New Jerusalem is a Spiritual Blessing

Ephesians 1:3 declares, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” Verses 4 to 14 present some details of these spiritual blessings. New Jerusalem is the consummation of all these blessings.

The blessings are from the Triune God. Ephesians 1:4-6 speaks about the Father’s selection and predestination. Verses 7-12 speak of the Son’s redemption for the accomplishing of God’s eternal purpose. Verses 13-14 speak of the Spirit”s applying to us what the Son accomplished.

New JerusalemEach of these three sections leads to the praise of God’s glory. Ultimately New Jerusalem will have and display God’s glory and praises will go to God for this glory.

First Corinthians 10:16 tells us that “the cup of blessing which we bless” is the fellowship of the blood of Christ. This too is a spiritual blessing.

Galatians 3:13-14 proclaim that “Christ has redeemed us…in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Here the blessing we receive is the Spirit. This is an eternal blessing based on God’s promise to Abraham.

Jesus told us that our heavenly Father will care for our outward needs. This is true but God’s highest desire is to bless us with Himself.  The blessing of New Jerusalem is not outward but it is to live in and with the Triune God for eternity.

A Word from Moses

Recent posts are about New Jerusalem being a spiritual structure in the resurrection life. New Jerusalem is not a physical city. This is the pattern of God’s building throughout the New Testament.

In the Old Testament God had a physical tabernacle and temple, but these were merely pictures of the NT reality. Even in that age, Moses declared in Psalm 90:1, “O Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” 

New JerusalemOur dwelling place, our home, both today and in New Jerusalem, is God Himself. Jesus made this clear in John 14:20, speaking about His soon-to-happen resurrection, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” And John 15:4, “Abide in Me and I in you.” We have a mutual indwelling.

How do we “know”? First John 2 tells us that we know because of the love of God in us, with which we love God, and because of the moving of the Holy Spirit in us. Lord, stir Your love in me and move within me every day! 

God in Jesus Christ dwells in us and we dwell in Him. This is true no matter what our physical location is. Paul, in prison, wrote several epistles which speak of Christ in us and us in Christ. This is our foretaste of New Jerusalem. It is also our training, our preparation to be a proper and mature constituent of New Jerusalem.

See also Where is New Jerusalem ?

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.

New Jerusalem’s River from the Throne

Revelation 22:1 says, “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.”

New JerusalemThe river comes out of the throne of God. This tells us that we need to be under the throne, under the ruling of God and the Lamb. The extent to which we are ruled is the extent to which we are watered.

This throne is “of God and of the Lamb.” God and the Lamb share one throne because They are coinherent—God is in the Lamb, Jesus and the Lamb is in God, the Father. This is Jesus’ word in John 14:11, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.”

The Triune God is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. The throne is of Two, but where is the Spirit? The Spirit is the river! John 7:38-39, “He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. But this He said concerning the Spirit.” The Triune God is here!

First Corinthians 12:13 declares, “in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body…and were all given to drink one Spirit.” Baptism is once for all, but drinking is lifelong. Let us drink the Spirit all the time to be saturated with the life of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God Gave Us a Guarantee, a Foretaste

God’s Spirit within us is the pledge, the deposit, the down payment, guaranteeing all that God will be to us and do in us. This includes the redemption of our mortal body, then our participation in the kingdom age, and ultimately our participation in New Jerusalem.

Besides the verses in the prior post, Romans 8:23 says, “we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan in ourselves, eagerly awaiting sonship, the redemption of our body.”

The Spirit as the guarantee is also the Spirit as the firstfruits, the foretaste of our full enjoyment of all of God’s riches.

At present our realization and appreciation of what God in Christ is to us is limited. The limiting factor is our fallen body, our flesh, in which nothing good dwells (Rom. 7:18). This limitation is the reason for the groaning in Romans 8:23.

Another limitation is our mind, to the extent it has not yet been renewed by the Spirit.

While we are groaning we also are partaking of the firstfruits of the Spirit. This Spirit is not only a guarantee of the coming riches but He is also our current foretaste of these riches. This foretaste gives us confidence for our fuller participation in God’s riches during the coming age and the fullest participation in New Jerusalem.

God Gave Us a Guarantee

Three verses in the New Testament speak of the Spirit as a pledge/deposit/guarantee/ down payment*. A fuller meaning is that which is assured by God to believers…the Divine pledge of all future blessings**. These future blessings include New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemSecond Corinthians 1:22 tells us that God has “sealed us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” The Spirit as a pledge, a down payment, means that we will receive more of the Spirit in the future. Eternally, the Spirit is portrayed by the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

Second Corinthians 5:5 also speaks of the Spirit as a pledge. Our guarantee is not a thing or a legal document; rather it is the Spirit Himself, the Spirit who is the reality and who guides us into all the reality (John 16:13).

Ephesians 1:13b-14 says “you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory.”

God put His Spirit within us and also sealed us with this Spirit. This sealing keeps us for our divine inheritance, which is much more of the Triune God in the next age and the fullest portion in New Jerusalem for eternity.

In Ephesians 1 the Spirit as a pledge guarantees the redemption of our mortal body “to the praise of His glory.” God’s glory will fully shine forth from New Jerusalem and the entire universe will praise Him.


* Various translations in these verses, thanks to Bible Hub.
** Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

 

New Jerusalem, the Eternal City (2)

New Jerusalem is eternal and all the positive eternal things in the New Testament are related to it. Christ’s eternal redemption cleansed us and His resurrection released the eternal life to us. The eternal redemption is practical into us through the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14) and the eternal life is Christ Himself living in us.

New JerusalemThe blood Christ shed for eternal redemption is “the blood of an eternal covenant” (Heb. 13:20). In this covenant all that Christ is and all He has accomplished is guaranteed to us. And He becomes “to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9).

Because “Christ, through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God,” His blood acts to “purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14). We serve God now and will serve Him in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3). While we are serving, we have the gift of “eternal comfort and good hope in grace” (2 Thes. 2:17).

Outwardly we have trials and sufferings but these do not negate the eternal salvation. Rather, “our momentary lightness of affliction works out for us, more and more surpassingly, an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). Based on this vision, Paul said, “I endure all things for the sake of the chosen ones, that they themselves also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10).

Salvation with eternal glory brings glory into us and brings us to New Jerusalem, the city of glory.


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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

Photo by S.L. Wong via pexels.com.

Where Does the River Flow Today?

In New Jerusalem there is “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1).

Where is this river today? The answer is in John 7. “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. But this He said concerning the Spirit.”

New JerusalemThe river of New Jerusalem in Revelation is “of life” and this life is the eternal life of God. This is not a physical river but a spiritual river.

This river flows in everyone who comes to the Lord. To come is to drink. This drinking is spiritual: “we were all given to drink one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13).

How do we drink? The Lord invites us to come to Him. We can pray honestly and simply to Him, telling Him whatever is on our heart. First Peter 5:7 asks us to cast “all your anxiety on Him because it matters to Him concerning you.”

Isaiah 12:3, “Draw water with rejoicing from the springs of salvation.” When we praise the Lord, we are drinking. And Isaiah 55:1, 6, “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters….Call upon Him while He is near.” The Lord is rich to all who call upon Him; this is another way to drink the river.

The river of New Jerusalem is the same flowing Spirit we drink today.

Take Freely the Water of Life

 

 

The Narrow Way of Bearing the Cross and Denying the Self unto New Jerusalem

Matthew 16:24-25, “Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his soul-life shall lose it; but whoever loses his soul-life for My sake shall find it.” These words are followed by the Son of Man coming in His glory and in His kingdom, both of which point to New Jerusalem. This is the constricted way the Lord spoke about in Matthew 7.

New Jerusalem

This subject seems negative, BUT remember, the death of our natural life manifests the resurrection life, the only life present in New Jerusalem. “Always bearing about the putting to death of Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be manifested” (2 Cor. 4:10).

Here is one key point or verse from each post in this series, with a link to the post.

The death of Christ terminated all negatives, redeemed God’s people, released the divine life, and created the new man.

We were crucified with Christ and also raised with Him (Rom. 6:6, Col. 3:1).

Christ offered Himself to God through the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14). In this Spirit His death and His life are available to us.

Objectively, positionally, we are in all that Christ has done. Yet now we need to grow into this subjectively, experientially. Galatians 2:20 is about our experience.

Christian growth in life is gradual (Gal. 4:19). To deny ourself is the key to growth.

The Lord’s words about denying our self, our soul life, begin in Matthew 10:38, “he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”

Luke adds a word not in Matthew, “If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”

Luke 14: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own soul-life, he cannot be My disciple.” If we are not disciples, how will we be in New Jerusalem?

Denying and losing the soul life is our responsibility, yet self cannot deny self. We apply the death of Christ in Spirit. Romans 8:13 says, “by the Spirit you put to death…”

The Lord told us to deny ourself, and He did this. An example: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26).

In John 7 and 8 the Lord declared that He did not seek His own glory.

To deny ourself is to deny our opinions, preferences, like and dislikes, complaints, and vain talking. Perhaps none are evil, but they are self and will not be in New Jerusalem.

Denying and losing the self seems negative, but death is followed by resurrection. We are being put to death that the life of Jesus may be manifested (2 Cor. 4:10-12).

The word of the cross is…to us who are being saved…the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18)

We boast in Christ Jesus and long “to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:3, 10).

To deny the self requires constant exercise, empowered by His resurrection with a longing for the fuller resurrection at His return and the fullest in New Jerusalem.

Looking away unto Jesus” enlivens us to be delivered unto death and to deny ourself.

The denial of our soul life is presented in Ephesians 4:22: “That you put off, as regards your former manner of life, the old man. Then we put on the new man who continues into New Jerusalem.

To deny our self and lose our soul life is to take the constricted way which leads to life (Matt. 7:14), eventually to the city of life, 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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemThe death of Christ terminated, redeemed, released, and created to bring all of God’s people onto the path to New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:21 says about New Jerusalem, “The twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl.” These pearls portray the wonderful achievements of Christ on the cross as our entrance into the city.*

The effectiveness of Christ’s death is eternal. Hebrews 9:14 says, “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?” The eternal Spirit makes His death eternally effective and applicable to us at every time. And His death purifies us to serve the living God, which service will continue in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3).

The Lord promised us “when He, the Spirit of reality, comes, He will guide you into all the reality” (John 16:13). In resurrection this Spirit came and is guiding us into the reality of all that Christ accomplished on the cross in order to bring us unto New Jerusalem.

Through the Spirit all that Christ accomplished is available to us. Through the eternal Spirit His redemption with the forgiveness of sins is applied to our conscience, so that our conscience can be free of condemnation. Through the Spirit the released divine life comes into us to regenerate us. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). And the Spirit of reality makes the new man real to us. The Spirit is the reality of our path to New Jerusalem.

* Links to many posts on this are in Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

The Flow of Living Water is the Triune God

The flow of “rivers of living water” in John 7:38 is “the Spirit” in 7:39. This same Spirit flows out of the throne of God and the Lamb in New Jerusalem. This flow of living water is the flow of the Triune God to His people.

New JerusalemThis flow of the Triune God is also in 2 Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Grace, love, and fellowship are not static in heaven; they are the Triune God flowing out to “be with us all.”

The flow of the Triune God may also be seen in Ephesians 3:14-17. “I bow my knees unto the Father…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man, that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith.”

The outcome of this flow is that 1) we are rooted and grounded in love, to be 2) full of strength to corporately lay hold on the unlimited riches of Christ, so that 3) we are filled to the fullness of God, resulting in 4) glory to God in the church now and in New Jerusalem forever (Eph. 3:17-21).

A short song (with music) combines 2 Corinthians 13:14 with Revelation 22:1:
__The love of God and the grace of Christ
__And fellowship of the Holy Spirit
__Be with you, be with you all,
__Be with you all, be with you all.

__From the throne of our God and the Lamb
__Flows a river of water of life,
__Bright as crystal, reaching man.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Living Water Flows to, in New Jerusalem (2)

John saw in New Jerusalem is “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1). This river is the Spirit, because John 7:38-39 tells us that the Spirit will be rivers of living water flowing out of us.

New JerusalemJohn 7:39 says “the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” The Spirit of God was moving in Genesis 1:2 but the Spirit that can enter into us and flow out of us was not yet at the time of John 7. The need was for Jesus to be glorified.

Comparing Luke 24:26 and 46, we see that for Him to be glorified was for Him to be resurrected. Then in resurrection “He breathed into them [the disciples] and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).

To be resurrected, Jesus first had to go through death. At the end of His crucifixion, “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.” The blood is a symbol of our redemption and the water signifies the flowing Spirit as our eternal life.

The reality of blood and water remain with us through our entire Christian life and into New Jerusalem. In 1 John 1, if we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to cleanse us and to forgive us. In this same chapter the life brings us into fellowship with God and with one another.

In New Jerusalem is the throne of God and of the blood-shedding, redeeming Lamb, a memorial of our redemption. In New Jerusalem there is also the flow of the Spirit, the river of water of life as our eternal supply.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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