Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (6)

Continuing from Matthew 10 and 16, Mark 8 and Luke 9 also have the Lord’s words about denying the self, taking up the cross, and losing the soul life. Luke 9 adds one word not in Matthew and Mark: daily. “He said to them all, If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (v. 23). Verses 24 and 25 are about losing the soul life for the Lord’s sake.

New JerusalemVerse 26 continues, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of this one will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Lord, save me from any shame about You and Your words.

In Matthew 16, Mark 8, and Luke 9 the portion about denying the self is immediately followed by Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain, which He describes as “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” This coming, in glory, foreshadows the coming age which leads to New Jerusalem.

The path to New Jerusalem includes the cross now, the manifestation of the kingdom in the coming age, and then New Jerusalem itself. To be on this path, we must apply the cross of Christ to our soul life. The cross is available to us through the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14). Thus, it is by the Spirit, not by natural effort, that we go through the cross toward New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Earth to New Earth with New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemThe path from the creation of earth to new earth and New Jerusalem has many ups and downs, but God is never defeated. God’s path is through the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ then through His work in the church.

Psalm 2 foretells the resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Christ. This also shows God’s path to His rule over all the nations on the way to eternal peace on the new earth.

Psalm 24 begins, “The earth is Jehovah’s, and its fullness, the habitable land and those who dwell in it.” The earth is Jehovah’s today, whether man realizes this or not. Yet, for the full manifestation of His reign, there is the need of those who will seek His face (v. 6), those who will care for God and His purpose above earthly, human things. This matches the Lord’s call in Matthew 6 to seek first (above all) the kingdom of God.

Seeking God and His purpose correspond with our call in Matthew 6:10 to pray, “Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.” God wants to exercise dominion over the whole earth. He could do this immediately by His direct authority, but has chosen not to. Rather, He intends to operate through His people, which is why we need to pray.

The answer to our seeking and our prayer is the repeated declaration in the second half of Psalm 24, “The King of glory will come in.” This was echoed by the Lord Jesus in His words to the disciples about seeing “the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” This coming will usher in the kingdom age leading to the new earth with 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.

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   2-3 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

In Revelation 2–3 we see the Lord Jesus Christ walking in the midst of seven lampstands, caring for their development today unto the eternal lampstand, New Jerusalem.

New JErusalemIn Revelation 2:18 is the One “who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like shining bronze.” He passed through all kinds of testing during His earthly life and has come out approved, like shining bronze. Thus, He is qualified to judge anything negative in us, burning it with the fire of His eyes.

We should not be afraid nor shrink back. Instead, we should invite Him to burn whatever in us does not correspond to New Jerusalem.

In 2:28 He speaks of Himself as the morning star, as a prize to watchful overcomers. Lord, train us to be watchful for Your second coming. His warning in 3:3 should remind us to watch— “If therefore you will not watch, I will come as a thief, and you shall by no means know at what hour I will come upon you.”

In 3:7 He is “the Holy One” preparing us for the holy city, New Jerusalem.

In 3:14 He is “the faithful and true Witness.” We are neither faithful nor true in ourselves. Lord, work your attributes into us.

In 3:18 He is ready to sell us “gold refined by fire that you may be rich, and white garments that you may be clothed and that the shame of your nakedness may not be manifested, and eyesalve to anoint your eyes that you may see.” The Lord’s salvation is free but gaining these qualities requires a price. The price is to be zealous rather than lukewarm (3:15, 19) and to repent of our puffed up attitude and lack of love and zeal for Him (3:19).

The Lord’s gold, white garments, and eyesalve all prepare us for New Jerusalem.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Versionpublished and © by Living Stream MinistryAnaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.orgthis too is © by Living Stream Ministry. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

No Need for Sleep in New Jerusalem

There is no need for sleep in New Jerusalem. But how does this mundane statement relate to the revelation in the Bible?

