Living, Precious Stones for New Jerusalem

Here is a summary of recent posts on Christ as the chosen, living, and precious Stone and His believers as living, precious stones. These stones are for God’s building today and for New Jerusalem.

Christ is the Chosen, Precious, Living Stone – In 1 Peter 2:4-8 Christ is a chosen, precious, living Stone. In Acts 4 and Eph. 2 He is the Cornerstone in whom we are built together.

We All are Living Stones for New Jerusalem – The Lord is the living Stone. By coming to Him, we become living stones for the building of God’s house today (1 Peter 2:4-5) which will grow into New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem Like a Precious Jasper Stone – God on the throne in Revelation 4 has the appearance of a jasper stone, and the whole city has the same appearance. New Jerusalem is the corporate expression of God on the throne.

Precious Faith Brings Forth Precious Stones for New Jerusalem – The precious faith we have received enables us to lay hold of the precious promises given to us by God (2 Peter 1:1, 4). By these we are constituted precious stones.

New Jerusalem Displays the Beauty of Christ – The twelve precious stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem, and the appearance of the whole city as a most precious jasper stone, display the beauty of the unsearchable riches of Christ.

New Jerusalem

Here are links to some older posts about the precious stones of New Jerusalem:

Precious Stones Adorn New Jerusalem – The preciousness is not external but is by the Spirit’s working within us.

Transformation Produces Precious Stones – The Spirit’s working within us transforms us so that the preciousness of Christ may be expressed through us.

Precious Stones on the Foundations – The twelve foundations each correspond to one precious stone; these declare the eternal perfection and fullness of the wall.

The Stones Express God – The whole of New Jerusalem, its wall, and its first foundation are all jasper, expressing the God who sits on the throne.

New Jerusalem Displays the Beauty of Christ

God’s New Testament building is in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20-21) and with all His believers as living stones.

God sitting on His throne has the appearance of a jasper stone (Rev. 4:3). New Jerusalem is glorious and has light like a most precious stone, a jasper stone, and the building of its wall is of jasper (Rev. 21:11, 18).

God, the One sitting on the throne in the center of the New Jerusalem, has the appearance of jasper; the wall, the circumference, of the city is made of jasper; and the light of the city is like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Therefore, the entire city will bear God’s appearance, God’s expression. This corresponds to the word in 1 John 3:2: “We know that if He is manifested, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him even as He is.” God and the believers will have the same appearance—the appearance of jasper.

In Revelation 21:19 and 20 the believers are symbolized by eleven other precious stones in addition to jasper. The other precious stones signify the riches of the beauty of Christ in different aspects for the foundation of God’s eternal dwelling. Christ is the foundation stone of God’s building in eternity, and all the precious stones are different aspects of the riches of Christ as the foundation.*

New JerusalemRevelation 21 presents twelve precious stones associated with New Jerusalem. Thank the Lord that these are not for a jewelry show but rather “signify the riches of the beauty of Christ in different aspects.” The riches of Christ are unsearchable and immeasurable.

The riches of Christ wrought into us will come forth as a display of His unlimited greatness. This is Romans 9:23, “In order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory” and Ephesians 2:7, “That He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

This display of His riches in glory and in the ages to come, corresponds with the precious stones of New Jerusalem.

*An excerpt from Conclusion of the New Testament, The by Witness Lee.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem Like a Precious Jasper Stone

In God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, stones are living persons. Jesus Christ is a living and precious Stone. By coming to Him, we too are living stones for God’s building.

New Jerusalem has the glory of God and “Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” (Rev. 21:11). We know that this precious jasper stone is not physical because John saw “a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne there was One sitting; and He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance” (Rev. 4:2-3).

New JerusalemGod on the throne is like a jasper stone and a sardius stone. The light of New Jerusalem is like a jasper stone because God Himself is the light of the city. “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” (Rev. 21:23).

“The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone” (Rev. 21:18). Because these foundations are plural, they are not Christ Himself. Rather, they are the apostles because, “the wall of the city had twelve founda-tions, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:14).

A recent inquiry asked who are the apostles named on the foundations of New Jerusalem. The Bible does not say and I will not speculate. But we do know that there are twelve foundations and that twelve signifies eternal completion and perfection. The ministry of the apostles in this age is for our transformation from clay to living stones and for our being built together now, to prepare the bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).

 

Precious Stones Adorn New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is adorned as a bride prepared for her Husband, Jesus Christ (Rev. 21:2). This adorning is not outward. Rather, it is accomplished by the Spirit working within us and Christ living through us.

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:19 tells us, “The foundations of the wall of the city [New Jerusalem] were adorned with every precious stone.” Twelve stones are named. To understand this, we need to consider what is precious to God, not what is precious to society.

In 2 Peter 1:1 the faith allotted to us by God is precious and in 1 Peter 1:7 the proving of our faith is “much more precious than of gold which perishes.” This faith does not originate with us but is from God (Rom. 3:22). This faith is precious when it becomes our initial ability to believe into Jesus Christ. It is also precious as it holds us through trials in our Christian life.

In 1 Peter 1:19 the blood Jesus shed to redeem us is precious. In 1 Peter 2 the Lord is a living Stone (v. 4) and the Cornerstone (v. 6); both are “with God chosen and precious.” Peter shows us that Christ, what He did for us, and what He is to us, are precious to God.

Christ is the precious Stone. He is uniquely one, but the stones adorning New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 are many, not one. They signify various aspects of the unique Christ experienced by His many members, so that we, as living stones (1 Peter 2:5), become preciously constituted with Christ.

The twelve stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem are not literally twelve in number but are the unsearchably rich Christ formed into many believers. This process displays in New Jerusalem the eternal richness and perfection of Jesus Christ in His believers.

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

Photo courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center.

The Goal of Oneness, Now & New Jerusalem, is to Express the One Unique God

New JerusalemRecent posts have touched the one flock with one Shepherd (John 10); the one new man created on the cross (Eph. 2); and our oneness in the Father’s name and life, through the sanctifying word of reality, and in the divine glory (John 17).

John 17 emphasizes that our oneness is in the Triune God. This is both for our Christian life today and for New Jerusalem.

We are not one in ourselves, as the daily news from around the world strongly testifies. We can only be truly one in the Triune God. Some key phrases from John 17:
• They may be one even as We are (v. 11)
• That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You,
__that they also may be in Us (v. 21)
• I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one (v. 23)
• The love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them (v. 26).

Why this emphasis on oneness? Jesus spoke an answer in Mark 12:29 (quoting Deut 6), “Hear, Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.” The Lord our God is ONE.

The unique God desires that His expression will match Him. Therefore, through death and resurrection He has opened the door to bring us into Himself because only in Him (out of the natural, fallen man) is the place, atmosphere, and life supply for us to be one today and unto eternity.

New Jerusalem is one city to express the one God. Although the city is full of twelves to express the perfect fullness of God, it is still one city. The unique God has the unique New Jerusalem as His corporate expression for eternity.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Perfection (2)

New JerusalemIn the Bible twelve indicates what is eternally perfect in quality, eternally complete in quantity, and eternally rich in composition. New Jerusalem is full of twelves and is the consummation of all the twelves in the Bible.

The prior post focused on the consum-mation of Old Testament twelves. In the beginning of the New Testament there are twelve apostles (Matt. 10:1-2, 5). Paul was also an apostle and laid a foundation by proclaiming Christ (1 Cor. 3:10-12). Ultimately, on the foundations of New Jerusalem are “the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:14).

The raising up the dead twelve-year-old girl in Mark 5 foretells that eternally there will be no death in new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:4), the site of New Jerusalem.

The twelve handbaskets of bread in Mark 6, portray the abundant richness of the tree of life with its twelve fruits in New Jerusalem.

The church began with 120 (ten times twelve) people praying (Acts 1:12-15). The universal church grew from them to include all God’s New Testament people, all of whom will be in New Jerusalem.

The “hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel” (Rev. 7:4-8) and the hundred and forty-four thousand firstfruits (Rev. 14:1-5) also point toward New Jerusalem since one hundred forty-four is twelve times twelve.

New Jerusalem, characterized by twelves, is eternally perfect, eternally complete, and eternally rich. New Jerusalem is the ultimate manifestation of “the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8) and “the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:19). Lord, perfect us with Yourself for New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Perfection

In the Bible the number seven indicates something complete done by God in this age or past ages. Examples are victory by encircling Jericho for seven days (Hebrews 11:30) , the seven Spirits for the seven churches (Revelation 1:4), and seven churches to bear the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 1:10-12,20).

New JerusalemIn the Bible twelve indicates what is eternally perfect in quality, eternally complete in quantity, and eternally rich in composition. New Jerusalem is full of twelves and is the consummation of all the twelves in the Bible.

New Jerusalem has twelve gates, its wall has twelve foundations, it measures twelve thousand stadia, and the tree of life produces twelve fruits. Furthermore, the measure of the wall is one hundred forty-four, which is twelve times twelve.

New Jerusalem is the consummation and reality of all the twelves in the Old Testament.  The obvious “twelve” are the tribes of Israel (Gen. 49:28), the sons of Jacob (Gen. 35:22). On the twelve gates of New Jerusalem are inscribed “the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel” (Rev. 21:12). These names show that New Jerusalem includes God’s Old Testament people.

In the Old Testament there were twelve loaves of bread on the table in the tabernacle (Lev. 24:5). Their eternal enlargement is the twelve fruits of the tree of life in New Jerusalem.

In addition, there were twelve precious stones set in gold on the breastplate attached to the ephod of the robe of the high priest. Their eternal reality is the twelve precious stones and golden nature of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:18-20).

Christ Himself is eternally perfect, complete, and rich. He desires to live in us and be formed in us (Gal. 2:20, 4:29). Lord, live in me today and form Yourself more into me today to bring me onward to the reality of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God and the Lamb Are Our Dwelling Place

In Revelation 21:22 John said that he did not see a temple in New Jerusalem because “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”

The Greek word for temple in Revelation 21:22, naos (ναος), does not denote the whole temple in a common way. Rather, it denotes the inner temple, the Holy of Holies. This inner temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb, signifying that God and the Lamb will be the place in which we serve God.°

New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:16 an angel measured New Jerusalem and John told us “the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.”

The measurement of the New Jerusalem is the same in length, breadth, and height. In three dimensions the city measures twelve thousand stadia (v. 16). The principle revealed in the Bible is that a building with three equal dimensions indicates the Holy of Holies*….Accordingly, the New Jerusalem, the holy city, must also be the Holy of Holies.

The entire city of New Jerusalem is the Holy of Holies, and God and the Lamb are the temple of this city. If we put these two points together, we will realize that this city is God and the Lamb. Because the whole city is the Holy of Holies and because the inner temple is God and the Lamb, the city itself is God and the Lamb.

Because New Jerusalem is God and the Lamb, it has all the attributes of God and the Lamb. For example, the city is holy and is new (Revelation 21:2), it is full of light (21:23), it has an abundant life supply (22:1-2), and it has no curse and no night (22:3, 5).

 When we dwell in New Jerusalem, we dwell in God and the Lamb. This corresponds to our present situation, which described in many verses, including Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 2:16; 2 Timothy 3:12; and 1 Peter 5:10. Even Moses had this realization, writing in Psalm 90:1, “O Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.”

° These quotes are from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM, message 430 in online reading.

* See 1 Kings 6:20 and Our Goal is the Holy of Holies.

Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

New JerusalemRevelation 21:12-3 and 21 describe the city of New Jerusalem, saying, “It had a great and high wall and had twelve gates….the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl.” These gates are our entrance into the city. They are not physical pearls but rather portray the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, through which we are brought into the new creation and enter New Jerusalem. As He said in John 14:6, “I am the way.”
Here is a list of prior posts on this topic (verse numbers are in Revelation 21).

New Jerusalem is Much More Precious
New Jerusalem is Built with the Triune God
In New Jerusalem the golden base and street (v. 18, 21) signify the Father’s divine nature, the pearl gates (v. 12) portray the Son’s death and resurrection, and the precious stones (v. 18-20) depict the transforming work of the Holy spirit. The composition of the city is the Triune God mingled with God’s people.

Three Gates on Each of Four Sides
New Jerusalem has twelve gates (v. 12-13, 21). The three gates on each side show that the Triune God is our entrance. Gates on four sides proclaim that the city is open to all humanity.

The Unmeasured Gates
Revelation 21 does not record the measurement for the gates of New Jerusalem. This probably indicates that Christ’s death and resurrection have unlimited (immeasurable) efficacy.

The Law’s Requirements at the Gates
A Living that Fulfills the Law’s Requirements
The entrance to New Jerusalem is guarded by the law, signified by the angels at the gates (v. 12). Whoever enters New Jerusalem must satisfy the law’s requirements. In ourselves we can never satisfy the law, but Christ has done it for us!

Gates of Pearl
The Twelve Gates are Twelve Pearls
We Enter through Faith, not Works
The pearls (v. 21) portray the death and resurrection of Christ. Through faith and baptism we are united with Him in His death and resurrection; this is our entrance into New Jerusalem.

The Entrance into New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem Has a Separating Wall and Open Gates
New Jerusalem has a great and high wall (v. 12) for separation and it has twelve gates for its entrance. Sinners are kept out by the wall but by faith we enter through the redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Enter New Jerusalem Now
Our receiving of the crucified and resurrected Jesus is our entering into New Jerusalem. Through His death all the negative things that would keep us out of the city have been removed. Through His resurrection we receive the eternal life, the life (v. 22:1-2) of New Jerusalem.

We Have the Way, Let’s Enter In
Jesus is our way, our reality, and our life. His coming to abide in us and bringing us to abide in Him is our way to New Jerusalem. We should not look for a way apart from Jesus Himself.

We Who Wash, Eat, and Enter Are Blessed
Revelation 22:14 declares “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.” Three steps are presented: we wash by confessing our sins, we receive Jesus as our life supply, and we enter New Jerusalem.

Into God’s Kingdom for New Jerusalem
God the Father “delivered us out of the authority of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:12-13). This transfer from the authority of Satan to the authority of God is the basis for our entering New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Justified to Stand in Grace

Here is another excerpt about New Jerusalem from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM (details here). This is available for online reading—select the last volume here.

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:12-14 says about New Jerusalem, “It had a great and high wall and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names inscribed, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel: on the east three gates, and on the north three gates, and on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

The twelve names of the twelve tribes being inscribed on the twelve gates of the city indicates that the twelve gates are there to fulfill the requirement of the law and to satisfy the law’s demand upon sinners. The twelve foundations bearing the twelve names of the apostles, who are the representatives of the grace of the New Testament, signify that the New Jerusalem is built upon the grace of God according to the New Testament. The entrance of the city answers the requirements of the Old Testament law, and the foundations of the city show us the grace of the New Testament. The law is for the entry, and the grace is for the foundation. We enter into the New Jerusalem according to the requirement of the law, and we are in the New Jerusalem according to and based on the grace of the New Testament.

To enter the city we must satisfy the requirements of the law. We cannot do this ourselves but we are justified by faith in Christ (Galatians 2:16). Now He is the grace with us (2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 6:18; Philemon 25) for our daily satisfaction and joy, and for us to share with others.

Romans 5:1b-2 puts the entrance and foundation together: “our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand and boast because of the hope of the glory of God.” This access and grace are our present experience of the gates and foundation of New Jerusalem. The result is that we boast because of our hope concerning the glory of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Related posts: The Law’s Requirements at the Gates
The Twelve Gates are Twelve Pearls
A Living that Fulfills the Law’s Requirements
The Names of the Apostles
Christ as Life in the Apostles is the Foundation
We All Participate in the Ministry of Life for Building

The Unsearchable, Exhaustless Life Supply

New JerusalemThe “bread of God’s presence” was twelve cakes/loaves on the table in the tabernacle. Later the tabernacle was replaced by the temple. For the temple, “Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of Jehovah…the golden table upon which the bread of the Presence was put” (1 Kings 7:48).

Although 1 Kings mentions one table, 2 Chronicles 4:8 says Solomon “made ten tables and placed them in the temple, five on the right and five on the left” and verse 19 speaks of “the tables upon which the bread of the Presence was put.” The one table with its nourishing bread has been multiplied tenfold!

The life supply from the bread brings us the light. Jesus, as the “light of life” (John 8:12) is both our life and our light. Similarly, in the tabernacle and temple the table for the bread is closely related to the lampstand with its shining. Therefore, in the temple the lampstand is also multiplied tenfold (2 Chronicles 4:7, 20).

The multiplication of the table and the lampstand parallels the expanding holy of holies. Its dimensions are 10 cubits in the tabernacle and 20 cubits in the temple. Ultimately, the entire New Jerusalem is the eternal holy of holies of an immensely greater size.

Three facts:
• There are twelve loaves, and twelve is a number related to New Jerusalem.
• The multiplication of both the table and lampstand from tabernacle to temple.
• The enlargement of the holy of holies from tabernacle to New Jerusalem.
Together these suggest that the life supply signified by the loaves will be tremendously increased in New Jerusalem.

This marvelous increase shows that we will fully partake of the unsearchable/exhaustless/ untraceable/incalculable/unfathomable* riches of Jesus Christ as our eternal life supply in New Jerusalem.

* These five words are from various translations of Ephesians 3:8, “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Thanks to Bible Hub.

Photo courtesy of NASA GSFC-METI-ERSDAC-JAROS and U.S.-Japan ASTER Science Team.

Eat the Bread

New JerusalemWe are on a journey through the Old Testament, looking at physical pictures of our spiritual eating. In 1 Corinthians 10:3, Paul, speaking about Israel eating manna, said, “all ate the same spiritual food.” Today we New Testament believers should daily eat our spiritual food.

In my sequence of posts I forgot to include the table in the tabernacle on which the “bread of the presence” (or “showbread”) was placed. The table is described in Exodus 25:23-30. The designation of this bread (v. 30) indicates that it is related to God’s presence with us.

Leviticus 24:5-9 speaks about preparation of the bread and placement of twelve cakes/loaves on the table. Twelve is a sign of eternal fullness; the twelve loaves signify the Triune God as our eternal nourishment and satisfaction.

Leviticus 24:9 says that the priests should eat this bread. In this age, Jesus Christ has made us priests (Revelation 1:5-6) and we will be priests both in the kingdom age (20:6) and in New Jerusalem (22:3 + God’s Slaves Serve in New Jerusalem). Therefore, we are qualified to eat and we should eat this bread. The best way is to take the Lord’s word as food for our life supply.

In the tabernacle the table and the lampstand are closely related (Exodus 40:22-25; Leviticus 24:2-9). The more we eat the word of God as our bread of the presence, the more we have His presence and the more we have the divine light portrayed by the lampstand in the tabernacle. The reality is in John 1:1, 4 – “In the beginning was the Word…In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” The Word is a living Person whom we contact through the Bible. He gives us life, nourishes us and enlightens us. Let us be people Eating the Word of God.

More about the lampstand and the bread in Leviticus 24 may be read online in Life-Study of Leviticus chapter 55.

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