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.

Srong Contrast: Babylon and New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:18 says about New Jerusalem, “the city was pure gold, like clear glass.” Verse 21 adds, “the twelve gates were twelve pearls….the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” In contrast, Revelation 17:4 says that the woman, Babylon, was “gilded with gold and precious stone and pearls.”

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is composed of pure, precious materials but Babylon is only gilded with them. New Jerusalem is pure, clear, transparent. But Babylon, behind the gilding, is “full of abominations and the unclean things of her fornication.” Babylon is a mixture—abominations cloaked in precious things.

Abominations hidden in a good covering is not new in Revelation. The Lord Jesus speaks of many examples in the Gospels. One is, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you resemble whitewashed graves, which outwardly appear beautiful but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:37).

James 4:8 guides us: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-souled!” Our heart is for loving. Lord, purify us from any doubleness, save us from any mixture of loving You while loving other things. Bring us to loving You with our whole heart.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).

The pure in heart will see God and will be prepared as constituents of the pure city, New Jerusalem.

This post is based on the first part of chapter 5, “The Holy City, New Jerusalem,” in The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee. This book can be freely downloaded from Bibles for America (English) or Rhema Literature (30 languages).

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Light of the World, A City

New JerusalemIn Matthew 5:14 the Lord Jesus told His disciples, ” You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” But how dies this relate to New Jerusalem? We will use a few posts to consider this, but one obvious link is the word “city.”

Here the Lord tells His disciples “You are the light of the world.” In John 8:12 and 9:5 He says, “I am the light of the world.” How can we be what He is? It is because when we can receive Him into our being, He becomes both life and light within us.

He is “the light of life” and we are born again with this life. Now we have Christ as our life and our light. We become “children of God” who can “walk as children of light” and “shine as luminaries in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

The Greek word φωστηρ translated “luminaries” in Philippians is used only one other place in the New Testament—”Her [New Jerusalem’s] light was like a most precious stone” (Rev. 21:11). New Jerusalem shines because Jesus Christ is the light infusing the entire city.

Revelation 21:23 tells us, “the glory of God illumined it [New Jerusalem], and its lamp is the Lamb.” Because the city is transparent (21:21), clear as crystal (21:11), the glory of God in the Lamb radiates through the city to the entire universe. In this way, New Jerusalem is the fulfillment of the Lord’s word in Matthew 5:14.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Come Forward to the Throne of Grace

New JerusalemGod meets with us in the holy of holies between the cherubim of glory above the propitiation place. This meeting place is also the throne of grace. Because the throne of grace is in the holy of holies, Hebrews encourages us to come forward both to the holy of holies (10:19-22) and to the throne of grace (4:16).

Today the holy of holies is our human spirit, where Christ dwells in us. To touch Him, to be with Him, is the be in the holy of holies and to come to the throne of grace. To come forward is an exercise today and will be our perpetual living in New Jerusalem.

The encouragement to come forward is captured in a song (music). The first words are:
__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.
Grace flowing from the throne is equivalent to the river of life flowing from the throne of New Jerusalem.

The second verse of the song says:
__In the holiest place, live before His face, Light of glory thru me will shine.
This is equivalent to New Jerusalem, in which we see God’s face and His light shines on us (Rev. 22:4-5). And because the entire New Jerusalem, including us, will be transparent, pure, clear (Rev. 21:11, 18, 21), light of glory will shine not only on us but also through us.

We can rejoice with the last verse of the song:
__Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Touch the living fountain of life.
In John 4:14 the Lord promised in us “a fountain of water gushing up into eternal life.” Today He is the fountain in our spirit and this life will flow in and through us forever in New Jerusalem.

God in Christ Shines via New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is pure: “the city was pure gold, like clear glass” (Rev. 21:18); “the street of the city was pure gold” (21:21); “bright and pure” (Rev. 19:8). These are the four occurrences of one Greek word in the description of New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:21 has the unique New Testament occurrence of a Greek word with related meaning. “The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” New Jerusalem is not only pure; the city is transparent.

We can grasp the sense of this transparency by looking at four related Greek words*, each of which occurs only once in the New Testament.
• We give heed to the Lord’s word, “as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19). The sense is light breaking through the darkness.
• Satan has blinded people, “that the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine on them” (2 Cor. 4:4). God wants to shine into people to save them from Satanic darkness.
• In Troas, Paul spoke, “until daybreak” (Acts 20:11). Again, light shining to replace darkness.
• The Son of God is “the effulgence of His glory” (Heb. 1:3). The effulgence/radiance/ brightness/brilliance° is not a thing, it is the Person.

My summary: New Jerusalem is pure and transparent so that God’s glory in Christ may brilliantly shine through the city to testify that all darkness has been displaced. Revelation 21:23: “the glory of God illumined New Jerusalem, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

*The main Greek word is διαυγής; others, in order shown, are διαυγάζω, αυγάζω, απαύγασμα, αυγή
°Various translations, thanks to biblehub.com
Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

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. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

Moses in a Similitude of New Jerusalem

New JerusalemMoses is one of God’s people and there is no doubt that he will be in New Jerusalem. Continuing from other posts based on Exodus, I suggest that Moses, especially when he was on Mount Sinai (Exo. 24 and 34), was in a similitude* of New Jerusalem.

In Exodus 24:1-2 God instructed Moses to bring others up the mountain but that he alone was to come near to God. In New Jerusalem we will all be near to God.

When Moses went to the tent of meeting outside the camp, he spoke with God “face to face” (Exo. 33:11). To see the face of God is one blessing in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:4). “Let us therefore go forth unto Him [Jesus] outside the camp” now (Heb. 13:13).

All who came part way up with Moses saw a paved work of sapphire like heaven itself for clearness (Exo. 24:10). Sapphire is one of the foundations of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:19) and clearness/transparency is one of the city’s characteristics (Rev. 21:11, 18, 21).

Moses went to the top of the mountain where the glory of God was (Exo. 24:15-17). Eternally the glory of God enlightens New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23). There Moses did not eat bread and did not drink water for forty days, yet he still had strength to come down the mountain (Exo. 34:28-29). How was Moses sustained? Probably by direct supply from God, like the river of water of life and the tree of life in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1-2).

When Moses came down from the mountain “the skin of his face shone by reason of His [God’s] speaking with him” (Exo. 34:29). This is like our present opportunity to behold and reflect the glory of the Lord by turning our heart to Him (2 Cor. 3:16-18). The shining of this glory is a characteristic of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:11). Moses had these experiences during his human life; may the Lord bring us all into such a foretaste of New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of NOAA (U.S. Dept. of Commerce).

* A counterpart, a correspondence in kind or quality (www.merriam-webster.com).

God’s Shining into us for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is pure, clear, and transparent. The Greek adjective translated “transparent” in Revelation 21:21 is related to a Greek verb meaning “to shine through.” The glory of God in Christ the lamp shines through the entire city. Nothing is opaque or cloudy.

The Greek verb is in 2 Peter 1:19, “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.” Here the Greek verb is translated “dawns” meaning that the light of the lamp shines through the darkness of the night.

The Greek adjective is used only in Revelation 21:21 and the Greek verb only in 2 Peter 1:19. Therefore, we should consider these two verses together. The word of God needs to shine in our hearts to dispel all the darkness in our being, thereby gradually bringing us to the transparent condition of New Jerusalem.

Peter urges us to give heed to God’s word as to a light. We need the word to shine in us. To study the Bible and to memorize verses is good, but we also need the shining. For this we can read the Bible with prayer for the Lord’s shining in us. When our heart is open to the Lord, He can shine.  Lord, shine into me and dispel all my darkness. Shine into any dark corner and clarify my being to become like New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. government.

God Shines through New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21 and 22 give us a description of New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:23 says, “The city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” Christ is the city’s lamp with God as the light in Him. Christ, the Lamb, is the lamp, and in Him is God as the light. Here we see the Lamb as the One who holds God within Him as light because the Lamb is the lamp, and God is the light in the lamp. This indicates that Christ as the overcoming Redeemer holds God within Him. This is the ultimate consummation of the Lamb.°

In 1 John 1:5 we read that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” Because God in Christ is the light of New Jerusalem, in New Jerusalem there is no darkness. Nothing in the city is opaque or cloudy. Everything about New Jerusalem is pure, clear, and transparent. Therefore, God’s shining touches and shines through every part of the city.

Revelation 21:21 says, “the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” The Greek adjective translated “transparent,” which is used only here in the New Testament, is related to a verb meaning “to shine through.” Everything about New Jerusalem is transparent. Therefore, God’s shining reaches, touches, and shines through every part of the city.

° This is an excerpt from the volumes Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM. See message 431 in online reading.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

 

New Jerusalem is Much More Precious

New JerusalemRecent posts have presented God’s New Testament building. The Lord Jesus is the builder and the cornerstone in whom all the building is fitted together. This building work is in the spiritual realm, it depends on the growth of eternal life in each member, and it is in love. 

God’s building work from Matthew to Jude is in spirit with the Triune God as its essence. It is not in the natural realm with physical materials. The physical items (such as milk, water, plants, gold, silver in 1 Corinthians 3) are symbols of the spiritual realities.

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the New Testament building. As such a consummation, it is spiritual rather than material.

The city was pure gold, like clear glass. (Revelation 21:18)
The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (21:21)

This gold signifies God’s divine nature, in which is nothing cloudy or opaque. We are in a city constituted with the divine nature and we walk and live in this nature, not in our fallen, sinful nature. This is much more precious than to be surrounded by physical gold.

The twelve gates were twelve pearls. (Revelation 21:21)

The pearls signify the death and resurrection of Christ as our entrance into the city. By believing into Him we are united with Him and thereby taken out of the old, fallen creation and made a new creation in Him. This is much more precious than to walk through a gate of physical pearl.

The building work of its wall was jasper. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone. (Revelation 21:18, 19)

Precious stones signify transformation. (Example: carbon being changed into diamond.) The precious stones in New Jerusalem signify the transforming work of the Spirit in God’s people. To be transformed to the image of Christ is much more precious than to be enclosed by a wall of physical jewels.

The Triune God is the essence of New Jerusalem. In the city we and God are mingled for eternity. This is much more precious than living near material riches.

Related posts:
The Golden Street of New Jerusalem is the Divine Nature
The One Street of New Jerusalem
Gates of Pearl
The Twelve Gates are Twelve Pearls
Precious Stones for New Jerusalem
Transformation Produces Precious Stones
The Triune God Seen in New Jerusalem
Gold, Pearls, and Precious Stones

The Glory of God Radiates through New Jerusalem

Glory of God Radiates through New JerusalemRevelation 21:23 declares that “the city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” The glory of God, God expressed, brighter than the sun, will illuminate New Jerusalem.

Romans 3:23 announces that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No fallen human being is able to express God. But God’s desire in His creation was to express himself through humanity. When man fell, God did not give up nor did He change His plan. Instead, God came into humanity (John 1:14) to redeem and regenerate man. The verses before and after Romans 3:23 speak of the righteousness of God through the redemption of Christ being applied to everyone who believes. Thank You God that we can believe into Your Son!

In the second part of Romans 5 righteousness brings us to grace and life, eternal life. By this grace and life we are able to reign in life rather than being under the dominion of sin and death—a marvelous reversal of roles. The first part of Romans 8 says much more about life in us and verse 21 speaks of “the glory of the children of God”—the expression of God through us. This expression of God culminates in New Jerusalem. The glory of God illuminates the city, but not like an electric light shining externally on passive surrounding objects. Revelation 21:11 says that the whole city “has the glory of God.” All of New Jerusalem partakes of, participates in, and radiates the glory of God.

We Have Been Saved, We Are Being Saved

Bower House, 2010Our initial salvation has two aspects—judicial and organic. The judicial aspect includes Christ’s redemption for the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7) and our reconciliation to God (Romans 5:10). The organic aspect is our regeneration. The judicial aspect is for the organic aspect. Both aspects are seen in Colossians 2:13, “He [God] made you alive together with Him [Christ], having forgiven us all our offenses.” Because of this salvation, Ephesians 2:5, 8 declare “by grace you have been saved.” Our eternal salvation is complete and secure.

Nevertheless, 1 Corinthians 15:2 says, “…you are being saved…” Expositor’s* states that the Greek verb “affirms a present, continuous salvation.” Although we have been saved once for all eternally, there is still much of this salvation to be experienced by us day by day. Romans 5:10 also speaks of this, saying that “having been reconciled” (judicial, but also implying the organic aspect of our salvation), “much more we will be saved in His life.”

Our being saved in Christ’s life prepares us to be in New Jerusalem. The city shines with the glory of God; is transparent, pure, precious, full of eternal life and the divine nature; and under the direct ruling of the throne of God and the Lamb. In ourselves, even after regeneration, we are not like this. Therefore, the apostles’ writings included warnings to Christians not to live according to the flesh (e.g. Galatians 5) nor to love the world (1 John 2:15-17). Our daily need is to be saved, not by our efforts, but “in His life” from everything in our being that does not match New Jerusalem. On the positive side, our being saved is to be filled with the eternal life and the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) and to be brought fully under the Headship of Christ. Through such a marvelous salvation we will express our Triune God in this age as a foretaste of New Jerusalem shining with the glory of God.

* The Expositor’s Greek Testament (vol. two, sec. III), edited by W. Robertson Nicoll, Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Glorious Brightness and Crystalline Transparency

Revelation 22:1 says, “And 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.” The river of water of life is bright, shining. The Lord uses the same Greek word in 22:16 to describe Himself, “I am…the bright morning star.” The brightness of the river is “as crystal” indicating the transparency of the flow of life. This flow has no opaqueness and no dullness.

In Revelation 21:11, New Jerusalem is described as “Having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” The glorious brightness and crystalline transparency of the city have their source in the Triune God. The river conveys these attributes to the entire city. As a result, the entire city shines with the glory of God and is clear as crystal.

We should not passively wait for New Jerusalem. Today we should drink the river of life to receive all that the Lord is. Lord, in Your mercy cause me to experience You as my brightness and transparency day by day.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and copyrighted 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 copyrighted by Living Stream Ministry.


%d bloggers like this: