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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lord Jesus was Seed of New Jerusalem

1Cor. 15:47

The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.

There is no doubt that in the last two chapters of the Bible, where New Jerusalem is fully revealed, it was a picture of Jesus Christ and what His goal was for His people in history. The fact it was shown coming down from heaven wasn't some type of future event being unveiled, or a post resurrection scenario, but a revelation of what God was bringing down to the earth in and through those who put their faith in Him.

It is the fulfillment of part of the prayer Jesus taught us to pray: "thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." This is what Jesus had in mind when sharing the prayer with His disciples.

What I want to talk a little about in this article is that Jesus Himself, as an individual, was in reality New Jerusalem coming down from heaven, in the sense everything revealed to John concerning it was personified in Christ. The only difference is this city was the result of His people being conformed to His image corporately; the two were now one ethically.

In Ephesians it talks about the eternal purpose of God, which means what God had in mind for mankind even before He created the heavens and the earth. New Jerusalem is what I believe He looked upon as the blueprint, in the spiritual sense, when He began His creative work. This is what was considered in the counsels of the Godhead before time.

There are also references to the fullness of God throughout the scriptures, and that is what we're seeing here in accord with the pre-creation, eternal purpose of the triune God.

The Lord Jesus came from heaven, and that has more than simply location in the thought of God. It has to do with the will and kingdom of God being manifest in His humanity. He as in individual was what New Jerusalem was and is to become as a corporate manifestation of His glory and reality. This is to come down to earth, as the book of Revelation so clearly states.

Everything we see as part of the city - within and without - is part of His extraordinary purpose He had from eternity. It wasn't meant to stay in eternity or even heaven, as the creation itself testifies to. The fact there is a physical creation means it was built for a purpose. That purpose is revealed in its fullness in the Bride of Christ.

We see walls, gates, precious stones, a throne, Tree of Life, river, golden street, among other things. All of these are part of what make up this amazing city, and that is meant to be expressed in every locality in the world. There are numerous things these various items represent, but I'm only trying to give a tiny glimpse into the magnitude and depth of what it is God has had in mind for His people.

All the things of this city described by John as they were revealed to him represent a different aspect of Jesus Christ. It's the manifold wisdom of God moving toward the end He had in mind from before the foundation of the world.

As we move forward to subdue the earth in His name, we need to look at this as our guideline for a vision. We'll of course have a wide variety of ways that will be expressed by different believers, but the elements of this city are to be where we are to draw our inspiration and working model from.

Our vision is a heavenly vision, even more, an eternal vision inherent to the Godhead, which I'm sure gave them an impetus and great pleasure to bring it into being.

It wasn't meant to be something invisible hidden away from the eyes of the human race or angels. It's meant to be seen. This is why we're identified as a city set on a hill by the Lord, as well as the light of the world. This are descriptions of things that are meant to be seen, not hidden from the sight of the world or His saints.

One way I've thought of it through the years is like a single man and woman looking for a spouse. They could write down some of the characteristics and attributes they would like in a husband or wife, but instead of seeking to make it a reality, they sit around content reading those descriptions for the rest of their lives, instead of getting married. In like manner we aren't to only read these things and be content with having the knowledge of what God is ultimately after. We're to pursue making it a visible reality in this world.

If all God wanted were to have invisible stuff around, He would have stopped at heaven. But He didn't. He continued on to make earth. Again, referring to a man, it would be like having the idea of the type of woman he would like to marry in his head, but never pursuing her, which means he would never take part in seeing her for the first time.

There's a reason men are visual in regard to women. It comes from God Himself. I'm not talking about lust here, but an appreciation of the beauty of a woman. It is meant to attract a man in a wholesome way. There's also a reason women make themselves look nice in anticipation of attracting a Godly man. That is expressed in the city which was also called and defined as a bride adorned for her husband.

The purpose of God is that He will have a people conformed to His image. That wasn't only something that was meant to remain invisible or hidden from view, but to be seen in order to glorify God. What was revealed in New Jerusalem is why the outer walls and gates looked so attractive. Both are desired and required by God.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wall of New Jerusalem and Restoring the Kingdom

Since the time of the fall, the curse of God in response to disobedience and unbelief by choosing another as god, was ultimately evidenced by much confusion among the nations of the world. This was personified in Babylon, which means "confusion."

The word confusion itself is defined as an inability to think clearly concerning people, places or even time. It's obvious when transferring this to spiritual understanding, it represents the ongoing state of the world in general, and in many cases, believers in Jesus Christ and the church. 

