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.

God’s Multifarious Wisdom Made Known

Ephesians 3 tells us that God wants to enlighten us concerning His eternal purpose. God “created all things, in order that now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

New JerusalemGod’s purpose is to display His magnificent wisdom now through the church and much more to display it through New Jerusalem for eternity.

New Jerusalem shines with the glory of God. This is not merely a brightness but a display of all that God is and has accomplished.

God has forgiven our sins but that is not His goal. Forgiveness cleanses us to receive His eternal life. But that is not the goal. Eternal life is in us to grow and build us together as the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15), the church, through which God is manifested in humanity.

Today the world is full of corruption, wars, murders, deceit, homelessness, and many more problems. All these negative things are the dark background for the manifestation of God’s infinite wisdom. If the entire human situation were simple, smooth, and clean, such wisdom would not be needed.

God has allowed Satan some freedom to work in humanity but eventually all Satan will be able to do is to provide the opportunity for God to manifest His wisdom. God wants this today in the church and will fully realize it in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

We Serve as Priests, Now + New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe description of life in New Jerusalem includes, “And the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him” as priests (Rev. 22:3). Several NT verses speak of our serving as priests also in the present age.

We might feel unqualified to serve, but God in Christ has done everything needed to qualify us. He “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:6). He did this by dying to redeem us and resurrecting to enliven us.

Hebrews 9:14 proclaims, “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?” This is the redeeming aspect. We apply this in our Christian life by confessing our sins (1 John 1:9).

In Hebrews 12 Jesus is “the Author (Originator) and Perfecter (Completer) of our faith.” This is the life aspect. We serve God as redeemed people by His divine life and supplied by His grace. We need to repent of our unqualified feeling. Then we put away every encumbrance and look away [from ourselves] to Jesus (12:1-2)!

As we look away from self to Jesus, we are kept in the grace of God (12:15). We have already “come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (12:22). Outwardly things may be in disarray but “receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us have grace, through which we may serve God well-pleasingly with piety and fear” (12:28). This is our foretaste of serving God as priests in New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (5)

Genesis 1–2 presents many pictures which are fulfilled in New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22. A song couples these two ends of the Bible. Here is the fifth verse of the song and the Bible verses underlying it.

New JerusalemMan in the garden of the clay was formed,
In nature as the Lord created him;
The tree of life was then without the man,
Not having yet become his life within.

Genesis 2:7 says, “God formed man with the dust of the ground.” Then 2:9 says, “out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, as well as the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

The tree of life symbolizes Christ, who is “the life,” to be our life, the life that brings us into God’s building and builds us together as New Jerusalem.

God told Adam that he could eat from every tree except that he should not eat the tree of knowledge. This is God’s first commandment to man. However, man violated that command, ate from that tree, and was shut out from the garden with no access to the tree of life.

But God’s purpose cannot be stopped by this failure. God came in Christ, redeemed us, and regenerated us with Himself as life, the reality of the tree of life, the life of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Gospel: Be Cleansed, Receive Eternal Life, Enter New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 22:14 proclaims, “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.” This is the gospel to everyone now.

Our robes signify our conduct. In the eyes of God all our living apart from Him, even our good deeds, is like “a soiled garment” in Isaiah 64:6. We need to wash our robes/garments, our conduct. This washing is by the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14) which cleanses us from everything we have done apart from God (Acts 15:9).

This cleansing/washing gives us the right to the tree of life—Jesus Christ becoming our life for our new birth and being our life supply for our daily living with Him.

The cleansing/washing also gives us the right to enter by the gates into the city, New Jerusalem. An unbeliever’s basic need is to confess that he is a sinner apart from God, to turn to God, and to thank Jesus for dying to cleanse him and resurrecting to impart eternal life into him. This is the proper response to the proclamation of Revelation 22:14.

In contrast to 22:14, verse 15 declares “Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and makes a lie.” Those who reject cleansing through the death of Jesus and refuse to repent (e.g. Rev. 16:9) will be outside, that is, in the lake of fire.

May all who are around us hear and respond to Revelation 22:14 to be cleansed, have life, and enter New Jerusalem!

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Christ Redeemed Us for New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:1 presents the river of life and 22:2 the tree of life in New Jerusalem. Verse 22:3 continues, “And there will no longer be a curse.”

New JerusalemThrough death and resurrection Jesus Christ overcame everything negative in the universe, and by the end of Revelation 20, all His victories had been fully applied and every negative thing is in the lake of fire. So, there is no curse in New Jerusalem.

The curse originated in Genesis 3 after the serpent, the devil, had deceived Eve and Adam. The curse was applied to the serpent but also experienced by humanity, who had received the nature of sin and death from the serpent (Rom. 5:12).

Later the law was added. On the positive side, the law testifies God’s attributes; on the negative side the law exposes the sin nature operating in man. Galatians 3:10 tells us that “as many as are of the works of law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all the things written in the book of the law to do them.'”

As fallen men we were under the curse 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).

He died on the cross (“hanging on a tree”) “that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:14). Now, through faith we are sons of God, have put on Christ, are one in Christ, and are heirs according to God’s promise (3:26-29), ultimately to inherit all that Christ is in New Jerusalem.

No Curse in New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem has a Wall with Twelve Gates

Revelation 21:12 tells us that New Jerusalem “had a great and high wall and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names inscribed, which are the names New Jerusalemof the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.”

New Jerusalem has a great wall to clearly separate it from what is not part of it. But it also has gates so that we may enter the city! “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” (22:14).

To wash our robes is to receive the forgiveness brought forth by the death of Jesus on the cross with the shedding of His blood. “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). Jesus accomplished the redemption; we wash our robes (our conduct) by receiving what He did; the result is the forgiveness of our offenses.

Based on this forgiveness, we partake of Christ, portrayed by the tree of life, as our life and enter through the gates into New Jerusalem. The city has twelve gates, with twelve angels and twelve names inscribed. Twelve in the Bible signifies eternal perfectness. The gates through which we enter New Jerusalem are not temporary but are eternal.

The Lord’s shedding of His blood was in His death and our partaking of Him as life is in His resurrection. His death and resurrection are our entrance into New Jerusalem.

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