New Jerusalem: Serve God as Priests

Revelation 22:3 says about New Jerusalem, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him.” In what way will we serve as slaves in New Jerusalem? The New Testament was originally written in Greek, and includes three different words translated “serve.” The word in Revelation 22:3 means serve as a priest, or serve in New Jerusalemworship.*

How do we get into this eternal priestly service? The praise in Revelation 1:5b-6 says, “To Him who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.” The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ released us from sins and made us a kingdom of priests!

Becoming priests is not by our choice nor by our effort. And we should not question or doubt our qualification for this service. It does not depend on us—He “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.” This declaration in 1:5-6 is confirmed by the same word in Revelation 5:9-10.

He made us priests and He is our High Priest. As such He is “merciful and faithful” (Heb. 2:17), “great” (4:14), “holy, guileless, undefiled, higher than the heavens” (7:26), and perfected forever” (7:28).

Jesus Christ is so much, and we, always coming to Him (1 Peter 2:4), “are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (2:5). We are not merely individual priests, but are being built together as a priesthood. As such we are “priests of God and of Christ” now, in the coming age (Rev. 20:6), and in New Jerusalem eternally.

* Some other verses with this word for serve are Matt. 4:10, Luke 2:37, Rom. 1:9, 2 Tim. 1:3.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

 

 

God our Master Rewards His Slaves

New JerusalemGod and the Lord Jesus Christ are our Master and we are His slaves. Revelation 22:3 says “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him.” In this age we should be faithful in serving as slaves. If so, in the coming age our Master will reward us, and this reward will be a foretaste of blessings in New Jerusalem.

In Matthew 24 is a slave assigned to give food to members of the Master’s household. “Blessed is that slave whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Truly I say to you that he will set him over all his possessions” (v. 46-47).

In Matthew 25 is another slave who invested the gift His Master gave him. The master went away and returned after a long time, a picture of the Lord’s second coming. “His master said to him, Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful over a few things; I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your master.” Our Lord’s, our Master’s, great joy will be in the kingdom age and His fullest joy in New Jerusalem.

In both parables the reward includes being set over many things. This corresponds with the reward of the kingdom age in Revelation 20:6 and the eternal reward in New Jerusalem in 22:5.
• “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”
• “Night will be no more; and they have no need of the light of a lamp and of the light of the sun, for the Lord God will shine upon them; and they will reign forever and ever.”

In New Jerusalem the Lord God shining upon us is also part of our reward.

 

New Jerusalem: Our Master Bought Us

Revelation 22:3 tells us that as slaves we will serve God in New Jerusalem. Many verses present God and the Lord Jesus as our Master, who acquired us as slaves by buying us.

New JerusalemSecond Peter 2:1 says that our Master bought us. This is His redemption. A definition of redemption in the Oxford Living Dictionary is, The action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment. God created us for Himself but we were taken away by Satan. Through the death of Christ we were redeemed, regained by God in exchange for payment.

We are told “You have been bought with a price.” (1 Cor 6:20). This price, God’s payment for us, is not corruptible things like silver and gold, “But with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

In Revelation 5:9 a heavenly song praises the worthy Lamb, “You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” The next verse praises the Lamb for the outcome of redemption, He made us “a kingdom and priests to our God.” This ultimately indicates New Jerusalem, God’s eternal kingdom with us in His eternal priesthood.

Acts 20:28 also shows us God’s purchase and His goal. “The church of God, which He obtained through His own blood.” God, through the blood shed by His Son, purchased us out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Based upon this redemption we received eternal life which constitutes us the church of the living God, the house of God (1 Tim. 3:15). This church grows into God’s ultimate dwelling, New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

New Jerusalem: God is our Master

Revelation 22:3 says “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him.” Three posts have looked at all of us as slaves of God. Now consider a few verses showing the Lord Jesus as our Master, the One whom we serve.

New Jerusalem“No one can serve two masters….You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24). We serve our Master, God, now and in New Jerusalem. Then, the parable in Matthew 13:24-30 portrays the Lord as the Master, who sowed good seed in his field to bring forth sons of the kingdom of God. What He sows is always good.

In a parable in Matthew 18, the Lord as the Master was moved with compassion and forgave His slave’s debt. This is a picture of the forgiveness of sins that we received. However, later the Master disciplined the slave because he did not forgive his fellow slave. Full forgiveness, from the Lord to us, and from us to one another, is necessary on the path to New Jerusalem.

Second Peter 2:1 speaks of the Master who bought us. This purchase was by the redeeming death of the Lord Jesus. Because He paid the price for us, we can receive the forgiveness of all sins. His redeeming death also cleanses us from all our filthiness. This is illustrated by His cleansing of ten lepers who cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

Finally, Colossians 4:1 instructs human masters “grant to your slaves that which is just and equal, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” Our heavenly Master is just and equal, having no respect of persons. This righteousness, equal treatment, forgiveness, mercy, cleansing, and more characterize the One we will serve as slaves in New Jerusalem.


