THE LORD IS THERE
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
At some point in the early history of the Christian Church the Gospel of the Kingdom was changed to the Gospel of going to Heaven. The original proclamation of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth was altered to the going of the Church to Heaven.
There is no passage of the Scriptures in support of the idea that God intends to bring His Church to Heaven to dwell there for eternity. The final resting place of the Christian Church is the new earth.
There is a reason for this!
Table of Contents
THE LORD IS THERE
The Dwelling Place of God
The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE. (Ezekiel 48:35—NIV)
The purpose for the operation of the gifts and ministries given to the Church by the Spirit of God is that each member of the Body of Christ come to maturity—maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.
I don’t believe any Christian would have trouble with the statement above. It is derived from the fourth chapter of the Book of Ephesians.
But is God going to bring us to Heaven to live in a mansion? If this is what it means to be saved, why is it necessary we be brought to such astounding maturity?
The answer is, our goal is not to retire to a mansion in Heaven. We made this up. This is not what it means to be saved.
Well then, what is the reason for bringing every member of the Body of Christ to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ?
The purpose for bringing each member to maturity is that God might have a house, a dwelling, a place of rest.
Is it scriptural that God is seeking a house, a dwelling place?
The creation of the eternal house of God is one of the principal subjects of the entire Scriptures.
Let us go one step further.
God has a purpose in mind, a reason for building a dwelling place for Himself. God’s purpose in building a house for Himself is that He might dwell among people.
Think for a moment about these efforts and their objectives.
The Holy Spirit has given ministries and gifts to the Church that we all might be brought to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.
We are being brought to maturity so God may find rest, an eternal dwelling place, in us.
God wants to dwell in us so He can live among the people whom He has created.
Do these means and ends seem clear to you? Then let us proceed.
In the beginning God walked in the Garden of Eden. Because of the disobedience of the first two people, God withdrew to the spirit realm, to Heaven. If God wanted us in Heaven He would have created us there, as He did the angels. But God planned the earth, the physical realm, and it is a better environment than the spirit heavens. This is why Satan came down here so quickly.
The earth is where we were created; in fact, we were created from the ground. This is where God made us and this is where we belong.
We read in the last two chapters of the Bible that the new Jerusalem, which is the glorified Church, the eternal house of God, is coming down to remain forever on a high mountain of the new earth. Our eternal destiny is the earth, not the spirit realm.
Will the new earth be a real earth? Of course! An earth is an earth. What else could it be?
But what about there being no more sea? I think the term “sea” here is symbolic referring to the mass of people without Christ. We notice in Revelation, Chapter Thirteen, that Antichrist comes out of the sea. I think this means from the mass of mankind. The wicked are like the sea, the Scripture says.
Every inhabitant of the new earth will have a portion of Christ, some thirtyfold, some sixty, some a hundred, because the Scripture states Christ will fill everything and everything will become part of Him. As Isaiah proclaimed, God intends to change mankind from a sea of people into highly esteemed individuals more precious than gold.
Having been brought up in a house overlooking Long Island Sound, I would hate to live on an earth with no seas, no oceans, no lakes, no rivers. How about you? If there is no actual sea I believe I will ask the Lord to make one. He said we are heading toward fullness of joy, and I for one would not be full of joy without a sea. Would you? Furthermore, I would like it to be stormy once in a while, for there is just something special about the Atlantic Ocean when it is driven by a storm.
God created us here and He wants to be here among the nations of people whom He has created. This is why He is making a house for Himself constructed from living stones, with the Lord Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone.
In God’s House, which is the Lord Jesus Christ, there are many rooms, many dwelling places. The members of the Church, the Body of Christ, are the many dwelling places.
Christ—Head and Body—is Mount Zion, the House of God, the Tabernacle of God, the holy city, the new Jerusalem.
Since we have other materials available to anyone who is interested in reading more about the Christian Church being the House of God, let us present just one passage.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:19-21—NIV)
I think most people would have little trouble recognizing, from the above passage, that the Christian Church, including Jews and Gentiles in Christ, is being created as a “holy temple in the Lord.”
It is just a step from this understanding to a proper interpretation of the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3—NIV)
The “dwelling of God,” mentioned above, is the Church of Jesus Christ, as described in Ephesians 2:19-21. “The dwelling of God (the Christian Church) is with men, and He will live with them.”
