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.

 

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.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 22-27

Here is another group of verses from Psalms, verses which in some way point toward Christ, house, city, earth and thereby are previews of New Jerusalem.

Psalm 22:1-21 speaks of the death of Christ; several verses are quoted in the New Testament. Through His death we have been redeemed and through His resurrection we have been regenerated; these steps together bring us into New Jerusalem.

Psalm 22:26, “Those who seek after Jehovah will praise Him—may your hearts live forever!” Let us seek Him today!
Psalm 22:27-28, “All the ends of the earth will remember and return to Jehovah…for the kingdom is Jehovah’s, and He rules among the nations.” Surely this points to all the nations surrounding New Jerusalem.

Psalm 23:1, “Jehovah is my Shepherd; I will lack nothing.” Christ is shepherding us now.

Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of Jehovah for the length of my days.” Surely goodness and lovingkindness will be in New Jerusalem and we will dwell there for eternity.

New JerusalemPsalm 24:1, “The earth is Jehovah’s, and its fullness, the habitable land and those who dwell in it.” This will be visible in the kingdom and in eternity on the new earth.
Psalm 24:10, “Who is this King of glory? Jehovah of hosts – He is the King of glory!” The King of glory fills New Jerusalem; “the glory of God illumined it [New Jerusalem]” (Rev. 21:23).

Psalm 26:8, “O Jehovah, I love the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory abides.” I love God and I love New Jerusalem as God’s house and city, where His glory abides.

Psalm 27:4, “One thing I have asked from Jehovah; that do I seek: to dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of Jehovah, and to inquire in His temple.” In the church today and in New Jerusalem eternally we dwell in Jehovah’s house and behold His beauty.

 

All Fall Short of the Glory of New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

Romans 3:23 says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” While reading Romans 3 I was touched with the paraphrase in the subject line of this post. New Jerusalem is the ultimate display of God’s glory, so to fall short of the glory is to fall short of New Jerusalem.

The holy city Jerusalem…having the glory of God
Revelation 21:10-11
The glory of God illumined it [New Jerusalem]
Revelation 21:23

Sin separated man from God and man was shut out of the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:22-24). Thus man had no access to the tree of life. In New Testament terms, man had no access to eternal life, hence no way to express God’s glory.

The real expression of every living being is the demonstration of the life within that being. An apple tree bears apple blossoms and fruit because of its life. A dog sniffs and barks because of its life. Unsaved human beings express both good (from created life) and evil (from indwelling sin).

Regenerated human beings should exhibit, from eternal life within, the glory of God in a limited way now and in a full way in New Jerusalem. However, regeneration is not sufficient. The life of regeneration must spread and expand in us. This is “much more to be saved in His life” (Rom. 5:10). “Much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).

May we all long for the much more life and receive the abundance of grace until we are reigning in this life and the glory is brought forth. Lord, cause me to participate in the much more salvation of Your life. Spread life in me so that Your glory can be expressed through me. Lord, bring forth the glory of New Jerusalem now!

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