Out from Christ to be Presented to Christ (2)

In Genesis 2 God built the rib, which He had taken from Adam, into Eve and brought her to Adam. No other creature could be Adam’s counterpart, but Adam welcomed Eve as his counterpart. This is a picture that the church, growing into New Jerusalem, is built with Christ to be presented to Him as His wife.

New JerusalemGod took the rib from Adam while he was in “a deep sleep.” Sleep here signifies death, as in John 11:11-13 and 1 Thessa-lonians 4:13-16. Then Adam was awake, signifying resurrection, and Eve was brought to him. Like Eve, both the church and New Jerusalem come forth through the death and resurrection of Christ.

Through death Christ both redeemed us and released His divine life, which was imparted into us in resurrection. Now “Christ is our life” (Col. 3:4). Christ our life, not our natural life (which must be denied), is the life of the church and of New Jerusalem. It is by this life that the bride of Christ is prepared.

This life is imparted by the Spirit. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing” (John 6:63). “The Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). However, this Spirit is not separate from Christ. He, as the Spirit, enters into our human spirit; as a result, “If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit* is life because of righteousness” (Rom. 8:10).

Christ our life energizes us to deny our natural life, our self, and Christ our life grows until in the church, the new man, “Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:11). By His being all and in all His members, He can present the church to Himself glorious (Eph. 5:27). In the new creation and New Jerusalem there will be no self left to deny and absolutely Christ will be all and in all.

For more about the church, the precursor of New Jerusalem, coming out of Christ to be presented to Christ, see chapter 2 in The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee. It can be freely downloaded from Bibles for America (English) or Rhema Literature (30 languages).

* This is our human spirit because 1) it is contrasted with our human body and 2) the divine Spirit is life whether Christ is in us or not.

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God’s Eternal Purpose for the Earth (2)

God created all things, in order that now His multifarious wisdom might be made known through the church (Eph. 3:9-11) and in eternity through New Jerusalem. This is God’s eternal purpose.

New JerusalemZechariah 12:1 gives more insight into God’s intention in creation: “Thus declares Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.” Here the heavens are for the earth and the focus of earth is man with a human spirit. Man has a spirit to receive God, who is Spirit.

Zechariah tells us that man with a spirit is the key for God to accomplish the purpose presented in Ephesians 3. It is in our human spirit that we are born of God to have His life and be one with Him, without which we cannot be His expression.
• “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6b)
• “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit” (1 Cor. 6:17)
• “the Lord be with your spirit” (2 Tim. 4:22)

With this base, when we walk according to spirit, as described in Romans 8 and Galatians 5, the Lord can express Himself through our living. At the same time, the Lord spreads within un to renew our entire being, and thereby enhance His expression through us.

One example is Mary: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has exulted in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47). First her spirit exulted with joy, then her soul expressed that joy. Another example is Paul who spoke of the bountiful supply of the Spirit so that “with all boldness, as always, even now Christ will be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death” (Phil. 1:20).

These are individual examples, but God’s goal as expressed in Ephesians 3 is to be magnified in the church today to prepare the way for a richer expression in New Jerusalem.

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New Creation, Now and New Jerusalem (2)

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). That is an accomplished fact based on our faith in Jesus Christ. Now, through the renewing of the Holy Spirit, we are gradually becoming the reality of New Jerusalem.

Paul the apostle, writing about his Christian living, said, “a new creation is what matters” (Gal. 6:15).

The old creation is our old man in Adam (Eph. 4:22), our natural being by birth, without God’s life and the divine nature. The new creation is the new man in Christ (Eph. 4:24), our being that is regenerated by the Spirit (John 3:6), having God’s life and the divine nature wrought into it (John 3:36; 2 Pet. 1:4), having Christ as its constituent (Col. 3:10-11), and having become a new constitution.

The old creation was old because it did not have God’s element; the new creation is new because it has God as its element. Although we are still the old creation, we experience the reality of the new creation when we walk according to the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25). This new creation fulfills God’s eternal purpose, which is to express Himself in His sonship.*

New JerusalemNot only in New Jerusalem, but even now, “a new creation is what matters.” For this we need to take care of our regenerated spirit, the first part of our being to be made new by Christ’s salvation. This is the fulfillment of the promise in Ezekiel 36:26, ” I will also give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.”

Today our spirit is life and the Spirit in our spirit is life to our whole being (Rom. 8:2-11). And our new heart loves the Lord and His word. This is our experience of the new creation and our foretaste of New Jerusalem.

* Part of Galatians 6:15, note 1, written by Witness Lee, in the online Recovery Version NT.

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New Jerusalem and New Creation: No Corruption

New Jerusalem is incorruptible; the city has no corruption. New Jerusalem has no corruption because it is a city in resurrection. Resurrection is a realm with no corruption.

Romans 1:23 speaks of the incorruptible God. Both Peter and Paul declare that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is apart from corruption (Acts 2:27, 31; Acts 13:34, 35, 37). In New Jerusalem God and the Lamb, Jesus Christ, are on the throne. Corruption was never in them and is incompatible with their kingdom. Hence, no corruption in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemWe were redeemed not with corruptible things but with the incorruptible, precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). In verse 23 we have been “regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God.” The word of God has no corruption and has brought forth an incorruptible life in us.

First Corinthians 15:50-54 speak of our resurrection. Here too there is no corruption. Corruption is tied to mortality, to death. When New Jerusalem appears, death will have been cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14). First Corinthians quotes Isaiah 25:8, “Death has been swallowed up unto victory.’’

In Galatians 6:8 corruption is tied to the flesh, the fallen humanity. Christ crucified the flesh and now the Spirit is working in us to separate us from all the works of the flesh. In the same verse the Spirit is coupled with eternal life, the life that characterizes New Jerusalem.

Everything on the path to New Jerusalem is free from corruption. Furthermore, Romans 8:21 tells us that “creation itself will also be freed from the slavery of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” Thus the entire new creation will have no corruption but will have New Jerusalem with the glory of God and His children.

Here are some related posts:
New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance (2)
New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance (1)
Incorruptible and Undefiled and Unfading
Pursue the Incorruptible New Jerusalem

On the Throne in New Jerusalem (2)

Revelation 22:3 says concerning New Jerusalem:

New Jerusalem

Here are more verses about the exalted and enthroned Lamb.

Philippians 2:9-11, “God highly exalted Him [Christ Jesus] and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should openly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” We confess Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God now and in New Jerusalem.

Hebrews 2:7b-8a, “You [God] have crowned Him [Jesus] with glory and honor and have set Him over the works of Your hands; You have subjected all things under His feet. For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing unsubject to Him.”

Revelation 1:5, “Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth.” If we look at today’s situation with our human understanding, we doubt. But, we should say “amen” to God’s word. Jesus Christ is the Ruler today as He will be in New Jerusalem.

Revelation 17:14, “…the Lamb…is Lord of lords and King of kings…” Revelation 19:16, “He has on His garment and on His thigh a name written, King of Kings And Lord of Lords.”

This wonderful One is on the throne now and will be on the throne in New Jerusalem. In Revelation 22:1 John saw “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” This river flows to keep us under His authority and is flowing now as the Spirit which we have received (John 7:37-39). To drink the Spirit now (1 Cor. 12:13) is to have a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

More about the redeeming and enthroned Lamb: Behold the Lamb (1), (2), (3), (4)

Partake of One Bread, One Body, One City

Pictures of the oneness of New Jerusalem include the one flock, the one new man, and the one Body. Another picture is in 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, “The bread which we break, is it not the fellowship of the body of Christ? Seeing that there is one bread, we who are many are one Body; for we all partake of the one bread.”

