We Serve as Priests, Now & New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:3 is part of the description of life in New Jerusalem. “And the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him.” Here “serve” means “serve as priests.”

New JerusalemThrough the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, God purchased us. We “were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20). Thus, we are God’s slaves, both now and in New Jerusalem. As His slaves we serve Him as priests.

The first NT mention of this serving is the Lord’s speaking to Satan in Matthew 4:10 (quoting Deut. 6:13), “Then Jesus said to him, Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.'”

In Romans 1:9 Paul tells us, “God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of His Son.” His serving in the gospel was a foretaste of his (and our) serving in New Jerusalem. Paul served “in spirit,” that is, by a living in his human spirit. (In John 4:23-24 our worship, tied to our service in Matthew 4, should also be in spirit.)

We all were bought by God to “serve by the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). Being trained by the Spirit to serve today prepares us for our eternal serving in New Jerusalem.


To serve as a priest does not involve seminary or ordination or special robes. It depends on regeneration with a life of loving God, receiving fellowship from Him, and offering thanksgiving and praise to Him.

Carried Away in Spirit to See New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 21:10 says, “And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.”

in Revelation 21:9 an angel spoke to John and said, “Come here; I will show you…” Clearly, John responded to the invitation to come and he was “carried away” by the angel. This carrying away was not in the physical realm but “in spirit.”

In Revelation John was “in spirit” four times (Rev. 1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10). First, he heard and saw the Lord Jesus and received His words to the seven churches (chap. 1–3). Second, John saw God’s throne in heaven, the Lamb opening the seven seals, and all God’s judgments upon the earth and unrepentant people on it (chap. 4–16). Third, he saw Babylon and God’s final judgments (chap. 17-20). Finally he saw New Jerusalem at the center of new earth (chap. 21–22).

John was “carried me away in spirit.” This is his human spirit. Our human spirit is the deepest part of our being, hidden within our soul and body (1 Thes. 5:23). Some verses which refer specifically to our human spirit are Romans 1:9, 1 Corinthians 16:18, 2 Corinthians 2:13, and Galatians 6:18.

Our spirit is not alone. The divine Spirit has regenerated our human spirit and is now one with it (Rom. 8:16). We are one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17).

To see New Jerusalem, our spirit is the most important part of our being. Lord, grant me more time in spirit to see and partake of all Your spiritual realities.

More: In Spirit to See and Enter New Jerusalem

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Now & New Jerusalem: Behold His Face (3)

In New Jerusalem we will see the face of God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:4). Now, in resurrection, we see the Lord in spirit and He is our joy.

The prior posts touched John 14 and 16. Then the Lord prayed, “I desire that they also may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory.” (17:24). To behold His glory is to behold Him, to have a foretaste of the promise in Revelation 22.

The fulfillment of this matter began with the Son’s resurrection, when He brought His believers into participation in His resurrection life, and will consummate in the New Jerusalem.*

New JerusalemFor this beholding, the Lord says we must be with Him, where He is. To be with Him is in resurrection. He told us in John 14:20 that from the time of His resurrection, we “will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

This mutual indwelling is in spirit. The Spirit of reality has regenerated our human spirit (John 3:6) and now indwells it (John 14:17, Rom. 8:11). We are one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17).

In spirit we see the Lord! It is wonderful to await the Lord’s second coming when “every eye will see Him” (Rev. 1:7), and to pray Amen, Lord, come quickly (Rev. 22:20). Yet, while doing this, we must not forget that today we are in Him and He is in us so we can behold Him and His glory now.

New Jerusalem will be the fullness of beholding the Lord and His glory, but this is available in lesser degree now. Lord, grant us this beholding experience today!

* Part of footnote 1 on John 17:24 in the Recovery Version Bible, © 2017 by Living Stream Ministry.

Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (4)

New JerusalemRomans 12:2 exhorts us “be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.” This good, well pleasing, and perfect will is ultimately to bring forth New Jerusalem.

Romans 12:1 shows us that a base for our transformation is to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.”

This consecration comes out of the foregoing chapters of Romans—realizing that we, as fallen, natural men, cannot please God but need His life in us to enable us to be people for His purpose.

We cannot transform ourselves. Second Corinthians 3:18 tells us that we are transformed by beholding the glory of the Lord; He is the source! Ephesians 4:23 says we should “be renewed in the spirit of our mind.” Our transformation is by renewing and our renewing is accomplished by the Spirit in our spirit.

The first verse of a hymn (music) by Witness Lee speaks of God’s intention, His will, and our consequent need for transformation (see graphic in this post). The fourth verse of the hymn, based on 2 Corinthians 3:18, presents something of God’s goal.
__By the power of His Spirit
____In His pattern He transforms;
__From His glory to His glory
____To His image He conforms.
New Jerusalem, radiating the glory of God (Rev. 21:11), is the fulfillment of God’s will.

