by Vishal Mangalwadi:
On September 30, at 11 am, I’m planning to preach on New Jerusalem in the Old Jerusalem. My host, the ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles (International Christian Embassy Jerusalem), expects 5,000 pilgrims from 100 nations to attend the annual four day event.
Please pray that the Holy Spirit will communicate with clarity and power the reforming vision of New Jerusalem.
Ruth and I have been invited because for the past few years the leaders of the Feast have been reading and promoting “The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization.” They want its message to spread around the world.
Like most evangelicals, I too was misled into believing that Jesus had gone to prepare a mansion for me. Many Christians want to live in heavenly mansions much more than in Christ – the true Vine. A fresh reading of the Scriptures clarified that God is preparing New Jerusalem – the Holy City – as a dwelling place for Himself (Ezekiel 48: 35; Revelation 21:3).
Other-worldly Bible teachers had so conditioned my perspective that it took decades to see that the plain teaching of John 14-17 is that the Triune God is looking for a “place” for His dwelling.
John 14: 17, 23 etc. say that He wants to live in “us” so that we may live in Him. He is the way as well as the destination – Truth and Life – (14:6).
John 15 teaches that He wants us to abide in him, so that He may abide in us and make us fruitful.
A central point of John 17 is that He will dwell in me only when I become the church – one with other believers.
New Jerusalem, the bride, is the Household of God (1 Timothy 3:15).
Jesus stands at the door of every local church and knocks, because He wants to live in the church and wants the church to live in Him. (Revelation 3:20).
The church is the “lamp stand” (Rev 1:12 & 20), the lamb is the lamp (Rev 21: 23). When the Lamp, is on the lamp stand, the New Jerusalem will become radiant, giving light to the nations (Rev 21:24).
The great riddle of the universe is that the Omnipresent Creator is looking for a dwelling place. He had created our hearts to be His dwelling place, yet, He stands outside, because our hearts have become too dark for the Light of Life.
God cares for our hearts, but is He also interested in geography – in Jerusalem?
God promised a geographic unit, a nation, to Abraham. He has promised all the nations . . . the ends of the earth’s geography . . . to His Son (Psalm 2:8). The Son has commanded us to disciple nations because all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him.
Does God want to live in my hometown as its ruler? Does He want Allahabad to be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea?
Is God building the New Jerusalem somewhere beyond the blue? Will it descend like a gigantic UFO? Or is the heavenly Jerusalem being built here on this earth (Revelation 3: 12, Galatians 4: 22-26, Hebrews 12: 22) Well, the praying community in our university is asking that Allahabad may become a Crime-Free Zone; that it will be a holy City of Salvation where God reigns.
Admittedly, the vision is as crazy as Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones (Eze 37). “Can these bones live?” is God’s question, not mine. The Lord gave this incredibly bold vision of a new Allahabad to Dr. R. B. Lal, a scientist, the Vice Chancellor of our university, and the founder-bishop of Yeshu Darbar.
Because our university draws students from all over India, what happens here will shape the future of the Indian church. The city is strategic geographically, religiously, and politically. The world’s largest religious gathering, Kombu Meal, happens here every 12 years. Seven of India’s first 13 Prime Ministers came from this city. Please join us in praying for an outpouring of God’s Spirit . . . for a massive revival . . . a renewal that will bring healing to the land – to geography.
Ruth and I plan to spend 2 weeks in Israel. Please pray that the Lord will provide financial means for us to enjoy this study-tour. (Praise God for one of my Indian mentors, who has already donated $100.) I am excited because after the Feast Ruth is able to come to India for five weeks or so.
Yours for the New Jerusalem,
Vishal Mangalwadi