New Jerusalem, a Bride Adorned

John declares in Revelation 21:2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” New Jerusalem is a corporate person, the bride of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.

This bride is adorned. Let us use the Bible to determine what this adorning is and is not. Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:9 exhorts “that women adorn themselves in proper clothing with modesty and sobriety, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly clothing.” Here the genuine Christian adorning is not outward decoration but proper virtues*.

New JerusalemWe should apply this to our expectations for New Jerusalem. The gold of the city is not physical gold but a sign (Revelation is a book of signs) of the divine nature which saturates the city. Likewise the pearl gates are not physical but portray the death and resurrection of Christ through which we enter the city.

Additionally, the precious stones are not something of human jewelry but display the transforming work of the Spirit in all the believers. This work causes the city to have the appearance of jasper (Rev. 21:11) which is also the appearance of God on the throne (Rev. 4:3).

The adorning of New Jerusalem is the Triune God Himself wrought into all believers and shining out through them. By partaking of the divine nature, the gold (2 Pet. 1:4), experiencing the death and resurrection of Christ as our pearl (Phil. 3:10), and participating in the transforming by the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18) to make us precious stones, we become constituted and adorned to be New Jerusalem to manifest the Triune God.

* More on this in the next post.

Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemThe death of Christ terminated, redeemed, released, and created to bring all of God’s people onto the path to New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:21 says about New Jerusalem, “The twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl.” These pearls portray the wonderful achievements of Christ on the cross as our entrance into the city.*

The effectiveness of Christ’s death is eternal. Hebrews 9:14 says, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” The eternal Spirit makes His death eternally effective and applicable to us at every time. And His death purifies us to serve the living God, which service will continue in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3).

The Lord promised us “when He, the Spirit of reality, comes, He will guide you into all the reality” (John 16:13). In resurrection this Spirit came and is guiding us into the reality of all that Christ accomplished on the cross in order to bring us unto New Jerusalem.

Through the Spirit all that Christ accomplished is available to us. Through the eternal Spirit His redemption with the forgiveness of sins is applied to our conscience, so that our conscience can be free of condemnation. Through the Spirit the released divine life comes into us to regenerate us. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). And the Spirit of reality makes the new man real to us. The Spirit is the reality of our path to New Jerusalem.

* Links to many posts on this are in Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

New Jerusalem: God’s Slaves Serve Him (2)

New JerusalemRevelation 22:3 says that in New Jerusalem God’s slaves will serve Him. The prior post presents New Testament verses identifying specific people and also all His disciples as God’s slaves.

The pattern for all God’s slaves is the Lord Jesus Himself. Philippians 2:5-8: “Christ Jesus,…existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal with God a treasure to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave…He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death.”

His obedience as a slave unto death and His subsequent resurrection opened the way for us to reach New Jerusalem. This is portrayed by the pearl gates of the city. The twelve gates of New Jerusalem are twelve pearlsJesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

The Lord, being in the form of a human slave, was obedient unto death. This matches His word in to us Matthew 16 to deny our soul life. This denying is unto death, as He prayed in Gethsemane immediately before His arrest, “My Father…not as I will, but as You will.” Many of His slaves lived this way, as Revelation 12:11 declares, “they [His slaves] overcame him [the devil] because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved not their soul-life even unto death.”

Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus emptied Himself and humbled Himself. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). In our serving God as slaves, denying ourselves includes denying our pride. Then God will grace us.

Second Peter ends, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and unto the day of eternity.” The grace we obtain in humility, and knowing the Lord as the slave who emptied Himself, will bring forth glory to God “both now and unto eternity [New Jerusalem].”

Srong Contrast: Babylon and New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:18 says about New Jerusalem, “the city was pure gold, like clear glass.” Verse 21 adds, “the twelve gates were twelve pearls….the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” In contrast, Revelation 17:4 says that the woman, Babylon, was “gilded with gold and precious stone and pearls.”

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is composed of pure, precious materials but Babylon is only gilded with them. New Jerusalem is pure, clear, transparent. But Babylon, behind the gilding, is “full of abominations and the unclean things of her fornication.” Babylon is a mixture—abominations cloaked in precious things.

Abominations hidden in a good covering is not new in Revelation. The Lord Jesus speaks of many examples in the Gospels. One is, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you resemble whitewashed graves, which outwardly appear beautiful but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:37).

James 4:8 guides us: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-souled!” Our heart is for loving. Lord, purify us from any doubleness, save us from any mixture of loving You while loving other things. Bring us to loving You with our whole heart.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).

The pure in heart will see God and will be prepared as constituents of the pure city, New Jerusalem.

This post is based on the first part of chapter 5, “The Holy City, New Jerusalem,” in The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee. This book can be freely downloaded from Bibles for America (English) or Rhema Literature (30 languages).

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

NO Physical Gold in New Jerusalem

New JerusalemFirst Peter 1:18-19 says, “Knowing that it was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were redeemed from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ.”

This shows us that in God’s eyes gold and silver are corruptible, of little value, and not precious. Hence, we will not see physical gold or silver or pearls or precious stones in New Jerusalem.

Gold, pearls, and precious stones are all mentioned in Revelation 21’s description of New Jerusalem. But, they are not physical, corruptible materials. Rather, they are symbols of the Triune God—divine nature of God the Father, the redemption of Jesus Christ, and the transforming work in us by the Spirit. The Triune God in us is the incorruptible substance of New Jerusalem. Three Precious MaterialsGold, Pearls, and Precious Stones.

Our participation in this wonderful, incorruptible New Jerusalem begins with our regeneration. Our Walk on the Golden Street of New Jerusalem Begins at Regeneration First Peter 1:23 says that we have been “regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God.”

We have an incorruptible seed which brings forth the growth of incorruptible life in us for our participation in the incorruptible New Jerusalem. Thank God our Father for this!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

Isaiah Speaks About New Jerusalem (2)

New JerusalemRevelation 21:24 to 26 says, “The nations will walk by its [New Jerusalem’s] light; and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it. And its gates shall by no means be shut by day, for there will be no night there. And they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.”

Revelation 21:24 matches Isaiah 60:3, “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” Here “your” is probably not only New Jerusalem in eternity but also restored earthly Jerusalem in the millennial kingdom.

Verse 25a matches Isaiah 60:11a, “Your gates will be open continually; they will not be closed day or night.” Again, “your” is probably both restored Jerusalem and New Jerusalem. Verse 25b speaks of “no night” because the eternal, unvarying God in Christ is the light of the city.

Verse 26 matches Isaiah 60:5b, “The wealth of the nations will come to you.” It also matches Isaiah 60:11b, the gates of New Jerusalem will be open “So that they may bring to you the wealth of the nations.”

It was easy for Isaiah to speak things of New Jerusalem because He was a prophet of the God of New Jerusalem. What Isaiah prophesied and what John “saw” (e.g. Rev. 21:2, 22) of New Jerusalem is the inheritance of all God’s people.

Artwork courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Perfection

In the Bible the number seven indicates something complete done by God in this age or past ages. Examples are victory by encircling Jericho for seven days (Hebrews 11:30) , the seven Spirits for the seven churches (Revelation 1:4), and seven churches to bear the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 1:10-12,20).

New JerusalemIn the Bible twelve indicates what is eternally perfect in quality, eternally complete in quantity, and eternally rich in composition. New Jerusalem is full of twelves and is the consummation of all the twelves in the Bible.

New Jerusalem has twelve gates, its wall has twelve foundations, it measures twelve thousand stadia, and the tree of life produces twelve fruits. Furthermore, the measure of the wall is one hundred forty-four, which is twelve times twelve.

New Jerusalem is the consummation and reality of all the twelves in the Old Testament.  The obvious “twelve” are the tribes of Israel (Gen. 49:28), the sons of Jacob (Gen. 35:22). On the twelve gates of New Jerusalem are inscribed “the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel” (Rev. 21:12). These names show that New Jerusalem includes God’s Old Testament people.

In the Old Testament there were twelve loaves of bread on the table in the tabernacle (Lev. 24:5). Their eternal enlargement is the twelve fruits of the tree of life in New Jerusalem.

In addition, there were twelve precious stones set in gold on the breastplate attached to the ephod of the robe of the high priest. Their eternal reality is the twelve precious stones and golden nature of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:18-20).

Christ Himself is eternally perfect, complete, and rich. He desires to live in us and be formed in us (Gal. 2:20, 4:29). Lord, live in me today and form Yourself more into me today to bring me onward to the reality of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

A Journey from the Clay of Creation to the Glory of New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is a city “having the glory of God” (Revelation 21:11).

The New Jerusalem is built of three kinds of precious materials, signifying that she is built with the Triune God. First, the city proper, with its street, is of pure gold (vv. 18, 21). Gold, the symbol of the divine nature of God, signifies the Father as the source, from whom the element for the substantial existence of the city is produced. Second, the twelve gates of the city are pearls, which signify the Son’s overcoming death and life-imparting resurrection, through which entrance to the city is gained. Third, the wall of the city and its foundation are built of precious stones, signifying the Spirit’s work of transforming the redeemed and regenerated saints into precious stones for the building of God’s eternal habitation that they may express God corporately in His all-permeating glory.*

New JerusalemIn Genesis 2:7 God “formed man with the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” and Romans 9:21 describes man as vessels of clay.

We are on an amazing journey from vessels of clay to a constitution with the precious materials of New Jerusalem. This journey is dependent on God’s mercy, making us “vessels of mercy” upon whom God will “make known the riches of His glory” (Romans 9:23), a glory ultimately displayed by New Jerusalem.

Although the glory will be made known through us, it is not of us and we cannot boast. Rather, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not out of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Christ is the treasure and we are the earthen vessels. He is the excellent One!

The next two posts will be a brief look at the journey from clay to the precious materials of New Jerusalem.

Photo by Commander John Bortniak, NOAA Corps, courtesy of NOAA (U.S. Dept. of Commerce).

* Part of note 1 on Revelation 21:21 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version published and © by Living Stream Ministry.

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 (2)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem has the Bible’s consummate glory. The prior post touched glory in the Old Testament; this one looks at glory in the gospels. What the Lord passed through in the gospels—incarnation, death, and resurrection—was to redeem us and bring us into God so that we could be in New Jerusalem.

The glory in the gospels is foretold in Isaiah 40: “the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it.” Then John 1:1, 14 says, “the Word was God…the Word became flesh…we beheld His glory.” According to 2 Peter 1:16-18, the disciples beheld His glory on the mount of transfiguration. That beholding was for a short time, but the glory in New Jerusalem is eternal.

Luke 5:25-26, 7:17, 13:13, 17:15, and 18:43 are examples of people glorifying God as a result of seeing acts which they knew were of Him. Let us expect more in the kingdom and in New Jerusalem.

In John 12:23 Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” In the next verse He speaks about His death. And at His death, a centurion glorified God (Luke 23:47). In John 17 the Lord prayed, asking the Father to glorify Him so that He could glorify the Father. This prayer was answered in His resurrection. This death and resurrection are our entrance into the glory of New Jerusalem.

In Matthew 16:27 and 24:30 the Lord told us that He will come visibly in glory. This glorious coming will bring His kingdom openly to earth and bring the manifestation of New Jerusalem closer.

Posts about the Lord’s death and resurrection as our entrance into New Jerusalem:
Enter New Jerusalem Now____Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

New JerusalemRevelation 21:12-3 and 21 describe the city of New Jerusalem, saying, “It had a great and high wall and had twelve gates….the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl.” These gates are our entrance into the city. They are not physical pearls but rather portray the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, through which we are brought into the new creation and enter New Jerusalem. As He said in John 14:6, “I am the way.”
Here is a list of prior posts on this topic (verse numbers are in Revelation 21).

New Jerusalem is Much More Precious
New Jerusalem is Built with the Triune God
In New Jerusalem the golden base and street (v. 18, 21) signify the Father’s divine nature, the pearl gates (v. 12) portray the Son’s death and resurrection, and the precious stones (v. 18-20) depict the transforming work of the Holy spirit. The composition of the city is the Triune God mingled with God’s people.

Three Gates on Each of Four Sides
New Jerusalem has twelve gates (v. 12-13, 21). The three gates on each side show that the Triune God is our entrance. Gates on four sides proclaim that the city is open to all humanity.

The Unmeasured Gates
Revelation 21 does not record the measurement for the gates of New Jerusalem. This probably indicates that Christ’s death and resurrection have unlimited (immeasurable) efficacy.

The Law’s Requirements at the Gates
A Living that Fulfills the Law’s Requirements
The entrance to New Jerusalem is guarded by the law, signified by the angels at the gates (v. 12). Whoever enters New Jerusalem must satisfy the law’s requirements. In ourselves we can never satisfy the law, but Christ has done it for us!

Gates of Pearl
The Twelve Gates are Twelve Pearls
We Enter through Faith, not Works
The pearls (v. 21) portray the death and resurrection of Christ. Through faith and baptism we are united with Him in His death and resurrection; this is our entrance into New Jerusalem.

The Entrance into New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem Has a Separating Wall and Open Gates
New Jerusalem has a great and high wall (v. 12) for separation and it has twelve gates for its entrance. Sinners are kept out by the wall but by faith we enter through the redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Enter New Jerusalem Now
Our receiving of the crucified and resurrected Jesus is our entering into New Jerusalem. Through His death all the negative things that would keep us out of the city have been removed. Through His resurrection we receive the eternal life, the life (v. 22:1-2) of New Jerusalem.

We Have the Way, Let’s Enter In
Jesus is our way, our reality, and our life. His coming to abide in us and bringing us to abide in Him is our way to New Jerusalem. We should not look for a way apart from Jesus Himself.

We Who Wash, Eat, and Enter Are Blessed
Revelation 22:14 declares “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.” Three steps are presented: we wash by confessing our sins, we receive Jesus as our life supply, and we enter New Jerusalem.

Into God’s Kingdom for New Jerusalem
God the Father “delivered us out of the authority of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:12-13). This transfer from the authority of Satan to the authority of God is the basis for our entering New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem is Built with the Triune God

Here is a short quote about the Triune God and New Jerusalem from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM (details). See message 429 in online reading.

New Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem is built of three kinds of precious materials, signifying that she is built with the Triune God. First, the city proper, with its street, is of pure gold (Rev. 21:18, 21). Gold, the symbol of the nature of God, signifies the Father as the source, from whom the element for the substantial existence of the city is produced. Second, the twelve gates of the city are pearls, which signify the Son’s overcoming death and life-imparting resurrection, through which entrance to the city is gained. Third, the wall of the city and its foundation are built of precious stones, signifying the Spirit’s work of transforming the redeemed and regenerated saints into precious stones for the building of God’s eternal habitation that they may express God corporately in His all-permeating glory. In the garden of Eden these three kinds of treasures merely existed as materials (Gen. 2:11-12), whereas in the city of New Jerusalem these precious materials become a builded city for the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose, which is to have a corporate expression.

God is infinitely wise and infinitely capable. What He purposed in eternity past, He will accomplish. Satan, sin, death, worldliness, and other negatives cannot deter or stop Him. What was portrayed in the garden of Eden will be fulfilled in New Jerusalem.

The infinite wisdom of God will be “made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-11). Today God is operating in all His believers who together constitute the church. His operation is in time but it is of eternity; it includes His work in us but it is His work, not ours. What He accomplishes now is manifest to some extent in this age and to a greater extent in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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