In the Old Testament the building of Noah’s ark, the tabernacle, and the temple were all in the natural realm, the physical realm. In the New Testament God’s building is in the spiritual realm and is accomplished by our growth in life. This life is Christ Jesus in us.
First Corinthians 3:9 states that we are God’s cultivated land (or farm) and God’s building. The farm is for growth and the growth is for the building. First Peter 2:2, 5 say, “As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation…You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house…” Our growing unto salvation results in our being built up as a spiritual house. Colossians 2:6-7a also couple life and building, “As therefore you have received the Christ, Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, having been rooted and being built up in Him.” We have been rooted in Him to receive the supply for growth in life which issues in our being built up in Him.
These verses speak of growth in life together with building in this age. New Jerusalem is the eternal result of the building of God’s people in Him. By the time of Revelation 22 the building has been completed but the river of life flows (v. 1) and the tree of life grows (v. 2) to supply this living building eternally.