New Jerusalem, not in the Natural Realm (2)

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the Lord’s redeeming work on the cross, the Lord’s sanctifying/purifying work now, and His glorifying work at His return.  We see New Jerusalem by being carried away in spirit (out of the natural realm) onto a great and high mountain (above the level of our ordinary living).

To consider Revelation 21–22 as something natural is to miss the reality presented here. This is to repeat the error common in John’s gospel—interpreting or trying to grasp the Lord’s spiritual presentation by natural understanding. Here are more examples of this.

New Jerusalem• In 6:51-55 no one understood how the Lord could give us His flesh to eat for eternal life. But He spoke of the Spirit who gives life (v. 63).
• In 8:32-34 He spoke about being free from the slavery of sin but the hearers thought only about human slavery.
• In 8:51-53 the Lord spoke about keeping His word to overcome eternal death but the hearers could only think of physical death.
• In 11:11-14 the Lord used sleep as a picture of death; the disciples thought of physical sleep and could not comprehend His word.
• In 14:7-11 the Lord told the disciples that they had seen the Father manifested in His living and doing, but they only thought of physical seeing.

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the church as the Body of Christ, His fullness (Eph. 1:22-23). New Jerusalem is also the consummation of the new man created by Christ in Himself (Eph 2:15), the holy temple growing in Him (2:21), and the dwelling place of God in spirit (2:22). Surely this is not in the natural realm. Lord, carry me away in spirit to see New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s Purpose Surpasses Our Need

This is the second post with verses that say according to God’s will/purpose/pleasure… which far exceed our will/purpose/pleasure. Because everything of God is consummated at the end of the Bible, all these phrases point toward New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemEphesians 1:9: “Making known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself.” God’s will is according to His good pleasure, not for the common pleasures sought by humans. When we are one with Him, we partake of His pleasure and He becomes our satisfaction. In New Jerusalem we will fully participate in and fully be satisfied by God’s good pleasure.

Ephesians 1:11: “In whom [Christ] also we were designated as an inheritance, having been predestinated according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” In Ephesians 1:7 we were predestinated according to the good pleasure of His will in this verse according to the counsel of His will. God’s will, pleasure, and counsel far exceed ours. Thank Him for bringing us to Himself!

Ephesians 1:19: “And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His strength.” Ephesians 1:15 begins a prayer that the Father of glory would give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation that we may see many things of His economy. This portion of the prayer covers his power, might, and strength, which are surpassing. They are so excellent, so high, because God’s goal, New Jerusalem, is so excellent.

Ephesians 3:7: “I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God which was given to me according to the operation of His power.” Paul was a minister not according to His own ability and learning but according to the operation of God’s power. This divine enabling is required to minister the outstanding and excellent things of God.

Father, give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation to see more of Your will, Your good pleasure, Your purpose, and Your power. Show us how all of these constitute us with You into New Jerusalem.

Riches of God’s Glory, Now, New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is a city of glory. The apostle John saw “the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:10-11). “The city [New Jerusalem] has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23).

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem has the glory of God because it is saturated with God and hence expresses God. This expression is not simple because God is marvelously rich. New Jerusalem expresses the innumerable aspects of God’s being.

The word rich is not used in Revelation 21, but the riches of God’s glory are in other verses. Romans 9:23 tells us that God wants to “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory.”

Each of us was created as a vessel to contain God. God has already prepared us for His glory, even for the riches of His glory. Each of us as an individual is very limited, but together we will display the riches of His glory.

In Ephesians 1:17-18 Paul prayed that the Father of glory would give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation “that you may know…the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” These riches, like New Jerusalem, are not in the natural realm. This is why we need a spirit of wisdom and divine enlightening to see and know them.

Colossians 1:27 says “God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory.” We need not struggle, unsure of what will happen. No. The revelation of the riches of glory is God’s desire and He will accomplish it. We cooperate by opening ourselves; Father, give me a spirit of revelation and enlighten my heart  that I may see the riches of Your glory for now and for New Jerusalem. 

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

In Spirit on a Mountain for New Jerusalem

A recent post mentions being “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). Another looks at Moses’ experience with God on Mt. Sinai as a pre-figure of New Jerusalem. Here are other Old Testament mountain experiences, to be followed by New Testament mountain experiences.

Isaiah 2:1-4 and 65:25 speak of the mountain of the Lord’s house in the millennial kingdom with wonderful characteristics which we expect to be better in eternity.

New JerusalemIsaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, of him who announces peace…” All God’s good news, including New Jerusalem as His consummate news, is announced by people who are “on the mountains” no matter what their physical location.

Like John’s vision from a great and high mountain, Ezekiel 40:2 tells us that to see the millennial Jerusalem “In the visions of God He brought me into the land of Israel and set me down upon a very high mountain, and on it to the south there was a structure like a city.”

The visions need a spiritual mountain experience because we have to be out of our environment and away from our daily cares to see the wonderful things God has prepared. Lord, I am open to You; carry me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain to see New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of Nathan Ofsthun.

In Spirit on a Mountain, see New Jerusalem

New JerusalemWe are looking at an issue of Affirmation & Critique* on New Jerusalem. The prior post includes this sentence from The Divine and Mystical in Figurative Language: God and the writers of the Bible employ figurative language, using literary devices such as symbols, types, figures, metaphors, similes, and allegories to communicate the realities of the divine and mystical realm.

We must recognize that the Bible uses such figurative language. We must also recognize that the reality of all these pictures are God, Christ Jesus, His offices and accomplishments, His believers and their Christian experiences, and His Body.

We are familiar with parables in the gospels. Parables are not merely nice stories, they all have spiritual significances, such as the sower and seed being the Lord Himself and the word of God (Matthew 13:3-23).

Revelation is a books of signs, as stated in verse 1:1. For example, the seven lampstands in Revelation 1 are symbols of the seven churches, and the woman and the dragon in Revelation 12:1-9 portray the people of God and Satan.

The consummation of Revelation is New Jerusalem, which is also presented by the Bible in figurative language. This is why we need the Lord to carry us away in spirit to a high mountain to see New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:10-11). All the natural elements (e.g. gold, pearls, wall, precious stones, tree of life) in Revelation 21–22 have spiritual significance.

We should not use our human imagination to create images of these figures in a natural way. Rather, we should open our heart to the Lord and ask Him to give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation that we may see the reality of these figures. Lord, show me 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.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

New Jerusalem, Consummation of Hope

New JerusalemRomans 8:24-25 says, “For we were saved in hope. But a hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly await it through endurance.” In a spiritual sense we see New Jerusalem to some extent but we surely do not see it in full. And we do not see it physically. Hence, according to these verses in Romans, we hope and eagerly await for New Jerusalem.

Humanly, a hope is a wish about an uncertain future. We might say, I hope my car keeps running, or, We hope our new neighbors are friendly. In contrast, hope in the Bible is certain because it comes from God and is for something of God. Since God cannot lie and is unchanging, our hope is firm, full of certainty.

Paul prays that the Father would give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation “the eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling” (Ephesians 1:17-18). God’s calling of us has a hope. The footnote* on hope says,

The hope of God’s calling includes (1) Christ Himself and the salvation He will bring to us when He comes back (Col. 1:27; 1 Pet. 1:5, 9); (2) the rapturous transfer from the earthly and physical realm to the heavenly and spiritual sphere, plus glorification (Rom. 8:23-25, 30; Phil. 3:21); (3) the kingly enjoyment with Christ in the millennium (Rev. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:18); and (4) the consummate enjoyment of Christ in the New Jerusalem, with the universal and eternal blessings in the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1-7; 22:1-5).

New Jerusalem, is the consummation of our hope. We hope for, expect, and eagerly await the fullest enjoyment of Christ in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

* In The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, published and © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Marriage (8)

New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage is portrayed and prophesied many times in the Bible, including Ephesians 5:22-33. Verse 22 speaks about husband and wife but verse 23 shows that husband and wife are a picture of Christ and the church.

New JerusalemVerses 25-27 present three stages leading up to the marriage of Christ and the church:
• Christ loved the church and gave Himself unto death to redeem her (v. 25);
• Now Christ is sanctifying her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word to purify her to match Him (v. 26);
• Soon He will present the church to Himself glorious and holy, not having spot, wrinkle, or blemish (v. 27).

His work to sanctify the church by the washing of water in the word will result in a glorious and holy church without any negative element. This condition matches New Jerusalem, which is also glorious and holy with nothing negative.

Verses 28-33 continue to speak about both husbands and wives and about Christ and the church. Verse 32 shows Paul’s emphasis,
_This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.
Since this is a spiritual mystery, we should ask the Lord to grant us “spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Ephesians 1:17). Then, by revelation (not by natural effort) the mystery can be made known to us (Ephesians 3:3).

The preparation of the church as the bride is also for the preparation of New Jerusalem. The more this mystery is revealed to us, the more it will operate in us, and the more we will be prepared. Lord Jesus, grant me a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Lord, reveal this great mystery in me.

 

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