We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (2)

#NewJerusalemThe perfection of New Jerusalem is shown by the multiple “twelves” in its description. Earlier in the New Testament there are many verses about our perfection/completion/maturity so that we will match New Jerusalem.

As believers in Christ, we have eternal life. Isn’t this enough? Yes, this life is sufficient for everything. But, this life must grow in us. We cannot remain infants (1 Cor. 3:1). Every kind of life in God’s creation has growth; they are here to portray the normality of our spiritual growth. We grow so that the maturity of New Jerusalem may shine forth.

In 2 Corinthians 13:9 Paul said, “this also we pray for, your perfecting.” To grow and be perfected in the divine life is normal but does not happen in passivity. Our growth requires our cooperation and our prayer for one another.

Two verses later Paul says, “Finally, brothers, rejoice, be perfected, be comforted, think the same thing, be at peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” Here are some helps for our growth and perfecting. First, rejoice in the Lord. Second, open needs to Him that He may be comfort and peace (Phil 4:6-7) to us. Third, ask Him to tune us into the same mind, into His thinking (1 Cor. 1:10).

The importance of our growth is seen in Colossians 1. In verse 27 Paul announces Christ in us as our hope of glory, our hope for the glory of New Jerusalem. In verse 28 he says that this announcing includes “admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man full-grown in Christ.” He was not satisfied to present saved sinners; his longing was to present full-grown believers, believers who match the perfection of New Jerusalem.

Praises in the Book of Revelation (3)

Revelation records praises and rejoicing for God and the Lamb and for what God and the Lamb do. We believers join the heavenly praising now. In eternity the entire new creation will praise God and the Lamb.

Revelation 19, after many judgements (with a few more to come in Rev. 20), begins “I heard as it were a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the power are of our God.” The judgments clear out the old creation. The salvation brings God into us so that the glory may be to Him now and in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRevelation 19:3: “And a second time they said, Hallelujah!” “Hallelujah” is from Hebrew, meaning “praise Jah,” a short form of the name Jehovah. We surely can say hallelujah more than once now.

Revelation 19:4: “And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God, who sits upon the throne, saying, Amen, Hallelujah!”

Revelation 19:5-6: “And a voice came out from the throne, saying, Praise our God, all His slaves and those who fear Him, the small and the great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunders, saying, Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.”

We are certainly included in the “all” in verse 5. Our praises should not be so quiet. We praise God today, and at the time of Revelation 19, and in New Jerusalem.

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 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit, the primary theme, of Revelation. Throughout Revelation Jesus Christ is seen carrying out God’s judgements on the enemies and developing His corporate testimony all the way to New Jerusalem. We continue in chapter 19.

New JerusalemVerses 19:1-4 are praises for God’s judgements. Verses 5-6 is another praise. Verse 7 goes on, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” This is rejoicing for the positive side of God’s move, the move unto New Jerusalem.

Jesus, the Lamb, will receive His bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2). He, and this marriage, are worthy of our rejoicing and our giving glory to Him. We need not wait until the time of Revelation 19 nor until New Jerusalem. We can rejoice today and give glory to Him today. “Worthy is the Lamb” (Rev. 5:12).

Verse 19:8 continues, “And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.” Christ became righteousness to us at our initial salvation (1 Cor. 1:30). Now He is our life; as we live Him He becomes righteousness in our living; this daily manifestation of Him is the righteousnesses in 19:8, portrayed by fine, bright linen garments.

Verse 19:9 says, “Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb.” Unlike a human wedding, which often focuses on the bride, the focus in Revelation 19 is the Lamb. He is our Redeemer and our Life, and by our experience of Him we become His expression in a corporate man, both today and in 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, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 122, 132

New JerusalemThe Psalms have many prophecies and shadows of Christ, God’s house and city, and their blessings to the whole earth. All of these point to Christ in New Jerusalem on the new earth.

Psalm 122:1-3 says,
I rejoiced when they said to me, let us go __to the house of Jehovah.
Our feet are standing within your gates, __O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem has been built as a city that __has been compacted together.

