CHRIST THE DELIVERER: EIGHT (EXCERPT OF BEHOLD MY SERVANT!)
“Christ the Deliverer: Eight” is taken from Behold My Servant!, copyright © 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library.
Copyright © 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
God’s Servant Is in the Image of God
Table of Contents
God’s Servant Fills the Universe with the Image of Christ
God’s Servant Is the Temple of God
God’s Servant Is In the Image of God
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26,27)
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)
The preceding passages present the original Divine proclamation concerning man. Man is to be in the image of the almighty God. Also, we notice that the complete image of God is male and female. To mankind has been assigned fruitfulness and dominion over all things. Such is the Word of God.
The Word of God is living and powerful. It contains in itself all the authority, all the power, all the wisdom, all the resources necessary to bring into being the totality of that which has been spoken by the Lord.
The original proclamation concerning mankind governs every fact and circumstance of history. The Divine commission has controlled all the creatures and events of the past. It supervises all the creatures and events of the present. It will continue to govern all creatures and events throughout eternity.
All things are working together, are being compelled to work together, for good to those who have been called according to the eternal purpose of God in Christ and who are cooperating with the Spirit of God in fulfilling God’s purpose.
God views each of His elect as perfect in Christ and as possessing extraordinary fruitfulness and dominion. “The works were finished from the foundation of the world,” meaning the proclamations made in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis bind all creatures and things for all time (Hebrews 4:3).
Everything God proclaimed at the outset will come to pass in fullness and in detail. Now God is resting and Christ is resting in Him and with Him. They are awaiting the perfect accomplishment of all God has announced concerning “man.” Our task is to be totally diligent in entering that rest, into that completed work of God.
We have been predestined to be changed into the image of Christ. We are being changed into that image by means of the resources of the Word of God unless we are turning our back on God and refusing His love and calling.
It is God’s plan that His Servant be in His image. Apart from our being in His image, fruitfulness and dominion are impossible of attainment. But as we grow into His image and come into perfect union with Him, fruitfulness and dominion are assigned to us because of the Word of God from the beginning.
We must be in the image of God in order to come into the fullness of our inheritance as sons. We must be in the image of God in order to be the brothers of Christ. We must be in the image of God in order to be part of the Wife of the Lamb. We must be in the image of God if we are to be given dominion over the works of God’s hands and are to be able to govern the creation properly.
We must be in the image of God if we are to accomplish the filling of the heavens and the earth with the image of Christ. We must be in the image of God in order to be the Temple of God. We must be in the image of God if we are to be able to execute the judgment of God upon all unrighteousness. We must be in the image of God in order to be the light of the world, the holy Jerusalem.
The purposes of God in Christ can be brought to fruition only as the members of the Body of Christ are transformed into the image of the Head—Christ.
What does it mean to be in the image of God? It means to be like Christ in spirit, in soul, and in body.
Man was created in the image of God. “Man” is male and female and is composed of spirit, soul, and a material body. No other creature of God is male and female and composed of spirit, soul, and a material body.
In terms of the new creation of God (that which is based on the original physical creation but transcends it to the extent that Christ transcends Adam), even Christ Himself is not complete apart from His Bride. She is His body, the fullness of Him. Adam was not in the image of God apart from Eve. Christ Himself, although the express image of the Father, is incomplete apart from His Church, His Body. It is not good that a man be alone.
To be fully in the image of God, and to fulfill the Divine commission, there must be male and female. The reason Christ longs for His Bride with such intensity is that She is an integral part of Himself, being created from His body and blood. She is His Being!
Man is in the image of God in that man possesses a spirit. The Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit. The spirit of man is that part of him that can reach forth and touch God. God is Spirit, the Spirit of life, holiness, power, wisdom, knowledge, counsel, love, joy, peace. When man is not in union with God through Christ his spirit is dead just as an isolated puddle of water is stagnant and “dead.”
It is God’s will that our spirit be so merged with His Divine Spirit that the two become one Spirit.
