Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 22

A series of posts for Revelation 1 to 20 look at the wonderful Jesus Christ bringing us to New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21:1 is the new creation and in 21:2 New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven. Two recent posts look at the wonderful Jesus Christ in this new creation.

New JerusalemContinuing, Revelation 22:1 reveals “the throne of God and of the Lamb.” There is one throne for God and the Lamb because the two are one. In John 14:10 Jesus told us, “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.” And in Revelation 21:23 God, the light, is in the Lamb, the lamp.

In 22:2 “was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.” This tree is a symbol of Jesus Christ, who is our life and who is our life supply as the living bread in John 6 and forever in New Jerusalem.

In 22:7, 12, and 20 the Lord Jesus says, “Behold, I come quickly.” Our reply is identical to verse 20, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

In verse 16 He says, “I Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches.” Thank You Lord for Your sending. And Lord, keep us in the churches to hear what the Spirit says to them (Rev. 2:7, 3:22). This is part of His work to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

In verse 16 He also says, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright morning star.” Concerning this, a footnote in the Recovery Version says, “In His divinity, Christ is the Root, the source, of David; in His humanity, Christ is the Offspring, the issue, of David.” He is also the star to guide us through this dark age until He comes.

The Bible concludes, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.” Lord, thank You for this wonderful grace to supply us today and to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

 

A House and a City Built Together in Christ

New Jerusalem

Revelation is a book of signs (1:1). New Jerusalem is the consummate sign in Revelation and in the Bible. It is God and all His redeemed people living in mutuality.

Here is an excerpt* about New Jerusalem from the ministry of Witness Lee.

The New Jerusalem is not an actual city just as the lampstands are not actual lampstands but signs of the churches [Rev. 1:20]. The New Jerusalem is a great sign of the totality of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people. The church today is a house, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). The house of God today is not an actual house but the totality of God’s people. The church today as God’s temple, God’s house, God’s building, is not an actual physical building but is a sign signifying that the church’s function is to be a house in which the Triune God can dwell.

Today the church is a house, and in eternity the church will be enlarged. When the church is enlarged, it becomes a city. The church as a house is not an actual physical house in the same way that the church enlarged to be the holy city will not be an actual physical city. The New Jerusalem is a city signifying the church’s function in eternity to be God’s dwelling place.

The church today, all the believers in Christ Jesus built together in Him, is a precursor of New Jerusalem. Many verses in the New Testament present this view, and no verse treats the church as a physical building.

Ephesians 2:19-20 declares that we are “members of the household of God, being built…” We, not a physical structure, get built together. Verse 21 continues, “In whom [Christ Jesus] all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” We are being built together in Him, not in a physical location. Also, this building is growing because its essence is the divine life.

First Peter 2:4-5 tells us that “coming to Him, a living Stone…you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” Very clear. This is the living house of the living God in 1 Timothy 3:15.

Other verses in the New Testament say the same: we are the materials being built together, the building process is growth in the divine life, and the building work is going on in Christ. These same characteristics are true of New Jerusalem, which is the consummation of all the building and growth in the Bible.

* Witness Lee, The Divine Economy, Chapter 15, published and © by Living Stream Ministry. Read more of this excerpt online. Many other books by Witness Lee may be read online here.

New Jerusalem Prepared, Adorned (2)

In Revelation 21:2 John tells us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Verses in the prior post clearly show that this adorning is not outward.

New JerusalemLet us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife [New Jerusalem, Rev. 21:2] has made herself ready. And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.” (Rev. 19:7-8)

Here the fine linen is not fancy physical clothing; it is “righteousnesses.” The plural word indicates that it is not Christ as our righteousness (singular) as part of our initial salvation, but Christ lived out of us in many righteous acts (more). By living Christ we are making ourselves ready for the wedding, we are adorning ourselves.

“The foundations of the wall of the city [New Jerusalem] were adorned with every precious stone” (Rev. 21:19). Gold and diamonds are precious to humans, but not to God. In His eyes all these things are corruptible.

The stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem are not natural but represent the Spirit’s transforming work in us to make us living stones for God’s building (1 Peter 2:5); see posts below. Like the fine linen, these stones illustrate God’s work in us, our cooperation with His work, and our living according to God’s operation within. This is the adorning of New Jerusalem.

Three Precious Materials
Gold, Pearls, and Precious Stones
New Jerusalem is Built with the Triune God

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

 

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

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All the New Testament Blessings

New Jerusalem

At a recent college students’ conference in Texas the general topic was The Overview of God’s Economy. The last message was
___The New Jerusalem as the Ultimate Consummation of God’s Purpose.
In the conference, we saw that the New Jerusalem is NOT a physical, material city.
• Revelation 1:1, “The revelation of Jesus Christ….He made it known by signs.”
Revelation has many signs—the lampstands, the Lamb, the Lion of Judah, the universal woman, the dragon, etc. The New Jerusalem is a sign. This wonderful city IS:

1. The consummation of the Divine Romance in the Bible*
• Isa. 54:5a, “For your Maker is your husband; Jehovah of hosts is His name.”
• Rev. 21:2,  “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
According to the entire Bible, God the creator is male and His chosen, redeemed, transformed, glorified people are female, and there is a divine romance between them. At the end of the Revelation, God is the husband and His people are the wife to match God.

2. The consummation of God’s Building (Tabernacle and Temple)
• 1 Cor 3:16a, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God?”
• Rev 21:22, “And I saw no temple in it [New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”
Revelation tells us that the New Jerusalem is the tabernacle of God (21:3) and the temple of God (21:22). In the eternity future, our habitation is God Himself. To God the city is the tabernacle and to us it is the temple.

3. The consummation of Mutual Abiding of God and His Redeemed
• John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said to him, 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 17:21, “That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”
We will not live in a mansion; we will live in God and God will live in us. This mutual abiding is the New Jerusalem. The eternal God becomes our eternal habitation.

4. The consummation of Believers’ Transformation and Glorification
• 2 Cor. 3:18, “We all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.”
• Rev 21:10b-11, “The holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.”
All believers were created as clay, yet in the New Jerusalem all believers are regenerated and transformed into precious stone and glorified for God’s eternal expression in His eternal building.

5. The consummation of God as the Life Supply to us
• Rev 22:1-2a “And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street. And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.”
When we believed in the Lord Jesus, we received the eternal life. Today, we drink one Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), and in the New Jerusalem, the Triune God is life for our enjoyment for eternity—He is our light of life, tree of life, and water of life!

6. The consummation of the Bible and all the NT Blessings and Realities
• Revelation 21–22 “New heaven, new earth…holy city, New Jerusalem…it had a great and high wall and had twelve gates…there will be no night there…no longer be a curse…His slaves will serve Him…they will reign for ever and ever.”
All of us will be new in the New Jerusalem, and we will reign with Christ for eternity. Oh Lord, make me match the New Jerusalem today in every way!

Thanks!! to Deborah who wrote this post from her college conference notes.

* For each point we have presented a few verses. Here are more verses for each topic.
1. Jer. 3:14; John 3:29a; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25, 27a.
2. John 1:14; 2:16b, 19b, 21; 1 Cor. 3:9b, 12a; Eph. 2:21-22; 1 Tim. 3:15b; 1 Peter 2:5a; Rev. 21:3a, 18-19, 21a.
3. John 14:2-3, 20; 17:22-23a.
4. Rev. 21:18-19a, 23-24a.
5. John 7:37-39; 1 Cor. 12:13.

New Jerusalem is Living and Spiritual

New JerusalemToday we begin some excerpts from “The New Jerusalem—the Consummation of the Divine Economy according to the High Peak of the Divine Revelation,” by Ron Kangas. This article is in the Fall 2010 issue of Affirmation & Critique*.

A common concept is that New Jerusalem is a physical city. However, a thorough reading of the Bible reveals otherwise. In the New Testament all God’s building work is spiritual, not physical. As the consummation of this, New Jerusalem is a living, spiritual building of the Triune God and all His people. This article begins,

Due to religious darkness, theological ignorance concerning God’s will, good pleasure, purpose, counsel, and economy, traditions that nullify the word of God, and the subtle work of the god of this age in blinding and deceiving the believers, an erroneous teaching concerning the New Jerusalem has been circulating for centuries—the idea that the New Jerusalem unveiled in Revelation 21 and 22 is a literal, physical, material city.

Revelation 21–22 reveal much about New Jerusalem. Therefore,

[the New Jerusalem] must be understood according to the governing principle of the book of Revelation. This principle is that the “revelation of Jesus Christ” is made “known by signs,” that is, by symbols with spiritual significance (Rev. 1:1).

Some verses in Revelation which describe New Jerusalem as a living, spiritual building:
• 21:2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” As a bride, New Jerusalem is a living person, matched to her Husband, the Lamb (21:9).
• 21:22, “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” and 3:12, “He who overcomes, him I will make a pillar in the temple of My God.”  Both the temple itself and the pillars are living persons.

As a living city, New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s New Testament building work, which is “in the Lord” and “in spirit” (Eph. 2:21-22).

* 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. The Fall 2010 issue.

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.

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.

The House of the Living God—The Church Now, New Jerusalem in Eternity

The Fall 2012 issue of Affirmation & Critique* is on New Jerusalem. Here is an excerpt from the second article, Aspects of the New Jerusalem as the City of the Living God (by Witness Lee).

God has been working throughout the ages, first creating the universe and man and then coming to earth to redeem man. The Lord Jesus, the God-man, lived on earth, He was crucified and resurrected, He ascended, and He poured Himself out as the Spirit upon His disciples. The disciples then went out to preach the gospel. As a result of the preaching of the gospel, throughout the centuries people have been saved and added to the church in order to be built up as the Body of Christ to express Him.…The New Jerusalem is a great sign of the totality of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people.

