New Jerusalem: No Murmuring, No Reasoning, but Shining the Glory of God

Philippians 2:14-15, “Do all things without murmurings and reasonings that you may be blameless and guileless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as luminaries in the world.”

Paul exhorts us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” by cooperating with “God who operates in you both the willing and the working for His good pleasure”
New Jerusalem(Phil. 2:12-13). One result, and a practical measure of this working out of salvation is that we “do all things without murmurings and reasonings.”

However, the absence of murmurings and reasonings is not God’s goal. His desire is that we, His children, “shine as luminaries in the world.” But murmur-ing and reasoning quench our shining.

The New Testament Greek word translated “luminaries” is used only in Philippians 2 and in Revelation 21 about New Jerusalem. John writes that an angel showed him “the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal” (21:10b-11).

New Jerusalem’s “light” is the eternal luminary, shining out the glory of God. Our shining today is a preview of the shining of New Jerusalem. This is the result of our cooperating with God’s operating in us. May the Lord be merciful to us, drawing us to always cooperate with Him for His shining through us as His luminaries.

The Gospel of the Glory of God is for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem comes down out of heaven “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). The city has the glory to manifest, to display God’s fullness. New Jerusalem first comes to us in “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

The gospel is God’s good news to us. When this good news first comes to us the emphasis is that we receive forgiveness of sins and gain eternal life. Yet, the goal of the gospel is to bring us into glory.

First Timothy 1:15-17 speaks of this: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Verse 16 says we “are to believe on Him [Jesus Christ] unto eternal life.” Then verse 17, “to the King of the ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.” The salvation of sinners points to honor and glory to God forever, which certainly involves New Jerusalem.

Paul and Silvanus and Timothy tell the Thessalonians that God called them to salvation “through our gospel unto the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thes. 2:14). All who believe into Jesus Christ obtain glory. And all become constituents of New Jerusalem.

What we obtain in our initial experience of salvation still needs to be worked into our entire being. For this we behold the Lord so that the Lord Spirit can transform us “from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). At the Lord’s return our body of humiliation will be transfigured to “be conformed to the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21).

The steps of initial salvation, transformation, and transfiguration all prepare us for New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of BurningWell.

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (6)

New JerusalemRevelation 19:7, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” We need to pursue this readiness because we do not know when He will return.

An evil slave of the Lord says, “my master delays” (Matt. 24:48). Also, 2 Peter 3 says that mockers are saying there is delay but the Lord “is long-suffering toward you, not intending that any perish but that all advance to repentance.” The Lord is waiting in His mercy so that we have time to advance, to get ourselves ready.

We should never say “my Master delays” but instead “count the long-suffering of our Lord to be salvation” (2 Peter 3:15). This is not our initial salvation, but “much more we will be saved in His life” in Romans 5:10. This much more salvation is our growth in His life, our gaining the oil of the Spirit in our vessel, our preparing to be the constituents of His wife who has made herself ready.

Peter exhorts us to “be on your guard lest being carried away by the error of the lawless, you fall from your own steadfastness.” Our steadfastness (our faithfulness, in next post) is for us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This growth is the much more salvation in Romans and has the prepared bride and New Jerusalem as its goal.


Rather than the error of “my Master delays” we can be those
Hastening the Coming of the Day of God (and of New Jerusalem)

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

The Gospel: a Promise of Resurrection and Incorruption

“Our Savior Christ Jesus, nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). His resurrection nullifies death and His resurrection life changes our corruption into incorruption, thus preparing us for New Jerusalem.

In Acts 13 Paul spoke of “the gospel of the promise made to the fathers.” This gospel is characterized by resurrection and incorruption. The first step for us, as mentioned in Acts 13, is forgiveness of sins as God’s response to our repentance. This is Luke 24:47, “Repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations.”

Based on this forgiveness, we receive God’s eternal life, an incorruptible life, the life of resurrection. This life matches New Jerusalem, the city of resurrection.

When we receive this life, the first action in us is that our deadened spirit is made alive. Then gradually this life spreads in our being to renew our soul—our mind, emotion, and will—making our soul life. Gradually this life is imparted into our mortal body, an impartation which will be completed at the Lord’s return so that “the body of our humiliation” may be “conformed to the body of His glory.”

This life saturating our being makes us people full of life and full of incorruption, swallowing all the death and corruption in our being. Through this development, we get fully conformed to New Jerusalem to become a part of this city “having the glory of God.”


Some phrases about this development of life:
Eph. 2:5 God, “when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ”
Rom. 8:10 “if Christ is in you…the spirit is life because of righteousness.”
Rom. 8:6 “the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.”
Rom. 8:11 God will “give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”

The Gospel of Glory and New Jerusalem (2)

The gospel and New Jerusalem are linked. The consummation of “the gospel of the glory of Christ” is New Jerusalem. 