The present reality of the house of God is the church (1 Tim. 3:15). Let us go with rejoicing to this house to enjoy Christ with all the believers. When we do this we are standing within the gates of God’s spiritual city. All of this is our foretaste of New Jerusalem. And, as Jerusalem was built, so the church now is being built now (e.g. Eph. 4:16, 1 Peter 2:5) as a forerunner of the builded New Jerusalem.

Psalm 132:13-14 says,
For Jehovah has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation.
This is My resting place forever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it.

God has chosen Zion and we too should choose to long for God’s house and city. New Jerusalem will be consummation of both, where God and we also will dwell eternally.

Verses 15-16 say,
I will abundantly bless its provision; I will satisfy its poor with bread.
And its priests I will clothe with salvation, and its faithful ones will shout with a ringing shout.

Today the promise of abundant provision is fulfilled by the flow out from the Head, Christ (Col. 2:19) and the Spirit poured upon us richly (Titus 3:6). How much more in New Jerusalem with the river of life and tree of life! We participate in God’s salvation and shout for joy now with more in New Jerusalem.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalm 118 (3)

Psalm 118:22-23 is about Christ Jesus, rejected by the Jewish leaders, becoming the Cornerstone in resurrection. This Cornerstone is for building God’s house which expands to God’s city, His kingdom, and blesses the whole earth. Ultimately this is New Jerusalem with the fullest blessing to the new earth.

NGC 6496, NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterPsalm 118:24 continues, “This is the day that Jehovah has made; let us exult and rejoice in it.” It is possible to rejoice in every day that the Lord gives us. However, in context, this verse points specifically to the day of resurrection, the day in which Christ became the Cornerstone.

Whenever we are living Christ, we are living in resurrection. Here (in resurrection) we are being built together with other believers. Here we are richly supplied and knit together (Col. 2:19). Here we are entering the reality of New Jerusalem.

Psalm 118:25 says, “O Jehovah, do save, we pray! O Jehovah, do send prosperity, we pray!” This is not pointing to a physical salvation nor to material prosperity. Rather, it is about God saving us in resurrection into His building, which is in Christ Jesus the Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20-22). New Jerusalem is the final outcome of this salvation and is our utmost blessing. Let us follow Psalm 118 and pray for this kind of salvation and blessing.

Psalm 118:26 says, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of Jehovah; we bless you from the house of Jehovah.” This was spoken by the crowd when Jesus entered Jerusalem shortly before His death (Luke 19:37-38) and will be spoken again when He returns again (Luke 13:35).

In these few verses we exult, rejoice, and bless the Lord. We are being built together in Him. His second coming, with more rejoicing, brings us closer to New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God (Rev. 21:2).

Photo courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center 

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 100-107

New JerusalemMany Psalms prophesy concerning Christ; they also speak about God’s house, city, and blessings to the whole earth, all of which are forerunners of New Jerusalem in the new creation.

Psalm 100:1-2, “Make a joyful noise to Jehovah, all the earth. Serve Jehovah with rejoicing; come before His presence with joyful singing.” Today we serve with rejoicing, joyful singing, and praising the Lord. In the new creation, all the earth will make a joyful noise.

Psalm 102:21-22, “The name of Jehovah may be declared in Zion, and His praise, in Jerusalem, when the peoples are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve Jehovah.” We declare and call upon the name today (Rom. 10:12-13). The eternal fulfillment of verse 22 is “they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it [New Jerusalem]” (Rev. 21:26).

Psalm 106:1, “Hallelujah. Give thanks to Jehovah, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is forever.” “Forever” points clearly toward the new creation and New Jerusalem.
Psalm 106:48, “Blessed be Jehovah the God of Israel, from eternity to eternity. And let all the people say, Amen. Hallelujah.” Today should be and New Jerusalem will be full of praising, blessing, and thanksgiving.

