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.

New Jerusalem in Revelation 22:1-5

“A river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street. And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.” (22:1-2)

Revelation 22:1-5 presents much about New Jerusalem—the throne, the river of water of life, the tree of life, and many blessings for all who are part of New Jerusalem. All the characteristics of New Jerusalem can be experienced today (to a lesser degree) in our Christian life. May we be those who seek the Lord Himself (not merely His doing good for us) and pursue with others to know Him in a deeper way.

New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:1-8
New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:9-20
New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:21-27

Here are the titles of recent posts and their links for 22:1-5.

New Jerusalem22:1, A River of Water of Life
22:1, New Jerusalem’s River from the Throne
22:1, New Jerusalem’s River Flows in its Street
22:1, The River is from the Throne
both Today and in New Jerusalem

22:2, The Tree of Life in New Jerusalem
22:2, Jesus is the Tree of Life in New Jerusalem
22:2, The Tree of Life is Here Today
and in New Jerusalem

22:2, The Tree for the Healing of the Nations

22:3, Christ Redeemed Us for New Jerusalem
22:3, New Jerusalem, the City of the Great King
22:3, We Serve God as Priests in New Jerusalem
22:3, We Serve as Priests in New Jerusalem

22:4, See His Face Now and in New Jerusalem
22:4, Follow the Lamb and Live to Him

22:5, New Jerusalem is Full of Light, No Night
22:5, The Lord God Shines in New Jerusalem
22:5, We Reign in Life Now and New Jerusalem

Many older posts about Revelation 22:1-2
Many older posts about Revelation 22:3-5

 

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.

 

A Reward: Inherit Eternal Life

New JerusalemThe prior two posts (one two) are about our rich inheritance from God and God’s inheritance of His riches in us. All of this inheritance, whether now or in the next age, points to New Jerusalem.

A big part of this inheritance is eternal life. The Lord Jesus says, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My name’s sake shall receive a hundred times as much and shall inherit eternal life” (Matt. 19:29).

In John 3 we receive eternal life and are born again. How (or why) do we inherit eternal life when we already have it from our new birth? Here is an answer from Life-Study of Matthew (chap. 54, sec. 2) by Witness Lee:

To inherit eternal life is to be rewarded in the coming age (Luke 18:29-30) with the enjoyment of the divine life in the manifestation of the kingdom of the heavens.

And more from Life-Study of Matthew (chap. 53, sec. 3):

To have eternal life in John is to be saved with God’s uncreated life that man may live by this life today and for eternity, whereas to have eternal life in Matthew is to participate in the reality of the kingdom of the heavens in this age and to share in its manifestation in the coming age.

Eventually this eternal life brings us to New Jerusalem that we may live this life and reign with God and the Lamb for eternity (Rev. 22:3-5).

Eternal Life and New Jerusalem (4)

“He who believes into the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). When we believe into Jesus Christ, we immediately receive eternal life. This life grows in us and brings us to New Jerusalem, the city of eternal life.

New JerusalemWe have already received this life, yet this life will accomplish much more in us during our Christian life. This is Romans 5:10, “If we, being enemies, were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His life, having been reconciled.”

Our reconciliation was accomplished by Jesus Christ through His death on the cross. By His resurrection the divine life was released and by believing we have received it. Now this life is saving us from our sins, our negative attitudes, the world, our fleshly living, and many other things. This is a “much more” salvation!

This salvation brings us ut of everything that is not in New Jerusalem and fills us with all the riches that will be displayed in New Jerusalem.

Romans 5:17 continues, “much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” We received eternal life once for all. Now we receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness with the result that we will reign in life, ultimately reigning in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:5).

Romans 5:21 declares “In order that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus Christ is all-inclusive; He is our Lord, our grace, our righteousness, our life. Whenever we turn our heart to Him (2 Cor. 3:16) He brings us onward toward reigning in life in New Jerusalem.

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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