Seek the Riches of Christ

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s work through all the ages. For New Jerusalem God manifests “the riches of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering” (Rom. 2:4), “the riches of His glory” (multiple verses), “forgiveness according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7), “the surpassing riches of His grace” (Eph. 2:7), “the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8), and “the riches of the full assurance” (Col. 2:2).

New JerusalemAll of these riches continue into New Jerusalem and we should seek them, regardless of whether we are rich or poor humanly. Moses was this kind of seeker, considering “the reproach of the Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt” (Heb. 11:26).

Monetary riches are deceitful (Mark 4:19) and hinder our entrance into the kingdom of God (Mark 10:23-24), which ultimately is New Jerusalem. These physical riches are a root of evil (1 Tim. 6:10), full of uncertainty (1 Tim. 6:17), and can bring in many problems (James 5:1-3).

By grace, the churches in Macedonia were a strong contrast in their liberal giving to needy believers. “That in much proving of affliction the abundance of their joy and the depth of their poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality” (2 Cor. 8:2).

Hebrews 13:5 exhorts us, “Let your way of life be without the love of money.” If we love human riches we will seek them and our heart will be on them (Matt. 6:19-21). But, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ we will seek Him and our heart will be set on heavenly matters.

May the Lord be merciful to us all. Whether we have human riches or scarcity, let us be those who seek the riches of Christ, who seek to gain Christ (Phil. 3:8), who seek the present reality of 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 by Randy Roberts, courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

Praises in the Book of Revelation (4)

New JerusalemThe final praise I found in Revelation is verse 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.” This points directly to New Jerusalem, the wife of the Lamb.

In Revelation 21:9-11 the angel showed John the holy city, New Jerusalem, as the bride, the wife of the Lamb, having the glory of God. The bride making herself ready in 19:7 is her seeking and allowing Christ to saturate her so that she expresses Him as the glory of God.

On one hand, this seeking is our responsibility because 19:7 says that we, the wife, made ourself ready. On the other hand, we cannot do anything in ourselves. Our seeking is for the Father to strengthen us through His Spirit so that Christ may make home in our hearts (Eph. 3:14-17). It is also a pursuing of Christ so that He may live in us and be formed in us (Gal. 2:20, 4:19).

We present ourselves, seek, and pursue Christ that we may get ready with Him as our content and expression to match Him and be His wife, New Jerusalem.

Here are more posts about the rejoicing, exulting, glory, and the wife made ready in Revelation 19:7 and the related preparation of the bride in 21:2.
New Jerusalem is Prepared by Our Cooperation with Christ Dwelling in Us
Applying the Lord’s Rich Supply for the Preparation of the Bride
New Jerusalem Prepared as a Bride
Let Us Rejoice & Give the Glory to the Lamb
Rejoice, the Marriage of the Lamb Has Come
Rejoice, Exult for the Marriage of the Lamb
We, the Bride, Make Ourselves Ready
Love the Lord Jesus, Rejoice and Exult
New Jerusalem is Prepared as a Bride
New Jerusalem Prepared, Adorned

New Jerusalem, City of the Living God (2)

New Jerusalem is the living city of the living God. This city is composed of the living God Himself and all His redeemed, enlivened, and glorified people.

In Revelation 20:9 New Jerusalem is named “the beloved city.”

Psalm 46:4 tells us that “There is a river whose streams gladden the city of God.” This is the river of water of life, which flows out of the throne of God and the Lamb in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPsalm 48 gives us a broader preview of New Jerusalem. It begins, “Great is Jehovah, and much to be praised in the city of our God.” We should praise God now and certainly will praise Him in New Jerusalem.

Verse 2 declares, “Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” New Jerusalem, the city of the great King, is elevated, beautiful, and provides joy to the whole earth.

In verse 8 the psalmist writes, “As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of Jehovah of hosts, in the city of our God. God will establish her forever.” O Lord, we want to see more and hear more about the city of our God.

Psalm 87:3 tells us “Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.” Because New Jerusalem is a city of glory, glorious things should be, and are, spoken about her. This verse in Psalm 87 is the basis for a hymn.

New Jerusalem is eternal. Current cities are not eternal. Hence Hebrews 13:14 testifies, “we do not have here a remaining city, but we seek after the one to come.” May we seek our God and His eternal city every day, declaring that our current outward city is not our permanent home!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Bible: a Journey from Garden of Eden to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

The whole Bible is a journey from God’s creation and the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1–2) to God’s consumma-tion centered on New Jerusalem (Revelation 21–22).

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem

Enter the Veil and Go Without the Camp

The first two lines of a hymn by Witness Lee (words music) are, “Enter the veil and go without the camp, Taste heaven’s sweetness, thus the earth forsake.” To enter the veil is to go into God’s presence in the holy of holies. The original holy of holies in the tabernacle is a picture of New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies (1, 2, 3).

To “go without the camp” is to come out of the natural realm, where there is talk about God and doings related to God yet without God’s presence. Our going out is foreseen by Moses’ action in Exodus 33:7-11. He set up a tent outside the camp after Israel had worshipped the golden calf idol. At Moses’ tent God spoke with him, and “everyone who sought Jehovah went out to the Tent of Meeting, which was outside the camp.”

