New Jerusalem: Living Temple and Eternal Holy of Holies

The Old Testament temple was physical and earthly. The New Testament temple is living and heavenly. It is the incarnated Jesus and the resurrected Jesus in His believers. Hebrews 8:5 tells us that the Old Testament priests “serve the example and shadow of the heavenly things.” Verse 2 says that our Lord, the real High Priest, is a Minister “of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.”

Here are a posts which compare the shadow and the true, and use the shadow to show characteristics of the true, including New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies. Each summary begins with a link to that post and ends with one key verse reference.

New Jerusalem

The Lord told the Jews that if they destroyed the temple (of His body), He would raise it up in resurrection. This shows that the New Testament temple is living, not physical. (John 2:19-22)

In resurrection, the Spirit is dwelling in every believer. This makes us “the temple of God.” (1 Cor. 3:16)

The overcomers, who hold fast to the Lord’s word, will be pillars in the living temple. (Rev. 3:11-12).

John tells us, “I saw no temple in it [New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (Rev. 21:22)

Jesus Christ “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.” As priests, we are qualified to serve in the temple and will serve eternally in New Jerusalem. (Rev. 1:5-6).

God is not only our living temple but also our dwelling place now and in New Jerusalem. (Psalm 90:1)

We have been cleansed in the blood of the Lamb. We serve God day and night in His temple, which is God Himself. (Rev. 7:14-15).

Colossians 2, speaking about Old Testament things, says they “are a shadow of the things to come, but the body [the reality which casts the shadow] is of Christ.” (Heb. 8:5)

The Old Testament things are shadows because “grace and reality came through Jesus Christ,” in His incarnation. (John 1:17)

The shadows in the Bible illuminate us concerning the reality. The Old Testament holy of holies had the ark of the covenant with its contents, all pictures of the reality. (Hebrews 9:4)

The ark contains manna in a golden pot, the budding rod, and the tablets of the covenant. All portray something about New Jerusalem. (Hebrews 9:4).

The lid of the ark is the propitiation place, testifying of the forgiveness and cleansing of sins. (Heb. 9:5, 14)

The cherubim of glory are above the propitiation place, symbolizing New Jerusalem which has the glory of God. (Heb. 9:5)

Above the propitiation place and between the cherubim is where God meets with us and speaks with us. (Exo. 25:21-22)

In New Jerusalem we have been brought into the holy of holies to have full fellowship with the Triune God, there is no more need of the outer court nor the holy place. (Rev. 22:1-5)

We come forward with boldness, with full assurance of faith, to the holy of holies, to New Jerusalem. (Heb. 10:19-22)

To come forward to the holy of holies is also to come to the throne of grace. (Heb. 4:16)

To come forward to the holy of holies is to enter through the veil, which was torn when the Lord was crucified (Heb. 9:3, 10:19-20). Here is a hymn about entering through the veil:
Enter the Veil and Go Without the Camp
Taste Heaven’s Sweetness
Enter the Veil, Come Forward to the Throne

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The Shadow of the Living Temple (2)

Jesus alone (John 2), then all His believers (2 Cor. 6:16), consummating in New Jerusalem, is the living temple. The Bible also has a material, physical temple, a shadow, a portrait of this reality. This shadow shows us the good, heavenly things to come in Christ. But what need was there for that shadow?

Because of the fall of man, in Genesis 3 man was shut out from the reality. As a result, before Christ came, there was a need of shadows. Then, through incarnation, the reality came to man. John 1:17 speaks of this contrast: “the law was given through Moses; grace and reality came [literally become, came into existence] through Jesus Christ.”

#NewJerusalemThe reality came, and through His redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection we can participate in this reality. We have no more need for shadows!

The shadows came because of the fall, but we can receive some spiritual vision from them. This is somewhat like the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words. The physical tabernacle and temple, the shadows, show us something about the living temple including New Jerusalem.

One thing we see is that the Old Testament temple was constructed with gold, wood, and stone. This is a picture of God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, built with the divine nature, the humanity of Jesus, and the transformed members of His Body.

The dimensions of the tabernacle and temple show us that the Holy of Holies, their innermost chamber, is a cube. These cubes demonstrate that New Jerusalem, a cube (Rev. 21:16), is the eternal holy of holies. Furthermore, the fact that the whole of New Jerusalem is the holy of holies tells us that we all have been fully brought into God’s presence. Wonderful!

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Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 110-118

New JerusalemPsalm 110 is a prophecy concerning Christ, often quoted in the New Testament*. This Psalm is about the present spiritual warfare and the defeating of God’s enemies. By the time of the new creation and New Jerusalem all the enemies will be gone, cast into the lake of fire, but Christ will endure as “a Priest forever” (v. 4).

Psalm 111:9 says “He has sent redemp-tion to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever.” The redemption sent to us is in Christ (Rom. 3:24). This redemption (Gal. 3:13) brings us the blessing of the Spirit covenanted to Abraham (v. 14), a blessing which continues “forever” as portrayed by the river of life in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 113:1-2 says, “Hallelujah! Praise, you servants of Jehovah, praise the name of Jehovah. Let the name of Jehovah be blessed, from now and to eternity.” We can surely praise God now and shout hallelujahs. And we will do this “to eternity” in New Jerusalem.This is repeated in Psalm 115:18, “we will bless Jehovah from now and to eternity. Hallelujah.”

Where is this praising? An answer is in Psalm 116:19, “In the courts of the house of Jehovah, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Hallelujah.”

Psalm 117:1 says, “Praise Jehovah, all you nations; laud Him, all you peoples.” Although not realized now, it will be after the Lord returns and even more fully in the new creation.

Psalm 118:19, “Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will enter in through them; I will give thanks to Jehovah.” At present we have the gate unto eternal life (Matt. 7:14); in Christ we have the righteousness which allows us to enter this gate and receive eternal life (Rom. 1:17, 5:17-18). Eventually this will be the gate into New Jerusalem, still open because of Christ as our righteousness unto full enjoyment of Christ as our life.

* V. 1 in Matt. 22:44, 26:64, Luke 20:42-43, Acts 2:34-35, Heb. 1:13; and v. 4 in Heb. 5:6, 7:17.
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Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 100-107

New JerusalemMany Psalms prophesy concerning Christ; they also speak about God’s house, city, and blessings to the whole earth, all of which are forerunners of New Jerusalem in the new creation.

Psalm 100:1-2, “Make a joyful noise to Jehovah, all the earth. Serve Jehovah with rejoicing; come before His presence with joyful singing.” Today we serve with rejoicing, joyful singing, and praising the Lord. In the new creation, all the earth will make a joyful noise.

Psalm 102:21-22, “The name of Jehovah may be declared in Zion, and His praise, in Jerusalem, when the peoples are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve Jehovah.” We declare and call upon the name today (Rom. 10:12-13). The eternal fulfillment of verse 22 is “they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it [New Jerusalem]” (Rev. 21:26).

Psalm 106:1, “Hallelujah. Give thanks to Jehovah, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is forever.” “Forever” points clearly toward the new creation and New Jerusalem.
Psalm 106:48, “Blessed be Jehovah the God of Israel, from eternity to eternity. And let all the people say, Amen. Hallelujah.” Today should be and New Jerusalem will be full of praising, blessing, and thanksgiving.

Psalm 107, 2-3a, 7, “Let the redeemed of Jehovah say so, whom He redeemed from the hand of the adversary, and gathered out of the lands….And He led them on a straight way that they might come to a city of habitation.” Today we have “the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24) and are on “the straight way” (2 Peter 2:15) to New Jerusalem, our city of habitation.

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Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 87-98

We are looking at prophecies of Christ in the Psalms, and the psalmists’ descriptions of God’s house, city, and reign over the earth, all as shadows of New Jerusalem at the center of the new earth.

New JerusalemPsalm 87:3, “Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.” How much more than earthly Jerusalem will glorious things be said about New Jerusalem!

Psalm 90:1, “O Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” Moses had the sense he was dwelling in God. How much more his word is true now and will be in eternity.

Psalm 91:1, 9, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” “For You have made Jehovah, who is my refuge, even the Most High, Your habitation.” This psalm is a prophecy about Christ, quoted in Matthew and Luke. Yet, since we are in Christ, His dwelling in God is ours also (John 14:20). This is true now and will extend into New Jerusalem.

Psalm 92:12-13, “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree….Planted in the house of Jehovah, they will flourish…” Both today and in eternity, Christ is our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30). We are planted in God’s house today and will flourish in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 97:1, “Jehovah reigns! Let the earth be glad; Let the many islands rejoice.”
Psalm 97:6b, “All the peoples see His glory.” (Rev. 21:23-24)
Psalm 97:8a, “For You, O Jehovah, are most high over all the earth.”
All these declarations will be fully fulfilled in new earth and New Jerusalem.

Psalm 98:2, “Jehovah has made His salvation known; in the sight of the nations He has revealed His righteousness.” When Jesus began His earthly ministry, this was true to those whose eyes were opened (e.g. Luke 2:30). In the new creation everyone will see His salvation and righteousness. Psalm 98:3b, “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”

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Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 73, 84

In the Psalms we see many prophecies and allusions to Christ. Through believing into Christ, He brings us into God’s house, the church, which is typified in Psalms. The enlargement of the house is God’s kingdom, mentioned in Psalms and portrayed by earthly Jerusalem. Through the kingdom, God will bring peace and joy to the whole earth, as also foreseen in Psalms. This post resumes a series looking at prophecies and shadows in Psalms of Christ, God’s house and city, and God’s reign over the earth.

Eternally, Christ is the center of New Jerusalem, God’s ultimate house and city for His reign over the earth.

Psalm 73:23-24, “I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me in glory.” Despite all the troubles in the world, like those in the earlier parts of Psalm 73, we need to look to Christ and God’s house and city; this is the way to be “continually with” the Lord. And He will receive us into glory—New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPsalm 84:1, “How lovely are Your tabernacles, O Jehovah of hosts!” Revelation 21:2-3, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…the tabernacle of God.”

Psalm 84:4, “Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will yet be praising You.” Today we are blessed to dwell and praise God in the church, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15); more dwelling, blessing, and praising await in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 84:5, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” We are in Christ and in God’s house and kingdom, but because of Christ’s unlimited fullness and our limited experience, we have much more entering to do. Lord, fill our hearts with the highways to Zion; we long for more of You, Your house and city.

Psalm 84:10a, “a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.” This was true when the Psalmist spoke, it is true today, and it will be true in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 84:11 (mid), “Jehovah gives grace and glory.” Grace is Christ with us today— “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Phil. 4:23). Glory will be manifested at the Lord’s return— “He comes to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10)—and in New Jerusalem.

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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!

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Psalms with a Shadow of New Jerusalem

In the Psalms there are five crucial words: law, Christ, house, city, earth. With our New Testament view, we know that Christ has replaced the law (Rom. 7:4, 10:4, Gal. 2:16). Christ is presented by many verses in Psalms which are quoted and applied to Him in the New Testament.

Christ comes into us at regeneration and grows within us. This growth yields God’s house, God’s dwelling place, the church—portrayed by the temple in the Psalms. Further strengthening of Christ in us brings forth God’s kingdom—depicted by the city of Jerusalem in the Psalms. Eventually through the kingdom, God in Christ rules over the whole earth.

New Jerusalem

The four words Christ, house, city, earth were the focus of a conference published in the book Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms. During the conference a theme song (words and music) was written; the first lines of each stanza are: 
__
We from the law to Christ have turned
___Christ brings us to God’s house to dwell
____The house enlarged the city is
_____From Zion Christ will take the earth
______Christ—house—the city—earth, we see;
______Thus God’s great plan fulfilled will be.
Complete stanzas of the song will appear in coming posts.

In a recent reading of Psalms and the Life-Study of Psalms, I saw many verses comparable to or shadows of characteristics of New Jerusalem. In this series of posts I present some verses from Psalms with few comments about their correspondence to New Jerusalem.

In brief, God in Christ is on the throne (Rev. 22:1) as the center of New Jerusalem. God and the Lamb are the temple (Rev. 21:22), equivalent to the house in Psalms. New Jerusalem is a city (Rev. 21:2), the heavenly counterpart on earth of the earthly Jerusalem in Psalms. From New Jerusalem God in Christ rules over the entire new earth.

 

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.

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