The Temple-Palace of New Jerusalem

John, in considering New Jerusalem, told us, “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb [Jesus Christ] are its temple” (Rev. 21:22).

The Lord God and the Lamb reign over the new creation and the throne in New Jerusalem. God in Christ is the King of kings and His people with Him “will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:5).

Because the Dweller and His children will be kings, this temple becomes a palace. Solomon built a temple for God and also a palace for himself separately. These two were divided, separated. But now in the New Jerusalem our temple and our palace are one. God’s temple is our palace. All the folks of the same divine family live in that temple, where they worship God and live as kings, making that living place a palace. The Father is the Father-King, and the children are the children-kings. This is the reigning, ruling family, the royal family. Their dwelling place is the place not only for them to serve God but also for them to live as kings; it is a palace.*

New JerusalemAll God’s children are also priests serving God in the temple (serve in Rev. 22:3 means to serve as a priest). As priests and kings, they are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). This will be wonderful in New Jerusalem but don’t wait for that time.

Peter says we are, today, a royal priesthood. We have been born again (v. 1:23), and are growing in this life (2:2-3), always coming to the Lord as the Living Stone (2:4, 6), and being built together as a spiritual house (2:5).

Today, as the royal priesthood, we are growing into the fullness of New Jerusalem.

* The Application of the Interpretation of the New Jerusalem to the Seeking Believers, chapter 4, by Witness Lee, © LSM.

The Gates of New Jerusalem Face Every Direction

Revelation 21:12-13, describing New Jerusalem, says, “It had a great and high wall and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names inscribed, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel: On the east three gates, and on the north three gates, and on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.”

Each of the four sides of the city has three gates. The gates on any one side are exactly the same as the gates on the other three sides. This indicates that the Triune God is available to people in all four corners of the earth. Whether you come from the east, north, south or west, there is an entrance into the holy city. What an entrance this city has!*

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem has three gates facing every direction. This matches Revelation 5:9-10, where a praise to the Lord declares, “You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made them a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.”

The gates are for people out of “every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” The result of coming in through the gates is that we become “a kingdom and priests to our God.” This result applies to New Jerusalem for Revelation 22:3 says that in the city we will serve God as priests and 22:5 says that we will reign.

* The Triune God—The Triune God and the Person and Work of Christ, chapter 11, by Witness Lee


Continuing from last month, the posts in this month will include quotes from Excerpts from Books by Watchman Nee and Witness Lee by Living Stream Ministry. Each post will identify the source for the quotation in that post.

Christ & His Attributes Become Our Crown

In Revelation 20:4 the faithful believers reign with Christ for 1000 years. In Revelation 22:5 all the believers will be in New Jerusalem and “they will reign forever and ever.”

New JerusalemFor these two stages of reigning, Christ will be our crown in various ways. In Philippians 4:1 and 1 Thessalonians 2:19 the believers Paul brought to Christ are his crown.

In 2 Timothy 4:8 “the crown of righteousness” will be to “all those who have loved His appearing.” In James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10 the believers who remain faithful to the Lord through trials will receive “the crown of life.” And in 1 Peter 5:4 is the promise of “the unfading crown of glory.”

When we first turned our hearts and  believed into the Lord Jesus Christ, we were born again and He became our life. Then throughout this age this life grows within us, and supplies us with all that Christ is to become our virtues. Through trials these virtues develop and become our crown; the Christ who has been life continually within us also becomes our expression, our radiance.

As we remain faithful to the Lord and love His appearing, something of His wonderful, unlimited person becomes our crown. This is not a physical crown; it is Christ shining Himself out through all of us. The unique Christ shining through all the believers becomes the radiant glory of New Jerusalem.

We Reign in Life Now and in New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem Revelation 22:5 concludes, “they will reign forever and ever.” They refers to His slaves in verse 3. God’s slaves, all His redeemed people, each one purchased by the blood of Jesus, will serve Him as priests and reign as kings.

The reigning in 22:5 has its source in the Lord’s death. Revelation 5:9-10 is a praise to the Lamb, “You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made them a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.”

In resurrection the Lord imparted His life, the life of New Jerusalem, into us. Romans 5 speaks of death in Adam and life in Christ. Verse 17: “For if by the offense of the one death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

To receive this abundance requires our cooperation, our opening to the Lord daily by praying, singing, giving thanks, diving into His word, calling on His name (He is rich to all who call – Rom. 10:12), praising Him, speaking the gospel to people, and fellowship with other believers.

Receiving the abundance and reigning in life now is an inward matter. It leads to an open reigning in the millennium, still with abundance of grace and righteousness: “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection…they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6). This reign leads to New Jerusalem’s eternal reign.

 

God our Master Rewards His Slaves

New JerusalemGod and the Lord Jesus Christ are our Master and we are His slaves. Revelation 22:3 says “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him.” In this age we should be faithful in serving as slaves. If so, in the coming age our Master will reward us, and this reward will be a foretaste of blessings in New Jerusalem.

In Matthew 24 is a slave assigned to give food to members of the Master’s household. “Blessed is that slave whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Truly I say to you that he will set him over all his possessions” (v. 46-47).

In Matthew 25 is another slave who invested the gift His Master gave him. The master went away and returned after a long time, a picture of the Lord’s second coming. “His master said to him, Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful over a few things; I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your master.” Our Lord’s, our Master’s, great joy will be in the kingdom age and His fullest joy in New Jerusalem.

In both parables the reward includes being set over many things. This corresponds with the reward of the kingdom age in Revelation 20:6 and the eternal reward in New Jerusalem in 22:5.
• “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”
• “Night will be no more; and they have no need of the light of a lamp and of the light of the sun, for the Lord God will shine upon them; and they will reign forever and ever.”

In New Jerusalem the Lord God shining upon us is also part of our reward.

 

God and New Jerusalem, Forever and Ever

God is eternal. His new creation, with new heavens and a new earth, is eternal. New Jerusalem, the center of the new creation is eternal. Here is a list of the recent “forever and ever” posts which speak about the eternal God in the eternal New Jerusalem.

Glory to God in New JerusalemTo God Be the Glory Forever and Ever: in Paul’s epistles and Revelation 1. The glory is to our God, and New Jerusalem “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever: in first Peter. We function as good stewards of the grace of God that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the might forever and ever (4:10-11).

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever: in Jude and Revelation 5 and 7. The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanks and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever (5:13).

New Jerusalem: Reign Forever and Ever: the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever (Rev. 11:15). God’s slaves also reign forever and ever because they are one with the reigning God (Rev. 22:3, 5). New Jerusalem is the center of this eternal reign.

Jesus Christ, Living Forever and Ever: He is the One who became dead and is living forever. He is our life and life supply in resurrection for us today and in New Jerusalem.

Here is a hymn praising God who flows as living water forever and ever.

Second Corinthians 4:18 reminds us “…the things which are seen [physically/humanly] are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” The glory, reigning, and living of God and His city, New Jerusalem, are eternal, forever and ever.

New Jerusalem: Reign Forever and Ever

Many New Testament books proclaim glory to God forever and ever. looking toward New Jerusalem the forever-and-ever city Hebrews 1:8, quoting Psalm 45, says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.”

This is spoken to the Son, who is God in His divinity. His throne, the throne of New Jerusalem, is eternal, forever and ever. His reign is eternal and full of uprightness. This matches 2 Peter 3:13 which tells us that in the new heaven and new earth righteousness dwells.

New JerusalemHis eternal reign is also in Revelation 11:15, “the seventh angel trumpeted; and 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.” This forever-and-ever reign points to New Jerusalem.

“Our Lord and His Christ” indicates two, but is followed by “He will reign” indicating one. The Triune  God is three yet one. This matches the wording in Revelation 22:1 (and 22:3)—in New Jerusalem is “the throne of God and of the Lamb”—one throne for two, with the third, the Spirit, flowing forth as the river of water of life.

