Now and New Jerusalem: Behold His Face

New JerusalemRevelation 22:3-4 says, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him; and they will see His face.”

Seeing the face of God and the Lamb will be an eternal blessing, and a foretaste is available now for those who seek Him. First Corinthians 13:12: “now we see in a mirror obscurely, but at that time face to face.” After the Lord’s visible return to earth, in the kingdom age and in eternity, we will see God’s face clearly.

Today we see “obscurely.” Yet, we will look at many verses about seeing the Lord’s face now, a preview of Revelation 22:4’s word about New Jerusalem.

“Jesus cried out and said, He who believes into Me does not believe into Me, but into Him who sent Me; and he who beholds Me beholds Him who sent Me.” (John 12:44-45) In this word, beholding the Lord follows believing into Him.

In John 14:19 He said, “Yet a little while and the world beholds Me no longer, but you behold Me; because I live, you also shall live.” This beholding is in the realm of resurrection. It is a result of the Lord’s death and resurrection, and by our believing, that we enter this realm, we live (with His eternal life), and we behold the Lord.

Beholding the Lord in resurrection is much more than physically seeing the Lord during His time on earth. The same will be true in New Jerusalem, even though we expect also to see Him physically from the time of His second coming.

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 U.S. National Park Service.

Nothing Abominable in New Jerusalem

This continues occasional posts about what is NOT in New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:8 declares, “But the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the false, their part will be in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

New JerusalemThis verse lists eight categories of people and actions which will not be in New Jerusalem. The verse begins but. This indicates a contrast. The prior phrase (21:7) is, “I will be God to him, and he will be a son to Me.” This indicates that the eight categories have not been born of God to be His sons.

The word to the Galatian believers (and to us) is, “you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” New Jerusalem is composed of all who are sons of God through faith. This includes the Old Testament people of faith. Hebrews 11:16 speaks about them: “they long after a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”

Revelation 21:27 is similar to 21:8, “anything common and he who makes an abomination and a lie shall by no means enter into it [New Jerusalem].” Verse 27 continues, “only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life [will enter New Jerusalem].” Like son in 21:7, this word indicates that participation in New Jerusalem is a matter of life. Since the nations around New Jerusalem will bring their glory and honor into New Jerusalem (21:26), they too must be in the Lamb’s book of life.

Our goal is not merely to be saved from negative things, but to be built together in the eternal life for God’s dwelling today, which develops unto New Jerusalem.

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New Jerusalem, City of the Living God

New JerusalemRevelation 21–22 presents a vision of the holy city, New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven to the new earth. Let’s look at descriptions of this holy city in other books of the Bible.

Hebrews 12:22 speaks of “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” The living God desires a living city composed of all His redeemed and regenerated people.

When we are made alive with the divine life in regeneration, we become “sons of the living God” (Rom. 9:26) to be “the temple of the living God (2 Cor. 6:6) and “the house of God, the church of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). These consummate in New Jerusalem, the city of the living God.

Revelation 21:23 says of New Jerusalem, “the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” This combination of city and light reminds me of Matthew 5:14-16. Verse 14 says, “You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” Although New Jerusalem is not said to be “upon a mountain,” it will be very prominent in the new creation, in no way hidden.

 Today the kingdom people, with Christ shining within us, are the light to the fallen world. In eternity we, built into the city with Christ continuing to shine within us, will enlighten the new creation.

Hebrews 12 presents the city of the living God. Hebrews 11 also speaks about New Jerusalem: “the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God” (v. 10) and “He [God] has prepared a city for them [the people of faith]” (v. 16).

Here are some prior posts about the God-prepared city in Hebrews 11.
We Enter New Jerusalem by Faith
Enter into What God Has Prepared
God Has Prepared the City, But …
God Has Prepared, We are Experiencing

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Faith & Grace Bring Us to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem Romans 4:16: “the inheritance is out of faith that it might be according to grace.” We inherit a foretaste in this age, much more in the kingdom age, and the utmost in New Jerusalem. This verse shows that faith and grace are keys to our inheriting.