The chorus is a good prayer for each of us.
__Lord, transform us to Thine image
____In emotion, mind, and will;
__Saturate us with Thy Spirit,
____All our being wholly fill.

The hymn is © 2001 by Living Stream Ministry, used by permission.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

God’s Slaves Serve in New Jerusalem (2)

Revelation 22:3b says, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him.” Looking at our service now gives us insight into how we will serve in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe foundation of our serving is what Jesus Christ accomplished in His death and resurrection. He “released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:5-6).

Hebrews 9:14 also links the blood of Jesus and our serving, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Part of Revelation 7:14-15 is “they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Because of this they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple.” The washing of our robes, our conduct, is by receiving the forgiveness of sins accomplished by Jesus Christ.

This washing of sins has two stages. One is by our repenting at the initial time of our salvation. The other is throughout our Christian life by our confessing of sins for His cleansing (1 John 1:9). The first brings us before the throne and the second keeps us before the throne so  that we may serve God—both now and in New Jerusalem.

In Romans 1:9 Paul says, “God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit…” In Philippians 3:3 we “…serve by the Spirit of God…” Serving as priests must be in the Spirit with our human spirit. Without this mingled spirit, whatever we do is not serving God as a priest.

In John 4:24 Jesus says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.” There is no serving God in worship without the mingled spirit.

Our serving now, and in New Jerusalem, is based on redemption and in spirit.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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.

New Jerusalem, a Revelation in Spirit

Recent posts present steps in our Christian journey to get to the high mountain to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). How long will this journey take? The Bible does not say.

New JerusalemThe length of the journey depends both on the Lord’s mercy and on our cooperation along the way. Do not be discouraged by failures. In the Old Testament picture Israel had complaints and resistance along the way. Nevertheless, God brought them to the mountain because that was His intention to fulfill His purpose.

When Israel began walking after eating the passover lamb (a picture of Christ— 1 Cor. 5:7) they had no idea how long it would take to get to the mountain. Likewise, we have no idea when we will be “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). We are journeying like Abraham, who “being called, obeyed to go out…not knowing where he was going” nor when he would arrive (Heb. 11:8).

God had promised to bring Israel to the mountain (Exo. 3:12) and He did it. Since there is also a New Testament mountain, surely there is also a New Testament promise.

The key to seeing New Jerusalem is our human spirit. The Holy Spirit is involved in the vision in oneness with our spirit. We are one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17), and the Spirit witnesses with our human spirit (Rom. 8:16). If we are in the flesh, the Holy Spirit remains in us but cannot live or work in us. May we let the Spirit dwell in us, live in us, be active in us. There is no other way to see New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Love God to Partake of What He Prepared

Through Christ’s death and resurrection, God gained us as vessels to contain and display the riches of His glory. He also created us as His masterpiece in Christ Jesus to walk in the good works He had prepared beforehand. These steps are part of the preparation of New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2).

New JerusalemGod has completed another preparation. First Corinthians 2:9 says, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not come up in man’s heart; things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

These things are spiritual, not material. Rather, 1 Corinthians 2:6-14 shows that these things have the following three characteristics which relate them to New Jerusalem.

✽ These God-prepared things are of God’s wisdom, in a mystery, predestined for glory (v. 2:7). Both God’s wisdom and glory will be manifested through New Jerusalem.

✽ These God-prepared things are of the Spirit, revealed through the Spirit, known by the Spirit we received, and discerned spiritually (v. 10-12, 14). Like all of God’s New Testament building work, New Jerusalem is a spiritual city with the Spirit Himself flowing as the river of water of life to supply the city.

✽ These God-prepared things are spoken in words taught by the Spirit to full-grown spiritual men (v. 13, 6). New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb, Christ and in Revelation 22:17 the Spirit and the bride speak together. Also, God’s New Testament building work is a matter of growth in life (Ephesians 2:21, 4:16); in New Jerusalem as the consummation of the New Testament all the believers are full grown.

These things are God-prepared “for those who love Him.” As the bride, New Jerusalem surely loves the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

Death→New Covenant→Eternal Inheritance

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the consummation of the new covenant established by our Lord in His death (Luke 22:20).

Hebrews 9:14 tells us Christ offered Himself to God on the cross and through the eternal Spirit. Verse 15 continues “And because of this He is the Mediator of a new covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those who have been called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”

The death of Christ accomplished redemption. Redemption brought in the new covenant. This new covenant brings us to the eternal inheritance—God in Christ Jesus in New Jerusalem.

We cannot come to this inheritance by ourselves. John 3:6a says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” Flesh is a negative word in the Bible, a realm of sin, death, and oldness. But we come to the eternal inheritance because of the blood of the Lamb through which we have redemption and because of His resurrection through which we have the life of New Jerusalem.

Second Corinthians 3:6 tells us that the new covenant ministry is of the Spirit who gives life. This matches the spiritual nature of all of God’s New Testament building work and matches New Jerusalem which is a living, spiritual city.

To live in the new covenant daily and to participate in God’s New Testament building work, we need to live and walk in S/spirit—the divine Spirit mingled with our human spirit.

Redemption qualifies us to receive eternal life and eternal life supplies us to bring forth God’s building. This is Revelation 22:14, “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.”

Let us thank the Lord for His redemption, eat the tree of life, and go onward to New Jerusalem.

 

Death, Resurrection, Newness

New JerusalemWe are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and in resurrection we walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). This life and this new creation are inward, not humanly visible now, but will be openly displayed when New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven as the consummation of all the newness in the Bible.

Resurrection and newness cannot be separated. If we have one, we have the other. This is true today and we will realize and experience this to the utmost in New Jerusalem.

Resurrection and a walk in newness of life is a result of baptism into the death of Christ (Romans 6:4). The reality of this baptism is the Spirit, who is “the Spirit of reality.” In John 16:13 the Lord Jesus tells us, “when He, the Spirit of reality, comes, He will guide you into all the reality.”

This Spirit came when the Lord was resurrected. On the day of His resurrection, He came to His disciples and “breathed into them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). From this time the disciples could walk in newness of life—for example, compare Peter’s foolish speaking before the resurrection with His bold declaring of the word of God in the early chapters of Acts.

It is by this Spirit that “we serve in newness of spirit” (Romans 7:6). This verse speaks of our human spirit regenerated by the Spirit (John 3:6), functioning with the Spirit (Romans 8:16), and in oneness with the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17).

Apart from the Spirit (who brings us the reality of God) with our spirit, there is no newness. New Jerusalem will be filled with the Spirit of reality and will be entirely and eternally new.

Photo of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, courtesy of ESA and VITO (Belgium). The colors show the condition of the vegetation rather than the actual colors of the landscape.

The Riches of God’s Glory

New Jerusalem is a city of glory, a city “having the glory of God
(Revelation 21:11).

New JerusalemEphesians 3 shows something of the development of the glory which ultimately will be in New Jerusalem. Paul prayed, asking the Father to “grant us, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man…” (v. 16).

This strengthening is so “that Christ may make His home in our hearts…” (v. 17) which results in our apprehending the vastness of Christ and knowing His love (v. 18-19), which results in our being “filled unto all the fulness of God” (v. 19). The conclusion is “to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever.” (v. 21).

The apostle prayed that the Father would strengthen the saints according to the riches of His glory. This implies that the glory of God can be wrought into the saints. In the doxology he said, “To Him be the glory” (v. 21), implying that the glory of God, which has been wrought into the saints, returns to God. First, the glory of God is wrought into us; then it returns to God for His glorification….The apostle prayed that God would strengthen the saints according to His glory, “but” eventually God’s glory, after being wrought into them, returns to Him along with the strengthened saints. This is the way in which God is glorified in the church.*

The glory wrought into us is first for glory to God through the church in this age. Consummately it is for glory to God eternally and for God’s glory to be expressed universally through New Jerusalem.

* A part of footnote 1 on Ephesians 3:20 in this online NT (© LSM).

Photo courtesy of NASA.

We Are Receiving the Promise of the Spirit

New JerusalemThe prior post paralleled Galatians 3:13-14, “Christ redeemed us…that we might receive the promise of the Spirit” with the view of New Jerusalem in Revelation 22:1, “He showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

In Galatians 3:2, 14 we receive the Spirit and in 3:5 God is bountifully supplying the Spirit. We receive because He supplies. And His supplying is continuous (clearly indicated by the Greek verb). Therefore our receiving should be continuous, not once-for-all. This parallels New Jerusalem: a river of water of life is proceeding out of the throne. This river is flowing continually for our continual refreshment and supply eternally.

Our receiving is by faith (3:14), specifically the hearing of faith (3:2, 5). Whether we understand or not, we exercise our spirit of faith (2 Corinthians 4:13) to say amen to God’s word. Here is an invigorating song about saying Amen to God’s Word.

Our spirit of faith matches, in essence, the Spirit whom we are receiving. Three verses closely couple our human spirit with the divine Spirit:
• “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6b)
• “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit” (John 4:24)
• “The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16)
We need to exercise our human spirit to contact and receive the divine Spirit.

This Spirit is flowing, and being received by us, as pictured by the river of water of life in New Jerusalem. Lord, keep me receiving the Spirit by the hearing of faith every day as a foretaste of the river New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Government.

 

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