New Jerusalem is a Spiritual Blessing

Ephesians 1:3 declares, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” Verses 4 to 14 present some details of these spiritual blessings. New Jerusalem is the consummation of all these blessings.

The blessings are from the Triune God. Ephesians 1:4-6 speaks about the Father’s selection and predestination. Verses 7-12 speak of the Son’s redemption for the accomplishing of God’s eternal purpose. Verses 13-14 speak of the Spirit”s applying to us what the Son accomplished.

New JerusalemEach of these three sections leads to the praise of God’s glory. Ultimately New Jerusalem will have and display God’s glory and praises will go to God for this glory.

First Corinthians 10:16 tells us that “the cup of blessing which we bless” is the fellowship of the blood of Christ. This too is a spiritual blessing.

Galatians 3:13-14 proclaim that “Christ has redeemed us…in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Here the blessing we receive is the Spirit. This is an eternal blessing based on God’s promise to Abraham.

Jesus told us that our heavenly Father will care for our outward needs. This is true but God’s highest desire is to bless us with Himself.  The blessing of New Jerusalem is not outward but it is to live in and with the Triune God for eternity.

Psalm 84 and New Jerusalem

Psalm 84 begins, “How lovely are Your tabernacles, O Jehovah of hosts!” Because one designation of New Jerusalem is “the tabernacle of God,” (Rev. 21:3), the city is within the scope of this Psalm. Surely New Jerusalem will be lovely and attract our praise.

Psalm 84 touches New Jerusalem even though the authors, the sons of Korah, had no concept of the city. Verse 2 of the Psalm says, “My soul longs, indeed even faints, for the courts of Jehovah; my heart and my flesh cry out to the living God.” May our soul long for New Jerusalem and may we cry out to the living God!

New JerusalemVerse 4, “Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will yet be praising You.” We will dwell in New Jerusalem for eternity and will be praising God eternally.

Verse 5, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” Lord, plant the highways to Zion, to New Jerusalem, in our hearts!

The following verses speak of God being our blessings, our strength, and our shield. In verse 10 the psalmist longs even to be at the threshold of  God’s house (a precursor of New Jerusalem).

In verse 11, “Jehovah God is a sun and a shield; Jehovah gives grace and glory.” This is for today and for eternity.

Psalm 84 ends, “O Jehovah of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You.” May we trust in Him like the psalmist and set our hope on the unseen, eternal things of New Jerusalem.


To my readers: beginning this week and for the remainder of this year posts will be Mondays and Fridays but not Wednesdays.

We Enter by the Gates into New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem has a great and high wall and twelve gates; “on the east three gates, and on the north three gates, and on the south three gates, and on the west three gates” (Rev. 21:12-13).

The gates on the four sides [of New Jerusalem] face the four directions of the earth, signifying that the entrance into the holy city is available to all the peoples on earth. That there are three gates on each side signifies that the three of the Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit—work together to bring people into the holy city. This is indicated in the three parables in Luke 15.*

New JerusalemThe twelve gates signify eternal perfec-tion. The entrance to New Jerusalem is eternally perfect because of who the Triune God is and what Jesus Christ accomplished in His death and resurrec-tion; this is our basis for entering the city.

The gates face the four directions of the earth to bring all kinds of people into New Jerusalem. In the city all human distinctions are gone because we all are “in Christ” and He “is all and in all [of us].” Galatians 3:28, 1 Corinthians 12:13, and Colossians 3:11 each declare that there are not and cannot be any racial, national, or social distinctions in Christ.

The gates of New Jerusalem bring us into the Triune God with all the riches He is to us. Praise Him!


* Part of note 1 on Revelation 21:13 in the Online Recovery Version NT.

God Gave Us a Guarantee

Three verses in the New Testament speak of the Spirit as a pledge/deposit/guarantee/ down payment*. A fuller meaning is that which is assured by God to believers…the Divine pledge of all future blessings**. These future blessings include New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemSecond Corinthians 1:22 tells us that God has “sealed us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” The Spirit as a pledge, a down payment, means that we will receive more of the Spirit in the future. Eternally, the Spirit is portrayed by the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

Second Corinthians 5:5 also speaks of the Spirit as a pledge. Our guarantee is not a thing or a legal document; rather it is the Spirit Himself, the Spirit who is the reality and who guides us into all the reality (John 16:13).

Ephesians 1:13b-14 says “you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory.”