Romans 4 makes much use of the example of Abraham. Hebrews 11 also includes him in the discourse on faith. By faith Abraham “eagerly waited for the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God” (v. 10). This clearly points to New Jerusalem, the city which has foundations (Rev. 21:19).

Are we eagerly waiting for New Jerusalem? Or is our eagerness toward a human achievement, a human honor, greater income, a nicer home, or a special vacation? Lord, have mercy on us; align our eagerness with that of the faith people of Hebrews 11.

Romans 3:23-24 say, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Because we were sinners, we were separated from glory and couldn’t inherit anything of God, including New Jerusalem, the city full of the glory of God. But by grace we have been justified by the redemption accomplished by Christ Jesus through His death, which qualifies us to inherit.

Romans 3 and 4 strongly declare that works, human effort according to the law, is not the way to inherit from God. God’s way is by faith and by grace. Faith and grace carry us to New Jerusalem.

Neither faith nor grace originate with us. Peter says that God has allotted faith to us (2 Peter 1:1). Paul says the grace of God was given to us (1 Cor. 1:4). God’s eternal plan, expressed in His creation (Gen. 1:26), is to have a corporate man to express Him. For this, God wants us to be part of New Jerusalem, and to make this possible He has provided faith and grace. Thank Him!

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service.

Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem (6)

Ephesians 1:3-14 presents God’s spiritual blessings to us in Christ. Three times we are told that these blessings are to the praise of His glory. This goal links Ephesians 1 with New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

New JerusalemEphesians 1:13 says, “In whom [Christ] you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, in Him also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise.” Like many prior phrases, the actions here are “in Christ.”

We heard the word of the truth, the gospel of our salvation. We heard because God is “the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11). Our hearing generated faith within us (Rom. 10:17). This faith brought us salvation. This salvation includes the sealing of the Holy Spirit.

The seal indicates that we belong to God. It is like a name tag on an object, except that it is living and inward. We belong to God for His purpose which ultimately is New Jerusalem.

We are sealed with “the Holy Spirit of the promise.” This promise includes all of God’s blessings in Christ. The concluding portions are “the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15) and “new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:13) both of which point to New Jerusalem.

The Holy Spirit of the promise is also “the pledge of our inheritance” (Eph. 1:14). First Peter 1:4 tells us that this inheritance is “incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you.” Like the promise in verse 13, the inheritance in verse 14 ( ) points to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

One Flock, One Shepherd, One City

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the consummation of every positive quality in the Bible. Jesus told us, “there shall be one flock, one Shepherd” (John 10:16). This is the first definite word in the New Testament about our spiritual oneness. This oneness develops through the one Body, the one new man (upcoming posts), to the one New Jerusalem.

In John 9 the Lord gave sight to a man blind from birth. This man, viewed as a disciple of Jesus (John 9:28), was cast out of the Jewish fellowship in the synagogue (John 9:22, 34, 35). From the religious Jews’ viewpoint, he was cast out. However, from Jesus’ viewpoint, he was a sheep and Jesus led him out of the sheepfold to find pasture that he might have eternal life (John 10:9-10).

The sheepfold represents the law which guarded the Jewish people until Christ came. Galatians 3:23-24 speaks of this guarding— “But before faith came we were guarded under law, being shut up unto the faith which was to be revealed. So then the law has become our child-conductor unto Christ that we might be justified out of faith.”

In John 10:16 the Lord says, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must lead them also.” These sheep are from the nations. Then He said that from these sheep and from those of the sheepfold, “there shall be one flock, one Shepherd.”

The Lord also says He laid down His soul life, His human life, to accomplish redemption for His sheep (vv. 1517-18) that they may share His zoe life, His divine life (v. 10b), the eternal life (v. 28), by which they can be formed into one flock under Himself as the one Shepherd.* This eternal life makes us one and brings us all the way to New Jerusalem.

* An extract from the note on John 10:11 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, published and © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.
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The Nations around New Jerusalem (4)

New Jerusalem is composed the Triune God and the people who are one with God, who have God in Christ as their life and everything. Other peoples, the nations, live around New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:3, 24-26).

Revelation 21:3 has the declaration, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them, and they will be His peoples, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.” This is a wonderful verse, but it also highlights a difference between the people constituted into New Jerusalem and the peoples living around it.

The difference is “God.” God is both the God of people built into New Jerusalem and the God of the peoples around the city. In contrast, God is the Father of those in New Jerusalem but not the Father of those around it.

New JerusalemIn the Lord’s resurrection, we were regenerated (1 Peter 1:3) and received the divine life. Thus our God became our Father. This is why on the day of resurrection (John 20:17) the Lord could say, “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.”

Jesus, speaking about resurrection, also said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him” (John 14:23). And, “because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father!” (Gal. 4:6).

Jesus said to him, I am the way and the reality and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me. Also, the second verse of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians speak of “our Father.” God is our Father and His divine and eternal life, the life of New Jerusalem, is our life. By and in this life we are part of, rather than around New Jerusalem.

 

 

Divine Life and Nature for New Jerusalem 

New JerusalemGod’s created man in His image because of His desire to have a corporate expression of Himself by means of God becoming man’s life. This expression culminates in New Jerusalem.

To express God, to fulfill what New Jerusalem will be, we need God’s life and nature. This need is illustrated with a monkey, which can be trained to briefly imitate a man, but can never fully express a man because it does not have the man’s life and nature.

The New Jerusalem, the ultimate consummation of the Bible, involves God becoming man and man becoming God in life and in nature but not in the Godhead (Rev. 21:2; 3:12). To arrive at the corporate expression of God requires that God become man and that we become God in life and nature so that we can be truly incorporated with God to become the New Jerusalem as His expression. Without this process of our becoming the same as God in life, nature, and expression [but not in the Godhead], there cannot be an organic corporate expression of the Triune God involving Him and millions of believers.*

By faith we are born of God (John 1:12-13, 3:5-6) and we have God’s life, the life flowing as a river in New Jerusalem. But don’t wait until then—Christ is our life now (Col. 3:4).

By this same faith, we participate in “all things which relate to life and godliness” and receive “precious and exceedingly great promises” so that we “might become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:3-4). This divine nature is symbolized by the gold of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:18, 21).

As this divine life and nature spread in us, God’s expression develops in our being and in our living. This development continues through our entire life and culminates in New Jerusalem.

Related Post: God’s Life and Nature for New Jerusalem.

* 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.

God Leads Many Sons into New Jerusalem

New JerusalemGenesis 1:27 says, “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him.” God’s goal in creation, ultimately realized by New Jerusalem, was that man would receive God as life and be enabled to express God.

The created man sinned and was shut out from the tree of life. But the redemption of Jesus Christ opened the door for man to receive God in Christ as life. By receiving, we are born of God and become God’s sons. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name, who were begotten…of God” (John 1:12-13).

The New Jerusalem is the aggregate of the divine sonship for the corporate expression of the Triune God (Rev. 21:2, 7; Eph. 1:5; Heb. 2:10; Rom. 8:23). To God we are the many sons, to Christ we are the many brothers, and to His Body we are the many members (Heb. 2:10; Rom. 8:29; 12:4-5). The Triune God is still working today to bring many sons into glory (Heb. 2:10). There is only one divine sonship, and we all are in this one sonship for the corporate expression of the Triune God….The New Jerusalem is the aggregate of all the sons of God together as a corporate expression; this is the fulfillment of Genesis 1:26, of God having man in His own image.*

The goal of God creating man in His image is fulfilled in New Jerusalem which has, and radiates, the glory of God. To achieve this goal, God is now “leading many sons into glory” (Heb. 2:10). Father God, thank You that I am one of Your sons. Lead me every day further into glory, all the way to New Jerusalem.

* 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 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.