Bible verses are quoted 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.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

New Jerusalem: God’s Slaves Serve Him (3)

New JerusalemRevelation begins, “The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show to His slaves the things that must quickly take place; and He made it known by signs, sending it by His angel to His slave John.” This book was written to God’s slaves and we should receive it as such. We are here to serve Him now and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3).

The word of Revelation 1:1 is repeated in 22:6, “These words are faithful and true; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent His angel to show to His slaves the things which must quickly take place.” As slaves, we deny our natural, human sense of time and say amen to the Lord’s repeated word “quickly take place.”

The last part of Revelation 11 sums up many things, with the following chapters giving details. Verses 11:14-18 briefly have the last trumpet, judgements, God’s kingdom and eternal reign, and the reward to His slaves, saints, and those who fear Him. At this time “the mystery of God is finished, as He has announced the good news to His own slaves the prophets” (10:7). Although chapter 11 does not name New Jerusalem, it surely is implied by the eternal kingdom and reign and is a reward to all God’s people.

Another word to God’s slaves is in Revelation 19:5: “A voice came out from the throne, saying, Praise our God, all His slaves and those who fear Him, the small and the great.” Surely we should praise our God! We praise Him now and we will praise Him in New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem: God’s Slaves Serve Him (2)

New JerusalemRevelation 22:3 says that in New Jerusalem God’s slaves will serve Him. The prior post presents New Testament verses identifying specific people and also all His disciples as God’s slaves.

The pattern for all God’s slaves is the Lord Jesus Himself. Philippians 2:5-8: “Christ Jesus,…existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal with God a treasure to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave…He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death.”

His obedience as a slave unto death and His subsequent resurrection opened the way for us to reach New Jerusalem. This is portrayed by the pearl gates of the city. The twelve gates of New Jerusalem are twelve pearlsJesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

The Lord, being in the form of a human slave, was obedient unto death. This matches His word in to us Matthew 16 to deny our soul life. This denying is unto death, as He prayed in Gethsemane immediately before His arrest, “My Father…not as I will, but as You will.” Many of His slaves lived this way, as Revelation 12:11 declares, “they [His slaves] overcame him [the devil] because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved not their soul-life even unto death.”

Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus emptied Himself and humbled Himself. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). In our serving God as slaves, denying ourselves includes denying our pride. Then God will grace us.

Second Peter ends, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and unto the day of eternity.” The grace we obtain in humility, and knowing the Lord as the slave who emptied Himself, will bring forth glory to God “both now and unto eternity [New Jerusalem].”

New Jerusalem: God’s Slaves Serve Him

Revelation 22:3 says about New Jerusalem “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him.” In human society slavery is not good, but to be slaves of God (and also sons of God) is our eternal destiny. Let us review the divine slavery as revealed in the New Testament.

Moses is identified as a slave in Revelation 15:3. In a parable in Matthew* 21 the Lord Jesus describes the Old Testament prophets as God’s slaves. Mary called herself a slave of the Lord (Luke 1:38) and Simeon likewise (Luke 2:29). The Christians in Jerusalem asked the Lord to “grant Your slaves to speak Your word with all boldness” (Acts 4:29)

New JerusalemPaul, James, Peter, and Jude all began epistles calling themselves slaves of the Lord. Paul also referred to Timothy, Epaphras, and Tychicus as slaves of God. All of these labored to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

In parables in Matthew 13, 24, 25 the Lord Jesus portrays all His New Testament disciples as His slaves and Himself as the Master. In Matthew 20:27 He said, “whoever wants to be first among you shall be your slave.” And in Acts 2 is God’s promise to pour out His Spirit upon his slaves.

These verses indicate that we are slaves of God both in this age and in New Jerusalem. We must give ourselves to serve God and learn how to serve. An example to us is the faithful and prudent slave in Matthew 24 who gives food to God’s household and does not eat and drink with the drunken. This food nourishes us to grow in the divine life. We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem.

*and similar verses in Mark and Luke

No Sweat, No Thorns, in New Jerusalem (2)

Thorns and sweat are part of the curse that came from the fall of man in Genesis 3. But, in New Jerusalem “there will no longer be a curse” (Rev. 22:3), so there will be no sweat and no thorns.

Ezekiel 44 speaks about the service of the priest in the coming age. Those who enter the inner court and the holy places must “not gird themselves with anything that causes sweat.” That is, they must not exercise their own effort as natural, fallen men. This is a precursor of New Jerusalem, the eternal holy of holies where we will serve God as priests* without sweat (Rev. 22:3).

New JerusalemThe parable at the beginning of Matthew 13 is about sowing the word of God into hearts of men. Verse 22 tells us that thorns represent “the anxiety of the age and the deceitfulness of riches” which ” utterly choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”

In the Bible thorns are negative. Matthew 27:29 tells us that the Roman soldiers “wove a crown of thorns” and placed it on the head of Jesus. They did this to mock Him, but it had greater significance in the eyes of God. It is one of the signs that He bore the curse for us.  Galatians 3:13 says, “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.”’

Because of the redemption of Christ, there is no curse in the new creation and in New Jerusalem. Hence, there will be no sweat and no thorns in the new creation and in New Jerusalem.

*We Serve God as Priests
God’s Slaves Serve in New Jerusalem (1) (2)

No Sweat, No Thorns, in New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the lovely center of the new creation, blessed with the presence of God and the Lamb, full of God’s glory, and supplied by the river of life and tree of life.

Due to the rebellion of Satan and the fall of man, the old creation was corrupted. and man was separated from God. To us, this would be very discouraging. However, to God, this is a big opportunity to display His unlimited wisdom. Out of all the corruption God will bring forth a new, perfect creation with New Jerusalem as His eternal dwelling.

One characteristic of the old creation that will not be in the new creation nor in New Jerusalem is sweat. The origin of sweat is 1) Satan’s deceiving man, 2) man’s taking of the tree of knowledge, and 3) God’s curse on fallen man, all recorded in Genesis 3. Verses 17-19 say, “Because you [Adam]…have eaten of the tree concerning which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it; cursed is the ground because of you….And thorns and thistles it will bring forth for you,…by the sweat of your face you will eat bread…”

New JerusalemThe sweat here indicates the need of human effort, separated from God’s blessing, to supply the essentials for human living. Man was shut out from the garden of Eden, which contained “every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” and had to expend his own sweat-producing energy.

The curse of Genesis 3 also includes thorns. But, Revelation 22:3, describing New Jerusalem, says, “there will no longer be a curse.”

Because New Jerusalem will be filled with God and His blessings and no curse, there will be no need for man’s effort and no sweat. Also, without the curse, there will be no thorns in New Jerusalem.

 

Now & New Jerusalem: Behold His Face (7)

In New Jerusalem we will see the face of God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:4). At that time we will see Him clearly, face to face without any veil or obscuration.

We should not wait until New Jerusalem to behold His face. We cannot see our Lord physically today, but prior posts have verses about beholding in our current Christian life.
• By believing, we behold the Lord in resurrection (John 12:44-45; 14:19).
• He said that after His resurrection “you will see Me” and rejoice (John 16:16-22).
• Then He prayed that we may be with Him to “behold My glory” (John 17:24).
• Through receiving the gospel, God “shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of
__the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).
• By turning our heart to the Lord, we behold and reflect His glory (2 Cor. 3:16-18).
• Also, putting away encumbrances and sins, we “look away unto Jesus”  (Heb. 12:1-2).

New JerusalemAll these verses are for us today, not waiting until New Jerusalem. These are not unusual  events like Peter, James, and John on the mountaintop (Matt. 17) nor Stephen while being stoned (Acts 7) nor Paul on the way to Damascus (Acts 9). What is in the verses above should be a “we all” (2 Cor. 3:18) experience of beholding His face.

This experience requires denying our self, turning our heart, and putting away every hindrance. We are running a race with endurance. Our reward will be at the Lord’s return.

“We know that if He is manifested, we will be like Him because we will see Him even as He is” (1 John 3:2). This unobscured seeing will continue eternally in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Now and New Jerusalem: Behold His Face

New JerusalemRevelation 22:3-4 says, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him; and they will see His face.”

Seeing the face of God and the Lamb will be an eternal blessing, and a foretaste is available now for those who seek Him. First Corinthians 13:12: “now we see in a mirror obscurely, but at that time face to face.” After the Lord’s visible return to earth, in the kingdom age and in eternity, we will see God’s face clearly.

Today we see “obscurely.” Yet, we will look at many verses about seeing the Lord’s face now, a preview of Revelation 22:4’s word about New Jerusalem.

“Jesus cried out and said, He who believes into Me does not believe into Me, but into Him who sent Me; and he who beholds Me beholds Him who sent Me.” (John 12:44-45) In this word, beholding the Lord follows believing into Him.

In John 14:19 He said, “Yet a little while and the world beholds Me no longer, but you behold Me; because I live, you also shall live.” This beholding is in the realm of resurrection. It is a result of the Lord’s death and resurrection, and by our believing, that we enter this realm, we live (with His eternal life), and we behold the Lord.

Beholding the Lord in resurrection is much more than physically seeing the Lord during His time on earth. The same will be true in New Jerusalem, even though we expect also to see Him physically from the time of His second coming.

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.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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.

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