The Glory of God Illuminates the City

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem has no need of natural light because “the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23).

New Jerusalem is a city completely constituted with eternal life, and this life is the light of the city. The light is the glory of God and this light is in the Lamb, Jesus Christ, the lamp of the city.

God, the light, is in Christ, the lamp. This matches John, “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (14:10). The Father sent the Son and the Son lived because of the Father (6:57) and expressed the Father through His living (14:9,11). What is described in the Gospel of John is what will be in New Jerusalem, except that it will be enlarged to the Father in the Son in all God’s people.

Even today we as children of God should be “without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as luminaries in the world” (Phil. 2). We shine, not because of ourselves, but because God in Christ is in us as the light of life.

The Greek word translated luminaries in Philippians 2 occurs only one other time in the New Testament, which is in the description of New Jerusalem having the brilliance/ radiance from the glory of God (Rev. 21:11). Thus, what we should be today according to Philippians 2 is a miniature of New Jerusalem. God in Christ is the light in the lamp in both our Christian life and New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem, Clear as Crystal

Revelation 21:11 says about New Jerusalem, “Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” The light of New Jerusalem, the light which is Jesus Christ as the shining life in every member of this corporate city, is most precious to God New Jerusalemand expresses Him fully.

This precious shining of New Jerusalem is like a jasper stone, matching God sitting on the throne. This shining jasper stone is “clear as crystal” or, as others translate, “bright as crystal.” The clear-ness allows the brightness to shine out.

The words clear, pure, and transparent are all used in Revelation 21 to describe New Jerusalem. These show that the city has no mixture, no contaminant. no pollution. It is as pure and clear as God Himself because God saturates the whole city.

God chose us in eternity past “to be holy and without blemish before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4). His desire is that, by experiencing Christ day by day, we “may be blameless and guileless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as luminaries in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

God desires that we shine today like New Jerusalem will shine eternally. We should not wait. Christ living in us will make us blameless, without blemish, and shining. This is for us today as a foretaste of the clear and bright shining of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is the Foundation of Peace

New JerusalemAnother aspect of the description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:2 is the name Jerusalem. The Hebrew word means foundation of peace.

Salem in Hebrew means peace. In Hebrews 7:1 Melchisedec is the king of Salem, and Hebrews 7:2 interprets this as king of Peace. This Melchisedec is a figure of Christ Himself (see Heb. 5:5-10). New Jerusalem is founded in peace because it is of God, who is the God of peace, as He is named in Philippians 4:9 and 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

This God of peace became incarnated in Christ. He said to us, “These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have affliction, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In Christ we have peace! In the world—that is, in politics, business, education, legal affairs, our community, etc.—we should not expect nor hunt for peace.

Philippians 4:6-7: “In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses every man’s understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”

When we present every request to the God of peace, we experience the peace of God and are saved from unpeaceful anxiety. This inward reality is our foretaste of the eternal and universal peace of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Righteous Will Shine Forth

New JerusalemOn the mountain the Lord Jesus shone like the sun (Matt. 17). He will come again with great glory. After His coming, when judging the nations, He will sit on the throne of His glory (Matt 25:31). We expect Him to be with great glory on the throne of New Jerusalem.

The Lord Jesus will shine very brightly in His return and afterwards. What about us? Today we “are the light of the world” and should “let your light shine before men” (Matt. 5:14-16). We also should “shine as luminaries in the world” “in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation” (Phil. 2:15).

These words about shining are for this age. Proverbs 4:18 declares “The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” Matthew says we shine today, Proverbs says our shining will increase, and in Matthew 13:43 the Lord tells us that upon His return, after the judgment, which will be the full day in Proverbs 4, “the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

Daniel 12:3 is similar to Matthew 13: “Those who have insight will shine like the shining of the heavenly expanse, and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars, forever and ever.”

As the outcome of these stages of shining, we should expect to shine in New Jerusalem. However, this shining is not from our natural being nor based on our natural capabilities nor attainments. The shining now and in New Jerusalem is our transparency to allow Christ to shine through us.

More about this shining:
The Light of the World, A City
Working Out Salvation to Shine with Christ
Shine…Holding Forth the Word of Life

Full Sonship, the Redemption of Our Body

New JerusalemWe have presented two steps of redemption on our path to New Jerusalem. The first is our justification through the forgiveness of our sins, accomplished by the Lord’s death. The second is the redemption of our body, to be accomplished at the Lord’s second coming.

In Luke 21 the Lord Jesus speaks about events before His second coming. Then He tells us, “when these things begin to happen, stand erect and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” This is “the redemption of our body” in Romans 8.

What is “the redemption of our body”? Philippians 3:20-21 says, “we eagerly await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory.” The Lord will come in glory, He will transfigure us to be conformed to His glory, and He will present the church to Himself glorious. This will be a big step toward the glory of New Jerusalem!

The transfiguration of our body will be instantaneous, but it will be the consummation of the renewing and transforming work of the Spirit throughout our Christian life. Therefore, we cannot be lazy and passively wait for the Lord’s second coming. We need to be the faithful and prudent slaves, being filled with oil and doing the Lord’s business regularly.

We should be on guard and grow in grace and the full knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Lord, grant us Your mercy day by day that we may live and grow for You.

Christ Magnified, Now and New Jerusalem

“Jesus Christ; whom having not seen, you love” (1 Peter 1:8). He is unsearchable, unlimited. However, He needs us to magnify Him to people in the physical realm. This magnification is to make Him visible in our living, to live Him in a way that declares His greatness. Surely New Jerusalem will do this, but the Lord desires magnification through us in this age.

New JerusalemMary was the first New Testament person to magnify God. She said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has exulted in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47). The people in the house of Cornelius, after receiving the Holy Spirit, “magnified God” (Acts 10:46). Later, in Ephesus, “the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified” (Acts 19:17).

Paul said that his earnest expectation was “in nothing I will be put to shame, but with all boldness, as always, even now Christ will be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death” (Phil. 1:20). He could magnify Christ in every situation because, as the next verse says, “For to me to live is Christ.” Christ lived in Paul and was magnified through Paul.

May such living and magnifying become our experience also! Contributors to this seen in Philippians are praying for one another to be bountifully supplied with the Spirit (1:19), counting all things loss because of the excellency of Christ (3:7-8), rejoicing in the Lord (4:4), and letting our requests be made known with thanksgiving so that we have no anxiety (4:6). This is our foretaste of New Jerusalem.

Not Loving the Soul Life – Examples

Revelation 12:11 speaks of those who “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” (Rev. 12:11). Not loving the soul life equals denying it, fulfilling the Lord’s command in the gospels. This denying, and the losing of our soul life, are to follow the Lord, to be His disciples, and to participate in His glory and kingdom, both of which consummate in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn Acts 7 Stephen boldly testified for the Lord. Then, while dying, he unselfishly prayed, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

In Acts 15 the apostles and elders in Jerusalem recommended Barnabas and Paul as “Men who have risked their [soul] lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (15:26).

In Acts 20:24 Paul was on his way to Jerusalem, where he was arrested. He declares, “I consider my [soul] life of no account as if precious to myself, in order that I may finish my course and the ministry which I have received from the Lord Jesus.”

In Philippians 2:25-30 Paul commends Epaphroditus. “Receive him therefore in the Lord with all joy, and hold such in honor, because for the work of Christ he drew near unto death, risking his [soul] life…” (v. 29-30).

Lord, have compassion on me that I may love You completely. For Your ministry now and for New Jerusalem, make me one who risks my own soul life, not counting it precious.

* Notes 2, 3, 4 on Rev. 12:11 are about the blood, the word of testimony, and not loving.

Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (8)

New JerusalemThe Lord Jesus denied himself, living the Father’s life on earth and finally going through death and entering into resurrection.

We follow Him on this path to New Jerusalem by denying ourself to apply His death to all our natural life so that His eternal life can flourish in us.

To deny the self requires constant exercise. Even toward the end of Paul’s Christian life, he was exercised to gain and know more of Christ and to be conformed to His death. The enabler for this lifelong exercise is “the power of His resurrection.”

 With Christ, the sufferings and death came first, followed by the resurrection; with us, the power of His resurrection comes first, followed by the participation in His sufferings and conformity to His death. We first receive the power of His resurrection; then by this power we are enabled to participate in His sufferings and live a crucified life in conformity to His death.*

Lord Jesus, keep me daily in the power of Your resurrection so that I may be conformed to Your death.

