New Jerusalem is Eternal

#NewJerusalemWe had recent posts on Eternal Life and New Jerusalem. Now we look at other eternal matters in the New Testament and how they relate to New Jerusalem.

First, God is eternal. And God is on the throne in New Jerusalem. He is the eternal center and the eternal nature of the city. The eternal God is incorruptible (1 Tim. 1:17), making New Jerusalem incorruptible.

God is also “the Father of lights, with whom is no variation or shadow cast by turning” (James 1:17). Because He is eternal, He has no variations. And He is the light of New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:23, “the city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

The Lord Jesus died on the cross and “through His own blood, centered once for all into the Holy of Holies, obtaining an eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12). This eternal redemption is for now and for New Jerusalem, where it is eternally displayed by the Lamb on the throne (Rev. 22:1).

After His death, God raised our Lord Jesus “in the blood of an eternal covenant” (Heb. 13:20). This eternal covenant/agreement/contract includes New Jerusalem, the eternal city. Based on His eternal redemption and covenant, the Lord is now “the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9). The salvation we received includes our eternal participation in New Jerusalem.

Also, through His death and resurrection, the way is open that we “might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15). This is not an earthly nor a physical inheritance but “incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you” (1 Peter 1:4). Ultimately this heavenly, eternal inheritance, New Jerusalem, will “come down out of heaven” (Rev. 21:10).

Eternal Life and New Jerusalem (5)

New JerusalemFirst John 1:2: “And the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and report to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us.” This life was first manifested through the incarnation and human living of the Lord Jesus. It will be fully manifested by New Jerusalem.

This eternal life brings us fellowship with God and with one another (v. 3, 7). This fellowship is for this time and will continue ever richer into eternity in New Jerusalem.

To announce this life to one another is a matter of joy now (v. 4). This life will also fill New Jerusalem with joy. Furthermore, in this life we have God, who is light (v. 5). This light is within us now and will characterize New Jerusalem as a city with God in the Lamb as its light (Rev. 21:11, 23).

In New Jerusalem there will be no sin, so there will be no further need of confessing sins (v. 9). But, the Lamb will be in the city (Rev. 21:22-23, 22:1, 3) as a reminder that He is the One who “took away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).

Verse 8 speaks about the truth (reality). This truth is Jesus Christ Himself (John 14:6) both now and in New Jerusalem.

Verse 9 tells us that God is faithful and righteous to forgive the sins we confess. In New Jerusalem there will be no more sinning so no more confessing of sins, but God will still be faithful and righteous, and we will still “openly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:11). And we will “see His face” (Rev. 22:4).

All of these blessings in 1 John 1 characterize Christian life today and in New Jerusalem. It is a city of eternal life, eternal fellowship, eternal joy, eternal light, eternal truth (reality), and the eternal presence of the faithful and righteous God.

Photo courtesy of Heather Martin.

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.

Nothing Abominable in New Jerusalem

This continues occasional posts about what is NOT in New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:8 declares, “But 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 JerusalemThis verse lists eight categories of people and actions which will not be in New Jerusalem. The verse begins but. This indicates a contrast. The prior phrase (21:7) is, “I will be God to him, and he will be a son to Me.” This indicates that the eight categories have not been born of God to be His sons.

The word to the Galatian believers (and to us) is, “you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” New Jerusalem is composed of all who are sons of God through faith. This includes the Old Testament people of faith. Hebrews 11:16 speaks about them: “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.”

Revelation 21:27 is similar to 21:8, “anything common and he who makes an abomination and a lie shall by no means enter into it [New Jerusalem].” Verse 27 continues, “only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life [will enter New Jerusalem].” Like son in 21:7, this word indicates that participation in New Jerusalem is a matter of life. Since the nations around New Jerusalem will bring their glory and honor into New Jerusalem (21:26), they too must be in the Lamb’s book of life.

Our goal is not merely to be saved from negative things, but to be built together in the eternal life for God’s dwelling today, which develops unto New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God and the Lamb are the Temple

John the apostle, speaking about New Jerusalem, tells us, “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Rev. 21:22).

New JerusalemThere is no physical temple, no material “house of worship,” no “going to church,” in New Jerusalem. In this wonderful city we will worship God in God and the Lamb. Our priestly service to God will be in God and the Lamb.

