Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemThe death of Christ terminated, redeemed, released, and created to bring all of God’s people onto the path to New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:21 says about New Jerusalem, “The twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl.” These pearls portray the wonderful achievements of Christ on the cross as our entrance into the city.*

The effectiveness of Christ’s death is eternal. Hebrews 9:14 says, “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?” The eternal Spirit makes His death eternally effective and applicable to us at every time. And His death purifies us to serve the living God, which service will continue in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3).

The Lord promised us “when He, the Spirit of reality, comes, He will guide you into all the reality” (John 16:13). In resurrection this Spirit came and is guiding us into the reality of all that Christ accomplished on the cross in order to bring us unto New Jerusalem.

Through the Spirit all that Christ accomplished is available to us. Through the eternal Spirit His redemption with the forgiveness of sins is applied to our conscience, so that our conscience can be free of condemnation. Through the Spirit the released divine life comes into us to regenerate us. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). And the Spirit of reality makes the new man real to us. The Spirit is the reality of our path to New Jerusalem.

* Links to many posts on this are in Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (2)

The death of Christ on the cross had a terminating aspect which consummates in the lake of fire. It also has redeeming, releasing, and creating aspects which consummate in New Jerusalem. All of these steps are for our path to New Jerusalem.

The first aspect ended our flesh, our old man, and our sinful nature. It also terminated the world and the ruler of the world. The second aspect bought us for God and includes the forgiveness of our sins. The third aspect released the divine life which has now been imparted into us to regenerate, renew, transform, and glorify us. The fourth aspect brought us into God’s corporate new man in the new creation. All of this is necessary for New Jerusalem. Praise the Lord for His accomplishments.

New JerusalemThe epistles state definitely that we were crucified with Christ. Romans 6:6: “Our old man has been crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be annulled, that we should no longer serve sin as slaves.” Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ.”

The epistles also state definitely that we were raised with Christ. Ephesians 2:5-6: God “Made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up together with Him.” Colossians 3:1: “You were raised together with Christ.”

Our participation in the death and resurrection of Christ have nothing to do with our birth date nor with what kind of person we are naturally. It was accomplished by God who is outside of the limits of time. And He accomplished it for His eternal purpose, to bring us to His goal, New Jerusalem.

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Through the Cross to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of all God’s work, a corporate composition of all His people to glorify Him and to reign with Him. This fulfills God’s intention in Genesis 1:26 in creating man in His image and giving man dominion.

However, the devil tempted man, man fell into sin and death. God called Israel as an outward picture of what He wants to do, but the reality was hidden until God came in the man Jesus. In Him God was incarnated to live a God-man life, to die on the cross, and to be resurrected.

New JerusalemThe death of Christ on the cross has four aspects:
Terminating all negative things, such as the flesh, the old man, the world, the ruler of the world (Rom. 6:6; John 12:31; Heb. 2:14; and many other verses)
Redeeming and reconciling us to God, with forgiveness of sins (Rom. 3:24, 5:10; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7; and other verses)
Releasing the divine life (Luke 12:49-50)
Creating the new man (Eph. 2:15)

Briefly, the four outcomes are:
• All that was terminated will eventually be in the lake of fire. This includes the fallen part of our being. The terminated things have no place in God’s purpose and will not be in New Jerusalem. (Rev. 20)
• All God’s people were redeemed; this qualifies us to receive the divine life (Gal. 4:5)
• In resurrection the released divine life was imparted into us for regeneration (1 Peter 1:3)
• The new man, the corporate composition of God in Christ with all His chosen, redeemed, and regenerated people is the forerunner of New Jerusalem. (Col. 3:10-11)

The Lord’s death on the cross and His resurrection are crucial accomplishments not only for our present Christian life but also for us to get to New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem: Our Master Bought Us

Revelation 22:3 tells us that as slaves we will serve God in New Jerusalem. Many verses present God and the Lord Jesus as our Master, who acquired us as slaves by buying us.

New JerusalemSecond Peter 2:1 says that our Master bought us. This is His redemption. A definition of redemption in the Oxford Living Dictionary is, The action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment. God created us for Himself but we were taken away by Satan. Through the death of Christ we were redeemed, regained by God in exchange for payment.

We are told “You have been bought with a price.” (1 Cor 6:20). This price, God’s payment for us, is not corruptible things like silver and gold, “But with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

In Revelation 5:9 a heavenly song praises the worthy Lamb, “You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” The next verse praises the Lamb for the outcome of redemption, He made us “a kingdom and priests to our God.” This ultimately indicates New Jerusalem, God’s eternal kingdom with us in His eternal priesthood.

Acts 20:28 also shows us God’s purchase and His goal. “The church of God, which He obtained through His own blood.” God, through the blood shed by His Son, purchased us out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Based upon this redemption we received eternal life which constitutes us the church of the living God, the house of God (1 Tim. 3:15). This church grows into God’s ultimate dwelling, New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

Our Path to New Jerusalem

Revelation 19:7 and 21:2 tell us that the holy city, New Jerusalem, is the bride of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. The New Jerusalem, the bride, is the composition of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified people. Here is a brief look at these five steps on our path to New Jerusalem.

