Not Loving the Soul Life – Examples

Revelation 12:11 speaks of those who “overcame him [the Devil] because of the blood* of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved not their soul-life even unto death” (Rev. 12:11). Not loving the soul life equals denying it, fulfilling the Lord’s command in the gospels. This denying, and the losing of our soul life, are to follow the Lord, to be His disciples, and to participate in His glory and kingdom, both of which consummate in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn Acts 7 Stephen boldly testified for the Lord. Then, while dying, he unselfishly prayed, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

In Acts 15 the apostles and elders in Jerusalem recommended Barnabas and Paul as “Men who have risked their [soul] lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (15:26).

In Acts 20:24 Paul was on his way to Jerusalem, where he was arrested. He declares, “I consider my [soul] life of no account as if precious to myself, in order that I may finish my course and the ministry which I have received from the Lord Jesus.”

In Philippians 2:25-30 Paul commends Epaphroditus. “Receive him therefore in the Lord with all joy, and hold such in honor, because for the work of Christ he drew near unto death, risking his [soul] life…” (v. 29-30).

Lord, have compassion on me that I may love You completely. For Your ministry now and for New Jerusalem, make me one who risks my own soul life, not counting it precious.

* Notes 2, 3, 4 on Rev. 12:11 are about the blood, the word of testimony, and not loving.

Not Loving the Soul Life for New Jerusalem

Near the beginning of the New Testament, the Lord Jesus told us to deny our self, take up our cross, and lose our soul life. This denying, taking up, and losing is the practical termination of our natural life so that His resurrection life, the life of New Jerusalem, may be manifested.

New JerusalemNear the end of the New Testament we read about some who faithfully carried out this word of the Lord. “They [some believers] overcame him [the Devil] because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved not their soul-life even unto death” (Rev. 12:11). Not loving the soul life = denying it.

In Revelation 2 and 3 the Lord had multiple churches in Asia Minor, yet He was not satisfied. In the epistle to every church, he called for overcomers. Even in speaking well about Philadelphia, He called for overcomers. And in Revelation 12 we see that He gained some.

These overcomers “loved not their soul-life even unto death.” In contrast, they loved “our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility” (Eph. 6:24). This means that they loved the Lord absolutely. They did not love with any selfish motive* but denied themselves.

Incorruptibility is a characteristic of New Jerusalem. We need to deny even our natural love for the Lord, that we may love Him with this incorruptible love. We love Him in this way now, when He comes, and unto New Jerusalem.

*James and John loved the Lord Jesus, but in the early years they loved selfishly. They asked, “Grant to us to sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory” (Mark 10:37). In their later years, after the Lord’s resurrection, they were faithful unto death.
Photo courtesy of Burning Well.

 

Joy, Praise, Victory, Kingdom

A song based on Revelation begins, “Lo, the kingdom of the world is now the kingdom of the Lord!” This line of the song comes from 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” points to New Jerusalem, the center of God’s eternal kingdom.

New JerusalemThe song continues, “O what joy to all the saints does His eternal reign afford!” All who believe into Christ Jesus are saints because we have been “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:2). And we have His joy now and more so in His eternal reign in New Jerusalem.

The second verse of the song speaks of Satan being cast down. The third continues, “Now is come salvation, power, and the kingdom of our God.” The fourth declares our overcoming by the blood of the Lamb, our testimony, and not loving our soul life. These three song verses present Revelation 12:9-11.

Revelation 12:12 says, “Therefore be glad, O heavens and those who dwell in them.” This is echoed in words of praise in the song, including the chorus, Vict’ry, vict’ry, Hallelujah! The victory is won!

The song continues with the judgements in Revelation 17 and 18. This leads into the praise at the beginning of Revelation 19, “A loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the power are of our God. For true and righteous are His judgments.”

All these judgements are part of God’s clearing away of the old creation, so that He can bring in the new creation with New Jerusalem. And all of our praises develop the life of New Jerusalem within us.

I copied the graphic from a prior post on praising, since that post also is on Rev. 19:1.

