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.

 

Inside of New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 21:8 and 22:15 speak of people who are not only outside New Jerusalem but also in the lake of fire.

These verses are the ultimate development of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, and Ephesians 5:5, which name many unrighteous things saying, “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” The kingdom which they will not inherit consummates in New Jerusalem with the throne of God and the Lamb as its center.

We, in ourselves, are not better than those people. The difference is that we have, by faith, received Christ as our righteousness. The first stage of this receiving is our initial repentance and believing in Christ. The continuing stage is our daily pursuit of Christ.

Our pursuing is to receive more of Him as our righteousness. “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). This reigning in life is more than having Christ as our objective righteousness. It is living Christ out as our daily righteousness.

Jesus Christ being our righteous living is portrayed in Revelation 19:8: New Jerusalem, the bride of Christ is “clothed in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.” These righteousnesses (plural) are the Christ we live out day by day.

This living is also 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.” Our washing is actually His washing of us in response to our confessing (1 John 1:9).

This washing gives us right to the tree of life, Christ as our life and life supply. By this supply we live Him out. His living through us is bright and pure, matching New Jerusalem, thereby bringing us into it in reality. Thank Him that He enables us to be inside New Jerusalem and not outside.

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.

Neither Tears nor Sorrow nor Crying nor Pain in New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:4 proclaims that God “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.” None of these negatives will be in New Jerusalem nor will they be anywhere in the new creation.

New JerusalemRevelation 21:4 mentions five negatives which will not be in New Jerusalem. “No death” was covered in prior posts: New Jerusalem: No Darkness, No Death and Neither Sin nor Death in New Jerusalem.

Death is the outcome, the extreme, of all negative experiences in human life in this old creation. New Jerusalem and the whole new creation will not merely be free from death but also free from all things leading to death. These things include what is in Revelation 21:4—tears, sorrow, crying, pain—and also many others, such as sickness, injury, depression, anger, exhaustion, famine, catastrophe, etc.

Jesus Christ will be everything in New Jerusalem—our life, righteousness, holiness, love, light, joy, health, peace, and so much more. In New Jerusalem our experience of Christ will be Unsearchable, Immeasurable, Exhaustless. He is the Unsearchable Riches in New Jerusalem and our Unsearchable, Exhaustless Life Supply.

Jesus Christ can, to some extent, be all of these riches to us today. The Bible clearly tells us that He is our life (Col. 3:4), our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30), rest (Matt. 11:28-29), peace (Rom. 8:6), joy (1 John 1:4), and more.

Dear Lord, we want to experience You in so many ways day by day. Gain our cooperation so that You can be a foretaste now of the unsearchable riches of New Jerusalem.

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

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

No Curse in New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 22:3 declares, “there will no longer be a curse.” This statement is true not only for New Jerusalem but also for the entire new creation.

The curse came in because Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “And to Adam He said, Because you…have eaten of the tree concerning which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil will you eat of it all the days of your life” (Gen. 3:17).

Besides the curse, death came in when Adam ate of the tree of knowledge. “Jehovah God commanded the man…of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of it you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17).

But, “Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law, having become a curse on our behalf; because it is written, ‘Cursed is every one hanging on a tree'” (Gal. 3:13). This redemption enables us to receive the Spirit, as declared by the next verse in Galatians, “In order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Through Christ’s redemption we receive the Spirit of life, who is the divine life, portrayed by the life Adam should have received by eating the tree of life (Gen. 2:9). The operating of this Spirit in us frees us from the working of sin and death in our being (Rom. 8:2).

Eventually all creation will be freed from sin and death. Death will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14), hence “death will be no more” (Rev. 21:4). As a result, in New Jerusalem and in all of he new creation there will be no sin, no death, and no curse.

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

Photo courtesy of NASA.

No Tree of Knowledge in New Jerusalem

A search asked, “is the tree of knowledge in the New Jerusalem?” The simple answer is NO.

Genesis 2:8-9 record God’s action: “Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, as well as the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

New JerusalemGenesis 2:16-17 is a command: “And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may eat freely, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of it you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

The tree of knowledge is coupled with death and is in contrast to life, which is Christ Himself, pictured by the tree of life in the garden. By the time New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven (Rev. 21:2), death will have been banished to the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14).

There will be no death in New Jerusalem nor in the entire new creation. “Death will be no more” (Rev. 21:4). “Death has been swallowed up unto victory”—1 Corinthians 15:54 quoting Isaiah 25:8. In Christ is our victory!

Furthermore, the promises in Revelation 7:16-17, 21:4, and 21:3a show that not even precursors of death, such as hunger or pain, will be in the new creation.