This is why at important times in history, or even in the heavenlies, we see Babylon being contrasted with Jerusalem, or in the Revelation of Jesus Christ - New Jerusalem.

One of the major reasons this is the case is God is showing what Babylon and its confusion permeates the world with, and how His response in New Jerusalem is an answer to that confusion. New Jerusalem represents the fullness of God as He had pictured it being expressed in a people from before creation. It had an inward element, and also an outward element which is meant to be seen by the world.

When we think of God restoring things, no matter when it has been, is, or will be in history, there is one area will always define anything he is truly initiating: He will always focus on something that has been mixed with truth or distorted because of the church and individual believers allowing it to come into their lives. It starts with a thought and eventually will work itself within and then without. That process is irrefutable among human beings of all kinds, including many of those professing a belief in Jesus Christ. This is the principal of Babylon and all of its outworking in the earth.

That brings us to the wall of Jerusalem, as revealed in Nehemiah's day, and the wall of New Jerusalem revealed in Revelation. There are several features of these walls of importance, and we'll look at the walls themselves and the gates of the walls in this article.

Probably the most important part of the walls is they are a boundary to separate Jerusalem, or the people of God, from Babylon and its confusion. If the wall isn't in place for the benefit of the city of God, Babylon encroaches upon it, and ultimately will take it over. This is one of the reasons they're mentioned together at times in the scriptures.

A boundary of distinction from the world

So the first thing to consider and learn is a wall signifies separation from the world. Paul said it about himself individually when saying he was crucified to the world and the world was crucified to him. There could never be any mixture. They were diametrically opposites of one another, and could not coexist without the people of God losing their testimony. Without this wall, those professing faith in Christ are overwhelmed and permeated with confusion, losing the salt and light effect they were to have on the world.

Without a doubt the scriptures teach Israel, and now the church, are meant to be a totally different people than those in the world. This is the fruit of this wall if it's built correctly. Consider the fact Israel was exiled and held captive in Babylon for 70 years before some were allowed to go down and build a wall. This alone should underscore what God thinks of mixture with the world and the resultant confusion. Jesus stated He would rather have us hot or cold. If we're lukewarm He'll spew us out of His mouth. In other words, those without a distinct way of life from the world make Him sick to His stomach.

No compromise from Nehemiah

This is confirmed in Nehemiah, where the wall has been torn down and the gates of the city burned. The point is the very existence of God's people is to represent the person of God in His character and obedience to His commands; we are to be conformed to His image, which is in reality as a people, is what New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven represents. One of the things it's identified as is the Bride of Christ, which refers to union with God through obedience. If there is no obedience, whatever feelings people may have are irrelevant. "If you love me, keep my commandments," Jesus said.

A people walking as Christ walked is the goal, as John stated in his first epistle. That's the boundary. Nothing was meant to interfere with that. If it wasn't of God, it didn't belong in the city.

The gates

The gates, especially in New Jerusalem, highlighted the fact this wall was meant as a boundary.

City gates represent judgments by men of God concerning what is allowed or acceptable in the city. This is why they were called elders in the Bible. In a spiritual sense, if the gates are properly operated, the wall surrounding the city of God grows and is almost impenetrable. If the gatekeepers are sloppy, lazy, incompetent or worldly, not only will the barrier shrink, ultimately, as in the time when Jerusalem was sacked by Nebuchadnezzar, the gates and the walls are destroyed, and the house of God will be in ruin.

This is why I say, no matter what the emphasis of God may be in any particular time in history as to recovery, it will always include the separation between the people of God and the world or Babylon. That's what any type of recovery will consist of.

Jesus was very clear about this in Matthew 5:13, where it said this: "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." There is no ambiguity there.

The gates also represented righteous judgment. If there was no righteous judgment, unrighteousness would flood the city.

Men of God and the walls of the city

One has to understand the walls surrounding Jerusalem and the walls of New Jerusalem are symbolic of a spiritual truth. Not only do they represent what was mentioned above, but men of God leading God's people should be one with this boundary. They should embody and personify the wall, then build that around God's people.  

With that in mind, it has to be concluded the wall of Jerusalem and Nehemiah were representative of the same characteristics God was looking to recover. It always starts with a man or men of God. It's embraced and permeated in their lives first, and then by example, demonstration and teaching, it is imparted to followers of Jesus Christ.

What this means is these types of men have the jealousy of God's testimony consume them, and the display and respond with a holy jealousy to see God glorified as He was meant to be in His people. Men like this won't put up with mixture of any type, and will challenge inconsistencies they see in God's people as measured against Jesus Christ and His word. The idea of compromise isn't in the vocabulary of men like this.