This means the Church, when it is without spot or wrinkle, will descend from God in Heaven and come to rest on a high mountain of the new earth. On the earth will be nations of saved people, such as the “sheep nations” of the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34—NIV)
The Kingdom of God is the Church. The Church is being prepared to bring justice and the very Presence of God to the saved nations of the earth.
The reason God deals so carefully with each saint is that we are being prepared to bring the Presence of God to the people on the earth and usher them into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
Please think very carefully about the preceding few paragraphs. They are key to your understanding of the Scriptures. Otherwise you will not comprehend why God has called out from the world a body of people called the “Church.” God has not called the Church out of the world in order to be saved. We were called from the world in order to bring the Presence of God to the nations.
If we belong to Christ we are Abraham’s Seed. The promise is that in Abraham’s Seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed. In other words, if you belong to Jesus Christ and He has become your Life, your eternal destiny is to be a blessing to mankind.
God in the Midst of People
I have found that one of the hardest concepts to get across to Christian people is that there will be nations of people on the new earth who are not part of the Church.
You probably have heard many times that we are going to rule with Christ. Did you ever wonder over whom we are to rule?
You may have heard that we are members of the royal priesthood. Did you ever wonder whom we are going to serve as a priest?
The answer is, the nations of saved people of the earth.
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:24—NIV)
I do not see why people have such a hard time understanding that the purpose of the Church is to govern the saved peoples of the earth. Perhaps it is because the concept is new to them, do you suppose?
In any case, Isaiah, Chapters 60-62 presents clearly the two classes of saved people, the Church and the nations. Let’s take a look at them.
Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Isaiah 60:3—NIV)
Can you see that when the Glory of God comes upon the Christian Church, the nations will come to that light?
Compare the following verse:
I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:23—NIV)
Can you perceive in the above verse that the purpose of bringing the members of the Body of Christ to unity and maturity is that the world may know God has sent Jesus Christ and loves the saints as He loves Christ? Have you ever thought much about the relationship between the union of the saints with Christ and the attitude of the world toward Christ? Well, this is what we see in Isaiah, Chapters 60-62.
Perhaps the Dispensationalists will object that the nations are coming to the light of the Jews after the flesh. In fact, it may be true that Dispensationalists imply that the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, refers to a kingdom of Jews on the earth while the Gentile Christians are in Heaven.
I don’t suppose there ever has been a philosophy more destructive of clear Christian thinking than is true of Dispensationalism. This weird doctrine (two brides of Christ; two kingdoms) has robbed us of our inheritance.
Is it true that Dispensationalism has us stuck in Heaven while the glorious new Jerusalem descends in all its glory to the new earth? The Throne of God and of the Lamb is in the new Jerusalem. So are the River of Life and the Tree of Life. And we Gentiles who are members of the Body of Christ, who, because of our relationship to Christ are the Seed of Abraham, are left in Heaven? If so, then this is error at its most destructive.
The Apostle Paul taught clearly that in Jesus Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, only the one Seed of Abraham. There is no other seed of Abraham, no other heir of the promise.
Let us have done with the misleading philosophy of Dispensationalism and recognize that Isaiah, Chapters 60-61 is referring to the glorious Wife of the Lamb, the Christian Church, the Body of the Christ, the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Kingdom of God.
Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. (Isaiah 60:5—NIV)
We saw the same idea in Revelation, didn’t we?
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:24—NIV)
Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so men may bring you the wealth of the nations—their kings led in triumphal procession. (Isaiah 60:11—NIV)
On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. (Revelation 21:25,26—NIV)
It is quite obvious Isaiah 60 and Revelation 21 are speaking of the same city. Could there be two such cities? I think not. This is not sensible.
But can we establish that the new Jerusalem actually is the Lamb’s wife, the Christian Church?
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. (Revelation 21:9,10—NIV)
It seems pretty clear to me that the new Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
Now there may be some who cling to the notion that Jesus Christ has two brides, a Gentile bride and a Jewish bride, or that God is married to the Jews and Christ is married to the Gentiles. Let us remember that Paul stressed that the Seed of Abraham is singular. Well then, which is the one Seed of Abraham, the bride of God or the bride of Christ? Can you see how ridiculous, how totally unscriptural, this Dispensational business is?
How could devout believers ever accept such an outrageous distortion of the Scriptures?
The Christian Church is the Bride of the Lamb and the new Jerusalem. The names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb are in the foundations of the wall of the new Jerusalem. Are the Apostles of the Lamb separate from the Gentile Christian Church in Heaven?
This is nonsense, so let’s leave it and proceed to more edifying thoughts.
For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. (Isaiah 60:12—NIV)
We see in the above verse that the world will be governed from Jerusalem.
Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3—NIV)
There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5—NIV)
You’ve heard the expression “rule with Jesus”? Well, the above is it.
The sons of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 60:14—NIV)
What have we Christians to do with Zion? Isn’t Zion something to do with the Jews?
Think about the following:
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, To the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:22,23—NIV)
If the holy city, the new Jerusalem, comes down out of Heaven from God, and if it is the Church of the Firstborn, and if we Gentiles have come to it, then it sounds a lot like Isaiah and Revelation are speaking of the same Mount Zion—the Christian Church, the Bride of the Lamb.
I don’t see any way around it!
The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. (Isaiah 60:19—NIV)
There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Isaiah 60:5—NIV)
Jesus said we Christians are the light of the world. In the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation (as well as in Isaiah) we see the Lord’s words coming to pass.
In the next chapter we find why the Lord anoints us with His Holy Spirit.
And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3—NIV)
We are to minister the Spirit one to the other until we become oaks of righteousness; not palm trees that bend in the storm, but oaks!
But what do we do after we become oaks of righteousness.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. (Isaiah 61:4—NIV)
The oaks of righteousness will return with the Lord Jesus and go throughout the earth. They will rebuild that which has been torn down by the calamitous events of the closing days of the Church Age.
How will the saved peoples of the earth regard us?
And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. (Isaiah 61:6—NIV)
Who will call us the “priests of the Lord”? Who will name us the “ministers of our God”? The saved nations of the earth, of course.
Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed. (Isaiah 61:9—NIV)
The above is the inheritance of the Christian saints, whether they are Jews or Gentiles by birth. They are the one Seed of Abraham, the royal priesthood, the inheritors of the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth.
Would you like to be one of them? Such is the destiny of the victorious believer in Jesus Christ.
Next we see the Christian at the moment of his or her resurrection.
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10—NIV)
At this point we pass to another topic—the light, the testimony, that the saints will bear to the nations of saved people on the earth.
Good Works Are the Light, the Testimony
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. (Isaiah 61:11—NIV)
The above verse tells what it is all about. God wants the peoples of the earth to learn to behave righteously and to praise the living God rather than to worship the idols they have made with their hands, such as money, material comforts, electronic gadgets, and entertainment. The American people worship these things.
Athletics are worshiped in America. Professional sports are “food offered to idols.” On a secular program the other day one of the speakers said, “Football is a religion.” A couple of months ago a secular columnist wrote that professional football in America is equivalent to one of the old religions of South America where they threw maidens from a cliff as a sacrifice to their gods.
These are statements made by worldly people. We who are Christians are supposed to teach by word and illustrate by our behavior that God requires righteous behavior and worship from all the people whom He has created. Instead we act just like the world. We are not being a true witness.
Do you remember the following words of the Lord?
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16—NIV)
Now, let us pay very careful attention to the above passage for it is the key to the concept of God coming to dwell among the nations.
Something has gone dreadfully wrong with Christian teaching in America. We have invented a formula termed “the four steps of salvation.” If an individual “believes” in Christ he or she will be saved and go to Heaven.
Meanwhile, Divine grace is regarded as an alternative to righteous behavior. As a result, there is a very, very dim light proceeding from the churches.
We think our testimony consists of “telling others about Jesus.” Telling others about Jesus is important when God is directing the work of evangelism. But this is not the witness the world is waiting for.
We tell others about Jesus and then do not reveal righteousness and worship to the nations. We are not bearing witness. We are not being the light of the world. The light of the world is good works. Telling others about Jesus is the necessary work of evangelism. But if the light of good works is not produced by our evangelistic efforts, then we are not doing the will of the Father; we are not bearing witness.
The Father wants righteousness and praise to spring forth before the nations. Until this happens the work of Christ is not being done.
Our goal is not to retire in Heaven. Our goal is to grow in Christ until the earth can say, “The Lord is here!”
Before Satan began to exercise his own will there was only righteous, holy, obedient behavior in Heaven. Sin did not exist. Therefore there may have been no knowledge of good and evil, no words or phrases that described either righteousness or sin.
We know Adam and Eve had no knowledge of righteousness or unrighteousness.
We know God did have knowledge of good and evil.
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—(Genesis 3:22—NIV)
Whether the “Us” refers only to the members of the Godhead, or includes the angels, we cannot be certain. However, we know that now God wants to portray righteousness to mankind, and perhaps the angels are included as well.
In fact, God prepared righteous behavior from the creation of the world so His elect could portray these good works in themselves, as Christ, the new covenant, is formed in them.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10—NIV)
It seems evident from the above verse that God prepared righteous works for us to perform so righteousness and praise would spring forth before the nations.
Notice also the following pertinent verse:
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (I Peter 2:12—NIV)
The Psalms tells us that God is going to visit the earth with judgment. We usually think of the term “judgment” as meaning punishment. Not necessarily! Judgment means the ability to distinguish between right and wrong.
In fact, one of the greatest of the needs of the Christian churches is to learn the difference between right and wrong. Grace has been taught in such a manner that man’s normal understanding of right and wrong has been suppressed.
We need to pray that God will pour out on us the spirit of judgment so we may learn to behave righteously.
Righteous behavior always brings joy. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Notice how judgment and joy go together in the following Psalm:
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, With trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—shout for joy before the LORD, the King. Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; Let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity. (Psalms 98:4-9—NIV)
There is no Psalm more joyous than this! But notice that the rejoicing is occurring because of the prospect of the coming of Divine judgment. The separating of righteousness from unrighteousness always produces joy.
God has called each of His elect to be saints, to be holy ones. Our purpose in life is to portray the righteous, holy nature of God to the nations of saved peoples of the earth. This is the role of the Church of Jesus Christ.
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. (Isaiah 62:1,2—NIV)
The light that will proceed from the new Jerusalem will be actual light as we know it, I believe. But more importantly, the light will be that of moral behavior. It is moral light that is the primary goal of the Lord God in creating the Christian Church.
Look around you in the world. You will see the abysmal lack of clear moral principles by which people can prosper in the will of God. The Christians are to bear witness by portraying in themselves the moral Nature of God.
The righteousness of Zion and Jerusalem is to shine like the dawn. Obviously this is genuine righteousness produced by the forming of Christ in us. It is not an imputed righteousness; an ascribed righteousness; a legal righteousness assigned to us independently of our behavior. If this were the case, it would not shine. How can a legally imputed righteousness shine?
The destructive error of Christian thinking is that our primary righteousness is that which is ascribed to us based on the merits of Christ, while righteous behavior on our part, although desirable, is not essential to salvation. (I don’t think we know what salvation is, to be honest with you.)
The tremendous power of this bias is revealed in a modern translation that inserts the word “imputed” into the above passage so the text reads: “For Zion’s sake will I [Isaiah] not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest until her imputed righteousness and vindication go forth as brightness, and her salvation radiates as does a burning torch. And the nations shall see your righteousness and—your rightness and justice [not your own, but His ascribed to you]—and all kings shall behold your salvation and glory and you shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.”
This particular edition of the Scriptures is well accepted by Christian teachers and pastors. Many parts of the translation are helpful in clarifying some of the obscure passages of the King James Edition. However, in the case of the above passage, the insertion of “imputed” (with no indication that it is not part of the Hebrew text) and “[not your own, but His ascribed to you]” are awesome errors. They warp the meaning of the text until God’s plan to bring forth righteousness and praise before the nations is destroyed.
How Satan must chortle gleefully at our naiveté, our immaturity in spiritual warfare. All the New Agers put together could not harm God’s plan to the extent the above addition to the Scripture has the potential to do. Yet we are willing to accept such obviously biased scholarship.
We are in a grand mess today in our Christian preaching and teaching. We are preaching and teaching error, and Dispensational thinking has done much to strengthen the error. The error is based on the historical slogan “saved by faith alone,” leaving the impression that the Divine salvation operates apart from a radical change in our behavior, from a new righteous creation.
Creating the dwelling place of the Lord God of Heaven is one of the main concepts of the entire Scriptures. It is the Father’s House that is to be constructed.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal dwelling place of God. He is the Father’s House. However, as He informed us, He is not to be the only room in the Father’s House. He went to the cross to prepare a place for us so we also could become rooms in the Father’s House.
The Father always dwells in Christ. In order to become the dwelling place of the Father, Christ must be formed in us. The things of our old personality must pass away. All aspects of our personality, including our body eventually, must become new and must be raised as part of Christ if we are to be the Father’s House.
The Father desires a house so He may dwell among His creatures. The new Jerusalem is the perfected and glorified Christian Church, the eternal dwelling place of God and the Lamb.
The new Jerusalem will be placed on a high mountain of the new earth so that the nations of the earth may be able to come and be blessed. However, if people are to be permitted to enter the city and partake of the Tree of Life, they must be obedient to the laws of the Kingdom. The Sermon on the Mount gives us an idea of the laws of the Kingdom of God. The nations will be compelled to keep these laws by the saints who will be governing them.
In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. (Isaiah 2:2—NIV)
The fact that the philosophy of democracy is directly opposite to the Kingdom of God can be seen in the fact that American people resist violently any attempt by the government to enforce righteous behavior. They want to be free to behave as they please, and they litigate against or seek to overthrow constraints on their behavior. Yet it is the Lord’s view that the first duty of government is to enforce righteous behavior on the part of the citizens. The Kingdom of God will enforce righteous behavior throughout the new earth.
God takes no pleasure in smashing people with a rod of iron. He will do it if He has to; but He prefers the gentleness of the lamb, not the savagery of the lion. The Bride is the Bride of the Lamb, not of the Lion of Judah.
God is making a covenant with mankind. God’s covenant is Christ, and then those in whom Christ is dwelling. The first-century Apostles are themselves the covenant of God with man. The New Testament writings are not the covenant but the testimony of those who themselves are the covenant.
The nature of the Divine covenant is that Christ living in us portrays the Divine Nature, will, way, and eternal purpose in Christ Jesus. When people obey the covenant they are blessed; when they rebel against the covenant they are punished.
Holiness and obedience have to do with our relationship to God. Righteousness has to do with our relationship to people, in particular our behavior toward them.
Part of the Law of Moses has to do with our behavior toward God while part has to do with our behavior toward people. The same is true of the commandments issued by Christ and His Apostles. Part has to do with our behavior toward God and part with our behavior toward people.
We are to love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves. John pointed out that if we cannot love our neighbor whom we can see, our love for the invisible God is in question
The massive need in the earth in our time has to do with the behavior of people toward each other. Much is said and written by secularists as well as Christians about destructive relationships. Only the Lord Jesus has the power to change people so they behave toward each other constructively. The world is ever learning but simply cannot understand the role of the Lord Jesus in human behavior; simply cannot understand that until we are right with God we can never be right with each other.
God has defined righteousness in terms of the behavior of His creatures. These laws are being written in our mind that we may understand them, and in our heart that we may obey them. When the nations of the earth, who do not know their right hand from their left concerning God’s ways of righteousness and holiness, see the behavior of the saints and hear their words, then they can understand what is expected of them. The light has come.
The purpose of the new Jerusalem is to radiate the Divine light throughout the creation so it can be witnessed by people and the angels. Those who put away from themselves the behavior that God defines as wicked will have access to the new Jerusalem. There they can receive eternal life from the Tree of Life and healing from its leaves.
But those who refuse and rebel will stand in danger of the Lake of Fire. The Lake of Fire always retains authority over eight specific areas of behavior (Revelation 21:8). As long as an individual acts in these ways the Lake of Fire has a claim on him or her, even though the person trusts in Christ. Yet, in the case of a believer, the claim is suspended until Christ has had an opportunity to enable the person to change his or her behavior and behave righteously.
It really is a simple picture.
Through the Holy Spirit the ascended Christ has given gifts and ministries to His Body.
The purpose of the gifts and ministries is that Christ may be brought to maturity in the members of His Body.
The purpose of bringing the members of His Body to maturity is that they may be suitable as a dwelling place for Himself and the Father.
The purpose of thus creating a dwelling place for Himself and the Father is that They may dwell on earth among the nations of saved people.
As God and Christ dwell in the Church, the light of righteousness and praise radiates to the ends of the earth.
This is what it is all about.
The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE. (Ezekiel 48:35—NIV)
(“The Lord Is There”, 3532-1)