Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 21

Revelation 21 presents the new creation with New Jerusalem as its outstanding feature. In verse 2 John tells us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Jesus Christ is the real Husband in the universe and New Jerusalem is the wife. This likeness is in Ephesians 5:23, “a husband is head of the wife as also Christ is Head of the church.” Jesus described Himself as the real Bridegroom in parables in Matthew 9:14-17 and 25:1-13. And John the Baptist referred to Him s the Bridegroom in John 3:29.

New JerusalemOn one hand, we are responsible to prepare ourselves for the wedding day. An example is our need to have much oil in our lamps, signifying the Spirit filling our being, as in Matthew 25. On the other hand, Jesus Christ prepares us first by His redemption and now by His life in us. Both are presented in Ephesians 5:25-27.

Revelation 21:4 says, “He 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.” The wiping of tears, and the absence of sorrow, crying, and pain correspond to the Lamb’s care in Revelation 7.

Death will be no more because of “our Savior Christ Jesus, who nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10).

In 21:5 He is sitting on the throne and He tells us, “Behold, I make all things new. And He said, Write, for these words are faithful and true.” His making all new is seen in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”

The words He speaks are faithful and true because He Himself is Faithful and True (Rev. 3:14, 19:11). These few verses show that so many characteristics of Jesus Christ today match what He is in New Jerusalem, and are our path from today unto New Jerusalem.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 14 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

Revelation 19:10 tells that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit (the essence, the focus, the heart) of the prophecy (the book of Revelation). Throughout Revelation Jesus Christ is carrying out God’s economy to bring all God’s people to New Jerusalem and all that is of the devil to the lake of fire.

Skipping over the two beasts in chapter 13, we look at Jesus Christ in chapter 14. It begins with a praise before the throne. There are many praises in Revelation—here and chapters 5, 12, 19—and surely there will be more praises in New Jerusalem. Perhaps we could say that praising our Lord keeps us on our journey to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemVerse 14:5 tells us that no lie is in those who sing. The devil is the source of lies (John 8:44) and Jesus is the truth, the reality (John 14:6). The singers are one with the Lord and have nothing to do with the devil.

Verse 14:5 also tells us that “they are without blemish.” This is His doing (with our cooperation), washing us with His living word that we may be without blemish (Eph. 5:26-27).

In 14:9-12 there is a warning not to worship the beast. The Lamb is worthy and we worship Him. We praise Him with our words and our singing.

In 14:14 on a cloud is “One like the Son of Man sitting, having a golden crown on His head.” The crown is another affirmation in Revelation that Jesus Christ is the Ruler over all (1:5, 19:16). He now reaps the ripe harvest of the believers, the culmination of His sowing in Matthew 13. This ripeness is a matter of maturity, a maturity which is needed for New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

No Lie, No Falsehood, in New Jerusalem

The devil has no part in New Jerusalem nor in the entire new creation because he has been cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).

The devil is the father of lies, the source of lies is his nature, and in him is only falsehood, no reality (John 8:44). This is a total contrast to Jesus Christ who is the reality (John 14:6), the expression of God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

New JerusalemThe truth has come to us in word of the truth of the gospel (Eph. 1:13, Col. 1:5). By our receiving this word of truth, the Spirit as the anointing entered into us.

Now the Spirit of reality is living in us, anointing us with the reality. This anointing “is true and is not a lie, and even as it has taught you, abide in Him” (1 John 2:27). When we abide in the Lord, we abide in the reality, the truth; here there is no lie, no falsehood. This is a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

In Revelation 14:1-5, 144,000 are on the heavenly mount Zion with the Lamb. Verse 5: “And in their mouth no lie was found; they are without blemish.” “No lie” indicates nothing of the devil is with them.

Furthermore, they are without blemish. They have been washed by the Lord with the water in His living word (Eph. 5:26-27). This washing not only eliminates blemishes, all of which originated with the devil. The washing also imparts the Lord’s holiness so that we “would be holy and without blemish.”

The holiness matches the holy city, New Jerusalem. The city is not merely without lies, falsehoods, and blemishes. Much more, New Jerusalem is saturated with God’s holiness and glory to express God.

Here is a summary of all posts about what is NOT in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 2 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The testimony of Jesus is the centrality of Revelation (19:10). Here are more characteristics of our Lord Jesus Christ related to our progress to New Jerusalem (Rev. 2). Some of these characteristics are also in Revelation 1:13-20.