God put His Spirit within us and also sealed us with this Spirit. This sealing keeps us for our divine inheritance, which is much more of the Triune God in the next age and the fullest portion in New Jerusalem for eternity.

In Ephesians 1 the Spirit as a pledge guarantees the redemption of our mortal body “to the praise of His glory.” God’s glory will fully shine forth from New Jerusalem and the entire universe will praise Him.


* Various translations in these verses, thanks to Bible Hub.
** Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

 

Sonship for New Jerusalem (3)

God has chosen and predestinated us unto sonship “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:4-6). This praise culminates with the glory of New Jerusalem.

We have the sonship, yet Romans 8:23 says, “we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan in ourselves, eagerly awaiting sonship, the redemption of our body.” We have the sonship but we are awaiting the fulness of this sonship.

New JerusalemThe fulness will occur at the redemption of our mortal body. The mortality of our body, with its weaknesses, sicknesses, and lusts, is the cause of our groaning.

While we are groaning, “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” (Phil. 3:20-21).

Sonship is “to the praise of the glory of God.” The glory is within us, but will be released at the Lord’s return when our physical body is “conformed to the body of His glory.” The climax of this released glory is New Jerusalem, the city “having the glory of God.”

All believers in Jesus Christ have been born of God and have the sonship. Throughout our Christian life we cooperate to let this sonship grow in us. Growth unto maturity, while awaiting our Lord’s appearing, is our path to 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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

Sonship for New Jerusalem (2)

God has chosen and predestinated us unto sonship according to the good pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:4-5). Then verse 6 says that this is “to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He graced us in the Beloved.” God’s choosing, predestinating, good pleasure, His will, His grace, and the praise of His glory all climax in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemGod’s choosing and predestinating are eternal, but man fell into sin and death and was under the condemnation of the law. We could not do anything but “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under law, that He might redeem those under law that we might receive the sonship” (Gal. 4:4-5).

Through the death of Jesus Christ we were redeemed and through His resurrection we were regenerated (1 Peter 1:3) and “receive the sonship.” Redemption is needed for fallen humanity but life brings forth the praise of His glory now and in New Jerusalem.

For this sonship, Romans 8:15 tells us that we “have received a spirit of sonship in which we cry, Abba, Father!” This is the divine Spirit who gives birth to our human spirit and then dwells in our human spirit. In this spirit we have the reality of sonship. To cry “Abba, Father” releases the spirit deep within us to testify that we are children of God, born of God (v. 16).

From regeneration we are children of God. Now we are growing in this life to be mature sons to be fully prepared for New Jerusalem.

 

New Jerusalem: God’s Slaves Serve Him (3)

New JerusalemRevelation begins, “The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show to His slaves the things that must quickly take place; and He made it known by signs, sending it by His angel to His slave John.” This book was written to God’s slaves and we should receive it as such. We are here to serve Him now and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3).

The word of Revelation 1:1 is repeated in 22:6, “These words are faithful and true; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent His angel to show to His slaves the things which must quickly take place.” As slaves, we deny our natural, human sense of time and say amen to the Lord’s repeated word “quickly take place.”

The last part of Revelation 11 sums up many things, with the following chapters giving details. Verses 11:14-18 briefly have the last trumpet, judgements, God’s kingdom and eternal reign, and the reward to His slaves, saints, and those who fear Him. At this time “the mystery of God is finished, as He has announced the good news to His own slaves the prophets” (10:7). Although chapter 11 does not name New Jerusalem, it surely is implied by the eternal kingdom and reign and is a reward to all God’s people.

Another word to God’s slaves is in Revelation 19:5: “A voice came out from the throne, saying, Praise our God, all His slaves and those who fear Him, the small and the great.” Surely we should praise our God! We praise Him now and we will praise Him in New Jerusalem.

Joy, Praise, Victory, Eternal Marriage, Glory

This third post concludes our review of a song of praises based on Revelation 12–22 concerning the kingdom of God, the defeat of Satan, the marriage of the Lamb, and New Jerusalem. In the eleventh verse of the song we sing:
_Now behold the greatest wonder—New Jerusalem descend!
_She’s the Bride, prepared, adorned for Christ—of all God’s work, the end!

New JerusalemThese lines express 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.”

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Husband, as John the Baptist told us in John 3:28-29. The New Jerusalem, the composition of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified people, is the bride.

The last verse of the song includes In His holiness and glory He’s expressed through all of them. “All of them” is all God’s people built together in Christ to be New Jerusalem. Because God is holy, and all His people partake of His holiness, New Jerusalem is “the holy city.” Likewise, because God expressed is glory, the city “has the glory of God” (21:11).

The last line of every verse in the song is  The victory is won! This victory is Christ’s triumph on the cross, plus His triumph in applying all that He is into us, and the elimination of all negative things in the universe by the judgements in Revelation 17-20. This brings us to the last chorus, which is Hallelujah, hallelujah! The victory is won!

New Jerusalem proclaims God’s victory eternally. Let’s rejoice and praise now to prepare for that day!

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!

Joy, Praise, Victory, Kingdom

A song based on Revelation begins, “Lo, the kingdom of the world is now the kingdom of the Lord!” This line of the song comes from Revelation 11:15, “the seventh angel trumpeted; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.” This “forever and ever” points to New Jerusalem, the center of God’s eternal kingdom.

New JerusalemThe song continues, “O what joy to all the saints does His eternal reign afford!” All who believe into Christ Jesus are saints because we have been “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:2). And we have His joy now and more so in His eternal reign in New Jerusalem.

The second verse of the song speaks of Satan being cast down. The third continues, “Now is come salvation, power, and the kingdom of our God.” The fourth declares our overcoming by the blood of the Lamb, our testimony, and not loving our soul life. These three song verses present Revelation 12:9-11.

Revelation 12:12 says, “Therefore be glad, O heavens and those who dwell in them.” This is echoed in words of praise in the song, including the chorus, Vict’ry, vict’ry, Hallelujah! The victory is won!

The song continues with the judgements in Revelation 17 and 18. This leads into the praise at the beginning of Revelation 19, “A loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the power are of our God. For true and righteous are His judgments.”

All these judgements are part of God’s clearing away of the old creation, so that He can bring in the new creation with New Jerusalem. And all of our praises develop the life of New Jerusalem within us.

I copied the graphic from a prior post on praising, since that post also is on Rev. 19:1.

“And” Points to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemAfter writing the previous posts about the new creation, I realized that the vast majority of verses in Revelation 19 to 22 begin “And.” This indicates that every-thing in these chapters is connected. In quoting individual verses I did not include “And” but here are a few examples.

Chapter 19 begins with praise for the judgments in 17 and 18. Verse 5: “And a voice came out from the throne…” Verse 6: “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude…” Then “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.” This reigning brings in the marriage and the marriage dinner of the Lamb. Verse 11: “And I saw heaven opened…” Verse 20: “And the beast was seized…” Christ and His armies come and defeat the beast, the false prophet, and their armies.

Chapter 20 begins, “And I saw an angel…” This brings the imprisonment of satan, the devil. Verse 4: “And I saw thrones…” This continues to the kingdom. Verse 7: “And when the thousand years are completed…” satan is released, leads a rebellion, and is cast into the lake of fire. Verse 11: “And I saw a great white throne…” Verse 14: “And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire…”

Chapter 21 begins, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth…” Verse 2: “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…” Verse 3: “And I heard a loud voice out of the throne…” proclaiming multiple aspects of life in eternity, including verse 5: “And He who sits on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.”

The praises and the marriage of the Lamb and His victorious appearing and His victory and the kingdom and the casting out of all negatives are all tied together and lead unto the new creation and New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Heaven, Earth, Jerusalem; No Sea

New JerusalemRevelation 21:1: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more.” Many recent posts are on the new heaven and the new earth. These will be with New Jerusalem but, as stated in this verse, without the sea.

There is no more sea because the sea is a result of God’s judgments on the corrupted earth. We are likely familiar with the flood in Noah’s time, which covered the entire earth with a sea of water. This was because “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Gen. 6:5). After this, God promised that never again would waters cover the earth to destroy everything (Gen. 9:11-16).

Prior to this there was another flood. In Genesis 1:1 “God created the heavens and the earth.” This creation was pleasant. Isaiah 45:18 declares that God “formed the earth and made it; He established it; He did not create it waste.” However, due to Satan’s rebellion, “the earth became waste and emptiness, and darkness was on the surface of the deep” (Gen. 1:2).

As a result of the judgment in verse 2, there was no land—no place for man to live for God’s purpose. Water covered the earth. But, as in Noah’s time, God restored the earth. “God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so” (Gen. 1:9).

Revelation 21 is a full, complete renovation. It has the new earth for the nations to live on, New Jerusalem as God’s dwelling with His people on earth, and no more sea, no leftover from the prior judgments. Praise God that everything is new!

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

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