God’s Slaves Serve in New Jerusalem (2)

Revelation 22:3b says, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him.” Looking at our service now gives us insight into how we will serve in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe foundation of our serving is what Jesus Christ accomplished in His death and resurrection. He “released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:5-6).

Hebrews 9:14 also links the blood of Jesus and our serving, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Part of Revelation 7:14-15 is “they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Because of this they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple.” The washing of our robes, our conduct, is by receiving the forgiveness of sins accomplished by Jesus Christ.

This washing of sins has two stages. One is by our repenting at the initial time of our salvation. The other is throughout our Christian life by our confessing of sins for His cleansing (1 John 1:9). The first brings us before the throne and the second keeps us before the throne so  that we may serve God—both now and in New Jerusalem.

In Romans 1:9 Paul says, “God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit…” In Philippians 3:3 we “…serve by the Spirit of God…” Serving as priests must be in the Spirit with our human spirit. Without this mingled spirit, whatever we do is not serving God as a priest.

In John 4:24 Jesus says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.” There is no serving God in worship without the mingled spirit.

Our serving now, and in New Jerusalem, is based on redemption and in spirit.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

God’s Slaves Serve in New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 22:3b says, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him.”

There are three New Testament Greek words often translated “serve.” The word in Revelation 22 means to serve as a priest, to serve in worship of God. To get a better grasp of verse 22:3, let’s look at other verses with this same word.

In Matthew 4:10 Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:13, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.” Here worship and serving are linked, and restricted by “only.” This quotation surely matches what we will do in New Jerusalem.

In Acts 7:7 Stephen speaks about God’s actions with Israel. In verse 7 he said repeated God’s word, “After these things [slavery in Egypt] they will come forth and serve Me as priests in this place.” God’s desire was that the whole nation serve as priests. This was thwarted by their worship of the golden calf and only the house of Aaron served as priests.

The redemption and resurrection of Jesus Christ brought us back to God’s desire. He “released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:5-6). This action is for this age, the coming age, and eternity. The accomplishments of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection point to New Jerusalem.

In Acts 24:14 and 27:23 Paul declares that he serves God. He was serving and we too should serve, based on the Lord having made us priests to His and our God and Father. Whether I serve or not is not based on how I feel but on the Lord’s doing. More on this in the next post; may we experience this from now unto New Jerusalem.

 

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   19-20 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

Revelation 19 concludes with the victory of the Lamb and the army with Him (v. 19-21). The beast and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire and their followers are killed by the sharp sword out of the mouth of Him who is the Word of God. The same Word both nourishes us and slays God’s enemies. How marvelous.

New JerusalemRevelation 20 begins with the devil, Satan, being cast into and locked in the abyss (v. 1-3). Thus the whole earth is cleaned up by Jesus Christ, the One on the white horse, He who is Faithful and True, the Word of God, the King of Kings. Praise Him!

With this cleansing the millennial kingdom comes to the whole earth and New Jerusalem follows.

Revelation 20:6 declares, “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”

The characteristics of the millennium in this verse have many parallels with New Jerusalem. “Blessed and holy”—The Triune God is Our Blessing in Revelation 22:3-5, and we will all be holy to match the holy nature of that city.

The partakers of the blessing are in resurrection here, and New Jerusalem is A City in Resurrection. Death has no power here and there will be Neither Sin nor Death in New Jerusalem. Here the partakers are priests and reign with God and Christ. In New Jerusalem we will continue as Priests and Kings in God’s Plan.

All of these blessings come from God through Jesus Christ. Praise Him!

The blessings in Revelation 20 are for a thousand years and the richer blessings in New Jerusalem are for eternity.

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.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   6-9 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The central theme of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus. This wonderful One is seen throughout Revelation caring for God’s interests on earth, which consummate in the new creation with New Jerusalem at its center. Here are some aspects of His care in Revelation 6–9, which bring us to New Jerusalem.

In Revelation 5 the Lamb is declared to be the only one in the universe worthy to open the seven seals. In 6:1 He opens the first, and in 6:2 the gospel is released. By responding to this gospel we are on the path to New Jerusalem. Thank Him for giving us this open door!

In 7:9 a great multitude, those purchased (5:9) “out of every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues” are “standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” This multitude will continue before the throne of God and the Lamb in New Jerusalem (22:1).

In 7:15 this multitude serves God “day and night in His temple” just as we will serve Him as priests in New Jerusalem (22:3).

Verses 7:16-17 present the Lamb’s care for the multitude. Revelation 7:9-17 has many parallels with New Jerusalem.

In 8:3 Christ adds Himself as incense to our prayers that they be accepted as a sweet-smelling savor to God. These prayers of the believers, on earth cooperating with the heavens, open the way for the seven trumpets.

These trumpets bring forth many calamities and judgments on the negative things and people on earth (Rev. 8–9). These actions conclude with the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ in 11:15, a kingdom which continues into New Jerusalem.

The actions in Revelation 9 should lead men to repent but 9:20-21 say they did not. Sad. It is His mercy that we can repent. Repentance Puts Us on the Path to New Jerusalem.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   4-5 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe central theme of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus. This wonderful One is seen throughout Revelation caring for God’s interests on earth. These posts look at aspects of His care which brings us to New Jerusalem.

Revelation 4–5 presents a vision of heaven. In 5:5 Jesus Christ is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” He is the victorious One who fought God’s enemies, to clear the way for our redemption, regeneration, and perfection.

In 5:6 He is “a Lamb standing as having just been slain.” He died to redeem us but now He is standing in resurrection with the life that we receive in regeneration, the life for New Jerusalem. He also has “the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” This intensified Spirit is for our “much more salvation in life” (Rom. 5:10) in this dark age.

A praise to the Lamb in 5:9 says, “You are worthy…for You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” By His death He purchased all of us out of every human distinction to be the one new man, who consummates in New Jerusalem. He is worthy!

In 5:10 the praise continues, echoing 1:6, that He has “made them a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.” The ultimate stage of the kingdom and our priesthood and reigning is New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3-5).

The praise continues in 5:11-14. We, with the heavenly host, can cry out, “Worthy is the Lamb.” Very likely, in New Jerusalem this praise will continue: “Worthy is the Lamb.”

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 1 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe heart, the central theme, of Revel-ation is the testimony of Jesus. He (not judgments nor beasts) is our focus.

In Revelation our Lord Jesus is seen in many ways. This post begins a look at some of His characteristics as they relate to our progress unto New Jerusalem. (Rev. 1:1-6)

In Revelation 1:4-5 grace and peace come to us from God who is, was, and is coming; and from the seven Spirits; and from Jesus Christ. Grace enables us to grow (2 Peter 3:18) and peace sustains us in the tribulations we face. The goal of our growing is the maturity of New Jerusalem.

In 1:5 Jesus Christ is the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. Although we may not be faithful to Him, He is faithful to care for us and to care for God’s purpose through us, all the way to New Jerusalem. He is also the Ruler of everything, no matter how confused we are by human governments today.

He is the Firstborn and we are His many brothers (Rom. 8:29), who have been made alive (resurrected) together with Him (Eph. 2:5-6) for the city of resurrection.

In 1:5 He also loves us and released us from our sins by His blood. Because He loves us, we are supplied to love Him. And we thank Him for releasing us!

In 1:6, He “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.” The consummation of this is our reigning with Him and serving Him as priests in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:5, 3).

Revelation 1:6 ends, “to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.” Yes, glory and might to our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ now and in New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Aspects of New Jerusalem in Our Daily Life

hymn on God’s eternal purpose includes creation, life, transformation, building, and New Jerusalem. It moves from Genesis 1–2 through the New Testament to New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22.
New Jerusalem

Verses 5 and 6 of the hymn, above, are about New Jerusalem. Here are many lines from these verses of the hymn with a corresponding portion from Revelation.

✦ He’s the very center, ruling on the throne:  “the throne of God and of the Lamb ” (22:1)
✦ By His light of glory, they are kept in light: “the Lord God will shine upon them” (22:5)
✦ He’s their living water, and their food supply: “a river of water of life, bright as crystal…And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month” (22:1-2)
✦ All their thirst and hunger He doth satisfy: “They will not hunger any more, neither will they thirst any more” (7:16)
✦ He’s for them the temple, in Himself they live: “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its [New Jerusalem’s] temple” (21:22), “they…serve [as priests] Him day and night in His temple” (7:15)
✦ In His constant presence: “they will see His face….the Lord God will shine upon them” (22:4, 5)
✦ Worship ever give: “His slaves will serve [as priests] Him” (22:3)

The characteristics of New Jerusalem described in these hymn verses should be spiritual (not physical) characteristics of our Christian life today. The Lord Jesus should be on the throne in us now, supplying us with living water and being our bread of life. We should walk in Him as our light (1 John 1:7), be empowered by Him (2 Tim. 2:1), be in the oneness (Eph. 4:3), behold Him (Heb. 12:2), and worship Him (John 4:24).

The characteristics of New Jerusalem in the hymn are very similar to the characteristics of a proper Christian life. The difference is not in nature but in magnitude. New Jerusalem will be much richer than today, and without the complication of sin and death.

New Jerusalem Proclaims the Excellencies of God

New Jerusalem First Peter 2:9 says, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession, so that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Other translations* of “tell out the virtues” include “proclaim/ declare/show forth/make known the excellence/excellencies/praises.”

This telling out/proclaiming/declaring begins now and will be magnified in New Jerusalem. The initial step is regeneration by the incorruptible seed of the word of God (1 Peter 1:23).

The next step is the guileless milk of the word for our growth and our tasting the goodness of the Lord (1 Peter 2:2-3). Then we continually come to the Lord, the living Stone, to be built together into a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:4-5). This house is also a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God.

All of these steps are related to New Jerusalem. Regeneration is our entrance. Although we will be full grown in New Jerusalem and not need the milk for newborn babes, eternally we will have the river of life and tree of life to sustain and satisfy us (Rev. 22:1-2). Our being built together also points toward New Jerusalem, which is a spiritual building.

The holy priesthood of 1 Peter 2:5 and the royal priesthood of 2:9 will continue in New Jerusalem. God’s “slaves will serve Him” (Rev. 22:3). The Greek word translated serve means serve as priests. And we “will reign forever and ever” (22:5).

Based on our regeneration, growth, being built together, and serving in the priesthood, we proclaim the excellencies of our God. The proclaiming begins now and amplifies with our growth, building, and serving unto the fullness of New Jerusalem.

* Thanks to biblehub.com.

Come Forward, See God’s Face, Serve Him

A review of recent posts on the priesthood:
• In Exodus 19 God stated His intention to make Israel a kingdom of priests;
• Hebrews 5–7 speak about Jesus Christ as the kingly High Priest;
• Revelation 1:5-6 and 5:9-10 tell us that Jesus Christ, through His propitiatory death, made us a kingdom of priests;
• 1 Peter 1–2 presents a process through which we are built together as a priesthood;
• 1 Peter 2 also says we are a royal priesthood telling out the virtues of the Lord;
• Revelation 20:6 speaks of priests of God and of Christ and reigning with Him.

Finally, in Revelation 22:3, 5, “…the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him….and they will reign forever and ever.” Here the word “serve” means to serve as a priest.

New JerusalemTo serve as priests is to be in the presence of God in the holy of holies. Hebrews 9:8 tells us that the way into the holy of holies was not manifested in Old Testament times. But Hebrews 9–10 go on to speak of what Jesus Christ accomplished as our High Priest so that now we can come forward to the holy of holies (10:19). Ultimately, the entire city of New Jerusalem is the holy of holies. Here we see God’s face (Revelation 22:4).

By coming to the holy of holies, the priests are infused with God’s shining and thereby express Him. This matches two lines of a song in an earlier post: Saturated with His beauty, Radiate His excellence. This should be our experience today and will be our fuller experience in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Be Priests and Reign with God and Christ

New JerusalemRevelation 20:6 declares, “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”

An outcome of the Lord’s redemption is that we became a kingdom of priests (Revelation 1:5-6). Gradually we grow in Him and are built together into the reality of the priesthood to be saturated with Him and to radiate His excellence.

When the Lord returns, those believers who are living in the reality of the priesthood will be brought onward to be priests and to reign with Him for a thousand years.

There are many conflicting teachings about the thousand years. Without getting into this morass, we see that the kingdom of priests was intended by God with Israel, is founded on Jesus Christ Himself as the kingly High Priest, was brought forth and is built up in this age, will exist (no doubt stronger) in the thousand years, and will reach its high point in New Jerusalem.

This kingly priesthood is not many separate individual priests, but is the corporate body of priests, the priesthood, built together one spiritual house. It is progressing now, will be fuller in the thousand years, and will consummate in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

We Are Built up into a Holy Priesthood

Revelation 1:5-6 and 5:9-10 tell us that the redemption of Jesus Christ has made us a kingdom of priests, a kingdom which will consummate in New Jerusalem. This is our position, our status. First Peter 2:4-5 speaks of our reality, our experience:

Coming to Him…you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

New JerusalemBy redemption we have the position of the priesthood but we still need to come to the Lord regularly for the process of “being built up into a holy priesthood.” By this building process we grow into the reality of functioning as the priesthood.

An illustration of these two steps is a young man who joins the army. When he takes an oath he gains a position in the army. Yet he still needs much training to become a member of the army in reality and to learn how to participate in the life of the army.

Some steps in 1 Peter which precede or support our “being built up into a holy priesthood.”
• We received the Lord’s redemption (1:18-19);
• We were regenerated by the living and abiding word of God (1:23);
• As newborn babes we drink the milk of the word that we may grow (2:2);
• We obey the Lord so that He may fill us with brotherly love (1:22);
• We put away negative things of the old creation (2:1);
• We come to the Lord together with others (2:4-5).

Lord, grant us more experiences of these steps so that we can be built together into Your priesthood. Lord, build us toward New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Jesus Christ, the Originator and the Finisher

New JerusalemRevelation 1:5-6 says that Jesus Christ, through His redemption, “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.” Revelation 22:3-5 says that we will serve Him as priests and will reign with Him in New Jerusalem. Thus, the kingdom of priests extends from the Lord’s resurrection to eternity.

Revelation 5:9-10 says the same. In a praise to the Lamb, we read, “You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made them a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.”

These verses make it clear that we are a kingdom of priests not by our choice nor by our accomplishments nor by our efforts nor due to anything else of ourselves. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests.

Since we are priests, we should live as priests. But learning to live as a priest is also not by our own determination nor by our own energy. The key is “looking away unto Jesus, the Author [Originator, Inaugurator] and Perfecter [Finisher, Completer] of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

The “looking away” to Him is also our “coming to Him” (1 Peter 2:4) by which we “are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood” (2:5). Our coming to Him is by prayer, singing, declaring His word, thanking Him, calling on His name (Romans 10:12-13), and praising.

He is the initiation of the kingdom of priests and He will bring us to the consummation in New Jerusalem.

A song begins_-_Take time to behold Him,
______________Speak oft with Thy Lord,
____________Abide in Him always,
______________And feed on His Word.

Photo by Gregory Heath, courtesy of CSIRO Australia.

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