Pictures of New Jerusalem in Exodus (4)

New JerusalemThe holy of holies described in Exodus is a portrait of New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies. Another picture of New Jerusalem is the breastplate worn by the high priest (Ex. 28:15-21).

The breastplate is “of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet strands, and of fine twined linen” (Ex. 28:15). The gold signifies the divinity of Jesus Christ. The linen signifies His humanity with heavenliness (blue), royalty (purple), and redemption (scarlet, signifying His shed blood). All of these are seen in New Jerusalem.

The breastplate had four rows of precious stones, three in each row (Ex. 28:17-20). Likewise, the foundation of New Jerusalem has twelve precious stones (Rev. 21:19-20). The stones were “set in gold;” similarly, gold is mentioned in the description of New Jerusalem both before and after the precious stones (Rev. 21:18, 21).

Exodus 28:21 says, “the stones shall be according to the names of the sons of Israel, twelve, according to their names; they shall be like the engravings of a signet, each according to its name, for the twelve tribes.” In parallel, Revelation 21:12b tells us that New Jerusalem has “names inscribed [at the gates], which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.”

Furthermore, the gates of the city, with the inscribed names, are three each on four sides of the city, matching the breastplate with three inscribed stones in each of four rows.

The picture of the breastplate and the reality of New Jerusalem are all God’s people built together in the divine nature. The twelve names, plus the twelve names of the apostles on the foundations of the city, indicate that New Jerusalem includes all God’s people, and is eternal.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Precious Stones Adorn New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is adorned as a bride prepared for her Husband, Jesus Christ (Rev. 21:2). This adorning is not outward. Rather, it is accomplished by the Spirit working within us and Christ living through us.

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:19 tells us, “The foundations of the wall of the city [New Jerusalem] were adorned with every precious stone.” Twelve stones are named. To understand this, we need to consider what is precious to God, not what is precious to society.

In 2 Peter 1:1 the faith allotted to us by God is precious and in 1 Peter 1:7 the proving of our faith is “much more precious than of gold which perishes.” This faith does not originate with us but is from God (Rom. 3:22). This faith is precious when it becomes our initial ability to believe into Jesus Christ. It is also precious as it holds us through trials in our Christian life.

In 1 Peter 1:19 the blood Jesus shed to redeem us is precious. In 1 Peter 2 the Lord is a living Stone (v. 4) and the Cornerstone (v. 6); both are “with God chosen and precious.” Peter shows us that Christ, what He did for us, and what He is to us, are precious to God.

Christ is the precious Stone. He is uniquely one, but the stones adorning New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 are many, not one. They signify various aspects of the unique Christ experienced by His many members, so that we, as living stones (1 Peter 2:5), become preciously constituted with Christ.

The twelve stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem are not literally twelve in number but are the unsearchably rich Christ formed into many believers. This process displays in New Jerusalem the eternal richness and perfection of Jesus Christ in His believers.

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 Living Stream Ministry. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

Photo courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center.

New Jerusalem Prepared, Adorned (2)

In Revelation 21:2 John tells us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Verses in the prior post clearly show that this adorning is not outward.

New JerusalemLet us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife [New Jerusalem, Rev. 21:2] has made herself ready. And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.” (Rev. 19:7-8)

Here the fine linen is not fancy physical clothing; it is “righteousnesses.” The plural word indicates that it is not Christ as our righteousness (singular) as part of our initial salvation, but Christ lived out of us in many righteous acts (more). By living Christ we are making ourselves ready for the wedding, we are adorning ourselves.

“The foundations of the wall of the city [New Jerusalem] were adorned with every precious stone” (Rev. 21:19). Gold and diamonds are precious to humans, but not to God. In His eyes all these things are corruptible.

The stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem are not natural but represent the Spirit’s transforming work in us to make us living stones for God’s building (1 Peter 2:5); see posts below. Like the fine linen, these stones illustrate God’s work in us, our cooperation with His work, and our living according to God’s operation within. This is the adorning of New Jerusalem.

Three Precious Materials
Gold, Pearls, and Precious Stones
New Jerusalem is Built with the Triune God

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

 

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.