The conformity to the death of Christ (Phil. 3:10) is followed by the longing for the participation in the resurrection at the Lord’s return (3:11). This will bring our entire being—spirit, soul, and body—into resurrection to participate in the kingdom age and onward to New Jerusalem. To reach this goal requires our cooperation, our pursuing (3:12-14).

Part of footnote 3 on Phil. 3:10 in the Recovery Version NT, footnotes written by Witness Lee.

Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (7)

The Lord Jesus told us to deny ourself, take up our cross, and lose our soul life for His sake. Such denying, taking up, and losing is a continual part of our Christian life, applying the once-for-all death of Christ on the cross to our old man. In this way we put on the reality of the one new man created on the cross as we advance to New Jerusalem.

“For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil 3:3). This circumcision is not in the flesh as practiced by the Jews; rather, we “were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ” (Col. 2:11).

New Jerusalem“The circumcision of Christ” is His once-for-all death on the cross, made available to us by the Spirit, and applied by us daily. Whenever we boast in ourselves or have confidence in ourselves, we have strayed from the cross and from the path to New Jerusalem.

Boasting in Christ Jesus and denying self-confidence is a continual exercise. This exercise is also seen in Paul’s desire to gain Christ and be found in Him “to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:8-10).

Before we reach New Jerusalem we need the Lord and His resurrection power through sufferings to conform us to “His death”!

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].”

Our Path to New Jerusalem (2)

New Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb, is composed of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified people. God’s choosing determined that we are on the path to New Jerusalem. Although we were among fallen men, Christ’s redemption brought us back to God and regeneration gives us God’s eternal life, the life of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemTRANSFORMED: Regeneration is to be born of the Spirit in our spirit, as the Lord spoke in John 3. Transformation is the spreading of divine life into our soul to renew our mind. This renewing is also our transformation (Rom. 12:2).

This is based on our consecration (Rom. 12:1) and is accomplished by our cooperation with the Spirit’s work in us and is “unto glory” that is, unto New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

GLORIFIED: Transformation develops God’s glory within us. However, transformation is in our soul and the expression of glory is still constrained by the body of our humiliation (Phil. 3:21). Glorification, transfiguration, is the divine life saturating our mortal body so that it will “be conformed to the body of His glory.” This is “the redemption of our body” which is the full sonship.

This glorification will occur when the Lord returns, “When He comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed” (2 Thes. 1:10). This, our glorification, is “the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8) whose glory we “behold and reflect” (2 Cor. 3:18) throughout our transformation, saturating our entire being and radiating through us that all may behold.

This glory developed in us began with regeneration, continues through transformation, and is concluded by glorification. This causes us to match New Jerusalem, the city which “has the glory of God.”

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory

Joy, Praise, Victory, Eternal Marriage

The song of praises in the prior post continues in its ninth verse:
_Now rejoice and be exceeding glad! What glory is displayed!
_For the marriage of the Lamb, the wife all ready now is made!

New JerusalemThese words correspond with Revelation 19:7. John says here, “Let us rejoice.” This comes from the exhortation in the heavenly praise in 19:5-6 concerning God’s reign.

In 19:7-9 the praise and rejoicing continues to the marriage of the Lamb. The Lamb, Jesus Christ, is the eternal Husband, and New Jerusalem is His eternal wife. This is clearly stated in Revelation 21:2, 9-10.

The song continues, In fine linen, bright and pure, ’twas granted her to be arrayed. This is Revelation 19:8, which also says that “the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.”

The fine linen is not a physical garment, but is our righteousnesses, our righteous acts. These acts are Christ Himself coming forth in our living. This is the result of our giving ourselves to gain Christ and be found in Him in daily life, having Him as our righteous living, as presented in Philippians 3:7-9. This expression of Christ in our living is a precursor of His much fuller expression through New Jerusalem.

The tenth verse of the song presents Revelation 20, the devil cast into the lake of fire. This is the final step of carrying out the judgement Christ accomplished on the cross. This is cause for more praise; the song says, Hallelujah, never more need we his provocations bear!.

The judgements in Revelation 20 are the last step before the new  creation appears with New Jerusalem. For every one of these steps we can rejoice. Hallelujah!

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