Srong Contrast: Babylon and New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:18 says about New Jerusalem, “the city was pure gold, like clear glass.” Verse 21 adds, “the twelve gates were twelve pearls….the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” In contrast, Revelation 17:4 says that the woman, Babylon, was “gilded with gold and precious stone and pearls.”

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is composed of pure, precious materials but Babylon is only gilded with them. New Jerusalem is pure, clear, transparent. But Babylon, behind the gilding, is “full of abominations and the unclean things of her fornication.” Babylon is a mixture—abominations cloaked in precious things.

Abominations hidden in a good covering is not new in Revelation. The Lord Jesus speaks of many examples in the Gospels. One is, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you resemble whitewashed graves, which outwardly appear beautiful but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:37).

James 4:8 guides us: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-souled!” Our heart is for loving. Lord, purify us from any doubleness, save us from any mixture of loving You while loving other things. Bring us to loving You with our whole heart.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).

The pure in heart will see God and will be prepared as constituents of the pure city, New Jerusalem.

This post is based on the first part of chapter 5, “The Holy City, New Jerusalem,” in The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee. This book can be freely downloaded from Bibles for America (English) or Rhema Literature (30 languages).

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The New Testament Temple is Living (3)

The Old Testament had a physical temple in Jerusalem which persisted into the New Testament age. However, the individual Jesus was the reality of this temple; He was the living temple in John 2. In resurrection He brought all His believers into this reality, this living temple. Now, this temple is growing in the Lord (Eph. 2:20-21) to the maturity of New Jerusalem.

#NewJerusalemIn Revelation 3:12 the Lord promises, “He who overcomes, him I will make a pillar in the temple of My God.” This is another verse showing us that the New Testament temple is a living building. Here is one who not only is “being fitted together” in the temple but even becomes a vital component in the temple.

Besides the promise to make the over-comer a pillar, the Lord also promises to write on him the name of His God, the name of the city of His God, the New Jerusalem, and His new name. This shows that the believer who is fully built in is possessed by God, by New Jerusalem, and by the Lord.

Becoming a pillar and being possessed by the Triune God and New Jerusalem has a base in keeping “the word of My endurance” (Rev. 3:10). This is to be a “fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus” (Rev. 1:9). “In Jesus” is all we need. Let’s “hold fast” (3:11) all that we have in Him.

Verses in Revelation 7, 11, 14, 15, and 16 speak about the temple in heaven. This is clearly not an earthly, physical temple. Near the end of this age a new physical temple will be built in earthly Jerusalem. But it will not be eternal, for the Bible does not include it in the description of the new creation and New Jerusalem, where only the living temple will be present.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: No Blemishes, No Spots (2)

God chose us in eternity past to “be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 1:4) and in eternity future New Jerusalem, the holy city, will be holy and without blemish.

The prior post presents the Lord’s work to make us without blemish. In addition to the verses there, Colossians 1:22 says, “He now has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and without reproach before Him.” His death, for our reconciliation, has the goal of New Jerusalem holy and without blemish.

New JerusalemDespite what He has accomplished, we should not wait passively. Philippians 2 exhorts us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (v. 12). We work by cooperating with God who operates within us (v. 13).

By this cooperation, we will be without murmurings and reasonings (v. 14), “that you may be blameless and guileless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as luminaries in the world” (v. 15). In this shining we present the word of life to worldly people (v. 16).

Our cooperation with God’s operation in us causes us to be without fallen humanity’s blemishes and with divine shining as channels for the word of life, that God’s salvation might reach people in this crooked generation.

Peter, based on our expectation of the new creation with New Jerusalem, exhorts us “be diligent to be found by Him in peace without spot and without blemish” (2 Peter 3:14).

In Revelation 14:1-5 we see overcomers, firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. Part of their description is that they “are without blemish.” Surely these overcomers lived according to the exhortations in Philippians 2 and 2 Peter 3. Not only are they without negative blemishes, they are also singing a heavenly song of praise, a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

Photo by Nick Pitsas, courtesy of CSIRO Australia.

The Lamb’s Book of Life for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 21:27 tells us that “only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” enter New Jerusalem.

