|Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 254-264), Chapter 5|
C. The Dwelling Place of God among Men—the Nations—in Eternity
Revelation 21:3 and 24 indicate that the New Jerusalem will be the dwelling place among men—the nations—in eternity. Those people who do not follow the devil to rebel against God at the end of the millennium will be transferred to the new earth to be the nations living around the New Jerusalem and walking by its light. Hence, the New Jerusalem as the tabernacle of God will be the dwelling place of God among the nations in eternity.
Eventually, the New Jerusalem will be the dwelling place for both God and His serving ones. The picture of this in the Old Testament is very clear. The tabernacle was God’s dwelling place, but at the same time it was the priests’ dwelling place, the place in which they served God. This indicates that in the New Jerusalem, the ultimate consummation of the tabernacle, God and His serving priests will dwell in the same tabernacle. To God the New Jerusalem will be His dwelling, and to us God will be our dwelling. Revelation 21:22 tells us that in the New Jerusalem there is no temple, “for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” This means that God is not only the object of our service and worship but also our temple in which we serve Him. The New Jerusalem is God’s dwelling place, and the New Jerusalem as the temple is God Himself as our dwelling place. Actually, the New Jerusalem is a mingling of the Triune God with His redeemed people, and this mingling is a mutual dwelling for God and His redeemed. God lives in us and we live in Him. He and we become one mingled entity for eternity.
V. THE WIFE OF THE REDEEMING CHRIST
The New Jerusalem is not only the tabernacle of God but also the wife of the redeeming Christ. In both the Old and New Testaments, God likens His chosen people to a spouse for His satisfaction in love (Isa. 54:6; Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 16:8; Hosea 2:19; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:31-32). In the New Jerusalem as the wife of the redeeming Christ, God will have the fullest satisfaction in love.
Revelation 21:9b and 10 say, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” Whereas the bride is mainly for the wedding day, the wife is for the entire life. The New Jerusalem will be the bride in the millennium for one thousand years as one day (2 Pet. 3:8) and then the wife in the new heaven and new earth for eternity. The bride in the millennium will include only the overcoming saints, but the wife in the new heaven and new earth will include all the redeemed and regenerated sons of God (Rev. 21:7).
The New Jerusalem will be one with the redeeming Christ, as Eve became one with Adam. Eve was builded from a rib that was taken out of Adam’s side, and then she was brought back to him to be one flesh with him—to be one with him in nature and in life (Gen. 2:21-24; Eph. 5:25-27, 29-32). The principle is the same with the New Jerusalem as the wife of the redeeming Christ. She will be one with her Redeemer in nature and in life. Once again we see that the New Jerusalem cannot be a material city, for a physical city cannot be one with Christ in nature and in life. The New Jerusalem will not only have the divine element added to it and the holy nature of God wrought into it but will also be one with the redeeming Christ in nature and in life.
A. Having the Church as Her Miniature
The New Jerusalem as the wife of the redeeming Christ has the church as her miniature. This is revealed by Paul’s word in Ephesians 5:22-32, where he speaks of the church as the counterpart of Christ. The church is actually a part of Christ, for the church comes out of Christ and is unto Christ, just as Eve came out of Adam and was unto Adam.
In Ephesians 5:32 Paul says, “This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.” The fact that Christ and the church are one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17), as typified by the husband and wife being one flesh, is the great mystery. It surely is a great mystery that the church as Christ’s counterpart comes out of Christ, has the same life and nature as Christ, and is one with Christ.
B. Having Been the Bride of Christ in the Millennium
In the new heaven and new earth Christ will have a wife, but in the millennium He will have a bride (Rev. 19:7-8; 21:2), consisting of the overcoming believers. At His coming back Christ will marry the overcomers. This marriage is described in Revelation 19:7-9.
Revelation 19:7 says, “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.” The marriage of the Lamb is the issue of the completion of God’s New Testament economy. God’s economy in the New Testament is to obtain for Christ a bride, the church, through His redemption and divine life. By the continual working of the Holy Spirit through all the centuries, this goal will be completed at the end of this age. Then the bride, who will consist of the overcoming believers, will be ready.
The words His wife in Revelation 19:7 refer to the church (Eph. 5:24-25, 31-32), the bride of Christ (John 3:29). However, according to Revelation 19:8 and 9, the wife, the bride of Christ, consists only of the overcoming believers during the millennium, whereas the bride, the wife, in Revelation 21:2 is composed of all the saved saints after the millennium for eternity.
