New Jerusalem: Bride and Tabernacle

John the apostle tells us in Revelation 21:2-3a, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them.”

The New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth is the bride, the wife (Rev. 21:9) of the Lamb Christ as His counterpart (John 3:29) and the tabernacle of God as His habitation (Rev. 21:3). Christ and God are one. They are one God, but triune. And the tabernacle is one entity with two aspects to meet the different needs of its Triune God. To Christ, the Lamb, the Redeemer, the New Jerusalem is His bride as His counterpart for His satisfaction. To God, the Originator, the Creator, the New Jerusalem is His tabernacle as His habitation for His rest.*

New JerusalemThe Bridegroom and bride are spoken about in John 3:29. In 3:30 the bride is the increase of Christ. How can Christ increase? By spreading into many human beings and then growing in us to saturate us with Himself. His spreading begins with His terminating the serpent’s deadly poison, as alluded to in 3:14, so that we can be cleansed to receive eternal life.

This eternal life is the life of New Jerusalem. After being born again, this life, Christ Himself, grows in us. This growth, presented in many of the epistles, brings us to maturity and builds us together. This is our path to New Jerusalem.

* Conclusion of the New Testament, The, chapter 13, by Witness Lee

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of God’s Building through the Bible

New Jerusalem, as the conclusion of the Bible, shows God’s goal—to have a living building composed of Himself and all His people.

New JerusalemWe see this building clearly in the New Testament. At first the eternal Word came to tabernacle among us (John 1:14). Jesus alone was God’s tabernacle at that time. In John 2:19-21 He spoke of Himself as the temple, the replacement for the old, physical temple.

Later, He redeemed us by His death and regenerated us through His resurrection (1 Peter 1:3). Now we are being built together. A few verses which speak of our involvement in God’s building work are 1 Corinthians 3:9 and Ephesians 2:19-22 and 4:15-16. In these verses both we and God in Christ are being built together. The ultimate issue is New Jerusalem.

Noah’s ark, the tabernacle, the temple, Christ, the church, and the New Jerusalem are all God’s building. However, these are all different aspects of one building, not many buildings. In the New Jerusalem we can find items related to Noah’s ark, to the tabernacle of Moses, and to Solomon’s temple with the old Jerusalem. We can certainly see Christ as the house and temple of God, and we can also see the church. Therefore, the New Jerusalem is the ultimate expression and consummation of God’s building.*

When the New Testament speaks about building it is always coupled with life. We are built together in the divine life which flows out from Christ the Head in Ephesians 4:16. This building is maintained in eternal newness by the flow of the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

* The Building of God, chapter 1, by Witness Lee.

Psalm 84 and New Jerusalem

Psalm 84 begins, “How lovely are Your tabernacles, O Jehovah of hosts!” Because one designation of New Jerusalem is “the tabernacle of God,” (Rev. 21:3), the city is within the scope of this Psalm. Surely New Jerusalem will be lovely and attract our praise.

Psalm 84 touches New Jerusalem even though the authors, the sons of Korah, had no concept of the city. Verse 2 of the Psalm says, “My soul longs, indeed even faints, for the courts of Jehovah; my heart and my flesh cry out to the living God.” May our soul long for New Jerusalem and may we cry out to the living God!

New JerusalemVerse 4, “Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will yet be praising You.” We will dwell in New Jerusalem for eternity and will be praising God eternally.

Verse 5, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” Lord, plant the highways to Zion, to New Jerusalem, in our hearts!

The following verses speak of God being our blessings, our strength, and our shield. In verse 10 the psalmist longs even to be at the threshold of  God’s house (a precursor of New Jerusalem).

In verse 11, “Jehovah God is a sun and a shield; Jehovah gives grace and glory.” This is for today and for eternity.

Psalm 84 ends, “O Jehovah of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You.” May we trust in Him like the psalmist and set our hope on the unseen, eternal things of New Jerusalem.


To my readers: beginning this week and for the remainder of this year posts will be Mondays and Fridays but not Wednesdays.

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (3)

God’s New Testament building is alive. It is a spiritual building brought forth by His life in us. This building work is proceeding now and will fully come forth with New Jerusalem.

The Old Testament tabernacle and temple were physical. In the New Testament Jesus is the reality of these shadows. In John 1:1 the eternal Word is God. In 1:14 “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” Jesus became the living tabernacle; The New Testament Tabernacle is Alive.

New Jerusalemin John 2 the Lord Jesus said to the Jews “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” They misunderstood His words, because all they knew was the old, physical temple. “But He spoke of the temple of His body.” They destroyed this temple through crucifixion and in three days He raised it up in resurrection.

In John 14 the Lord spoke about many abodes in His Father’s house. We are these abodes. There are no physical “mansions” in God’s house, neither today nor in New Jerusalem. In John 14 the Lord also spoke about His dwelling in us and our dwelling in Him. This is God’s living New Testament building.

In John 2 the Lord spoke about His physical body as the temple. In resurrection He also raised up all the believers as the enlarged, living temple of God. This is 2 Corinthians 6:16, “We are the temple of the living God.” The reality is being worked into us through this age to come forth fully as New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:1-8

This is a summary of the recent posts on Revelation 21:1-8, which review life on the new earth emphasizing the details about New Jerusalem. Each verse is followed by the title with a link to related posts.

New Jerusalem

Verse 1: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more.”

New Heaven and New Earth

Verse 2: “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

John Saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem is Holy with God’s Holiness
New Jerusalem is the City of the Great King
New Jerusalem is Divinely New
New Jerusalem is the Foundation of Peace
New Jerusalem is on Earth from God
New Jerusalem is Heavenly, On Earth
New Jerusalem Comes Down, Prepared
New Jerusalem is the Bride of Christ
New Jerusalem is Adorned with Christ
New Jerusalem is the Bride, Jesus Christ is the Husband

Verses 3-4: “And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, 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. And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death will be no more, nor will there be sorrow or crying or pain anymore; for the former things have passed away.”

A Loud Voice out of the Throne
Behold the Tabernacle of God is with Men
Life on New Earth around New Jerusalem

Verses 5-6: “And He who sits on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said, Write, for these words are faithful and true. And He said to me, They have come to pass. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give to him who thirsts from the spring of the water of life freely.”

The Throne and All Things New
The Faithful and True Words of God
The Water of Life, Now and New Jerusalem

Verses 7-8: “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be God to him, and he will be a son to Me. 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.”

Overcome to Inherit God’s Blessings
God is Leading Many Sons into Glory

Behold the Tabernacle of God is with Men

Revelation 21:3, “And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, 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.”

New Jerusalem is the tabernacle of God. It is the consummation of the New Testament tabernacle—God dwelling in humanity. This tabernacle, the New Jerusalem, is on the new earth, having “come down out of heaven.” This has four results in verse 21:3:
New Jerusalem• the tabernacle of God is with men,
• God dwells with them on earth,
• they are God’s peoples, and
• God is with them to be their God.

The Body of Christ is composed of all His believers. We are the many grains blended to form one bread, one Body in Christ (1 Cor. 10:16-17).

In the same way, New Jerusalem is one entity composed of all God’s people throughout the ages. This corporate entity, this city, is the tabernacle with the peoples on earth.

Who are these peoples? They are plural, lacking the oneness of God’s redeemed people. They are the nations around New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24-26). They include the sheep blessed by the Lord at the judgment recorded in Matthew 25.

Built Into or Living Around New Jerusalem has summaries of and links to many posts which distinguish the believers constituted into New Jerusalem from the nations living around the city. It concludes: Choose to be in New Jerusalem! Those who receive Jesus Christ are born of God (John 1:12-13). This birth imparts eternal life into us, the life which brings us into New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

A Loud Voice out of the Throne, Behold the Tabernacle of God

Recent posts have been about Revelation 21:2. Verse 3 begins, “And I heard a loud voice out of the throne.” And connects what follows with the description of New Jerusalem in verse 2.

loud voice is often heard in Revelation, to call everyone’s attention to the concluding events of this age, the introduction of the coming age, the final judgments, and the new creation with New Jerusalem. In this verse the loud voice is out of the throne. This word comes direct from God and the Lamb who sit on the throne in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThis loud voice first says, “Behold, the tabernacle of God.” In Exodus the tabernacle was a physical building, a picture of the New Testament reality.

Hebrews 8:2 and 9:11 speak of the true and more perfect heavenly tabernacle. These verses tell us that the true tabernacle is not of the old creation. It is of the new creation.

This true tabernacle first appeared in the incarnation. John 1:14 declares, “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” The incarnated Word, the man Jesus, was of the new creation as this true tabernacle among men. The New Testament tabernacle is God dwelling in a living Person!

This tabernacle was enlarged through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is God dwelling in a corporate living person, the church today and New Jerusalem in eternity.

This consummate tabernacle, New Jerusalem, is “with men” because it has “come down out of heaven” to be on earth for eternity.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem Foreshadowed in Exodus

All the positive things in the Old Testament are symbols, pictures, or prophecies of the New Testament realities. Some of these pictures correspond with characteristics of New Jerusalem. Here is a list of posts showing parallels between Exodus and New Jerusalem.

We are on a journey to the mountain of God to see a vision, as John saw New Jerusalem from a high mountain. The stages of this journey:
Exodus 12—14: we are redeemed and nourished by the Lamb to leave Egypt
Exodus 15: we sing and praise the Lord on our journey to the mountain
Exodus 16: we eat the manna, a picture of Christ as our heavenly nourishment
Exodus 17: we drink the water which flows out of the smitten rock
Exodus 17: we fight against the flesh by walking in spirit

After we reach the mountain, more steps are needed to see God’s revelation of the building of the tabernacle, a type of New Jerusalem:
Exodus 19—23: God’s commands show that apart from Christ we cannot make the journey
Exodus 23: God promised that His Angel would lead us onward
Exodus 24: we take Christ’s redemption
Exodus 24: we take Christ’s absoluteness for God

When we go up the mountain, we have undivided time with the Lord to see a full vision.
Exodus 24—25: on the mountain we are in a cloud to cut our view of other things
Exodus 24—25: Moses’ time in the cloud prefigures many NT experiences
Exodus 24, 33, 34: Moses had many times of fellowship with God

The holy of holies in the tabernacle depicts New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies.
Exodus 25-26: the ark, expiation cover, and cherubim of glory portray Christ and the city
Exodus 26: the veil has been rent by the death of Christ, so we can enter New Jerusalem
Exodus 26: the veil portrays the Lord Jesus, who is the reality in New Jerusalem
Exodus 28: the breastplate with gold and precious stones represents aspects of the city

Exodus 40: glory fills the tabernacle, portraying New Jerusalem, a city of glory

All the events that happened with Israel are an example written for us (1 Cor. 10).
The journey in Exodus
has many symbols of our experiences of Christ and the Spirit.

New Jerusalem

 Photo courtesy of NASA.

 

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

The Nations around New Jerusalem (5)

Revelation 21:3 declares, “Behold, the tabernacle of God [New Jerusalem] 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 wonderful. However, while the peoples around New Jerusalem have God as their God, they do not have Him as their Father. They do not have the divine life which incorporates people into New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRegarding these peoples, Revelation 21:3 promises, “God Himself will be with them.” We could say, God will be their neighbor and they will be God’s neighbors. This is wonderful, but it is far short of the condition of the people built into New Jerusalem.

Unlike the peoples (plural) as neighbors around New Jerusalem, the people (singular) in New Jerusalem live in God and God lives in them. The source of this mutual indwelling is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In John 14:20, speaking about resurrection, He assures us, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

Besides this verse in John, many verses in the epistles speak of Christ in us; examples are “Christ is in you” (Rom. 8:10) and “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27); also look at this Bibles for America post.

Christ is in us and we are in Christ; examples are “of Him [God] you are in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:30) and “You are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

Being in Christ and having Christ in us is the essence of New Jerusalem, a blessing much higher than being around New Jerusalem.

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The Nations around New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the mingling of God with His chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and matured people. The city is this organic union of God and His people. Around the city are the peoples (Rev. 21:3), the nations (Rev. 21:24). These peoples/nations are not New Jerusalem because they, being plural, do not have the oneness of New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:3 says, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall tabernacle with them, and they shall be His peoples, and God Himself shall be with them.”

* The “peoples” in this verse will be “the nations” in verse 24. There will be several peoples, and each corporate people will be a nation on the new earth. These nations which will surround the New Jerusalem will be restored, but they will not be regenerated….As the restored and purged nations, they will live outside the New Jerusalem and they will enjoy the common blessings in the new heaven and the new earth.
These common blessings are mentioned in verse 4: “And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain—they shall be no more; for the former things have passed away.”

These peoples will be God’s peoples, belonging to Him. However, they are not His sons born of His life. Without this life they cannot participate in the oneness of New Jerusalem.

These peoples enjoy the blessings of the new earth but do not partake of the special blessings in New Jerusalem. For example, the peoples/nations will not eat the fruit of the tree of life (Christ). Their portion will only be the healing of the leaves of the tree of life (Rev. 22:2). They will receive this blessing out of New Jerusalem, but it is far better to partake of Christ as our tree of life both today and in New Jerusalem.

* An excerpt from Life-study of Revelation, message 58, by Witness Lee, published and © by Living Stream Ministry. This and many other books by Witness Lee may be read online here.

Enlargement from Here to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThis is the summary of posts about the enlargement of God’s house, the church today, to God’s city, New Jerusalem. A link, a key sentence and a verse are presented for each post.

 First Timothy 3:15 tells us “the house of God is the church of the living God.” This house will be enlarged to be the city of God, New Jerusalem.

 The word church in the New Testament refers to the Lord’s corporate people, His mystical Body. In Ephesians 1:22-23 Christ is “Head over all things to the church, which is His Body.”

The church as the manifestation of God in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:15-16) is a foretaste of God manifest through New Jerusalem.

 The common New Testament Greek word for house means both the dwelling place and the dwellers; in 1 Peter 2:5, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house”—we are God’s dwelling place, His house.

 The convergence of house and household, dwelling place and dwellers, is the New Testament reality, both now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem; in Ephesians 2:19 we are “members of the household of God.”

 The church as the house of God and New Jerusalem as the city of God are both living entities, the building together of God’s people; “you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you” (1 Cor. 3:16).

We are the living house of God; “Christ was faithful as a Son over His [God’s] house, whose house we are” (Heb. 3:6); in eternity we will be God’s city, New Jerusalem.

  New Jerusalem, a cube (Rev. 21:16), is the eternal holy of holies, where God meets with His people and speaks with us face to face; this is a great enlargement from the Old Testament holy of holies.

 The enlargement of God’s house is by Christ’s growth in us. Colossians 2:19 tells us that by our holding the Head, Christ, His Body, which is also the living house of God, “grows with the growth of God.”

 In Colossians 2:16–3:4 the growth is by our experiencing Christ as the reality, by holding Him as our Head, by our mind set on things of Christ, by being governed by Christ Himself, and by letting Christ our life live in us.

The growth is also seen in Ephesians 3:16-19; Christ makes home in our hearts as we experience His death and resurrection.

 Ephesians 3:17-19 continues; as a result of Christ’s home-making, we are rooted and grounded in love, we together apprehend His vastness, and we are filled unto all the fullness of God.

Then in Ephesians 3:20-21 the growth and filling in the prior verses result in glory to God in the church and then in more glory to him in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-11), all enabled by God in Christ as the power operating in us.

The New Testament tabernacle is God dwelling in humanity, first in Jesus Christ (John 1:14) and then greatly enlarged in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:3).

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