The church today is the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). This house is not an actual house but the totality of God’s people. This house is a sign signifying that the church’s function today is to be a house in which the Triune God can dwell. In eternity this house will be enlarged to a city—the New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe physical things of the Old Testament were signs. Now we are in the New Testament age, the age of reality. This reality is spiritual, not material. We “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit” (Ephesians 2:22).

How wonderful that God desires to dwell in His people. For this Christ is making His home in our hearts (Ephesians 3:15) and we are being built up as a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5). This is the fulfillment of what the Lord promised in John 14:23, “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.”

The key is to love the Lord Jesus. Lord, grant us mercy to love You every day from now unto 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.

I Saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem

The Fall 2012 issue of Affirmation & Critique* focuses on New Jerusalem. Beginning with this post, I will present an excerpt from each article in this publication. What I present is only a brief nugget, not a summary of the article; the whole can be read online.

The title of the first article includes John’s words from Revelation 21:2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” “I Saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem”—the Vision of the New Jerusalem as a Corporate God-man (by Ron Kangas).

Just as Christ the Redeemer is not literally a lamb with seven physical eyes (5:6), the New Jerusalem is not a literal city but a sign of the glorious fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose, according to the desire of His heart, to have a corporate expression of Himself in Christ as the firstborn Son and the believers in Christ as the many sons.

New JerusalemJohn the Baptist “saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). This is a reference to the Old Testament sacrifices. Those physical lambs served as a figure, a portrait, of Jesus Christ as the real Lamb of God.

John the apostle saw “a Lamb standing as having just been slain.” Here, as in John 1, the Lamb is not a literal animal, but a symbol of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, this Lamb has “seven eyes” which are not literal but “are the seven Spirits of God” (Revelation 5:6).

Spiritual symbolism permeates Revelation. New Jerusalem is a symbol. New Jerusalem is not a physical city because it is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:9-10). The Lamb is God, who put on humanity. The Lamb’s wife is humanity who has received divine life. May the Lord give us such a revelation of 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.

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.

Let’s Go On to Maturity for God’s Building

A scientific image based on motion of NASA's Fermi Space Telescope, NASA:DOE:Fermi LAT CollaborationFirst Corinthians 3 is the next stop on our look at God’s New Testament building work. The building is first mentioned in verse 9, and verses 1 to 9 show that this is a building in life. The life elements are:
infants (v. 1), with a need for growth
 milk and solid food (v. 2), the nourishment for growth
 planting and watering (v. 6-8), care for what is alive
 God giving growth (v. 6-7), the development of life
 God’s farm (v. 9), a commune of living things

First Corinthians 3:10-15 focus on the building, showing that:
 the foundation is Jesus Christ (v. 10-11)
 our building work must be upon this foundation (v. 12, 14)
 the materials we use will be tested and revealed by fire (v. 12-13)
 the proper work will remain and the improper work will be consumed (v. 14-15)

Verse 9 ties the life and growth to the building, saying that we are God’s farm/field/ husbandry and equally we are God’s building. Humanly, these are separate but God has a living building, an organism where growing is building.

(Although physical materials are listed in v. 12, these are symbols of the actual, spiritual building materials. This parallels milk and solid food as symbols of spiritual nourishment, and planting and watering as symbols of the gospel and care for new believers.)

Let us give ourselves to take both the milk of the word (1 Peter 2:2-3) and the solid food (Hebrews 5:13-14) so that we may grow with the growth given by God for His building.  Eventually we will all be mature and we will all be in New Jerusalem.

The image is a scientific graphic by a NASA-U.S. Dept. of Energy-Fermi LAT collaboration.

Prepare Your Heart and Rejoice

New JerusalemIn Genesis 2 God placed man in front of the tree of life. The tree is a picture of Jesus Christ as our spiritual food (John 6). The Old Testament symbols of our spiritual food continue from Exodus through Deuteronomy with the Passover, unleavened bread, manna, the bread of the presence, the offerings, the produce of Canaan, and the feasts.

After Deuteronomy there are records of the practice of the feasts. One that sticks with me is in 2 Chronicles 30, a Passover and feast of unleavened bread held during the reign of king Hezekiah. The hand of God was on the people of Judah (v. 12) giving them one heart to do this. Some from other tribes joined them, but many did not cleanse themselves according to the rituals in the law.

Nevertheless, “Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, May Jehovah the Good expiate for everyone who has prepared his heart to seek after God, after Jehovah, the God of his fathers, even though he is not according to the rules of purification for the sanctuary. And Jehovah heard Hezekiah and healed the people” (v. 18b-20). God cares much more for the condition of our heart than for our conduct by outward rules (for example, Matthew 15:1-20, where our heart in mentioned in v. 8, 18, 19).

So, they killed the Passover and ate and then they “held the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great rejoicing” (v. 21). Then ” the whole congregation took counsel to hold the feast another seven days, and they held the feast those seven days with rejoicing” (v. 23). “And there was great rejoicing in Jerusalem” (v. 26).

The example of this feast indicates that the more we prepare and turn our hearts to seek the Lord, gather with other believers, and open to His word as our bread, the more we will rejoice.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

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