Glory, Now to New Jerusalem

Our present sufferings bring forth eternal glory. Posts on this connection touched verses in John and Acts, Romans and 2 Corinthians, more in Romans, 2 Corinthians (again) and Philippians, Colossians and 2 Thessalonians, 1 Peter, and again 1 Peter.

New JerusalemRevelation moves from “John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus” (1:9) to New Jerusalem, “having the glory of God” (21:11). While we also partake of the tribulation in Jesus and are supplied by the endurance in Jesus, we look away to Jesus and to the glory of God filling New Jerusalem.

First Peter 1:11 speaks of “the sufferings of Christ and the glories after these.” The Lord Jesus Christ suffered and then entered into His glory in His resurrection (Luke 24:26, 46). Also, after “the suffering of death” He was “crowned with glory and honor,” in His exaltation (Heb. 2:9). At His visible return to earth, He “comes in His glory” (Matt. 25:31). He will also be glorious in the kingdom age and in New Jerusalem.

With us, there is some glory now, mostly hidden within us. As believers in Jesus Christ, we “exult with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). We are being transformed from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor. 3:18). And, “the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him” (2 Thes. 1:12).

One aspect of the Lord’s return is that He “comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed” (2 Thes. 1:10). At that time He will “present the church to Himself glorious” (Eph. 5:27). This glorious church will continue to radiate His glory in the time of the kingdom and as His wife, New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Created for the Glory of New Jerusalem

In Isaiah 43 God speaks of gathering His scattered people, “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created, formed, and even made for My glory” (v. 7).

The words create, form, and make all appear in Genesis 1–2 (e.g. 1:1, 26; 2:4, 7-8). The declaration in Isaiah 43:7 shows us that all God’s work from the beginning of creation has a goal—His glory. God created us not merely to live a good human life. God put man in the garden of Eden with the tree of life. This is a picture of God wanting to be life to us.

New JerusalemThis picture in Genesis 2 is before sin, before death, before the curse, before rebellion against God. God being life to us is not a reaction to these negatives. God wants His life to be received by us, to be in us for His glory.

The tree of life is also in New Jerusalem. Christ has become life to all His believers and is our life eternally. This life operates in us to transform us and build us together to be His corporate Body in this age and to be the city of New Jerusalem in eternity.

This is “for God’s glory.” New Jerusalem “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). The glory of God illuminates New Jerusalem (21:23). And, because the city is like clear, transparent glass (21:11, 18, 21), God’s illuminating glory will shine out through the city.

In these verses we see three steps. First, God created, formed, and made us. Second, God in Christ became life to us. Third, the result is God’s glory. These three steps cover the entire Bible, from creation to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Come Forward to the Throne of Grace

New JerusalemGod meets with us in the holy of holies between the cherubim of glory above the propitiation place. This meeting place is also the throne of grace. Because the throne of grace is in the holy of holies, Hebrews encourages us to come forward both to the holy of holies (10:19-22) and to the throne of grace (4:16).

Today the holy of holies is our human spirit, where Christ dwells in us. To touch Him, to be with Him, is the be in the holy of holies and to come to the throne of grace. To come forward is an exercise today and will be our perpetual living in New Jerusalem.

The encouragement to come forward is captured in a song (music). The first words are:
__In the holiest place, touch the throne of grace, Grace as a river shall flow.
The chorus is, Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Grace as a river shall flow.
Grace flowing from the throne is equivalent to the river of life flowing from the throne of New Jerusalem.

The second verse of the song says:
__In the holiest place, live before His face, Light of glory thru me will shine.
This is equivalent to New Jerusalem, in which we see God’s face and His light shines on us (Rev. 22:4-5). And because the entire New Jerusalem, including us, will be transparent, pure, clear (Rev. 21:11, 18, 21), light of glory will shine not only on us but also through us.

We can rejoice with the last verse of the song:
__Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Touch the living fountain of life.
In John 4:14 the Lord promised in us “a fountain of water gushing up into eternal life.” Today He is the fountain in our spirit and this life will flow in and through us forever in New Jerusalem.

The Shadow of the Living Temple (2)

Jesus alone (John 2), then all His believers (2 Cor. 6:16), consummating in New Jerusalem, is the living temple. The Bible also has a material, physical temple, a shadow, a portrait of this reality. This shadow shows us the good, heavenly things to come in Christ. But what need was there for that shadow?