Worshipping and serving God in God and the Lamb is a principle in the entire New Testament. The Lord Jesus first revealed this in John 4. The Samaritan woman asked whether the mountain of Samaria or Jerusalem is the proper place to worship. The Lord answered “an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father” (v. 21).

He continued, “An hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truthfulness, for the Father also seeks such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness” (v. 23-24).

“An hour is coming” points to the Lord’s resurrection. That “hour” is when the resurrected Lord breathed into His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). From that time we worship in spirit. And we will continue to do so in New Jerusalem.

Yes, Christians should gather together (in small or large numbers) for our priestly service to God. But the physical location is not important; it could be outside or in a home or in another building. The important matter is to worship in spirit. God is spirit and our worship in spirit is in oneness with Him.

In New Jerusalem we will all be together in resurrection and will have no need of a physical location. There we will all worship God and the Lamb in the city’s temple, the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.

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.

Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 21 (2)

In Revelation 21 we see New Jerusalem in the new creation. Many prior posts addressed accomplishments by Jesus Christ to bring us here. Now we see the same wonderful Person as the center of the new creation.

In verse 21:6 He says “I am the Alpha and the Omega*, the Beginning and the End. I will give to him who thirsts from the spring of the water of life freely.” What He began in eternity past, and continued through His incarnation, human living, death, and resurrection, has come to an eternal conclusion.

New JerusalemEven in New Jerusalem, He is not only our Omega and End but He is still our Alpha and our Beginning. And the water of life He freely gives flows out of His throne (22:1).

In verses 9-11 New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” and is seen, “having the glory of God.” The Lamb, Jesus Christ, is the Husband and He is also the glory of New Jerusalem. This “glory of Christ” first comes to us in the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4) and develops in us to His second coming (2 Thes. 1:10), consummating in the glory of New Jerusalem.

Verses 12 to 21 describe New Jerusalem. In verse 22 John says, “I saw no temple in it, 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.

In verse 23, “The city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” God in Jesus Christ is the light of the city. There is no need for physical light. God in Christ as the real light is first seen in Matthew 4:13-16 and is consummated in illuminating New Jerusalem.

*The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.

 

New Jerusalem Like a Precious Jasper Stone

In God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, stones are living persons. Jesus Christ is a living and precious Stone. By coming to Him, we too are living stones for God’s building.

New Jerusalem has the glory of God and “Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” (Rev. 21:11). We know that this precious jasper stone is not physical because John saw “a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne there was One sitting; and He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance” (Rev. 4:2-3).

New JerusalemGod on the throne is like a jasper stone and a sardius stone. The light of New Jerusalem is like a jasper stone because God Himself is the light of the city. “The city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23).

“The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone” (Rev. 21:18). Because these foundations are plural, they are not Christ Himself. Rather, they are the apostles because, “the wall of the city had twelve founda-tions, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:14).

A recent inquiry asked who are the apostles named on the foundations of New Jerusalem. The Bible does not say and I will not speculate. But we do know that there are twelve foundations and that twelve signifies eternal completion and perfection. The ministry of the apostles in this age is for our transformation from clay to living stones and for our being built together now, to prepare the bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).

 

Where Our Heart is Determines Our Expectations for New Jerusalem

Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34 say, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” In these chapters the Lord Jesus tells us that our treasure is either earthly or heavenly. If we treasure earthly things, our heart will be earthly; if we treasure heavenly things, our heart will be heavenly. The condition of our heart determines our view of and expectations about New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIf we treasure earthly things, we will be people of anxiety, as in Matthew 6:24-34. In this anxious condition we are very susceptible and responsive to descriptions of New Jerusalem as having streets of material gold, physical mansions, very pleasant gardens, superb recreational facilities, etc.

In contrast, New Jerusalem is heavenly. Jesus Christ tells us that New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven from God (Rev. 3:12). New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage of God dwelling in man and man dwelling in God—John 15:4a, “Abide in Me and I in you.”

In New Jerusalem the Triune God is our all. The city “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11), “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (21:22), “its lamp is the Lamb” (21:23), the throne of God and the Lamb, the river of life (the Spirit), and the tree of life (Christ as our nourishment) are in the city (22:1-2), and we will see His face (22:4).

