New Jerusalem is Prepared by Our Participation in the Riches of Christ

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:2-3 New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb, Christ, for His satisfaction in love. The city is also the tabernacle of God for His rest and expression. This marvelous entity is prepared by our experience of the riches of Christ.

The prior post looked at the individual experience of these riches in Philippians 1 and the corporate experience in Ephesians 3. Then Ephesians 4:15-16 says that “holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ, out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together…causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

Everything in these verses is for the preparation of New Jerusalem as the bride. We hold to Christ, the truth, in love. Thus we grow up into Him, experiencing Him in every aspect of our living, both small and big. As we grow into Him, the rich supply flows out from Him for our joining and knitting together (because the Body of Christ and New Jerusalem are corporate entities, not a gathering of individuals). Through this His Body grows and is built together in love.

Colossians 2:19 is a parallel verse, “Holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.” Again it begins with our holding, our cooperating. Then the rich supply flows out, all the members are knit together, and the corporate Body of Christ grows. This is our current progress in the preparation of New Jerusalem.

 

Death and Resurrection for New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21–22 New Jerusalem is at the center of the new creation. This is the conclusion and goal of the Bible. Everything positive in the Bible points directly to this conclusion, and the negatives are fully removed by Revelation 20.

Firstly, the Bible shows us that the Triune God was signified by the tree of life. Then He came in incarnation to be the one grain in the flesh, who died and resurrected to produce the many grains. Through incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection God became the many grains which are we. As the many grains we are ground into flour to make one bread, and this bread is the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is the new man as the organism of the Triune God, which eventually consummates in the New Jerusalem.*

New JerusalemGenesis 1 speaks of the creation of man. In Genesis 2 man was in the garden of Eden with the tree of life. This portrayed God wanting to impart His life into man.

However, due to Satan’s corruption of man in Genesis 3, man was shut out from the tree of life. Then God came in the man Jesus, both to save, to cleanse, us from corruption and to be available to us as the reality of the tree of life.

In John 12:24 Jesus said “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” He came and died (He fell into the ground) and in resurrection brought forth us as many grains sharing His life. Together we, as many grains, are one bread, one Body in Christ (1 Cor. 10:17). The issue of this one bread, one Body, is New Jerusalem.

* The Constitution and the Building Up of the Body of Christ, chapter 1, by Witness Lee

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

 

New Jerusalem is a Corporate Composition of God and all His People

In the Bible”saints” are “those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, the called saints” (1 Cor. 1:2). He is our sanctification. New Jerusalem is composed of the Old Testament saints, indicated by the names of the twelve tribes at the gates, and the New Testament saints, represented by the names of the apostles on the foundations.

Hebrews 11:40 says, “Because God has provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” This is a wonderful verse!…Without the New Testament saints the Old Testament saints could never be perfected….The saints of the Old Testament time are merely a part of the holy city. Without the New Testament saints the holy city could never be perfected. The Old Testament part needs the New Testament part as a perfection. By this verse we can realize that the holy city is not a physical place beside or outside of the redeemed ones. Rather, the redeemed ones are the composition of this holy city, and this holy city is the composition of all the redeemed ones.*

New JerusalemThe church, the Body of Christ, the one new man, and the bride of Christ are not different things but are four aspects of one corporate entity. This entity is never physical. It is always presented as a composition of all God’s people. Two examples: we were all baptized into one Body (1 Cor. 12:13) and we have put on the new man (Col. 3).

New Jerusalem is the consummation of this corporate spiritual entity. It is not a  physical city but a composition of the Triune God with all His people.

* The Building of God, chapter 4, by Witness Lee.

We Enter by the Gates into New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem has a great and high wall and twelve gates; “on the east three gates, and on the north three gates, and on the south three gates, and on the west three gates” (Rev. 21:12-13).

The gates on the four sides [of New Jerusalem] face the four directions of the earth, signifying that the entrance into the holy city is available to all the peoples on earth. That there are three gates on each side signifies that the three of the Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit—work together to bring people into the holy city. This is indicated in the three parables in Luke 15.*

New JerusalemThe twelve gates signify eternal perfec-tion. The entrance to New Jerusalem is eternally perfect because of who the Triune God is and what Jesus Christ accomplished in His death and resurrec-tion; this is our basis for entering the city.

The gates face the four directions of the earth to bring all kinds of people into New Jerusalem. In the city all human distinctions are gone because we all are “in Christ” and He “is all and in all [of us].” Galatians 3:28, 1 Corinthians 12:13, and Colossians 3:11 each declare that there are not and cannot be any racial, national, or social distinctions in Christ.

The gates of New Jerusalem bring us into the Triune God with all the riches He is to us. Praise Him!


* Part of note 1 on Revelation 21:13 in the Online Recovery Version NT.

Behold the Tabernacle of God is with Men

Revelation 21:3, “And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them, and they will be His peoples, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.”

New Jerusalem is the tabernacle of God. It is the consummation of the New Testament tabernacle—God dwelling in humanity. This tabernacle, the New Jerusalem, is on the new earth, having “come down out of heaven.” This has four results in verse 21:3:
New Jerusalem• the tabernacle of God is with men,
• God dwells with them on earth,
• they are God’s peoples, and
• God is with them to be their God.

The Body of Christ is composed of all His believers. We are the many grains blended to form one bread, one Body in Christ (1 Cor. 10:16-17).

In the same way, New Jerusalem is one entity composed of all God’s people throughout the ages. This corporate entity, this city, is the tabernacle with the peoples on earth.

Who are these peoples? They are plural, lacking the oneness of God’s redeemed people. They are the nations around New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24-26). They include the sheep blessed by the Lord at the judgment recorded in Matthew 25.

Built Into or Living Around New Jerusalem has summaries of and links to many posts which distinguish the believers constituted into New Jerusalem from the nations living around the city. It concludes: Choose to be in New Jerusalem! Those who receive Jesus Christ are born of God (John 1:12-13). This birth imparts eternal life into us, the life which brings us into New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

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