Being in the New Jerusalem
The Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible has been used in this Learning Activity.
From the content of the previous Learning Activity we have discovered that the old physical Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman Army under the leadership of Titus and was replaced by God with the spiritual New Jerusalem that came down from above. Each and every believer under the New Covenant lives and moves and has their being in the spiritual New Jerusalem whether they know it or not!
The above understanding is crucial to being able to understand a number of passages in the Scriptures without making up any false fairy tales about what those passages might mean.
1. Ephesians 2:6
For many years this passage perplexed me to no end. How could it be possible that right now I am seated with Christ in heavenly places? I just could not comprehend what this verse could possibly mean. Of course my problem in understanding was blocked at the time because of my fixation on physical, earthly things and a general unacceptance of the spiritual realm. As I began to see the spiritual realm as being “more real” than the physical realm, then understanding broke into view.
2. What single word in Ephesians 2:6 would you say is the key word to believers?
An interesting aspect of the verse above is that the Koine Greek verb in the verse is of the aorist tense indicating that God had already accomplished this fact in Christ. It is not something that is off in the future.
An additional aspect of this expression “seated in heavenly places” is that it is found in five places in the book of Ephesians.
3. Ephesians 1:3
4. What is it that all believers have in heavenly places?
This verse is of particular interest to me because so often another Christian will either write to me or say to me “God bless you.” I immediately think of this verse and realize that as well meaning as these Christians are their blessing is of no avail as I already have “every spiritual blessing.” God does not hold back His blessings on us in the New Covenant. The understanding of blessing other Christians as other Christians were pronouncing to me is Old Covenant.
5. Ephesians 1:20
6. What does the verse above say about Christ?
7. Ephesians 3:10
8. What does the verse above say about the church?
9. Ephesians 6:12
10. In essence, what does the above verse say?
11. Do you think that verse applies to the New Covenant?
What must be remembered here is that this passage was written in the late summer AD 58 therefore the Parousia had not yet taken place AD 70. The “spiritual principalities and rulers of the present darkness” began to be dismantled at the cross and this defeat was culminated at the Parousia.
All in all the wording “heavenly places” appears a total of twenty times in the New Testament. It would make a nice personal Bible study to find the additional fifteen occurrences and study them.
The real problem with this truth is that we, for the most part, do not believe it! We look at our difficulties and short-comings in the physical realm and conclude that this just cannot be so. We fail to understand and accept that what is impossible in the physical realm is normal in the spiritual realm. In the physical we may be completely oblivious to what we really are as a new creation in Christ! Paul is saying that if you are in Christ (and we ARE), then we are one with Him in spirit.
We live today, spiritually, in the New Jerusalem which has come down to earth (spiritually) and we spiritually live and move and have our being in these “heavenly places.”
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