The Gates of New Jerusalem in Luke 15

In Luke 15 the Lord told three parables. Verses 4 to 7 are about a shepherd, a picture of the Lord who is the real Shepherd (John 10:11). Verses 8 to 10 are about a woman with a lamp, a symbol of the Spirit, and verses 11 to 32 about a father, depicting the Father, whose son returned home. These three parables, corresponding to the three gates on each side of New Jerusalem, are for our entrance nto the city.

New JerusalemLuke 15 records three parables: the shepherd seeking the lost sheep, the woman seeking the lost coin, and the father waiting for his prodigal son. The Lord Jesus came as the shepherd to die on the cross to seek us and to redeem us. After Christ’s work, the Holy Spirit came as the woman to enlighten us, seeking within our hearts to bring us back. By the seeking work of the Holy Spirit, we repent and return to the Father, who gladly receives us. Then we have entered the gate. The three persons of the Godhead bring us into the very building.*

The three gates on each of the four sides of New Jerusalem represent the Triune God open to mankind in all directions. This openness is very practical in these three parables. Like the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the wayward son, we were apart from the Triune God. But He seeks us and causes us to return to Himself. This is our entrance into New Jerusalem!

* Excerpt from The Vision of God’s Building by Witness Lee, chapter 18, © LSM

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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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

The Twelve Gates of New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem “had a great and high wall and had twelve gates….on the east three gates, and on the north three gates, and on the south three gates, and on the west three gates (Rev. 21:12-13).

In the city there are three gates on each of its four sides, covering every direction: north, south, east, and west (Rev. 21:12-13). The number four always represents creation or the creature. Revelation 4 reveals four living creatures, which represent all creation. The number three signifies the three persons of the Godhead. This means that the three persons of the Godhead are the very entrance for all people from all four directions of the earth. Wherever we are, the three persons of the Godhead can reach us.*

Access to New Jerusalem is easy. The city has a high wall enclosing it but in this wall are twelve gates. Today these gates are the gospel, the good news. Whenever someone believes in the Lord Jesus and asks Him to forgive them, they are forgiven and as a result also receive eternal life.

This is not by our effort. The Lord came to declare this good news, and, since He ascended to the heavens, He has sent all His believers to declare it. He is seeking us and we only need to respond to Him.

The eternal life we receive is the Lord Jesus Himself. John 14:6, “I am the life.” This life is the life of New Jerusalem. To be forgiven and to receive eternal life is the beginning of a journey into New Jerusalem.

* Excerpt from The Vision of God’s Building by Witness Lee, chapter 18, © LSM

Twelves in the New Testament (2)

The number twelve appears in the Bible pointing to the eternal perfection, eternal completion, and eternal abundance of the Triune God in New Jerusalem.

In Mark 5 (and Matt. 9 and Luke 8) we read about a woman whose life blood was leaking out for twelve years, for whom there was no human cure, and a girl dying at the age of twelve. These are not two separate accounts; their stories are woven together. The spiritual significance is:

When the woman’s death-sickness was healed by the Savior, the dead girl rose up from death. This signifies that every fallen person is born in the death-sickness of sin and is dead in sin (Eph. 2:1). When his death-sickness of sin is dealt with by the Savior’s redeeming death (1 Pet. 2:24), he rises up out of death into life (John 5:24-25).*

New JerusalemThe Lord Jesus is both our Redeemer and our Life. He died to release us from sin and He rose to become our life. As our life, He is our resurrection (John 11:25) out of every kind of death. This resurrection constitutes us part of New Jerusalem, the city of resurrection.

In Acts 6:2-4 the twelve apostles spoke about being devoted to the Word of God and prayer. Although most of us have jobs and/or families and homes to care for, the Word and prayer are also our path to the reality of New Jerusalem. May the Lord be merciful to keep us developing on this path.

* This is part of footnote 1 on Mark 5:21 in the Recovery Version Bible, © LSM.

God’s Living Temple, Now to New Jerusalem

Recent posts are on growing and being built into New Jerusalem as God’s eternal habitation and expression. Revelation 3:12 says, “He who overcomes, him I will make a pillar in the temple of My God.”

The overcoming believers are built into God’s temple. What is the temple? In John 2 Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Destroy refers to His death and raise it up refers to His resurrection. Jesus Himself is the replacement for the physical temple of the Old Testament!

New JerusalemGod’s intention is to have a living temple. Acts 17:24, “The God who made the world and all things in it, this One, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.” New Jerusalem is the ultimate living temple.

In Old Testament times, prior to the redemption Jesus accomplished by His death, God could not enter man to be man’s life. In those days a temporary, symbolic, physical temple was present.

In the New Testament firstly Jesus Himself was the temple. Through death and resurrection He was enlarged to have all His believers as the many members of His spiritual Body. “We who are many are one Body in Christ” (Rom. 12:5). The one Body of Christ is the enlarged living temple. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16).

New Jerusalem is the final step of the enlargement of this living temple.

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Growing in God’s Life unto New Jerusalem

The forgiveness of our sins by accepting the redemption accomplished by Christ on the cross is the first step in our Christian life. But this is not the goal. God cleanses us so that the way to the tree of life, closed in Genesis 3, can be reopened to us. This life, Christ Himself in us, grows to maturity to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRomans 5:10 declares, “If we, being enemies, were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His life.” Reconciliation was the base for receiving the eternal life. Now this life wants to grow in us.

This growth is a salvation; not our initial, eternal salvation, but a practical, experiential salvation from many things, attitudes, and behaviors which do not match God’s heart. This daily salvation is our growth in the eternal life we received. This growth brings us to New Jerusalem.

The cleansing of the precious blood delivers us from sins so that we do not perish. However, whether we can be transformed to become building material for the New Jerusalem depends on the extent to which the life of God grows in us and transforms us. Everyone in the New Jerusalem is a precious stone, not a piece of clay. Thus, the goal of our salvation is not merely to believe but to grow. The goal is not to go to heaven but to grow in life.*

* This is the last of a series of posts from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

New Jerusalem: the Conclusion of the Bible

In Revelation 21:1-2 John tells us, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth….And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem. This is the central part of the conclusion of the Bible.

In Revelation 21:1-8 we have a brief and clear presentation of biblical eschatology°. Here, in the new heaven and new earth [v. 1], we see the New Jerusalem [v. 2] composed of God’s sons [v. 5-7], the restored nations as the peoples [v. 3-4], and the lake of fire [v. 8]. The lake of fire will, in a negative way, show forth God’s righteousness, for all who are in it will suffer God’s righteous judgment. But the New Jerusalem will, in a positive way, show forth God’s holiness and shine with His glory. This is a clear picture of the eschatology in the New Testament.*

New JerusalemThese verses show us three conclusions. Surely we should choose New Jerusalem. Our choice is made now, not at the time the new heaven and new earth appear.

Our first step toward New Jerusalem is to believe into the Lord Jesus. He died to accomplish redemption. We respond by confessing that we are sinners and that we receive His forgiveness.

He rose from the dead to regenerate all who believe. This is His coming into the believing people to be their new life, their eternal life. This life grows in us to renew us and to develop in us a living that matches New Jerusalem. Choose Jesus Christ today!

The Conclusion of the New Testament, vol. 16, chapter 11, by Witness Lee, © LSM

° a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind,
__a definition from www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary

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The Redeeming and Life-Dispensing God

In Revelation 22:1 an angel showed the apostle John “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

The river of water of life proceeds out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. For the water of life to flow out of the throne means that it flows out of God Himself. In the New Jerusalem, we have God in the Lamb, and out of the redeeming God flows the river of life, the life-giving Spirit. This is the dispensing of the Triune God. Before God could dispense Himself into us, He had to redeem us. Thus, the picture in Revelation 22 reveals that the redeeming God is the life-dispensing God. The Lamb signifies redemption, and the river of life signifies the dispensing of life. For eternity, our God will be the redeeming and life-dispensing God.*

New JerusalemIn the Bible redemption is for life. in Genesis 2 God desired that man would eat of the tree of life. At that time redemption was not needed. But since Genesis 3 there has been redemption to bring us back to life. In John 19:34 “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.”

The water which flowed out of the Lord’s side is a picture of the Triune God dispensing Himself as life to us. In Revelation 22:14 we read, “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.” Redemption is for life and life brings us into New Jerusalem.

The Conclusion of the New Testament, chapter 20, by Witness Lee, © LSM.


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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

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).

 

Death and Resurrection for New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21–22 New Jerusalem is at the center of the new creation. This is the conclusion and goal of the Bible. Everything positive in the Bible points directly to this conclusion, and the negatives are fully removed by Revelation 20.

