New Jerusalem is Heavenly on Earth

New Jerusalem is heavenly in nature but in position it is on earth. John saw New Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:2, 10). The phrase “out of heaven,” twice in Revelation 21, means it is no longer in heaven.

Matthew has multiple verses speaking of the “heavenly Father.” New Jerusalem is heavenly because the Father, the source of life, is heavenly. Through regeneration we received this heavenly life so that we can grow up to be the heavenly members of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemBelieving in Jesus Christ for our new birth is our response to the “heavenly calling” which has come to us and of which we are now partakers (Heb. 3:1) . We are called to Jesus Christ, to God the Father, and to the heavenly city Jerusalem.

Ephesians 2:4-5 tells us that due to God’s rich mercy He made us alive with Christ. Then verse 6, “and raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.” We were made alive with the divine life, the heavenly life, then seated in the heavenlies with Christ. Physically we are on earth but spiritually we are in a heavenly position

First Corinthians 15:49 declares, “even as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” We have the earthly image because, as human beings, we have an earthly life. Now we have been reborn of a heavenly Father, and are being transformed into His image.

This transformation is presented in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.” As we behold the Lord, His glory is infused into us to develop this glorious, heavenly image in us. This matches New Jerusalem, which “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

Photo courtesy of Heather Martin.

Where Our Heart is Determines Our Expectations for New Jerusalem

Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34 say, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” In these chapters the Lord Jesus tells us that our treasure is either earthly or heavenly. If we treasure earthly things, our heart will be earthly; if we treasure heavenly things, our heart will be heavenly. The condition of our heart determines our view of and expectations about New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIf we treasure earthly things, we will be people of anxiety, as in Matthew 6:24-34. In this anxious condition we are very susceptible and responsive to descriptions of New Jerusalem as having streets of material gold, physical mansions, very pleasant gardens, superb recreational facilities, etc.

In contrast, New Jerusalem is heavenly. Jesus Christ tells us that New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven from God (Rev. 3:12). New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage of God dwelling in man and man dwelling in God—John 15:4a, “Abide in Me and I in you.”

In New Jerusalem the Triune God is our all. The city “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11), “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (21:22), “its lamp is the Lamb” (21:23), the throne of God and the Lamb, the river of life (the Spirit), and the tree of life (Christ as our nourishment) are in the city (22:1-2), and we will see His face (22:4).

If our heart is set on heavenly things, we realize that these blessings are much more than material, corruptible riches. If our heart is set on earthly things, they become a veil, and we cannot see the reality of New Jerusalem. But, there is a promise for today: “Whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” Lord, I turn my heart to You now; save me from the veils to have a clear view of You and of New Jerusalem.

 

We Come Forward to Heavenly Jerusalem

Coming Down for New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:2 and 21:10 John “saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” This is the consummation of the promise in Revelation 3:12, “He who overcomes…I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God.”

New Jerusalem

 

To prepare the way for New Jerusalem to come down, God came down in incarnation. Jesus told us that He is the Son of Man who came down out of heaven (John 3:13). In John 3 His coming down is to save us, give us eternal life, and make us His bride.

Furthermore, in John 6 Jesus told us that He is the bread that came down out of heaven that we may eat and live (v. 33, 50, 51, 58). He as the bread of life supplies us to live a heavenly life on earth. Everything of His first coming down prepares us to be the city of life, New Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb.

Revelation 10:1-2 say, “I saw another strong Angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon His head, and His face was like the sun, and His feet like pillars of fire….And He placed His right foot on the sea and the left on the land.”

Christ’s placing His feet on the sea and on the land is His treading on them, and to tread on them is to take possession of them (Deut. 11:24Josh. 1:3Psa. 8:6-8). This indicates that Christ is coming down to take possession of the earth.*

Revelation 18:1 says, “I saw another Angel coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was illumined with His glory.”

In His second coming Christ takes possession of the earth and exercises His great authority to clear away the negative things, to prepare the way for New Jerusalem to come down out of heaven to earth.

* Note 2 on Rev. 10:2 in The NT Recovery Version Online, © 1997-2012 by LSM.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is Spiritual and Heavenly

First Corinthians 15 says much about resurrection. It also says something about New Jerusalem because New Jerusalem is a city in resurrection (see these posts ).

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 15:35-44 speaks about death and resurrection. Verse 44 concludes, “It is sown a soulish body, it is raised a spiritual body.” We will be raised not with the same body we have now but with a spiritual body.

Verse 47 says, “The first man [Adam] is out of the earth, earthy; the second man [Jesus Christ] is out of heaven.” Verse 48 continues “As the earthy is, such are they also that are earthy; and as the heavenly is, such are they also that are heavenly.” In Christ we are the heavenly people, no longer the earthly.

Verse 49 says, “as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” In resurrection we no longer bear the image of created and fallen Adam but rather the image of the resurrected Jesus Christ. This is the image of New Jerusalem.

In resurrection, with a spiritual body, being a heavenly people, and bearing a heavenly image, we correspond with a heavenly, spiritual city, not with an earthly, physical city (related posts ). This city is heavenly in nature but located on the new earth (Rev. 21:1-2).

As resurrected, spiritual, heavenly people, we should not expect New Jerusalem according to our soulish, natural, earthly desires. Rather, Christ is the center and content of this city. He will be our life supply, our joy, our peace, our rest, our everything. We can enjoy Jesus Christ in resurrection every day to enter a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

Boast, Rejoice, in Hope of the Glory of God

We had four posts on Christ in us as our hope of glory and on New Jerusalem, the city of glory, as the consummation of our hope. Colossians 1:27 and Revelation 21:10, 11 declare:

Christ in you, the hope of glory

the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God

As a conclusion to the prior posts (one, two, three, four), here are more verses about hope that stood out to me; some were in prior posts, some not. Appreciate:

New Jerusalem God is the God of hope (Romans 15:13)
Christ Jesus is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1)
we were regenerated unto a living hope (1 Peter 1:3)
the hope of righteousness (Galatians 5:5)
hope is laid up for us in the heavens (Colossians 1:5)
the hope of the gospel (Colossians 1:23)
the hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
God loves us and gave us good hope (2 Thessalonians 2:16)
a blessed hope (Titus 2:13)
the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7)

Reading these verses, saying amen to them, and thanking God for them brings us into Romans 15:4, “through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

We can also apply Romans 5:2 and 12:12—we “boast because of the hope of the glory of God” and we “rejoice in hope.” Don’t boast or rejoice in your accomplishments or circumstances; they will change. Rather, boast and rejoice that the glory of the unchanging God will be manifested in us and in New Jerusalem.

Photo by Frank Balthis, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is a city in God’s new creation and is a city in resurrection. First Corinthians 15 is a chapter on resurrection; verses 50-54 have multiple occurrences of incorruptible and incorruption. Since New Jerusalem is in resurrection, it is also incorruptible.

What is incorruptible? Romans 1:23 speaks of “the incorruptible God.” So the question really is, Who is incorruptible? New Jerusalem is incorruptible because the incorruptible God saturates the city.

How do we get into this incorruptible city? Second Timothy 1:10 tells us of the appearing of “our Savior Christ Jesus, who nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel.”

Death and corruption are inseparable. Our Savior destroyed the devil, the source of death, on the cross and released us (Hebrews 2:14-15). In resurrection He imparted the eternal, incorruptible life to us.

First Peter 1:23 says that we were “regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God.” This incorruptible seed, full of the incorruptible, eternal life, has been planted in us so that we can possess and partake of its incorruptibility. This regeneration puts us on the road to incorruptible New Jerusalem.

Therefore, we can join Peter in declaring “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

Certainly New Jerusalem is part of our incorruptible-undefiled-unfading inheritance. It is in the heavens until it comes down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2). Blessed be our God and Father!

God Shined in our Hearts and God Will Shine in New Jerusalem for His Expression

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:23 says of New Jerusalem, “The city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

In the New Jerusalem light refers to God Himself who illuminates the entire city for His expression. God as the divine light, the light of life, is contained in the Lamb as the lamp (Rev. 21:23b). Without the redeeming Christ to contain the divine light, the divine light would “kill” us. With the redeeming Christ as the lamp, however, the divine light does not kill us but rather illumines us. First Timothy 6:16 tells us that God dwells in unapproachable light. In Christ, however, God becomes approachable. Outside of Christ, God’s shining is a killing, but inside of Christ, God’s shining is an illumining. Because the divine light shines through the Redeemer, this light has become lovable and touchable. Through the Lamb, the redeeming One, God’s light becomes an enjoyable shining for His dispensing. Since the day we were saved, we began to enjoy God as the divine light in the redeeming Christ illumining us all the time. Even today we should enjoy God in this way.°

Through incarnation God was embodied in Jesus Christ in order that He could shine into us and through us. Abundant thanks to Jesus Christ for making the shining God approachable, lovable, and touchable.

Second Corinthians 4:6 says, “God…is the One who shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Today God’s shining is in our hearts for us to enjoy and sometimes through our joyous faces for others to see. When New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven the shining will be the same in nature (because the same God will be shining) but so much brighter, so much more constant, and including God’s people through all the ages.

° This is an excerpt from the volumes Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM. See message 431 in online reading.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem in a Divine Metaphor

Galatians 4:21-31 presents a metaphor in which Hagar, Abraham’s maidservant, and Sarah, Abraham’s wife, correspond to the earthly Jerusalem and the heavenly Jerusalem. Let’s look at characteristics of the heavenly Jerusalem, New Jerusalem, in this metaphor.

Free: Sarah is the free woman and “the Jerusalem above is free.” Here is real freedom:
• John 8:36 “If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.”
• 2 Corinthians 3:17 “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
• Galatians 5:1 “for freedom Christ has set us free.”
• Romans 8:21 “the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
We experience real freedom when we are one with the Triune God. This freedom is “the freedom of the glory” ultimately seen in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPromise: God promised Isaac (Genesis 17:16-19, 18:10, 14) and Isaac was born as a result of God’s promise. Isaac’s birth was not a result of Abraham and Sarah’s human capabilities for both had become “dead” with respect to having a child (Romans 4:19). New Jerusalem is produced the same way—not by human effort but by God’s operation in humans who are willing to open to Him.

Above: New Jerusalem is not earthly but heavenly. This wonderful city has a heavenly nature because its source and constitution are God.

Mother: The Jerusalem above is allegorically linked to Sarah and to the new covenant. “The Jerusalem above is our mother” indicates that the new covenant is our mother. Our new birth came from and rests upon and in the new covenant established by Jesus Christ.

Spirit: As the human components of New Jerusalem, we are born of the Spirit in our spirit (John 3:6), transformed by the Spirit in our soul (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 3:18), and will be transfigured by the Spirit saturating our body (Romans 8:11, Philippians 3:21).

All of these five characteristics are of the Triune God. None have their source in us. Praise Him that we have such a marvelous gift both now and in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

We Are Heavenly in Christ Jesus (2)

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:2 John says, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” New Jerusalem comes out of heaven to earth with a heavenly nature (Hebrews 12:22).

To prepare the way for New Jerusalem, Jesus came down out of heaven. Through His death and resurrection we have been redeemed and regenerated. Now we are heavenly people with a heavenly nature and we are being transformed to have a heavenly image.

Ephesians 2 speaks about our change from being dead in sins, walking in disobedience to God, living in lusts, and being children of wrath (v. 1-3). Verses 4 to 6 describe the change:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.

Being a heavenly people is not our accomplishment. Rather, God made us alive, raised us up, and seated us in the heavenlies. All of these steps are of God, with Christ, and in Christ Jesus. Verse 7 describes the goal of this wonderful change:

That He [God] might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

God’s display in the ages to come will be firstly in the millennial kingdom and then in New Jerusalem. Eternally New Jerusalem will display God’s rich mercy, His great love, and the surpassing riches of His grace.

