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.

 

Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 21

Revelation 21 presents the new creation with New Jerusalem as its outstanding feature. In verse 2 John tells us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Jesus Christ is the real Husband in the universe and New Jerusalem is the wife. This likeness is in Ephesians 5:23, “a husband is head of the wife as also Christ is Head of the church.” Jesus described Himself as the real Bridegroom in parables in Matthew 9:14-17 and 25:1-13. And John the Baptist referred to Him s the Bridegroom in John 3:29.

New JerusalemOn one hand, we are responsible to prepare ourselves for the wedding day. An example is our need to have much oil in our lamps, signifying the Spirit filling our being, as in Matthew 25. On the other hand, Jesus Christ prepares us first by His redemption and now by His life in us. Both are presented in Ephesians 5:25-27.

Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death will be no more, nor will there be sorrow or crying or pain anymore; for the former things have passed away.” The wiping of tears, and the absence of sorrow, crying, and pain correspond to the Lamb’s care in Revelation 7.

Death will be no more because of “our Savior Christ Jesus, who nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10).

In 21:5 He is sitting on the throne and He tells us, “Behold, I make all things new. And He said, Write, for these words are faithful and true.” His making all new is seen in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”

The words He speaks are faithful and true because He Himself is Faithful and True (Rev. 3:14, 19:11). These few verses show that so many characteristics of Jesus Christ today match what He is in New Jerusalem, and are our path from today unto New Jerusalem.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 12 Brings Us to New Jerusalem (2)

New Jerusalem

Revelation 19:10 tells us that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of the prophecy” and Revelation 22:7-19 clearly show that “the prophecy” is the book of Revelation. Everything positive in Revelation, from the golden lampstands in chapter 1 to New Jerusalem in chapters 21–22 is the testimony of Jesus.

Continuing in Revelation 12, verse 11 says that we overcome the devil because of the blood of the Lamb, the blood shed in His redemptive death.

We also overcome because of the word of our testimony, our declaration of all that He has accomplished whether in incarnation, human living, death, resurrection, or ascension, especially His conquering of the devil, sin, and death. Our overcoming is not in nor by ourselves but by Jesus Christ.

Verse 11 also says that the overcoming believers “loved not their soul-life even unto death.” This is the carrying out of the Lord’s word in Matthew 16:24 to deny ourselves and follow Him. However, we cannot deny ourself by ourself ! We need Him! In John 10:11 He told us that He is the good Shepherd who laid down His soul-life for the sheep.

In Revelation 3:21 our Lord tells us, “I overcame.” We need Him as the Overcomer in us. By living one with Him, we apply the blood, testify, and deny ourself. Ultimately our testimony in New Jerusalem will be that the wonderful Jesus Christ overcame in us everything that is in the lake of fire.

There will be a break in this series; it will resume after three other posts about New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.”

No Curse in New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 22:3 declares, “there will no longer be a curse.” This statement is true not only for New Jerusalem but also for the entire new creation.

The curse came in because Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “And to Adam He said, Because you…have eaten of the tree concerning which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil will you eat of it all the days of your life” (Gen. 3:17).

Besides the curse, death came in when Adam ate of the tree of knowledge. “Jehovah God commanded the man…of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of it you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17).

But, “Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law, having become a curse on our behalf; because it is written, ‘Cursed is every one hanging on a tree'” (Gal. 3:13). This redemption enables us to receive the Spirit, as declared by the next verse in Galatians, “In order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Through Christ’s redemption we receive the Spirit of life, who is the divine life, portrayed by the life Adam should have received by eating the tree of life (Gen. 2:9). The operating of this Spirit in us frees us from the working of sin and death in our being (Rom. 8:2).

Eventually all creation will be freed from sin and death. Death will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14), hence “death will be no more” (Rev. 21:4). As a result, in New Jerusalem and in all of he new creation there will be no sin, no death, and no curse.

This post is in my list of what is NOT in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

God’s Purpose: Much Higher than Our Need

New JerusalemIn recent months I have been touched by various phrases like according to God’s will or according to His riches. What God does is not according to man’s need but much higher—according to His purpose. Man’s need is solved by God’s salvation but God’s salvation is for His goal, which much greater than satisfying our need.

Because of this realization I gathered verses which include something like according to His… This is the first of a few posts in which I present these verses in their order in the Bible. These verses are on this New Jerusalem blog because God’s will, God’s riches, and God’s grace all point toward New Jerusalem.

Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” We are not called by God because we need to be saved from sin and death; rather we are called according to His purpose. For His purpose He saves us from sin and death as a preparatory step so that we can grow in Him and be built together in His life to bring forth New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 1:5: “Predestinating us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Before creation, before any sin and death, God foreknew us and predestinated us to be His sons, to have His eternal life. We have this life so that God can bring forth His good pleasure in us. This good pleasure, including New Jerusalem, is according to His will.

Ephesians 1:7: “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.” Even redemption is not according to our need but according to the riches of His grace. God will display the surpassing riches of this grace in the ages to come (Eph. 2:7), including New Jerusalem in eternity.

No Money in New Jerusalem & New Creation

In considering what will not be in New Jerusalem I was attracted to Luke 16:9 where the Lord Jesus tells us that money, the mammon* of unrighteousness, will fail. There will be no money in New Jerusalem.

All forms of human wealth are corruptible and unrighteousness and generate greed, as in the following verses. Hence no money, no human wealth, will be in New Jerusalem.
❖ “Corruptible things…silver or gold…” (1 Peter 1:18)
❖ “The mammon of unrighteousness” (Luke 16:9)
❖ “The deceitfulness of riches” (Matt 13:22)
❖ “The love of money is a root of all evils” (1 Tim. 6:10)
❖ “Put to death…greediness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5)

New JerusalemDo not imagine that the gold, pearls, and precious stones in the description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 are corruptible physical riches. No. These represent precious, divine materials: God’s nature, Christ’s redemption, and the Spirit’s work in us.

The wealth of New Jerusalem is the “surpassing riches of God’s grace” (Eph. 2:7) and the  “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8). These riches are not only in New Jerusalem but also for us today. For example, in Ephesians 3:16 Paul prayed that God would strengthen us into our inner man “according to the riches of His glory.”

The Lord concludes His speaking in Luke 16 about unrighteous mammon saying, “No household servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Let us declare, Lord Jesus, I love You; I give myself to serve You. Lord, save me from mammon.

Here are my other “NO” posts, showing what is NOT in New Jerusalem.
New Jerusalem: No Darkness, No Death
Neither Sin nor Death in New Jerusalem
No Tree of Knowledge in New Jerusalem
No Unrighteousness in New Jerusalem
Neither Sin nor Satan in New Jerusalem
No Curse in New Jerusalem
Neither Tears nor Sorrow nor Crying nor Pain in New Jerusalem
NO Physical Gold in New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem: No Night There
No Night in New Jerusalem
No Beasts in or near New Jerusalem
In the Garden of Eden but not in New Jerusalem

* Mammon is an Aramaic word meaning money. At biblehub.com some versions have mammon of unrighteousness, others worldly wealth or unrighteous wealth or unrighteous money. (Aramaic was the common language in Judea in the first century.)

Living & Reigning Forever in New Jerusalem

Here are more “forever and ever” verses. These point toward New Jerusalem, the “forever and ever” city.

At the last trumpet “there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). His reigning forever is a result of His living forever. Revelation 4:9 and 10 both have worship to “Him who lives forever and ever.”

New JerusalemRevelation 10:6 and 15:7 also speak of “Him who lives forever and ever.” Some of the verses refer to the Lord Jesus Christ and some to God. The singular pronoun “Him” is used because Jesus is the embodiment of God (Col. 2:9); God and Jesus are not separate but one (John 10:30).

He reigns forever because He lives forever, and He lives in resurrection. The Lord told us in Revelation 1:18, “[I am] the living One; and I became dead, and behold, I am living forever and ever; and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”

New Jerusalem is a city of life, a city of resurrection, and a city of God in Christ reigning. Revelation 22:3 to 5 describe blessings in New Jerusalem. Verse 5 concludes, “they will reign forever and ever.” They refers to “His slaves” (v. 3), those who have His name on their foreheads (v. 4).

The name shows that they have been redeemed by the Lamb and belong to God. We who have been redeemed have received eternal life and have been raised together with Christ (Eph. 2:5-6). As this life grows in us, it brings us into the reigning in life promised in Romans 5:17. Eventually the life and reigning reach their consummation in New Jerusalem where we will reign with Christ forever.

Photo by Steve Robertsen, courtesy of US Forest Service.

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever

The conclusion of Romans is “Now to Him…to the only wise God through Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (16:25-27) This anticipates New Jerusalem, a city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

In its conclusion this book [Romans] …gives glory to the wise God. This unveils that all the matters discussed in this book, such as how God selects us, how He saves us from sin and death, how He redeems us and justifies us, how He makes us, sinners who were dead through and through, His divine sons, how He transfers us out of Adam into Christ, how He sanctifies and transforms us in Christ, how He makes us the members of Christ for the constituting of the Body of Christ, and how He causes us to be the local churches appearing in different localities as the expressions of the Body of Christ on the earth in this age — all these matters are planned, managed, and accomplished by God’s wisdom, in order that He, the unlimitedly rich Triune God, may be glorified, that is, that His incomparable glory may be completely and fully expressed through us.*

New JerusalemRomans 3:23 says that sin separated us from the glory of God. Nevertheless, God has worked in Christ to incorporate us with His glory.

This work, described in the excerpt above, includes redemption, regeneration, transfer from Adam to Christ, sanctification, transformation, conformation, and participation in the Body of Christ. These all conclude with glory to God in Romans 16:25-27, pointing to the glory of New Jerusalem.