The breaking portrays the death of Christ and the partaking implies His resurrection. By His death and resurrection, we have all become one in Him. This is the oneness of His Body, of the one new man, and of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPartaking of the bread makes us one. This is not the physical bread on the table, which is only a symbol. Remember John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” Jesus Christ is the real bread, the living bread, as testified in all of John 6. Today our eating/partaking must be by exercising our spirit to contact the Spirit.

The most solid way to partake is with the Word and Spirit together. Ephesians 6:17-18 encourages us to receive “the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit.”

The word in verse 17 is “the instant word spoken at the moment by the Spirit in any situation. The sword, the Spirit, and the word are one. When the constant word in the Bible becomes the instant word, that word is the Spirit as the sword that kills the enemy.*”

The spirit in verse 18 is “our regenerated spirit, indwelt by the Spirit of God. It may be considered the mingled spirit — the spirit that is our spirit mingled with God’s Spirit. In praying, the main faculty that we should use is this spirit.**”

Receiving the word in spirit energizes us to participate in the one Body as the foretaste of New Jerusalem.

*Note 4 on Ephesians 6:17 and **note 3 on Ephesians 6:18 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version © by Living Stream Ministry

A Spiritual House Grows to New Jerusalem

Both the tabernacle and the temple are pictures of the church as the New Testament dwelling of God and of New Jerusalem as the eternal dwelling of God.

Acts 7:47 mentions David, Solomon, and building the temple. Verse 48 refers to the prophet Isaiah and verse 49 quotes Isaiah, “Heaven is My throne, and the earth is a footstool for My feet. What kind of house will you build for Me, says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest?” A note by Witness Lee on Acts 7* says,

This quotation from Isa. 66:1-2 indicates that the Lord was seeking a spiritual habitation in man’s spirit. This is proved by the unquoted part of Isa. 66:2 that says, “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit.”

In Old Testament times, God had a dwelling among His people. Yet even then He was longing for a dwelling in His people. This indwelling is realized now in the church as the precursor of New Jerusalem. Christ is in us and the Spirit is dwelling in us (Rom. 8:9-11). Thus, we are the reality of what was symbolized by the Old Testament temple (1 Cor. 3:16-17) and we are experiencing a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe spiritual nature of the New Testament building is also seen in Ephesians 2:22, we “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit” and in 1 Peter 2:5, we “ourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.”

This spiritual building will progress on to New Jerusalem. New Jerusalem will be a spiritual city with Christ as the Living Stone and all of us a living stones and with the Spirit dwelling in each one of us.

* Acts 7:49, footnote 1, in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003.

God’s Flow Brings Us to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRecent posts were about our Christian journey to be in spirit on a mountain to see New Jerusalem. One post mentioned John 19:34: when Jesus died on the cross, “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.”

God’s flowing is unto eternity, unto New Jerusalem. This flowing, including John 19:34, is the subject of a song, which begins,
___A mighty flowing-out is God,
_____He flows throughout the ages.

This flow is to impart God into man so that man may have God’s life and become God’s expression which ultimately is New Jerusalem. We first see this flow in the garden of Eden. The song says,
___In the beginning we can see, God as a flowing river,
___The river to convey the tree, Himself as life deliver.

Although man sinned and was separated from God’s life, God came in Jesus to redeem and to impart His life.
___God flowed Himself into a man, The man we call Christ Jesus.
___He gave up His own life for man And God’s own life releases.
In John 10:10-11 He told us that in death He laid down His soul life for us that we may have eternal life abundantly.

Satan’s opposition backfired; Satan’s scheme failed:
___He [Satan] had Him crucified And cruelly pierced His side—
___But out came blood and water!
___The blood and water flowed from Him, In streams of pure salvation.
___The blood brings cleansing from all sin; Water, regeneration.

In resurrection the Spirit flowed, as promised in John 7:37-39.
___And now the Spirit flows, Brings God where’er He goes.
This flow enlivens all who receive and builds us together in the Body of Christ.

