Growing in Life unto New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is a city of the divine, eternal life, a city fully in resurrection. The source of New Jerusalem is God the Father who came in Christ the Son. He declared to us, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).

New JerusalemAt the time we believed into Jesus Christ, we received the life of New Jerusalem. Now we take the divine nourishment so that this life can grow in us. First Peter 2 speaks of growing by the milk of the word of God. Colossians 2 speaks of the growth of the Body (including each of us as members) by the rich supply flowing out from the Head, Christ.

We grow in the divine life unto maturity. New Jerusalem is a composition of all God’s people, all mature in His life, all living in resurrection. The city is maintained in eternal freshness by this life.

Verse 1 of [Revelation] chapter twenty-two says, “And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Here we see the Triune God in full. There is God, the Lamb, and the river, which represents the Spirit (John 7:38-39). Notice that there are not two thrones—one for God and one for the Lamb. There is only one throne. Then how do They sit? Are They side by side or are They one on top of another? By now you should know that God is in the Lamb and the Lamb is in God [John 14:10-11]. They coinhere one another. And out of this throne, God the Spirit is flowing out as a river. When the Spirit reaches you, you have both the Father and the Son.*

Today the Spirit is flowing to us with a bountiful supply (Phil. 1:19), the same flow as in New Jerusalem. Lord, keep me in this flow and mature in me.

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

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.

Enter through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

We continue with the contrasts of physical shadows and spiritual realities in Hebrews. The realities match characteristics of New Jerusalem.

Hebrews 9:1 is about the first covenant, the shadows. Its sanctuary was of “this world,” of the old creation, in contrast to New Jerusalem which is of the new creation. 

New JerusalemVerses 3 to 5 present the gold and the glory of the Holy of Holies. The gold is the nature of God and the glory is the expression of God. Both gold and glory are characteristics of New Jerusalem, and the city is a cube, the eternal Holy of Holies.

In contrast, verse 2 mentions the table and the lampstand in the holy place but does not say that they are of gold. This omission emphasizes that the shadows of the old creation do not compare with New Jerusalem.

Verses 6 to 8 show us that the entrance into the reality is only possible based upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is our entrance into New Jerusalem, and today we come forward to the heavenly Holy of Holies.

Verses 9 and 10 (and 10:1) tell us that the shadows are temporary and that they cannot perfect those who hold to that form of worship. But 10:14 tells us that Christ “has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” This perfection has New Jerusalem as its goal.

New Jerusalem: a Life in Resurrection

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 6:13 says, “Foods are for the stomach, and the stomach for foods; but God will bring to nought both it and them.” The verse also says that our physical body is for the Lord and the Lord for our body. Verse 14 continues, “And God has both raised up the Lord and will raise us up through His power.”

On one hand, both our stomach and physical foods will be brought to nothing. On the other hand, God will bring our entire being, including our physical body, into resurrection. In resurrection we match New Jerusalem, the city of resurrection.

First Corinthians 6 tells us that physical food will be of no significance in New Jerusalem. How is this possible? In resurrection!! Moses is a picture of this; Exodus 34:28 and Deuteronomy 9:9, 18 tell us that he was on the mountain with God forty days and forty night and during this time he neither ate or drank. The Lord’s presence sustained his physical body.

It will be the same in New Jerusalem. The river of water of life and the fruits of the tree of life will be our spiritual food and in resurrection this food will sustain every part of our being. Yes, we will be able to eat physical food, as the Lord Jesus did (Luke 24:41-43) but it will not be necessary.

The resurrection life will be everything we need. Jesus Christ as the real tree of life and the Spirit as the real water of life will fully supply us in New Jerusalem.

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (9)

Ephesians presents much about our growth into Christ in all things, which matches His growth within us, and our being built together in Him. New Jerusalem, a living city, is the consummation of this growth and building.

New Jerusalem

Here are links to recent posts on God’s living New Testament building. The key verses in each post are listed.

