New Jerusalem: the Conclusion of the Bible

In Revelation 21:1-2 John tells us, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth….And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem. This is the central part of the conclusion of the Bible.

In Revelation 21:1-8 we have a brief and clear presentation of biblical eschatology°. Here, in the new heaven and new earth [v. 1], we see the New Jerusalem [v. 2] composed of God’s sons [v. 5-7], the restored nations as the peoples [v. 3-4], and the lake of fire [v. 8]. The lake of fire will, in a negative way, show forth God’s righteousness, for all who are in it will suffer God’s righteous judgment. But the New Jerusalem will, in a positive way, show forth God’s holiness and shine with His glory. This is a clear picture of the eschatology in the New Testament.*

New JerusalemThese verses show us three conclusions. Surely we should choose New Jerusalem. Our choice is made now, not at the time the new heaven and new earth appear.

Our first step toward New Jerusalem is to believe into the Lord Jesus. He died to accomplish redemption. We respond by confessing that we are sinners and that we receive His forgiveness.

He rose from the dead to regenerate all who believe. This is His coming into the believing people to be their new life, their eternal life. This life grows in us to renew us and to develop in us a living that matches New Jerusalem. Choose Jesus Christ today!

The Conclusion of the New Testament, vol. 16, chapter 11, by Witness Lee, © LSM

° a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind,
__a definition from www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary

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New Jerusalem is the Totality of the Divine Sonship

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:5-7 “He who sits on the throne said…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. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be God to him, and he will be a son to Me.”

Revelation 21:3-4 are God’s blessings to the nations on the new earth around New Jerusalem. Verses 5 to 7 are God’s blessings on His sons who are constituted into New Jerusalem.

Verse 7 tells us that the sons of God will inherit “these things.” These things are the spring and the water of life mentioned in verse 6. The spring and the water of life will be our inheritance for our eternal enjoyment. The sons of God are the components of the New Jerusalem. As such, they are a different category from the peoples, the restored nations.

In 21:7 we have the conclusion of the entire revelation in the New Testament concerning the divine sonship. Ephesians 1:5 says that we were predestinated unto sonship; Romans 8:29, that we are being conformed to the image of God’s firstborn Son; and Hebrews 2:10, that God is leading many sons into glory. Hence, the New Testament reveals that God’s intention is to produce sons and that the New Jerusalem is the totality of the divine sonship.*

New Jerusalem as the totality of the divine sonship is a corporate man mingled with the Triune God to be His expression as the fulfillment of His eternal purpose.

* The Conclusion of the New Testament, vol. 16, chapter 11, by Witness Lee, © LSM


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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

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The Peoples on the New Earth

“I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall tabernacle with them, and they shall be His peoples, and God Himself shall be with them. And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain—they shall be no more; for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:3-4)

Revelation 21:3 and 4 speak not of the New Jerusalem but of the peoples on the new earth….The [plural] word peoples in verse 3 indicates that these verses apply not to the saints but to the restored nations on the new earth. As God’s redeemed, we are His unique [singular] people (1 Pet. 2:9; Titus 2:14), whereas the restored nations are His peoples, those for whom the kingdom was prepared from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34) but not before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4)….Therefore, we should not misapply these verses in Revelation 21 by applying them to the saints in the New Jerusalem. Verse 4 refers not to the blessings we will enjoy in the New Jerusalem but to the blessings to be enjoyed by the restored nations on the new earth.*

New JerusalemAll Scripture is God-breathed. Even small differences, such as people or peoples, are significant. Likewise, the time difference between Matthew 25 and Ephesians 1 is significant.

New Jerusalem is composed of God and His redeemed, regenerated, and glorified people. These nations are composed of unregenerated people who cared for the Lord’s believers during the tribulation (Matt. 25:31-40) and did not follow Satan in the last rebellion (Rev. 20:8-9). These peoples will dwell around but are separate from New Jerusalem.

* The Conclusion of the New Testament, vol. 16, chapter 11, by Witness Lee, © LSM

More about the peoples: Built Into or Living Around New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem: Satisfaction in Love and Rest in Expression

New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb,” Jesus Christ, and also “the tabernacle of God” (Rev. 21:2-3). These characteristics are not new at the conclusion of the Bible; they occur often throughout the Bible.

In both the Old and the New Testaments God likens His chosen people to a spouse (Isa. 54:6; Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 16:8; Hosea 2:19; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:31-32) and a dwelling place for Himself (Exo. 29:45-46; Num. 5:3; Ezek. 43:7-9; Psa. 68:18; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Tim. 3:15). The spouse is for His satisfaction in love, and the dwelling place is for His rest in expression. Both aspects will be ultimately consummated in the New Jerusalem. In her, God will have the fullest satisfaction in love and the uttermost rest in expression for eternity.*

The love between God and His people is important throughout the Bible. The books of Moses are, on one hand, filled with laws, commands, and ordinances. On the other hand, they often speak about our heart and our loving God. The Lord Jesus repeated this in John 14:21, 23, coupling loving Him and keeping His commandments. Second John 6 says the same.

