Growth and Maturity for New Jerusalem (2)

The garden of Eden was God’s beginning with man. Since it was a beginning, no growth was required. New Jerusalem is God’s conclusion, God’s final step with man, and the city requires maturity.

To be in the garden of Eden did not require the growth in life. Once man was created, he was put in the garden of Eden….However, to be in the Paradise of the New Jerusalem requires our whole being—our spirit and soul with our body—to be prepared and completely transformed. It requires the growth and maturity in life so that we may participate in God’s eternal dwelling place.*

New JerusalemThe prior post quoted Colossians 1:28 and Ephesians 3:12-13 about God’s desire that we be full-grown, mature. The concluding words of 1 Corinthians exhort us “Watch, stand firm in the faith, be full-grown men, be strong” (16:13).

Philippians 3:7-15 presents a course to maturity. We need to see Jesus Christ to the extend that things which were gains to us, and even everything else, is counted as loss that we might gain Christ. Then we are “found in Him,” found living Him as our righteousness. Also, we seek to know Him and the power of His resurrection to be saved from self. And we forget things behind and stretch forward, pursuing toward full growth in Christ as our goal.

May the Lord stir in us this attitude and desire to forget everything else to grow in Christ to a maturity that matches New Jerusalem.

* The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

We Are Being Built into New Jerusalem (2)

Ephesians 2:22 declares that we “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit,” Colossians 2:7 that we are “being built up in Him,” and 1 Peter 2:5 that we “are being built up as a spiritual house.” Each of these are God’s current building work in us wich ultimately brings forth New Jerusalem.

Our entering into the New Jerusalem is not simply an entering in. It is God’s working in us to the point that we have become mature and have been thoroughly dealt with to become pure gold and precious stone. At that time we will spontaneously be in the New Jerusalem. Do not think that God will one day put us in the New Jerusalem even if we have not been thoroughly worked on by God and are still men of clay with very little of God’s life, the pure gold, inside of us….The correct concept in the Bible is that God is working in us with His life. This requires our cooperation to allow His life to transform us inwardly so that we may be changed from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18).*

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 15:52 does says, “in the twinkling of an eye…the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.” This sudden change is in our mortal bodies. But God’s intention is that this change follow our life-long transfor-mation. This process, including our renewing, dispositional sanctification, and transformation is gradual. “Let us be brought on to maturity” (Heb. 6:1).

Paul certainly was active in seeking and cooperating with the Lord and letting the Lord work in him. Yet after about 30 years as a Christian he was still pursuing (Phil. 3:7-14). May we follow this example, always being active for God’s current work to build New Jerusalem into us.

* This post begins the second half of a series with excerpts from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

Peace, Now and in New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe name Jerusalem means “foundation of peace.” New Jerusalem will certainly be full of peace and joy and many other wonderful conditions.

But what about today? We seem to be over the peak of coronavirus infections. Gradually there is an opening of society but we still wear masks and keep social distances. Our economy is weak; our future is uncertain.

Medical experts say the virus might linger as a long-term threat. Job prospects for many are poor. We wonder, Is it safe to go there? or to do that? We are in a state of uncertainty. We cannot change the medical or economic or political environment. But we can open ourselves to Jesus!

In John 14:27 the Lord Jesus tells us, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” And in John 16:33 He says, “in Me you may have peace. In the world you have affliction.”

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.”

We need to present our requests to the Lord, not only for outward care but even more for His peace within. This inward peace is a testimony of Him to the troubled world. This inward peace, the peace of God, is the same peace as in New Jerusalem. The difference then is that there will also be peace throughout the new creation.

New Jerusalem: No Murmuring, No Reasoning, but Shining the Glory of God

Philippians 2:14-15, “Do all things without murmurings and reasonings that you 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.”

Paul exhorts us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” by cooperating with “God who operates in you both the willing and the working for His good pleasure”
New Jerusalem(Phil. 2:12-13). One result, and a practical measure of this working out of salvation is that we “do all things without murmurings and reasonings.”

However, the absence of murmurings and reasonings is not God’s goal. His desire is that we, His children, “shine as luminaries in the world.” But murmur-ing and reasoning quench our shining.

The New Testament Greek word translated “luminaries” is used only in Philippians 2 and in Revelation 21 about New Jerusalem. John writes that an angel showed him “the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal” (21:10b-11).

New Jerusalem’s “light” is the eternal luminary, shining out the glory of God. Our shining today is a preview of the shining of New Jerusalem. This is the result of our cooperating with God’s operating in us. May the Lord be merciful to us, drawing us to always cooperate with Him for His shining through us as His luminaries.

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

In Revelation 21:2-3 New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb, Christ and is also the tabernacle of God.

As the bride of the Lamb, the New Jerusalem comes out of Christ, her Husband, and becomes His counterpart, just as Eve came out of Adam, her husband, and became His counterpart (Gen. 2:21-24). She is prepared by participating in the riches of the life and nature of Christ the Lamb. As the tabernacle of God, the New Jerusalem is built by God with what He is. It is wholly constituted of the nature of God to be His habitation.*

New JerusalemMultiple verses speak of the riches of Christ as the preparation of the Body of Christ, the forerunner of New Jerusalem as the bride. Philippians 1:19 focuses on the preparation of each individual member.

Paul tells us, “I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Paul was in prison but could experience the riches of Christ there for living Christ to magnify Him (1:20-21).

Ephesians 3:14-19 focuses on our corporate preparation. Paul prayed for the believers, that our Father “would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man.” The result of this strengthening is that the believers corporately are rooted (for life supply) and grounded (for building) to apprehend together the vastness of Christ and be filled to all the fullness of God.

The consummation is glory to God, now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem.


* Conclusion of the New Testament, The, chapter 13, by Witness Lee

More about The Unsearchable Riches of Christ and New Jerusalem
and The Riches and Fullness of the Triune God

Photo courtesy of NASA.

We Serve as Priests, Now & New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:3 is part of the description of life in New Jerusalem. “And the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him.” Here “serve” means “serve as priests.”

New JerusalemThrough the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, God purchased us. We “were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20). Thus, we are God’s slaves, both now and in New Jerusalem. As His slaves we serve Him as priests.

The first NT mention of this serving is the Lord’s speaking to Satan in Matthew 4:10 (quoting Deut. 6:13), “Then Jesus said to him, Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.'”

In Romans 1:9 Paul tells us, “God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of His Son.” His serving in the gospel was a foretaste of his (and our) serving in New Jerusalem. Paul served “in spirit,” that is, by a living in his human spirit. (In John 4:23-24 our worship, tied to our service in Matthew 4, should also be in spirit.)

We all were bought by God to “serve by the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). Being trained by the Spirit to serve today prepares us for our eternal serving in New Jerusalem.


To serve as a priest does not involve seminary or ordination or special robes. It depends on regeneration with a life of loving God, receiving fellowship from Him, and offering thanksgiving and praise to Him.

The Book of Life for the City of Life

The Bible certainly is a book of life, presenting God in Christ as life to man. This presentation is 1) in the Old testament in allegories/pictures beginning with the tree of life in Genesis 2, and 2) in the New Testament in reality. “Christ our life” (Col. 3:4).

Philippians 4:3 and six verses in Revelation speak of “the book of life.” This book does not refer directly to the Bible but rather to a book of names of everyone chosen to participate in the blessings on the new earth, including New Jerusalem. These blessings come from the eternal life flowing out of the throne of God and the Lamb; hence to be named in this book is a matter of life.

New JerusalemToday we participate in the blessings of the eternal life. These blessings will increase in the coming kingdom age and reach their peak in New Jerusalem.

In eternity all whose names are written in the book of life will be either constituents of New Jerusalem (e.g. those referred to in Phil. 4:3) or citizens of the nations around New Jerusalem (e.g. those referred to in Rev. 13:8).

In contrast, those not named in this book will marvel when they see the beast that was killed and resuscitated (Rev. 17:8). Finally, “if anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

Today the door is open to turn our heart to receive the Lord Jesus as life. Lord, come into me, live in and through me daily, and prepare me for New Jerusalem.

The River is from the Throne both Today and in New Jerusalem

In Revelation 22:1 the river of water of life flows out from the throne of God and the Lamb to supply the entire city for eternity. This flow is the Spirit. We also see this river in New Testament epistles for the preparation of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemWhen Paul wrote Philippians he was in a Roman prison and he also describes another difficulty. Yet he says in 1:19, “I know that for me this [prison and difficulty] will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians begins, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The blessings from our Father and our Lord are realized in the bountiful supply which is the Spirit. This is the present realization of the river (the Spirit as the bountiful supply) from the throne of God and the Lamb.

The result of this flow is Paul’s expectation that “even now Christ will be magnified in my body.” The flow of the Spirit produces the expression/magnification of Christ just as the river in New Jerusalem maintains the expression/magnification of God by the city.

Similarly both Ephesians 4:15-16 and Colossians 2:19 speak of a rich supply flowing out from the Head, Christ, which results in the building up of His Body. The rich supply is the Spirit and the building up is the preparation of New Jerusalem. Lord, keep us in this rich supply of the Spirit to prepare us for New Jerusalem! 

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

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

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