Psalm 107, 2-3a, 7, “Let the redeemed of Jehovah say so, whom He redeemed from the hand of the adversary, and gathered out of the lands….And He led them on a straight way that they might come to a city of habitation.” Today we have “the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24) and are on “the straight way” (2 Peter 2:15) to New Jerusalem, our city of habitation.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 87-98

We are looking at prophecies of Christ in the Psalms, and the psalmists’ descriptions of God’s house, city, and reign over the earth, all as shadows of New Jerusalem at the center of the new earth.

New JerusalemPsalm 87:3, “Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.” How much more than earthly Jerusalem will glorious things be said about New Jerusalem!

Psalm 90:1, “O Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” Moses had the sense he was dwelling in God. How much more his word is true now and will be in eternity.

Psalm 91:1, 9, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” “For You have made Jehovah, who is my refuge, even the Most High, Your habitation.” This psalm is a prophecy about Christ, quoted in Matthew and Luke. Yet, since we are in Christ, His dwelling in God is ours also (John 14:20). This is true now and will extend into New Jerusalem.

Psalm 92:12-13, “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree….Planted in the house of Jehovah, they will flourish…” Both today and in eternity, Christ is our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30). We are planted in God’s house today and will flourish in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 97:1, “Jehovah reigns! Let the earth be glad; Let the many islands rejoice.”
Psalm 97:6b, “All the peoples see His glory.” (Rev. 21:23-24)
Psalm 97:8a, “For You, O Jehovah, are most high over all the earth.”
All these declarations will be fully fulfilled in new earth and New Jerusalem.

Psalm 98:2, “Jehovah has made His salvation known; in the sight of the nations He has revealed His righteousness.” When Jesus began His earthly ministry, this was true to those whose eyes were opened (e.g. Luke 2:30). In the new creation everyone will see His salvation and righteousness. Psalm 98:3b, “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem—Magnification of Christ (2)

The prior post presented Paul’s individual magnification of Christ (Phil. 1:20) as a miniature of the corporate magnification of Christ in New Jerusalem. The Greek verb translated magnify means to declare to be great, to glorify, to praise, to exalt.

Although magnify is not in Revelation, the magnification of Christ is seen in the glory of the city: “And he [an angel] carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” (Rev. 21:10-11a)

New JerusalemBased on Paul’s example, we magnify Christ today by living Him, by believers praying for us, by the bountiful supply of the Spirit, and by His excellency motivating us to count everything else as a loss (Phil. 1:19-21, 3:7-8).

Another magnification is in Luke 1:46-47, “Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has exulted in God my Savior.” First, Mary’s spirit exulted in God; then her soul magnified the Lord. Her praise to God issued from her spirit and was expressed through her soul. Her spirit was filled with joy in God her Savior, and her soul manifested that joy for the magnifying of the Lord.*

Based on Mary’s example, our magnification of Christ is by the joy of the Lord. In our-selves and our situations we often feel we cannot rejoice, but we are in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). In Him we can rejoice now and we will rejoice in New Jerusalem. Philippians 3:1 and 4:4,

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”

Acts  16:25 describes an undesirable situation, a prison: “about midnight Paul and Silas, while praying, sang hymns of praise to God; and the prisoners were listening to them.” Christ in us is able, any place, any time, any situation, for our praising to magnify Him; how much more in New Jerusalem!

* from footnote on Luke 1:47 in NT Recovery Version Online.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 66, 68

In the Psalms we can see many prophecies and allusions to Christ and God’s house and city. These ultimately point to New Jerusalem with Christ as its center to be God’s eternal house and city with His reign on new earth.

Psalm 66:1, 4, “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth….All the earth will worship You and sing psalms to You; they will sing psalms to Your name.” Not only within New Jerusalem, but also all the nations around it will shout with joy and worship God by singing.

New JerusalemPsalm 68:3, “The righteous will rejoice; they will exult before God and be glad with rejoicing.” We are righteous in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30), so we rejoice now (Phil. 4:4) and in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 68:18, “You have ascended on high; You have led captive those taken captive; You have received gifts among men, even the rebellious ones also, that Jehovah God may dwell among them.” This is quoted in Ephesians 4 in reference to the ascension of Christ and of His giving of gifted members to take the lead in the building up of His Body (forerunner of New Jerusalem) so that God may dwell among us.

