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

Our Path to New Jerusalem

Revelation 19:7 and 21:2 tell us that the holy city, New Jerusalem, is the bride of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. The New Jerusalem, the bride, is the composition of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified people. Here is a brief look at these five steps on our path to New Jerusalem.

CHOSEN: First Peter 1:2 tells us that we are “Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” Ephesians 1:3-4 says that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. The choice was entirely God’s, based on His foreknowledge. It is not our choice nor based on anything we are or have done. Because of God’s choice, we are in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemREDEEMED: Romans 5:12 declares, “through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin, death; and thus death passed on to all men because all have sinned.” Because of sin and death, we need redemption to bring us back to God. Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem us. Galatians 3 says that Christ redeemed us out of the curse so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit and Galatians 4 says that God sent His Son to redeem us that we might receive the sonship.

REGENERATED: First Peter 1:3 blesses “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” This fulfills the goal of redemption stated in Galatians. In God’s eyes regeneration was accomplished “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” and we experience it at the time of our believing into Him.

Choosing, redemption and regeneration are three steps on our path to New Jerusalem. The other two will be in the next post.

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!

Holy and Without Blemish in Love

New JerusalemEphesians 5:27 tells us that Christ will “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 church is His well-prepared bride, the forerunner of New Jerusalem.

Christ cares for the church, “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.” This corresponds with Revelation 21:2, “New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” His washing prepares the bride.

Also, we cooperate with Him. For example, holding to Him in love that His rich supply may flow out. This corresponds with Revelation 19:7, “the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Our cooperation prepares the bride.

The result of both sides of this preparation, is the bride “holy and without blemish.” This matches Ephesians 1:4, God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” Three phrases stand out:
holywithout blemishin love.

The church becoming New Jerusalem, “the holy city,” as the bride of Christ must be fully holy to match the Bridegroom. The bride must also be without blemish to match the unblemished Bridegroom. Being completely holy and without blemish fulfills Matthew 5:48, “You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Christians are the Father’s children, having the Father’s divine life and divine nature. Hence, they can be perfect as their Father is….The kingdom of the heavens is the highest demand, and the divine life of the Father is the highest supply to meet that demand.*

Love is the key for our perfecting, as part of “things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor. 2:9). To love God means to set our entire being absolutely on Him, that is, to let our entire being be occupied by Him and lost in Him, so that He becomes everything to us and we are one with Him practically in our daily life.º

Lord, keep us loving You every day from now to New Jerusalem!

* Part of the footnote on. Matt. 5:48       º Part of the footnote 3 on 1 Cor. 2:9
Both are in the
Recovery Version Bible, © 2017 by Living Stream Ministry.

Out from Christ to be Presented to Christ (2)

In Genesis 2 God built the rib, which He had taken from Adam, into Eve and brought her to Adam. No other creature could be Adam’s counterpart, but Adam welcomed Eve as his counterpart. This is a picture that the church, growing into New Jerusalem, is built with Christ to be presented to Him as His wife.

New JerusalemGod took the rib from Adam while he was in “a deep sleep.” Sleep here signifies death, as in John 11:11-13 and 1 Thessa-lonians 4:13-16. Then Adam was awake, signifying resurrection, and Eve was brought to him. Like Eve, both the church and New Jerusalem come forth through the death and resurrection of Christ.

Through death Christ both redeemed us and released His divine life, which was imparted into us in resurrection. Now “Christ is our life” (Col. 3:4). Christ our life, not our natural life (which must be denied), is the life of the church and of New Jerusalem. It is by this life that the bride of Christ is prepared.

This life is imparted by the Spirit. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing” (John 6:63). “The Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). However, this Spirit is not separate from Christ. He, as the Spirit, enters into our human spirit; as a result, “If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit* is life because of righteousness” (Rom. 8:10).

Christ our life energizes us to deny our natural life, our self, and Christ our life grows until in the church, the new man, “Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:11). By His being all and in all His members, He can present the church to Himself glorious (Eph. 5:27). In the new creation and New Jerusalem there will be no self left to deny and absolutely Christ will be all and in all.

For more about the church, the precursor of New Jerusalem, coming out of Christ to be presented to Christ, see chapter 2 in The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee. It can be freely downloaded from Bibles for America (English) or Rhema Literature (30 languages).

* This is our human spirit because 1) it is contrasted with our human body and 2) the divine Spirit is life whether Christ is in us or not.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Out from Christ to be Presented to Christ

Genesis 2:21-22: “Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. And Jehovah God built the rib, which He had taken from the man, into a woman and brought her to the man.” This first human couple is a picture of Christ and the church (Eph. 5:23-32) which consummates in Christ and New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage (Rev. 21:1–22:5).

New JerusalemPrior to the formation of Eve, God brought every living creature to Adam. “The man gave names to all cattle and to the birds of heaven and to every animal of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper as his counterpart” (Gen. 2:20). No other creatures was a match for Adam.

But, when Eve was brought to Adam, “The man said, This time this is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman because out of Man this one was taken. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:23-24).

The inability of the creatures to match Adam, and the wonderful correspondence of Eve to Adam shows that only what came out of Adam matches him to be his counterpart. In the same way, only what comes out of Christ can match Him to be His counterpart/ companion/suitable helper*.

New Jerusalem is the bride, the wife of Jesus Christ. According to the pattern in Genesis 2, New Jerusalem should come out of Christ to be the proper match to be presented to Him.

For more about the church, the precursor of New Jerusalem, coming out of Christ to be presented to Christ, see chapter 2 in The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee. It can be freely downloaded from Bibles for America (English) or Rhema Literature (30 languages).

* Various translations in Gen. 2:20, thanks to Bible Hub.

Photo by Mary Hollinger, courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Wedding Feast and New Jerusalem

This concludes a group of posts about New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage. A link to each post is presented. The primary verses are:

“Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” (Rev. 19:7)

“Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb.” (Rev. 19:9)

“I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2)

“One of the seven angels…spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he…showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” (Rev. 21:9-10)

“At that time the kingdom of the heavens will be likened to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom….The bridegroom came; and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast.” New Jerusalem(Matt. 25:1, 10)

New Jerusalem: the Unique Marriage
New Jerusalem: the Unique Marriage (2)

The Believers Together Are New Jerusalem

The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb
The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (2)
The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (3)
The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (4)

Rejoice, the Marriage of the Lamb has Come

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (4)

Revelation 19:7, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Revelation 21:2, “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

In the parable in Matthew 25, ten virgins all “took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” When he came, five who were ready went in with Him to the wedding feast. Five foolish virgins were shut out. However, the Lord promised that He will never cast us out and that no one can take us out of His hand. As a result, these foolish believers will be in New Jerusalem but after a period of discipline.

New JerusalemThe paths of these two groups of virgins seem to match the verses in Revelation written above. Remember that these two verses are not at identical times but are separated by many events later in chapter 19 and through all of chapter 20.

Those who were ready and went into the wedding feast (Matt. 25:10) are those who “made herself ready” (19:7) and thereby receive the blessing (Rev. 19:9). Entrance to the wedding feast is not based on individual Christian perfection but on corporate experience of Christ, resulting in our building together.

The virgins who came later and were not let into the feast (Matt. 25:11-12), who are then perfected through discipline (as in Heb. 12:5-11) become part of the prepared bride in Revelation 21:2. They miss the wedding feast but are part of New Jerusalem for eternity.

Based on the Lord’s firm promises, I expect all believers to be constituents of New Jerusalem, whether partaking of the wedding feast or not.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Believers Together Are New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:2 New Jerusalem is “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” In 21:9 the angel says, “I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb” and in 21:10 he shows “the holy city, Jerusalem.”

In 2 Corinthians 11 we, the believers, are engaged to Christ. In Ephesians 5, in the context of husbands and wives, we, the church, are being prepared to be presented to Christ. In Revelation 22:17 we are the bride speaking one with the Spirit. All the believers together, the one universal church, are the bride to be the wife of the Lamb.

New JerusalemIn Isaiah 54:5, Jeremiah 3:14, 31:32, and other verses, God declares that He is the Husband. In Ephesians 5 Christ is the Husband, and in Revelation 21 the redeeming and enthroned Lamb is the Husband.

Since this bride, this wife, is New Jerusalem, we corporately are New Jerusalem!! New Jerusalem is not a place we go to; we are the city! Since we are the city, where does that put Jesus Christ? He too is the city!

In John 14:20 He told us that in resurrection He is in us and we are in Him. Developing this fact, many verses in the epistles speak of “Christ in us” and we “in Christ.” The eternal consummation is that we are New Jerusalem in Christ Jesus. He and we coinhering are the eternal city! New Jerusalem is a married couple!

The portion above answers, “Who is New Jerusalem?” A related answer is in “Where is New Jerusalem?”

New Jerusalem: the Unique Marriage (2)

John told us, “One of the seven angels…spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:9-10).

The Lamb, Jesus Christ, and the bride, New Jerusalem, have the unique marriage. Other marriages are a shadow of this one, just as positive people, things, and events in the Bible are shadows of Christ or our relationship with Him (Col. 2:16-17).

New JerusalemThis unique marriage is presented in John 3:29-30. John the Baptist, responding to a question about Christ, said “He who has the bride is the bridegroom;….He [Christ] must increase, but I must decrease.” The increase in verse 30 is the bride in verse 29, composed of all who have received eternal life (3:15-16).

The unique marriage is also touched in 2 Corinthians 11:2. “I am jealous over you with a jealousy of God; for I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” Here Paul considers the believers in Corinth as one virgin engaged to Christ.

The fuller presentation of the unique marriage is in Ephesians 5:23-32. Human marriage is a picture of the marriage of Christ and the church. This is a “great mystery.” Christ gave Himself for the church in His death (v. 25), now He is sanctifying her by the washing of water in His living word (v. 26), and He will present her to Himself glorious when He returns (v. 27).

Eternal life in John 3, Paul’s labor in 2 Corinthians, and the Lord’s actions in Ephesians 5 all point toward New Jerusalem, the marriage of Jesus Christ and His believers, beginning with the wedding feast in Revelation 19.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Earth to New Earth with New Jerusalem (6)

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Because of the fall of man the entire old creation was corrupted and is awaiting the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Even the heavenly things needed to be purified by the blood shed on the cross.

Psalm 102 foretold the passing away of the old heavens and old earth, and Hebrews 1 quotes this. Peter also speaks about this: “The heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements, burning with intense heat, will be dissolved, and the earth and the works in it will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10)

New JerusalemPeter also presents our responsibility: “Since all these things are to be thus dissolved, what kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness, expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens, being on fire, will be dissolved, and the elements, burning with intense heat, are to be melted away?” (3:11-12)

This holy manner of life and this godliness are not outward behaviors nor something of our effort nor by our determination. Peter tells us that “His divine power has granted to us all things which relate to life and godliness.” (1:3) This grant enables us to live a life preparatory to the new earth, a foretaste of New Jerusalem life.

By living such a life, we are not only looking forward to the new earth and New Jerusalem, but we are “hastening” their coming. This hastening occurs because the Lord is looking for a people ready for His coming. Lord, work in us for the preparation of Your bride.

Photo courtesy of pexels.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.

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