Ultimately, in New Jerusalem is the river of water of life and the tree of life (Rev. 22:1-2).
___And at the end the same, The river doth remain,
___God in the Lamb doth flow, The tree prevails to grow,
___And God flows on forever.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

New Jerusalem: the Glory to be Revealed

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the Bible. It is the high point of everything God has done through the ages, especially what the Spirit has wrought within redeemed humanity. This is why we need to be in spirit and on a high mountain to see New Jerusalem.

When John saw New Jerusalem, he was both in spirit and also carried away onto a great and high mountain [Rev. 21:9-10]….New JerusalemWe need to be uplifted to a high mountain that we may see God’s dwelling place for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose. In order for John to see the churches, it was sufficient to be on the island of Patmos [Rev. 1:9-12]. But the New Jerusalem is vastly higher than the churches, and in order to see it, John had to be carried to a high mountain. The New Jerusalem is a mountain city, and we must be on a mountain in order to see it. We need to be in the spirit and to get to a high mountain. This is the way to see the vision of the New Jerusalem.*

New Jerusalem is God’s eternal goal. It is also the eternal goal of every one of God’s people. Would you like to know where you are going? In spirit and on a high mountain, we can see the goal.

Remember Romans 8:18, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed upon us.” And 1 Peter 4:13, “inasmuch as you share in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice exultingly.”

The present sufferings seem large when we focus on them. But we should look at the coming glory of New Jerusalem and rejoice!

*from Life-Study of Revelation by Witness Lee, © LSM, online reading (chap. 59, sec. 2)

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.

Christ Qualifies Us for New Jerusalem

We continue on our Christian journey portrayed by Israel’s journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai. Our goal is to get to the spiritual mountain where we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

A step in the prior post was to walk by the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the lust of the flesh. This is pictured in Exodus by the battle against Amalek (Exo. 17), a battle which continues every day. Then Israel arrived at the mountain but still did not see God’s habitation. The journey to see New Jerusalem is not short but it is a normal part of Christian life.

New JerusalemIn Exodus 19 to 23 God spoke the ten commandments and many supporting ordinances. These show who God is—He is unique, He is holy, He is living, He is righteous, He is faithful, and He has many other attributes.

All God’s words also show our shortages apart from Christ. Sometimes we try to fulfill the law but eventually we fail. This is Romans 7. Without Christ we cannot fulfill the law because 1) the law of sin is in us, and 2) we do not have God’s life.

When Moses presented all the words of God to Israel, there was an altar and burnt offerings and the blood of the offerings (Exo. 24:4-8). Moses sprinkled the blood on the people. This was a shadow; the reality is:
• “now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have become near in the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13)
• “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:7)
This too is part of our journey to see New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

We Walk by the Spirit to New Jerusalem

The picture of Israel’s journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai typifies our Christian journey from our initial salvation to the mountain where we can see New Jerusalem. Exodus 16 is about manna, a picture of Christ as our daily bread, and Exodus 17 is about water out of the smitten rock, a picture of the life-giving Spirit.

In addition to the steps mentioned in previous posts, there is the need to fight Amalek (Exo. 17:8-16).

In 17:8-16 we have the war against Amalek….According to the picture in [Exodus] chapters sixteen and seventeen, after we have received the heavenly life supply and the living water from the cleft rock, we are ready to fight against Amalek.

Many students of the Bible realize that this fight depicts the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit. This indicates that as we are going on with the Lord, the first fight is that between the flesh and the Spirit. The fact that the first fight in which the children of Israel were engaged was that against Amalek indicates that after we are saved and baptized, the first conflict we experience will be the warfare between the flesh and the Spirit who regenerated us.*

New JerusalemHere are two verses showing this battle:
• “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6
• “The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” Galatians 5:17

We do not fight the flesh in our own strength. Rather, “Walk by the Spirit and you shall by no means fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

This battle is a necessary step to be freed from the flesh so that we can be “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem.

* An extract from Life-study of Exodus by Witness Lee, published by LSM, message 46, section 1.

Photo courtesy of Janelle Johnson.

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