In the Garden of Eden but not in New Jerusalem
Life or Death (plus links at the end of this)

Photo courtesy of US National Park Service.

Neither Sin nor Death in New Jerusalem

A reader asked if there will be any sin in New Jerusalem. The simple answer is NO.

Revelation does not say in plain words “there is no sin in New Jerusalem” but the New JerusalemNew Testament revelation shows us this fact. Sin and death are always linked:
John 8:24: unless we believe,
___ we will die in our sins
Romans 5:12: death entered through sin
Romans 6:23: the wages of sin is death
Ephesians 2:1: we were dead in sins
James 1:15: sin brings forth death

Jesus Christ came, died, and rose to take away sin and death. He took away the sin of the world (John 1:29) and now every-one who believes into him has eternal life (John 3:15), a life that in no way involves sin or death, the life of New Jerusalem.

But you might be concerned because you still sin, and many Christians in the past have died. The apostle John, a very mature Christian, recognizes this in 1 John 1:7-10. The fact that he instructs us about confessing our sins shows that this confession is part of our Christian life.  This shows that eternal life has not yet fully matured in us and has not yet saturated our entire being. But it will!

First Corinthians 15:51-57 speaks about this. At the last trumpet the dead in Christ will be raised. Verse 53 declares, “this corruptible must put on incorruption [no more sin], and this mortal must put on immortality [no more death].” These verses refer to the believers in Christ.

After the trumpet and the Lord’s visible return, there will still be corruption in the world (e.g. Rev. 20:8). However, the last judgement, recorded in Revelation 20:11-15, will clear up every problem. “death [the last enemy – 1 Cor. 15:26] and hades were cast into the lake of fire” (20:14). Death, and its companion sin, will be in the lake of fire, but not in New Jerusalem. “Death will be no more” (Rev. 21:4).

New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance (1)
New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance (2)
In the Garden of Eden but not in New Jerusalem

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Acts 26:18 and New Jerusalem (2)

Acts 26:18 records six aspects of the heavenly commission from the Lord Jesus to Paul. The last is that we receive an inheritance. As with all five prior aspects, the consumma-tion of the inheritance is with New Jerusalem.

This inheritance comes to us in three stages—in this age, in the age that begins with the Lord’s second coming, and in eternity in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe New Testament primarily speaks of the inheritance in the kingdom age and in eternity. Nevertheless, Ephesians 1:14 says that the Spirit “is the pledge of our inheritance.” This pledge is a guarantee. It is also a sample, giving us a present taste of the coming inheritance. The Spirit Himself, as our realization of the Triune God, is the sample, indicating that the Triune God is the fullness of our inheritance.

Also, Galatians 3:14 speaks of our receiving the blessing of Abraham, which is the promised Spirit. The promise is of God (v. 16), it is also God’s covenant (v. 17), and it is our inheritance (v. 18). This is the Spirit flowing as the river of life in New Jerusalem.

In Revelation 21:7 the Lord tells us, “he who overcomes will inherit these things.” This is in the context of the Lord describing Himself and describing New Jerusalem. Hence, the Lord Jesus Christ as the reality of everything in New Jerusalem and as the embodiment of the Triune God is our inheritance.

An overall definition:* This inheritance is the Triune God Himself with all He has, all He has done, and all He will do for His redeemed people. The Triune God is embodied in the all-inclusive Christ (Col. 2:9), who is the portion allotted to the saints as their inheritance (Col. 1:12).

Ultimately this inheritance is the Triune God in New Jerusalem allotted to us.

* From footnote 6 on Acts 26:18 in NT Recovery Version Online.
Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 73, 84

In the Psalms we see many prophecies and allusions to Christ. Through believing into Christ, He brings us into God’s house, the church, which is typified in Psalms. The enlargement of the house is God’s kingdom, mentioned in Psalms and portrayed by earthly Jerusalem. Through the kingdom, God will bring peace and joy to the whole earth, as also foreseen in Psalms. This post resumes a series looking at prophecies and shadows in Psalms of Christ, God’s house and city, and God’s reign over the earth.

Eternally, Christ is the center of New Jerusalem, God’s ultimate house and city for His reign over the earth.

Psalm 73:23-24, “I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me in glory.” Despite all the troubles in the world, like those in the earlier parts of Psalm 73, we need to look to Christ and God’s house and city; this is the way to be “continually with” the Lord. And He will receive us into glory—New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPsalm 84:1, “How lovely are Your tabernacles, O Jehovah of hosts!” Revelation 21:2-3, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…the tabernacle of God.”

Psalm 84:4, “Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will yet be praising You.” Today we are blessed to dwell and praise God in the church, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15); more dwelling, blessing, and praising await in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 84:5, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” We are in Christ and in God’s house and kingdom, but because of Christ’s unlimited fullness and our limited experience, we have much more entering to do. Lord, fill our hearts with the highways to Zion; we long for more of You, Your house and city.

Psalm 84:10a, “a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.” This was true when the Psalmist spoke, it is true today, and it will be true in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 84:11 (mid), “Jehovah gives grace and glory.” Grace is Christ with us today— “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Phil. 4:23). Glory will be manifested at the Lord’s return— “He comes to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10)—and in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 36-50

The Psalms speak about many things; looking at them from the New Testament, Christ, house, city, earth are the key words. Each is fully seen in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 36, in addition to the river and fatness, touches God’s lovingkindness and light. New Jerusalem will have a fullness of lovingkindness. Furthermore, the city will be full of light; “there will be no night there” (Rev. 21:25). In New Jerusalem God Himself in Christ as the light of life will obviate the need for any other kind of light.

This shining God is also foretold in Psalm 50:2, “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.” New Jerusalem, the heavenly Zion on the new earth, is the perfection of beauty because it is saturated with the Christ who is perfect in every way. In response to this perfection, there is praise in New Jerusalem, as foreseen in Psalm 65:1, “Praise awaits You, O God, in Zion.”

Psalm 47:1, “Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with the voice of a triumphant sound.”
Psalm 47:6-8, “Sing psalms to God, sing psalms; sing psalms to our King, sing psalms. For God is the King of all the earth; sing psalms with understanding. God reigns over the nations; God sits upon His holy throne.” God and the Lamb will be on the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:5, 22:3) and we will sing psalms there.

Psalm 48:1-2, “Great is Jehovah, and much to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, the sides of the north, the city of the great King.”

New JerusalemWe should expect New Jerusalem to be full of praises and full of singing. New Jerusalem will be exceedingly joyful within and it will also be “the joy of the whole earth.”

Here is the second verse of a song about Christ, house, city, earth:
_Christ brings us to God’s house to dwell,
_Where all day long His praises swell.
_O hallelujah! None can tell
__How lovely is God’s house!
___How lovely is God’s house!
___How lovely is God’s house!
___O hallelujah! None can tell
____How lovely is God’s house!

Praise Him now and in New Jerusalem!

New Jerusalem is the Center of New Heaven and New Earth

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:1-2 John says, “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. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

John had a three-fold vision here: a new heaven, a new earth, and New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21 we have these insights into the new heaven and new earth:
• new earth will not have an ocean (21:1)
• New Jerusalem will be “out of heaven”
and hence on new earth (21:2)
• nations will live around New Jerusalem (21:24)
• New Jerusalem will be the tabernacle of God with these nations (21:3)
• God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death will be no
more, nor will there be sorrow or crying or pain anymore” (21:4)
• there will be sun & moon (21:23)

If we are curious about life on the new earth, we will be disappointed with the paucity of this description. Why does the Bible say so little about the new heaven and new earth? Because they are merely the background, the environment for New Jerusalem.

God’s Goal is New Jerusalem

God’s desire is not merely to have us on new earth. His desire is to bring us to Himself and to fill us with Himself, so that we become His corporate expression, which is called New Jerusalem. Lord, we give ourselves to be filled with You, to be knit together in You, and to be Your expression.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

God’s Goal is New Jerusalem

Revelation 20:10: “the devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire.”
Revelation 20:14: “death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire.”
Revelation 21:4: “death will be no more, nor sorrow or crying or pain anymore.”

New JerusalemAs human beings, we might be very happy and satisfied with these conditions. However, God is not satisfied. Why? Because these remove what is contrary to God’s purpose but these actions do not fulfill God’s purpose nor reach His goal.

God’s goal is to bring forth, by His life in human beings, a corporate expression of Himself. God’s goal is achieved with New Jerusalem “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). The glory of God is the expression of God; this is the primary characteristic of New Jerusalem.

The expression of God is accomplished by God’s life maturing in us. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross removed all the barriers between us and God. The resurrection of Jesus Christ imparted Him as life into us (1 Peter 1:3).

The effects of the death and resurrection of Christ are seen in Romans 5:10, “if we, being enemies, were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His life.” Reconciliation with God is a result of the death of Christ, and salvation in life is a result of the resurrection of Christ.

The “much more” salvation is the spreading, the increase, of Christ as life in us. The increase of life generates the increase of expression. A small green plant might be unidentifiable, but when the plant grows to full size and brings forth blossoms or fruit, then this expression surely will identify the plant. Likewise, when Christ grows in us to maturity, God will be expressed in full by all of us built together to be New Jerusalem.

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.

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