep our living according to it. The Lord told us, “let your light shine before men,” not hiding it under a bushel (Matt. 5:15-16). A bushel is for measuring grain, food. We should not hide our light by being overly occupied with our jobs, anxious to earn a living to take care of our eating (Matt. 6:25, 31).

Since we are “light in the Lord,” Ephesians 5 charges us to “walk as children of light.” In position we are light but we need to walk in the Lord, loving Him, musing on His word, and opening ourselves to Him in prayer. The shining that results from walking in light is a precursor of New Jerusalem as the unhidden city on a mountain.

Photo by Allan Shimada, courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Which Language in New Jerusalem ?

The multitude of human languages are a problem. It takes a considerable effort to learn a language  and even within the same language, accents and regional vocabulary differences sometimes hinder communications.

This language problem began early in human history. Genesis 11:1 says, “the whole earth had one language and the same speech.” Then men, putting God aside (rebelling), said “let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top is in the heavens; and let us make a name for ourselves” (11:4).

God came to see this city and tower (11:5) and declared “Behold, they are one people, and they all have one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do….Come, let Us [the Triune God] go down and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (11:6-7). “Therefore its [the city’s] name was called Babel*, because there Jehovah confounded the language of all the earth” (11:9).

New JerusalemThis confusion is a curse, it is God’s judgment on rebellious mankind. Today, we who have believed into Him are “all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Yet, although we love all God’s children, and can rejoice in the Lord among believers of different languages, we still suffer because of languages. But not in New Jerusalem!

So, which language will we use in New Jerusalem? I do not know, because the Bible does not say, and I will not speculate. However, I am convinced that we will all understand one another completely because in New Jerusalem “there will no longer be a curse” (Rev. 22:3). Instead, in New Jerusalem we will enjoy our oneness in Christ to the fullest extent, including oneness in language.

* Today many dictionaries define “babel” as a confusion of voices or sounds.
Photo by Lori Zlutoskvrnny via pixabay.com.

The Church: Forerunner of New Jerusalem

The church is the household of the living God and the Body of Christ. Both of these aspects of the church present to us the reality of New Jerusalem. The city is God’s eternal home in His millions of people, and these people are built together in His life just as the Body of Christ is one living entity.

Continuing to look at the nature of the church as a forerunner of New Jerusalem, we read, “the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 1:1, 2 Thes. 1:1). The church is “the church of God” (multiple verses) and the church is also “of human beings.” However, these humans are not natural, in Adam, but regenerated, in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Thessalonians, and all believers, are in God and the Lord by God’s action. “Of Him [God] you are in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:29-30). This is what the Lord promised earlier, in John 14. “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (v. 20). “That day” is the day in which He became our life in resurrection (v. 19).

John 14:20 presents a coinherence: we are in God by being in Christ and God in Christ is in us. The church is both “of God” (as in Acts 20:28) and “of the believers” (as in 1 Thes. 1:1). Likewise New Jerusalem is composed of the Triune God in all His people and all His people in the Triune God.

New Jerusalem, like the church, is much higher, much more mysterious, much more marvelous than a physical city; it is a composition of the Triune God and His people living in oneness.

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The Church; Forerunner of New Jerusalem

#NewJerusalemThe one universal church includes all believers in the New Testament age and is the forerunner of New Jerusalem, which includes all God’s people of the Old and New Testament ages. Verses about the nature of the church give us a view of the nature of New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 1:22-23 speaks of “the church, which is His Body.” Colossians 1:18 speaks about Christ as “the Head of the Body, the church.” The church is not merely a collection of believers, and it is not a bunch of individuals. Much more, these believers are members of His living Body. Thus, Romans 12:5 says, “we who are many are one Body in Christ.” And Ephesians 5:30, “we are members of His Body.”

The Body of Christ is a living composition of all of us who have believed into Him. First Corinthians 12:12-27 presents our human body, composed of many members, as a picture of Christ’s spiritual Body composed of His believers. Just as the physical members are grown together in life from inception, so the members of the Body of Christ are joined in His life from regeneration.