New JerusalemGod chose us “unto salvation” (2 Thes. 2:13) and He also called us through the gospel “unto the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 14). Our salvation includes forgiveness of sins, justification, and reconciliation to God, but it also includes much more. It includes all that Jesus Christ is and everything that is in New Jerusalem.

God called us through the gospel to receive Jesus Christ as our life and to have Him as our life develop His glory within us (2 Thes. 1:10). When the Lord returns, He will come in glory. At the same time, the development of glory within us will be completed. He “will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory” (Phil 3:21). Thus, we will all be glorious to match New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

The gospel is also “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” (1 Tim. 1:11).

The gospel with which the apostle Paul was entrusted is the effulgence of the glory of the blessed God. By dispensing God’s life and nature in Christ into God’s chosen people, this gospel shines forth God’s glory, in which God is blessed among His people.*

New Jerusalem will shine with the glory of God to bless God and to manifest God as the blessing to the entire new creation.

* Part of footnote 1 on 1 Tim. 1:11 in the Recovery Version NT, footnotes written by Witness Lee.

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 2–3

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. Their marriage is in love. Ephesians 1 presents God’s love in the context of His purpose and all that He accomplished.

In contrast, chapter 2 begins with us being dead in our offenses and sins (2:1*). Nevertheless, “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ” (2:4-5). God loved us before creation (1:4), and now, although we are in a fallen creation, He still loves us.

Because of this love, God was merciful to forgive us and to make us alive with Christ, to raise us up with Christ, and to seat us in the heavenlies with Christ (2:5-6). This is our salvation by God’s mercy and grace based on His love.

Now we are in position to experience the love of God. Paul prays that we be strengthened into our inner man so “that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith”
(3:16-17). By His making home in us, we are rooted and grounded in His love. This empowers us to apprehend the vast riches of Christ (3:17-18) and “to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ” (3:19).

In experiencing this love we are “filled unto all the fullness of God” that there may be glory to God in the church (3:19-21). This experiential love, filling, and glory all increase unto New Jerusalem.

*Verse numbers are in Ephesians.
Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Through the Cross to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of all God’s work, a corporate composition of all His people to glorify Him and to reign with Him. This fulfills God’s intention in Genesis 1:26 in creating man in His image and giving man dominion.

However, the devil tempted man, man fell into sin and death. God called Israel as an outward picture of what He wants to do, but the reality was hidden until God came in the man Jesus. In Him God was incarnated to live a God-man life, to die on the cross, and to be resurrected.

New JerusalemThe death of Christ on the cross has four aspects:
Terminating all negative things, such as the flesh, the old man, the world, the ruler of the world (Rom. 6:6; John 12:31; Heb. 2:14; and many other verses)
Redeeming and reconciling us to God, with forgiveness of sins (Rom. 3:24, 5:10; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7; and other verses)
Releasing the divine life (Luke 12:49-50)
Creating the new man (Eph. 2:15)

Briefly, the four outcomes are:
• All that was terminated will eventually be in the lake of fire. This includes the fallen part of our being. The terminated things have no place in God’s purpose and will not be in New Jerusalem. (Rev. 20)
• All God’s people were redeemed; this qualifies us to receive the divine life (Gal. 4:5)
• In resurrection the released divine life was imparted into us for regeneration (1 Peter 1:3)
• The new man, the corporate composition of God in Christ with all His chosen, redeemed, and regenerated people is the forerunner of New Jerusalem. (Col. 3:10-11)

The Lord’s death on the cross and His resurrection are crucial accomplishments not only for our present Christian life but also for us to get to New Jerusalem.

Through Sufferings to New Jerusalem (6)

New JerusalemThis series of posts presents verses showing that suffering in our Christian life is normal but temporary. This suffering brings forth glory in stages from now to New Jerusalem. This post begins our look at Peter’s view of this process.

In 1 Peter 1 we who are regenerated (v. 3) “are being guarded by the power of God through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time” (v. 5). This salvation will be the transfiguration of our mortal bodies to free the faithful believers from suffering.

We exult in this last time, the time of the Lord’s visible return “though for a little while at present, if it must be, you have been made sorrowful by various trials” (v. 6). These trials are “so that the proving of your faith…may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (v. 7). Rejoice.

Similarly, 1 Peter 4:13 encourages us “inasmuch as you share in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice exultingly.” His glory is revealed in a limited way through us now, much more at His coming back, and completely in New Jerusalem.

Then verse 19 reminds us”let those also who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well-doing to a faithful Creator.” Remember that our Creator says we were “created, formed, and even made for My glory”  (Isa. 43:7). May we look to His eternal goal, New Jerusalem, remember His faithfulness, and commit ourselves to Him.

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.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Through Sufferings to New Jerusalem (2)

While the eternal life grows in us and perfects us for New Jerusalem, we also have outward sufferings.