New JerusalemWe see the Lord Jesus Christ walking in the midst of the seven lampstands (1:12-13), the seven churches (1:20) and caring for them in Revelation 2–3. His care is not limited to this age, because the lampstands today are the forerunner of the eternal lampstand, New Jerusalem.

Revelation 2:1 repeats the fact that the Lord is “He who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.” His walking and speaking care for the churches. As our High Priest, His care brings us to Himself and ministers Himself to us. His goal is to be glorified in us when He returns (2 Thes. 1:10) and in New Jerusalem.

Our response to His care should be the best love for Him (2:4) so that our love governs our working for Him (2:2).

In 2:8 the Lord describes Himself as “the First and the Last, who became dead and lived again.” Nothing in our lives starts without Him and nothing ends apart from Him. Therefore, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because it matters to Him concerning you” (1 Peter 5:7). Lord, fulfill in us Your word in 2:10, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

In 2:12 He is the One “who has the sharp two-edged sword.” This sword is His living and operative word which is sharper than any physical sword and which can divide all the mixture in our being (Heb. 4:12). By the dividing, He can wash away all our blemishes to present us to Himself glorious (Eph. 5:26-27), causing us to match New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Not Outside of New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:15 says, “Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and makes a lie.” Outside means outside the city, New Jerusalem, in verse 14.

Where is this outside location? Revelation 21:8 tells us, “The cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the false, their part will be in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

New JerusalemAll of these negatives are outside because New Jerusalem is holy (Rev. 21:2), pure (21:18, 21), bright and clean (19:8). We might think that we are clean, but we are not clean up to the standard of New Jerusalem.

Only God is holy, pure, bright, and clean. Thank Him that He has come to us in Christ Jesus. Now we can repent and receive Christ. Furthermore, every day we can confess our sins and He will “cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

We are also clean by letting the Lord’s word come to us (John 15:3), pure by His working within us (Phil. 1:6, 10) and by obedience to the truth and brotherly love (1 Peter 1:22), and bright by taking our Lord Jesus as the bright One (Rev. 22:16).

God in Christ becomes our holiness to constitute us part of the holy city, New Jerusalem. Our Lord Jesus establishes our hearts “blameless in holiness” (1 Thes. 3:13) and our Father disciplines us “that we might partake of His holiness” (Heb. 12;10). And Christ is sanctifying the church, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word so that the church will be holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:26-27).

We praise and thank our Lord Jesus Christ that He is the One who qualifies us to be in New Jerusalem, the holy, pure, bright, and clean city.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Purified for New Jerusalem by Cooperating with the Lord (2)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is pure: “the city was pure gold, like clear glass” (Rev. 21:18), “the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass” (21:21). New Jerusalem is the bride, the wife of the Lamb (21:9); “it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean/pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints” (Rev. 19:8).

For us to match the purity of New Jerusalem, first the Lord cleanses/ purifies our hearts by faith (Acts 15:9). Second, He cleanses us from unrighteousness as we are enlightened and confess our sins (1 John 1:9). Third, He purifies us as we cooperate with His moving in us both to depart from unrighteousness and to let Him live through us as righteousness.

Ephesians 5:26 is also in the third step of this cleansing/purifying. The Lord sanctifies the church, “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.” Here word is the Greek rhema, which means the instant word, the particular word or speaking enlivened to us as we read or remember the printed words of the Bible.

The Lord is cleansing the church but we need to cooperate. The exhortation in James 4:8 hits responsibility on our side, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-souled!” Double-souled is double-minded, having the heart divided between two parties — God and the world.*

These rhema words to us “are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). They might be as simple as “no” to separate us from something of the world. When we respond to these words, the life in us has a way to flow. This is “the washing of the water in the word.” By this washing we experience a little more of the purity of New Jerusalem.

*From the footnote on James 4:8 in NT Recovery Version Online.
For the verses cited in this post, clean and pure both come from the same Greek noun and cleanses and purifies both come from the related Greek verb.
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service. 

Partake of God’s Holiness for the Holy City

Revelation 21:2, 10 and 22:19 declare that New Jerusalem is the holy city. As the consummation of everything positive in the Bible, New Jerusalem is the ultimate expression of God’s holiness through His people.

Regensdorf-Watt, SchweizA series of posts looked at God’s impartation of His holiness into His chosen people. This series did not touch holy days, holy garments, holy places, etc. and only looked at a minority of the verses about God’s holy people.

Here is a summary and link to each of the posts.
A. God’s basic word is in 1 Peter 1:16, “You shall be holy because I am holy.” Our being holy is a result of the life we received in regeneration (1 Peter 2:9, 1:23).
B. Jesus Christ came to establish the new covenant promised in Jeremiah 31. He was “begotten of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20), is “the Holy One” in His human living (John 6:69), in His death and resurrection (Acts 3:14), and in His ascension (Revelation 3:7).
C. It is of God that we “are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God: both righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”
D. God “saved us and called us with a holy calling…” (2 Timothy 1:9) and we “were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise” (Ephesians 1:13).
E. Hebrews 10:10 says “we have been sanctified…once for all.” This speaks of a fact accomplished by the Lord and applied to us. Hebrews 10:14 says we “are being sanctified.” This speaks of His gradual working of the fact into all our being and all our living.
F. Ephesians 2:21 says that in Christ we are “growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” This is an ongoing experience by the washing of the water in the word (Ephesians 5:26-27).
G. We pursue sanctification (Hebrews 12:14) and exercise to be holy by contacting the One who is holy. Such contact is in spirit by our prayer, singing, praising, reading, or speaking.
H. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says “…God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” He disciplines us “that we might partake of His holiness.” Don’t be discouraged; God’s choosing and discipline will bring forth our sanctification.
I. As we are pursuing a holy manner of life, we are “expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12). Come Lord Jesus!
J. In Hebrews 2:10 God is leading many sons into glory and in verses 11-12 the Lord (“He who sanctifies”) is singing praises to the Father in our (“we who are being sanctified”) singing.

God’s choosing and calling of us, Jesus Christ the Holy One as our sanctification, and the Spirit’s sanctifying work in us bring us onward to “the coming of the day of God” and New Jerusalem.

Reminder: the English words holy/holiness (from an Anglo-Saxon root) and sanctify/sanctification (from a Latin root) seem very different, but they are translations of closely related NT Greek words.

Pursue Sanctification to See the Lord

New Jerusalem is the holy city. God has given Jesus Christ to us as our holiness objectively. Throughout our Christian life we are experiencing the Lord’s washing in the water of His word that we may be holy subjectively. Through this process we will match the holy city in reality.

New JerusalemOn one hand the Holy Spirit is renewing us (Titus 3:5) and the water in the living word is washing us (Ephesians 5:26-27). This is the operation of the Triune God to sanctify us wholly that our “spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

On the other hand we need to cooperate. Hebrews 12:14 exhorts us to “pursue peace with all men and sanctification, without which no one will see the Lord.” To partake of His holiness is to experience it, which is beyond having it imputed to us objectively. This requires our pursuing.

Second Corinthians 7:1 says “let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and of spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Cleanse ourselves points to our cooperation to gain the living reality of holiness. This cleansing is not by us independently but by our confessing and accepting the forgiveness in Christ and by seeking to be renewed away from repetitions of defilement.

Cooperation is also seen in 1 Peter 1:15-16, “But according to the Holy One who called you, you yourselves also be holy in all your manner of life; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy because I am holy.’” We exercise to be holy by contacting the One who is holy. Such contact is in spirit by our prayer, singing, praising, reading, or speaking.

The result of cooperation is that sanctification is gradually worked into us to bring us to the holiness of New Jerusalem.

Washed by the Water in the Word to be Holy

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the holy city. Jesus Christ has accomplished and God has given Him to us as our holiness objectively. Thus, in position, in status, we match the holy city. Throughout our Christian life we gradually enter the subjective experience of this holiness.

First Corinthians 3:17 says, “the temple of God is holy, and such are you.” This is an objective fact. God put the Corinthian believers into Christ and made Christ their sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:29-30). Because of God’s action, Paul could say that the Corinthians were the holy temple of God.

However, consider their condition as described in 1 Corinthians: divisions, fornication, lawsuits, denying resurrection, etc. They were sorely lacking in experience of the fact that God had given them. They were fleshy and infants in Christ (v. 3:1).

Ephesians 2:21 says that in Christ “all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” “Being fitted together” and “growing” indicate a subjective, on-going experience. This experience will bring us into the reality of the “holy temple in the Lord” a temple which has the same constitution as the holy city.