Because of the fall of man, in Genesis 3 man was shut out from the reality. As a result, before Christ came, there was a need of shadows. Then, through incarnation, the reality came to man. John 1:17 speaks of this contrast: “the law was given through Moses; grace and reality came [literally become, came into existence] through Jesus Christ.”

#NewJerusalemThe reality came, and through His redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection we can participate in this reality. We have no more need for shadows!

The shadows came because of the fall, but we can receive some spiritual vision from them. This is somewhat like the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words. The physical tabernacle and temple, the shadows, show us something about the living temple including New Jerusalem.

One thing we see is that the Old Testament temple was constructed with gold, wood, and stone. This is a picture of God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, built with the divine nature, the humanity of Jesus, and the transformed members of His Body.

The dimensions of the tabernacle and temple show us that the Holy of Holies, their innermost chamber, is a cube. These cubes demonstrate that New Jerusalem, a cube (Rev. 21:16), is the eternal holy of holies. Furthermore, the fact that the whole of New Jerusalem is the holy of holies tells us that we all have been fully brought into God’s presence. Wonderful!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is Heavenly on Earth (2)

Hebrews 11:16 tells us that the Old Testament people of faith, living on the physical earth, “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.” We likewise live in an earthly environment but should have the same longing for a heavenly one.

#NewJerusalemGod’s response to our longing is that He has prepared a heavenly city. This is “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22). Although it is a heavenly city, John saw it “coming down out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:2, 10). New Jerusalem is a heavenly city on earth.

The first half of Hebrews 8 tells us that the Old Testament tabernacle was a shadow of the heavenly things (v. 5). Both this chapter and the following one speak of the Holy of Holies. Verse 9:8 says that “the way of the Holy of Holies has not yet been manifested while the first tabernacle still has its standing.”

That “first tabernacle” stood during the first, the old, covenant. Now that Jesus Christ has come, died, and risen, the new covenant has been established and the way to the holy of holies is open. This New Testament holy of holies is the heavenly one, the New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is the heavenly holy of holies because it is a cube, like the smaller holy of holies in the tabernacle and the temple. Revelation 21:16 declares that New Jerusalem is a cube, saying, “the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.”

The way to this heavenly holy of holies is open! Jesus Christ has opened the way for us! We cannot see the way physically but we can come forward in faith. Hebrews 10:22: “Let us come forward to the Holy of Holies with a true heart in full assurance of faith;” our foretaste of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

Not Outside of New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:15 says, “Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and makes a lie.” Outside means outside the city, New Jerusalem, in verse 14.

Where is this outside location? Revelation 21:8 tells us, “The cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the false, their part will be in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

New JerusalemAll of these negatives are outside because New Jerusalem is holy (Rev. 21:2), pure (21:18, 21), bright and clean (19:8). We might think that we are clean, but we are not clean up to the standard of New Jerusalem.

Only God is holy, pure, bright, and clean. Thank Him that He has come to us in Christ Jesus. Now we can repent and receive Christ. Furthermore, every day we can confess our sins and He will “cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

We are also clean by letting the Lord’s word come to us (John 15:3), pure by His working within us (Phil. 1:6, 10) and by obedience to the truth and brotherly love (1 Peter 1:22), and bright by taking our Lord Jesus as the bright One (Rev. 22:16).

God in Christ becomes our holiness to constitute us part of the holy city, New Jerusalem. Our Lord Jesus establishes our hearts “blameless in holiness” (1 Thes. 3:13) and our Father disciplines us “that we might partake of His holiness” (Heb. 12;10). And Christ is sanctifying the church, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word so that the church will be holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:26-27).

We praise and thank our Lord Jesus Christ that He is the One who qualifies us to be in New Jerusalem, the holy, pure, bright, and clean city.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

No Money in New Jerusalem & New Creation

In considering what will not be in New Jerusalem I was attracted to Luke 16:9 where the Lord Jesus tells us that money, the mammon* of unrighteousness, will fail. There will be no money in New Jerusalem.

All forms of human wealth are corruptible and unrighteousness and generate greed, as in the following verses. Hence no money, no human wealth, will be in New Jerusalem.
❖ “Corruptible things…silver or gold…” (1 Peter 1:18)
❖ “The mammon of unrighteousness” (Luke 16:9)
❖ “The deceitfulness of riches” (Matt 13:22)
❖ “The love of money is a root of all evils” (1 Tim. 6:10)
❖ “Put to death…greediness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5)

New JerusalemDo not imagine that the gold, pearls, and precious stones in the description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 are corruptible physical riches. No. These represent precious, divine materials: God’s nature, Christ’s redemption, and the Spirit’s work in us.