Second Corinthians 4:17 tells us that “our momentary lightness of affliction works out for us, more and more surpassingly, an eternal weight of glory.” Our afflictions remind us how much we need the Lord. Sufferings remind us that “should not base our confidence on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” The afflictions push us to the Lord, and as He spreads within us, the “eternal weight of glory,” a strong characteristic of New Jerusalem, is developing within us.

With this eternal and glorious view, our attitude about sufferings matches 2 Corinthians 4. “We do not regard the things which are seen but the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (v. 18). Lord, turn our eyes and thoughts from what is seen to what is unseen!

New JerusalemRomans 5:2 says that we “boast because of the hope of the glory of God.” This hope is not our determination but is “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). This includes the Lord’s visible return as “He comes to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10) and culminates in the glory of New Jerusalem.

Romans 5:3 continues “we also boast in our tribulations.” The basis for this boast is a development through a series of steps involving hope, love, and a “much more” salvation in the Lord’s wonderful life
(v. 3-11). This view matches what is in 2 Corinthians 4.

We cannot endure the sufferings/afflictions/tribulations on our own. But Christ is in us! He endured the cross, despising the shame. He is very real, although presently unseen physically. He is our hope of glory, and He will be our glory in the coming age and in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Eternal Life and New Jerusalem (4)

“He who believes into the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). When we believe into Jesus Christ, we immediately receive eternal life. This life grows in us and brings us to New Jerusalem, the city of eternal life.

New JerusalemWe have already received this life, yet this life will accomplish much more in us during our Christian life. This is 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, having been reconciled.”

Our reconciliation was accomplished by Jesus Christ through His death on the cross. By His resurrection the divine life was released and by believing we have received it. Now this life is saving us from our sins, our negative attitudes, the world, our fleshly living, and many other things. This is a “much more” salvation!

This salvation brings us ut of everything that is not in New Jerusalem and fills us with all the riches that will be displayed in New Jerusalem.

Romans 5:17 continues, “much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” We received eternal life once for all. Now we receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness with the result that we will reign in life, ultimately reigning in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:5).

Romans 5:21 declares “In order that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus Christ is all-inclusive; He is our Lord, our grace, our righteousness, our life. Whenever we turn our heart to Him (2 Cor. 3:16) He brings us onward toward reigning in life in New Jerusalem.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   18-19 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit, the central subject, of Revelation. Throughout Revelation Jesus Christ is carrying out God’s economy to eliminate God’s enemies and to develop His corporate testimony, which consummates with New Jerusalem. Now we come to chapters 18-19.

Revelation 18:1 says, “I saw another Angel coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was illumined with His glory.” This Angel is Jesus Christ. He is the One with great authority. He is also the One who fills the earth with glory, by Himself here and later through New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIs Jesus Christ an Angel? Yes! The Greek word means a messenger, someone sent with a message. God sent Jesus Christ to us with the message of His salvation and His purpose.

After the judgement in chapter 18, chapter 19 begins with praise, “a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the power are of our God.”

In 19:5 is the exhortation, “Praise our God, all His slaves and those who fear Him, the small and the great.” We are His slaves both in this time and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3). A primary duty is to praise Him. In 19:6 the response to the exhortation is “the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunders, saying, Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.”

This voice of the multitude marks the start of the next age with the visible kingdom of God on earth, brought in by the prior judgements and by the visible second coming of Jesus Christ. This is the first stage of the visible kingdom; New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage.

Photo courtesy of Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

We All are Living Stones for New Jerusalem

In the New Testament, stones signify living persons. Jesus Christ is a living and precious Stone. God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, is in Him, the Cornerstone in resurrection (Eph. 2:20-21).

New Jerusalem In the natural realm, human beings are vessels of clay (Rom 9:21), earthen vessels (2 Cor 4:7). In contrast, New Jerusalem has no clay, no dirt, only precious materials. How then can men of clay participate in New Jerusalem?

The answer is that in regeneration, in resurrection, the Lord makes us stones. When the Lord Jesus first met Simon, He told Him, “You are Simon, the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is interpreted, Peter).” Both Cephas (Aramaic*) and Peter (Greek) mean “stone.”

This change of name indicates a change of person, a change of constitution. In God’s salvation, the Lord transforms men of clay into stones for His building.

Peter tells us “Coming to Him, a living stone, rejected by men but with God chosen and precious, you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5). This house will be enlarged to become New Jerusalem. We become living stones by coming to Jesus Christ mot only once but by coming to Him continually.

As we come to Him, he infuses us with His stone nature, reconstituting us from clay to stone. This builds us together as God’s spiritual house and prepares us for New Jerusalem, God’s eternal dwelling. In the context of Peter’s epistle, our “coming to Him” involves putting away evil things (2:1) and holding to His living and abiding word (1:22-25, 2:2-3). This is our path to New Jerusalem.

*The common language in Judea and Galilee in the first century.

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