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.

We Are Regenerated and Transformed for God’s Eternal Building

New Jerusalem is solidly built, not with physical materials, but with the Triune God. Here is another excerpt about the city from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ (online reading, message 429 in volume 26) by Witness Lee, © LSM.

New Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem is a city of foundations (Heb. 11:10). These are the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14), each of whom is signified by a precious stone. Peter, the first of the twelve apostles, was originally named Simon. When Simon was brought to the Lord, the Lord changed his name to Peter, meaning “a stone” (John 1:42). Later the Lord called him by that name when He spoke concerning the building of His church (Matt. 16:18). Precious stones are not created but are produced by the transforming of things created. All the apostles were created as clay, but they were regenerated and were transformed into precious stones for God’s eternal building. Every believer needs to be regenerated and transformed so that he may be a part of the New Jerusalem.

Both regeneration and transformation are accomplished by the Spirit’s operation in us. John 3:5 speaks about being regenerated, born of the Spirit, and 3:6 says, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The first Spirit in this verse is the Holy Spirit; the second is our human spirit, the deepest part of our being, the part created by God for His purpose (Zechariah 12:1).

Transformation is “from the Lord Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). This transformation proceeds as we turn our heart to the Lord to behold His glory (2 Corinthians 3:16-18) and as we present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).

Our path to New Jerusalem includes regeneration and transformation. May we practice turning and presenting as we look forward to that glorious city.

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.

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.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem

New JerusalemOn April 19 I began a series looking at similarities between the garden of Eden and New Jerusalem. Since then this comparison, of Genesis 2–3 with Revelation 21–22, has grown. Thank the Lord for how His word unfolds as we dig into it. Here is a summary of this series; each ❖ symbol links to a specific post.

God was present in the garden as the Creator and is present in New Jerusalem as the redeeming and life-imparting Lamb-God.

Man was created in God’s image in Genesis and is one with God in life in Revelation.

Redemption is portrayed in the garden; completed redemption is seen in the city.

God and man, although speaking face to face in the garden, were separate; in the New Testament, including New Jerusalem, God in Christ lives in His believers and they live in Him.

The tree of life is in both the garden and the city; Jesus Christ is the reality of this tree and is available to us now.

A choice between life and death is shown by the tree of life and tree of knowledge in the garden; man faces this choice through the Bible although not in the new creation.

The river of life is in both the garden and the city; the Spirit is the reality of this flow of life reaching us today.

Three kinds of precious materials were in the garden; three kinds of precious materials are built together in the city.

Eve, the bride of Adam, who came out of Adam, is a picture of the church and New Jerusalem coming out of Christ and returning to Him as His bride.

God’s building of the rib from Adam’s side into Eve is a picture of building the church and New Jerusalem with the unbroken life which flows out from Christ.

God’s glory, holiness, and righteousness are seen in the garden, in the redemption of Christ, in our Christian life, and in New Jerusalem.

A photo of Ireland from space, courtesy of European Space Agency.

A related post: The Central Thought of God, by Stefan at aGod-man.com

Three Precious Materials

the Triune God in New JerusalemThis post continues looking at the parallels between the garden of Eden and New Jerusalem.

In the garden of Eden the materials were gold, bdellium (a fragrant resin), and onyx stone. Today the precious materials are gold, silver, and precious stones (1 Corinthians 3:12). In New Jerusalem the materials are gold, pearls, and precious stones; Revelation 21:18-21 says, “The city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone….And the twelve gates were twelve pearls.”

All of these materials are pictures of spiritual matters. The fact that there are three materials refers to the Triune God—His eternal nature, the completed work of Christ, and the present operation of the Spirit in the believers.

Gold appears always and the one type of precious stone in Genesis multiplies to twelve types of precious stones in Revelation. But the second material goes through some changes. Bdellium is from the plant life. At that time, in Genesis 2, man was pure, without sin, and there was no need of redemption. Hence, unlike the latter pictures, the second material in Genesis 2 does not clearly portray redemption.

In 1 Corinthians 3:12 the second material is silver. This might signify that, by His death, Jesus redeemed/purchased us by paying a price. One verse related to this is Revelation 5:9, in which the Lamb is praised “for You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

In Revelation 21 the second material is pearl. This signifies the death and resurrection of Christ (see related posts) through which we enter into our spiritual life with Christ and into New Jerusalem. How wonderful that the divine presentation is consistent from Genesis to Revelation, from the garden of Eden to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Related posts:
Gates of Pearl
The Twelve Gates are Twelve Pearls

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.

Genesis and Revelation

Genesis 2 and New JerusalemGenesis chapters 1–2 and Revelation 21–22 share a wonderful characteristic: no sin and no death. There are many features of creation in Genesis that correspond with the spiritual realities in New Jerusalem in Revelation.

This post points out matching features in the garden of Eden and New Jerusalem. The parenthetical numbers are verse references in Genesis and Revelation. Future posts will explore each correspondence in more detail.

God was present in the garden (3:8) and is present in New Jerusalem (21:22; 22:1).