The last part of Revelation 22:5 says more about this eternal reign. “And they will reign forever and ever.” “They” are God’s slaves mentioned in verse 3. We reign forever and ever by being one with the Triune God who reigns forever and ever. We are slaves, yet we reign. Today we can reign in the life which is the Lord Himself within us (Rom. 5:17); in New Jerusalem we will reign, still in this life, in a fuller way.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Praises in the Book of Revelation (2)

There are many praises in Revelation for what God and the Lamb are and for what God and the Lamb do. We who are believers join the heavenly praising now. In eternity the entire new creation will praise God and the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRevelation 11:15: “And the seventh angel trumpeted; and 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.” This brings out the praise in verse 17, “We thank You, Lord God the Almighty, He who is and who was, because You have taken Your great power and have reigned.”

We are in the spiritual reality of God’s kingdom now (Rom. 14:17) and John testified that he was in this kingdom while in exile on Patmos (Rev. 1:9). But, the world still has its kingdoms, nations, etc. When these are terminated at the seventh trumpet, that surely will bring forth more praises and thanks from the heavens and from God’s people on earth.

Revelation 12:10 has more: “I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ, for the accuser of our brothers has been cast down, who accuses them before our God day and night.” The transition in Revelation 11 concerns the kingdom of the world and in this chapter concerns the casting down of the devil, satan.

The result of this casting down is “Therefore be glad, O heavens and those who dwell in them” (v. 12). There is more gladness in Revelation 18:20 as a result of further judgements by God. We, God’s people, should be glad now, will be glad then, and this gladness will continue to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   19-20 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

Revelation 19 concludes with the victory of the Lamb and the army with Him (v. 19-21). The beast and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire and their followers are killed by the sharp sword out of the mouth of Him who is the Word of God. The same Word both nourishes us and slays God’s enemies. How marvelous.

New JerusalemRevelation 20 begins with the devil, Satan, being cast into and locked in the abyss (v. 1-3). Thus the whole earth is cleaned up by Jesus Christ, the One on the white horse, He who is Faithful and True, the Word of God, the King of Kings. Praise Him!

With this cleansing the millennial kingdom comes to the whole earth and New Jerusalem follows.

Revelation 20:6 declares, “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”

The characteristics of the millennium in this verse have many parallels with New Jerusalem. “Blessed and holy”—The Triune God is Our Blessing in Revelation 22:3-5, and we will all be holy to match the holy nature of that city.

The partakers of the blessing are in resurrection here, and New Jerusalem is A City in Resurrection. Death has no power here and there will be Neither Sin nor Death in New Jerusalem. Here the partakers are priests and reign with God and Christ. In New Jerusalem we will continue as Priests and Kings in God’s Plan.

All of these blessings come from God through Jesus Christ. Praise Him!

The blessings in Revelation 20 are for a thousand years and the richer blessings in New Jerusalem are for eternity.

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, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

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.”

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.

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 135-147

Christ brings us to God’s house, which is enlarged to be His city Jerusalem on the mount of Zion, a blessing to the whole earth. This is one of the last looks at verses in Psalms which present something to be fulfilled in New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem and the new heaven and new earth are eternal. Eternity is mentioned in many Psalms including these:
Psalm 135:13 ” O Jehovah, Your name is forever; O Jehovah, Your memorial is from generation to generation.”
New JerusalemPsalm 136 “His lovingkindness is forever” (in each of the 26 verses)
Psalm 145:13 “Your kingdom is an eternal kingdom, and Your dominion is throughout all generations.”
Psalm 145:21b, “all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.”
Psalm 146:10 Jehovah will reign forever, your God, O Zion, forever and ever. Hallelujah!

In New Jerusalem we will be in God’s kingdom and we will be partaking of His lovingkindness forever. Hence, we will bless God forever.

Psalm 142:5, “I cried to You, O Jehovah; I said, You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” God Himself, not a physical location, is our real refuge. Today in Christ we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and in eternity the entire universe will be a new creation (Rev. 21:1-2).

Psalm 147:2a, “Jehovah builds up Jerusalem.” And He builds up New Jerusalem. Jesus Christ said, “I will build.” He builds by operating in and through the members of His Body. By living one with Christ, Paul could say that he was “a wise master builder” (1 Cor. 3:10). We all, by continually coming to the Lord “are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5). This current building of the Body of Christ is the forerunner of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NOAA/U.S. Department of Commerce.

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