The Two Ends of Our Christian Life

New JerusalemThe New Testament begins with repentance and ends with New Jerusalem. These are the two ends of our Christian life.

The New Testament begins with a call to repent “for the kingdom of the heavens” (Matt. 3:2), “and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15), and “for forgiveness of sins.” (Luke 3:3). When we repent and believe in the Lord Jesus, we are forgiven and we also receive eternal life. These two steps bring us into the kingdom.

The New Testament ends with New Jerusalem; at the center of this city is the throne of God and the Lamb from which the river of water of life flows. Here the Lamb is a memorial of our forgiveness, the river is the divine life supply, and the throne indicates the kingdom.

Everyone who has been regenerated has had the initial experience of repentance. As we go through our Christian life, we might need more times of repentance. For example, Simon had believed and been baptized (Acts 8:13) but Peter exhorted him to repent. And Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians brought forth repentance among them (2 Cor. 7:9-10).

In Revelation 2 and 3 the Lord charges us to repent. This is to return to our best love to Him (2:5), to turn from false teachings and immoral actions (2:16, 22), and to rise out of deadness and lukewarmness (3:3, 19). These needs, or other actions which keep us from the Lord, require our repentance. This is part of our journey from initial repentance to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Come to the Throne, Now & New Jerusalem

In New Jerusalem is “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.” This is the Triune God flowing to us: God and the Lamb on the throne and the Spirit as the river.

The Triune God being the flow of living water is both now (John 7:38-39) and in New Jerusalem. This flow is also in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.”

New JerusalemThe throne in Hebrews is the same as in New Jerusalem. Hebrews does not have the word water but there is a flow of mercy and grace here. When we come, we receive mercy. This coming is like John 7:37, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” In Hebrews, if anyone needs mercy, let him come to the throne.

Our great High Priest on the throne is also the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem. We can be comfortable coming to Him on the throne because “He can be touched with the feeling of our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15). Here we receive the flow of mercy and we can find the flow of grace. This grace and mercy are not commodities; they are the Triune God flowing to us! We “come forward with boldness.”

A song (words, music) by Witness Lee begins with this flow, “In the holiest place, touch the throne of grace, / Grace as a river shall flow;.” The chorus is “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! / Grace as a river shall flow.” And the song concludes “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! / Touch the living fountain of life.” This should be our experience now and will definitely be our experience in New Jerusalem.

Prior posts in this group: The Flow of Living Water is the Triune God
__Living Water Flows to, in New Jerusalem one two three four five
The flow of living water in the Old Testament: Take Freely the Water of Life

Bible verses are quoted 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 courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Living Water Flows to & in New Jerusalem

NewJerusalemRevelation 22:1 tells us that in New Jerusalem is “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.” A prior series of posts looked at the water of life through the Old Testament.

We do not wait until New Jerusalem to drink the water of life. It is available today. New Testament verses about this water are in various posts, but here is a summary of them together.

Jesus tells us, “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall by no means thirst forever; but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water gushing up into eternal life” (John 4:14). This water is very active, becoming a gushing up fountain in us. The goal of the gushing up is eternal life, both today and forever in New Jerusalem.

Later, “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” (John 7:37-38). Again, the water is very active. And the one fountain has become many rivers. The rivers of living water are the many flows of the different aspects of life.*

The rivers of living water are the Spirit (v. 7:39). God is Triune. Revelation 22:1 tells us that in New Jerusalem is the throne of God and the Lamb with the Spirit as the river of water of life; this is the Triune God as our eternal life supply.

* Part of John 7:38, note 2, written by Witness Lee, in the online Recovery Version NT, © LSM.
Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

No Sweat, No Thorns, in New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the lovely center of the new creation, blessed with the presence of God and the Lamb, full of God’s glory, and supplied by the river of life and tree of life.

Due to the rebellion of Satan and the fall of man, the old creation was corrupted. and man was separated from God. To us, this would be very discouraging. However, to God, this is a big opportunity to display His unlimited wisdom. Out of all the corruption God will bring forth a new, perfect creation with New Jerusalem as His eternal dwelling.

One characteristic of the old creation that will not be in the new creation nor in New Jerusalem is sweat. The origin of sweat is 1) Satan’s deceiving man, 2) man’s taking of the tree of knowledge, and 3) God’s curse on fallen man, all recorded in Genesis 3. Verses 17-19 say, “Because you [Adam]…have eaten of the tree concerning which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it; cursed is the ground because of you….And thorns and thistles it will bring forth for you,…by the sweat of your face you will eat bread…”

New JerusalemThe sweat here indicates the need of human effort, separated from God’s blessing, to supply the essentials for human living. Man was shut out from the garden of Eden, which contained “every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” and had to expend his own sweat-producing energy.

The curse of Genesis 3 also includes thorns. But, Revelation 22:3, describing New Jerusalem, says, “there will no longer be a curse.”

Because New Jerusalem will be filled with God and His blessings and no curse, there will be no need for man’s effort and no sweat. Also, without the curse, there will be no thorns in New Jerusalem.

 

Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (2)

#NewJerusalemOur Christian life is a time for our growth and perfecting in this life so that we may match New Jerusalem.

In Luke 6 the Lord spoke quite a while about the proper living standard of His disciples. In verse 40 He said, “A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who has been perfected will be like his teacher.” He is indicating that He expects us to be perfected.

We must be perfected to match the perfection of New Jerusalem, but how? Part of the answer is in Matthew 5:48, “You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The divine life of our heavenly Father, growing in us, enables us to be perfected.

Similarly, the Lord prayed in John 17:23, “I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one…” He is “the life” and He is in all His believers. This is how we can be “perfected into one” and perfected in any other way. Thank You Lord that You have become our life to work in us and perfect us.

This perfection into one is also the oneness in Ephesians 4:13, the oneness of New Jerusalem. This eternal city has one throne, one street, one river, one light; it is the perfection of oneness, the final answer to the Lord’s prayer in John 17.

Second Corinthians 7:1: “Therefore since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and of spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Here it seems that we are doing the perfecting work. However, in ourselves we cannot do it, but “the fear of God” indicates our cooperation with Jesus Christ as the perfecting life in us. This perfecting causes us to match New Jerusalem, the holy city (Rev. 21:2, 10).

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Jesus Christ, Living Forever and Ever

New JerusalemRecent posts are glory to God and the Lamb forever and ever and God and the Lamb reigning forever and ever. Now, verses about God and the Lamb living forever and ever. Of course, New Jerusalem is the consummation of “forever and ever.”

Revelation 1:17b-18: “I am the First and the Last and the living One; and I became dead, and behold, I am living forever and ever; and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” The Lord Jesus is the living One. He entered into death and came forth in resurrection. His living forever and ever is in resurrection. Likewise His reigning forever and ever is in resurrection.

His living and reigning in resurrection are characteristics of New Jerusalem. It is a city in resurrection. Not only our Lord, but also we are in resurrection. Our natural life has been crucified and buried with Him so that we walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:3-4). In this age we are learning to partake of this spiritual reality; in New Jerusalem we will be fully in newness of life, that is, in resurrection.

Revelation 4:9-10: “when the four living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits upon the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall before Him who sits upon the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever…” We too should give glory to Him and worship Him who sits on the throne and lives forever and ever.

Revelation 10:6 and 15:7 also speak about “Him who lives forever and ever.” His eternal living is our eternal life supply in New Jerusalem—the river of life which flows from the throne and the tree of life it conveys to us. His eternal living in resurrection is for us not only in New Jerusalem but also for today.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: Reign Forever and Ever

Many New Testament books proclaim glory to God forever and ever. looking toward New Jerusalem the forever-and-ever city Hebrews 1:8, quoting Psalm 45, says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.”

This is spoken to the Son, who is God in His divinity. His throne, the throne of New Jerusalem, is eternal, forever and ever. His reign is eternal and full of uprightness. This matches 2 Peter 3:13 which tells us that in the new heaven and new earth righteousness dwells.

New JerusalemHis eternal reign is also in Revelation 11:15, “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 forever-and-ever reign points to New Jerusalem.

“Our Lord and His Christ” indicates two, but is followed by “He will reign” indicating one. The Triune  God is three yet one. This matches the wording in Revelation 22:1 (and 22:3)—in New Jerusalem is “the throne of God and of the Lamb”—one throne for two, with the third, the Spirit, flowing forth as the river of water of life.

The last part of Revelation 22:5 says more about this eternal reign. “And they will reign forever and ever.” “They” are God’s slaves mentioned in verse 3. We reign forever and ever by being one with the Triune God who reigns forever and ever. We are slaves, yet we reign. Today we can reign in the life which is the Lord Himself within us (Rom. 5:17); in New Jerusalem we will reign, still in this life, in a fuller way.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever (3)

The phrase “Glory to our God and Father forever and ever,” found in many New Testament books, points to the eternal New Jerusalem which has the glory of God. Peter expands this to “glory and might to our God.” Jude and Revelation 5 and 7 further expand this praise.

Jude 25: “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.” Surely God has all these qualities, needs to be praised for all of them now, and will have all of them displayed through New Jerusalem.

NewJErusalemRevelation 5:13: “every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea and all things in them, I heard saying, To Him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever.”

We are included in “every creature” so we should join in this proclamation now, not waiting until New Jerusalem. We can also sing the praise of Revelation 5:13.

Revelation 7:12: “Amen. The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanks and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

Many of the praises include Amen. This word, from Hebrew, means firm, trustworthy.* It confirms or emphasizes what has been said. Furthermore, in Revelation 3:14 the Lord describes Himself as, “the Amen, the faithful and true Witness.”

He is our amen. He is faithful and true to accomplish everything in God’s purpose. Through Him and in Him we can say amen to His operation now and to every aspect of New Jerusalem revealed in His word.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Versionpublished and © by Living Stream MinistryAnaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.orgthis too is © by Living Stream Ministry. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

* The Greek word (αμην) translated amen in these verses appears at the start of a sentence about 50 times in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and 25 times doubled at the start of a sentence in John. In these places it is often translated truly (truly, truly in John).

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever

Last fall I wrote about glory to God forever and ever, based on the end of Romans and on the end of Jude. The phrase “forever and ever” points to the eternal New Jerusalem.

“And one of the seven angels…came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. 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, having the glory of God.” (Rev. 21:9-11a)

In recent reading I realized that glory to God forever and ever is in many New Testament books. Here are the verses from Paul’s epistles.
Romans 16:27: “To the only wise God through Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Galatians 1:4b-5: “Our God and Father to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:21: “To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Philippians 4:20: “Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
2 Timothy 4:18: “The Lord…, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Hebrews 13:20-21: “the God of peace…to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

New JerusalemRevelation 1:5b-6 says, “To Him [Jesus Christ] who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.”

In these verses the glory is to our God and Father and also to Jesus Christ. This is because the two are one. The Lord told us, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) and “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:10). And in Revelation 22:1, 3 the one throne in New Jerusalem is “the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

May the words of the Bible be ours, not only in New Jerusalem but also now, so that we declare to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

 

On the Throne in New Jerusalem (2)

Revelation 22:3 says concerning New Jerusalem:

New Jerusalem

Here are more verses about the exalted and enthroned Lamb.

Philippians 2:9-11, “God highly exalted Him [Christ Jesus] and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should openly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” We confess Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God now and in New Jerusalem.

Hebrews 2:7b-8a, “You [God] have crowned Him [Jesus] with glory and honor and have set Him over the works of Your hands; You have subjected all things under His feet. For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing unsubject to Him.”

Revelation 1:5, “Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth.” If we look at today’s situation with our human understanding, we doubt. But, we should say “amen” to God’s word. Jesus Christ is the Ruler today as He will be in New Jerusalem.

Revelation 17:14, “…the Lamb…is Lord of lords and King of kings…” Revelation 19:16, “He has on His garment and on His thigh a name written, King of Kings And Lord of Lords.”

This wonderful One is on the throne now and will be on the throne in New Jerusalem. In Revelation 22:1 John saw “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” This river flows to keep us under His authority and is flowing now as the Spirit which we have received (John 7:37-39). To drink the Spirit now (1 Cor. 12:13) is to have a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

More about the redeeming and enthroned Lamb: Behold the Lamb (1), (2), (3), (4)

On the Throne in New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:3 says concerning New Jerusalem:

New Jerusalem

The verse tells us that God and the Lamb will be on the throne. God on the throne is obvious but for the Lamb, Jesus, the God-man, it is helpful to consider additional verses.

Matthew 28:18 “Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Jesus, the Lamb, was given all authority in resurrection.
Acts 2:36, in resurrection, “God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified.” Acts 10:36, “Jesus Christ (this One is Lord of all)”

Ephesians 1:19-23 “the might of His [God, the Father of glory] strength, which He caused to operate in Christ in raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavenlies, far above all rule and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His Body”

This portion tells us that God raised Christ from the dead, exalted Him to the heavens, enthroned Him far above all, subjected all things under Him, and gave Him as Head over all. All these steps are to His Body now and to New Jerusalem in eternity.

The Lamb Jesus Christ will be on the throne in New Jerusalem but we should not wait passively. Hebrews 4:16 exhorts us to “come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace.”

How can we come to the throne of God and the Lamb, Christ, in heaven while we still live on earth? The secret is our spirit, referred to in v. 12. The very Christ who is sitting on the throne in heaven (Rom. 8:34) is also now in us (Rom. 8:10), that is, in our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22), where the habitation of God is (Eph. 2:22).*

Let us come forward to the throne now on our way to New Jerusalem.

From footnote 1 on Hebrews 4:16 in NT Recovery Version Online.

 

Glory to God Now and in New Jerusalem

Jude 25, ” 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.” Because this verse includes “unto all eternity” it is speaking about New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemGod our Savior and Jesus Christ our Lord, who is the Lamb of God, will be on the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1, 3). Because God through Jesus Christ is our Savior, we will share New Jerusalem with Him.

Jude 25 speaks of three time periods: “before all time and now and unto all eternity.” The “before” period has passed but we can cooperate with the Triune God now and unto eternity. What God seeks “unto all eternity” He wants to develop in us “now.”

“Glory, majesty, might, and authority” are four characteristics of the Triune God to be developed in us “now” and displayed “unto all eternity.” Glory is the expression in splendor; majesty, the greatness in honor; might, the strength in power; and authority, the power in ruling.*

Whether we understand these four characteristics or not, we know from Jude that God wants them expressed and we should be assured that the development of this expression is “through Jesus Christ.” We can pray simply, Lord, develop these characteristics in me and in the Christians around me.

Since “glory, majesty, might, and authority” will be to God in eternity, they certainly will be to God in New Jerusalem and in the whole new creation.

*A note in the Online Recovery Version New Testament

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