Jesus Christ is the living Cornerstone of God’s NT building. Matt. 21:33-41; Acts 4:10-12
Jesus Christ is the Living Stone and we also are living stones. John 1:41-42; 1 Peter 2:2-7
Jesus Christ is the temple in resurrection, and all His believers are part of this temple.
John 1:14, 2:19-22, 14:2, 23; 2 Cor. 6:16

We are God’s cultivated land, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:1-16
In Christ Jesus all the building is growing into a holy temple in the Lord. Eph. 2:19-22
We have been rooted and are being built up in Christ Jesus. Eph. 3:16-21; Col. 2:6-7

Our growth in life is for the building up of the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-16
The growth of the Body is unto the building up of itself in love. Eph. 4:15-16, Col. 2:19

Earlier posts about New Jerusalem as a city of life and God’s NT building in life:

New Jerusalem, not in the Natural Realm
The Living House Becomes the Living City
New Jerusalem is a Living City

New Jerusalem is a Living City, a City of Life
New Jerusalem is a Living, Spiritual City
We are God’s Living House

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (3)

God’s New Testament building is alive. It is a spiritual building brought forth by His life in us. This building work is proceeding now and will fully come forth with New Jerusalem.

The Old Testament tabernacle and temple were physical. In the New Testament Jesus is the reality of these shadows. In John 1:1 the eternal Word is God. In 1:14 “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” Jesus became the living tabernacle; The New Testament Tabernacle is Alive.

New Jerusalemin John 2 the Lord Jesus said to the Jews “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” They misunderstood His words, because all they knew was the old, physical temple. “But He spoke of the temple of His body.” They destroyed this temple through crucifixion and in three days He raised it up in resurrection.

In John 14 the Lord spoke about many abodes in His Father’s house. We are these abodes. There are no physical “mansions” in God’s house, neither today nor in New Jerusalem. In John 14 the Lord also spoke about His dwelling in us and our dwelling in Him. This is God’s living New Testament building.

In John 2 the Lord spoke about His physical body as the temple. In resurrection He also raised up all the believers as the enlarged, living temple of God. This is 2 Corinthians 6:16, “We are the temple of the living God.” The reality is being worked into us through this age to come forth fully as New Jerusalem.

The Eternally Perfect Wall of New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:15 an angel had a golden reed to measure New Jerusalem and its gates and its wall. In 21:17, “he measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.”

Twelve in the Bible indicates eternal perfection. In this verse the measure of the wall is twelve times twelve. It is perfectly and eternally perfect. This wall separates the city from everything else and protects the city. Nothing can cross over or go through this wall. But do not be discouraged. All who believe into Jesus Christ and receive Him as their Redeemer and Life enter the city through the gates.

The measure of the wall is both human and angelic. Humans and angels are distinct species but they are linked in one word of the Lord Jesus. In Matthew 22:30, answering a question from the Sadducees, He said “in the resurrection they [humans] neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”

The measure of the wall being both human and angelic means that this measure is in resurrection. This matches the nature of New Jerusalem—the whole is a city in resurrection. The city has the nature of resurrection because it was brought forth through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the resurrection, and the city has entirely come out of Him, as portrayed by Eve being constituted solely out of Adam.

The gospel today brings resurrection life into us and us unto 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.

Sonship for New Jerusalem (4)

God has chosen us in eternity past unto sonship to the praise of the glory of His grace. This praise develops through this age and the next age until the eternal praise and glory of God in New Jerusalem.

The New Testament sonship includes all the believers in Jesus Christ. In addition, Romans 9 speaks about Israel; verse 4 says “whose are the sonship…” Although Israel had the sonship in some sense, they did not have the life of God because this is only for believers in the New Testament time, based upon the redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection of Jesus Christ.

New JerusalemWhatever the nature of Israel’s sonship, the Israelites faithful to God will be in New Jerusalem. This is indicated by Revelation 21:12 which says New Jerusalem, as seen by John, “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.”

Among all the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel, only the Lord knows who will be in New Jerusalem. He is “the Knower of the hearts” (Acts 1:24).

Surely the number of Israelites participating in New Jerusalem will include some from Old Testament times, some from New Testament times, and all who repent when they see the Lord, whom they pierced, coming in glory.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem, 4

Here is the last verse of a song about Christ’s love for His wife, initially the church and eternally New Jerusalem. This part of the song begins with resurrection. Both the church and New Jerusalem are in resurrection because they exist solely in and with the resurrection life of Christ.

New Jerusalem“She beholds her Bridegroom…” This is like Hebrews 12:1-2, let us “run with endurance the race which is set before us, looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.” He is both the Initiator and the Completer. We are not capable of becoming the glorious church and city, but He will complete this process in us. Thank Him.

“His glory floods her heart.” This is happening today. In 2 Corinthians 3 we turn our hearts to the Lord and “we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit” (v. 18).

His open appearing in glory will be at His second coming: “they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27). But His spiritual appearing is available to us now as we turn our hearts and look away to Him.

Eventually His bride will be raptured and then come down out of heaven, “the bride, the wife of the Lamb….the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:9-11).

 

The Gospel Points toward New Jerusalem

The New Testament is the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. The New Testament begins with John’s proclamation of the gospel and ends with New Jerusalem. These two end points are connected. Many aspects of this gospel correspond to or point toward characteristics of New Jerusalem. Here is a key point from, and a link to, each of the recent posts on the gospel.

New Jerusalem

In 1 Timothy 1 we read of “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.” This is the good news that God is being glorified in Christ Jesus and through all His believers built together to become New Jerusalem.

God called us through the gospel “unto the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thes. 2:14). Ultimately this glory radiates from our Lord through New Jerusalem.

“The gospel of peace” (Acts 10:36) points to New Jerusalem because Jerusalem means The Foundation of Peace.

“The gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23) is for the inward reality of His kingdom now, the manifestation in the next age, and the eternal kingdom of New Jerusalem.

Paul was “announcing Jesus and the resurrection as the gospel” (Acts 17:18). We have been regenerated through the resurrection of Jesus Christ “unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading.” This wonderful inheritance includes everything related to New Jerusalem.

The hope of the gospel” is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:23, 27). This too points to the glory of New Jerusalem.

The gospel of the grace of God and the word of His grace, build us up and give us the inheritance among all who have been sanctified. This inheritance is ultimately New Jerusalem, the holy city for which we have been sanctified.

Our Savior Christ Jesus, nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). New Jerusalem is a city of life and of incorruption.

We receive resurrection life and incorruption through the promise of the gospel.

The gospel is “of Jesus,” “of Jesus Christ,” and “of Christ.” He is the center of the gospel and He will be the center of New Jerusalem. He is the same yesterday, today, and eternally (Heb. 13:8).

The unsearchable riches of Christ are the gospel in Ephesians 3. God’s intention is that these riches fill us and be expressed through us.

Photo by astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, courtesy of NASA and ESA.

The Gospel: a Promise of Resurrection and Incorruption

“Our Savior Christ Jesus, nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). His resurrection nullifies death and His resurrection life changes our corruption into incorruption, thus preparing us for New Jerusalem.

In Acts 13 Paul spoke of “the gospel of the promise made to the fathers.” This gospel is characterized by resurrection and incorruption. The first step for us, as mentioned in Acts 13, is forgiveness of sins as God’s response to our repentance. This is Luke 24:47, “Repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations.”

Based on this forgiveness, we receive God’s eternal life, an incorruptible life, the life of resurrection. This life matches New Jerusalem, the city of resurrection.

When we receive this life, the first action in us is that our deadened spirit is made alive. Then gradually this life spreads in our being to renew our soul—our mind, emotion, and will—making our soul life. Gradually this life is imparted into our mortal body, an impartation which will be completed at the Lord’s return so that “the body of our humiliation” may be “conformed to the body of His glory.”

This life saturating our being makes us people full of life and full of incorruption, swallowing all the death and corruption in our being. Through this development, we get fully conformed to New Jerusalem to become a part of this city “having the glory of God.”


Some phrases about this development of life:
Eph. 2:5 God, “when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ”
Rom. 8:10 “if Christ is in you…the spirit is life because of righteousness.”
Rom. 8:6 “the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.”
Rom. 8:11 God will “give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”

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