I'm not talking about curmudgeons or grumpy people here, I'm talking about those who weep and labor until they see Christ formed in a people (Gal. 4:19).


The followers of Jesus Christ are called to be a peculiar people, a people completely different than this world; a new creation. This is what these walls represent. There is a lot more to consider with them, but that is the essence of their meaning.

We are to be a testimony of who God is in this world, as we bring the Gospel to it and teach it to obey all that Jesus Christ has commanded us to in the Bible - from Genesis to Revelation.

Discerning the condition of those proclaiming to be Christians isn't hard. First you look at the gates and judgments and teachings being made there, and then at the type of wall, if any, built to show the world we are nothing like them or it.  If we are full of mixture, as this generation is now, there will be little in the way of identifying what this wall represents in the thought of God for His people.

This is part of what even the angels desire to look into. It is the visible representation on earth of the invisible God dwelling in heaven. Being examples and light to the world, we are then to teach the world the expectations of God for them, and put His commands into the code of law to put restraints on their behavior.

Nothing but God is allowed in this city, and the gates and walls are there to ensure everything else is kept out. That's what God is working toward on this earth, and even though it'll never be totally fulfilled because tares will grow with the wheat, over time, we will see the wheat start to prevail and tares diminish.

This will take time, and God's people must first enter into obedience, as the scripture says. "And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (2 Corinthians 10:6)

Or as Paul concluded in Romans 1: 4-6:

"And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

 "By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

 "Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:"

We are to seek God's will and requirements and walk in obedience to them, and from there be ready to tell the world God expects the same of them. Only a people distinct and separate from the ways of this world will have an impact. That wall must be built. Rise up like Nehemiah men of God and get to work.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

God's Kingdom: Turning the Tide on Planet Earth

Throughout the Scriptures it is revealed time and time again that the kingdom of God is to be expressed on this earth. There is no doubt when God created the heavens and earth, the ultimate goal was for His kingdom and will to be expressed in both environments. It starts first in the heavenlies and is meant to be expressed visibly on earth. For that reason Jesus taught us to pray for His Kingdom to come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven. He wouldn't have revealed to us to pray for in specific order if heaven wasn't fully representative of who He was and what He purposed for it. Otherwise we would be praying for something not of God to come to earth. We already have enough of that.

We are to take dominion and subdue the earth as God commanded Adam to do long ago. That requirement has never changed, and to this day we're to engage in actions that will bring it under the headship of Jesus Christ. It will be done according to His will as revealed in the Bible. The work on earth will never be fully perfected as He wants it, but over time it'll take on more of His characteristics as the kingdom of darkness is gradually pushed back and the kingdom of light is manifested more and more.

That is done in an ethical way, by which I mean as we His people better understand what His laws require of us,  we can apply them to every area of life; including education, science, the arts, business, entertainment, politics, the church, family and individually, among many other areas of interest we engage in.

What we as the people of God in Jesus Christ must do is start to believe God has called us to this task. We need to forget about escapism and start becoming excellent in various aspects of life and serve in them, becoming the salt and light of the earth we're called to be.

Contrary to the endless false predictions of the soon return of Jesus, life continues to go on. We must embrace the strong possibility Jesus may not return for many years into the future. Only when we consider that will we start to use the time we're given on the earth to glorify God in the tasks He's given us to accomplish.

It may seem just about everything to do in life has someone doing it well, but the truth is there are so many opportunities to serve it boggles the mind if you research it. 

After so many believers have said for a long time God and the Bible has answers to all of life, when we're pressed on the issue in specific areas, we area continually frustrated when we realize we've done very little to dig deeper into the Scriptures to find out how they can be applied successfully. Most Christians don't really believe the Bible has the answers; they are thinking very specifically of initial salvation and going to heaven after we die, or get taken up at the last day by the resurrection, with most looking for it to happen in their lifetimes so they don't have to experience physical death.

There is much more to salvation than being born again. From there we are supposed to be conformed to the image of Christ over time, with that image including taking dominion in this world. That is done, as mentioned earlier, by offering service in our chosen fields, including raising children in the home. We are to do it with the goal of becoming experts in our specific tasks to the glory of God.
It of course starts with individual transformation, but that transformation is to expand and grow, not only in our personal life, but every part of life we touch and engage in. 

When God's people become experts and operate in terms of absolute integrity, the change in this world will be extraordinary. We should accept nothing less than this as our purpose on the earth, as we reflect the image of God in the works of our hands, showing forth outwardly and visible the work within us.

This is what will turn the tide, when the kingdom of God is more than an invisible, heavenly place, but an expression of that invisible kingdom seen on the earth.