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 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.

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.

 

In Spirit to See and Enter New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThis concludes a series of posts about seeing and entering New Jerusalem. The key is “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see this wonderful eternal city (Rev. 21:9-10). Here is a one sentence highlight, a verse reference, and a link for each post.

❖ The consummation of Revelation is New Jerusalem, presented by the Bible in figurative language. We need the Lord to carry us away in spirit to a high mountain to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-11) and to understand the spiritual significance of all its elements.

In Exodus 24 and 34 Moses was at the top of a mountain, in God’s presence, in glory, and received God’s speaking, including the vision of the tabernacle, a forerunner of New Jerusalem.

 Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news…” All God’s good news, including New Jerusalem as His consummate news, is announced by people “on the mountains” no matter what their physical location.

Israel’s journey to Mt. Sinai portrays our Christian journey to the mountain to see New Jerusalem. The first steps in their journey were redemption, eating the passover lamb and unleavened bread, and crossing the Red Sea.

❖ The next step in Israel’s (and our) journey is to sing and praise the Lord for His victory and His kingdom. This brings us onward to the wonderful experience of the springs of living water.

 Eating the manna (a picture of Christ—John 6) daily and drinking the water (a picture of the Spirit—John 7) out of the rock are essential nourishment for our Christian journey.

❖ On our journey we also need to fight against the flesh but not in our own strength. Rather, “Walk by the Spirit and you shall by no means fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

❖ In Exodus 19 to 23 God spoke the ten commandments and many supporting ordinances. All God’s words show our shortages apart from Christ. Nevertheless, “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:7).

❖ On our Christian journey we need Jesus Christ as our burnt offering, as the person absolute for God. He is our replacement and we are identified with Him. This is portrayed in Leviticus 1:3-4.

 Christ as the burnt offering replaces us by coming into us to live in us and through us. It is by Christ our life and by our walk according to the spirit (Rom. 8:4) that we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

 When Moses went up the mountain he entered into the cloud (which cut off his view of everything earthly) and was there forty days in the glory of the Lord (Exo. 24:15-16, 18). When we give time to the Lord, He will reveal His heart to us.

 We journey from death and slavery in the world to a spiritual mountain to see and enter New Jerusalem. For this journey, Christ is our life (Col. 3:4) and we walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).

❖ Our seeing of New Jerusalem depends both on the Lord’s mercy and on our cooperation. By the Lord’s mercy, may we let the Spirit dwell in us, live in us, be active in us, so that the Spirit can reveal more to us (Rev. 21:9-10).

❖ On a mountain the Lord spoke the reality of the kingdom of the heavens, which leads to New Jerusalem. In ourselves we cannot reach this level, but we have the life of our heavenly Father (Matt. 5:48).

❖ The Lord Jesus went to a mountain to present the kingdom (Matt. 5–7), to be transfigured (Matt. 17), to speak about this age and His return (Matt. 24), and to ascend (Acts 1). Our need is to come to Him. “His disciples came to Him” (Matt. 5:1)

❖ Everything written in the Old Testament, including Israel’s journey to Mt. Sinai, is for our instruction, admonition, and encouragement (1 Cor. 10:11, Rom. 15:4). Today, our job is to hold Jesus Christ, who is the reality (Col. 2:16-19).

❖ Recent posts have been about seeing New Jerusalem. After we see, how do we enter into the present reality of New Jerusalem? The answer is in John 3—be born again to see (v. 3) and to enter (v. 5).

❖ In John 3:5 we are born of water (terminating our old life) and the Spirit (generating our new life). In Galatians 2:20 “it is no longer I who live”—my old life, “but it is Christ who lives in me”—my new life. The more Christ lives in us the more we see and enter New Jerusalem.

❖ We need to be uplifted to a high mountain that we may see New Jerusalem as God’s eternal dwelling place for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose. (Rev. 21:9-10)

New Jerusalem

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In Revelation 21:9-10 John tells us that an angel carried him away in spirit to a great and high mountain and showed him the holy city, New Jerusalem. This clearly was not John’s effort. Likewise, our seeing of New Jerusalem is not by our determination nor by our striving. We simply turn to the Lord, open our whole heart to Him, and wait on Him. In His time He will give us the vision of New Jerusalem.

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“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and 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, having the glory of God.” (Rev. 21:9-11a)

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s Mercy for God’s Goal, New Jerusalem

New JerusalemGod has a goal. This is not his response to man’s fall and to sin and death. Rather, it is His eternal heart’s desire, what He wants to do and what He will accomplish. Sin and death merely show His wisdom in accomplishing His desire, which consummates in New Jerusalem.

Because of sin and death, our fallen being is disqualified from what God wants to do and we could have no part in His plan. However, God had mercy on us. Because of His great mercy, He saved us, He regenerated us, and His is bringing us onward to New Jerusalem.

Here is a summary of our recent series on God’s mercy, with a verse and a link to each post.

  John the Baptist came “to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the merciful compassions of our God.” Out of the introduction by John, according to God’s merciful compassions, “the rising sun [Jesus] will visit us from on high” (Luke 1:76-78).

 Jesus Christ became “a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). This propitiation opens the door for us to receive the eternal life which brings us to New Jerusalem.

 Romans 9:15-16 say, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion. So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” It is not by our determination (him who wills) nor by our effort (him who runs). But we can cry out to God for mercy.

 We need mercy because of the negative effect of sin and death. We also need mercy because in ourselves we do not have the glory of God (Romans 3:23), an essential quality of New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 2:1-3 describe our fallen condition. Verses 4-6 describe what God did with us in Christ due to “being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.” Verse 7 continues, “That He might display in the ages to come [including New Jerusalem] the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Like Ephesians 2, Titus 3 presents our fallen condition then presents God’s salvation through His washing and renewing, “not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy.”

First Peter 1:3-4 say that God, “according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading.” New Jerusalem is the consummation of this inheritance.

 Jude 21 encourages us “keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” We have eternal life already; here “unto eternal life” indicates we still need mercy to be brought into the fuller enjoyment of this life in the coming age and the fullest enjoyment of it in New Jerusalem.

While we are on the journey of our Christian life, “Let us come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.”

The new creation is spiritual and hidden within us today but eventually the new creation with New Jerusalem as its center, will become visible to all (Revelation 21:1-2). We should care for this today; per Galatians 6:15-16, “a new creation is what matters. And as many as walk by this rule, peace be upon them and mercy.”

God has temporarily turned from the Jews to show mercy to non-Jews (Gentiles). God’s mercy is shown to us according to His infinite wisdom. Our response should match Romans 15:9, “the Gentiles should glorify God for His mercy.”

This series on mercy concluded with a hymn,
God, we praise Thee for Thy mercy, ’Tis so great and so profound!
In our weakness and our failures; With its greatness it abounds.
We adore Thee! we adore Thee! With such mercy we’ve been crowned!

God is merciful to bring us into His salvation and His salvation brings us to New Jerusalem.

Photo by Christine Painter, courtesy of CSIRO Australia.

Receive Mercy and Find Grace on the Journey to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemAs believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have eternal life and we are on the path to New Jerusalem.

Although we have eternal life, we still also have the soulish life (which the Lord asks us to deny) and our corrupted flesh. These cause us trouble in our Christian life and are the subject of multiple New Testament warnings, such as the end of Galatians 5 and the first half of Ephesians 5.

We should not fight the negative things on our own because then we will fall into the trap described in Romans 7—“the evil which I do not will, this I practice.” Instead, let us heed 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.

We may (and can) come forward with boldness because of the blood shed by the Lord on the cross (Hebrews 10:19-22). When we come forward first we “receive mercy.” This indicates both our lack of qualification and God’s great compassions.

We receive mercy, then with a little more seeking we “find grace.” This mercy and grace are “for timely help”—it might be when we are frustrated or angry or confused or lonely or ______ (insert your own description here).

Because of the Lord’s mercy and because of the blood of the Lamb, the throne is to us the throne of grace and not the throne of judgement. Out of this throne flows mercy and grace. The same throne will be in New Jerusalem with a merciful and gracious flow of the river of water of life.

More about the throne of grace.

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