Image and Dominion, Genesis to Revelation

New JerusalemGod said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion…” (Genesis 1:26). God created man in His image so that man could express God. God gave dominion to man so that man could represent God. This is God’s eternal purpose, at a time when there was no sin and no death, a condition that matches the new creation and New Jerusalem after sin and death have been cast out.

The created mankind (Adam) fell but God called a new mankind (Abraham). God said to him, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2). Nation is related to dominion and blessing to image. The real blessing is the Spirit (Galatians 3:14) who transforms us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

When John the Baptist came, his first words were about the kingdom (Matthew 3:2). When the Lord Jesus came, the beginning of His proclamation was the kingdom: “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has drawn near. Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). By repenting we come back into God’s kingdom to be able to represent God. By believing we receive God’s life (John 3:15-16) that we may express God.

In contrast to Genesis 1, the kingdom (dominion) is mentioned first in the gospel because man has fallen from, and needs to be restored to, God and His authority.

God’s appearance is like jasper in Revelation 4:3. In Revelation 21:11, 18 the appearance of New Jerusalem is also like jasper. God and the Lamb are on the throne in New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1) and all God’s slaves will reign with Him forever (22:5). The city fulfills God’s intention in creating man by having the image and authority of God.

This post is based on my appreciation of Life-study of Genesis, message 39.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo by William S Keller, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

New JerusalemRevelation 21:12-3 and 21 describe the city of New Jerusalem, saying, “It had a great and high wall and had twelve gates….the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl.” These gates are our entrance into the city. They are not physical pearls but rather portray the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, through which we are brought into the new creation and enter New Jerusalem. As He said in John 14:6, “I am the way.”
Here is a list of prior posts on this topic (verse numbers are in Revelation 21).

New Jerusalem is Much More Precious
New Jerusalem is Built with the Triune God
In New Jerusalem the golden base and street (v. 18, 21) signify the Father’s divine nature, the pearl gates (v. 12) portray the Son’s death and resurrection, and the precious stones (v. 18-20) depict the transforming work of the Holy spirit. The composition of the city is the Triune God mingled with God’s people.

Three Gates on Each of Four Sides
New Jerusalem has twelve gates (v. 12-13, 21). The three gates on each side show that the Triune God is our entrance. Gates on four sides proclaim that the city is open to all humanity.

The Unmeasured Gates
Revelation 21 does not record the measurement for the gates of New Jerusalem. This probably indicates that Christ’s death and resurrection have unlimited (immeasurable) efficacy.

The Law’s Requirements at the Gates
A Living that Fulfills the Law’s Requirements
The entrance to New Jerusalem is guarded by the law, signified by the angels at the gates (v. 12). Whoever enters New Jerusalem must satisfy the law’s requirements. In ourselves we can never satisfy the law, but Christ has done it for us!

Gates of Pearl
The Twelve Gates are Twelve Pearls
We Enter through Faith, not Works
The pearls (v. 21) portray the death and resurrection of Christ. Through faith and baptism we are united with Him in His death and resurrection; this is our entrance into New Jerusalem.

The Entrance into New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem Has a Separating Wall and Open Gates
New Jerusalem has a great and high wall (v. 12) for separation and it has twelve gates for its entrance. Sinners are kept out by the wall but by faith we enter through the redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Enter New Jerusalem Now
Our receiving of the crucified and resurrected Jesus is our entering into New Jerusalem. Through His death all the negative things that would keep us out of the city have been removed. Through His resurrection we receive the eternal life, the life (v. 22:1-2) of New Jerusalem.

We Have the Way, Let’s Enter In
Jesus is our way, our reality, and our life. His coming to abide in us and bringing us to abide in Him is our way to New Jerusalem. We should not look for a way apart from Jesus Himself.

We Who Wash, Eat, and Enter Are Blessed
Revelation 22:14 declares “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.” Three steps are presented: we wash by confessing our sins, we receive Jesus as our life supply, and we enter New Jerusalem.

Into God’s Kingdom for New Jerusalem
God the Father “delivered us out of the authority of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:12-13). This transfer from the authority of Satan to the authority of God is the basis for our entering New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem is a City of Jasper

Jasper is an important part of the appearance of New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21:10b-11 John tells us that an angel “showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” Verses 14 and 19 say that “the wall of the city had twelve foundations… the first foundation was jasper…” and verse 18 says “the building work of its wall was jasper.”

Jasper is the expression of God, for we read in Revelation 4:2-3 “there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne there was One sitting; and He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance.” God and the city have the same appearance, indicating that the city is the expression of God. This is the fulfillment of God’s intention in Genesis 1, where God created man “in His image” so that man could express God.

New Jerusalem

Here is something about jasper and New Jerusalem from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM (details). See message 429 in online reading.

The wall and its foundations of precious stones signify the transforming and building work of the Holy Spirit. The foundations of the wall of the city are of twelve layers. The number twelve shows the completion in God’s eternal administration. The first layer is jasper, indicating that the likeness of God is the predominant appearance. The first layer of the wall’s foundation, as well as the entire wall of the New Jerusalem, is built with jasper. This indicates that the main material in the building of the holy city is jasper. Since jasper signifies God expressed in His communicable glory, the main function of the holy city is to express God in bearing His glory (v. 11).

Although the entire wall is jasper, the twelve foundations are different stones with various colors….The reason for this is that the apostles had different ministries….However, these twelve foundations are not laid side by side; rather, they are laid one on top of another….All the work of the apostles issued in the same appearance, jasper. All twelve layers lead to and support the unique testimony in the unique expression.

Let us rejoice in this wonderful expression of God in New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

New Jerusalem is Built with the Triune God

Here is a short quote about the Triune God and New Jerusalem from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM (details). See message 429 in online reading.

New Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem is built of three kinds of precious materials, signifying that she is built with the Triune God. First, the city proper, with its street, is of pure gold (Rev. 21:18, 21). Gold, the symbol of the nature of God, signifies the Father as the source, from whom the element for the substantial existence of the city is produced. Second, the twelve gates of the city are pearls, which signify the Son’s overcoming death and life-imparting resurrection, through which entrance to the city is gained. Third, the wall of the city and its foundation are built of precious stones, signifying the Spirit’s work of transforming the redeemed and regenerated saints into precious stones for the building of God’s eternal habitation that they may express God corporately in His all-permeating glory. In the garden of Eden these three kinds of treasures merely existed as materials (Gen. 2:11-12), whereas in the city of New Jerusalem these precious materials become a builded city for the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose, which is to have a corporate expression.

God is infinitely wise and infinitely capable. What He purposed in eternity past, He will accomplish. Satan, sin, death, worldliness, and other negatives cannot deter or stop Him. What was portrayed in the garden of Eden will be fulfilled in New Jerusalem.

The infinite wisdom of God will be “made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-11). Today God is operating in all His believers who together constitute the church. His operation is in time but it is of eternity; it includes His work in us but it is His work, not ours. What He accomplishes now is manifest to some extent in this age and to a greater extent in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem is Much More Precious

New JerusalemRecent posts have presented God’s New Testament building. The Lord Jesus is the builder and the cornerstone in whom all the building is fitted together. This building work is in the spiritual realm, it depends on the growth of eternal life in each member, and it is in love. 

God’s building work from Matthew to Jude is in spirit with the Triune God as its essence. It is not in the natural realm with physical materials. The physical items (such as milk, water, plants, gold, silver in 1 Corinthians 3) are symbols of the spiritual realities.

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the New Testament building. As such a consummation, it is spiritual rather than material.

The city was pure gold, like clear glass. (Revelation 21:18)
The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (21:21)

This gold signifies God’s divine nature, in which is nothing cloudy or opaque. We are in a city constituted with the divine nature and we walk and live in this nature, not in our fallen, sinful nature. This is much more precious than to be surrounded by physical gold.

The twelve gates were twelve pearls. (Revelation 21:21)

The pearls signify the death and resurrection of Christ as our entrance into the city. By believing into Him we are united with Him and thereby taken out of the old, fallen creation and made a new creation in Him. This is much more precious than to walk through a gate of physical pearl.

The building work of its wall was jasper. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone. (Revelation 21:18, 19)

Precious stones signify transformation. (Example: carbon being changed into diamond.) The precious stones in New Jerusalem signify the transforming work of the Spirit in God’s people. To be transformed to the image of Christ is much more precious than to be enclosed by a wall of physical jewels.

The Triune God is the essence of New Jerusalem. In the city we and God are mingled for eternity. This is much more precious than living near material riches.

Related posts:
The Golden Street of New Jerusalem is the Divine Nature
The One Street of New Jerusalem
Gates of Pearl
The Twelve Gates are Twelve Pearls
Precious Stones for New Jerusalem
Transformation Produces Precious Stones
The Triune God Seen in New Jerusalem
Gold, Pearls, and Precious Stones

God’s Faithfulness Constitutes Us

The wall of New Jerusalem has twelve foundations and on them are names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Revelation 21:14). These foundations are also adorned with precious stones (Revelation 21:19).

New Jerusalem

Here is another portion about the wall from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ (online reading) by Witness Lee, © LSM (details).