This work is God “leading many sons into glory” (Heb. 2:10). However, glory is not only a realm into which we enter. Second Corinthians 3:18 says we “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” and 2 Thessalonians 1:10 says our Lord Jesus Christ “comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed.” God’s operation in us today is bringing forth New Jerusalem’s glory.

*From the footnote on Romans 16:27 in NT Recovery Version Online.

Photo courtesy of NASA and JPL-Caltech.

No Unrighteousness in New Jerusalem

There is no sin in New Jerusalem. The Bible shows us that sin, death, and the devil are linked. Sin is not in New Jerusalem because there is no death there and there is no devil there. The Bible also ties sin and unrighteousness together (e.g. Rom. 6:13, Heb. 8:12, 1 John 1:9). First John 5:17 states, “all unrighteousness is sin.”

New JerusalemSecond Peter 3:13 says, “according to His [God’s] promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” This means there will be no unrighteousness in the new creation, so no unrighteousness in New Jerusalem, the center of the new creation. This is another clear word that sin will not be in New Jerusalem.

In New Jerusalem there is no sin, no death, no devil, and no unrighteousness. In contrast, Jesus Christ is our redeemer, our life, our God, and our righteousness.
• “In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” Col. 1:14
• “Christ our life” Col. 3:4
• “The Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever” Rom. 9:5
• “The righteousness of God through the faith of Jesus Christ to all who believe” Rom. 3:22

In New Jerusalem the redeeming Lamb is on the throne (Rev. 22:1, 3), the river of life and tree of life supply us eternally (Rev. 22:1-2),  the Lord God will shine upon us (Rev. 22:5), and Jesus Christ the Righteous (1 John 2:1) fills the city with righteousness. Praise Him for the redemption, life, and righteousness in New Jerusalem.

Great is the Mystery: God in Christ in Us

New JerusalemThe mystery proclaimed by the apostles includes New Jerusalem. Colossians 2:2 tells us that the mystery of God is Christ. The mystery of God is God embodied in Christ to become a God-man who lived among men, died to redeem all men, and rose to impart eternal life into His believers.

However, the mystery of God is not only Christ Himself, but also Christ in us, as in Colossians 1:27, “the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” This Christ is our hope of glory, the glory that will be fully manifested in New Jerusalem.

God made this mystery known to Paul (Eph. 3:3) because God’s good pleasure is that we all see and enter into this mystery (Eph. 1:9). Therefore, Paul’s ministry was “to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God” (Eph. 3:9).

First Timothy 3:15 says, “great is the mystery of godliness.” This is God incarnated in Christ. It is also Christ entering into us to be our life, to be manifested through us now and much more in eternity.

Ephesians 3:4 and Colossians 4:3 speak of the mystery of Christ. And Ephesians 5, presenting husband and wife as a portrait of Christ and the church, says, “This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church” (v. 32).

The mystery of God is Christ, God manifested in flesh. It is also Christ in us, people who were merely flesh until we believed into Him and received His eternal life. This life produces the mystery of Christ, all His believers as members of His one Body. So, God in Christ in the believers to form His mystical Body is the great mystery. Eventually His Body consummates in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

A House and a City Built Together in Christ

New Jerusalem

Revelation is a book of signs (1:1). New Jerusalem is the consummate sign in Revelation and in the Bible. It is God and all His redeemed people living in mutuality.

Here is an excerpt* about New Jerusalem from the ministry of Witness Lee.

The New Jerusalem is not an actual city just as the lampstands are not actual lampstands but signs of the churches [Rev. 1:20]. The New Jerusalem is a great sign of the totality of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people. The church today is a house, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). The house of God today is not an actual house but the totality of God’s people. The church today as God’s temple, God’s house, God’s building, is not an actual physical building but is a sign signifying that the church’s function is to be a house in which the Triune God can dwell.

Today the church is a house, and in eternity the church will be enlarged. When the church is enlarged, it becomes a city. The church as a house is not an actual physical house in the same way that the church enlarged to be the holy city will not be an actual physical city. The New Jerusalem is a city signifying the church’s function in eternity to be God’s dwelling place.

The church today, all the believers in Christ Jesus built together in Him, is a precursor of New Jerusalem. Many verses in the New Testament present this view, and no verse treats the church as a physical building.

Ephesians 2:19-20 declares that we are “members of the household of God, being built…” We, not a physical structure, get built together. Verse 21 continues, “In whom [Christ Jesus] all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” We are being built together in Him, not in a physical location. Also, this building is growing because its essence is the divine life.

First Peter 2:4-5 tells us that “coming to Him, a living Stone…you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” Very clear. This is the living house of the living God in 1 Timothy 3:15.

Other verses in the New Testament say the same: we are the materials being built together, the building process is growth in the divine life, and the building work is going on in Christ. These same characteristics are true of New Jerusalem, which is the consummation of all the building and growth in the Bible.

* Witness Lee, The Divine Economy, Chapter 15, published and © by Living Stream Ministry. Read more of this excerpt online. Many other books by Witness Lee may be read online here.

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