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.

New Jerusalem: No More Tribulation (2)

In the New Testament, tribulation refers to the persecution of the Lord’s people throughout this age (e.g. Matt. 24:9, Acts 14:22) and to the “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21; Mark 13:19), the last three and a half years (Rev. 12:14) of this age, immediately prior to the Lord’s visible return.

#NewJerusalemGod, in His sovereignty, uses both aspects of tribulation to prepare His people for New Jerusalem. Here are more verses about this.

Acts 14:22, “Establishing the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith and saying that through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.” This was spoken by Paul and Barnabas in caring for relatively new believers. Tribulations would not be rare to them, but through these they were brought into the reality of the kingdom, which ultimately is New Jerusalem.

To participate in this entrance, we must continue in the faith. Some ways to do this are to read and say amen to God’s word, to sing about our Lord, and to praise Him. Also, since Romans 8:35 promises that neither tribulation nor other difficulties can separate us from the love of Christ, we can continue by declaring, Lord Jesus, I love You.

Revelation 1:9: “I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” John partook of the endurance in Jesus to suffer tribulation for the word and the testimony. May we follow his example.

At that time John tells us that he was in the kingdom. This was the spiritual reality. Like the believers in Acts 14:22, John was still waiting for the entrance into the manifestation of the kingdom at the Lord’s return and the fullest experience of the kingdom in New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: No Blemishes, No Spots

New JerusalemEphesians 1:4 tells us that God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” This choosing was in eternity, before sin and any kind of corruption. This eternal choosing points to New Jerusalem, which is holy, without blemish, and in love.

Although sin death entered and humanity is extremely blemished, Jesus Christ is working to erase all blemishes. Ephesians 5:25-27 says that He “loved the church and gave Himself up for her” to accomplish redemption; that He is now working to “sanctify her [the church], cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word” so that when He returns “He might present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that she would be holy and without blemish.” This is the preparation of New Jerusalem.

By His work on the cross, in us today, and at His return, the church will be holy and without blemish, matching God’s eternal choosing. This holy church, as His bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2), will be without spot, without wrinkle, and without blemish.

Jesus Christ is qualified to do this work because He on the cross “through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God” (Heb. 9:14). The eternal Spirit applies to us and in us all that He accomplished. And 1 Peter 1:18-19 tells us that we were redeemed “with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ.”

Paralleling Ephesians 5, Jude 24 speaks of “Him who is able to guard you from stumbling and to set you before His glory without blemish in exultation.” In New Jerusalem we will be with glory and without blemish. To Him be thanksgiving and praise.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever (3)

The phrase “Glory to our God and Father forever and ever,” found in many New Testament books, points to the eternal New Jerusalem which has the glory of God. Peter expands this to “glory and might to our God.” Jude and Revelation 5 and 7 further expand this praise.

Jude 25: “to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, might, and authority before all time and now and unto all eternity. Amen.” Surely God has all these qualities, needs to be praised for all of them now, and will have all of them displayed through New Jerusalem.

NewJErusalemRevelation 5:13: “every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea and all things in them, I heard saying, To Him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever.”

We are included in “every creature” so we should join in this proclamation now, not waiting until New Jerusalem. We can also sing the praise of Revelation 5:13.

Revelation 7:12: “Amen. The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanks and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

Many of the praises include Amen. This word, from Hebrew, means firm, trustworthy.* It confirms or emphasizes what has been said. Furthermore, in Revelation 3:14 the Lord describes Himself as, “the Amen, the faithful and true Witness.”

He is our amen. He is faithful and true to accomplish everything in God’s purpose. Through Him and in Him we can say amen to His operation now and to every aspect of New Jerusalem revealed in His word.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Versionpublished and © by Living Stream MinistryAnaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.orgthis too is © by Living Stream Ministry. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

* The Greek word (αμην) translated amen in these verses appears at the start of a sentence about 50 times in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and 25 times doubled at the start of a sentence in John. In these places it is often translated truly (truly, truly in John).

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