This joining in life is not a recent event; it comes from the resurrection of Christ. He is the Head and we are His Body, made alive and raised together with Him (Eph. 2:5-6).

The Body of Christ is a wonderful living organism. God will not shrink back from this to something less for New Jerusalem. Like the Body, the whole city is one living organism, a single entity by birth in resurrection and growth in the divine, eternal life. New Jerusalem as a living organism is also a living person, the wife of the Lamb Jesus Christ.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem, the Fullness of God

Colossians 1:19 declares that in Christ “all the fullness was pleased to dwell.” This fullness is the expression of all the riches of God.* Colossians 2:9 says “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” By incarnation, all the fullness of the Godhead is in the God-man Jesus Christ.

New JerusalemEphesians 1:22-23 go further, saying that the church, the Body of Christ is “the fullness of the One who fills all in all.” Not only Christ Himself, but now in resurrection also the Body composed of all His believers, is the fullness. The corporate Body will become the corporate New Jerusalem, so New Jerusalem will be the fullness of God.

The Body is the fullness because “of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Ephesians 1 is a prayer for revelation that we might see all that God has operated in Christ unto the church. This is somewhat objective. Receiving grace upon grace is definitely subjective. This grace constitutes the church as the fullness in reality, preparing us for New Jerusalem.

We receive grace and we minister grace to one another, that we may be “good stewards of the varied grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). For this ministry the members of the Body specially gifted by the Head (Eph. 4:11) labor to perfect all of us “unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ” (4:12). This building of the Body is also the preparation of the bride (in Eph. 5), which becomes New Jerusalem.

Our ministry (Eph. 4:12) results in all arriving at the practical oneness, “at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” The goal of our Christian growth is the fullness of Christ, His Body now and New Jerusalem in the future.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

* See this footnote on Col. 1:19 in the Online Recovery Version NT.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 12 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe book of Revelation is centered on the testimony of Jesus (19:10). Throughout Revelation we see the Christ, the One anointed to carry out for God’s plan on earth. This plan culminates with the new creation and New Jerusalem. In this post we look at our Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation 12.

This chapter begins with the woman, the man-child, and the dragon. Then 12:7-9 present the war in heaven and the casting down of the devil. Verse 10 has a loud proclamation, “Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ.” Here, as in 11:15, the eternal stage of the kingdom is New Jerusalem with God’s reign over the whole universe.

The proclamation in verse 10 also declares that our accuser (the devil) has been cast down.

The authority of Jesus Christ is declared many times in Revelation, including 1:5, 11:15, 12:10, 15:3, 17:14, and 19:16. This is from His death, resurrection, and ascension, as declared by Peter in Acts 2:36, “God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified” and as written in Ephesians 1:22 that God “subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His Body.”

In Acts 2 our response to His exaltation is to repent, believe, and be baptized. This begins our progress toward New Jerusalem. In Ephesians our response to God’s actions is to grow in life and participate in the building up of His Body in love (Eph. 4:15-16).

Jesus Christ is “Head over all things to the church” because the church is the focus of God’s operation in this age. The church, the Body of Christ, is the forerunner of New Jerusalem as the eternal mingling of God and man.

Photo courtesy of www.goodfreephotos.com.

New Jerusalem is a Corporate God-man,   the Consummation of the High Peak of Revelation

Thanks to Stefan at www.agodman.com/blog for this solid post on New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem

The consummation of the central vision of God’s economy and of the high peak of the divine revelation is the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:29-11); the New Jerusalem is a corporate God-man and the consummation of the high peak of the divine revelation.

The central vision of God’s economy is the experience of Christ as life for the producing and building up of the church as the Body of Christ. God has an economy, and in His economy He intends to dispense Himself into us to regenerate us, transform us, build us up, and glorify us, so that He may gain the church as the Body of Christ, His corporate expression in the universe.

This is what Paul was writing about in his 14 epistles; the central vision of Paul’s completing ministry is God in us as our contents, Christ as the mystery of God, and the church as the mystery of Christ.

Read the entire post which includes additional verses, more spiritual riches, plus links to references and hymns about New Jerusalem.

ps: Stefan is a God-man because, like all believers in Jesus Christ, he is a man and God in Christ is in Him. In John 14:20 the Lord Jesus told us that after His resurrection we “will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” Our being in Christ and Christ being in us is the reality of a God-man, but we are NOT part of the Godhead.

The Riches and Fullness of the Triune God

The Triune God is unsearchably rich. These riches are in Christ and have been announced to us as the gospel, the good news (Eph. 3:8). The announcing enlightens us to see the mystery of God with the result that “the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church” now (Eph 3:9-10) and through New Jerusalem in eternity.

The riches of Christ are all that Christ is and has and all that He has accomplished, attained, and obtained. The fullness of Christ is the result and issue of our enjoyment of these riches. When the riches of Christ are assimilated into our being metabolically, they constitute us to be the fullness of Christ, the Body of Christ, the church, as His expression.*

Lake Leman near Lausanne

Here are prior posts about the riches and the fullness of God.

The Riches of God’s Glory In Ephesians 3 Paul prayed that the Father would strengthen us “according to the riches of His glory.” The outcome is an upward progression resulting in glory to God now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem.

O the Depth of the Riches & Wisdom of God! Romans 11:33-36 is praise of “the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” It concludes, “To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

Riches of God’s Glory, Now, New Jerusalem Romans 9:23: God wants to “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory.”

The Mystery of the Riches of God’s Glory New Jerusalem, the city of God’s glory, is a mystery. But God “willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

Unsearchable Riches in New Jerusalem God works on and in us according to His riches, so  “That He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).

Christ as the Riches in Christian Life The Holy Spirit has been “poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6). Through the renewing of this Spirit, we become new to match New Jerusalem.

The Good News of the Riches of Christ A hymn (words music) says, “O the riches, O the riches, Christ my Savior is to me! How unsearchable their measure, Yet my full reality!”

New Jerusalem has the Fullness of Christ Ephesians 4:11-13 speaks about all the believers being perfected “unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ, until we all arrive…at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

New Jerusalem: Fullness of the Triune God In this age the church “is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). In eternity New Jerusalem will be this fullness.

Church, City Full of Christ to Express Christ Another hymn (words music) says, “Riches of Christ we should enjoy And then His fulness we will be; Partaking of His very self, His testimony men will see.”

*From footnote 3 on Ephesians 3:19 in NT Recovery Version Online.

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 133-136

The Psalms portray New Jerusalem by speaking of Christ (who is on the throne at the center of New Jerusalem), God’s house and city (shadows of New Jerusalem) and the earth (to be replaced by the new earth).

Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell in unity!” This is true today as we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Today it is good and pleasant to dwell in Him. Much more in New Jerusalem!

Psalm 133:3 says, “Like the dew of Hermon that came down upon the mountains of Zion. For there Jehovah commanded the blessing: life forever.” David touched the eternal, spiritual reality in writing this. We enjoy Christ our life now and New Jerusalem will be the utmost of this blessing of this life.

New JerusalemPsalm 135:1-3 say, “Hallelujah! Praise the name of Jehovah; praise Him, you servants of Jehovah, who stand in the house of Jehovah, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise Jehovah, for Jehovah is good; sing psalms to His name, for it is pleasant.”

Today we praise God and sing to His name while standing in His house, the church (1 Tim. 3:15). Tomorrow we will do more in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 136:1, “Give thanks to Jehovah, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is forever.” We can easily declare that He is good, if we reckon goodness for His purpose rather than for our human comfort or success. “All things work together for good to those who love God” that we may be conformed to the image of His Firstborn Son and be glorified to match New Jerusalem (Rom. 8:28-30).

In New Jerusalem we will see most clearly that “His lovingkindness is forever” and certainly we will give thanks.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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