No Quarantine with God

Dear Readers, because of the current world situation I am inserting this post, which is not directly about New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe covid-19 virus pandemic has caused many isolation and social distancing measures to be announced. Nations have closed borders, sealed off cities, and quarantined sick or suspected persons.

In ancient times, leprosy was a terrible infectious disease. Those who were infected had bad rashes and sometimes severe facial deformities. When a person got leprosy, he was discriminated against and isolated by society.

One day a leper came to Jesus. He worshiped him and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can cleanse me.” Jesus held out his hand, touched the leper, and said, “I am willing; be cleansed!” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed (Matthew 8:2-3).

Nobody dared to approach the leper, who was regarded by everyone as an impure person who must be separated from society. However, the Lord Jesus was willing to approach him and even reached out to touch him.

Although Jesus only needed to speak to heal the leper, nevertheless He touched him. What consolation for this leper who suffered from pain, was isolated, and desperate from panic!

God is merciful. Even if fear arises again today, please remember that the Lord Jesus died to redeem us and resurrected to regenerate us (1 Peter 1:3). Today He invites you to cast “all your anxiety on Him because it matters to Him concerning you” (1 Peter 5:7). Then “the peace of God will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).

 

The Things Which Must Quickly Take Place

In Revelation 22:6 the angel said to John, “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.”

New JerusalemThe things is everything spoken in Revelation, including actions in heaven, judgements, the man child and the firstfruits, appearing of the beasts, reapings, the marriage of the Lamb, war at Armageddon, the millennium, and New Jerusalem.

The angel said these things “must quickly take place.” To our human view we might say that a long time has passed since the angel spoke. But the angel spoke with God’s view. We must say amen to what is in the Bible. Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.”

In Revelation 22:7, 12, 20 the Lord Jesus promises “I come quickly.” Again, we must say amen and not question the Lord based on our own understanding. Our response should copy that of John in verse 20, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”

The Lord’s coming is a big step toward the coming of New Jerusalem. However, we must cooperate. Revelation 19 speaks of the Lord’s coming and the wedding feast, and says, “His wife [New Jerusalem] has made herself ready.” Lord, grant us mercy to participate fully in these days in the preparation of Your bride!

Holy of Holies: Come Forward, Don’t Wait

In Revelation 21:16 New Jerusalem is a perfect and immense cube; this is the eternal holy of holies. This marvelous blessing is our eternal dwelling place with God and in God.

New JerusalemHowever, we should not wait until New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven (Rev. 21:2, 10). Today we are encouraged to “come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.” The throne of grace is the reality of the Old Testament ark of the covenant in the holy of holies.

This throne has the redeeming blood of Christ on it and the glory of Christ above it. We can come forward because we have a great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God. He has ascended to the heavens. He is touched with the feeling of our weaknesses even though He is without sin. Based on these facts in Hebrews 4:14-15 we are exhorted in 4:16 to “come forward with boldness.”

How do we come forward? We can simply and honestly pray, Lord Jesus, I come forward now to Your throne; I want to meet You. When we come forward in such a way, we are promised mercy. We also can find grace; this may be with more simple prayers—not asking the Lord to do something for us but only opening to Him and seeking Him to be more in our living.

By coming forward in this way we obtain mercy and grace, and we have a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

The Throne and All Things New

Revelation 21:5 says, “And He who sits on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said, Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

In New Jerusalem at the center of the new creation, there is a throne. This throne is for God’s administration of the universe. To His redeemed people, the constituents of New Jerusalem, it is also “the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16) where we receive mercy and find grace, both today and eternally.

This throne is “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1). There is only one throne
New Jerusalembecause God and the Lamb are one. The Lord Jesus told us “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) and “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:10). Because They are one, there is one throne. This is the throne of the redeeming Lamb-God (Rev. 22:1).

This One says, “I make all things new.” Men claim to invent and make many new things but all of this is in the old, fallen creation. None of it is new in God’s sight.

The new heaven, new earth, and New Jerusalem will be new because everything of the old creation will have been terminated. The entire universe will be new. Only God can do this, because only God can terminate sin, death, and Satan, the primary factors which made the old creation old. And only the redeeming Lamb-God can bring us out of oldness to make us His new creation, His new city, Jerusalem (2 Cor. 5:17).

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Course of Our Christian Life

New JerusalemOur Christian life begins with repentance and consummates with New Jerusalem. Although every Christian has had an initial experience of repentance, during the progress of our Christian life we might need further times of repentance.

It is sad that the New Testament has many examples of people who refuse to repent. The Lord rebuked multiple cities for this failure (e.g. Matt. 11:20-24), and large numbers in Revelation refused to repent (9:20-21) even when they knew they were under the judgment of God (16:8-11).

May we never be like those people. Lord, keep our heart soft to You every day. If we realize that we still have sin and sins, as we see in 1 John 1,and recognize that we are not sufficient in ourselves to serve the Lord, we will welcome His mercy. We are vessels of mercy, and God desires to “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy.”

Besides welcoming His mercy, we also confess our sins, exercising to be void of offense. This is our cooperation with His mercy. When we cooperate by confessing, we have boldness to come forward to His throne of grace, where we receive more mercy and find grace to meet every need (Heb. 4:16).

Thank God for His mercy to us that we may be vessels to contain and express His riches. This is for His glory. “To Him be the glory in the church” now (Eph. 3:21). And to Him be the glory in New Jerusalem for eternity.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem, 3

This is the next verse of a song about Christ’s love for the church as His wife. This love extends to New Jerusalem, His eternal wife.

New JerusalemIt begins with mercy and love. Ephesians 2:1-3 speaks of our fallen condition but 2:4 declares the contrast, “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.” Through mercy and love, God made us alive together with Christ and raised us up together with Him.

Ephesians 2:7 tells us that God’s desire is that “He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” The ability to produce this display out of our fallen condition manifests God’s unsurpassed wisdom and is through His grace, both mentioned in the verse and the song.

Certainly we can sense the love of God and must thank Him for this love, yet we are limited. We should expect, as in the song, that the fulness of this love is only comprehended by God.

This verse of the song ends with Christ laying down His life as a fragrant offering. The Lord spoke of this in John 10:11, “the good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” And Ephesians 5:25 tells us, “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

The fragrance at the end is clearly typified by the fragrance of the offerings in Leviticus and implied by the Father’s word “This is My Son, the Beloved, in whom I have found My delight” (Matt. 3:17).

New Jerusalem: God is our Master

Revelation 22:3 says “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him.” Three posts have looked at all of us as slaves of God. Now consider a few verses showing the Lord Jesus as our Master, the One whom we serve.

New Jerusalem“No one can serve two masters….You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24). We serve our Master, God, now and in New Jerusalem. Then, the parable in Matthew 13:24-30 portrays the Lord as the Master, who sowed good seed in his field to bring forth sons of the kingdom of God. What He sows is always good.

In a parable in Matthew 18, the Lord as the Master was moved with compassion and forgave His slave’s debt. This is a picture of the forgiveness of sins that we received. However, later the Master disciplined the slave because he did not forgive his fellow slave. Full forgiveness, from the Lord to us, and from us to one another, is necessary on the path to New Jerusalem.

Second Peter 2:1 speaks of the Master who bought us. This purchase was by the redeeming death of the Lord Jesus. Because He paid the price for us, we can receive the forgiveness of all sins. His redeeming death also cleanses us from all our filthiness. This is illustrated by His cleansing of ten lepers who cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

Finally, Colossians 4:1 instructs human masters “grant to your slaves that which is just and equal, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” Our heavenly Master is just and equal, having no respect of persons. This righteousness, equal treatment, forgiveness, mercy, cleansing, and more characterize the One we will serve as slaves in New Jerusalem.


Bible verses are quoted 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.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

Come to the Throne, Now & New Jerusalem

In New Jerusalem is “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.” This is the Triune God flowing to us: God and the Lamb on the throne and the Spirit as the river.

The Triune God being the flow of living water is both now (John 7:38-39) and in New Jerusalem. This flow is also in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.”

New JerusalemThe throne in Hebrews is the same as in New Jerusalem. Hebrews does not have the word water but there is a flow of mercy and grace here. When we come, we receive mercy. This coming is like John 7:37, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” In Hebrews, if anyone needs mercy, let him come to the throne.

Our great High Priest on the throne is also the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem. We can be comfortable coming to Him on the throne because “He can be touched with the feeling of our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15). Here we receive the flow of mercy and we can find the flow of grace. This grace and mercy are not commodities; they are the Triune God flowing to us! We “come forward with boldness.”

A song (words, music) by Witness Lee begins with this flow, “In the holiest place, touch the throne of grace, / Grace as a river shall flow;.” The chorus is “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! / Grace as a river shall flow.” And the song concludes “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! / Touch the living fountain of life.” This should be our experience now and will definitely be our experience in New Jerusalem.

Prior posts in this group: The Flow of Living Water is the Triune God
__Living Water Flows to, in New Jerusalem one two three four five
The flow of living water in the Old Testament: Take Freely the Water of Life

Bible verses are quoted 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.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 19 Brings Us to New Jerusalem (3)

Revelation 19 has much to say about Jesus Christ Himself and His accomplishments to end this age, bring in the next age, and open the door for New Jerusalem to come down out of heaven.

In verse 19:14, “The armies which are in heaven followed Him on white horses, dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” The white and clean garments indicate that these believers are approved by the Lord. These garments are not merely gifts to them. Rather, the garments manifest the believers inward condition and daily living.