Endeavoring to Experience New Jerusalem

In July of this year I presented portions about New Jerusalem from the Fall 2012 issue of Affirmation & Critique. That issue focused on New Jerusalem. The Spring 2013 issue focused on the One New Man (Eph. 2:15, Col. 3:9-11). One article in the spring issue is The Consummation of the New Man: The New Jerusalem by David Yoon. This begins,

The progressive accomplishment of the divine economy in God’s move among humanity is revealed in four significant expressions used in Paul’s Epistles: the first man [created], the old man [fallen], the second man [Jesus Christ], and the new man [His Body] (1 Cor. 15:47; Eph. 4:22, 24).

The majority of this article looks in detail and with many Bible verses at “The Correspondence between the Characteristics of the New Man and the Features of the New Jerusalem.”

New JerusalemBoth the new man and the New Jerusalem are a composition of God’s sons, the product of God’s grace unto His glory, the expression of God’s glory, the expression of God’s righteousness and holiness, the means of God’s administration, a composition of the Jewish and Gentile believers, a corporate entity characterized by peace and oneness, and the masterpiece of God. If we see the correlation between the new man and the New Jerusalem, our stance toward the New Jerusalem will not be passive—one of merely waiting to go someday to a physical city. Instead, by the grace of God we will adopt an active attitude, endeavoring to experience the spiritual realities of the new man throughout our Christian life.

Such an attitude and pursuit on our part matches the closing of Peter’s second epistle. Here, speaking of the change from the old creation to the new (3:10-13), he says, “what kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness, expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God.” Hence, we should live a holy life by living Christ as our holiness to hasten the judgment day of God. This day will bring in the new creation of which the center is New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year, © by Living Stream Ministry. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. Fall 2012 Spring 2013

Live the Father’s Life for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemWe have a Christian journey to a spiritual mountain to see New Jerusalem. To reach this mountain requires experiences of Christ. It also requires exercise of our spirit mingled with the Spirit because a proper Christian life is a walk according to the spirit (Gal. 5:16).

In Matthew 4:17 the Lord proclaimed “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” In Matthew 5–7 He spoke about the reality of life in this kingdom. Both are necessary steps toward the vision of New Jerusalem.

Repentance was proclaimed to those beside or on the sea of Galilee, which typifies living in a worldly situation. May we all repent of whatever degree of worldliness we have. Then we go up a mountain (Matt. 5:1) to enter the reality of the kingdom of the heavens.

In ourselves we cannot fulfill what the Lord spoke in Matthew 5–7. But He gave us the key, “our Father.” He spoke this phrase at least 12 times in these three chapters. We are sons of our Father (5:45) and His life in us enables us to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (5:48).

Beside the sea we repent and on the mountain we live by the Father’s life. The reality of this life is the Spirit. “The Spirit gives life” (John 6:63, 2 Cor. 3:6) and because of being born again our spirit is life (Rom. 8:10). It is in our spirit, regenerated by the Spirit, that we are carried to the mountain for the vision 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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

God’s Life and Nature for New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

This post continues our look at an issue of Affirmation & Critique* focused on New Jerusalem. The final page of that issue includes:

The New Jerusalem, the city of God, is not a physical city; it is a sign of the consummation of God’s economical operation of grace, an operation that began with the incarnation of the Word in humanity in order to produce a corporate person who is joined to and mingled with the Triune God. The New Jerusalem is a divine declaration of the Triune God’s desire to reproduce Himself in a corporate God-man. As a divine-human corporate person, the New Jerusalem speaks of God becoming man and man becoming God in life and nature but not in the Godhead. The New Jerusalem is a composition of God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, sanctified, renewed, transformed, and glorified people who have been deified, that is, made the same as God in life and nature but not in the Godhead.

For New Jerusalem, we become God in life and nature but not in the Godhead. Is this a strange statement? Not if we look at verses like these:
• “As many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name, who were begotten…of God.” John 1:12-13
• “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26
• “He who believes into the Son has eternal life.” John 3:36
• “Christ lives in me.”  “Christ our life.” Galatians 2:20, Colossians 3:4
• “All the Body…grows with the growth of God.” Colossians 2:19
• “You might become partakers of the divine nature” 2 Peter 1:4

These verses and many more speak of the mingling of God and man in life now, in this age. The full growth, the maturity in life, of this mingling is the New Jerusalem and will be exhibited by New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

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