Philippians 4:3 speaks about Christians “whose names are in the book of life.” Surely they will be in New Jerusalem. In contrast, “if anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

Revelation 13:8 tells us that those dwelling on earth, “every one whose name is not written in the book of life of the Lamb” will worship a beast. Similarly Revelation 17:8 says that these people will marvel when they see a beast.

Some verses associate the book of life with the Lamb. God’s eternal purpose is that man receive Him as life so that man can express and represent God (Gen. 1:26). Therefore, God put created man in front of the tree of life in the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:8-9, 15-17). This tree is a symbol of Christ, who is the real life for man.

Unfortunately man partook of the wrong tree, and was banished from the garden and the tree of life (Gen. 3:22-24). This closure persisted until God incarnated in the man Jesus. He, the Lamb of God, died on the cross to redeem us and reopen the way for us to receive the divine life. This life enables us to participate in New Jerusalem.

We see three steps: redemption, life, city. Redemption is for life, and life is for the city. All three are in Revelation 22:14, “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.” To wash is to apply the Lamb’s redemption; to come to the tree is for life, and to enter the gates is to be in New Jerusalem. Praise the Lamb!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Jesus Christ, Living Forever and Ever

New JerusalemRecent posts are glory to God and the Lamb forever and ever and God and the Lamb reigning forever and ever. Now, verses about God and the Lamb living forever and ever. Of course, New Jerusalem is the consummation of “forever and ever.”

Revelation 1:17b-18: “I am the First and the Last and 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.” The Lord Jesus is the living One. He entered into death and came forth in resurrection. His living forever and ever is in resurrection. Likewise His reigning forever and ever is in resurrection.

His living and reigning in resurrection are characteristics of New Jerusalem. It is a city in resurrection. Not only our Lord, but also we are in resurrection. Our natural life has been crucified and buried with Him so that we walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:3-4). In this age we are learning to partake of this spiritual reality; in New Jerusalem we will be fully in newness of life, that is, in resurrection.

Revelation 4:9-10: “when the four living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits upon the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall before Him who sits upon the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever…” We too should give glory to Him and worship Him who sits on the throne and lives forever and ever.

Revelation 10:6 and 15:7 also speak about “Him who lives forever and ever.” His eternal living is our eternal life supply in New Jerusalem—the river of life which flows from the throne and the tree of life it conveys to us. His eternal living in resurrection is for us not only in New Jerusalem but also for today.

Graphic 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.

No Beasts in or near New Jerusalem

Revelation 13 says much about two beasts. Chapter 14 has a heavenly warning about the beasts, 15 shows those who were victorious over the beasts, 16 has judgement on them, 17 introduces another beast and presents much beastly activity, and 19 has their terminations in the lake of fire.

New JerusalemThese beasts are all opposed to New Jerusalem because they oppose the accomplishing of God’s purpose on earth. This purpose is first revealed in Genesis 1:26 where the Triune God created man in His image and let man have dominion over the earth.

God’s purpose is also revealed in Zechariah 12:1 which speaks of God “who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.” The heavens contain the earth and earth is a dwelling place for man, who has a human spirit to contact God who is Spirit (John 4:24).

By contacting God, man receives the life of God, portrayed by the tree of life in Genesis 2. As a result of this contact, man’s spirit is born of God’s Spirit. This birth with God’s life enables man to express God and to rule the earth for God.

Genesis 1–2 is the beginning of God’s purpose; Revelation 21–22 is the consummation. In this consummation, man is beholding God constantly (Rev. 22:4). Man is continually supplied with God’s life by the river of life with the tree of life (22:1-2). God in this corporate man is fully expressed through New Jerusalem which radiates the glory of God (21:11). God and the Lamb on the throne (22:1) reign and man reigns with them (22:5).

Praise God that New Jerusalem is the eternal fulfillment of God’s purpose and that the opposing beasts are gone.