New JerusalemEnter the veil and go without the camp is also in Hebrews. Verses 6:18-19, based on God’s promise and oath in the prior verses, say “we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us, which we have as an anchor of the soul, both secure and firm and which enters within the veil.”

Hebrews 13:12-13 say, “Jesus, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Let us therefore go forth unto Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.”

Inwardly, by faith in Christ, we are already a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). We are in the spiritual realm of the new creation, where the hidden reality of New Jerusalem is. Now, in daily living, we need to enter the veil for God’s presence and go outside the camp.

Colossians 3:1-2 exhorts us, “seek the things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things which are above, not on the things which are on the earth.” To seek and set our mind on the things above is to enter the veil. To turn from earthly things is to leave the camp. Thus our inward being moves from the old creation to the new, the realm of New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Over 500 publications by Witness Lee are available for online reading and searching.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 2-22

Here is the first group of verses from Psalms comparable to or shadows of characteristics of New Jerusalem. Key words for selecting these verses are Christ, house, city, earth.

Psalm 2:7-8  “I will recount the decree of Jehovah; He said to Me: You are My Son; today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give the nations as Your inheritance and the limits of the earth as Your possession.” This is quoted in Acts 13:33, where the begetting is the resurrection of Christ. This is the starting point for New Jerusalem, a city in resurrection. Ultimately, as the resurrected One, Christ will possess the earth.

New JerusalemPsalm 8:9, “O Jehovah our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!” Like Psalm 2, this is another exuberant declaration of Christ’s reign over the whole earth in the kingdom age and in eternity.

Psalm 16:9, “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy.” New Jerusalem is a city of life through which flows the river of life with the tree of life (Rev. 22:1-2). And the city will be full of joy.

The words at the top of Psalm 22 mention the hind of the dawn. This is an allusion to Christ in resurrection (Song of Songs 2:8-9). This resurrected One is the reality of every aspect of New Jerusalem, the city of resurrection.

Although Christ and New Jerusalem were not plainly revealed to the psalmists, in their love for God they prophesied concerning Christ and expressed a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

The first verse of a song about Christ, house, city, earth:
_We from the law to Christ have turned;
_To trust in Him by grace we’ve learned.
_And since His glory we’ve discerned
__We only care for Christ!
___We only care for Christ!
___We only care for Christ!
___And since His glory we’ve discerned
____We only care for Christ!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Forget What is Behind, Seek New Jerusalem

New JerusalemJesus Christ died to redeem and purchase for God “men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:5-9). In His death He created “in Himself one new man” (Eph. 2:15). And, “in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free” (1 Cor. 12:13).

The Body of Christ is the new man and will consummate in New Jerusalem. Here there are no national distinctions, no racial differences, no social classes, but

Christ is all and in all.”

The new man is the reality of the longing of Old Testament people of faith. Hebrews 11:14-16 says of them, “they seek after a country of their own. And if indeed they continued to remember that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return; but as it is, they long after a better country, that is, a heavenly one.”

Because of their absoluteness, Hebrews 11 continues “Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” This city is New Jerusalem, where we will be with all of them. In our Christian life, may we enter fully into the absolute seeking of this “cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1).

Lord save us from any remembrance of the country (or race or social status or language) from which we came out. Lord save us from any opportunity to return, and keep us always seeking the better country. Lord, every day give us a longing for New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.


The Bible charges us to obey the government (1 Peter 2:13-14). Therefore we should obey distinctions which the government makes (e.g. citizen, non-citizen) but we should not bring these into our Christian life and our Christian fellowship.

 

Things Written in the Old Testament Point to Christ and to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIsrael’s journey to Mt. Sinai depicts our Christian journey to a point where we are “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10).

This paralleling of Israel and Christian life is seen in 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our admonition.” Thank the Lord for the Old Testament examples and for the fact that “they were written” for our sake.

The same is seen in Romans 15:4, “For the things that were written previously were written for our instruction, in order that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Again, thank the Lord! The Bible gives us instruction and encouragement and with these we take the Lord as our endurance.

Israel journeyed to Mt. Sinai, received the vision of the tabernacle, built it, and brought it into the good land. Later the tabernacle was enlarged and made more solid with the building of the temple in Jerusalem. All of this history is for our instruction, admonition, and encouragement. And all this history points toward New Jerusalem.

All this history was a shadow of Jesus Christ, the reality (Col. 2:16-19). Our job today is to hold Him that He may grow in us to fill us with reality (2:19). Today this reality is in the Body of Christ as God’s and our dwelling which will be enlarged to become New Jerusalem as God’s and our eternal dwelling.

Forgetting, Stretching, Pursuing

New JerusalemGod has already prepared a city for His people—“He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16). This is New Jerusalem.

Hebrews 12:22 says further that we “have come forward to…the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” Our coming forward is by faith.

God has prepared and we have come forward. So why don’t we see New Jerusalem? Why aren’t we fully conscious of it? Prior posts (one two) responded to this question.