To match New Jerusalem, we need the daily renewing of the Holy Spirit, the renewing which began from our regeneration (Titus 3:5). Ephesians 5:25 says that Christ gave Himself for the church. Verses 26-27 tell us that He is working to “sanctify* her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word, that He might present the church to Himself glorious…holy and without blemish.”

Lord, grant us the daily renewing and the washing of the water in Your word. Infuse us with Yourself that we may be holy and without blemish to match New Jerusalem.

* Reminder from a prior post: although the English words holy/holiness (from Anglo-Saxon) and sanctify/sanctification (from Latin) seem very different, they are translations of closely related New Testament Greek words.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Marriage (8)

New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage is portrayed and prophesied many times in the Bible, including Ephesians 5:22-33. Verse 22 speaks about husband and wife but verse 23 shows that husband and wife are a picture of Christ and the church.

New JerusalemVerses 25-27 present three stages leading up to the marriage of Christ and the church:
• Christ loved the church and gave Himself unto death to redeem her (v. 25);
• Now Christ is sanctifying her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word to purify her to match Him (v. 26);
• Soon He will present the church to Himself glorious and holy, not having spot, wrinkle, or blemish (v. 27).

His work to sanctify the church by the washing of water in the word will result in a glorious and holy church without any negative element. This condition matches New Jerusalem, which is also glorious and holy with nothing negative.

Verses 28-33 continue to speak about both husbands and wives and about Christ and the church. Verse 32 shows Paul’s emphasis,
_This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.
Since this is a spiritual mystery, we should ask the Lord to grant us “spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Ephesians 1:17). Then, by revelation (not by natural effort) the mystery can be made known to us (Ephesians 3:3).

The preparation of the church as the bride is also for the preparation of New Jerusalem. The more this mystery is revealed to us, the more it will operate in us, and the more we will be prepared. Lord Jesus, grant me a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Lord, reveal this great mystery in me.

 

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Marriage

New JerusalemRevelation 19:7 encourages all God’s people, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And in Revelation 21:2 John said, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

These two verses show Jesus Christ, the Lamb, and New Jerusalem as the ultimate couple in the Bible, married for eternity. There are many other couples in the Bible which portray and point us toward this eternal couple.

The first couple in the Bible, Adam and Eve, is a picture of Christ and the church. We see this in Ephesians 5:31 which quotes Genesis 2:24. Eve was formed out of Adam as a picture of the church being produced through the death and resurrection of Christ.

In Adam’s case, without the complication of sin, his bride was presented to him immediately after his sleep. In Christ’s case, due to sin, there is a long period of sanctifying and washing away all the blemishes (Ephesians 5:26-27) before the church is presented as His bride.

The picture of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:18-24 matches the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” This picture shows God’s desire from creation, before and apart from any consideration of sin and death. This desire was to have someone as a helper/ counterpart/complement/match* for Adam.

Genesis 2 was the picture. The reality is gradually unfolded through the Bible and seen fully in Revelation 19–22. Eventually New Jerusalem is the counterpart, the complement, the wife of the Lamb Jesus Christ.

 Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.

* Some words used in translations of Genesis 2:18.

We Are Being Led into the Glory of New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThere are verses (e.g. Philippians 3:20-21, 1 Corinthians 15:52) which indicate that our glorification will be instantaneous at the time the Lord returns. However, that glorification will be the culmination of a process rather than an isolated event. Here are three verses which present the process.

Hebrews 2:10 says, “For it was fitting for Him [God the Father], for whom are all things and through whom are all things, in leading many sons into glory, to make the Author [Jesus] of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Verse 11 continues, speaking of us as “those who are being sanctified.” God’s leading us and Jesus Christ’s sanctifying us are both aspects of our being brought into glory.

Ephesians 5:26-27a says, “That He [Christ] might sanctify her [the church], cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word, that He might present the church to Himself glorious.” The cleansing by the washing of the water in the word is for making the church glorious.

Second Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.” Our transformation proceeds “from glory to glory,” from one degree of glory to another. This indicates that the glory is developing in us before it is manifested at the Lord’s return.

“The Son of Man is to come in the glory of His Father “ (Matthew 16:27). The glory of God in Jesus Christ has not yet been manifested but the verses above show that we are in a time of preparation now. Eventually this glory will be a characteristic of New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9-11). Lord, grant us mercy to cooperate with You in Your sanctifying, washing, and transforming work within us. Come, Lord Jesus!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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