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.

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.

All Fall Short of the Glory of New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

Romans 3:23 says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” While reading Romans 3 I was touched with the paraphrase in the subject line of this post. New Jerusalem is the ultimate display of God’s glory, so to fall short of the glory is to fall short of New Jerusalem.

The holy city Jerusalem…having the glory of God
Revelation 21:10-11
The glory of God illumined it [New Jerusalem]
Revelation 21:23

Sin separated man from God and man was shut out of the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:22-24). Thus man had no access to the tree of life. In New Testament terms, man had no access to eternal life, hence no way to express God’s glory.

The real expression of every living being is the demonstration of the life within that being. An apple tree bears apple blossoms and fruit because of its life. A dog sniffs and barks because of its life. Unsaved human beings express both good (from created life) and evil (from indwelling sin).

Regenerated human beings should exhibit, from eternal life within, the glory of God in a limited way now and in a full way in New Jerusalem. However, regeneration is not sufficient. The life of regeneration must spread and expand in us. This is “much more to be saved in His life” (Rom. 5:10). “Much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).

May we all long for the much more life and receive the abundance of grace until we are reigning in this life and the glory is brought forth. Lord, cause me to participate in the much more salvation of Your life. Spread life in me so that Your glory can be expressed through me. Lord, bring forth the glory of New Jerusalem now!

Image and Dominion, Genesis to Revelation

New JerusalemGod said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion…” (Genesis 1:26). God created man in His image so that man could express God. God gave dominion to man so that man could represent God. This is God’s eternal purpose, at a time when there was no sin and no death, a condition that matches the new creation and New Jerusalem after sin and death have been cast out.

The created mankind (Adam) fell but God called a new mankind (Abraham). God said to him, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2). Nation is related to dominion and blessing to image. The real blessing is the Spirit (Galatians 3:14) who transforms us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

When John the Baptist came, his first words were about the kingdom (Matthew 3:2). When the Lord Jesus came, the beginning of His proclamation was the kingdom: “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has drawn near. Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). By repenting we come back into God’s kingdom to be able to represent God. By believing we receive God’s life (John 3:15-16) that we may express God.

In contrast to Genesis 1, the kingdom (dominion) is mentioned first in the gospel because man has fallen from, and needs to be restored to, God and His authority.

God’s appearance is like jasper in Revelation 4:3. In Revelation 21:11, 18 the appearance of New Jerusalem is also like jasper. God and the Lamb are on the throne in New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1) and all God’s slaves will reign with Him forever (22:5). The city fulfills God’s intention in creating man by having the image and authority of God.

This post is based on my appreciation of Life-study of Genesis, message 39.

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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo by William S Keller, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

We Will Reign in Resurrection

New JersualemRecent posts have been on God’s kingdom of life, culminating in New Jerusalem. Our beginning is to be born into this kingdom by the seed of life. Now, by daily applying Christ as our grace and righteousness, we reign in life (Romans 5:17).

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 coming age is the next stage of our reigning. This too is reigning in life for it is reigning in resurrection (remember that Jesus is both life and resurrection—John 11:25). Although we can reign in life now, we are limited by our mortal bodies. At that time, in the resurrection, even our body will be full of eternal life—“this corruptible will put on incorruption and this mortal will put on immortality, then the word which is written will come to pass, ‘Death has been swallowed up unto victory’ ” (1 Corinthians 15:54, with quote from Isaiah 25:8).

Reigning with Christ for a thousand years will be wonderful, yet it should be strange. Rather, it should be an extension and amplification of our reigning in life now. Romans 5:17 tells us that we reign in life by receiving the abundance of grace and Hebrews 12:28 says, “Therefore receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us have grace.” Our receiving of the abundance of grace is hand-in-hand with our receiving the kingdom. Let’s not wait passively. Rather, let’s pray like this:

Lord, thank You for being abundant grace to me. Show me more about how to receive, and keep me receiving every day. Fill me with Your grace and righteousness that I may reign with You from now unto New Jerusalem.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and copyrighted by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is copyrighted by Living Stream Ministry.

Thanks to David Kan for this photo of Ethiopia taken while visiting Christians there.

Reigning in Life to Match New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe prior two posts ( ) spoke of New Jerusalem as the ultimate stage of the kingdom of God. Revelation 22:3-5 tells us that we, God’s slaves, will reign in New Jerusalem.

Because God’s kingdom is a kingdom of the divine and eternal life, reigning in the kingdom is also by this life, in this life. The present age is part of the kingdom of God (see Romans 14:17). Therefore, we can enter into the foretaste of reigning now. Romans 5:17 tells us, “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.”

Our reigning is in life. It is not merely a position nor an appointment. According to Romans 5, our qualification to reign in life now (and in New Jerusalem) is to “receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness.”

The Greek word translated “receive” is an active, present participle. It indicates an ongoing (in contrast to a one time) receiving. We are to receive two blessings: abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.

The Word is “full of grace” and “grace came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:14, 17). The gift of righteousness is both the forgiveness of our sins (1 John 1:9) and Christ Jesus Himself as our righteousness that we may live righteously with Him (1 Corinthians 1:30).

First, we may receive by confessing our sins. Second, we may receive “the word of His grace” (Acts 14:320:32). The best way I found for this receiving is to read a little and to pray with what I read. More about this is in the related posts.

The more we receive, the more we reign in life. However, this reigning is never in ourselves. Both now and in New Jerusalem it is “through the One, Jesus Christ.” The glory is to Him.

Related posts:
Pray-read the Word of God to be Spiritually Nourished
Podcast: The Practice of Pray-Reading God’s Word
Praying God’s Word – A Great Christian Practice

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