now we have been making our way toward the city. Now we
arrive, so I want you to open your Bibles at the
twenty-first chapter of the Book of the Revelation:
I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of
heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her
husband" (verse 2).
he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and
high, and shewed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down
out of heaven from God, having the glory of God; her
light was like unto a stone most precious, clear as
crystal" (verses 10,11).
have contemplated this city of God we have been breaking
our way through the symbolism to the spiritual reality,
and I hope that now we have succeeded in realizing that
we are not considering some THING, or some PLACE,
but that this is only a symbolic representation of
Jesus Christ and His Church. In this presentation at the
end of the Bible we see what God is working toward:
bringing the fullness of His Son into His Church for
final manifestation. That is the explanation of the
Christian life, and there is no other explanation. It
begins with Christ, it goes on with the increase of
Christ, and it ends with the fullness of Christ.
trust that we are quite clear about that. We need to have
our minds converted, and that conversion has to be from
the imagination to the reality, from the symbolism to the
spiritual meaning. You know, in this western world where
everything is so practical, THAT conversion is a
very big thing! So we are not thinking about some time,
some place, some thing, called the New Jerusalem, but
about the Lord Jesus Christ becoming more and more full
in the Church, until that day of fullness and glory comes
when what has been done is manifested in the whole
come now right to the city. That is, let me repeat, to
Jesus Christ and His Church represented here in the terms
of the new Jerusalem.
there are four words that we have just read upon which we
want to put our finger:
carried me away in the Spirit" First, then: "IN
"The new Jerusalem"... and the word is "NEW".
"OUT OF HEAVEN" is the third.
And the fourth: "HAVING THE GLORY OF GOD".
you have those four things. I shall begin with the last.
HAVING THE GLORY OF GOD
the glory of God? We know quite well from John's other
writings that the glory of God was in His Son, Jesus
Christ, and we also know, especially from the Apostle
Paul, that the Church is to be the vessel of that glory:
"Unto him be the glory in the church and in Christ
Jesus unto all the ages for ever and ever"
(Ephesians 3:21). But those are statements of truth. They
do not define or explain anything, or tell us what the
glory of God is, and it is important for us to understand
what it is.
remind ourselves that it is that word 'glory' which
governs everything where God is concerned. The one thing
that God had in view from the creation, and right through
the Old Testament, was His own glory. When we open our
New Testament and find God's Son present in this world,
we hear the Apostle saying: "And we beheld his
glory, glory as of the only begotten from the
Father" (John 1:14). Again we ask: What is the glory
glory of God is the absolute satisfaction of the Divine
nature, when God is able to say, really from His very
nature and all that He is, 'I am well pleased with that.
That perfectly satisfies My very nature.' If you and I
were in the presence of that Divine satisfaction we
should feel a tremendous joy, and would just exclaim:
'Oh, this is glory!'
consider this in the opposite way. What is it that robs
our lives and our hearts of glory? What is it that makes
us sing about the great day when "that will be glory
for me"? What is it that makes us long for the
glory? I can tell you quite simply. The glory in our
hearts and in our lives is limited because of our
consciousness of how unlike the Lord we are. Oh, how
different our natures are from God's! That worries us
every day and hides the glory in our hearts. We live so
little in God's satisfaction and so much in our own
dissatisfaction. We have not yet come to really grasp the
great truth of our justification in Christ Jesus, nor
have we come to understand that what God is doing with us
is to change us from what we are into what He is.
going to be very simple for a minute or two. When you
first come to the Lord Jesus you have a wonderful sense
of glory. You do not understand all the teaching about
coming to the Lord Jesus, but you just come and give
yourself to Him, and take Him to be your Lord, and
something happens almost immediately. A great burden
rolls away from your heart. A great cloud is removed from
your life and you have to say: 'Oh, this is wonderful!
This is glory!' Why is that? Because there is One who
knows a great deal more of what it means than you do. The
Holy Spirit has come to lead every one of us to that
final glory, and this is the beginning. He says: 'I have
got him - or her - on the road to glory,' and so He
registers glory in our hearts. All the meaning of
justification by faith - that is, being made righteous in
Christ - is in that first step, and so God the Holy
Spirit says at the beginning: 'I am well-pleased.' The
heart and the nature of God are satisfied, and, without a
great deal of teaching, you just know it.
just that wonderful sense, or sensation, of God being
well-pleased. The pathway of the child of God is intended
to be the pathway of glory. The Holy Spirit has taken
IN THE SPIRIT
Spirit has taken charge. Now, after you have taken the
first step and tasted something of the glory, you will
come into a situation, or a temptation, where the whole
question of the glory is involved. There is something in
your life upon which the Holy Spirit puts His finger and
says, in effect: 'That belongs to the world you have left
behind, so you must leave it behind. Now, what about it?
What are you going to do about it? Are you going to hold
on to it, or are you going to let it go?' The
continuation of the glory depends upon your decision. If
you hold on, and do not let go, that glory of the Divine
satisfaction will be clouded. A cloud will come over your
heart, and people who saw you when you first came to the
Lord will say: 'Something has happened. The light has
gone out of his - or her - face.' And then you have a big
battle, and if you get through it and let the Lord have
His way fully, some of the old glory will come back and
you will feel: 'Oh, the burden has rolled away.'
us who have gone on with the Lord through the years have
had many battles. We have had to come to new positions as
to the will of God, and as long as the issue was not
settled it seemed as though the glory was lifted up and
waiting for something, but when we have fought that issue
through and got clear with the Lord, the glory has come
back. Perhaps the biggest battles will come at the end -
this book of the Revelation says so - but then, through
the last and greatest of all battles, we come right
through into the eternal glory: that is, we come to the
place where God's nature is fully satisfied with His work
understand the meaning of glory now? Glory is a wonderful
influence of God in our lives. We shall see that all the
way through our meditations, "Having the glory of
God". What an influence it is when the glory of God
is in our hearts!
a little child who is absolutely satisfied and delighted
with everything, and don't you like to be where that
little child is? That has a wonderful influence upon you!
Put it the other way - a little child who is discontented
with everything. What a miserable effect that has upon
you! I heard of such a little child. It was bed time and
mother said: 'Darling, it is time for bed. Put your dolls
away.' The little child said: 'I don't want to put my
dolls away.' The mother saw that she was going to do
nothing with the child, so she said: 'Well, would you
like to play with your dolls for a little longer?' 'I
don't want to play with my dolls any longer!' Poor mother
did not know what to say next! So she said: 'Well,
darling, you just do what you want to do.' And the little
child said: 'I don't want to do what I want to do!' Poor
mother! What a miserable time for her! There is no glory
in that! But when God's nature is fully satisfied and we
come into harmony with that nature, there is glory in our
hearts. Do you see that the Holy Spirit is trying to
produce in us that which satisfies the heart of God?
perhaps a hard school. It means much discipline, and much
testing of our love for the Lord. It constantly raises
the question as to whether we really want the Lord to be
well-pleased with us, but this life is the school of
those who are to be the sons of God dwelling in His
see how two things are joined together: "In the
Spirit... having the glory of God." Be out of the
Spirit and you are out of the glory, because, as you
know, one of the names of the Holy Spirit is the Spirit
of glory. That means that the whole purpose and work of
the Holy Spirit is to bring us to glory, to the
satisfaction of God.
have two other words left. "In the Spirit I saw the NEW
Jerusalem." That is only a symbolic way of
saying that you have to be under the government of the
Holy Spirit if you are going to see God's new things. One
of the characteristic words of the New Testament is this
word 'New': 'In Christ Jesus there is a NEW creation...
In Christ Jesus there is a NEW man... In Christ
Jesus there is a NEW life... In Christ Jesus there
is a NEW way of life', and so you lift that word
out from your New Testament until you come to the end,
and it says: "A NEW heaven and a NEW earth"
(Revelation 21:1), and then "the NEW Jerusalem".
The word 'new' has no meaning unless there is something
old. It is a comparison and a contrast. There was an old
Jerusalem, but it has gone. It has been put away under
judgment, and when the old is put away, the new is
introduced. We have yet to see the meaning of the city of
Jerusalem, but for the moment it is just this word 'new'
with which we are concerned. It is something completely
fresh, and there is something about it that has never
been true of anything before.
consider the history of the old Jerusalem, what a sad and
tragic story it is! And it is a tragic story because of
its sin. It had its days of glory, but they were very
few. The glory soon departed and the tragedy is written
through the Old Testament. The last words for that
Jerusalem were pronounced by the Lord Jesus: "O
Jerusalem, Jerusalem,... how often would I have gathered
thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her
chickens, under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your
house is left unto you desolate" (Matthew 23:37,38),
and two thousand years have told the story of that
people that God is bringing into being is just the
opposite of the old Jerusalem. This is something which is
called "unto his ETERNAL glory" (1 Peter
5:10). This is something which is not called unto tragedy
at the end, but glory; something over which all the
powers of evil are not going to prevail, as they did over
the old Jerusalem. This is a NEW Jerusalem.
must just very briefly touch on the other thing, upon
which we shall enlarge later in the week.
OUT OF HEAVEN
course, if you just use your imagination, you do not know
what that means. You begin to think of some great object
called a city descending out of heaven. Dear friends, we
shall not have gone much further before we shall see that
that is absolutely impossible. You hold that for a little
while I try to explain this, but I shall remind you more
than once of what I have just said about the
impossibility of it being a literal city.
is going to come down out of heaven, it must be there
before it can come down. What does this mean? The Apostle
Paul tells us that the Church is seated together with
Christ in the heavenlies now (Ephesians 2:6), but we
might answer: 'We are not in heaven; we are very much on
this earth. Everything down here is much more real than
things in heaven.' Are you quite sure that you are right?
Is that really true? What is the very first thing that
comes into your consciousness when you are born again? It
is: 'I do not belong to this world any more. Something
has happened to me which has separated me from it. Things
in this world are different now, and the things that were
once my life are no longer my life. The things which I
once sought after I now no longer want. The people who
were once my true friends are no longer my true friends.
My true friends are now the people of God, and my true
family is the family of God. What has happened to me?
They say that I am "born again", but when they
say that they do not put it right. What the Bible says is
"born from above".'
know, if you have been born, and have spent your
childhood, in a certain place, there is a strange link
between you and that place in your life. Now, I spent
much of my childhood and my schooldays in a certain
place, and somehow, through all the years, I have wanted
to go back to that place again and again, so, from time
to time, I have gone back. But, oh! how everything has
changed! All the old friends have gone, all the old
scenes have changed, and I do not think they have changed
for the better. Sometimes when I have left that place I
have said: 'I will never go back again!', but wait a year
or two, and I am back again. I cannot keep away. There is
some pull inside. Do you see what I mean? If we really
have been born from above there will always be a pull
away from below. We may have some bad times, and we may
be tempted to give it all up, but somehow or other we
just do go on.
was in the Spirit... and I saw the new Jerusalem coming
down from heaven." The most powerful work of the
Holy Spirit in a life is to make that life know that it
belongs to heaven and not to this world.
most of us know what is meant by this. Paul says:
"Our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians
3:20), and the Psalmist says: "This one was born THERE"
(Psalm 87:4). We do not belong to this world, and we
ought to know it. If we can settle down and be satisfied
with this world, then we know nothing about the work of
the Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit sent down from heaven
to link us with heaven.
that is what it means to come to the new Jerusalem. It is
not just an abstract idea, nor a symbolic imagination,
but a powerful reality in the life. We are not going to
the city: we ARE the city.