If our heart is set on heavenly things, we realize that these blessings are much more than material, corruptible riches. If our heart is set on earthly things, they become a veil, and we cannot see the reality of New Jerusalem. But, there is a promise for today: “Whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” Lord, I turn my heart to You now; save me from the veils to have a clear view of You and of New Jerusalem.

 

We Come Forward to Heavenly Jerusalem

Riches of God’s Glory, Now, New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is a city of glory. The apostle John saw “the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:10-11). “The city [New Jerusalem] has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23).

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem has the glory of God because it is saturated with God and hence expresses God. This expression is not simple because God is marvelously rich. New Jerusalem expresses the innumerable aspects of God’s being.

The word rich is not used in Revelation 21, but the riches of God’s glory are in other verses. Romans 9:23 tells us that God wants to “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory.”

Each of us was created as a vessel to contain God. God has already prepared us for His glory, even for the riches of His glory. Each of us as an individual is very limited, but together we will display the riches of His glory.

In Ephesians 1:17-18 Paul prayed that the Father of glory would give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation “that you may know…the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” These riches, like New Jerusalem, are not in the natural realm. This is why we need a spirit of wisdom and divine enlightening to see and know them.

Colossians 1:27 says “God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory.” We need not struggle, unsure of what will happen. No. The revelation of the riches of glory is God’s desire and He will accomplish it. We cooperate by opening ourselves; Father, give me a spirit of revelation and enlighten my heart  that I may see the riches of Your glory for now and for New Jerusalem. 

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

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.

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 138-145

New JerusalemWe continue looking at clear words and hints in Psalms about Christ, God’s house, God’s city, and God’s blessing to the whole earth. These point toward Christ on the throne in New Jerusalem at the center of the new earth.

Psalm 138:4-5 say, “All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O Jehovah; for they have heard the words of Your mouth. And they will sing of the ways of Jehovah, for great is the glory of Jehovah.” This corresponds with Revelation 21; verse 23 says the glory of God illumined New Jerusalem. Verse 23 also says the nations on new earth will bring their glory and honor into New Jerusalem (analogous to giving thanks in Psalm 138).

Psalm 144:3 says, “O Jehovah, what is man, that You take knowledge of him, And the son of man, that You think of him?” This repeats Psalm 8:4, quoted in Hebrews 2:6, and is in reference to Jesus Christ. Hebrews 2 goes on to speak of His incarnation, His death, His resurrection, and His being crowned with glory and honor in ascension. In New Jerusalem the Lamb, indicating incarnation and death, will be on the throne, indicating exaltation with glory and honor (Rev. 22:1).

Psalm 145:1-3 say, “I will extol You, O my God and King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is Jehovah, and much to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.”

In New Jerusalem we will extol and praise our God and King, and bless His name forever. And, although we will see, appreciate, and partake of His greatness, we will never reach its limit, for it is unsearchable. New Jerusalem will contain and display the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8).

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

 

The Son is the Brightness of God’s Glory, Both Now and in New Jerusalem

Hebrews 1:3 tells us that the Son of God, who is God (v. 8), is “the effulgence of His [God’s] glory.” This effulgence/radiance/brightness/brilliance° ‘is like the shining or the brightness of the light of the sun. The Son is the shining, the brightness, of the Father’s glory.’* This is true today and will be visible to all in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRevelation 21:11 says that New Jerusalem came down “having the glory of God” and verse 23 says “the glory of God illumined” the city New Jerusalem.

With Hebrews and Revelation together, we realize that New Jerusalem has the glory of God because the Son is in New Jerusalem, and that the glory of God illuminates the city because God in the Son shines in it.

God’s glory radiating through Jesus was seen when He took three disciples up the mountain. Matthew 17:2, “He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light.” This was a foretaste of the glory of New Jerusalem.

The brilliance on the mountain was temporary but the Lord told us people “will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30). This will be His visible return to earth, preparing the way to New Jerusalem.

In Matthew 24:30, as well as 16:27 and 25:31, Jesus speaks of the Son of Man coming in glory. Hebrews speaks of the effulgence of the Son of God. Both are true because Jesus Christ is both Man and God.

The mountain, the Lord’s coming on the clouds, and New Jerusalem descending introduce three stages of the Son as the brightness of God’s glory.

° various translations, thanks to biblehub.com.
* from footnote on Heb. 1:3 in NT Recovery Version Online.
Photo via Good Free Photos.

 

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