The Street of New Jerusalem is Transparent

Revelation 21:21 says of New Jerusalem “the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” The gold of New Jerusalem’s street is not physical but spiritual, signifying the divine nature.

New JerusalemThe Greek adjective translated transparent is only in this one verse in the NT. God’s purpose was hidden in past ages, but with God’s person nothing is opaque, nothing is cloudy. God’s being is pure, clear, and transparent. His goal, New Jerusalem, matches Him. New Jerusalem is Pure, Transparent, Bright

How do we become transparent to match New Jerusalem? A Greek verb related to the adjective transparent also occurs once, in 2 Peter 1:19, translated dawns or shines through. The whole verse is, “We have the prophetic word made more firm, to which you do well to give heed as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

The world is certainly a dark place, and some parts of our being are still dark. Peter’s encouragement is that we give heed to the word of God. Because God’s word is life, it is also light. Thus, it is a shining lamp to penetrate our darkness, to shine through and make us transparent.

“The word of God is living and operative and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing…” (Heb. 4:12). Lord, keep us in Your living word day by day that You may shine through us and make us transparent.

Photo courtesy of NASA, JPL-Caltech, and U. of Arizona.

The Gospel of Grace and New Jerusalem

In Acts 20:24 Paul speaks of “the gospel of the grace of God.” Like aspects of the gospel in prior posts, this too is related to New Jerusalem. He continues in Acts 20:32, “I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who have been sanctified.”

God and the word of His grace can build us together. This is the building up of the Body of Christ now, the forerunner of New Jerusalem. God and the word of His grace also give us the inheritance. This is not “an inheritance” but “the inheritance,” unique, called “the eternal inheritance” in Hebrews 9:15. This also points to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemSimilarly, Titus 3:7 ties grace to God’s eternal salvation, saying that “having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Even more, 1 Peter 5:10 speaks of “the God of all grace, He who has called you into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus.” This eternal glory surely is New Jerusalem.

In addition, the inheritance in Acts 20:32 is “among all those who have been sanc-tified,” a sanctification which prepares us for the holy city, New Jerusalem.

This grace should operate in us to the extent it becomes visible. Barnabas was sent from Jerusalem to Antioch and “when he arrived and saw the grace of God, rejoiced” (Acts 11:23). Grace certainly will be very visible through New Jerusalem and will cause great rejoicing.

Photo courtesy of NASA, JPL-Caltech, and U. of Arizona.

The Word of the Cross for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThrough the cross our natural life, our fallen life, our soul life, is put away. This opens the door for the increase and spread of Christ, our new life, our resurrection life, in us. This life, not our old life, is the life of New Jerusalem.

First Corinthians 1 speaks about the cross, which delivers us from our old life.. Verse 18: “The word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. If we think speaking about the cross is foolishness, then we are in the wrong realm.

Verses 23-24: “We preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called…Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Christ crucified, to release the resurrection life, is God’s wisdom and God’s way.

Now the cross is being applied within us, making us new and living for New Jerusalem. Because of this wonderful result, Paul boasted in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 6:14).

The believers in Christ have been crucified (terminated) with Him (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:6). After being organically united with Him through faith, they should remain on the cross, keeping their old man under the termination of the cross (cf. Rom. 6:3; Col. 2:20-21). This is to carry their own cross.*

Remember that the purpose of the cross is not suffering; the purpose is to kill the old man so hat the new man can come forth in reality for New Jerusalem.

Part of the footnote on Luke 14:27 in the Recovery Version NT, footnotes written by Witness Lee,

The Word of the Lord Jesus Brings us to New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:1 John said, “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.” This new heaven and new earth are the scene in which New Jerusalem appears.

The Lord Jesus foretold the passing away of the old creation when He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall by no means pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Perhaps the Lord’s word is the basis for Peter to quote Isaiah, “the word of the Lord abides forever” and to declare “according to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”

New JerusalemThe Lord’s comparison indicates that we should give more attention to His words than to heaven and earth. They will be replaced but His words will carry us onwards into New Jerusalem. Here are a few of the many functions of this word.

• We have been regenerated by incorruptible seed, “the living and abiding word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23)
• We live, not by bread alone, but by “every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4)
• We grow spiritually and taste the Lord by means of “the milk of the word.” (1 Peter 2:2-3)
• We are sanctified to match the holiness of New Jerusalem by the “washing of the water in the word.” (Eph. 5:26)

To hold to the Lord’s word is tied to loving Him. Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word” (John 14:23) and “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love” (15:10).

Loving the Lord Jesus and holding His word are basic necessities for today. They also prepare us for New Jerusalem and will continue eternally in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s Kingdom and Glory

In Matthew 6:13 the Lord instructed us to praise our Father, “Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” (Forever points to eternity with New Jerusalem.) In Matthew 16:28 to 17:2 we have a preview of this kingdom and glory together. First Thessalonians 2:12 tells us that God “calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”

New JerusalemBoth the kingdom and the glory are God’s but He has called us to participate in them. The first half of 1 Thessalonians 2:12, exhorting us to walk worthy of God, indicates that our participation is present and experiential. This present partici-pation is our foretaste of New Jerusalem.

The guidance and energizing for this walk is 1) the conduct of the apostle among the Thessalonians (1 Thes. 2:1-10) and 2) his exhorting, consoling, and testifying (v. 11), plus 3) their receiving his word “not as the word of men but  even as it truly is, the word of God, which also operates in you who believe” (v. 13).

Because the word of God, transmitted to us by the Spirit through the Bible, is living, we need to let it dwell, live, spread, and operate in us. Lord, cause Your word to live and operate in me! This operation gradually develops the character and walk of New Jerusalem in us.

Unlike the early Thessalonians, we do not have the pattern of the apostle Paul. However, we are among Christians, and the Lord is not limited by the absence of Paul. We should ask the Lord to show us one or a few whom we can consider and let their Christian walk be a pattern to us.

Lord, besides Your operating word, show me how to have a worthy walk on my way to New Jerusalem.

The Morning Star Rises and the Day Dawns unto the Full Day of New Jerusalem (4)

The Lord Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness who will arise unto the full day of the new creation with New Jerusalem. This rising is not only outwardly in the future but also presently within the hearts of His faithful believers.

New JerusalemSecond Peter 1:19 encourages us to give heed to the Bible “as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

The age around us is a dark place. But the Bible is shining; it embodies the “living and operative word of God” (Heb. 4:12). We need to read the Bible and pray the Bible into us* to let this word “dwell in us richly” (Col. 3:16).

This indwelling word is Christ Himself, “the Word of God” (Rev. 19:13), who is also “the bright Morning Star” (22:16). As He dwells in us, He rises and shines in us to carry us victoriously through this dark age to His wedding feast and New Jerusalem.

More about light shining through the Lord’s word and our shining with His word:
Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Psalm 119:130, “The opening of Your words gives light.”
Philippians 2:15-16, “You shine as luminaries in the world, holding forth the word of life.”

There will be the sun with day and night in the new creation. However, Revelation 21:25 and 22:5 tell us that there will be no sunset, no night, in New Jerusalem because the Lord God will shine as the eternal reality of the full day.

* See How to Pray-read the Word of God to be Spiritually Nourished

Photo by Keith Weller, courtesy of US Department of Agriculture.

Creation, New Creation, New Jerusalem

The Bible progresses from God’s creation of heaven and earth in Genesis 1 to the new heaven and new earth with New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22. Here is a summary of recent posts on this progression, with a link to and a key verse from each post. All of these point toward New Jerusalem, the goal of God’s creation and His work.

New Jerusalem

“God, who created all things, in order that now…the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:9-11)

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.“ (Gen. 1:1)
God created because He has an eternal purpose.

“O Jehovah our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth.” (Psa. 8:1)
We do not yet see this outwardly, but we do see Jesus and His accomplishments.
Hebrews 2 quotes Psalm 8 and then speaks of God leading many sons into glory, which ultimately is New Jerusalem; then we will see God’s name excellent in all the earth.

“The earth is Jehovah’s, and its fullness…” (Psa. 24:1)
God is never defeated on the path from creation to New Jerusalem.

“Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.” (Matt. 6:10)
God has a purpose and we cooperate by praying for it on earth.

“Until heaven and earth pass away…” (Matt. 5:18).
The first heaven and earth will pass away and the new heaven and earth will come.

“What kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness.” (2 Pet. 3:11)
God’s divine power supplies us to live a life for the new creation.

“According to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth.” (2 Pet. 3:13)
The Lord told us “My words shall by no means pass away.” Our stand is His word.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
We are being renewed inwardly (Titus 3:5) to prepare us fully for New Jerusalem.

“A new creation is what matters.” (Gal. 6:15)
Our spirit is life and our heart loves the Lord and His word; this is what matters.

Creation’s goal: “the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known.” (Eph. 3:9-10)
God’s desire is to display His wisdom through His people knit together in Christ.
This display brings forth glory to God now in the church and forever in New Jerusalem.

God created “the heavens,…the earth, and…the spirit of man within him.” (Zech. 12:1)
In our human spirit that we are born of God to have His life for His expression.

“The judgment of this world; now shall the ruler of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31)
God created the earth for His purpose; Satan formed the world system to capture man.

“They all may be one…that the world may believe that You have sent Me.” (John 17:21)
By the Lord’s life in us, we “shine as luminaries in the world.” (Phil. 2:15)

“Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?” (James 4:4)
God’s living word energizes us to live to Him and escape the corruption in the world.

“If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)
As we love the Lord, He and the Father make their abode in us. (John 14:23)
This abode is for today and eternity. New Jerusalem is God’s eternal abode in His people.

God “created all things…according to the eternal purpose which He made.” (Eph. 3:9, 11)
We are living for God‘s purpose now, conscious that “the earth is the Lord’s.”

“We are expecting new heavens and a new earth.” (2 Pet. 3:13).
The Lord overcame the world and now He is the Overcomer in us. He is our life.

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” (Rev. 21:1)
Through the death of Christ, things on earth and in heaven were reconciled to God.
This is a step in preparing for the new creation with New Jerusalem as its center.

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth…and the sea is no more.” (Rev. 21:1)
The sea speaks of God’s judgments, which are completed in Revelation 20.

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. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” (Rev. 21:1-2a)

Earlier posts about the new creation.
New Creation: Curiosity versus Life
New Jerusalem is the Center of New Heaven and New Earth
The Word of the Lord Abides to Eternity
New Creation
New Heaven and New Earth

Earth to New Earth with New Jerusalem (5)

We are on the path from the original created earth to the new earth. This involves the reconciliation of all things by the death of Jesus Christ, the freeing of all creation, and the recognition and confession by all that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. New JerusalemThis glorification points toward New Jerusalem as the ultimate glorification of God.

Despite all that was accomplished by Christ in His death and resurrection, all that He is doing now in the believers, and all that will happen at His return, there will still be a new heaven and a new earth to replace the original heaven and earth. The Lord first mentioned this in Matthew 5:18, “Until heaven and earth pass away…”

This passing away was prophesied in Psalm 102, which is quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12:

You in the beginning, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands; they will perish, but You remain perpetually; and they all will become old like a garment, and like a mantle You will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed; but You are the same, and Your years will not fail.

The book of Hebrews emphasizes the superiority of Christ and His new covenant. Our part is to look away to Him, hold to Him, come forward to Him on the throne, and let His living word operate in us. He must have priority in our lives over everything of the old creation; the old, perishing things are not our focus.

The Lord is perpetual and New Jerusalem will be perpetual by being saturated with Him. Lord, draw us every day to give You first place in our living!

The New Testament Temple is Living (3)

The Old Testament had a physical temple in Jerusalem which persisted into the New Testament age. However, the individual Jesus was the reality of this temple; He was the living temple in John 2. In resurrection He brought all His believers into this reality, this living temple. Now, this temple is growing in the Lord (Eph. 2:20-21) to the maturity of New Jerusalem.

#NewJerusalemIn Revelation 3:12 the Lord promises, “He who overcomes, him I will make a pillar in the temple of My God.” This is another verse showing us that the New Testament temple is a living building. Here is one who not only is “being fitted together” in the temple but even becomes a vital component in the temple.

Besides the promise to make the over-comer a pillar, the Lord also promises to write on him the name of His God, the name of the city of His God, the New Jerusalem, and His new name. This shows that the believer who is fully built in is possessed by God, by New Jerusalem, and by the Lord.

Becoming a pillar and being possessed by the Triune God and New Jerusalem has a base in keeping “the word of My endurance” (Rev. 3:10). This is to be a “fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus” (Rev. 1:9). “In Jesus” is all we need. Let’s “hold fast” (3:11) all that we have in Him.

Verses in Revelation 7, 11, 14, 15, and 16 speak about the temple in heaven. This is clearly not an earthly, physical temple. Near the end of this age a new physical temple will be built in earthly Jerusalem. But it will not be eternal, for the Bible does not include it in the description of the new creation and New Jerusalem, where only the living temple will be present.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Exodus, Ezekiel, Revelation

There are similarities in the presentation of God’s move on earth in the books of Exodus, Ezekiel, and Revelation.

Exodus 2 has some human history of Moses. Exodus 3 begins to unveil God’s revelation and speaking to Moses and God’s instruction for him to speak to Israel, God’s people. Through the book of Exodus, although Israel often was not faithful, God accomplished what he had promised. The second half of Exodus is primarily the revelation of the plan for the tabernacle, the work of preparing it, and its completion. The conclusion of Exodus is ” the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle” (40:34).

#NewJerusalemEzekiel 1 begins with one man, Ezekiel. It quickly progresses to God’s revelation and speaking to him (Ezek. 1), and then God’s instruction for him to speak to Israel (Ezek. 2–3). Thereafter is a long section with God’s judgment on Israel (again showing their unfaithfulness) and the nations.

Beginning in Ezekiel 33 God comes to recover His people inwardly, giving them a new heart and a new spirit and putting His Spirit within them (36:26-27) and accomplishing other things for His purpose. Then, from chapter 40, God reveals His house and the river of living water in the good land. In this revelation, the glory of God fills His house (43:4, 44:4).

Revelation begins with God’s revelation and speaking to John, and then God’s instruction for him to write to the churches (1:11, 19). Revelation 2–3 speak about the churches, both their strong points and their unfaithfulness. Following this are many judgments. Finally, it unveils God’s building, the city New Jerusalem, “having the glory of God” (21:11).

The parallels in these three books are simple even though the details have spiritual depth. God speaks to one man, tells him to speak to God’s people, judges both God’s people and the nations, and ultimately gains a building He fills with glory. Thus we can see that Exodus and Ezekiel show us in typology the path from God’s revelation to New Jerusalem.

Eternal Life and New Jerusalem

In Christ we have eternal life. New Jerusalem is an eternal city, so it is intimately tied with eternal life. This post begins a look at that which is eternal throughout the New Testament, and the relationship to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemJohn 3:15, 16, 36 (and many more verses) give the first step – whoever believes into the Son of God has eternal life. Thus, whoever believes also will be part of New Jerusalem, the city of life. This life is the Son, Jesus Christ, as we see in John 11:25 and 14:6; hence, He who has the Son has the eternal life (1 John 5:11-12).

The Lord also tells us, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life” (John 6:54). To eat His flesh is to receive by faith all that He did in giving His body for us; and to drink His blood is to receive by faith all that He accomplished in shedding His blood for us*. This eating and drinking will continue into New Jerusalem where we will eat the fruit of the tree of life and drink the water of the river of life.

This eating and drinking is not physical but is spiritual, by faith. Many were bothered by the Lord’s word about eating Him (John 6:60) because they only knew the natural realm. But He said (v. 63), “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” Then Peter confessed (v. 68), “You have words of eternal life.” Lord, keep us eating Your words of life.

When we are in spirit and receive the Lord’s words as spirit and life, we are nourished and have a foretaste of the tree of life in New Jerusalem.

* From footnote 2 on John 6:54 in the Online Recovery Version New Testament, © LSM.

Seek the Riches of Christ

New JerusalemThe riches of God‘s kindness, forbear-ance, long-suffering, assurance, grace, and glory are to us today and will fill and radiate from New Jerusalem. This “good news” is “the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8).

We can all learn as Paul did (Phil. 4:12), “I know also how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to hunger, both to abound and to lack.” Whether we abound or are abased in human terms, the riches of Christ are available.

Similarly to Paul, the Lord Jesus tells the believers in Smyrna (Rev. 2:9), “I know your tribulation and poverty (but you are rich).” They were humanly poor but divinely rich. In such circumstances, may we be “rich in faith” (James 2:5). This faith substantiates and carries us toward the presently unseen New Jerusalem.

These riches will abound in New Jerusalem, but don’t wait. Consider two paths to being rich in Christ. One is Ephesians 3:14-19. Paul prayed that the Father grant us, according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened that Christ may make home in our hearts. (This strengthening is much higher than if it were according to our lack.) Father, grant me the strengthening I need for Your Son to make home in me!

A second path is in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” His words are spirit and life (John 6:63), so His words can live in us. Lord, cause Your word to live richly in me!

“O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and untraceable His ways!” (Rom. 11:33 – sing it) Praise Him now; praise Him in New Jerusalem!

Photo by Randy Roberts, courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

 

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