Man was present in the garden (2:8, 15) and is present in New Jerusalem, as indicated by the names of the tribes of Israel and the names of the apostles (21:12, 14).

The tree of life was in the garden (2:9) and the tree of life is in New Jerusalem (22:2).

The river was flowing in the garden (2:10) and the river of water of life is flowing in New Jerusalem (22:1).

Gold, bdellium, and onyx stone were precious materials in the garden (2:12); gold, pearls, and precious stones are in New Jerusalem (21:18-21).

A woman was present in the garden as the wife of Adam (2:22-24), a type of Christ (Romans 5:14); New Jerusalem is the wife of the Lamb, Christ (21:9).

In the garden, God was real even though He had not yet become the redeeming Lamb-God (Revelation 22:1) through incarnation, death, and resurrection. Man was real but not yet regenerated. The tree, the river, and the precious materials were in the garden as symbols, but the realities are in the city. Praise God for the marvelous picture in Genesis 2 and the fulfillment in New Jerusalem.

Gold, Pearls, and Precious Stones

New Jerusalem is built with gold, silver, precious stonesThis post is part of a series on books about New Jerusalem. This one is from God’s New Testament Economy, by Witness Lee, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 1986. This book is available here and may be read online by selecting it in the list here. The last 19 chapters speak about the ultimate consummation of the Bible, New Jerusalem, focusing on its desig-nations, structure, features, and application to the believers. The section under the heading Gold, Pearls, and Precious Stones is from chapter 29.

As book excerpts are posted, the books will be mentioned on the page “Books about New Jerusalem” listed at the top of these blog pages.

Gold, Pearls, and Precious Stones

“The basic elements of the structure of the New Jerusalem are gold, pearls, and precious stones (Rev. 21:11, 18-21). In 1 Corinthians 3:12 Paul refers to the building up of the church with three kinds of materials—gold, silver, and precious stones. In Genesis 2, in 1 Corinthians 3, and in Revelation 21 we see the materials for God’s building.

Gold, silver, and precious stones signify the various experiences of Christ in the virtues and attributes of the Triune God. It is with these the apostles and all spiritual believers build the church on the unique foundation of Christ. Silver in typology according to Exodus 30 always typifies redemption (vv. 11-16; cf. 38:25-28). The building materials of the church are first the gold referring to God with His divine nature, and second the silver referring to the Redeemer with His redemption.

We also must look into the significance of precious stones. According to John 1, Andrew went and found his brother Simon Peter and brought him to Jesus (vv. 41-42). By that time Peter was a “muddy” person. When Jesus saw Peter, He said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which translated means a stone)” (John 1:42). At that time Simon was not a piece of stone, but a piece of mud. When he came to the Lord, however, the Lord immediately changed his name.

In the Gospel of John, Peter was named “a stone” by the Lord and in John’s Revelation this same Peter is one of the twelve foundation stones. The Lord’s word in John 1 concerning Peter being a stone was a prophecy which was fully fulfilled in Revelation 21. In between John’s Gospel and his Revelation are Peter’s Epistles. In his first Epistle Peter tells us that the Lord is the living stone and that we all need to come to Him as living stones for God’s building of His habitation (2:4-5; Eph. 2:22). All of us believers including Peter are the living stones for God’s building.”

My Summary

The materials of New Jerusalem are gold, pearls, and precious stones. These portray the operation of the Triune God in His people. We partake of the Father’s divine nature (gold) as mentioned in 2 Peter 1:4. We experience the blessings from the Son’s death and resurrection, including redemption (silver in 1 Cor. 3) as in Ephesians 1:7, and regeneration (pearl) as in 1 Peter 1:3. We are being transformed by the inward operation of the Spirit (precious stones) as in 2 Corinthians 3:17–18.

Transformation Produces Precious Stones

Transformation from the spirit produces precious stonesRevelation 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 twelfth, amethyst.”

In 1 Corinthians 3:6-12 we see planting, watering, farming, and growth. The result is material of the plant life. Yet in the same verses we see that the proper building materials are gold, silver, and precious stones. The change from life to the precious materials implies transformation. The same thought is in Matthew 13 with the sowing of the seed eventually leading to precious materials, and in 1 Peter 2:2-5 with nourishing milk for growth and then living stones for building up.

Transformation is presented directly in Romans 12:2—“transformed by the renewing of the mind” and 2 Corinthians 3:18—we ,“beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed.” The transformation in Romans 12 is detailed in Ephesians 4:23 where the renewing of our mind is by the Spirit with our spirit. (The Spirit with our spirit is seen in John 3:6 and Romans 8:16.) The transformation in 2 Corinthians is by turning our heart to the Lord so that every veil is taken away thereby allowing us to behold Him clearly. His glory shines into us to transform us “into the same image” (His image) “from glory to glory” and He is also reflected for others to see Him. This proceeds “from the Lord Spirit.” The result of this transformation is New Jerusalem with its precious stones expressing the glory of the Lord.

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