Although God has prepared the city, it has not been manifested. This absence should motivate us to pursue, to come forward, not to relax, not to be passive. This is Paul’s attitude in Philippians 3:12-14:

“Not that I have already obtained or am already perfected, but I pursue, if even I may lay hold of that for which I also have been laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not account of myself to have laid hold; but one thing I do: Forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before, I pursue toward the goal…”

Paul received much revelation and grace from the Lord. Yet, he did not boast in that. Nor did he count that as sufficient. Rather, he pursued. The Lord is ever new, ever fresh, ever unfolding His riches. We need not fear dropping the past because there will always be something more of Him before us.

May the attitude and desire expressed in Philippians 3 be infused into us! May we all be saved from passivity. Let us pursue more of the Lord daily. This is our path to New Jerusalem.

Photo by Willem van Aken, courtesy of CSIRO Australia

God Has Prepared the City, But … (2)

God has prepared a city for the people of faith! But … we do not yet see New Jerusalem because God is eternal, outside of time, and we are still partially in time and in the old creation.

New JerusalemHere are other instances God’s preparation that do not yet see:
• First Peter 1:5 says we “are being guarded by the power of God through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time.”
• Hebrews 2:8-9 says “in subjecting all things to Him [Christ], He [God] left nothing unsubject to Him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him, but we see Jesus…” To see Him we must look away from everything else to Him (Hebrews 12:1-2).

The important point is not to depend on our physical senses for spiritual matters. Hebrews 11 is about people of faith, not about those with keen physical eyesight.

Second Corinthians 4:13 speaks of our spirit of faith. The following verses contrast outward and inward things, concluding (v. 18), “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.”

And Hebrews 13:13-14 encourages us, “Let us therefore go forth unto Him….For we do not have here a remaining city, but we seek after the one to come.”

God has prepared the city. Our responsibility is to look away unto Jesus; to regard the unseen, eternal things; and to seek the city to come, New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Let us Follow the Lamb Wherever He Goes

New JerusalemBoaz and Ruth are a picture of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5) and a picture of the Lamb and New Jerusalem (Revelation 21). Boaz redeemed Ruth from her poverty, then married her and brought her into his house. Jesus Christ has done the same for us.

A part of this wonderful picture is Ruth’s seeking. She said to her mother-in-law, “For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you dwell, I will dwell; and your people will be my people, and your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16). May we all have such an attitude in our heart and declare it with our mouth.

After going to be among God’s people, Ruth was not passive; she went out to glean after the harvesters. As a sojourner and a widow, this gleaning was her right (Leviticus 23:22; Deuteronomy 24:19-21), and she came forward to exercise this right.

In God’s mercy she came to the field of Boaz (Ruth 2:1-3). We must come forward, but it is the sovereign God who arranges where we will be. Thank God for this marvelous picture.

Ruth followed the instruction of Boaz to stay with his reapers (Ruth 2:8-9, 23). Ruth was also obedient to the instructions from her mother-in-law (Ruth 3:1-5). Probably her simple obedience followed from her simple and firm declaration in verse 1:16.

May the Lord grant each of us a heart to go, to dwell, to be among God’s people, and to be with God. May we be those who “follow the Lamb wherever He may go” (Revelation 14:4). Eventually, New Jerusalem will be the destination of our going, New Jerusalem will be our dwelling, and New Jerusalem will be our abiding with God’s people and with God.

Here is Ruth 1:16-17 in a song.

A Personal Testimony

New JerusalemAbraham eagerly waited for, sought, and longed for the city of foundations, New Jerusalem, in the new creation, the better country (Hebrews 11:10, 14, 16). Abraham and Sarah lived in a tent, about which the Bible gives no description. However, the whole of Genesis 23 is devoted to the purchase and description of their burial place.

At the start of this year [2014] my wife, Karen, and I had no idea what awaited us. In mid January she was hospitalized. After a week she was transferred to intensive care. I was apprehensive about the outcome of these events. At that time the Lord spoke to me through Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham, being called…went out, not knowing where he was going.”

I realized, and Karen agreed, that we were on a journey with the Lord, not knowing where we were going and not knowing when we would arrive. With this realization, my apprehension vanished. I was willing to go by faith, not knowing.

After four weeks of hospitalization, Karen went to a convalescent home, where she stayed for six weeks. During the latter weeks she faced a decision about medical treatment. She had her preference but always stated it with “probably.”

During the tenth week of this journey the Lord visited us strongly as we were together reading Genesis. Verse 12:1 says, “Go from your land…to the land that I will show you.” That day we did not understand what the Lord was speaking to us but within two days she was certain, and I too, that the Lord was calling her out of this present existence to be with Him in paradise. At this point Karen knew she had received a decision from the Lord. There was no longer a medical decision to consider and she never again said “probably.” She also testified, “I am not afraid to die.”

She came home with hospice care. We expected some weeks before her death but she died one week after realizing what the Lord spoke. I believe that this quickness shows that the timing was of the Lord, not man. (She died three days after coming home; in the Bible “three days” indicates resurrection.) She is asleep in Christ. A week later we buried her to await the resurrection at the Lord’s visible return, as presented in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16, and to await, like Abraham and Sarah and many others, the better country with the New Jerusalem.

one year later

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