Saturday, April 30, 2016

The New Jerusalem, HAS BEEN HERE FOR LONG! - Part #1

Dear in Christ,

I am quite sure that you may have come across books, write ups and blogs on how impractical and hazardous it is for a humongous cube called New Jerusalem to come down from heaven and be placed on planet earth. While such such efforts are worthy and do raise some relevant questions, this post is my analysis of Revelation 21.

Before we begin, I request you to read the study on Rev 22. These two studies are complementary. Quite a lot of groundwork for this post is laid there.

The location and the inhabitants of New Jerusalem

Unlike the popular understanding about the New Jerusalem, neither is it heaven, nor is it in heaven, it comes down from heaven to earth.
Rev 21:1 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven ...
Rev 21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit ... and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
It is popularly believed that the proceedings of this chapter should come to pass in the future, after the so-called millennial (1,000 year) rule and after the earth is restored to Edenic (paradise-like) conditions.

The continued presence of evildoers just outside the city gates of New Jerusalem (Rev 21:27 & 22:15) even after:
  • the old heaven & earth fleeing away (Rev 20:11)
  • the evildoers are cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:15; 21:8)
  • and the new heaven and new earth are in place (Rev 21:1)
proves beyond doubt that the talk of Rev 20 - 22 is not of replacing the planet earth with a new one. The proceedings of the chapter unfolds here on planet earth. If one insists that the events of Rev 21 and 22 unfold on a brand new planet earth, the onus is on them to explain what was the objective achieved by God by bringing about a new earth wherein evildoers and ungodly continue to exist. (The very purpose of burning up the old heaven and earth is the destruction of the ungodly - 2Pet 3:7)

The inhabitants of the New Jerusalem are righteous and holy, and their names are written in the book of the lamb. (Rev 21:27)
Rev 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it (the city) anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
New Jerusalem has been here since the 1ˢᵗ century.
Rev 21:1 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
If you agree with me that all or most of the New Testament books were written in the 1ˢᵗ century or thereabout AND that the terms 'new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven', 'heavenly Jerusalem' and 'Jerusalem that is above' amounts to the same, then it has been here for a long time.

You cannot come to a non-existent object or place!

The writer of Hebrews tells his 1ˢᵗ century readers:
Heb 12:22 But ye are come (have come in other versions) unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and ...
Is it reasonable to think that the author of Hebrews was deluding his 1ˢᵗ century readers by telling them that they are come to the Heavenly Jerusalem, if it did not exist at that point of time?

You cannot be children of a non-existent mother.

If Heavenly Jerusalem were something that has to happen somewhere in the infinite future then Apostle Paul was deluding and deceiving his 1ˢᵗ century readers by telling them they are her children. - Gal 4:22-31
Gal 4:25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
Gal 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Gal 4:31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Paul did not tell his 1ˢᵗ century readers that Jerusalem which is above will become our mother sometime in the remote future. Instead, he said, she is the mother of us all. In other words, Heavenly Jerusalem was a 1ˢᵗ century reality.

Unless one can establish beyond doubt that "the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven", "Heavenly Jerusalem" and "Jerusalem which is above" are entirely different entities, New Jerusalem has been around since the first century.

Yes, I know that Gal 4:26 talks about Jerusalem that is still above and Rev 21:1 talks about New Jerusalem coming down from heaven. We will see when this had to happen in our study of Rev 20.

New Jerusalem promises fulfilled.

The statement that the New Jerusalem has been here since the first century may give rise to a few questions, especially regarding verses 3 and 4. Many would ask, has the promises in these verses been fulfilled?
Rev 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
We should not lose sight to the fact that the focus of Rev 21 is New Jerusalem and not the whole world. While it is said that there shall be no more death or sorrow, it is in relation to New Jerusalem and not the whole world.

God dwelling with men - Rev 21:3
Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we (Father & Jesus) will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Isn't God and Christ making their abode (habitation) with those who love him not the same as God dwelling with men? Do people look forward to God with a snowy white beard dwelling with them?

Paul wrote to his 1ˢᵗ century readers in Ephesus that they are being built as a habitation of God:
Eph 2:22 In whom (Christ)  ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
You are the dwelling place of God. God and Christ dwells with you.

There shall be no more death - Rev 21:3

Many do expect that biological death will be done away with. Consider this:
2Ti 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
While it is stated that Jesus abolished death, if it really meant biological death then why billions of people have been dying since Jesus' times?

Again, while Jesus said these, could he have meant biological death?
Joh 6:50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
Joh 11:26  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
If a believer in Christ, an inhabitant of New Jerusalem shall never die (whatever Jesus meant by that), tell me whether death is done away with or not? Jesus knew that it is hard to believe his statement and that is the precise reason why He asked: Believest thou this?

Tears, sorrow, pain...

Once death is done away with, the main cause for sorrow and tear is removed. We can see many scriptures that say that believers rejoiced in their suffering. In other words, the approach of believers to suffering has undergone a sea-change.
Rom 5:3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance...
Rom 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
We read of Paul and Silas rejoicing and praising God while they were put in a prison after many stripes laid on them. (Acts 16:23-25) While Apostles Peter and John were sent away by the Jewish religious after commanding them not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus, they along with rest of the believers lifted up their voice and praised God! (Acts 4:13-31). In short, it is not that believers, the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem, won't taste physical death or that they won't have tears, it is all about a changed perspective towards life and death.

In Christ,

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