This clean living includes the cleansing of our sins, and also the transformation of our inner being. The first is the forgiveness by Christ’s redemption (Eph. 1:7). The second is accomplished by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) and also the purifying of our souls by our obedience (1 Peter 1:22).

New JerusalemThe garments qualify us 1) to attend the marriage dinner of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9), 2) to be part of His victorious army, and 3) to participate in New Jerusalem.

Forgiveness of sins is a necessary step in becoming part of New Jerusalem, but it is not the only step. We also need the renewing of our inner being to match the newness of New Jerusalem. This is the renewing of our mind by the Spirit in our spirit (Rom. 12:2, Eph. 4:23).

Those who are wearing white garments are on white horses. These match the white horse on which the Lord sits (v. 11). By the Spirit’s renewing, we are being renewed according to the Lord’s image (Col. 3:10), thus matching Him in many ways. We thereby become His expression now as the new man (Col. 3:10-11) and eternally as New Jerusalem.

The Promise: New Creation, New Jerusalem

This post concludes our look at New Testament verses with the words according to God’s... These eternal characteristics of God bring forth New Jerusalem and constitute us into it.

New Jerusalem1 Peter 1:3: “Blessed be 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.” Regeneration is our first step into New Jerusalem. There is nothing we can do to qualify ourselves for regeneration; Jesus Christ has done it all and according to God’s great mercy we can receive what He has accomplished.

2 Peter 3:13: “But according to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” The new creation, with New Jerusalem as its center, is not our uncertain human hope; it is according to God’s promise. New Jerusalem will be full of “eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the times of the ages” (Titus 1:2). God’s promises are from eternity to eternity. Thank Him!

In the verses in this and four prior posts (1 2 3 4) we see God’s eternal plan carried out according to His great mercy, good pleasure, will, purpose, counsel, promise, riches of glory, riches of grace, and the operation of the might of His strength.

All of these divine characteristics are eternal. They are manifested in His actions in eternity past (e.g. predestinating in Eph. 1:5), now (e.g. making known to us the mystery of His will in Eph. 1:9), and at His second coming (e.g. conforming our body of humiliation to His body of glory in Phil. 3:21).

These characteristics and the actions carried out through them have eternal results in New Jerusalem, where we will forever enjoy the riches of His grace and proclaim the riches of His glory.

According to God’s Purpose, Grace, Mercy

New JerusalemThis post has more verses with the pattern according to God’s…everything. God’s ways and His acts are marvelous and culminate in New Jerusalem.

Colossians 1:29: “For which also I labor, struggling according to His operation which operates in me in power.” Paul labored much, but not by his own effort. His labor was according to the Lord’s operation in him. This is the Lord Jesus, carrying out, through faithful believers, His declaration in Matthew 16, “I will build My church.”

2 Timothy 1:9: “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages.” God’s calling of us, like so many other steps He takes, is according to His own purpose. This calling is also according to His grace, His coming to us to be experienced by us.

Titus 3:5: “Not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:3 describes us as “…once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving as slaves various lusts and pleasures…” As such we were not qualified for God’s purpose and had no share in New Jerusalem. But when the kindness and love of God appeared (Titus 3:4), He saved us according to His mercy.

Hebrews 2:4: “…distributions of the Holy Spirit according to His will.” Likewise, we were not qualified to receive the Holy Spirit, but, based on His mercy, God gave the Spirit according to His will. In ourselves we are not suitable for New Jerusalem because of God’s mercy the Spirit will constitute us for this city.

Thanks be to our God and Father for His rich provision.

Unsearchable Riches in New Jerusalem

The riches of God’s glory are for us from now unto New Jerusalem. The New Testament also presents other aspects of God’s riches, for today and for New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem Romans 2:4 speaks of “the riches of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering” which leads us to repentance. Via repentance we receive Christ as our eternal life, which puts us on the way to New Jerusalem.

Second Corinthians 8:9, “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, for your sakes He became poor in order that you, because of His poverty, might become rich.” He had to become poor, lowly, to live a live of suffering culminating with His death on the cross. Through His death and resurrection we are rich in Him.

In Him “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). Forgiveness is one of the riches we receive through His poverty and is according to the riches of His grace.

Another contributor to our repentance, forgiveness, and eternal life is “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, made us alive together with Christ…” (Eph. 2:4-5). We are not qualified, but God is rich in mercy, for us to receive now and to display in New Jerusalem.

All these aspects of God’s riches are so “That He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). God’s riches in kindness, mercy, and grace are so that He can work Himself into us and be expressed through us in the coming age and in New Jerusalem.

To make us aware of all this, grace was given to announce “the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8). God is not only rich but surpassingly and unsearchably rich. These riches require the entirety of New Jerusalem and of eternity for their display.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

 

%d bloggers like this: