Through Sufferings to New Jerusalem (7)

New JerusalemSuffering in our Christian life, which is normal but temporary, brings forth glory in stages from now to New Jerusalem. We continue with Peter’s speaking about this.

First Peter 5:10 speaks of “the God of all grace, He who has called you into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground you.” We thank this wonderful God that we have been called into His eternal glory!

This is not only glory in eternity (after time ends) in New Jerusalem. It is also glory which is eternal in nature, of which we partake now. This is a foretaste of New Jerusalem “having the glory of God.”

To partake of this glory involves sufferings. As in verses in recent posts, this suffering is not borne by ourselves. The God of “all grace” (not barely enough grace) is in us. The grace today will surely continue with us into New Jerusalem. Here are some of the many verses about grace with us now:
John 1:16, “of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.”
Acts 11:23, Barnabas arrived and “saw the grace of God” in the believers in Antioch.
Romans 5:2, “we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand”
1 Corinthians 16:23, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.”
2 Timothy 4:22, ” The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”
1 Petter 1:2, “Grace to you and peace be multiplied.”
Rev. 1:4-5, “Grace to you and peace from Him…and the seven Spirits…and Jesus Christ.”

First Peter 5:10 concludes that God “will Himself perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground you.” The result of all this divine work in us is “to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever” (v. 11). Forever points to New Jerusalem, full of glory and might to God.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Praises in the Book of Revelation (2)

There are many praises in Revelation for what God and the Lamb are and for what God and the Lamb do. We who are believers join the heavenly praising now. In eternity the entire new creation will praise God and the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRevelation 11:15: “And the seventh angel trumpeted; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.” This brings out the praise in verse 17, “We thank You, Lord God the Almighty, He who is and who was, because You have taken Your great power and have reigned.”

We are in the spiritual reality of God’s kingdom now (Rom. 14:17) and John testified that he was in this kingdom while in exile on Patmos (Rev. 1:9). But, the world still has its kingdoms, nations, etc. When these are terminated at the seventh trumpet, that surely will bring forth more praises and thanks from the heavens and from God’s people on earth.

Revelation 12:10 has more: “I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ, for the accuser of our brothers has been cast down, who accuses them before our God day and night.” The transition in Revelation 11 concerns the kingdom of the world and in this chapter concerns the casting down of the devil, satan.

The result of this casting down is “Therefore be glad, O heavens and those who dwell in them” (v. 12). There is more gladness in Revelation 18:20 as a result of further judgements by God. We, God’s people, should be glad now, will be glad then, and this gladness will continue to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 19 Brings Us to New Jerusalem (3)

Revelation 19 has much to say about Jesus Christ Himself and His accomplishments to end this age, bring in the next age, and open the door for New Jerusalem to come down out of heaven.

In verse 19:14, “The armies which are in heaven followed Him on white horses, dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” The white and clean garments indicate that these believers are approved by the Lord. These garments are not merely gifts to them. Rather, the garments manifest the believers inward condition and daily living.

This clean living includes the cleansing of our sins, and also the transformation of our inner being. The first is the forgiveness by Christ’s redemption (Eph. 1:7). The second is accomplished by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) and also the purifying of our souls by our obedience (1 Peter 1:22).

New JerusalemThe garments qualify us 1) to attend the marriage dinner of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9), 2) to be part of His victorious army, and 3) to participate in New Jerusalem.

Forgiveness of sins is a necessary step in becoming part of New Jerusalem, but it is not the only step. We also need the renewing of our inner being to match the newness of New Jerusalem. This is the renewing of our mind by the Spirit in our spirit (Rom. 12:2, Eph. 4:23).

Those who are wearing white garments are on white horses. These match the white horse on which the Lord sits (v. 11). By the Spirit’s renewing, we are being renewed according to the Lord’s image (Col. 3:10), thus matching Him in many ways. We thereby become His expression now as the new man (Col. 3:10-11) and eternally as New Jerusalem.

According to God’s Purpose, Grace, Mercy

New JerusalemThis post has more verses with the pattern according to God’s…everything. God’s ways and His acts are marvelous and culminate in New Jerusalem.

Colossians 1:29: “For which also I labor, struggling according to His operation which operates in me in power.” Paul labored much, but not by his own effort. His labor was according to the Lord’s operation in him. This is the Lord Jesus, carrying out, through faithful believers, His declaration in Matthew 16, “I will build My church.”

2 Timothy 1:9: “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages.” God’s calling of us, like so many other steps He takes, is according to His own purpose. This calling is also according to His grace, His coming to us to be experienced by us.

Titus 3:5: “Not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:3 describes us as “…once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving as slaves various lusts and pleasures…” As such we were not qualified for God’s purpose and had no share in New Jerusalem. But when the kindness and love of God appeared (Titus 3:4), He saved us according to His mercy.

Hebrews 2:4: “…distributions of the Holy Spirit according to His will.” Likewise, we were not qualified to receive the Holy Spirit, but, based on His mercy, God gave the Spirit according to His will. In ourselves we are not suitable for New Jerusalem because of God’s mercy the Spirit will constitute us for this city.

Thanks be to our God and Father for His rich provision.

Glory to God, Now and New Jerusalem

In my Bible reading, I came to Jude. Verses 24-25 say, “But to Him who is able to guard you from stumbling and to set you before His glory without blemish in exultation, to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, might, and authority before all time and now and unto all eternity. Amen.”

New JerusalemThe phrase “before His glory” reminded me of New Jerusalem, which radiates the glory of God, and the throne in New Jerusalem which is the source of the radiant glory. Of course, “before His glory” is also when the Lord returns visibly (Matt. 25:31) and in His kingdom.

God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord brings us to the glory “without blemish.” For us to be in the glory and to be glorious, we must be without blemish.

Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God chose us “to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” God is faithful to accomplish what He has said! Ephesians 5:25-27 tell us that Jesus Christ gave Himself for the church (in death), that He is washing the church in the water in His word (now), and that (at His return) He will “present the church to Himself glorious…without blemish.” This is His operating to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

We cannot be glorious nor be without blemish by our own effort, but we can cooperate with His operation. Philippians 2:12-15 speak of our “working out our own salvation” by cooperating with “God who operates in us” that we may be “children of God without blemish” shining in the world. The shining is a precursor to the glory of New Jerusalem.

Peter also speaks of our cooperation. He says that since we are expecting new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13), including New Jerusalem, we should “be diligent to be found by Him in peace without spot and without blemish” (3:14).

We thank our God and Savior for choosing us, dying for us, washing us, operating in us, and guarding us. May He now keep us cooperating daily. To the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory!

Photo courtesy of Burning Well.

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.

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 138-145

New JerusalemWe continue looking at clear words and hints in Psalms about Christ, God’s house, God’s city, and God’s blessing to the whole earth. These point toward Christ on the throne in New Jerusalem at the center of the new earth.

Psalm 138:4-5 say, “All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O Jehovah; for they have heard the words of Your mouth. And they will sing of the ways of Jehovah, for great is the glory of Jehovah.” This corresponds with Revelation 21; verse 23 says the glory of God illumined New Jerusalem. Verse 23 also says the nations on new earth will bring their glory and honor into New Jerusalem (analogous to giving thanks in Psalm 138).

Psalm 144:3 says, “O Jehovah, what is man, that You take knowledge of him, And the son of man, that You think of him?” This repeats Psalm 8:4, quoted in Hebrews 2:6, and is in reference to Jesus Christ. Hebrews 2 goes on to speak of His incarnation, His death, His resurrection, and His being crowned with glory and honor in ascension. In New Jerusalem the Lamb, indicating incarnation and death, will be on the throne, indicating exaltation with glory and honor (Rev. 22:1).

Psalm 145:1-3 say, “I will extol You, O my God and King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is Jehovah, and much to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.”

In New Jerusalem we will extol and praise our God and King, and bless His name forever. And, although we will see, appreciate, and partake of His greatness, we will never reach its limit, for it is unsearchable. New Jerusalem will contain and display the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8).

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

 

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 133-136

The Psalms portray New Jerusalem by speaking of Christ (who is on the throne at the center of New Jerusalem), God’s house and city (shadows of New Jerusalem) and the earth (to be replaced by the new earth).

Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell in unity!” This is true today as we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Today it is good and pleasant to dwell in Him. Much more in New Jerusalem!

Psalm 133:3 says, “Like the dew of Hermon that came down upon the mountains of Zion. For there Jehovah commanded the blessing: life forever.” David touched the eternal, spiritual reality in writing this. We enjoy Christ our life now and New Jerusalem will be the utmost of this blessing of this life.

New JerusalemPsalm 135:1-3 say, “Hallelujah! Praise the name of Jehovah; praise Him, you servants of Jehovah, who stand in the house of Jehovah, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise Jehovah, for Jehovah is good; sing psalms to His name, for it is pleasant.”

Today we praise God and sing to His name while standing in His house, the church (1 Tim. 3:15). Tomorrow we will do more in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 136:1, “Give thanks to Jehovah, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is forever.” We can easily declare that He is good, if we reckon goodness for His purpose rather than for our human comfort or success. “All things work together for good to those who love God” that we may be conformed to the image of His Firstborn Son and be glorified to match New Jerusalem (Rom. 8:28-30).

In New Jerusalem we will see most clearly that “His lovingkindness is forever” and certainly we will give thanks.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 110-118

New JerusalemPsalm 110 is a prophecy concerning Christ, often quoted in the New Testament*. This Psalm is about the present spiritual warfare and the defeating of God’s enemies. By the time of the new creation and New Jerusalem all the enemies will be gone, cast into the lake of fire, but Christ will endure as “a Priest forever” (v. 4).

Psalm 111:9 says “He has sent redemp-tion to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever.” The redemption sent to us is in Christ (Rom. 3:24). This redemption (Gal. 3:13) brings us the blessing of the Spirit covenanted to Abraham (v. 14), a blessing which continues “forever” as portrayed by the river of life in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 113:1-2 says, “Hallelujah! Praise, you servants of Jehovah, praise the name of Jehovah. Let the name of Jehovah be blessed, from now and to eternity.” We can surely praise God now and shout hallelujahs. And we will do this “to eternity” in New Jerusalem.This is repeated in Psalm 115:18, “we will bless Jehovah from now and to eternity. Hallelujah.”

Where is this praising? An answer is in Psalm 116:19, “In the courts of the house of Jehovah, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Hallelujah.”

Psalm 117:1 says, “Praise Jehovah, all you nations; laud Him, all you peoples.” Although not realized now, it will be after the Lord returns and even more fully in the new creation.

Psalm 118:19, “Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will enter in through them; I will give thanks to Jehovah.” At present we have the gate unto eternal life (Matt. 7:14); in Christ we have the righteousness which allows us to enter this gate and receive eternal life (Rom. 1:17, 5:17-18). Eventually this will be the gate into New Jerusalem, still open because of Christ as our righteousness unto full enjoyment of Christ as our life.

* V. 1 in Matt. 22:44, 26:64, Luke 20:42-43, Acts 2:34-35, Heb. 1:13; and v. 4 in Heb. 5:6, 7:17.
Photo courtesy of www.goodfreephotos.com.

 

The Peace of Christ in our Hearts

New JerusalemPrior posts have presented oneness in John 10 and 17, Ephesians 2, and 1 Corinthians 10 and 12. All of these point to the unique New Jerusalem as the unique city in the new creation which fully expresses the one God.

Galatians 3:28 parallels other verses: “There cannot be Jew nor Greek, there cannot be slave nor free man, there cannot be male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” In Christ Jesus, both now and in New Jerusalem, all the natural distinctions which divide fallen man are annulled. Outside the natural realm and in the mystical realm in Him we are one.

The oneness in Christ is a fact for which we must care so that it can be our experience and our appearance. Ephesians 4:1-3 beseeches us “to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, bearing one another in love, being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace.”

These virtues—lowliness, meekness, long-suffering, love, diligence, peace—are all not of ourselves but are the fruit of the Spirit in us. When we are walking according to the Spirit we experience His supply which enables us to keep the oneness.

Colossians 3:15: “Let the peace of Christ arbitrate in your hearts, to which also you were called in one Body; and be thankful.” We were called to peace in one Body but now we need to let this peace preside/rule/control/govern* within us. Again, this is a matter of the Spirit within us, and is often contrary to our natural preference, desire, or habit. “The mind set on the spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6).

Lord, I don’t want to wait for New Jerusalem; I want to learn Your ruling peace now so that I can be in the reality of one Body.

*Various translations, thanks to biblehub.com.

NO Physical Gold in New Jerusalem

New JerusalemFirst Peter 1:18-19 says, “Knowing that it was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were redeemed from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ.”

This shows us that in God’s eyes gold and silver are corruptible, of little value, and not precious. Hence, we will not see physical gold or silver or pearls or precious stones in New Jerusalem.

Gold, pearls, and precious stones are all mentioned in Revelation 21’s description of New Jerusalem. But, they are not physical, corruptible materials. Rather, they are symbols of the Triune God—divine nature of God the Father, the redemption of Jesus Christ, and the transforming work in us by the Spirit. The Triune God in us is the incorruptible substance of New Jerusalem. Three Precious MaterialsGold, Pearls, and Precious Stones.

Our participation in this wonderful, incorruptible New Jerusalem begins with our regeneration. Our Walk on the Golden Street of New Jerusalem Begins at Regeneration First Peter 1:23 says that we have been “regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God.”

We have an incorruptible seed which brings forth the growth of incorruptible life in us for our participation in the incorruptible New Jerusalem. Thank God our Father for this!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

Out of Every Tribe, Tongue, People & Nation

In Revelation 5 Jesus Christ is both the Lion and the Lamb. He is praised with the words, “You are worthy…for You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (v. 5-9). His death and purchase are to gain people for New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn Revelation 7:9 John saw “a great multitude which no one could number, out of every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes and palm branches in their hands.”

Verse 7:13 asks, Who are these who are clothed in white? Verse 14 answers, They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Verse 15 continues, Because of this they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits upon the throne will tabernacle over them.

This great multitude washed their robes, which means they received the Lord’s forgiving of sins. The end result of washing our robes is to enter New Jerusalem—“Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).

The great multitude is before the throne serving God. This is life in New Jerusalem—“the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him” (Rev. 22:3).

Thank the Lamb for dying for us and purchasing us. Thank Him that we receive forgiveness from Him. Let us go on per Revelation 22:14 to eat Him as our daily food supply and enter New Jerusalem.

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