Firstly, the Bible shows us that the Triune God was signified by the tree of life. Then He came in incarnation to be the one grain in the flesh, who died and resurrected to produce the many grains. Through incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection God became the many grains which are we. As the many grains we are ground into flour to make one bread, and this bread is the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is the new man as the organism of the Triune God, which eventually consummates in the New Jerusalem.*

New JerusalemGenesis 1 speaks of the creation of man. In Genesis 2 man was in the garden of Eden with the tree of life. This portrayed God wanting to impart His life into man.

However, due to Satan’s corruption of man in Genesis 3, man was shut out from the tree of life. Then God came in the man Jesus, both to save, to cleanse, us from corruption and to be available to us as the reality of the tree of life.

In John 12:24 Jesus said “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” He came and died (He fell into the ground) and in resurrection brought forth us as many grains sharing His life. Together we, as many grains, are one bread, one Body in Christ (1 Cor. 10:17). The issue of this one bread, one Body, is New Jerusalem.

* The Constitution and the Building Up of the Body of Christ, chapter 1, by Witness Lee

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

 

Five Steps to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem, the conclusion of the Bible, is God’s eternal goal. Here are five basic steps that bring all of us to God’s goal.

First, God’s selection. Ephesians 1:4 says, “He [God] chose us in Him [Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” This selection was prior to creation, not a reaction to man’s fall.

In Ephesians 5 Christ is making the church, the forerunner of New Jerusalem as His bride, holy and without blemish. God chose us to be holy and without blemish and this verse shows the goal of God’s choosing.

Second, redemption. Although man fell into sin and death, Jesus Christ has redeemed us. Ephesians 1:7 tells su that in Christ Jesus “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.” This redemption is not according to our need; rather it is “according to the riches of His grace” and for God’s will, God’s good pleasure, God’s purpose, presented in Ephesians 1:9-10. This redemption is shown eternally by the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem.

Third, regeneration. New Jerusalem is a city of life and a city in resurrection. Our created, fallen human life is not qualified to participate. But God has imparted His life into us! First Peter 1:3 speaks of God regenerating us and verse 4 shows the goal: “unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you.”

Our fourth and fifth steps basic steps to New Jerusalem are in the next post.

The Eternal Sacrifice of Jesus Christ Brings us to New Jerusalem

Further contrasts in Hebrews 9 between physical characteristics and spiritual characteristics highlight aspects of New Jerusalem.

Verse 9:12 tells us that Christ, through His own blood, obtained “an eternal redemption.” This is shown by the Lamb, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), on the throne in New Jerusalem. And this is in contrast to the temporary things of the Old Testament (9:9-9:10).

New JerusalemVerse 14, comparing OT and NT purifications, says “how much more will the blood of Christ…” Everything with Christ is “much more.”

Verse 15 continues, “He [Christ] is the Mediator of a new covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those who have been called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Through His death we have received the promise of the eternal New Jerusalem as our inheritance.

The following verses of Hebrews 9 speak of Christ’s death, ascension, and second coming, implying also His resurrection. Several verses speak about OT purification. Then verse 23 speaks of a better sacrifice—Christ, who sacrificed Himself once for all! Likewise New Jerusalem is much better than all the OT shadows.

The first part of Hebrews 10 contrasts the OT sacrifices with Christ’s eternal sacrifice. Verse 10: “We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Verse 14: “By one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” This sanctification is ultimately for New Jerusalem, “the holy city.”

Eternal Redemption; Serve the Living God

Hebrews 9:12 declares that Jesus, “through His own blood, entered once for all into the Holy of Holies, obtaining an eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:14 declares further that “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.”

How does that relate to New Jerusalem? Revelation 22:3, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him.”

New JerusalemThe eternal redemption accomplished once for all by Jesus Christ is for us to serve God now and in New Jerusalem. His redemption, and the forgiveness and purifying it affords us, is always available because it was done “through the eternal Spirit.”

Redemption opens the door for us to receive eternal life, and eternal life (John 3:15-16) brings us into the bride of Christ (3:29-30) which ultimately is New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).

The purifying presented in Hebrews 9:14 is necessary for us to receive eternal life and because “the city was pure gold, like clear glass” (Rev. 21:18). New Jerusalem has no spots, no darkness, no obscurity. Every aspect of the city is pure and transparent.

We are experiencing the purifying in Hebrews 9 along with the inward washing of our being presented in Ephesians 5:26 and Titus 3:5. This brings us to the purity of New Jerusalem and to our eternal service to the living God.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

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