CHOSEN: First Peter 1:2 tells us that we are “Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” Ephesians 1:3-4 says that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. The choice was entirely God’s, based on His foreknowledge. It is not our choice nor based on anything we are or have done. Because of God’s choice, we are in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemREDEEMED: Romans 5:12 declares, “through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin, death; and thus death passed on to all men because all have sinned.” Because of sin and death, we need redemption to bring us back to God. Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem us. Galatians 3 says that Christ redeemed us out of the curse so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit and Galatians 4 says that God sent His Son to redeem us that we might receive the sonship.

REGENERATED: First Peter 1:3 blesses “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.” This fulfills the goal of redemption stated in Galatians. In God’s eyes regeneration was accomplished “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” and we experience it at the time of our believing into Him.

Choosing, redemption and regeneration are three steps on our path to New Jerusalem. The other two will be in the next post.

Living Water Flows to, in New Jerusalem (2)

John saw in New Jerusalem is “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1). This river is the Spirit, because John 7:38-39 tells us that the Spirit will be rivers of living water flowing out of us.

New JerusalemJohn 7:39 says “the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” The Spirit of God was moving in Genesis 1:2 but the Spirit that can enter into us and flow out of us was not yet at the time of John 7. The need was for Jesus to be glorified.

Comparing Luke 24:26 and 46, we see that for Him to be glorified was for Him to be resurrected. Then in resurrection “He breathed into them [the disciples] and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).

To be resurrected, Jesus first had to go through death. At the end of His crucifixion, “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.” The blood is a symbol of our redemption and the water signifies the flowing Spirit as our eternal life.

The reality of blood and water remain with us through our entire Christian life and into New Jerusalem. In 1 John 1, if we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to cleanse us and to forgive us. In this same chapter the life brings us into fellowship with God and with one another.

In New Jerusalem is the throne of God and of the blood-shedding, redeeming Lamb, a memorial of our redemption. In New Jerusalem there is also the flow of the Spirit, the river of water of life as our eternal supply.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

No Sweat, No Thorns, in New Jerusalem (2)

Thorns and sweat are part of the curse that came from the fall of man in Genesis 3. But, in New Jerusalem “there will no longer be a curse” (Rev. 22:3), so there will be no sweat and no thorns.

Ezekiel 44 speaks about the service of the priest in the coming age. Those who enter the inner court and the holy places must “not gird themselves with anything that causes sweat.” That is, they must not exercise their own effort as natural, fallen men. This is a precursor of New Jerusalem, the eternal holy of holies where we will serve God as priests* without sweat (Rev. 22:3).

New JerusalemThe parable at the beginning of Matthew 13 is about sowing the word of God into hearts of men. Verse 22 tells us that thorns represent “the anxiety of the age and the deceitfulness of riches” which ” utterly choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”

In the Bible thorns are negative. Matthew 27:29 tells us that the Roman soldiers “wove a crown of thorns” and placed it on the head of Jesus. They did this to mock Him, but it had greater significance in the eyes of God. It is one of the signs that He bore the curse for us.  Galatians 3:13 says, “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.”’

Because of the redemption of Christ, there is no curse in the new creation and in New Jerusalem. Hence, there will be no sweat and no thorns in the new creation and in New Jerusalem.

*We Serve God as Priests
God’s Slaves Serve in New Jerusalem (1) (2)

New Jerusalem: Eternal Holy of Holies (3)

#NewJerusalemIn the New Testament we no longer have a physical temple. Rather, the living temple is both Jesus (John 2) and His believers (2 Cor. 6:16). But, the Bible’s description of the old, physical temple depicts many spiritual realities today and in New Jerusalem.

The prior two posts are about the ark and its contents, described in Hebrews 9:4. Then 9:5 says, “And above it [the ark] cherubim of glory overshadowing the propitiation place.” The lid of the ark, with the propitiatory blood on it, frees us from the condemnation of falling short of the requirements of the law in the ark.

Today we certainly need forgiveness and cleansing of our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ. Before our initial repentance we were dead spiritually and were sinners condemned by God’s righteous requirement. We repented and believed, thus “though dead in your offenses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our offenses” (Col. 2:13).

That action took care of all offenses before our regeneration. Afterwards, 1 John 1:9 applies, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Thank Him!

In New Jerusalem there is no sin nature and we will never do sinful deeds. Nevertheless, in New Jerusalem God and the redeeming Lamb are on the throne (Rev. 22:3) and they are the temple (Rev. 21:22). This is a memorial of what is portrayed by the blood on the lid of the ark in the old holy of holies.

Hebrews 9:14 declares that “the blood of Christ…[will] purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” In New Jerusalem the Lamb is present as an eternal memorial, and in New Jerusalem we will “serve the living God” (Rev. 22:3).