But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. (I Corinthians 6:17)
When we become one Spirit with the Lord we reveal in ourselves the life, the holiness, the power, the wisdom, the knowledge, the counsel of the Spirit of God. We are filled with love, joy, peace, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit.
In order to be part of Christ we must cleanse our spirit so our spirit can become one with the Holy Spirit of God.
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)
Man is in the image of God in that man possesses a soul. The soul of man is his will, his power of judgment, his self, the basis of his unique personality. God has a soul and man has a soul.
I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. (Leviticus 26:11)
and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, (Leviticus 26:15)
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)
Angels never are spoken of as having souls, for angels do not possess a personality like that of God. Neither are angels able to dwell in God or have God dwell in them, as is true of the lowliest of humans. Only man is in the image of God. Man alone is the offspring of God. Man is unique among the creatures of God.
The soul of Adam was not sinful, neither was it righteous. It was blank—a slate on which no one had written. The Word of God had not been written on Adam’s soul or in his mind except for the sense of right and wrong contained in his conscience.
Adam did not have a rebellious soul as we have, a fleshly nature that—working through the appetites of the flesh—tends toward wicked behavior. Adam was not filled with self-will, self-seeking, self-centeredness, self-love, or rebellion against God. Adam was neutral as far as sin and righteousness are concerned.
The soul of Adam was not forcefully, militantly righteous, holy, or obedient to God. Adam neither loved nor hated righteousness or wickedness. Adam was in the image of God in that he possessed a soul. But he was not in the image of God to the extent of possessing a soul that loves righteousness and hates iniquity.
Christ is the first man to appear on the face of the earth having the fullness of the Holy Spirit of God. Also, His love of righteousness and hatred of lawlessness exceed by far any other person who has lived on the earth.
Jesus Christ is the first Man to be perfectly and completely in the image of God in spirit and soul. Therefore Jesus possesses total fruitfulness in re-creating His image, and total dominion over the heavens and the earth.
Because the Father is absolutely pleased with Christ He is sowing Christ in us. Our soul is being transformed into the likeness of Christ as we behold the Glory of the Lord. We are being brought down into the image of Christ’s death so the Spirit of life from Christ may be filling all that we are, all that we think, all that we say, all that we do. We must decrease while He increases in us. This is the true redemption, the true eternal life, the true Kingdom of God.
Only as Christ is being created in us is the will of God being prepared in us. The end is that we may be changed into the image of Christ in spirit and in soul and that we may be brought into total union with Him.
Man is in the image of God in that man’s form is like that of God. God does not have a flesh and blood body as we do, but God became incarnate in Christ and today remains incarnate in Christ in a glorified body of flesh and bones. God does not have the form of an animal, as some religions teach, but has the same form as man, who alone is the offspring of God.
And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it.
Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around.
Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking. (Ezekiel 1:26-28)
The Lord possesses attributes and powers similar to our attributes and powers. Our temporary attributes and powers are shadowy forms of His eternal attributes and powers. God sees; God hears; God sits; God rides; God walks; God touches; God speaks; God comforts; God makes war; God writes.
Christ was born of a human mother, being given a flesh and blood body. Christ still possesses the same body although now it no longer is bound by the limitations of human physiological processes. Also, Christ’s body has been glorified—invested with majesty and capabilities of Divine power and glory.
We Christians are imprisoned in flesh and blood bodies. But the Day of the Lord will bring to us an animation of our present body and an overlay (body from Heaven) of vast power and capabilities—like that of the Lord Jesus Himself. This will be true on the condition that we allow Christ to make us victorious saints; that we sow diligently to the Spirit of God and not to our fleshly nature.
The Word of God is creating us in the image of Christ.
Our spirit is being made holy. Our spirit is receiving the Life of the Holy Spirit and is increasing daily in the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord. We are being created in the image of God in our spirit. All uncleanness is being removed from our spirit as we wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Also, our soul is undergoing a process of change. Our soul is being transformed completely, something like a caterpillar being changed into a butterfly. The Substance of Christ has been born in our soul. Through the Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our soul is being broken and re-created into the moral character of Christ.
The disciple can emphasize the reality of Christ being formed in him without fear he is pushing this doctrine to an extreme, provided one fact is kept in focus: God is not creating many Christs, He is enlarging the one Lord Jesus Christ.
It is the Father’s pleasure that Christ be conceived and formed in the believers. This is the multiplication of Christ of which the Scripture speaks. As Christ is formed in us we are brought into oneness in Christ in the Father. This is the supreme will of God. All else of the Gospel is to bring to pass this single, supreme objective—that the saint be made perfectly one in Christ in God.
The Holy Spirit is inscribing the Word of God in our mind and heart. Our old nature is diminishing as the Lord from Heaven is being created in us. There is a new creation. All things that pertain to us are being made new.
There is more to the operation of redemption than the entrance of our soul into Paradise in the hour of physical death, as wonderful as that prospect is. Our soul, at the present time, is being completely re-created, changed, transformed into the image of the Person of Christ. That image includes love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. The ninefold fruit of the Holy Spirit are traits and attitudes of the new man, the image of the Soul of Christ.
There are other aspects of the Personality of Christ, such as His kingly majesty, His fierce anger, His dauntless courage, His unswerving obedience to His Father, His love of righteousness and hatred of lawlessness, and the beauty of His holiness.
The new covenant results in the total transformation of our spirit and soul into the image of the Glory of the Lord (II Corinthians 3:18).
As soon as our spirit has been made holy and filled with life and power, having been made one with the Spirit of God, and our soul has been re-created into the image of the Character of the Lord Jesus Christ, then our physical body with its appetites and limitations no longer will be a suitable covering and vehicle for our spirit and soul. New wine cannot be contained in an old wineskin without the danger the old wineskin will burst.
God has prepared for us (and has prepared us for) a body from Heaven that will clothe our present body. The new body will be perfectly suited to our transformed spirit and soul. Our new body will reflect the Glory of God, as will our cleansed spirit and our re-created soul.
Then we will be at rest in God because there will be no part of us in rebellion against the will and way of God. There no longer will be sin or rebellion in us. Our spirit, soul, and body will be in the complete image of God in every respect.
As soon as our transformation has been accomplished we shall be suited to be God’s sons, brothers of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the rulers of the creation of God, the fullness of the image of Christ in the heavens and upon the earth, the eternal Temple of God, the judge of men and angels, the radiantly beautiful light of the world.
The Lamb and His Wife are the fulfillment of the Word of God concerning “man.” To them have been assigned unlimited fruitfulness and the fullness of dominion throughout all ages to come, world without end.
God’s Servant Fills the Universe With the Image of Christ
“blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:17,18)
Christ, the Servant of the Lord, is the beloved Son in whom God is well pleased. Christ is the Word of God from the beginning, the image of God’s Person, God’s Being, God’s will, God’s way, God’s holiness, God’s love. There is nothing in Christ that is not in God and there is nothing in God that is not in Christ.
Christ is the perfect, complete revelation of God Almighty.
God is so pleased with what Christ Is He has determined to fill the creation with the image of Christ. For this reason God counts the creation currently in existence as being dead—finished.
Christ is the Firstborn of the new creation. He is the Seed that eventually will influence every saved creature on earth and in the heavens. The heavens will be planted with Christ and the foundations of the earth will be laid upon Christ.
Christ is the Way in which God desires that every creature exist. Whether we are referring to the heirs of salvation or to the spirits that minister to the heirs of salvation, all will find their proper place in Christ. All will be subject to Christ.
Christ is King and Lord of all. He inherits and fills all things.
Only people can be transformed into the image of Christ. It is not given to angels to become the temple of God, sons of God, brothers of Christ, heirs of salvation, or the Wife of the Lamb. The Presence of Jesus Christ will fill the heavens and the earth, all angels and other spiritual creatures being in absolute subjection to Him.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:15-18)
The method God is employing to fill the universe with the image of Christ is the creation of a company of brothers, of holy ones who themselves are the image of Christ.
The Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the sons of God, the brothers of Christ—call the saints what you will, is the enlargement, the magnification of the image of Christ. The Church is the fullness, the completion of Christ. It is the Body of Christ. The Church is the Body of the Servant of the Lord.
according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:20)
In the disciples of Jesus the eternal moral law of God is magnified and made approachable and desirable to people. The disciples are God’s covenant—the new covenant—with the nations of the earth.
The saints are the living epistles of the ministry of the apostles, written with the ink of the Holy Spirit of God, known and read by all people. The disciples are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. But not of themselves—it is because Christ is in them and with them.
The Church, the Servant of the Lord, is the fulfillment of the original proclamation concerning man: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” This announcement points toward the day when the heavens and the earth are filled with the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, as expressed through His saints.
Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. (Isaiah 27:6)
Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the posterity whom the LORD has blessed.” (Isaiah 61:9)
The Church, the Body of the Servant of the Lord, is the Seed of Abraham that is multiplying in the heavens as the stars for number and on the earth as the grains of sand on the shores of the oceans and seas.
Christ is singular in number, being the Seed. But the singular Seed is multiplying and influencing the entire heavens and the earth. Christ is becoming All in all, under God the Father.
The Church of Christ, the Servant of the Lord, is Israel. Israel, Christ, is destined to “blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.” The fruit being borne by the Church is the fruit of the Spirit, the righteous and holy image of Jesus Christ.
It is in the Church that Heaven and earth behold the love, the goodness, the holiness of God Almighty. We are revealing in ourselves, because of the transforming operations of the Holy Spirit in and upon us, the Glory of God in the face of Christ.
All the peoples of the nations of the earth, the “Gentiles,” of Isaiah, Chapter 42, will behold the Seed—Christ. “All that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord has blessed” (Isaiah 61:9).
Everywhere the Servant of the Lord goes the people will see in blazing light on Him (them) the name of God, the name of the holy city of God, and the new name of Christ. Each of the members of the Body of Christ will be readily identifiable to the peoples of the earth. They will serve forever as the kings and priests of God. They have been called out from the nations and chosen by the Lord to be His unique treasure.
Christ, the Servant of the Lord, is the Vine whom God has planted. We, the members of His Body, are the branches growing out from the one true Vine.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
In Christ there is neither Jewish, nor Greek, nor English, nor Japanese, nor American, nor African, nor male, nor female, nor poor, nor rich, nor slave, nor free. The Vine of the Lord is singular in number. The Vine is Israel, the Servant of the Lord, Christ.
Each saint was cut out of his natural background and race and grafted on the true Vine. The true Vine is Christ. The Vine of God will continue to grow and expand until all saved creatures, things, and places have been imbued with the Personality of Christ, who is the living Word of God. This is the effect of the new covenant.
Apart from Christ the saint is dead, a barren branch, useless, fit only for the fire that destroys what is worthless. But in Christ the saint is part of the Vine of God destined to fill all the creation.
that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. (Ephesians 1:10)
As the saint remains in Christ, walking in Him, he bears the fruit of the Spirit The fruit of the Spirit is the image of Christ’s Nature. As the saint continues to bear fruit he is pruned again and again by the Father until he is more perfectly in the image of Christ. He who bears fruit is able to be used by the Spirit to bear fruit in other people. He who bears much fruit is able to bear much fruit in other people.
All creatures, things, and circumstances have been placed under the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ. They already have been placed there legally (de jure); and it has been assigned to the Church, as God directs and enables, to bring about the actual (de facto) subjecting, the actual subordinating of every creature, thing, and circumstance to Christ. We are to portray in ourselves the supreme lordship of Jesus.
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22,23)
In the present hour we are wrestling against fallen rulers and authorities, who in fact are beneath us in spiritual authority, so we may bring into visible reality the total dominion of Christ. It has been assigned to us to make manifest His victory.
It has been appointed to the saints to bring down to destruction the enemies of God so Christ may rest His feet upon them. It is the Holy Spirit of God in the saints who is bringing about the total destruction of the adversary and all his forces.
It has pleased the Father in Heaven that in Christ should dwell all the Fullness of Almighty God. Christ is destined to fill all things in the heavens and on the earth. As we abide in Him we partake of His inheritance. Let us press forward to the full realization and achievement of all God has written concerning His eternal purposes in Christ. The purposes of God will be fulfilled through the Servant of the Lord.
God’s Servant Is the Temple of God
Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? (Isaiah 66:1)
“However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:
‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the LORD, or what is the place of My rest? (Acts 7:48,49)
Heaven is the Throne of God and the earth is the footstool of God. But neither Heaven nor the earth is the house of God.
The Tabernacle of the Congregation, David’s Tabernacle, the Temple of Solomon—all were houses of God. But none of them is the house of God today, for God no longer will dwell in a temple made by human hands.
Where, then, is the house of God? What is the place of His rest?
The Lord Jesus Christ together with His Body compose the eternal house of God, the place of God’s rest. The Servant of the Lord is the dwelling place, the house, the temple of the Lord God Almighty. Christ is the eternal Temple of God. Christ is filled with all the Fullness of God.
The Christian Church is Zion, the city of God.
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, (Hebrews 12:22)
Notice there are two Jerusalems: there is the natural Jerusalem, which “is in bondage with her children”; and then there is the “heavenly Jerusalem,” which is the mother of all true saints–(Galatians 4:25,26).
to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just [righteous] men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)
Notice what the Spirit of God has to say about the destiny of Mount Zion:
Why do you fume with envy, you mountains of many peaks? This is the mountain [Zion, the Body of Christ] which God desires to dwell in; Yes, the LORD will dwell in it forever. (Psalms 68:16)
And again, still referring to Zion:
You have ascended on high, you have led captivity captive; you have received gifts among men, even from the rebellious, that the LORD God might dwell there. (Psalms 68:18)
Psalms 68:18 is quoted by Paul in Ephesians, Chapter Four. The interpretation of the passage in Psalms 68 is that Zion is the Body of Christ. It is the “hill” in which God will dwell forever. The “gifts” are the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit. They are given by the ascended Christ for the purpose of building the members of the Body of Christ to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
As the Church, the Body of Christ, grows toward maturity and unity, the Lord God increasingly is able to settle down to rest in the Church.
In his letter to the saints in Ephesus, Paul comments on the fact that the Body of Christ is the eternal Temple of God:
having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22)
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man [transformation],
that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—
to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)
The church in Ephesus, to which Paul was writing, consisted of the saints of God, the faithful in Christ. Paul was beseeching the Father that the believers would be “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man,” the result being they would be “filled with all the fulness of God.”
It is not enough just to receive Christ as Savior, and perhaps speak in tongues and prophesy, and then wait for Christ’s return. We must press on and on and on in the Spirit of God in order that we may become strong enough to be a part of the living Temple of God.
God will dwell only in Christ. Christ must be formed in us so we will be a fit place in which the Father and the Son can dwell in Their Fullness. We are being created the living stones of the eternal Temple of God.
Christ, the Servant of the Lord, is the eternal Temple of God.
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. (John 14:10)
We also are being formed into the eternal Temple of God.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him. (John 14:23)
God and Christ will make Their eternal abode with us provided we continue to abide in Christ and walk in His Word.
It may be true that the most significant passage in the Scriptures concerning our being made the eternal dwelling place of God is John 17:21-23:
“that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that you sent Me.
“And the glory which you gave Me I have given them [His body], that they may be one just as we are one:
“I in them, and you in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent Me, and have loved them as you have loved Me. (John 17:21-23)
The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the fullness of all God has purposed in Christ, in the Church, in the Servant of the Lord. The holy city is the image of God. The holy city rules the creation under God.
The holy city fills the universe with the image of Christ. The holy city is the temple, the tabernacle of God. The holy city has a wall of defense against sin. The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the light of the world.
The holy city is the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the fullness of Christ, the place of the Throne of God Almighty and of the Lamb. The holy city is the law of God brought to the perfection of refined glory, holiness, and beauty.
