The New Jerusalem: What is it?
New Jerusalem is not an actual city, to start with. Instead, it is the spiritual home that Christ provides. The resurrected unity of Jesus Christ and His followers is the New Jerusalem. It is all of “Christ in you.”
Colossians 1:27 — “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
The New Jerusalem is not a heavenly city, to put the same Truth another way. Instead, they are heavenly people. Those who are “in Christ” make up the New Jerusalem. Christians are united with the Lord and share a single spirit with Him.
1 Corinthians 6:17 — But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.
The New Jerusalem is that spiritual, resurrected unity made up of everyone who belongs to the church. It is said that this is the “city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
Hebrews 11:10 — For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
This is supported by every instance in the New Testament (NT) when The New Jerusalem is alluded to or stated. For instance, in the Book of Revelation:
Revelation 3:12-13 — Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write on him my new name. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches.
Because people make up the body of Christ, people who are united to Christ make up The New Jerusalem. You’ll see that The New Jerusalem is known as “the city of my God” and that it descends “from heaven from my God.” What we may infer from this is that The New Jerusalem is of a celestial or spiritual origin; it descends from above and is a manifestation of the heavenly world. Furthermore, it originates directly from God; it is of His thinking, and even of His own existence. God, through His Son, provides the New Jerusalem with its vital force.
Given by God
Most of us have never thought twice about what we refer to as “church.” When we think of “the church,” we picture a group of individuals who meet on Sundays to sing songs, fellowship over coffee or a meal, worship, preach the gospel and advance Christian causes. However, it is possible to carry out all of that in a purely external, religious manner, unconnected to Christ. Just like individual Christians, the church also needs to be birthed by God. Otherwise, all we have is a physical manifestation of religion. It must be born of the divine spirit in order to bear Christ’s life.
People cannot just get together, create a group, purchase a building, formulate a declaration of faith, employ a pastor, claim to be followers of Jesus, and then turn everything over to God and expect Him to bless it. No. Not of The New Jerusalem; not the church. No matter how serious some of these efforts may be, if the people who make up a church like this are not of a heavenly nature in Christ, neither will the church that they build.
Furthermore, it won’t matter how skilled they are at leading services, creating programmes, and managing the church as a whole. The New Jerusalem is not a company or a collection of companies. The New Jerusalem, on the other hand, is a living “organism” in Jesus Christ and draws its trust from Him.
It’s crucial to understand that The New Jerusalem’s qualities are only what they are because of spiritual unity with Christ, which is produced by His death and resurrection. Because of the people who make up that city, the New Jerusalem is heavenly in character, spiritually oriented, and derives its vitality from Christ. Likewise, people who live from outside of this world and act from natural man, the soul plane, are not of The New Jerusalem. Although it may sound harsh to say so, God does so when He compares The New Jerusalem with the harlot church.
The Harlot Church
A church that is not devoted exclusively to God’s purposes is a harlot church. It adapts to the environment. The world’s mentality is inside of it. The majority of areas where this is the case acknowledge it as required for monetary reasons – or for the purpose of being recognised – so that “the gospel might be preached.”
But God has the power to unlock the entrances required for the gospel. We must maintain ourselves free of the inner spirit as well as external entanglements with the world. Again, a harlot church is only what it is because of the people that make up its membership. A local body is made up of all of its individual members.
Therefore, what we need to understand is that people who have experienced new creation in Christ Jesus make up the New Jerusalem. They inhabit this world yet are not a part of it. They are each set aside only for God’s use and have experienced Christ’s Reality. Jesus Christ in His people, Jesus Christ as the Life, and Jesus Christ made evident through His people to His glory make up the New Jerusalem.
An Ethereal – Supernatural City
The New Jerusalem was only seen in a vision by John the Apostle and is not visible to us (in heavenly dimensions) in this era. God revealed to him a vision of “a city” and “a bride,” using concrete examples. However, The New Jerusalem is not situated anywhere. You also cannot support it with a study of the history of Christianity, which dates back thousands of years. Instead, it is made up of people who have lived during this whole period and are born from above; the majority of them have never met one another. All people who are in Christ and who are connected to one another make up this City, which is a spiritual city.
Jesus Christ is evident in the New Jerusalem because He is prominent in its inhabitants. There might be a type of religion in harlot churches. However, they are not the products of God. God has worked to bring about The New Jerusalem; He has given birth to individuals in Christ, and as a result, the city is born. It comes from His heart and thoughts.
Jesus Christ, The Foundation and Rock
Hebrews 11:10 — For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
It is rather incredible that Abraham would have been aware of the existence of a city, one for which he might search. However, Hebrews makes it clear that Abraham searched for a city. You’ll also see that it states of this city: “Whose builder and maker is God.” Abraham was seeking the church, often known as the Body of Christ or the Bride of Christ, or The New Jerusalem. It is a product of God.
Abraham is supposed to have been looking for a city with foundations. And God Himself develops and produces on top of the foundations that He has already set. The city that has everlasting foundations and whose builder and creator is God is known as the New Jerusalem, the city that is of God from out of God.
The Truth of this city is interwoven throughout the New Testament. It is a city built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. And God builds this city on Jesus Christ — It is of Christ.