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The Shadow of the Living Temple (2)

Jesus alone (John 2), then all His believers (2 Cor. 6:16), consummating in New Jerusalem, is the living temple. The Bible also has a material, physical temple, a shadow, a portrait of this reality. This shadow shows us the good, heavenly things to come in Christ. But what need was there for that shadow?

Because of the fall of man, in Genesis 3 man was shut out from the reality. As a result, before Christ came, there was a need of shadows. Then, through incarnation, the reality came to man. John 1:17 speaks of this contrast: “the law was given through Moses; grace and reality came [literally become, came into existence] through Jesus Christ.”

#NewJerusalemThe reality came, and through His redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection we can participate in this reality. We have no more need for shadows!

The shadows came because of the fall, but we can receive some spiritual vision from them. This is somewhat like the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words. The physical tabernacle and temple, the shadows, show us something about the living temple including New Jerusalem.

One thing we see is that the Old Testament temple was constructed with gold, wood, and stone. This is a picture of God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, built with the divine nature, the humanity of Jesus, and the transformed members of His Body.

The dimensions of the tabernacle and temple show us that the Holy of Holies, their innermost chamber, is a cube. These cubes demonstrate that New Jerusalem, a cube (Rev. 21:16), is the eternal holy of holies. Furthermore, the fact that the whole of New Jerusalem is the holy of holies tells us that we all have been fully brought into God’s presence. Wonderful!

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New Jerusalem: Dwell and Serve in God

New JerusalemThe New Testament has a living temple— God Himself and all His people. Eventually this temple will be New Jerusalem. In the Old Testament times, before our redemption and regeneration, this living temple was portrayed by a physical temple.

Revelation 7:14-15 says, “These are those who come out of the great tribulation, and 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; and He who sits upon the throne will tabernacle over them.”

Revelation 7 is a view of life in the coming age and eternity. In this picture God’s redeemed people “serve Him day and night in His temple.” yet Revelation 21:22 tells us that John “saw no temple in it [New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”

We who will serve in the temple will serve in God, the living temple. And we will dwell in Him. And be “before the throne” in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3), supplied to serve by the flow from this throne (22:1-2).

This is New Jerusalem: we dwell in God, God dwells in us, God supplies us, and we serve God in God! Very much like the Lord’s word in John 14:20-23—we are in Him, He is in us, we love Him, the Father loves us, and He and the Father make a dwelling with us. When we love Him we are surely willing to serve, and we serve Him while dwelling in Him, in the living temple.

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We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (5)

#NewJerusalemWe received the Christian life, the divine life, the life of New Jerusalem, at our regeneration. Now we pursue growth in this life that we may reach God’s goal for us. On one hand, God will bring us to this goal. On the other hand, there is need of our pursuing and our laboring in prayer (prior 3 posts).

Hebrews 13:20-21 is on the side that God will do what is needed. “Now the God of peace, He who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, in the blood of an eternal covenant, perfect you in every good work for the doing of His will, doing in us that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ; to Him be the glory forever and ever.”

His doing in us is based on the Lord’s blood shed in His redeeming death. The goal of His doing is eternal glory to Him through New Jerusalem.

Hebrews 12:1-2 is on the side that we need to cooperate. “Let us…put away every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and run with endurance the race which is set before us, looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith…” We follow the example of the Old Testament people of faith, described in Hebrews 11, to put away all hindrances and run the race before us.

Are we able to do this? Not in ourselves! But we “look away unto Jesus!” He attracts us and empowers us to overcome all the distractions and run toward Him with New Jerusalem as the ultimate goal. While we are looking to Him, He perfects our faith, just as He has already authored (initiated) it. Praise Him! Lord, keep me looking away to You!

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New Jerusalem Comes from Divine Riches and is Without Human Poverty

The Lord Jesus, at the beginning of His ministry, read from Isaiah about Himself, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to announce the gospel to the poor…” (Luke 4:18). The poverty in this verse can certainly be understood physically but should also be viewed spiritually.

The Lord Jesus came to announce Himself to people who are poor spiritually, whether rich or poor humanly. What does this have to do with New Jerusalem? Simple. God’s riches bring us out of spiritual poverty all the way to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn Ephesians 3:8 the unsearchable riches of Christ are the gospel announced by Paul. The goal of the gospel is not to save people from poverty but to impart these unsearchable riches into people. As a byproduct people are saved from spiritual poverty.

In Romans 2:4 “the riches of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering” lead us to repentance. This is the beginning of our journey—to repent, turn to God, and receive Jesus Christ. Here three aspects of God’s riches lead us to repent and to enter the path to New Jerusalem. This repentance is one aspect of the rich gospel.

Ephesians 1:7 tells us that in Christ Jesus “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.” We certainly need forgiveness, but the measure of God’s action is not our need but His riches. This forgiveness is another aspect of the rich gospel.

Romans 9:23 tells us God will “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy.” We need mercy to bring us out of our poor condition, but God does not emphasize that poor condition. His mercy is shown, not because we are pitiful, but to gain us as vessels to display the riches of His glory. Eventually New Jerusalem will be a great corporate vessel displaying His riches.

 

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