Simple: sleep is a picture of death and there will be no death in New Jerusalem. The first record of sleep is Genesis 2:21, “Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept.” During this deep sleep, Jehovah took a rib out of Adam and formed Eve. In this record the forming of Eve depicts the producing of the church.

New JerusalemThe death of Jesus Christ, portrayed by Adam’s the deep sleep, is very positive and had a wonderful outcome.

Romans 5:12 says, “sin entered into the world, and through sin, death; and thus death passed on to all men.” This death is not positive but the Bible also likens this kind of death to sleep, as in John 11:11-14 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16.

There will be no need for sleep and no sleepiness in New Jerusalem because there will be no death in New Jerusalem. “Our Savior Christ Jesus, nullified death” (2 Tim. 1:10). This nullification is gradually being applied to us. The consummation of this process is the transfiguration of our corrupted, mortal body at the Lord’s second coming.

“When this corruptible will put on incorruption and this mortal will put on immortality, then the word which is written will come to pass, ‘Death has been swallowed up unto victory.'” (1 Cor. 15:54) New Jerusalem will fully declare this victory.

Earlier posts about no death in New Jerusalem:
New Jerusalem: No Darkness, No Death
Neither Sin nor Death in New Jerusalem

A list of other “NO” posts, showing what is NOT in New Jerusalem:

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Son Comes with Glory and the Kingdom

The Lord Jesus Christ comes in glory in three stages: on the mountain (Matt. 17:1-2), on the clouds (Matt. 24:30), and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-11).

New JerusalemThe glory on the mountain fulfilled the promise that some would “see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (16:28). The glory and the kingdom appear together.

In the glory of His second coming “He will sit on the throne of His glory” (Matt. 25:31). The throne indicates the kingdom, again coupling the glory and the kingdom. The glory of New Jerusalem is with “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1), again linking the glory and the kingdom.

The union of glory and kingdom matches God’s purpose expressed in the creation of man: “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion…over all the earth” (Gen. 1:26). Man was created in God’s image so that God may become man’s life and be expressed through man. This corresponds to the glory. Created man given dominion is for God to reign over the earth through man. This reigning is the kingdom.

The glory and the kingdom are with Jesus Christ in Matthew. However, He is not alone. God’s purpose in Genesis 1 involves a corporate man. This is now the new man, which we have put on, where “Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:10-11). Jesus Christ radiates the glory and reigns through the corporate new man which grows unto New Jerusalem.

This is also seen in 1 Thessalonians 2:12: “God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” We have been called to participate in God’s kingdom and His glory. This begins from our being born into the kingdom (John 3:5), continues with our transformation in glory (2 Cor. 3:18) and culminates in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalm 118 (3)

Psalm 118:22-23 is about Christ Jesus, rejected by the Jewish leaders, becoming the Cornerstone in resurrection. This Cornerstone is for building God’s house which expands to God’s city, His kingdom, and blesses the whole earth. Ultimately this is New Jerusalem with the fullest blessing to the new earth.

NGC 6496, NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterPsalm 118:24 continues, “This is the day that Jehovah has made; let us exult and rejoice in it.” It is possible to rejoice in every day that the Lord gives us. However, in context, this verse points specifically to the day of resurrection, the day in which Christ became the Cornerstone.

Whenever we are living Christ, we are living in resurrection. Here (in resurrection) we are being built together with other believers. Here we are richly supplied and knit together (Col. 2:19). Here we are entering the reality of New Jerusalem.

Psalm 118:25 says, “O Jehovah, do save, we pray! O Jehovah, do send prosperity, we pray!” This is not pointing to a physical salvation nor to material prosperity. Rather, it is about God saving us in resurrection into His building, which is in Christ Jesus the Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20-22). New Jerusalem is the final outcome of this salvation and is our utmost blessing. Let us follow Psalm 118 and pray for this kind of salvation and blessing.

Psalm 118:26 says, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of Jehovah; we bless you from the house of Jehovah.” This was spoken by the crowd when Jesus entered Jerusalem shortly before His death (Luke 19:37-38) and will be spoken again when He returns again (Luke 13:35).