Do not, once again, consider the physical elements of a city. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of this city. People—those born from above in Christ—are the building blocks of the city that are founded on Jesus Christ. As a result, this city is not made up of physical structures and lifeless concrete. Instead, it is a “living” city in the same sense that Christ’s body is a living thing.
Build My Church
At this time, we are compelled to focus on a turning point in Jesus Christ’s ministry:
Matthew 16:15-20 — He said to them, But whom say you that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
This verse has a lot of information, but before we examine it, we need to be certain of what the church really is. The Greek term “ekklesia,” which is translated as “church,” is used. Its meaning is “called out ones.” As a result, the church is made up of “ones,” or of “people” who have been called out of the race of Adam and into Christ. The people who have Christ as their Lord and Saviour are who belong to the church. The “household of God,” also known as the “body of Christ,” is the collective unit that is subordinate to Christ as its Head.
Can we recognise that “the church” consists of people who are indeed “born from above” and who together make up the New Jerusalem in Christ?
This makes the verse more understandable. Who do you think I am, Jesus questioned His followers. The appropriate response came from Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus, however, makes it quite plain that the source of this disclosure of His identity was not made of flesh and blood.
In other words, the disciples received this insight from no other person. They did not draw this insight from their own minds, feelings, or wits, nor from their own flesh and blood. Instead, the Father Himself revealed Jesus to them, coming from a source apart from human flesh and blood.
At this time, the Father had already shown Christ to these disciples. Jesus will be shown “in” them after Acts 2 (Pentecost). No one had experienced being born again before Acts 2, and no one had encountered Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Instead, as Jesus had instructed His disciples, the spirit of God had been with them; but, it would not be sent to be in them until after Jesus had gone. The Father had nevertheless revealed Christ to them, almost as a taste of what will be far more deep and vital after Acts 2. They could not have learned this knowledge from any other source except God.
The only method for any of us to gain insight is still in this fashion. People who place their trust in Christ have had Him inside them since Pentecost. However, we lack the resources within ourselves to draw any kind of insight from Christ. The Father must carry out work through the power of the Holy Spirit that makes the Christ who is inside us know. In fact, Jesus Himself said that the purpose of the spirit’s gift was to make Him known. God wants to make His people aware of His Son inwardly by the power of His spirit.
In response to this revelation of Christ, Peter embraced him and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The answer to Jesus’ request is closely related to the New Jerusalem’s Truth. He declares, “On this rock, I will build my church.”
What Rock is this? Peter? No.
In reality, Jesus’ response contains a wordplay. He states, “You are Peter.” “Peter” is a diminutive form of a pebble. Jesus continues, “You are Peter (little pebble), but it is upon this Rock (the foundation of Myself) that I will build my church.” He is making a comparison between Peter and Himself. Jesus is explicitly declaring that the individuals who make up the church will be founded on Himself – upon the inner knowledge that the Father grants of Jesus.
This conversation between Jesus and His followers is crucial. Jesus is saying that the rock—the foundation—upon which those who make up the church will be built is the revelation of Himself in His people. The people who make up the church will be constructed on My presence in My people, according to the verse, “Upon this Rock, I will build My church.”
Is the church being constructed now on the Rock? Are those in Christ—those who have an inner realisation of Christ—being built upon Him? We often believe that growing the church requires gaining more resources, followers, space, and power. No. The people God is edifying in Christ make up the church of which Jesus speaks: “Whose builder and maker is God.” This is the city whose only cornerstone is Jesus Christ, the Rock.
In His People, Christ!
All of these truths are confirmed by John in his vision of the New Jerusalem, which is detailed in Revelation:
Revelation 21:2-3 — And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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.
A Christian is someone in whom Christ resides since Christianity is Christ in us. The definition of a Christian is someone who “is joined to the Lord and made one spirit with Him.” It is through the spiritual connection that Christ comes to live in the believer. The words from John’s vision, “The dwelling place of God is with men,” perfectly describe these truths. God Himself will live among people in His habitation. The New Jerusalem is a picture of God residing INSIDE of people. Sure. Through His Son, God has established a home in the human race. This is The New Jerusalem and Christ in us.
Abraham was searching for a city even in Abraham’s day, which proves that Christ in us was god’s purpose and the “city that has foundations,” God was building this “city” from the beginning. This is crucial to what He is doing and has everlasting consequences.
People are receiving revelations of God the Father’s Son as God builds Christ in them and causes them to have an inner realisation of Jesus. The City is this. The city Abraham was looking for. Even though he may not have realised it, he was searching the place that has come to be known as The New Jerusalem.
Let Us Pray
Loving Father, we thank You for the beautiful picture of the New Jerusalem that You have shown us in Your Word. We also thank You that we are a part of the church, the body of Christ, which is the New Jerusalem. We are so blessed to be united with Christ and to be part of Your eternal plan.
Lord, we pray that You would help us to live our lives in a way that brings glory to You. We ask that You would help us to love others as You have loved us and to share the hope of the New Jerusalem with those around us. Please give us wisdom and discernment as we navigate the challenges of this world.
Thank You again for the promise of the New Jerusalem and for the assurance that You are with us always. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.