God’s Eternal Purpose in Song (6)

God’s eternal purpose is to become one with His people to dwell with them eternally as New Jerusalem and to manifest His glory through the city.

We have followed a song* about God’s purpose from creation to the flow of eternal life for the building up of God’s dwelling to the throne, river of life, and tree of life which characterize New Jerusalem. The song’s
New Jerusalemnext verse is:

God in Christ, the glorious light,
Thru the city brightly shines,
Scattering all the deathly night
With its light of life divine.

This corresponds with words in Revelation. In 21:11 New Jerusalem has “the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.”

And in 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.” In 22:5 we read, “And 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.”

God shines in Christ and through Christ to enlighten the entire city. This glorious light radiates further to enlighten the new creation. This is the ultimate manifestation of Jesus Christ as the “light of life” (John 1:4; 8:12).

In New Jerusalem “night will be no more” because every member of the city will be fully in resurrection with no need for sleep. God in Christ is our eternal day in New Jerusalem.

——
* music (composer unknown), words by Witness Lee

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

We Serve as Priests, Now & New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:3 is part of the description of life in New Jerusalem. “And the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him.” Here “serve” means “serve as priests.”

New JerusalemThrough the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, God purchased us. We “were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20). Thus, we are God’s slaves, both now and in New Jerusalem. As His slaves we serve Him as priests.

The first NT mention of this serving is the Lord’s speaking to Satan in Matthew 4:10 (quoting Deut. 6:13), “Then Jesus said to him, Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.'”

In Romans 1:9 Paul tells us, “God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of His Son.” His serving in the gospel was a foretaste of his (and our) serving in New Jerusalem. Paul served “in spirit,” that is, by a living in his human spirit. (In John 4:23-24 our worship, tied to our service in Matthew 4, should also be in spirit.)

We all were bought by God to “serve by the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). Being trained by the Spirit to serve today prepares us for our eternal serving in New Jerusalem.


To serve as a priest does not involve seminary or ordination or special robes. It depends on regeneration with a life of loving God, receiving fellowship from Him, and offering thanksgiving and praise to Him.

New Jerusalem in Revelation 22:1-5

“A river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street. And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.” (22:1-2)

Revelation 22:1-5 presents much about New Jerusalem—the throne, the river of water of life, the tree of life, and many blessings for all who are part of New Jerusalem. All the characteristics of New Jerusalem can be experienced today (to a lesser degree) in our Christian life. May we be those who seek the Lord Himself (not merely His doing good for us) and pursue with others to know Him in a deeper way.

New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:1-8
New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:9-20
New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:21-27

Here are the titles of recent posts and their links for 22:1-5.

New Jerusalem22:1, A River of Water of Life
22:1, New Jerusalem’s River from the Throne
22:1, New Jerusalem’s River Flows in its Street
22:1, The River is from the Throne
both Today and in New Jerusalem

22:2, The Tree of Life in New Jerusalem
22:2, Jesus is the Tree of Life in New Jerusalem
22:2, The Tree of Life is Here Today
and in New Jerusalem

22:2, The Tree for the Healing of the Nations

22:3, Christ Redeemed Us for New Jerusalem
22:3, New Jerusalem, the City of the Great King
22:3, We Serve God as Priests in New Jerusalem
22:3, We Serve as Priests in New Jerusalem

22:4, See His Face Now and in New Jerusalem
22:4, Follow the Lamb and Live to Him

22:5, New Jerusalem is Full of Light, No Night
22:5, The Lord God Shines in New Jerusalem
22:5, We Reign in Life Now and New Jerusalem

Many older posts about Revelation 22:1-2
Many older posts about Revelation 22:3-5

 

The Lord God Shines in New Jerusalem

The blessings in New Jerusalem continue in Revelation 22:5, “And night will be no more; and they have no need of the light of New Jerusalema lamp and of the light of the sun, for the Lord God will shine upon them.”

Verse 22:5 emphasizes 21:23, “And 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.” It is very firm that New Jerusalem will be filled with the shining of God, brighter than the sun. This is our eternal destiny.

Today we should have a foretaste of New Jerusalem’s shining. The Lord Jesus told us, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). First John 1:5-10 ties together confessing our sins, fellowship with God and with one another, and walking in the light.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Then we can have fellowship with God. This is not to ask God to do things for us, but to have time in His word, musing, considering, praying with it and about it.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” “The opening of Your words gives light, imparting understanding to the simple.” (Ps. 119:105, 130). Let us be simple, open to the Lord in His word, and thereby experience a preview of the shining in New Jerusalem.

 

New Jerusalem is Full of Light, No Night

Revelation 22:5 shows more blessing in New Jerusalem, “And night will be no more.”

“God is light” (1 John 1:5). God was incarnated in Jesus Christ to be “the light of the world” (John 8:12). Through His death and resurrection Christ has become our life, and this life is the light of men. He is the light now and will shine brighter in New Jerusalem.

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Darkness is God’s judgment on the devil and all the devil’s evil works. During the last three hours of crucifixion “darkness fell over all the land” because everything negative was being judged. By Revelation 20 all these negatives will be in the lake of fire. Hence New Jerusalem will always be light, no night.

New JerusalemDarkness also is a symbol of these works and of the people who do them. Ephesians 5:8 says we “were once darkness but are now light in the Lord.”

The Lord Jesus told us, “I have come as a light into the world, that every one who believes into Me would not remain in darkness” (John 12:46). God “delivered us out of the authority of darkness” (Col. 1:13) and charged Paul to turn people “from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18).

We are children of light, we can walk in the light, and we can shine with this light. Christ is our life, our light, and our righteousness. Proverbs 4:18 declares, “the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the full day,” which will be in New Jerusalem.

No Night in New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem: Night Will be No More
New Jerusalem: No Night There (2) (3)

Follow the Lamb and Live to Him

Revelation 22:3-4 says that in New Jerusalem we will serve God as His slaves “and they will see His face.” Then 22:4 continues, “and His name will be on their foreheads.”

New JerusalemTo have God’s name on us means that we belong to Him. Today how much do we belong to Him in practicality? How much are we open to Him and cooperating with His life in us? In 1 Corinthians 6 and 7 Paul reminds us “You were bought with a price.” But the context in both chapters is concern about Christians living apart from God.

Revelation 3:12 speaks of overcomers, those fully given to God and living one with Him. The Lord says, “I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem…and My new name.” These overcomers belong to God and to New Jerusalem. They are progressing strongly toward Revelation 22:4.

In 14:1 John saw “the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him a hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.” Verse 4: “These were purchased from among men as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.” These firstfruits matured early in the life they received in regeneration. “These are they who follow the Lamb wherever He may go.” Verse 5 adds, “they are without blemish.”

Lord, we desire to belong to You fully, to mature in life early, and to follow You completely. Be merciful to take us this way every day. Write Your name and New Jerusalem on us now!

See His Face Now and in New Jerusalem

In Revelation 22:3 we, God’s slaves, serve Him in New Jerusalem. In 22:4, “And they will see His face.”

“The God who said, Out of darkness light shall shine, is the One who shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). Today we have some inward seeing of God in the face of Jesus Christ, but our seeing is limited by aspects of the old creation still in our being. Even so, this seeing is related to the glory of God, a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemSpiritually speaking, “we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). Again, our seeing is related to the glory of New Jerusalem.

“Now we see in a mirror obscurely/ imperfectly/dimly, but at that time face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12). To “see His face” in New Jerusalem will be like the three disciples seeing the Lord on the mountain: “His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light” and like John’s seeing in Revelation 1: “His face shone as the sun shines in its power.”

Today we do not see in full but we see Jesus (Heb. 2) and we look away unto Jesus (Heb. 12). Don’t wait passively for the full promise in Revelation 22; look away to Jesus today!

Now & New Jerusalem: Behold His Face two three four five six seven

We Serve as Priests in New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 22:3 says that in New Jerusalem, “His slaves will serve Him.” The service here is serving as priests. This is the consummation of Jesus Christ, through death and resur-rection, making us “a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:5-6).

Jesus Christ has made all His believers priests, and today we should all function in this way. First Peter 2:4-5 speaks to us “Coming to Him, a living stone…you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

We come to our Lord daily to receive His divine supply. This results in our being built together as God’s living house in which we function as a holy priesthood to “offer up spiritual sacrifices.” Two verses about these sacrifices:
• “Let us offer up a sacrifice of praise continually to God, that is, the fruit of lips confessing His name.” (Heb. 13:15)
• Paul was “a laboring priest of the gospel of God, in order that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, having been sanctified in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:16)

In 1 Peter 2:9 we are also “a royal priesthood” and our serving is to “tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” We should all function as priests today(without and clergy-laity arrangement) and we will certainly be priests continually in New Jerusalem.

We Serve God as Priests in New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 22:3 promises that in New Jerusalem, “And there will no longer be a curse. And the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him.” All the promises are tied together by and. They are not separate but various aspects of the one Triune God as our eternal blessing.

In human society slavery is not good. But in the divine economy slavery is good because God is the best Master, with the best care for His slaves. The Lord often spoke of His Old Testament and New Testament people as His slaves; for example, in Matthew 18, 21, 22, 24, 25.

The believers in Jerusalem, while praying, referred to themselves as the Lord’s slaves (Acts 4:29). Paul, James, and Peter began epistles stating that they were slaves of Christ Jesus.

Revelation 22:3 says that we will serve. The Greek word means to serve as priests. This is the culmination of what the Lord accomplished and applied to us through His death and resurrection. Initially:
• “To Him [Jesus Christ] 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.” (Rev. 1:5-6)
• The Lamb “made them a kingdom and priests to our God.” (Rev. 5:10)

Revelation 1 says the Lord made us priests and couples this with “the glory and the might forever and ever.” Our priestly status and service is for this age (next post) and forever in New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem, the City of the Great King

New Jerusalem, as described in Revelation 22:1-3, has the river of life flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb, the tree of life growing and bearing fruit, no more curse, and “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it.”

The throne of God and of the Lamb is mentioned in both verse 1 and verse 3. In Matthew 5 and Psalm 48 Jerusalem is called “the city of the great King.” How much more will New Jerusalem be “the city of the great King”! The city is
• portrayed by the shining “city situated upon a mountain” (Matt. 5:14)
• “the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God” (Heb. 11:10, 16)
• “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22)

New JerusalemThe throne is in the city and at that time we will be fully and willingly subject to the throne in everything. Today are we subject to the throne? We can only and sadly say, partially. We cannot say that every minute we walk according to the spirit with our mind on the spirit. We are still independent.

What should we do? First, we confess our sins of independence for His forgiveness. Then we eat Jesus as the bread of life that we may live because of Him (John 6:57), a living subject to the throne, a living that foreshadows living in 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 LSM.

Christ Redeemed Us for New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:1 presents the river of life and 22:2 the tree of life in New Jerusalem. Verse 22:3 continues, “And there will no longer be a curse.”

New JerusalemThrough death and resurrection Jesus Christ overcame everything negative in the universe, and by the end of Revelation 20, all His victories had been fully applied and every negative thing is in the lake of fire. So, there is no curse in New Jerusalem.

The curse originated in Genesis 3 after the serpent, the devil, had deceived Eve and Adam. The curse was applied to the serpent but also experienced by humanity, who had received the nature of sin and death from the serpent (Rom. 5:12).

Later the law was added. On the positive side, the law testifies God’s attributes; on the negative side the law exposes the sin nature operating in man. Galatians 3:10 tells us that “as many as are of the works of law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all the things written in the book of the law to do them.'”

As fallen men we were under the curse 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).

He died on the cross (“hanging on a tree”) “that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:14). Now, through faith we are sons of God, have put on Christ, are one in Christ, and are heirs according to God’s promise (3:26-29), ultimately to inherit all that Christ is in New Jerusalem.

No Curse in New Jerusalem

See His Face in New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:4 tells us that in New Jerusalem, “they will see His face.” They refers to “His slaves” in the previous verse. His in these verses refer to God and the Lamb on the throne (v. 3). The Two are One.

New JerusalemThe statement in 22:4 is the consummation of the Lord’s promise in Matthew 5, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” We in ourselves cannot be pure. Only the Lord Himself is pure.

The answer is to turn our heart to the Lord. When we do this, the veils are taken away. Turning our heart is not a one-time matter but a daily exercise. We turn and open to the Lord, asking Him to impart His purity into us.

First Peter 1:22 says, “you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned brotherly love.” The purifying of our souls is the Spirit’s sanctifying of our disposition that we may live a holy life in God’s holy nature (v. 15-16). This purifying is like the washing of the water in the word in Eph. 5:26.*

This purity is not solely for seeing His face but for our entire participation in New Jerusalem. We cannot have the blessing in 22:4 apart from the whole of New Jerusalem, and the whole is pure. “The city was pure gold, like clear glass” (Rev. 21:18).

Lord, work in me daily to purify my entire heart toward You!


* Part of footnote 1 on 1 Peter 1:22 in the Recovery Version NT; footnotes written by Witness Lee.

Photo by Chris Larsen courtesy of NASA.

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