New JerusalemIn Ephesians 3:17 we are “being rooted and grounded in love.” And 4:16 has “the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.” The building up of the Body of Christ in love is the preparation of New Jerusalem to be His loving bride. Likewise in Colossians 2:2 we are “knit together in love.”

Lord, increase our loving You daily. Make us those who “who have loved Your appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). Bring us onward to New Jerusalem

* Conclusion of the New Testament, The, chapter 13, by Witness Lee

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New Jerusalem is Prepared by Our Participation in the Riches of Christ

In Revelation 21:2-3 New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb, Christ and is also the tabernacle of God.

As the bride of the Lamb, the New Jerusalem comes out of Christ, her Husband, and becomes His counterpart, just as Eve came out of Adam, her husband, and became His counterpart (Gen. 2:21-24). She is prepared by participating in the riches of the life and nature of Christ the Lamb. As the tabernacle of God, the New Jerusalem is built by God with what He is. It is wholly constituted of the nature of God to be His habitation.*

New JerusalemMultiple verses speak of the riches of Christ as the preparation of the Body of Christ, the forerunner of New Jerusalem as the bride. Philippians 1:19 focuses on the preparation of each individual member.

Paul tells us, “I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Paul was in prison but could experience the riches of Christ there for living Christ to magnify Him (1:20-21).

Ephesians 3:14-19 focuses on our corporate preparation. Paul prayed for the believers, that our Father “would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man.” The result of this strengthening is that the believers corporately are rooted (for life supply) and grounded (for building) to apprehend together the vastness of Christ and be filled to all the fullness of God.

The consummation is glory to God, now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem.


* Conclusion of the New Testament, The, chapter 13, by Witness Lee

More about The Unsearchable Riches of Christ and New Jerusalem
and The Riches and Fullness of the Triune God

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New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:1-8

This is a summary of the recent posts on Revelation 21:1-8, which review life on the new earth emphasizing the details about New Jerusalem. Each verse is followed by the title with a link to related posts.

New Jerusalem

Verse 1: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more.”

New Heaven and New Earth

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

John Saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem is Holy with God’s Holiness
New Jerusalem is the City of the Great King
New Jerusalem is Divinely New
New Jerusalem is the Foundation of Peace
New Jerusalem is on Earth from God
New Jerusalem is Heavenly, On Earth
New Jerusalem Comes Down, Prepared
New Jerusalem is the Bride of Christ
New Jerusalem is Adorned with Christ
New Jerusalem is the Bride, Jesus Christ is the Husband

Verses 3-4: “And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them, and they will be His peoples, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death will be no more, nor will there be sorrow or crying or pain anymore; for the former things have passed away.”

A Loud Voice out of the Throne
Behold the Tabernacle of God is with Men
Life on New Earth around New Jerusalem

Verses 5-6: “And He who sits on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said, Write, for these words are faithful and true. And He said to me, They have come to pass. 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.”

The Throne and All Things New
The Faithful and True Words of God
The Water of Life, Now and New Jerusalem

Verses 7-8: “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be God to him, and he will be a son to Me. 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.”

Overcome to Inherit God’s Blessings
God is Leading Many Sons into Glory

God is Leading Many Sons into Glory

Continuing in Revelation 21:7, we read “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and
I will be God to him, and he will be a son to Me.” This word continues the blessings in the foregoing verses, and is spoken in response to New Jerusalem coming down out of the new heaven onto the new earth.New Jerusalem

We overcome by believing and thus being born of God, receiving His overcoming life. In this life relationship He is God to us and we are His sons. In this life all the sons of God are constituted the corporate expression of God, New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem, like the church today
(1 Tim. 3:15-16), is both the house, the dwelling place, of God and the house-hold, the family, all the sons, of God. His leading of all His sons is in Hebrews 2:10—God made Christ, the Author of our salvation, perfect through sufferings* and thereby God is “leading many sons into glory,” many sons into the city of glory, New Jerusalem.

In contrast to this wonderful destination, Revelation 21:8 speaks of all the evil in the lake of fire, the second death. In Revelation 21:1-8 there are three categories of people: the sons of God constituting New Jerusalem, the nations (including the sheep in Matt. 25) around New Jerusalem, and the evil people in the lake of fire.

We who have believed into Jesus Christ are sons of God and will be in New Jerusalem. May many more believe and be led into glory!


* This does not imply that there was any imperfection of virtue or attribute in Jesus, but only that the completing of His experience of human sufferings was needed to make Him fit to become the Author, the Leader, of His followers’ salvation. (part of Heb. 2:10, footnote 5 in the online Recovery Version NT, © LSM)

Overcome to Inherit God’s Blessings

Revelation 21:7 promises, “He who overcomes will inherit these things…” The footnote on overcomes in the Recovery Version NT says “Here overcome means to overcome by believing, as in 1 John 5:4-5….The overcoming here qualifies all believers to participate in the New Jerusalem with all its enjoyment as the common portion of God’s eternal salvation.”

New JerusalemFirst John 5:4-5: “For everything that has been begotten of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory which has overcome the world—our faith. And who is he who overcomes the world except him who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

We believe and we are begotten of God and His life in us is our overcoming. By this overcoming we inherit the blessings described in the foregoing verses.

These blessings include the whole of New Jerusalem (21:2); no tears, no death, no sorrow, no pain (21:4); all things made new (21:5); and to drink the water of life freely (21:6). The blessings also include the Triune God with His attributes mentioned in these verses—faithful, true, the Beginning and the End.

The source of our inheritance is our new birth by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord sent Saul (Acts 26:18) “to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” Even this faith is a gift from God.

Abraham’s going out by faith (Heb. 11:8) and the charge to Saul both point toward New Jerusalem and our eternal inheritance.

Photo courtesy of Burning Well.

The Water of Life, Now and New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:6 concludes, “I will give to him who thirsts from the spring of the
New Jerusalemwater of life freely
.”

In 21:6, God is the Beginning and the End. In His eternal view He has fulfilled all that He planned. In our limited view, He is still working, and while we are on the bridge of time between eternity past and eternity future, we should cooperate with what God is doing in us.

While God is working in us to apply His eternal accomplishments in us, He is also fully willing to satisfy us with Himself. This satisfaction is “the spring of the water of life” which comes to us “freely.”

This spring is not only in New Jerusalem in eternity. The Lord Jesus offers it to us today. John 4:10 has His promise, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” Verse 14 continues, “the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water gushing up into eternal life.”

The woman in John 4 drank the living water and we drink today. We have all “been given to drink one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). This water is available to everyone; “the Spirit and the bride say, let him who is thirsty come; let him who wills take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17). Lord, bring many to drink living water now!

And eternally in New Jerusalem is the “river of water of life, bright as crystal.”

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The Faithful and True Words of God

New JerusalemRevelation 21:5b-6a says, “And He said, Write, for these words are faithful and true. And He said to me, They have come to pass. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.”

The words of the Lamb-God on the throne are faithful and true because His person is faithful and true. Everything God speaks, He accomplishes.

In His eternal view everything is already accomplished. That is why He says, “they have come to pass.” And that is why John was able to say “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem” and why he saw so many other things. We are limited by time but God is eternal, unlimited.

God is “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and omega is the last letter. God is not only the Alpha, the Beginning, He is also the Accomplisher, the Completer, the Omega, the End. Everything He has planned from eternity, is, in His eternal view, already complete.

John saw New Jerusalem in a new creation and described the blessings therein. Although we do not have the complete view of the finished work, by faith we accept it and agree with it. This is Hebrews 11:1; faith substantiates the unseen things. Furthermore, we have the inner, spiritual foretaste of New Jerusalem because we are already a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).

“They have come to pass” in verse 6 refers to the foregoing words including New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven.

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The Throne and All Things New

Revelation 21:5 says, “And He who sits on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said, Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

In New Jerusalem at the center of the new creation, there is a throne. This throne is for God’s administration of the universe. To His redeemed people, the constituents of New Jerusalem, it is also “the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16) where we receive mercy and find grace, both today and eternally.

This throne is “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1). There is only one throne
New Jerusalembecause God and the Lamb are one. The Lord Jesus told us “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) and “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:10). Because They are one, there is one throne. This is the throne of the redeeming Lamb-God (Rev. 22:1).

This One says, “I make all things new.” Men claim to invent and make many new things but all of this is in the old, fallen creation. None of it is new in God’s sight.

The new heaven, new earth, and New Jerusalem will be new because everything of the old creation will have been terminated. The entire universe will be new. Only God can do this, because only God can terminate sin, death, and Satan, the primary factors which made the old creation old. And only the redeeming Lamb-God can bring us out of oldness to make us His new creation, His new city, Jerusalem (2 Cor. 5:17).

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Life on New Earth around New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:4 continues from verse 3, “And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death will be no more, nor will there be sorrow or crying or pain anymore; for the former things have passed away.” This
New Jerusalemverse describes God’s blessings to the nations living around New Jerusalem. Surely God’s redeemed people who are built into New Jerusalem will also enjoy these blessings and also much more.

Tears, death, sorrow, and pain will be no more in the new creation. This was prophesied in Isaiah 65:17, “I am now creating new heavens and a new earth, and the former things will not be remembered, nor will they come up in the heart.”

The former things are of the old creation. Not only have they passed away but even more they will not arise in men’s hearts.

All of the former things are results of the fall of man. In Genesis 1–2 there was no sorrow, no pain, and no death. These all came into humanity through the fall. Romans 5:12: “through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin, death.”

Through His death Christ redeemed us from sin (Titus 2:14), nullified death (2 Tim. 1:10), and destroyed the devil (Heb. 2:14). Although the full effect of these accomplishments is not yet manifest, by the time of Revelation 20 all negative things will go to the lake of fire.

This is a brief look at the blessings to be enjoyed by people living around New Jerusalem on the new earth.

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