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.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   4-5 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe central theme of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus. This wonderful One is seen throughout Revelation caring for God’s interests on earth. These posts look at aspects of His care which brings us to New Jerusalem.

Revelation 4–5 presents a vision of heaven. In 5:5 Jesus Christ is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” He is the victorious One who fought God’s enemies, to clear the way for our redemption, regeneration, and perfection.

In 5:6 He is “a Lamb standing as having just been slain.” He died to redeem us but now He is standing in resurrection with the life that we receive in regeneration, the life for New Jerusalem. He also has “the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” This intensified Spirit is for our “much more salvation in life” (Rom. 5:10) in this dark age.

A praise to the Lamb in 5:9 says, “You are worthy…for You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” By His death He purchased all of us out of every human distinction to be the one new man, who consummates in New Jerusalem. He is worthy!

In 5:10 the praise continues, echoing 1:6, that He has “made them a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.” The ultimate stage of the kingdom and our priesthood and reigning is New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3-5).

The praise continues in 5:11-14. We, with the heavenly host, can cry out, “Worthy is the Lamb.” Very likely, in New Jerusalem this praise will continue: “Worthy is the Lamb.”

The Son Comes with Glory and the Kingdom

The Lord Jesus Christ comes in glory in three stages: on the mountain (Matt. 17:1-2), on the clouds (Matt. 24:30), and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-11).

New JerusalemThe glory on the mountain fulfilled the promise that some would “see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (16:28). The glory and the kingdom appear together.

In the glory of His second coming “He will sit on the throne of His glory” (Matt. 25:31). The throne indicates the kingdom, again coupling the glory and the kingdom. The glory of New Jerusalem is with “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1), again linking the glory and the kingdom.

The union of glory and kingdom matches God’s purpose expressed in the creation of man: “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion…over all the earth” (Gen. 1:26). Man was created in God’s image so that God may become man’s life and be expressed through man. This corresponds to the glory. Created man given dominion is for God to reign over the earth through man. This reigning is the kingdom.

The glory and the kingdom are with Jesus Christ in Matthew. However, He is not alone. God’s purpose in Genesis 1 involves a corporate man. This is now the new man, which we have put on, where “Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:10-11). Jesus Christ radiates the glory and reigns through the corporate new man which grows unto New Jerusalem.

This is also seen in 1 Thessalonians 2:12: “God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” We have been called to participate in God’s kingdom and His glory. This begins from our being born into the kingdom (John 3:5), continues with our transformation in glory (2 Cor. 3:18) and culminates in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

New Jerusalem, the Consummate Oneness

During His earthly ministry the Lord Jesus spoke about one flock with one Shepherd (John 17). Before His death He prayed for our being perfected into one (John 17). On the cross He created one new man (Eph. 2:12-15). Verses from Romans 12 to Colossians 3 also speak of our being one Body in Christ. All of this culminates in the one city, New Jerusalem, as the center of the new creation to express the one God.

New Jerusalem

This post has a highlight and verse from this series of posts on New Jerusalem as the consummation of the New Testament oneness in Christ. The first two words of each highlight is a link to the post.

❖ The first definite word in the New Testament about our spiritual oneness is “there shall be one flock, one Shepherd” (John 10:16).

❖ In His death on the cross, Christ created one new man in Himself (Eph. 2:14-15).

❖ Our oneness is at the level of the Triune God’s oneness; Jesus asked the Father, to keep us, His disciples, “that they may be one even as We are” (John 17:11).

Jesus prayed again for us to have the divine oneness; “That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us” (John 17:17, 21).

Thirdly, Jesus prayed “that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one” (John 17:23).

Jesus prayed that our oneness would be perfected so that we can be a testimony that “the Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:29).

Because of what the Lord has accomplished, Romans 12:5 proclaims, “we who are many are one Body in Christ.”

The Spirit is our entrance into and our participation in the One Body. “In one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body…and were all given to drink one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13).

Our participation is also by partaking of Christ in His death and resurrection. “We who are many are one Body; for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor. 10:17).

❖ In Christ Jesus, both now and in New Jerusalem, all the natural distinctions which divide fallen man are annulled. We “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

The oneness in the Triune God (John 17) has, through death and resurrection, become oneness in Christ, the embodiment of the Triune God (Col. 2:9). Today we are experiencing what is in these verses. When New Jerusalem appears His prayer in John 17 will be fully answered and we will arrive at the peak of oneness.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Kept in Oneness unto New Jerusalem

On the cross the Lord created two peoples—Jews and Gentiles— “in Himself into one new man, so making peace” (Eph. 2:15). This oneness consummates in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn John 17 the Lord Jesus prayed for the practical outworking of this oneness. His prayer includes three stages. The foundation for this prayer is in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one” because “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (14:10). The oneness is neither an outward association nor a mental agreement; this oneness is by mutual indwelling.

In John 17:11 Jesus asked the Father, “keep them [all His disciples] in Your name, which You have given to Me, that they may be one even as We are.” The oneness for which the Lord prayed is at the same standard and in the same manner as His oneness with the Father. This is the oneness which He longs for today and which will characterize New Jerusalem.

To be kept in the Father’s name is to be kept by His life, because only those who are born of the Father and have the Father’s life can participate in the Father’s name.* When we are kept in the Father’s divine life, we are one. This is how the new man, the Body of Christ, and New Jerusalem are one.

Father, keep me in Your name and in Your life day by day to be one with You and with all other Christians.

*An extract from note 2 on John 17:11 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

From One New Man unto New Jerusalem

The one flock in John 10 is the first definite word in the New Testament about our spiritual oneness; the description of New Jerusalem is the last. In John 10 the Lord said that He would lay down His human life in death to produce His one flock. His death to produce the oneness God desires is also seen in Ephesians 2:14-16:

New JerusalemHe Himself is our peace, He who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of partition, the enmity, abolishing in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two in Himself into one new man, so making peace, and might reconcile both in  one Body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity by it.

While the Lord was dying on the cross He was also creating one new man—an amazing accomplishment! This creating is coupled with reconciling us to God in one Body. Both the creating and the reconciling produce “one” out of “two.”

The “two” are the Jews and the Gentiles (all the non-Jewish peoples). These are identical to the two groups of sheep in John 10 which the Lord made into one flock.

In making the “two” into “one” He not only made peace but also He became our peace. The oneness of the new man in Christ is full of peace—a stark contrast to the divisions, arguments, and angry actions in the world. Like the one flock, this one new man, the one spiritual Body of Christ, consummates in the one New Jerusalem and our peace in Christ also points to New Jerusalem since “Jerusalem” means “foundation of peace.”

Built Into or Living Around New Jerusalem

New JerusalemFour verses mention the peoples (Rev. 21:3), the nations around New Jerusalem. These nations walk by the light of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24), bring their glory and honor into it (Rev. 21:26), and are healed by the leaves of the tree of life (Rev. 22:2). Here is a summary of recent posts about these nations, with links (at ▣) to individual posts.

 These nations are plural and still are “nations” whereas the Lord Jesus has purchased us for God, redeeming us “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).

Revelation 21:24-26 is about these nations. Several phrases here match phrases in Isaiah 60, such as “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (60:3).

In contrast to the plurality of the peoples and nations in Revelation 21:3, 24-26, Galatians 3:28 proclaims “you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Another contrast to the multiple peoples/nations in that in the new man, which we have put on, “there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.” (Col. 3:10-11).

▣1 ▣2 The peoples/nations around New Jerusalem will be God’s peoples, belonging to Him, and restored to the state of human life at creation, before the fall. However, they are not His sons born of His life.

 The nations around New Jerusalem walk by the light of the city (Rev. 21:24). This blessing is not as high as that of the believers in Jesus Christ, who have Jesus Christ within them as their light of life (John 1:4, 8:12).

 God is both the God of people built into New Jerusalem and the God of the peoples around the city. In contrast, only the people constituted into New Jerusalem have been born of God and have God as their Father.

The peoples around New Jerusalem live near God. This is far inferior to the people built into New Jerusalem, who live in God and have God living in them.

▣1 ▣2 In Revelation 22:1-2 there are three provisions: the water of the river of life, the fruits of the tree of life, and the leaves of the tree. The leaves are designated for the outward healing of the nations around New Jerusalem. In contrast, the water and fruit symbolize divine life as the inward supply for the people built into New Jerusalem.

▣1 ▣2 First Corinthians 1:30 declares that it is of God that we are in Christ Jesus. This is unchangeable. But, is our daily living according to our culture and upbringing or is it in Christ Jesus? We need the Lord’s renewing (Col. 3:10) that we may live Him in reality.

 Choose to be in New Jerusalem! John 1:12-13 tells us that those who receive Jesus Christ are born of God. This birth imparts eternal life into us, the life which brings us into New Jerusalem and grows us into this city of life.

Yes, life on the new earth around New Jerusalem will be tremendously better than life on earth now. However, do not settle for this but reach out for the best—born again for being built into New Jerusalem today and living in its fullness eternally.

 

Living in Christ unto New Jerusalem

New JerusalemOur oneness in Christ is the oneness of the new man who will consummate in New Jerusalem. This oneness sets us apart from the nations around New Jerusalem.

Our position in Christ is of God and is unchangeable (1 Cor. 1:30). But, our living in Christ, His living in and through us, is variable. None of us can say a hundred percent of the time “for me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21)? To increase our living of Christ we open to and participate in the Lord’s renewing of the new man (Col. 3:10) so that He can be “all” in reality (3:11).

As a result of our believing in Jesus Christ, we have been transferred out of Adam and into Christ. Positionally this change is quick, but the change of living takes a long time.

A human illustration: in less than 24 hours a person can fly from the U.S. to Russia or Norway to Pakistan or Brazil to China, etc. This is a positional change. But how many years does it take for this person to fully grasp the language, food tastes, attitudes, and habits of the new nation? Likewise to learn to live Christ is not quick.

This is our time of training, our time of learning to live in a new country—Christ. The more we live here, the more we have the foretaste of New Jerusalem. When we are in the fullness of New Jerusalem we will be one hundred percent living and magnifying Christ. Lord, grace us to advance daily in our living and magnifying You until we reach New Jerusalem.

Oneness with Christ for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemPrior posts showed that our oneness with Christ and oneness in Christ distinguish us from the nations around New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24).

One verse about this is Colossians 3:10-11 which says that in the new man “there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.” Assuredly, in New Jerusalem Christ will be everything.

First Corinthians 1:30 declares that it is of God that we are in Christ Jesus. This is our position, which is unchangeable. But, is our daily living always, sometimes, or rarely in Christ Jesus? To what extent can we honestly say “for me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21)?

If our daily living is according to our upbringing, or is unconscious habit, or is governed by our culture, or is because “everyone does it this way,” then we are not living Christ. Those ways of living might not be bad, but the source is the old creation rather than Christ in us.

Or, we might try to explain our living by “that’s the way I am” or “I was born that way.” Again, these ways might not be bad, but they are not Christ and hence cannot correspond with New Jerusalem.

Our need is expressed in Colossians 3:10. It says we “have put on the new man” and now the new man “is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” Lord, we open to be renewed to match Your image. Renew us into the reality of the new man in our daily living. Conform us to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

New Jerusalem is One in Christ Jesus (2)

Nations will live on the new earth around New Jerusalem. Our first step in identifying these nations is to identify who they are not. These nations are not God’s people because the Lord Jesus has redeemed us “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9), and through faith, we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Hence, in Christ Jesus and in New Jerusalem there is “no Jew, no Greek,” only people who are in Christ and one with Christ.

New JerusalemColossians 3:10-11 also speaks of this. It says we “have put on the new man,” and that in the new man “there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.” Wonderful! Christ is everything in the new man and Christ is in every member of the new man.

Because Christ is all in all, there cannot be nationalities, religious differences, racial distinctions, social disparities, nor any other separations. The new man is one. This one new man is the precursor to New Jerusalem, where Christ will continue to be all and in all.

Hence, all who are one in Christ have no national distinctions, neither now nor in New Jerusalem. In eternity humans are either in Christ and in New Jerusalem or in the nations and around New Jerusalem.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo by Carolyn Duckworth, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem with Christ as the Head

Recent posts (one two three) looked at the economy of God. This is God’s arrangement, His working, to accomplish His eternal purpose. This work consummates in New Jerusalem.

The impetus for these posts came from a song which begins,
New Jerusalem__In God’s economy Christ is unique;
____He holds the first place and centrality.
__All is in Him, through Him, and unto Him;
____He is all—the universality.
These words are taken from Colossians 1:15-18.

The song has verses about Christ in the Godhead, Christ in creation, Christ in the Old Testament, and Christ in resurrection. These verses present Christ as the reality of all things, the center of God’s economy, the Father’s delight, the element of the new man, and more.

Then verse six says,
__The New Jerusalem will consummate
____With Christ, as Head, over all things to be
__The Lamb enthroned—its unique centerpiece
____Ruling and reigning for eternity.
This is Revelation 22:1, where John saw in New Jerusalem “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.”

The final two verses turn to us—Christ as the replacement for our old, natural man becomes our center, our focus, our aim, our all—our unique centerpiece. This wonderful Christ becomes the reality of New Jerusalem in us.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Endeavoring to Experience New Jerusalem

In July of this year I presented portions about New Jerusalem from the Fall 2012 issue of Affirmation & Critique. That issue focused on New Jerusalem. The Spring 2013 issue focused on the One New Man (Eph. 2:15, Col. 3:9-11). One article in the spring issue is The Consummation of the New Man: The New Jerusalem by David Yoon. This begins,

The progressive accomplishment of the divine economy in God’s move among humanity is revealed in four significant expressions used in Paul’s Epistles: the first man [created], the old man [fallen], the second man [Jesus Christ], and the new man [His Body] (1 Cor. 15:47; Eph. 4:22, 24).

The majority of this article looks in detail and with many Bible verses at “The Correspondence between the Characteristics of the New Man and the Features of the New Jerusalem.”

New JerusalemBoth the new man and the New Jerusalem are a composition of God’s sons, the product of God’s grace unto His glory, the expression of God’s glory, the expression of God’s righteousness and holiness, the means of God’s administration, a composition of the Jewish and Gentile believers, a corporate entity characterized by peace and oneness, and the masterpiece of God. If we see the correlation between the new man and the New Jerusalem, our stance toward the New Jerusalem will not be passive—one of merely waiting to go someday to a physical city. Instead, by the grace of God we will adopt an active attitude, endeavoring to experience the spiritual realities of the new man throughout our Christian life.

Such an attitude and pursuit on our part matches the closing of Peter’s second epistle. Here, speaking of the change from the old creation to the new (3:10-13), he says, “what kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness, expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God.” Hence, we should live a holy life by living Christ as our holiness to hasten the judgment day of God. This day will bring in the new creation of which the center is New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year, © by Living Stream Ministry. 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. Fall 2012 Spring 2013

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