Psalm 68:20, “God is to us a God of deliverance, and with Jehovah the Lord are the goings forth even from death.” Through His death Christ delivered us from sin (Rom. 8:3), the flesh (Rom. 8:11-12), the world (John 12:31-32), death (2 Tim. 1:10), and the devil (Heb. 2:14). Today we do not yet see these things abolished but in the new creation and New Jerusalem none of these will be present.

Psalm 68:29, “Because of Your temple at Jerusalem, kings will bring a gift to You.” This happened at Solomon’s time and will occur much more in the kingdom and to the fullest in the new creation with kings bringing gifts to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.
This series about the Psalms will resume several weeks from now.

New Jerusalem is the Wife of the Lamb

New JerusalemRevelation 19:7: “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”
Revelation 19:9: “Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb.”
Revelation 21:2: “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

The marriage of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and His wife, New Jerusalem, is the conclusion of the Bible.

The New Jerusalem as the counterpart, the bride, of the redeeming God is a fulfillment of a cluster of types in the Scriptures. In typology, certain women in the Old Testament reveal that the church is the counterpart of Christ (Gen. 24:67; 41:45; Ruth 4:13; 1 Sam. 25:40-42). According to type, the position of the church before God is that of a counterpart; in the entire Bible God likens Himself to a man, and He likens the totality of His created and redeemed people to a woman as His counterpart (Isa. 54:5; John 3:29; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:2, 9-10). As the Body of Christ, the church receives life from Him for His expression; as the counterpart of Christ, the church receives His love for the satisfaction of His heart’s desire (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:30; John 3:15-16, 29).*

Our receiving eternal life (John 3:15-16) is so that we can match Christ and become His bride, His increase (3:29-30).

Our receiving of eternal life is our being born again (3:3, 5-6). Now we need to grow in this life (1 Peter 2:2-3, Eph. 4:15) by being nourished with the milk of the word (1 Cor. 3:2). This nourishment causes the increase of Christ in us (Col. 2:19) so that we are no longer “infants in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1). This growth is our path to New Jerusalem.

Let us not remain infants and let us not merely seek Bible knowledge. Lord, nourish me and cause me to grow in You unto New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique (A&C) is a Christian Journal published twice a year, © Living Stream Ministry. A&C presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. A&C exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. This group of my posts has short extracts from the article The New Jerusalem—the Consummation of the Divine Economy according to the High Peak of the Divine Revelation by Ron Kangas in the Fall 2010 issue.

We, the Bride, Make Ourselves Ready

New JerusalemHebrews 11, speaking of Abraham and his faithful descendants says in verse 16, “they long after a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”

This prepared city is New Jerusalem, which John saw “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). And Revelation 19:7 announces “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

God prepared the city New Jerusalem, the city is the bride, the bride made herself ready. Does God do the preparation or do we get ourselves ready? Both!

This is an example of “seemingly opposing truths” in the Word of God. Consider*:
• Due to the infinite wisdom and unsearchable richness of God, we must accept from Him what, to us mortals, may seem contradictory.
• Which are we to believe of the two statements? Both! The same God who spoke one spoke the other also. It is enough that the Word of God distinctly affirms both.
• Both are to be received whether we can reconcile them or no. Their claim on our reception is not that we can unite them, but that God has testified both.

God does the preparation and we cooperate with Him to get ready. There is no problem with God’s side of the preparation but we need His mercy for diligence with our side. Lord, we give ourselves to get ready as Your bride, New Jerusalem. Lord, be merciful to us and grant us grace to carry out our responsibility.

Related posts: Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!   The Twofoldness of Divine Truth

*These quotes are from the booklet “The Twofoldness of Divine Truth,” by Robert Govett, a Christian who lived in England 1813 to 1901. My copy is undated, from Christian Publications Inc., Harrisburg PA.

Photo by Willen van Aken, courtesy of CSIRO Australia, www.scienceimage.csiro.au.

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