We Are Heavenly in Christ Jesus

A prior post was Jesus Came, and New Jerusalem Will Come, Out of Heaven from God, Bringing God and Heaven to Earth. In coming from heaven to earth, both Jesus and New Jerusalem retain their heavenly nature. First Corinthians 15:45-48 compares Adam and Jesus:

So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul”; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. But the spiritual is not first but the soulish, then the spiritual: the first man is out of the earth, earthy; the second man is out of heaven. As the earthy is, such are they also that are earthy; and as the heavenly is, such are they also that are heavenly.

New JerusalemThese verses have several contrasts between Adam and Jesus.
• Adam is the first; Jesus is both second and last.
• Adam is out of the earth and is earthy; Jesus is out of heaven and heavenly.
• Adam is soulish; Jesus is spiritual.

In Adam we are earthy. But God has transferred us out of Adam into Jesus Christ. “Of God we are in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:29-30). In Christ we are heavenly (v. 15:48 has the plural “they”—all who believe in Jesus Christ). The heavens are our position in Christ.

Then verse 15:49 goes on the say, “And even as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” Although our position is heavenly in Christ, our image is not yet heavenly. Sometimes our image is quite earthly—impatience, anxiety, overeating, complaining, etc. Nevertheless, verse 49 is confident, “we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”

This confidence is based on the transforming work of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18) which is changing us into the glorious image of Jesus Christ, the heavenly image which will be displayed by New Jerusalem.

Related posts: _The Gradual Development of Glory
Behold and Reflect the Glory of the Lord
We Are Regenerated and Transformed for God’s Eternal Building

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem is the House of God and the Gate of Heaven

New JerusalemJesus came out of heaven from God to bring God to us and resurrected to bring us to God. His “travels” opened the way for New Jerusalem to be built that it may come out of heaven from God (Revelation 21:2).

Genesis 28:10-22 records Jacob’s dream and his response. The core of this dream is, “There was a ladder set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And there was Jehovah…” In John 1:51 Jesus said “Truly, truly, I say to you, You shall see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Here He reveals Himself as the reality of the ladder joining earth to heaven and bringing heaven to earth.

Upon waking up, Jacob declared,

The Lord is in this place….How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

During His ministry on earth, recorded in the four gospels, Jesus was the house of God and gate of heaven. Today, Jesus Christ with all the members of His Body is the enlarged house of God and gate of heaven. Eternally, Jesus Christ with New Jerusalem will be the consummate house of God and the gate of heaven.

To appreciate this matter, we need a dream, a heavenly revelation. We can pray, Lord, give me the New Testament version of Jacob’s dream. Grant me Your presence in a stronger way and show me the house of God and the gate of heaven.

Such a dream will energize us to live in the Body of Christ today and to go onward to New Jerusalem.

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

Jesus Came, and New Jerusalem Will Come, Out of Heaven from God, Bringing God and Heaven to Earth

Jesus Christ “descended out of heaven” (John 3:13) and came from God yet also lived here with God to declare God, to reveal God, to make God known to us (John 1:18). On one hand the Father sent the Son to earth, on the other hand the Father came in the Son. Thus, Jesus said “He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone” (John 8:29).

New JerusalemIn John 1:51 Jesus said to Nathaniel (and to us), “Truly, truly, I say to you, You shall see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Jesus is the One who brings heaven to earth and connects earth to heaven, both now and forever.

Later, in Revelation 21:2 John says, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” New Jerusalem comes out of heaven to earth with a heavenly nature (Hebrews 12:22). It comes from God and also comes with God who is its temple and on its throne (Revelation 21:22, 22:1).

The coming of New Jerusalem “out of heaven from God” mirrors the coming of the Lord Jesus “out of heaven from God.” Jesus came to reveal God, and New Jerusalem comes as an enlarged revelation of God.

John says of Jesus, “we beheld His glory” (John 1:14). Ultimately the entire new creation will behold the glory of God in New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:10-11). The city is the eternal declaration of God to the universe.

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