Revelation 19:7b tells us that the wife “has made herself ready.” The readiness of the bride depends on both the overcomers’ maturity in life and on their being built up together as a corporate entity. Therefore, the overcomers are not only mature in life but also built up together as one bride.
Revelation 19:8 says, “It was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.” Here pure refers to the nature and bright, to the expression. The righteousnesses, or righteous acts, do not refer to the righteousness (which is Christ) we received for our salvation, a righteousness that is objective and that qualifies us to meet the requirement of the righteous God. The righteousnesses of the overcoming believers in Revelation 19:8 are subjective so that they may meet the requirement of the overcoming Christ. The fine linen, therefore, indicates our overcoming life. It is actually the Christ whom we live out of our being.
C. Constituted of All the Perfected Saints
Ultimately, in the new heaven and new earth, the New Jerusalem as the wife of the redeeming Christ will be constituted of all the perfected saints. After the millennium all the saints will have been perfected and constituted together to be the wonderful entity of the New Jerusalem.
The consummation of the church as the counterpart of Christ will be the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth for eternity. Revelation 21:2 says, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” The New Jerusalem is a living composition of all the saints redeemed and perfected by God throughout all generations. This is the bride, the wife, of Christ as His counterpart. As the wife of Christ, the New Jerusalem comes out of Christ and becomes His counterpart. She is prepared by participating in the riches of the life and nature of Christ.
Revelation 22:17 indicates that Christ and the New Jerusalem as His wife will be a universal couple for eternity. The Spirit, who is the totality of the processed Triune God, becomes one with the believers, who are now fully matured to be the bride. Therefore, the consummation of the processed Triune God and the consummation of God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people will be one and will be a universal couple expressing the Triune God for eternity.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
MESSAGE TWO HUNDRED FIFTY-NINE
THE NEW JERUSALEM
We have seen that the New Jerusalem is the Jerusalem above, the city of the living God, a sign, the tabernacle of God, and the wife of the redeeming Christ. In this message we will begin to consider the many aspects of the New Jerusalem as the holy city.
VI. THE HOLY CITY
The New Jerusalem is the holy city (Rev. 21:2, 10). The designation holy city signifies that the New Jerusalem is a city sanctified and separated unto God for the fulfilling of His purpose. As the holy city of God, the New Jerusalem is holy, sanctified, fully separated unto God, and thoroughly saturated with God’s holy nature to be His habitation. This holy city is thoroughly permeated and mingled with God. This great city is utterly separated unto God and saturated with Him. The New Jerusalem is both sanctified and separated unto God positionally and sanctified and saturated with God dispositionally. It is holy both extrinsically and intrinsically. It is an entity, entirely and thoroughly holy, that fits in with God’s holy nature for His expression to fulfill the desire of His heart.
In the New Testament the word holy means not only separated unto God but also saturated with God, whereas in the Old Testament to be made holy is only to be separated unto God. There is no saturation of God in the Old Testament, and the holiness, or sanctification, there is only positional, not dispositional. In the New Testament, however, we see both objective, positional sanctification and subjective, dispositional sanctification (Matt. 23:17, 19; Rom. 6:19, 22; 1 Thes. 5:23). In positional sanctification there is only a change of position, but in dispositional sanctification there is the transformation in nature and in element. The New Jerusalem as the holy city is holy not merely in the sense of the Old Testament but also in the sense of the New Testament. This means that the New Jerusalem is not merely a city separated unto God but also a city saturated with God.
Based upon this principle, we can see that the holy city, the New Jerusalem, cannot be a physical city since a physical city cannot be saturated with God. The New Jerusalem is a city composed of living persons who have been separated unto God and saturated with Him.
A. Built with All the Redeemed and Perfected Saints
The New Jerusalem as the holy city is built with all the redeemed and perfected saints of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. This means that the New Jerusalem is a living composition of all God’s redeemed. The holy city is thus a living building.
All the saints of both the Old Testament and the New Testament are the components, the constituents, of the New Jerusalem for God’s expression. All the saints are God’s regenerated and transformed children. They are the sons of God spoken of in Revelation 21:7. Having God’s life and nature, they are different from the peoples spoken of in Revelation 21:3, who are the nations around the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:24 and 22:2. The New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth will be the aggregate of all the sons of God, who have been redeemed, regenerated, sanctified, transformed, and glorified for the building of the New Jerusalem as God’s ultimate manifestation for eternity.
Read from the full text of this book
COPYRIGHT © 2017
LIVING STREAM MINISTRY