 

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.

Moses in a Similitude of New Jerusalem

New JerusalemMoses is one of God’s people and there is no doubt that he will be in New Jerusalem. Continuing from other posts based on Exodus, I suggest that Moses, especially when he was on Mount Sinai (Exo. 24 and 34), was in a similitude* of New Jerusalem.

In Exodus 24:1-2 God instructed Moses to bring others up the mountain but that he alone was to come near to God. In New Jerusalem we will all be near to God.

When Moses went to the tent of meeting outside the camp, he spoke with God “face to face” (Exo. 33:11). To see the face of God is one blessing in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:4). “Let us therefore go forth unto Him [Jesus] outside the camp” now (Heb. 13:13).

All who came part way up with Moses saw a paved work of sapphire like heaven itself for clearness (Exo. 24:10). Sapphire is one of the foundations of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:19) and clearness/transparency is one of the city’s characteristics (Rev. 21:11, 18, 21).

Moses went to the top of the mountain where the glory of God was (Exo. 24:15-17). Eternally the glory of God enlightens New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23). There Moses did not eat bread and did not drink water for forty days, yet he still had strength to come down the mountain (Exo. 34:28-29). How was Moses sustained? Probably by direct supply from God, like the river of water of life and the tree of life in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1-2).

When Moses came down from the mountain “the skin of his face shone by reason of His [God’s] speaking with him” (Exo. 34:29). This is like our present opportunity to behold and reflect the glory of the Lord by turning our heart to Him (2 Cor. 3:16-18). The shining of this glory is a characteristic of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:11). Moses had these experiences during his human life; may the Lord bring us all into such a foretaste of New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of NOAA (U.S. Dept. of Commerce).

* A counterpart, a correspondence in kind or quality (www.merriam-webster.com).

A Journey from the Clay of Creation to the Glory of New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemWe humans were created from dust but we can be filled and saturated with Christ as our life. This life resurrects us and brings us into glory. This saturating/ resurrecting/glorifying is our journey into New Jerusalem.

In New Jerusalem the apostles represent the New Testament believers. The apostles’ names are on the foundations of the city (Rev. 21:14), foundations adorned with precious stones (21:19). These are not physical stones, but represent the apostles themselves, transformed and made precious by Christ as their life.

The New Jerusalem is a city of foundations (Heb. 11:10). These are the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14), each of whom is signified by a precious stone. Peter, the first of the twelve apostles, was originally named Simon. When Simon was brought to the Lord, the Lord changed his name to Peter, meaning a stone (John 1:42). Later, the Lord called him by that name when He spoke concerning the building of His church (Matt. 16:18). Precious stones are not created but are produced by the transforming of things created. All the apostles were created as clay, but they were regenerated and were transformed into precious stones for God’s eternal building. Every believer needs to be thus regenerated and transformed that he may be a part of the New Jerusalem.*

Not only the apostles but also all believers are stones. First Peter 2:5 speaks about all of us saying “you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” The consummation of this house is New Jerusalem.

We have the dust and clay nature from our natural birth and we have the stone nature from our regeneration (1 Peter 1:23). Now we are being transformed “from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18) that our entire being may become precious stone to match New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

* Part of note 1 on Revelation 21:19 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version published and © by Living Stream Ministry.

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.

New Jerusalem is a City of Jasper

Jasper is an important part of the appearance of New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21:10b-11 John tells us that an angel “showed me 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.” Verses 14 and 19 say that “the wall of the city had twelve foundations… the first foundation was jasper…” and verse 18 says “the building work of its wall was jasper.”

Jasper is the expression of God, for we read in Revelation 4:2-3 “there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne there was One sitting; and He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance.” God and the city have the same appearance, indicating that the city is the expression of God. This is the fulfillment of God’s intention in Genesis 1, where God created man “in His image” so that man could express God.

New Jerusalem

Here is something about jasper and New Jerusalem from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM (details). See message 429 in online reading.

The wall and its foundations of precious stones signify the transforming and building work of the Holy Spirit. The foundations of the wall of the city are of twelve layers. The number twelve shows the completion in God’s eternal administration. The first layer is jasper, indicating that the likeness of God is the predominant appearance. The first layer of the wall’s foundation, as well as the entire wall of the New Jerusalem, is built with jasper. This indicates that the main material in the building of the holy city is jasper. Since jasper signifies God expressed in His communicable glory, the main function of the holy city is to express God in bearing His glory (v. 11).

Although the entire wall is jasper, the twelve foundations are different stones with various colors….The reason for this is that the apostles had different ministries….However, these twelve foundations are not laid side by side; rather, they are laid one on top of another….All the work of the apostles issued in the same appearance, jasper. All twelve layers lead to and support the unique testimony in the unique expression.

Let us rejoice in this wonderful expression of God in New Jerusalem!

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

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.

We Are Regenerated and Transformed for God’s Eternal Building

New Jerusalem is solidly built, not with physical materials, but with the Triune God. Here is another excerpt about the city from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ (online reading, message 429 in volume 26) by Witness Lee, © LSM.

New Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem is a city of foundations (Heb. 11:10). These are the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14), each of whom is signified by a precious stone. Peter, the first of the twelve apostles, was originally named Simon. When Simon was brought to the Lord, the Lord changed his name to Peter, meaning “a stone” (John 1:42). Later the Lord called him by that name when He spoke concerning the building of His church (Matt. 16:18). Precious stones are not created but are produced by the transforming of things created. All the apostles were created as clay, but they were regenerated and were transformed into precious stones for God’s eternal building. Every believer needs to be regenerated and transformed so that he may be a part of the New Jerusalem.

Both regeneration and transformation are accomplished by the Spirit’s operation in us. John 3:5 speaks about being regenerated, born of the Spirit, and 3:6 says, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The first Spirit in this verse is the Holy Spirit; the second is our human spirit, the deepest part of our being, the part created by God for His purpose (Zechariah 12:1).

Transformation is “from the Lord Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). This transformation proceeds as we turn our heart to the Lord to behold His glory (2 Corinthians 3:16-18) and as we present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).

Our path to New Jerusalem includes regeneration and transformation. May we practice turning and presenting as we look forward to that glorious city.

New Jerusalem is Much More Precious

New JerusalemRecent posts have presented God’s New Testament building. The Lord Jesus is the builder and the cornerstone in whom all the building is fitted together. This building work is in the spiritual realm, it depends on the growth of eternal life in each member, and it is in love. 

God’s building work from Matthew to Jude is in spirit with the Triune God as its essence. It is not in the natural realm with physical materials. The physical items (such as milk, water, plants, gold, silver in 1 Corinthians 3) are symbols of the spiritual realities.

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the New Testament building. As such a consummation, it is spiritual rather than material.

The city was pure gold, like clear glass. (Revelation 21:18)
The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (21:21)

This gold signifies God’s divine nature, in which is nothing cloudy or opaque. We are in a city constituted with the divine nature and we walk and live in this nature, not in our fallen, sinful nature. This is much more precious than to be surrounded by physical gold.

The twelve gates were twelve pearls. (Revelation 21:21)

The pearls signify the death and resurrection of Christ as our entrance into the city. By believing into Him we are united with Him and thereby taken out of the old, fallen creation and made a new creation in Him. This is much more precious than to walk through a gate of physical pearl.

The building work of its wall was jasper. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone. (Revelation 21:18, 19)

Precious stones signify transformation. (Example: carbon being changed into diamond.) The precious stones in New Jerusalem signify the transforming work of the Spirit in God’s people. To be transformed to the image of Christ is much more precious than to be enclosed by a wall of physical jewels.

The Triune God is the essence of New Jerusalem. In the city we and God are mingled for eternity. This is much more precious than living near material riches.

Related posts:
The Golden Street of New Jerusalem is the Divine Nature
The One Street of New Jerusalem
Gates of Pearl
The Twelve Gates are Twelve Pearls
Precious Stones for New Jerusalem
Transformation Produces Precious Stones
The Triune God Seen in New Jerusalem
Gold, Pearls, and Precious Stones

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