In these few verses we exult, rejoice, and bless the Lord. We are being built together in Him. His second coming, with more rejoicing, brings us closer to New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God (Rev. 21:2).

Photo courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center 

Coming Down for New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:2 and 21:10 John “saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” This is the consummation of the promise in Revelation 3:12, “He who overcomes…I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God.”

New Jerusalem

 

To prepare the way for New Jerusalem to come down, God came down in incarnation. Jesus told us that He is the Son of Man who came down out of heaven (John 3:13). In John 3 His coming down is to save us, give us eternal life, and make us His bride.

Furthermore, in John 6 Jesus told us that He is the bread that came down out of heaven that we may eat and live (v. 33, 50, 51, 58). He as the bread of life supplies us to live a heavenly life on earth. Everything of His first coming down prepares us to be the city of life, New Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb.

Revelation 10:1-2 say, “I saw another strong Angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon His head, and His face was like the sun, and His feet like pillars of fire….And He placed His right foot on the sea and the left on the land.”

Christ’s placing His feet on the sea and on the land is His treading on them, and to tread on them is to take possession of them (Deut. 11:24Josh. 1:3Psa. 8:6-8). This indicates that Christ is coming down to take possession of the earth.*

Revelation 18:1 says, “I saw another Angel coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was illumined with His glory.”

In His second coming Christ takes possession of the earth and exercises His great authority to clear away the negative things, to prepare the way for New Jerusalem to come down out of heaven to earth.

* Note 2 on Rev. 10:2 in The NT Recovery Version Online, © 1997-2012 by LSM.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Knowledge Puffs Up, But Love Builds Up

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 8:1b makes a clear distinction between knowledge and love, saying, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” This love originates from God (1 John 4) and, as regenerated people, we love not with our natural love but with the love of God which is in us (4:16).

The knowledge in 1 Corinthians 8 is natural. It may come from our education, upbringing, or society, or it may be self-generated ideas and conclusions. All such knowledge (in contrast to that which proceeds from the Lord’s shining into us) is soulish and not of the Spirit. That is why it cannot build up.

God’s love is in not soulish but spiritual, and is intimately related to God’s life. When we supply God’s love and God’s life to other Christians, we build up the Body of Christ. This is the New Testament building work. Ephesians 4:16 says our growth in Christ “causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.” Jude 20-21 says,

You, beloved, building up yourselves upon your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Here the mutual building up of the believers, praying in the Spirit, and the love of God are tied together. These three aspects of our Christian life all bring us toward the second coming of the Lord Jesus. That time will be the greatest mercy to us and a time when we will enter a fuller experience of eternal life than we have today.

The Lord’s second coming with His mercy and the fullness of eternal life, plus His reigning and many other blessings, will bring us further onward toward New Jerusalem. Let us echo Revelation 22:20, “Come, Lord Jesus!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Revelation of the Sons of God

New JerusalemRomans 8:16-17 tells us that “we are children of God…heirs of God…joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:19-21 speaks of the impact of our glorification on the whole creation:

For the anxious watching of the creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject to vanity, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will also be freed from the slavery of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

The revelation of the sons of God is our manifestation with Christ in glory at His visible return, as in Colossians 3:4. The freedom of this glory includes our freedom from the sin and death in our bodies, the freedom from corruption and mortality in 1 Corinthians 15:53.

The phrase about creation being freed from the slavery of corruption echoes Peter’s word about the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21). Thus, our biggest contribution to the environment is to cooperate with the Triune God bringing us into glorification. (While we may participate in environmental actions, Romans 1:25 warns that we should not do so to the extent that we worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator.)

When the Lord Jesus returns, there will be the restoration of the universe. That will be very good, but after that there will be the new heaven and new earth with New Jerusalem at the center (Revelation 21:1-2). How wonderful.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Glory, Glory, Christ is our Life & our Hope

Recent posts have been about the glory of God which (on one hand) develops gradually through our Christian life and (on the other hand) is manifested suddenly when the Lord Jesus returns. This glory will be exhibited fully in and by New Jerusalem.

Here we look at this glory in relation to the three parts of our being. We humans are “spirit and soul and body” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

When we are born again, our spirit is born of the Spirit (John 3:6). Our spirit passes from death to life (Ephesians 2:5). Since Christ is in us, our spirit is life (Romans 8:10). This Christ in our spirit is our hope of glory.

During our Christian life the Spirit is operating in us to transform us (2 Corinthians 3:18) by the renewing of our mind (Romans 8:2). This transformation takes place in our soul by our turning our heart to the Lord and our beholding and reflecting the glory of the Lord.

When the Lord returns, He “will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory” (Philippians 3:21). This is clearly a change in our physical body. At that time we “will be manifested with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).

Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, MN, Nat Park ServiceThis hymn (words music) expresses this change in the three parts of our being:

__In my spirit He regenerated me,
____In my soul He’s now transforming me.
__He will change my body like unto His own,
____Wholly making me the same as He.
Chorus:
____Glory, glory, Christ is life in me!
______Glory, glory, what a hope is He!
____Now within my spirit He’s the mystery!
______Then the glory He will be to me.

May this be our song, our thanksgiving to Him, our praise to Him, and our experience.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

A related post at Holding to Truth: How God Created You with a Body, Soul and Spirit to Contain Him

Prepared unto the Glory of New Jerusalem

from http://beovercomers.wordpress.comNew Jerusalem is a city “having the glory of God” (Revelation 21:11).

God will “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory” (Romans 9:23). God having prepared us unto glory is God having prepared us unto New Jerusalem. God’s “making known the riches of His glory” will first be revealed when the Lord Jesus returns and ultimately in New Jerusalem.

We are earthen vessels but we are also objects of God’s mercy. Because of His mercy we can repent and receive Jesus Christ as our life and our hope of glory. After repenting and receiving, “we have this treasure [Christ] in earthen vessels [us] that the excellency of the power may be of God and not out of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Because Jesus Christ is the effulgence of God’s glory (Hebrews 1:3), this glory is part of the treasure in us. This glory shines out through us to illuminate others (2 Corinthians 4:6). Today this shining is not physical but spiritual. It can be seen by those whose hearts God has prepared and who are willing in response to turn to God.

The shining out of us today is a little foretaste of the shining glory of New Jerusalem. When New Jerusalem is on the new earth, there will be no sin, no death, and no devil. Therefore, there will be no hindrance to seeing the full, bright glory of God. How wonderful that will be!

Thanks to Be Overcomers for the photo, from their post on 2 Cor. 4:7.

Behold and Reflect the Glory of the Lord

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is a marvelous city “having the glory of God(Revelation 21:11). This glory will be manifested publicly when the Lord Jesus returns (Matthew 24:30) and we “will be manifested with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).

The open manifestation of the glory is in the future. Yet, 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that we are “beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord.” This chapter speaks of the Spirit giving life (v. 6), the ministry of the Spirit (v. 8), the Lord being the Spirit (v. 17), and transformation from the Lord Spirit (v. 18). From this we realize that the glory, which has not yet been revealed openly/publicly, is visible spiritually. When we turn our hearts to the Lord (v. 16), there is no veil and we behold and reflect the glory of the Lord.

This thought continues into chapter 4. Here “the gospel of the glory of Christ” can shine into people because God “is the One who shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” How wonderful that the glory of God is visible when our heart turns to Him. Lord, remind us to turn to You every day that we may be unveiled and see You and Your glory.

The glory that is invisible to physical eyes today will be revealed to everyone when the Lord Jesus returns after the tribulation—“then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27).

We can and should pray for that time. Come, Lord Jesus. Yet, we should not be those waiting passively but rather behold and reflect the glory of the Lord today, tomorrow, and all the way to New Jerusalem.

Photo by David Cartier Sr, courtesy of NASA.

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