New Jerusalem’s River Flows in its Street

Revelation 22:1 says that New Jerusalem has “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.” And 21:21 says, “the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”

The golden street portrays the divine nature. To walk on this street, which is to walk according to the divine nature, we need to drink the Spirit who is the water of life. The more we drink, the more we are “bright as crystal,” constituted with “pure gold,” and become like “transparent glass.”

In Romans 6, through being identified with Christ in His death and resurrection, we “walk in newness of life” which is to be “in the likeness of His resurrection,” the likeness displayed by New Jerusalem. In Romans 7 the parallel is to “walk in newness of spirit.” This walk is on the golden street and enabled by the river of water of life, the Spirit.New Jerusalem

Stephen was an example of this. In Acts 6 he was a man “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (v. 5), “full of grace and power” (v. 8), spoke with “wisdom and the Spirit” (v. 10), and under persecution his face had a heavenly appearance (v. 15). As he died, he lived out the forgiving pattern of the Lord Jesus (Luke 23:34) and “cried out with a loud voice, Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

He was a manifestation of the life of New Jerusalem empowered by the river of life, the Spirit.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The City has 12 Gates, 12 Angels, 12 Names

In Revelation 21:12 we read that New Jerusalem “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.”

Through the gates, representing the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we enter into New Jerusalem. Angels are at these gates. Angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth for service for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14). Ultimately, our inheritance is New Jerusalem and the angels, the ministering spirits, watch over the gates.

New JerusalemThe gates also have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. This indicates that Israelites will have a share in New Jerusalem. Indeed, all the Old Testament people who turned their heart to the Lord will share in New Jerusalem.

in Acts 7:53, Stephen links Israel, the law, and angels together. Our entry into New Jerusalem satisfies the requirements of the law in the eyes of the angels at the gates.

This is confirmed by Romans 8:3-4, “God, sending His own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit.” Today we have trouble with the flesh but it will be gone by the time of Revelation 21. Everything of New Jerusalem will be “according to the spirit.”

New Jerusalem is Divinely New

Revelation 21–22 present New Jerusalem to us. It is new compared to the Jerusalem from King David’s time to now, but in what way is it new?

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is new because it is entirely in God and of God. This is the divine definition of new—everything in God is new but everything outside of God is old. Everything around us is old because the first creation has fallen away from God.

The clearest presentation of this divine definition of new is in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” Galatians 6:15 also speaks of this new creation. A small portion of a footnote on the new creation in the Recovery Version NT says,

The old creation is our old man in Adam (Eph. 4:22), our natural being by birth, without God’s life and the divine nature. The new creation is the new man in Christ (Eph. 4:24), our being that is regenerated by the Spirit (John 3:6), having God’s life and the divine nature wrought into it (John 3:36; 2 Pet. 1:4), having Christ as its constituent (Col. 3:10-11), and having become a new constitution.

The old creation was old because it did not have God’s element; the new creation is new because it has God as its element. Although we are still the old creation, we experience the reality of the new creation when we walk according to the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25).

New Jerusalem is unchangingly new because it is constituted entirely with God’s life and nature wrought into our redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified humanity.

New Jerusalem: Eternal Holy of Holies (2)

The New Testament temple is spiritual, not physical. We do not need the Old Testament’s physical temple; nevertheless, the record about it in the Bible depicts many spiritual realities today and in New Jerusalem.

The ark in the holy of holies contains the manna, the budding rod, and the tablets of the covenant (Heb. 9:4). The budding rod (Num. 17) started as a rod, a stick, lifeless and cut off. During a night before the Lord it “put forth buds and produced blossoms and bore ripe almonds.” This is a picture of resurrection, and is related to having authority in the divine life.

Colossians 2:12 says we were “Buried together with Him in baptism, in which also you were raised together with Him through the faith of the operation of God.” This is our initial experience of being one with Christ in His death and resurrection. The budding rod signifies a much deeper experience of the same resurrection.

New JerusalemIt is desirable that we all enter the holy of holies to experience this in our current Christian life. Since New Jerusalem is the eternal holy of holies, at that time we will all have this deepest experience of Christ in resurrection.

The tablets of the covenant point to the Old Testament law. This has been replaced by the inner “law of the Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2). To experience the controlling, leading, restricting, and guiding of the eternal life within is the experience portrayed by the tablets in the ark.

Today, when we live by this inner law, “the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit” (Rom. 8:4). Today this is an exercise but in New Jerusalem it will be spontaneous and continuous.

Neither Tears nor Sorrow nor Crying nor Pain in New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:4 proclaims that God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death will be no more, nor will there be sorrow or crying or pain anymore; for the former things have passed away.” None of these negatives will be in New Jerusalem nor will they be anywhere in the new creation.

New JerusalemRevelation 21:4 mentions five negatives which will not be in New Jerusalem. “No death” was covered in prior posts: New Jerusalem: No Darkness, No Death and Neither Sin nor Death in New Jerusalem.

Death is the outcome, the extreme, of all negative experiences in human life in this old creation. New Jerusalem and the whole new creation will not merely be free from death but also free from all things leading to death. These things include what is in Revelation 21:4—tears, sorrow, crying, pain—and also many others, such as sickness, injury, depression, anger, exhaustion, famine, catastrophe, etc.

Jesus Christ will be everything in New Jerusalem—our life, righteousness, holiness, love, light, joy, health, peace, and so much more. In New Jerusalem our experience of Christ will be Unsearchable, Immeasurable, Exhaustless. He is the Unsearchable Riches in New Jerusalem and our Unsearchable, Exhaustless Life Supply.

Jesus Christ can, to some extent, be all of these riches to us today. The Bible clearly tells us that He is our life (Col. 3:4), our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30), rest (Matt. 11:28-29), peace (Rom. 8:6), joy (1 John 1:4), and more.

Dear Lord, we want to experience You in so many ways day by day. Gain our cooperation so that You can be a foretaste now of the unsearchable riches of New Jerusalem.

This post is in my list of what is NOT in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem Foreshadowed in Exodus

All the positive things in the Old Testament are symbols, pictures, or prophecies of the New Testament realities. Some of these pictures correspond with characteristics of New Jerusalem. Here is a list of posts showing parallels between Exodus and New Jerusalem.

We are on a journey to the mountain of God to see a vision, as John saw New Jerusalem from a high mountain. The stages of this journey:
Exodus 12—14: we are redeemed and nourished by the Lamb to leave Egypt
Exodus 15: we sing and praise the Lord on our journey to the mountain
Exodus 16: we eat the manna, a picture of Christ as our heavenly nourishment
Exodus 17: we drink the water which flows out of the smitten rock
Exodus 17: we fight against the flesh by walking in spirit

After we reach the mountain, more steps are needed to see God’s revelation of the building of the tabernacle, a type of New Jerusalem:
Exodus 19—23: God’s commands show that apart from Christ we cannot make the journey
Exodus 23: God promised that His Angel would lead us onward
Exodus 24: we take Christ’s redemption
Exodus 24: we take Christ’s absoluteness for God

When we go up the mountain, we have undivided time with the Lord to see a full vision.
Exodus 24—25: on the mountain we are in a cloud to cut our view of other things
Exodus 24—25: Moses’ time in the cloud prefigures many NT experiences
Exodus 24, 33, 34: Moses had many times of fellowship with God

The holy of holies in the tabernacle depicts New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies.
Exodus 25-26: the ark, expiation cover, and cherubim of glory portray Christ and the city
Exodus 26: the veil has been rent by the death of Christ, so we can enter New Jerusalem
Exodus 26: the veil portrays the Lord Jesus, who is the reality in New Jerusalem
Exodus 28: the breastplate with gold and precious stones represents aspects of the city

Exodus 40: glory fills the tabernacle, portraying New Jerusalem, a city of glory

All the events that happened with Israel are an example written for us (1 Cor. 10).
The journey in Exodus
has many symbols of our experiences of Christ and the Spirit.

New Jerusalem

 Photo courtesy of NASA.

 

The Peace of Christ in our Hearts

New JerusalemPrior posts have presented oneness in John 10 and 17, Ephesians 2, and 1 Corinthians 10 and 12. All of these point to the unique New Jerusalem as the unique city in the new creation which fully expresses the one God.

Galatians 3:28 parallels other verses: “There cannot be Jew nor Greek, there cannot be slave nor free man, there cannot be male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” In Christ Jesus, both now and in New Jerusalem, all the natural distinctions which divide fallen man are annulled. Outside the natural realm and in the mystical realm in Him we are one.

The oneness in Christ is a fact for which we must care so that it can be our experience and our appearance. Ephesians 4:1-3 beseeches us “to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, bearing one another in love, being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace.”

These virtues—lowliness, meekness, long-suffering, love, diligence, peace—are all not of ourselves but are the fruit of the Spirit in us. When we are walking according to the Spirit we experience His supply which enables us to keep the oneness.

Colossians 3:15: “Let the peace of Christ arbitrate in your hearts, to which also you were called in one Body; and be thankful.” We were called to peace in one Body but now we need to let this peace preside/rule/control/govern* within us. Again, this is a matter of the Spirit within us, and is often contrary to our natural preference, desire, or habit. “The mind set on the spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6).

Lord, I don’t want to wait for New Jerusalem; I want to learn Your ruling peace now so that I can be in the reality of one Body.

*Various translations, thanks to biblehub.com.

More Seeing and Entering New Jerusalem

We should all desire to be “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). The seeing requires us to be “in spirit” and to have completed a spiritual journey (described in prior posts) to a high mountain.

According to John 3:3 and 3:5, when we see, we enter. Both depend on our new birth. The extent of our seeing and entering New Jerusalem matches the extent to which we let the new birth operate in us. This is like a human—birth brings the baby into humanity but the baby requires many years of development to fully see and enter into human life.

John 3:5: Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

New JerusalemIn John 3:5 being born anew has two aspects: water and Spirit. Being born of water is the termination of our old life. How much will we cooperate with the Spirit to apply this termination to our old habits, our old amusements, our old attitudes, and our old goals? This is the denial of our self spoken by the Lord in the gospels (e.g. Matt. 16:24) by cooperating with the indwelling Spirit (Rom. 8:13).

Being born of the Spirit is the enlivening of our human spirit and the joining of the Spirit with our spirit. How much will we live and walk according to this spirit? This is not separate from the first aspect of being born anew. In Galatians 2:20 “it is no longer I who live”—the first aspect, “but it is Christ who lives in me”—the second aspect. The more Christ lives in us the more we see and enter New Jerusalem.

Christ living in us is a matter of faith. Galatians 2:20 continues to say “I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God.” Lord, fill me with Yourself as my faith so that You may live through me. Lord, bring me more into New Jerusalem.

Experience Christ unto New Jerusalem

Israel had to journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai to see the vision of the tabernacle and then to enter into it (to build it). Likewise, we must journey from death and slavery in the world to a spiritual mountain to see New Jerusalem and to enter into the experiences of it.

Israel had the shadow of this journey. The reality of the journey toward New Jerusalem includes:
New Jerusalem• Christ our Redeemer, through whom _we have forgiveness in His blood
• Christ our Passover to impart His _eternal life into us
• The Spirit as the reality of baptism into _Christ and His Body
• Singing and praising the Lord for His _victory in death and resurrection
• Experiencing His sweetness in _outwardly bitter circumstances
• Taking Him as our daily nourishment to _have Him as our daily living
• Drinking the Spirit as the living water
• Rejecting the flesh by the Spirit
• Walking according to spirit
• Access to God in the blood of Christ
• Christ living in us to fulfill all God’s _requirements
• Christ being our absoluteness for God’s interests
• Time in fellowship with the Lord

Our eternal salvation is once for all, but many of these steps recur often in our daily journey. Singing and praising should be frequent. Like physical eating and drinking, spiritual eating and drinking should be daily. Walking according to the spirit is continual. These energize us to fight the battle by the Spirit and to progress to the mountain for the vision of New Jerusalem.

Christ in Us is Always Acceptable to God

We continue on our Christian journey toward the spiritual mountain where we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

In order to journey toward New Jerusalem we need to be brought to God through the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13) and through Him as the absolute one living in us.

The death of Christ has fulfilled and fully satisfied God’s righteous requirements; hence, we are justified by God through His death (3:24). His resurrection proves that God’s requirements were satisfied by His death for us, that we are justified by God because of His death, and that in Him, the resurrected One, we are accepted before God. Furthermore, as the resurrected One, He is in us to live for us a life that can be justified by God and is always acceptable to God.*

New JerusalemChrist as the burnt offering replaces us by coming into us to live in us and through us. This is the revelation in Matthew 5:48, where the Lord Jesus said that we should be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. This perfection derives from not from God the Creator but from the Father who imparted His life into us so that we could be His sons.

It is by the heavenly life of our Father that we can live a heavenly life on earth and fulfill all that God requires of us.

This life is in us by the regeneration of our human spirit (John 3:15-16, 5-6). Therefore, “the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit” (Rom. 8:4).

It is by Christ our life and by our walk according to the spirit that we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

*Note on Romans 4:25 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version published and © by Living Stream Ministry

We Walk by the Spirit to New Jerusalem

The picture of Israel’s journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai typifies our Christian journey from our initial salvation to the mountain where we can see New Jerusalem. Exodus 16 is about manna, a picture of Christ as our daily bread, and Exodus 17 is about water out of the smitten rock, a picture of the life-giving Spirit.

In addition to the steps mentioned in previous posts, there is the need to fight Amalek (Exo. 17:8-16).

In 17:8-16 we have the war against Amalek….According to the picture in [Exodus] chapters sixteen and seventeen, after we have received the heavenly life supply and the living water from the cleft rock, we are ready to fight against Amalek.

Many students of the Bible realize that this fight depicts the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit. This indicates that as we are going on with the Lord, the first fight is that between the flesh and the Spirit. The fact that the first fight in which the children of Israel were engaged was that against Amalek indicates that after we are saved and baptized, the first conflict we experience will be the warfare between the flesh and the Spirit who regenerated us.*

New JerusalemHere are two verses showing this battle:
• “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6
• “The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” Galatians 5:17

We do not fight the flesh in our own strength. Rather, “Walk by the Spirit and you shall by no means fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

This battle is a necessary step to be freed from the flesh so that we can be “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem.

* An extract from Life-study of Exodus by Witness Lee, published by LSM, message 46, section 1.

Photo courtesy of Janelle Johnson.

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