The Unsearchable Riches of Christ and New Jerusalem

Ephesians 3:8 speaks of “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Eternally these riches will fill New Jerusalem. Below are the titles of the main posts on this topic, with a link to the post. Here are additional posts on the riches and fullness of the Triune God.

#NewJerusalem

Seek the Riches of Christ

Seek the Riches of Christ

God Strengthens Us, According to the Riches of His Glory, unto New Jerusalem

The Good News of the Riches of Christ

Christ as the Riches in Christian Life

Unsearchable Riches in New Jerusalem

The Mystery of the Riches of God’s Glory

Riches of God’s Glory, Now, New Jerusalem

O the Depth of the Riches & Wisdom of God!

Unsearchable, Immeasurable, Exhaustless

The Riches of God’s Glory, New Jerusalem

The Rich Supply for Our Building Up

The Unsearchable, Exhaustless Life Supply

Applying the Lord’s Rich Supply for the Preparation of the Bride (4)

Applying the Lord’s Rich Supply for the Preparation of the Bride (3)

Applying the Lord’s Rich Supply for the Preparation of the Bride (2)

Applying the Lord’s Rich Supply for the Preparation of the Bride (1)

The Good News of the Riches of Christ

The apostle Paul received grace “to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8). These riches are for us to experience and express today and to be displayed by New Jerusalem.

The New Testament is filled with the gospel, the good news, of these riches. For example, in Matthew 9 Jesus Christ is our Physician, He is merciful to us, He is our Bridegroom, He is new wine for us, He raises us out of death, He heals our blindness and dumbness, He shepherds us, and He is the Lord of the harvest.

Another example: twenty riches of Christ in 1 Corinthians. Since the riches of Christ are “unsearchable,” for eternity in New Jerusalem we will explore and appreciate them.

This good news is conveyed by the chorus of a hymn by Witness Lee (words music):
New Jerusalem__O the riches, O the riches,
____Christ my Savior has for me!
____(or, Christ my Savior is to me!)
__How unsearchable their measure,
____Yet my full reality!

This thanksgiving and praise is our song now and will be our song in New Jerusalem. Regarding now, may the last verse of the hymn be our longing:
__May I know these boundless riches,
____Christ experience in full;
__And with others may I share them
____In their content bountiful.

As an application of this longing, consider Ephesians 2:4-6—God’s rich mercy and great love for us, and His enlivening, raising up, and seating us with Christ. May we experience each of these and share our appreciation with others. These are so that (2:7) God “might display in the ages to come (including New Jerusalem) the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Pursue Now, unto New Jerusalem

New JerusalemA recent post encourages us to
Pursue the Incorruptible New Jerusalem
I am convinced that we should do this, although this phrase is not explicitly in the Bible.

While praying on the phone with a brother, he touched 2 Timothy 2:22, which is about pursuing. That motivated me to look at New Testament verses on pursuing and how the objectives pursed relate to New Jerusalem. Here are the verses which touched me.

Romans 14:19 exhorts us to “pursue the things of peace and the things for building up one another.” First Peter 3:11 also urges us to pursue peace. Pursuing peace is certainly related to New Jerusalem because the name Jerusalem means “foundation of peace” (one two). Building up is a central feature of the New Testament (e.g. 1 Cor 3:6-12, Eph. 2:19-22, 4:15-16, 1 Peter 2:4-5) and New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s NT building.

First Corinthians 14:1 charges us to “pursue love, and desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” Love is not mentioned in the description of New Jerusalem but the God who is love is on the throne at the center of the city. How does prophesying relate? He who prophesies builds up (1 Cor. 14:3-5, 12).

In Philippians 3:12, 14 Paul tells us that he was pursuing toward the goal. He was such an advanced Christian by that time, yet he still pursued because there is always more of the unlimited Christ to be gained. His goal was to gain Christ, be found in Christ, know Christ experientially, to attain to the out-resurrection, and to lay hold of Christ (3:9-12). New Jerusalem will be the fulness of all these aspirations.

Hebrews 12:14 exhorts us to “pursue peace with all men and sanctification.” Peace is as in Romans 14:19.  The ultimate stage of *sanctification is the “holy city, New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2, 10).

Lord, draw us to pursue You every day as our peace, our love, our building up, our sanctification, our goal all the way to New Jerusalem.

* The Greek words translated sanctification and holy are very similar. The apparent difference in English is that one word comes from a Latin root and the other from an Anglo-Saxon root.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life”

We have been on an eating journey through the Old Testament. (Later we will take a NT journey.) Jesus Christ, the bread of life (John 6:35) and the passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), is the reality of many kinds of physical food given by God to His OT people. All these pictures of our spiritual eating will culminate in New Jerusalem with “the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.” Each paragraph below links to one post in this eating journey.

Boston, David Kan

The tree of life was in the garden of Eden as a picture of Jesus Christ as our life and as the life supply for our daily living. In John 6:57 our Lord Jesus told us, “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.”

The first commandment from God to man concerned eating. This command was given in the garden of Eden. God’s desire was (and is) that man receive Him as man’s life, as pictured by “the tree of life in the middle of the garden” (Genesis 2:9).

Eating the lamb is the focus of the passover feast. Exodus 12:4 says “according to each man’s eating you shall make your count for the lamb.” Christ is the real lamb (John 1:29) and the reality of this feast (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

The passover lamb was eaten “with unleavened bread with bitter herbs” (Exodus 12:8). This is to take Christ as our sinless (unleavened) life and thereby to have a bitter feeling about sin.

We should eat unleavened bread seven days. Seven is a number of completion, indicating that we should eat Jesus as our unleavened bread through our whole Christian life. This is  to “keep the feast…with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8).

Manna is bread from heaven (Exodus 16:4). Exodus 16 and Numbers 11:7-9 give a detailed description of manna. These details portray the richness of Christ as the bread of life in our Christian experience.

Israel was instructed to gather manna each day. Through Deuteronomy 8:3 and Matthew 4:4 we learn that manna shows us “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.” Let us be people Eating the Word of God.

The priests eat the offerings in Leviticus 1–7. In the New Testament we are the priests (Revelation 1:5-6), Jesus Christ is the reality of the offerings (see verses in the post), and we mainly eat by thanking and praising the Lord for all that He has done and all that He is to us.

Exodus 40 and Leviticus 24 speak of the bread of the presence on the table in the tabernacle. This table and the lampstand are closely related. When we, the NT priests, eat the bread, we experience Jesus as the “light of life” (John 8:12).

The bread of the presence multiplied from tabernacle to temple (as did the lampstand). We expect much more multiplication from temple to New Jerusalem. This multiplication portrays the unsearchable/exhaustless riches of Jesus Christ.

Deuteronomy 12:7 tells Israel to eat and rejoice before their God when they gather in Jerusalem. This is a picture of a New Testament feast with Christ as the reality of our sacrifices and offerings, as the real firstborn, and as the content of our vows and freewill offerings.

In Leviticus 23 the Lord spoke about “My appointed feasts.” The introduction to these feasts is the sabbath rest. This shows that we should rest in Jesus Christ and His accomplishments in order to have proper Christian feasts.

Israel began to eat the produce of the land after they crossed the river Jordan. The variety and abundance of this produce again points us to the Christ who is unsearchably, immeasurably rich (Ephesians 3:8).

A feast of the passover and a seven-day feast of unleavened bread are recorded in 2 Chronicles 30. This feast was held “with great rejoicing” which caused them to continue for another seven days. The key was preparing their heart to seek God.

First Kings 8 records a feast after dedication of the temple and Ezra 6 records a feast after the dedication of the second temple. As we offer ourselves to the Lord and participate in the NT building work, we are preparing and entering into a feast.

Second Kings 23 and 2 Chronicles 35 record a marvelous passover feast following the cleansing of the temple, of Jerusalem, and of the whole land. The more we cleanse our hearts from desiring and working for goals other than the Lord, the more we will feast.

Photo of Boston harbor, courtesy of David Kan.

Related post: Is Your Spiritual Eating Advancing by Tom at Holding to Truth in Love

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 with Unleavened Bread and Bitter Herbs

Christ our passoverThe Passover in Exodus 12 is a picture of Jesus Christ dying for us to redeem us and to give Himself to us as our life supply. First Corinthians 5:7-8 says, “our Passover, Christ, also has been sacrificed. So then let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

The words in 1 Corinthians 5 reflect Exodus 12:8, “they shall eat the flesh in that night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread with bitter herbs.” Here is a little from Life-study of Exodus*:

To eat with unleavened bread means to eliminate all sinful things. When we enjoy Christ as our Passover, we must purge away everything sinful. At the same time, we need to eat bitter herbs. This means that we need to regret and repent, to experience a bitter taste regarding sinful things. When we believed in the Lord Jesus, many of us received Him as our life supply and also gave up everything sinful. At the same time, we experienced regret and repentance. This indicates that we ate Christ with bitter herbs.

We should not take the lamb without the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs. Whenever you receive Christ as your supply, you receive a life without sin, without leaven, that gives you a bitter feeling when you sin, that repents when you make a mistake. This life is sensitive to sin, to any kind of wrongdoing, to anything of the self. To keep yourself unleavened, you have to repent.

Jesus Christ is a rich food supply for us. Exodus 12 has many details about the Passover to portray these riches of Christ. May we feast on all of them. (This series of posts on eating through the Bible cannot cover everything in Exodus 12; please see the note below for much more.) The riches of Christ for our eating are unfolded through the whole Bible and will continue eternally in New Jerusalem with the tree of life producing fruits each month.

* Witness LeeLife-study of Exodus, (this page has a link to online reading) published and © by Living Stream Ministry. This excerpt is from message 23, the first of three messages unfolding the Passover.

Applying the Lord’s Rich Supply for the Preparation of the Bride (2)

New JerusalemThe Lord begins each letter in Revelation 2–3 by describing who and what He is. The Lord ends each letter by telling us to hear what the Spirit says to all the churches, both then and now. By receiving and applying what the Lord is, we cooperate with Him for the preparation of His bride. This continues the prior post.

• [He] “who became dead and lived again” (2:8):  The Lord is the resurrection (John 11:25) and death cannot hold Him (Acts 2:24). Through death, He destroyed the power of death and released us who were enslaved in the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15). Lord, keep us daily in Your victory over death.

• “He who has the sharp two-edged sword” (2:12):  This sword is His word (Hebrews 4:12), which is “living and operative” and “piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit” and “able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Lord, may Your living word operate in me every day to divide and to discern that I may grow in You.

• “The Son of God” (2:18):  Our Lord Jesus is the God-man. As the Son of God, His divinity transcends all human limitations. He is unsearchable, immeasurable (Ephesians 3:8). There is so much more of Him for us to see, experience, and live out. Lord, bring us into fresh aspects of Your unlimitedness. Never leave us content with what we have already seen and tasted.

• “He who has eyes like a flame of fire” (2:18):  The Lord’s eyes are for looking into everything, including us. When He sees something that does not match His nature, the flame of fire will consume it to purify us. Then He will supply us with more of Himself. Lord, I open to Your searching. Purify me!

Through praying to apply what the Lord has revealed about Himself, He operates in us to prepare us for the marriage of the Lamb in Revelation 19:7, a marriage that continues eternally in New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2, 9-10).

The Unmeasured Gates

Revelation 21:12 says that New Jerusalem has “twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names inscribed, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.” Verse 15 says,And he who spoke with me had a golden reed as a measure that he might measure the city and its gates and its wall.” Verse 16 gives the measurement of the city and verse 17 gives the measurement of the wall. These measurements involve the number twelve, indicating eternal fullness and eternal completion. There are twelve gates (v. 12) indicating that they too have eternal fullness and completion.

However, despite the inclusion of “gates” in verse 15, no verse tells us the measurement of the gates. Perhaps the absence of measurement for each gate indicates that Christ’s death and resurrection have unlimited (immeasurable) efficacy for all creation. Certainly what happened through His death and resurrection are our gateway into New Jerusalem (for more, see    ). But there is much more! Christ’s death and resurrection include the judgement of the world and casting out of the ruler of the world (John 12:31), the destruction of the devil and overcoming the might of death (Hebrews 2:14-15), the destruction of the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), the putting away of sin and purifying of things in the heavens (Hebrews 9:22-26), the reconciliation of all things on earth and in heaven to God (Colossians 1:20), and the creation of the new man in Himself (Ephesians 2:15). The death and resurrection of Christ are wonderful! Praise Him!

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