 It is through God’s faithfulness that the apostles have become the city’s foundation stones….The layer upon layer of precious stones, which compose the foundation of the city, show forth the colors of the rainbow. This indicates that the faithfulness of God [Genesis 9:8-17] is the foundation of the city. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all looked for “the city which has the foundations” (Heb. 11:10). They looked for such a city because that city is built upon the faithfulness of God. Psalm 89:2 says that the faithfulness of God is established in the heavens. Strictly speaking, the twelve stones alone do not compose the foundations of this holy city; rather, the faithfulness of God bestowed upon the twelve stones makes up the foundations.

Genesis 9:8-9, 12-13  says, “Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, and I Myself now establish My covenant with you and with your seed after you….And God said, This is the sign of the covenant…I set My bow in the clouds, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.” 

The apostles in themselves, apart from Jesus Christ, can never be the foundation. Look at their foolish talk and contention in the gospels.  Yet, after the resurrection of Jesus the faithful God worked in them to constitute them as foundations.

Likewise, in our natural makeup we are not qualified for God’s building. However, God in Christ has redeemed and regenerated us. “God is faithful” (1 Corinthians 1:9). He is faithful to complete His work in us. A verse which encouraged me recently is Romans 6:5, “if we have grown together with Him in the likeness of His death, indeed we will also be in the likeness of His resurrection.” God is resurrecting each part of our being and we will be full partakers of His resurrection in New Jerusalem.

Photo by Douglas Barnum, courtesy of U. S. Geological Survey.

Ministry of Life for the Wall of the City

Here is more about the foundation of the wall of New Jerusalem from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM (details). To read this online select the last volume here.

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:14 tells us, “the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

That the wall is built upon the foundations of the apostles of the Lamb also means that the wall is built upon the Christ who is brought to us by the apostles. The apostles of the Lamb are the bearers of Christ. They are the transformed transmitting agents of Christ. This simply means that the wall is built upon the Christ who is brought to us through the apostles as the transmitting agents. The children of Israel are the entrances, but the apostles of the Lamb are the foundations because they have Christ, and they brought Christ to us. This is a picture of the church. The church is built upon nothing other than the Christ brought and taught to us by the apostles.

The apostles as “transmitting agents of Christ” minister Christ to us, as in 1 Corinthians 3:5—“What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Ministers through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to each one of them.” What the Lord gave to them and what they minister to us is of life because the next verse speaks of planting, watering, and growth.

The transmission by the apostles, which is their ministry, is of the Spirit, of life, of righteousness, and abounds in glory (2 Corinthians 3:6-9). The apostles also train us for this same ministry, which we all should carry out with the same essence as the apostles although not to the same extent as they. This ministry by all the members of Christ results in the building up of the Body of Christ which is the path to the building up of New Jerusalem (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Photo of aspen trees in Yellowstone National Park by Jim Peaco, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Justified to Stand in Grace

Here is another excerpt about New Jerusalem from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM (details here). This is available for online reading—select the last volume here.

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:12-14 says about New Jerusalem, “It had a great and high wall and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names inscribed, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel: on the east three gates, and on the north three gates, and on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

The twelve names of the twelve tribes being inscribed on the twelve gates of the city indicates that the twelve gates are there to fulfill the requirement of the law and to satisfy the law’s demand upon sinners. The twelve foundations bearing the twelve names of the apostles, who are the representatives of the grace of the New Testament, signify that the New Jerusalem is built upon the grace of God according to the New Testament. The entrance of the city answers the requirements of the Old Testament law, and the foundations of the city show us the grace of the New Testament. The law is for the entry, and the grace is for the foundation. We enter into the New Jerusalem according to the requirement of the law, and we are in the New Jerusalem according to and based on the grace of the New Testament.

To enter the city we must satisfy the requirements of the law. We cannot do this ourselves but we are justified by faith in Christ (Galatians 2:16). Now He is the grace with us (2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 6:18; Philemon 25) for our daily satisfaction and joy, and for us to share with others.

Romans 5:1b-2 puts the entrance and foundation together: “our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand and boast because of the hope of the glory of God.” This access and grace are our present experience of the gates and foundation of New Jerusalem. The result is that we boast because of our hope concerning the glory of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Related posts: The Law’s Requirements at the Gates
The Twelve Gates are Twelve Pearls
A Living that Fulfills the Law’s Requirements
The Names of the Apostles
Christ as Life in the Apostles is the Foundation
We All Participate in the Ministry of Life for Building

The Triune God Seen in New Jerusalem

Here is a brief excerpt from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee (details). This may be read online by selecting volume 26 in this list. This excerpt shows the Triune God portrayed in three aspects of New Jerusalem.

God the Father is the gold as the base, God the Son is the gates to bring people in, and God the Spirit transforms people to express God.

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:18b “the city was pure gold, like clear glass.” God the Father, whose divine nature is symbolized by gold, is the solid base. Without Him we are on shifting sand.

Revelation 21:12a “It had a great and high wall and had twelve gates.” New Jerusalem has a separating wall and also open gates. God the Son, through His death and resurrection, is our entrance. Remember John 14:6b—“no one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Revelation 21:11 describes the city as “having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” And 21:18a and 19a tell us, “the building work of its wall was jasper….The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone…” God the Spirit transforms us from men of clay to precious stones that we may shine with the glory of God (2 Corinthians 3:18).

This chorus of a hymn (words, music) is also a good prayer for us.
___Lord, transform us to Thine image
_____In emotion, mind, and will;
___Saturate us with Thy Spirit,
_____All our being wholly fill.

Precious Materials in the Garden and in the City

There are many parallels between the garden of Eden and New Jerusalem, including the presence of God and of man, the tree of life, the river of life, and precious materials. Genesis 2:10-12 tell us,

And a river went forth from Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided and became four branches. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that goes around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there.

Jesus Christ is LifeThe picture here is that the flow of the river brings forth precious materials. In the New Testament we see that “the Spirit” (portrayed by the river) “gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). This life grows and the growth is from God Himself (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). This growth is for God’s building (v. 9), and the building requires precious materials (v. 12).

Genesis 2:11-12 present three precious materials. In contrast, 1 Corinthians 3:12 presents three precious materials and three ordinary materials. The three ordinary materials—wood, grass, stubble—represent natural and fallen men and their efforts (for example, 1 Peter 1:24 tells us “all flesh is like grass”). The three ordinary materials are clearly those which will be tested and consumed by fire (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).

In New Jerusalem, as in the garden, only precious materials (Revelation 21:15-18) are seen. These materials represent the Triune God and God’s operation in His people. The ordinary materials, representing the efforts of natural and fallen men, have been swept away and are not present in the new creation. The garden had the flowing river and the materials; New Jerusalem has the flowing river of water of life and these materials built together as the conclusion of all God’s building work.

Photo of Helix Nebula, courtesy of NASA.

The Stones Express God

God & New Jerusalem are Jasper“Immediately I was in spirit; and behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne there was One sitting; and He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance.” (Revelation 4:2-3a)
“And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” (Revelation 21:10-11)
And the building work of its wall was jasper.” (Revelation 21:18a)
The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone: the first foundation was jasper…the sixth, sardius (Revelation 21:19-20)

The first paragraph of note 2* on “jasper” in verse 21:19 says,

The first layer of the wall’s foundation, as well as the entire wall of New Jerusalem, is built with jasper (v. 18). This indicates that the main material in the building of the holy city is jasper. Since jasper signifies God expressed in His transmittable glory (4:3), the main function of the holy city is to express God in bearing His glory (v. 11).

Note 2* on “sardius” in verse 4:3 says,

The sardius too is a most precious stone, and its red color signifies redemption. While jasper signifies God as the God of glory in His rich life, sardius signifies God as the God of redemption. On the breastplate of the high priest in the Old Testament, the first stone was a sardius and the last a jasper (Exo. 28:17, 20). This signifies that God’s redeemed people have their beginning in God’s redemption and their consummation in God’s glory of life.

* in The NT Recovery Version Online, © 1997-2012 by LSM

Precious Stones for New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:19-20 says, “The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone: the first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.” And John saw New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:11) “Having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.”

Before Revelation 21 there are other mentions of precious stones. In 1 Peter 2:4 the Lord is “a living stone, rejected by men but with God chosen and precious” and in 2:6 He is “in Zion a cornerstone, chosen and precious.” In 1 Corinthians 3 we all are to participate in the New Testament building work by using gold, silver, and precious stones. On the one hand, Christ is the precious stone; on the other hand, we build with precious materials.

First Corinthians 3:12 says, “But if anyone builds upon the foundation gold, silver, precious stones…” In our natural being we are none of these materials. In 2 Corinthians 4:7 we are earthen (clay) vessels and Christ is the treasure in us; He makes us precious. The precious stones in New Jerusalem are developed through Christ being revealed in us (Galatians 1:15-16), we being rooted in Him (Colossians 2:7), Christ living in us and us living one with Him (Galatians 2:20), Christ being formed in us (4:19), and Christ making home in us (Ephesians 3:16-17). Lord, grant me grace to cooperate with Your living in me every day. Be the precious one in me!

%d bloggers like this: