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.

God’s Purpose: Much Higher than Our Need

New JerusalemIn recent months I have been touched by various phrases like according to God’s will or according to His riches. What God does is not according to man’s need but much higher—according to His purpose. Man’s need is solved by God’s salvation but God’s salvation is for His goal, which much greater than satisfying our need.

Because of this realization I gathered verses which include something like according to His… This is the first of a few posts in which I present these verses in their order in the Bible. These verses are on this New Jerusalem blog because God’s will, God’s riches, and God’s grace all point toward New Jerusalem.

Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” We are not called by God because we need to be saved from sin and death; rather we are called according to His purpose. For His purpose He saves us from sin and death as a preparatory step so that we can grow in Him and be built together in His life to bring forth New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 1:5: “Predestinating us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Before creation, before any sin and death, God foreknew us and predestinated us to be His sons, to have His eternal life. We have this life so that God can bring forth His good pleasure in us. This good pleasure, including New Jerusalem, is according to His will.

Ephesians 1:7: “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.” Even redemption is not according to our need but according to the riches of His grace. God will display the surpassing riches of this grace in the ages to come (Eph. 2:7), including New Jerusalem in eternity.

God Supplies Strength for God’s Glory

New JerusalemWe continue in verses with “forever and ever” because these point toward New Jerusalem, the “forever and ever” city.

First Peter 4:11 says, “If anyone speaks, as speaking oracles of God; if anyone ministers, as ministering out of the strength which God supplies; that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the might forever and ever.” Here both glory and might are forever and ever. The might links to “the strength which God supplies” and the result is glory.

First Peter 5:11 and Revelation 1:6 also declare, “To Him be the glory and the might forever and ever.” We in ourselves are not qualified to glorify God nor to participate in New Jerusalem. But He supplies us so that He can work in us and through us. This supply is seen also in Philippians 1:19-20:

“For I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I will be put to shame, but with all boldness, as always, even now Christ will be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death.”

The Spirit bountifully supplies us in every kind of situation that we may magnify Christ with God’s boldness (not our own boldness). For this we pray for one another, per Paul’s word “your petition.” The river of water of life (Rev. 22:1) is the eternal bountiful supply, and New Jerusalem is the ultimate magnification of Christ.

Revelation 7:12 is the result of God’s rich and varied supply to us throughout our Christian life. “The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanks and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever.” In New Jerusalem we will eternally praise God in all these ways.

 

The Good News of the Riches of Christ

The apostle Paul received grace “to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8). These riches are for us to experience and express today and to be displayed by New Jerusalem.

The New Testament is filled with the gospel, the good news, of these riches. For example, in Matthew 9 Jesus Christ is our Physician, He is merciful to us, He is our Bridegroom, He is new wine for us, He raises us out of death, He heals our blindness and dumbness, He shepherds us, and He is the Lord of the harvest.

Another example: twenty riches of Christ in 1 Corinthians. Since the riches of Christ are “unsearchable,” for eternity in New Jerusalem we will explore and appreciate them.

This good news is conveyed by the chorus of a hymn by Witness Lee (words music):
New Jerusalem__O the riches, O the riches,
____Christ my Savior has for me!
____(or, Christ my Savior is to me!)
__How unsearchable their measure,
____Yet my full reality!

This thanksgiving and praise is our song now and will be our song in New Jerusalem. Regarding now, may the last verse of the hymn be our longing:
__May I know these boundless riches,
____Christ experience in full;
__And with others may I share them
____In their content bountiful.

As an application of this longing, consider Ephesians 2:4-6—God’s rich mercy and great love for us, and His enlivening, raising up, and seating us with Christ. May we experience each of these and share our appreciation with others. These are so that (2:7) God “might display in the ages to come (including New Jerusalem) the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 122, 132

New JerusalemThe Psalms have many prophecies and shadows of Christ, God’s house and city, and their blessings to the whole earth. All of these point to Christ in New Jerusalem on the new earth.

Psalm 122:1-3 says,
I rejoiced when they said to me, let us go __to the house of Jehovah.
Our feet are standing within your gates, __O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem has been built as a city that __has been compacted together.

The present reality of the house of God is the church (1 Tim. 3:15). Let us go with rejoicing to this house to enjoy Christ with all the believers. When we do this we are standing within the gates of God’s spiritual city. All of this is our foretaste of New Jerusalem. And, as Jerusalem was built, so the church now is being built now (e.g. Eph. 4:16, 1 Peter 2:5) as a forerunner of the builded New Jerusalem.

Psalm 132:13-14 says,
For Jehovah has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation.
This is My resting place forever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it.

God has chosen Zion and we too should choose to long for God’s house and city. New Jerusalem will be consummation of both, where God and we also will dwell eternally.

Verses 15-16 say,
I will abundantly bless its provision; I will satisfy its poor with bread.
And its priests I will clothe with salvation, and its faithful ones will shout with a ringing shout.

Today the promise of abundant provision is fulfilled by the flow out from the Head, Christ (Col. 2:19) and the Spirit poured upon us richly (Titus 3:6). How much more in New Jerusalem with the river of life and tree of life! We participate in God’s salvation and shout for joy now with more in New Jerusalem.

God Grows in Us unto New Jerusalem

The prior post is about God dispensing Himself into us for New Jerusalem. Here “dispense” means to supply or impart into. When we believe, Jesus Christ enters into us; since He is God, His entering is God’s dispensing into us.

The New Jerusalem is the enlarged God (Gen. 1:1; Rev. 4:2-3; 21:10-11)….God is infinite and immutable, and thus He can neither increase nor decrease; He in Himself cannot become larger. Nevertheless, the expression the enlarged God is used because it is solidly based upon utterances found in God’s Word, such as, “He must increase” (John 3:30), and “grows with the growth of God” (Col. 2:19). Thus, although God in Himself does not increase or enlarge, once God in Christ enters into us, spontaneously there is the opportunity, need, and necessity for God to enlarge in us. This enlargement of God in us results in an expression of God in us, and this expression is the enlargement of God, the expression of the God who has been growing and increasing in us for His manifestation.*

New JerusalemGod being dispensed into us and God growing in us are not common expressions but they fit the revelation of the Bible. In 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 Paul mentions planting and watering but says that only God can give the growth. Why? Because God is the “element” which grows in the believers; only God can provide the growth of Himself.

Likewise, “all the Body…grows with the growth of God” (Col. 2:19). This growth comes from the rich supply flowing out from Christ the Head. Whether you use “growth” or “increase”, it refers to the expanding of God in us.

Christ in us will grow to full stature; that is, to a full expression of Himself in His Body. Eternally, this growth consummates in New Jerusalem. Even in New Jerusalem, God continues to dispense Himself to all His people by the river of life, the Spirit, flowing out of the throne (Rev. 22:1).

* Affirmation & Critique (A&C) is a Christian Journal published twice a year, © Living Stream Ministry. A&C presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. A&C exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. This group of my posts has short extracts from the article The New Jerusalem—the Consummation of the Divine Economy according to the High Peak of the Divine Revelation by Ron Kangas in the Fall 2010 issue.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God Operates and We Cooperate (2)

New JerusalemThe Bible affirms that God prepared the city of New Jerusalem (Hebrews 11:16). This city is the bride of the Lamb, Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:2). The Bible also affirms that the bride has made herself ready (Revelation 19:7).

We, the bride, get ready by cooperating with God’s operation. An example of this cooperation is in 1 Corinthians 3. In verses 6-7 Paul says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. So then neither is he who plants anything nor he who waters, but God who causes the growth.”

On one hand neither Paul nor Apollos is anything. On the other hand, they need to plant and water so that God can give the growth. In verse 9 Paul says, “we are God’s fellow workers.” This is cooperation with God’s operation to give growth. The same principle applies to the preparation of the bride, New Jerusalem.

Here is a good post about being saved in the midst of the daily necessities and troubles in our environment: the Supply for Your Daily Salvation. By this supply we cooperate with God and thus participate in the preparation of the bride, New Jerusalem.

Photo by Scott Bauer, courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture.

New Jerusalem Displays the Wisdom of God

Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24) and He is God’s wisdom imparted to us (1:30). In His resurrection He as wisdom is manifested through His believers, displayed through the church, and eventually exhibited through New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 1:30 says that of God we “are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God.” This wisdom is not for human activities; rather it is “righteousness and sancti-fication and redemption.” God’s wisdom is Christ our righteousness, Christ our Sanctifier, and Christ as our Redeemer.

In Jesus Christ we have the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7). This grace abounds to us through God’s wisdom and prudence (1:8) not for human affairs but for carrying out God’s will according to God’s good pleasure and purpose (1:9). God’s purpose, God’s good pleasure, God’s will, culminates in exhibiting His wisdom through New Jerusalem as the center of the new creation.

Christ as wisdom is spoken by the apostles (1 Corinthians 2:7, 2 Peter 3:15) as an expression of the Christ who lives in them. The speaking of the apostles brings forth the church, the Body of Christ. As members of the Body, when we “let the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom,” this indwelling wisdom is manifested in our interactions with one another and in our singing with grace to God (Colossians 3:16). We can also “walk in wisdom” (Colossians 4:5).

As we all live out Christ as our wisdom, “the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church” (Ephesians 3:10). The Greek adjective translated “multifarious” occurs only here in the New Testament. Marvin Vincent says, through the Church God’s wisdom in its infinite variety is to be displayed.* This display is now because it is through the church.

Ultimately the display of God’s multifarious, infinite wisdom through the church will become a display through New Jerusalem.

*Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, reprinted by Wm. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1946 (originally published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887).

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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Unsearchable, Immeasurable, Exhaustless

Recently in reading Ephesians two phrases about our present Christian life touched me as also being descriptive of New Jerusalem. The two phrases are

the unsearchable riches of Christ
the multifarious wisdom of God

In Ephesians 3:8 the unsearchable riches of Christ are announced as good news today. We should also look forward to such riches in New Jerusalem.

“Unsearchable” is a frequent translation in Ephesians 3:8 but boundless, endless, unfathomable, incalculable, immeasurable, exhaustless are used by other translators. All these words should impress us. How wonderful and bountiful are the riches of Christ! Even in eternity we will not exhaust these riches. We will never get tired or become bored with all that Christ is and has.

New JerusalemIn Ephesians 3:10 the multifarious wisdom of God is made known through the church today. We should also expect this wisdom to manifested by New Jerusalem.

Synonyms of “multifarious” in Ephesians 3:10 include manifold, multifaceted, infinite variety, innumerable aspects. God’s wisdom is beyond our comprehension! Nevertheless, in this age He is willing to enlighten us that we may see the economy (or household administration) of the mystery which has been hidden within Him and which was the reason for all of creation (3:9).

The riches of Christ and the wisdom of God far exceed our little needs and situations because these riches and this wisdom are for accomplishing God’s eternal purpose. Our problems will get solved while we participate in God’s purpose, which is much grander, much more marvelous than what we can conceive.

Praise Him for these unsearchable and unlimited riches. Praise Him for His infinite variety of wisdom. Both the riches and the wisdom will be fully manifested in New Jerusalem for our delight and to be appreciated by the whole universe.

God Builds Through Us

Hebrews 11:10, speaking of Abraham and his descendants looking toward New Jerusalem, says it is

“The city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God”

Since God is the Builder, what part (if any) do we have in the preparation of New Jerusalem? To answer this, let’s look at Matthew 16:18, where Jesus declares, “I will build My church.”

New JerusalemThe Lord is building His church, but He is not doing it directly from the heavens. Rather, He works through the many members of His Body. This is clearly seen in Ephesians 4:15b-16, “the Head, Christ, out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

In this verse (and the parallel Colossians 2:19), the rich supply for building comes out of the Head, Christ, yet it also comes through the joints of supply and through the operation in each member. The result is the building up of the Body of Christ.

The same principle applies to what God is doing to build New Jerusalem. God is the Builder of the city! Yet He is not acting alone. Rather, He is building through His people. Christ’s building of His Body through the gifted joints of supply and through His operation in every member is part of God’s building of New Jerusalem. Lord, keep me open to Your operation so that You can build through me.

The Riches of God’s Glory

New Jerusalem is a city of glory, a city “having the glory of God
(Revelation 21:11).

New JerusalemEphesians 3 shows something of the development of the glory which ultimately will be in New Jerusalem. Paul prayed, asking the Father to “grant us, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man…” (v. 16).

This strengthening is so “that Christ may make His home in our hearts…” (v. 17) which results in our apprehending the vastness of Christ and knowing His love (v. 18-19), which results in our being “filled unto all the fulness of God” (v. 19). The conclusion is “to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever.” (v. 21).

The apostle prayed that the Father would strengthen the saints according to the riches of His glory. This implies that the glory of God can be wrought into the saints. In the doxology he said, “To Him be the glory” (v. 21), implying that the glory of God, which has been wrought into the saints, returns to God. First, the glory of God is wrought into us; then it returns to God for His glorification….The apostle prayed that God would strengthen the saints according to His glory, “but” eventually God’s glory, after being wrought into them, returns to Him along with the strengthened saints. This is the way in which God is glorified in the church.*

The glory wrought into us is first for glory to God through the church in this age. Consummately it is for glory to God eternally and for God’s glory to be expressed universally through New Jerusalem.

* A part of footnote 1 on Ephesians 3:20 in this online NT (© LSM).

Photo courtesy of NASA.

The Living House Becomes the Living City

New JerusalemIn Genesis 28 Jacob had a dream and he named that place Bethel, which means house of God. Then the tabernacle was the house of God (Mark 2:26) and later the temple was the house of God. The temple was in the city of Jerusalem but was much smaller than the city.

Both tabernacle and temple were physical pictures. Today the house of God is a living house, the church of the living God (1 Timothy 3:15). Christ is the Son of God and the great Priest over this house (Hebrews 3:610:21). This house is not a physical building but is composed of all God’s New Testament people.

The house of God today is built by Jesus Christ growing in us (Ephesians 2:21-22; 1 Peter 2:2-5). At the end of the Bible we do not find the term house of God because the house has grown to become the city of God:
 the city whose Architect and Builder is God (Hebrews 11:10)
 the city which God has prepared (Hebrews 11:16)
 the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22)
 the city of God, New Jerusalem (Revelation 3:12)
 the holy city, New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2)

Colossians 2:19 declares that when we hold Christ the Head, who in verse 17 is the reality of all positive things, all the Body is richly supplied and knit together and thereby grows with the growth of God. Lord, keep me holding You as my Head every day that we may be richly supplied for growth in You.

This song expresses a longing for the Lord to grow in us.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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