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God [the Church] is with men [the saved nations], and He will dwell with them, and they [the nations] shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:2,3)
The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the Wife of the Lamb, the Church of Christ. The Church is the eternal tabernacle of God. God dwells in Christ in the Church in order that God may dwell with the nations of saved peoples of the earth. God is preparing the Christian Church as a living house in which He can dwell and through which He can wipe away the tears of the saved peoples of the earth, the “sheep nations.”
God’s purpose in the Servant of the Lord is to bring justice and truth to the nations. The Servant is able to do this because it is the Lord God Himself dwelling in the Servant who brings justice and truth and wipes away all tears.
This dependence on the Father is true of the Lord Jesus:
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. (John 14:10)
We Christians are beginning to recognize we can do nothing of ourselves. It is Christ in us who is living and working. We have not as yet arrived at the fullness of the indwelling of Christ, but through the Holy Spirit we are growing toward a greater experience of Christ in us.
The saints must proceed toward maturity and unity in order to become the Temple of God. In the day in which we live we are giving freely of the grace of God that we have so that our fellow members of the Body of Christ may be brought to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. We teach them, pray for them, exhort them, and minister to them according to our gifts, as the Holy Spirit guides and enables.
But it is not until after the thousand-year period, the Kingdom Age, that the Christian Church will be completely ready to descend from Heaven as the eternal Temple of God, bringing the Presence of God to the nations of the earth.
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 21:22)
From the standpoint of the saved peoples living on the new earth, the holy city will be the tabernacle of God, the walled area in which the Creator dwells. They will be allowed to “walk in the light of it” and to “bring their glory and honour into it.”
Sin never can enter the new Jerusalem. The city will be surrounded by an impregnable wall and at each of the twelve gates will stand an angel of God.
From the standpoint of Israel, the Wife of the Lamb, there will be no temple in the new Jerusalem. The lack of a temple is the fulfillment of the promise of the new covenant:
“None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. (Hebrews 8:11)
The absence of a temple signifies that God is present in open revelation before the adoring eyes of His saints. That which is perfect has come. The saints know as they are known. They see His Face and go forth to rule the works of His hands.
It is the Lord’s will that every member of the Israel of God, of God’s elect, be a king, priest, a holy person, a prophet, a witness of God’s Person and eternal purpose. This is Israel’s role among the nations of the earth.
‘Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.
‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19:5,6)
This same commission is repeated in the New Testament:
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (I Peter 2:9)
And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:10)
Every member of the Seed of Abraham is destined to be a king, a priest of God, a member of the servant of the Lord. The least is greater than John the Baptist. Think of it! The feeble among them will be as David (Matthew 11:11; Luke 7:28; Zechariah 12:8).
A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time.” (Isaiah 60:22)
All the saints are brothers and there is no priest among us. Our priesthood extends to the nations of the saved, not to our fellow members of the Body of Christ. Each member of the Body of Christ, from the least to the greatest, will know the Lord for himself. Christ Himself, the Son of God, is the only Priest who stands between God and a member of the royal priesthood.
There is no temple, no priesthood, to serve the inhabitants of the new Jerusalem. The entire city is the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the Tabernacle of God. The new Jerusalem is, we believe, an actual city, and its characteristics are imbued with and reflect the virtues that have been prepared in the members of the Bride of the Lamb.
The city is a visible expression of the Glory of God in Jesus Christ in the saints. This is the Kingdom of God that will rule over the nations of the earth forever (Daniel 2:44; 7:14).
Each member of the Body of Christ will behold the Face of the Father throughout eternity and have God’s name written on his forehead.
God shall find perfect rest in the new Jerusalem. Every challenge to His will and way shall have been brought under the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ. God will move His throne to the earth in that Day in order to demonstrate fully that all authority has passed from the heavens to the earth; that to man has been given, in accordance with the Scriptures, rulership over all the works of God’s hands.
God’s sons will be in His image and will be crowned with glory and honor. Their fruitfulness and dominion will be great and will fill the entire creation.
Then will Christ Himself be subject to the Father so the Father may receive back to Himself a universe that shows forth in its minutest detail the image of His beloved Son.
(“Christ the Deliverer: Eight”, 3354-1)