This post is in my list of what is NOT in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The heart of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus. He (not calamities nor judgments nor beasts) is our focus. In Revelation our Lord Jesus is seen in many ways. He is working to conclude this age, to bring the kingdom of God to earth, and to consummate God’s economy with the new creation. Here is a link and one highlight from each post on the wonderful Jesus Christ bringing us to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRev. 1: in verse 5  Jesus Christ is the faithful Witness. He is faithful to care for us and to care for God’s purpose through us, all the way to New Jerusalem.

Rev. 1: in verses 17-18 He declares, “Do not fear; I am the First and the Last and the living One; and I became dead, and behold, I am living forever.” We should not fear anything because He is first and last; nothing is outside the limits He sets.

Rev. 2: in verse 12 He “has the sharp two-edged sword.” This is His living and operative word, which divides all the mixture in our being (Heb. 4:12) and washes away all our blemishes to present us to Himself glorious (Eph. 5:26-27).

Rev. 3: in verse 7 Jesus Christ is “the Holy One” sanctifying us for the holy city, New Jerusalem.

Rev. 4–5: in verse 5:5 Jesus Christ is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” He, the victorious One, defeated God’s enemies to clear the way for our redemption, regeneration, and perfection.

Rev. 6–9: in verse 8:3 Christ adds Himself as incense to our prayers that they may be a sweet-smelling savor to God. These prayers of believers on earth cooperating with the heavens open the way for the seven trumpets.

Rev. 10–11: in verses 10:1-7 Christ comes to claim the earth and to declare that there will be no more delay in completing the mystery of God, leading to New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven.

Rev. 12: verse 10 has a loud proclamation, “Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ.”

Rev. 12: verse 11 says that we overcome the devil because of the blood of the Lamb, the blood shed in His redemptive death. We also overcome because of the word of our testimony of all that Jesus Christ has accomplished.

Rev. 14: chapter 14 begins with praise. There are many praises in Revelation—here and chapters 5, 12, 19—and surely there will be more praises in New Jerusalem.

Rev. 17: verse 14, “The Lamb will overcome, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings.”

Rev. 18-19: chapter 19 begins with praise, “a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the power are of our God.”

Rev. 19: verse 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 [New Jerusalem, in 21:9-10] has made herself ready.”

Rev. 19: verse 11, “I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sits on it called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.” What Jesus Christ is, not what we are, accomplishes everything leading to New Jerusalem.

Rev. 19: Christ is our fine garments. These qualify us 1) to attend the marriage dinner of the Lamb, 2) to be part of His victorious army, and 3) to participate in New Jerusalem.

Rev. 20: the millennium in verses 20:4-6 has many parallels with New Jerusalem.

Rev. 20: in the second half of the chapter, Jesus Christ, the Son of Man who has been given all judgement (John 5:26-27), clears up everything to bring in the new creation.

New JerusalemRev. 21: verse 2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Rev. 21: in verse 22 John saw no temple in New Jerusalem, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. God and Jesus Christ are the living temple of the city. There is no physical temple.

Rev. 22: in verse 2 is the tree of life, a symbol of Jesus Christ, who is our life and our life supply now and eternally.

 

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   18-19 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit, the central subject, of Revelation. Throughout Revelation Jesus Christ is carrying out God’s economy to eliminate God’s enemies and to develop His corporate testimony, which consummates with New Jerusalem. Now we come to chapters 18-19.

Revelation 18:1 says, “I saw another Angel coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was illumined with His glory.” This Angel is Jesus Christ. He is the One with great authority. He is also the One who fills the earth with glory, by Himself here and later through New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIs Jesus Christ an Angel? Yes! The Greek word means a messenger, someone sent with a message. God sent Jesus Christ to us with the message of His salvation and His purpose.

After the judgement in chapter 18, chapter 19 begins with praise, “a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the power are of our God.”

In 19:5 is the exhortation, “Praise our God, all His slaves and those who fear Him, the small and the great.” We are His slaves both in this time and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3). A primary duty is to praise Him. In 19:6 the response to the exhortation is “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.”

This voice of the multitude marks the start of the next age with the visible kingdom of God on earth, brought in by the prior judgements and by the visible second coming of Jesus Christ. This is the first stage of the visible kingdom; New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage.

Photo courtesy of Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

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