Until We See the New Jerusalem

January 18, 2007

I will wait for and look for Christ until he is formed in me. In the beginning of the gospel, something unusual happened. It was about the churches of Galatia. The churches of Galatia began with the Spirit by the apostle Paul; he wanted to form Christ in them. But they were trying to attain their goal by human effort.It is written about the churches of Galatia, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you (Galatians 4:19).” However, the Bible does not show that Christ was completely formed in them later.

The Bible shows that those in whom Christ was completely formed are only Christ and men symbolic of things to come, whom God had given him. It is written, “…Here am I, and the children God has given me (Hebrews 2:13).” This is a serious prophecy spoken by the prophet Isaiah about Christ and the church that would come after a long time.

It was prophesied, “Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples. I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in him. Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion (Isaiah 8:16-18).

In the above passage, “the testimony” means Christ the capstone. If so, then why did the Bible say, “bind up Christ the testimony” instead of saying, “unbind the testimony”, keeping people from going on to perfection?

The Bible explains it in detail, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits (Hebrews 5:12-6:3).”

We can see that in the beginning of the gospel many people renounced the world and waited for the Lord who they thought would come back soon. The church of the Thessalonians is an exemplary case. Even the apostle Paul thought that he could live and see the Lord with them. It is written, “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17).”

That is the same hope that Christians have. However, God has delayed the Lord’s coming because he does not want to save such a few people. The Bible says about it, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:8-9).”

Christ cannot be formed in men as easily as people think. The apostle Paul said, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:10-11).” Christ can be formed only in those who bear on their body the marks of Jesus.

In such a plan, the Holy Spirit forbade Paul and his companions to preach the word in Asia, as it is written, “they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia (Acts 16:6).” Many people think that only Satan keeps people from preaching the word. However, it was the Holy Spirit who forbade them to preach the word in Asia. It is because of God’s mysterious providence, prepared in Christ Jesus.

In order to build God’s temple–Christ’s body, which is the church–a long time later, it was necessary for God to hide His face from the house of Jacob for some time. The church of Christ is his bride. The bride surely needs time to be prepared.

It is written, “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband (Revelation 21:2).” The Holy City, the new Jerusalem, which is like aged wine, is to be testified about in due time.

Therefore, it is written, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle–I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying–a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth (1 Timothy 2:5-7).” He gave himself a ransom, a half shekel for all in order to find his mate, that is, another ransom, a half shekel and to become one shekel; he will come again into the world for it. In due time, God will prepare the half piece, let it be united with Christ, and let them become one.

In those days, that is, in these days the Bible says, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life (Revelation 22:17).”

However, the proper time for the wedding of the Lamb has not arrived yet, and the bride is not prepared. The Bible says about it, “The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings–external regulations applying until the time of the new order (Hebrews 9:8-10).”

As it is written in the Bible, we could not go on to perfection because God did not permit it. There is a designated time for it, and only God knows the time.

Christ gave himself a ransom for those who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. But the bride to be united with his blood, that is, his life is still being prepared in every place through sanctification and obedience. It is written, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb (Revelation 21:9).”

In those days, that is, in these days, it will be fulfilled as it is written. The prophecy says, “How long will you wander, O unfaithful daughter? The LORD will create a new thing on earth–a woman (the church) will surround a man (Christ) (Jeremiah 31:22).” And also, “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure (Isaiah 33:6).”

A prophet spoke about it long ago, “I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel. It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is the day I have spoken of (Ezekiel 39:7-8).”

Men symbolic of things to come, with Christ, had finished these works as symbols, and they left. And until now, we have been the flock for slaughter, particularly the poor of the flock, waiting for and look for God, who hides his face from the house of Jacob. Therefore, the Bible exhorts the remnant of Jacob, who hope that Christ will be formed in their body, “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19).”

The Bible promised, “In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God (Isaiah 10:20-21).” And again, “I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel. I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people. One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their king will pass through before them, the LORD at their head (Micah 2:12-13).” (Amen.) And again, “The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on the grass, which do not wait for man or linger for mankind. The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue (Micah 5:7-8).”

Therefore, we can say, “I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands (Psalms 119:176).” And also, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen (2 Timothy 4:18).”

This will surely be the day the prophet spoke of. Amen. Thank you, Lord.

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