The wealth of New Jerusalem is the “surpassing riches of God’s grace” (Eph. 2:7) and the  “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8). These riches are not only in New Jerusalem but also for us today. For example, in Ephesians 3:16 Paul prayed that God would strengthen us into our inner man “according to the riches of His glory.”

The Lord concludes His speaking in Luke 16 about unrighteous mammon saying, “No household servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Let us declare, Lord Jesus, I love You; I give myself to serve You. Lord, save me from mammon.

Here are my other “NO” posts, showing what is NOT in New Jerusalem.
New Jerusalem: No Darkness, No Death
Neither Sin nor Death in New Jerusalem
No Tree of Knowledge in New Jerusalem
No Unrighteousness in New Jerusalem
Neither Sin nor Satan in New Jerusalem
No Curse in New Jerusalem
Neither Tears nor Sorrow nor Crying nor Pain in New Jerusalem
NO Physical Gold in New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem: No Night There
No Night in New Jerusalem
No Beasts in or near New Jerusalem
In the Garden of Eden but not in New Jerusalem

* Mammon is an Aramaic word meaning money. At biblehub.com some versions have mammon of unrighteousness, others worldly wealth or unrighteous wealth or unrighteous money. (Aramaic was the common language in Judea in the first century.)

Living, Precious Stones for New Jerusalem

Here is a summary of recent posts on Christ as the chosen, living, and precious Stone and His believers as living, precious stones. These stones are for God’s building today and for New Jerusalem.

Christ is the Chosen, Precious, Living Stone – In 1 Peter 2:4-8 Christ is a chosen, precious, living Stone. In Acts 4 and Eph. 2 He is the Cornerstone in whom we are built together.

We All are Living Stones for New Jerusalem – The Lord is the living Stone. By coming to Him, we become living stones for the building of God’s house today (1 Peter 2:4-5) which will grow into New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem Like a Precious Jasper Stone – God on the throne in Revelation 4 has the appearance of a jasper stone, and the whole city has the same appearance. New Jerusalem is the corporate expression of God on the throne.

Precious Faith Brings Forth Precious Stones for New Jerusalem – The precious faith we have received enables us to lay hold of the precious promises given to us by God (2 Peter 1:1, 4). By these we are constituted precious stones.

New Jerusalem Displays the Beauty of Christ – The twelve precious stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem, and the appearance of the whole city as a most precious jasper stone, display the beauty of the unsearchable riches of Christ.

New Jerusalem

Here are links to some older posts about the precious stones of New Jerusalem:

Precious Stones Adorn New Jerusalem – The preciousness is not external but is by the Spirit’s working within us.

Transformation Produces Precious Stones – The Spirit’s working within us transforms us so that the preciousness of Christ may be expressed through us.

Precious Stones on the Foundations – The twelve foundations each correspond to one precious stone; these declare the eternal perfection and fullness of the wall.

The Stones Express God – The whole of New Jerusalem, its wall, and its first foundation are all jasper, expressing the God who sits on the throne.

New Jerusalem Displays the Beauty of Christ

God’s New Testament building is in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20-21) and with all His believers as living stones.

God sitting on His throne has the appearance of a jasper stone (Rev. 4:3). New Jerusalem is glorious and has light like a most precious stone, a jasper stone, and the building of its wall is of jasper (Rev. 21:11, 18).

God, the One sitting on the throne in the center of the New Jerusalem, has the appearance of jasper; the wall, the circumference, of the city is made of jasper; and the light of the city is like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Therefore, the entire city will bear God’s appearance, God’s expression. This corresponds to the word in 1 John 3:2: “We know that if He is manifested, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him even as He is.” God and the believers will have the same appearance—the appearance of jasper.

In Revelation 21:19 and 20 the believers are symbolized by eleven other precious stones in addition to jasper. The other precious stones signify the riches of the beauty of Christ in different aspects for the foundation of God’s eternal dwelling. Christ is the foundation stone of God’s building in eternity, and all the precious stones are different aspects of the riches of Christ as the foundation.*

New JerusalemRevelation 21 presents twelve precious stones associated with New Jerusalem. Thank the Lord that these are not for a jewelry show but rather “signify the riches of the beauty of Christ in different aspects.” The riches of Christ are unsearchable and immeasurable.

The riches of Christ wrought into us will come forth as a display of His unlimited greatness. This is Romans 9:23, “In order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory” and Ephesians 2:7, “That He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

This display of His riches in glory and in the ages to come, corresponds with the precious stones of New Jerusalem.

*An excerpt from Conclusion of the New Testament, The by Witness Lee.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

God in Christ Shines via New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is pure: “the city was pure gold, like clear glass” (Rev. 21:18); “the street of the city was pure gold” (21:21); “bright and pure” (Rev. 19:8). These are the four occurrences of one Greek word in the description of New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:21 has the unique New Testament occurrence of a Greek word with related meaning. “The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” New Jerusalem is not only pure; the city is transparent.

We can grasp the sense of this transparency by looking at four related Greek words*, each of which occurs only once in the New Testament.
• We give heed to the Lord’s word, “as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19). The sense is light breaking through the darkness.
• Satan has blinded people, “that the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine on them” (2 Cor. 4:4). God wants to shine into people to save them from Satanic darkness.
• In Troas, Paul spoke, “until daybreak” (Acts 20:11). Again, light shining to replace darkness.
• The Son of God is “the effulgence of His glory” (Heb. 1:3). The effulgence/radiance/ brightness/brilliance° is not a thing, it is the Person.

My summary: New Jerusalem is pure and transparent so that God’s glory in Christ may brilliantly shine through the city to testify that all darkness has been displaced. Revelation 21:23: “the glory of God illumined New Jerusalem, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

*The main Greek word is διαυγής; others, in order shown, are διαυγάζω, αυγάζω, απαύγασμα, αυγή
°Various translations, thanks to biblehub.com
Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

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 LSM. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

Purified for New Jerusalem by Cooperating with the Lord

The Lord Jesus early in the New Testament said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). The New Testament concludes with New Jerusalem, “the city was pure gold” (Rev. 21:18) and in it we “will  see His face” (22:4).

New JerusalemIn ourselves we are not pure* in heart; we need the Lord’s cleansing*! And we can receive His cleansing! He cleansed our hearts in response to our faith and He cleanses us from unrighteousness when we confess our sins. These are two steps toward the purity of New Jerusalem.

We also need an experiential purification of our being. This requires our cooperation with the Lord.

First John 3:3 says, “everyone who has this hope [His second coming, v. 3:2] set on Him purifies himself, even as He is pure.” Here to purify ourselves is to abide in Christ by the teaching of the anointing (v. 2:27) and to live Him as our righteousness (v. 2:29).

Our cooperation with the Lord in purifying ourselves is also seen in 2 Timothy 2. “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness” (v. 19b). “If therefore anyone cleanses himself from these [vessels of dishonor, v. 20], he will be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, useful to the master, prepared unto every good work” (v. 21). “Flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (v. 22).

We can turn from the unrighteous things, respond to the inner anointing, and pursue Christian virtures by calling on the Lord with companions. Thus the Lord will purify us, gradually making our inward nature and condition match the pure gold of New Jerusalem.

*For the verses cited in this post, clean and pure both come from the same New Testament Greek noun and cleanses and purifies both come from the related Greek verb.

Purified by the Lord for New Jerusalem

In a recent Bible reading I was touched by a parallel between Matthew 5:8 and New Jerusalem. In Matthew the Lord says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Revelation 21:18 says, “the city was pure gold, like clear* glass” and 22:4a says, “they will see His face.”

New JerusalemMatthew has a wonderful promise and New Jerusalem completes the fulfillment. However, in ourselves we are not pure, so what should we do? We let the Lord purify us!

Hebrews 1:3 says that the Son, “having made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” By His death He accomplished purification and the success of this purification is testified by His resurrection and ascension.

Acts 15:9 says that the Lord cleanses/ purifies** our hearts by faith. When we believe into the Lord Jesus Christ, we become a new creation; our old things are cleansed away. That is the first step of cleansing; a change in position. This is a first step unto the purity of New Jerusalem.

First John 1:7 says, “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin,” and 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The blood He shed in His death has cleansed us from every sin before we believed. As we are enlightened by walking in the light and if we confess, His blood cleanses us from every sin after we believe. This is the second step of cleansing, purifying us from unrighteous acts in our present living.

A third step toward the purity of New Jerusalem is in the next post.

* The same Greek word as for “pure” earlier in this verse.
** The verb form of the same Greek word in Matthew 5 and Revelation 21; here and in 1 John 1.

%d bloggers like this: