Our Human Spirit is for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemZechariah 12:1 speaks of Jehovah “who stretches forth the heavens and
lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.” This is the beginning of God’s work of creation and the beginning of man.

Revelation 21:1-2 says, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth….And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” This is the conclusion of God’s work.

All God’s building work in the New Testament, consummating with New Jerusalem, is spiritual. Therefore our human spirit is important.

The holy city New Jerusalem is the ultimate consummation of the work for God’s new creation out of God’s old creation through all the four ages of man’s history (the age before the law, the age of law, the age of grace, and the age of the kingdom), from God’s making the spirit for man and putting man in front of the tree of life to the accomplishment of this city for the good pleasure of His will, which is the intent of His eternal economy. God’s new creation is made out of the old creation through four ages. This work began from God’s creating man with a spirit and putting him before the tree of life and ends with the New Jerusalem.*

The coupling of heaven, earth, and the spirit of man in Zechariah indicates the importance of our human spirit. With our spirit we contact the Spirit. In regeneration our spirit is born of the Spirit (John 3:6). Our spirit receives the Spirit who is life (John 6:63, 2 Cor. 3:6). This is the life that grows in us and builds us into Christ’s Body, so our human spirit is a central part of our journey to New Jerusalem in the new creation.

* The Ten Great Critical ‘Ones’ for the Building Up of the Body of Christ, chapter 6, by Witness Lee, © LSM.

Bricks or Precious Stones?

New JerusalemJohn was carried away in spirit to a wilderness to see Babylon the harlot (Rev. 17) and carried away in spirit to a high mountain see New Jerusalem, the wife of the Lamb (Rev. 21). The difference in locations reveals the difference in nature of these two women.

Genesis 11 records the building of Babel, the predecessor of Babylon. The builders said to one another (v. 3), “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and they had tar for mortar.”

God’s building is of stones (Matt. 16:18; 1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 21:18-20), produced by God’s divine work, whereas Babel was of bricks, which are the result of human labor through the burning of the God-created earth. In figure, the earth signifies humanity (Gen. 2:7; Matt. 13: 3-8; 1 Cor. 15:47a). Satan kills the element within man that grows the divine life, by burning it out, and it misuses man to build up a man-made and godless life.*

Satan kills but Jesus Christ gives life. When He becomes our life through regeneration, God’s building work of life begins in us. An example is in 1 Peter: we are regenerated by incorruptible seed (1:23), we taste the Lord and grow by drinking the nourishing milk of His word (2:2-3), and we are living stones for the building of God’s spiritual house.

The consummation of this house is New Jerusalem. God’s life brings us here and builds us into this glorious city.

* Part of footnote 1 on Genesis 11:3 in The Recovery Version of the Bible, © LSM.

New Jerusalem is Prepared by Our Participation in the Riches of Christ

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:2-3 New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb, Christ, for His satisfaction in love. The city is also the tabernacle of God for His rest and expression. This marvelous entity is prepared by our experience of the riches of Christ.

The prior post looked at the individual experience of these riches in Philippians 1 and the corporate experience in Ephesians 3. Then Ephesians 4:15-16 says that “holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ, out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together…causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

Everything in these verses is for the preparation of New Jerusalem as the bride. We hold to Christ, the truth, in love. Thus we grow up into Him, experiencing Him in every aspect of our living, both small and big. As we grow into Him, the rich supply flows out from Him for our joining and knitting together (because the Body of Christ and New Jerusalem are corporate entities, not a gathering of individuals). Through this His Body grows and is built together in love.

Colossians 2:19 is a parallel verse, “Holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.” Again it begins with our holding, our cooperating. Then the rich supply flows out, all the members are knit together, and the corporate Body of Christ grows. This is our current progress in the preparation of New Jerusalem.

 

From the Garden to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIn Genesis 1 God created by speaking everything into being. However, God does not speak New Jerusalem into being. New Jerusalem comes out of God’s building work by His life imparted into and developing within His people.

God’s desire for a building in His life is shown in Genesis 2. Man was placed in the garden with a tree and river portraying God as life. In the river there were precious materials for God’s building. The conclusion of Genesis 2 is a bride for Adam.

At the beginning of the Scripture in God’s old creation there was a garden, the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:8). At the end of the Scripture in God’s new creation there will be a city, the city of the New Jerusalem. The garden and the city at the two ends of the Scripture reflect each other, with the tree of life which is in both of them as the link (Gen. 2:9; Rev. 22:2). The garden was the issue of God’s creation; whereas the city will be the consummation of God’s building, a building which God has been carrying out through all the dispensations.*

New Jerusalem is both a city built with precious materials and the bride for the Lamb, Jesus Christ. It is built with the flow of life out from Christ (Eph. 4:15-16) and is maintained eternally by this flow (Rev. 22:1).

Conclusion of the New Testament, The, chapter 13, by Witness Lee

Much more about the garden of Eden and New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem: the Full Expression of God

Revelation declares “He who was sitting [on the throne] was like a jasper stone” (4:3), “her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone” (21:11), and “the building work of its wall was jasper” (21:18). The first quote refers to God, the other two to New Jerusalem.

God’s appearance is like jasper (4:3), and the entire city has the appearance of jasper. This means that the entire New Jerusalem looks like God, which is the fulfillment of Genesis 1:26. God made man in His image to express Himself. When the New Jerusalem comes, all of God’s people will bear God’s expression, God’s image, God’s appearance. All of God’s people will be fully transformed for the full expression of the Triune God.*

New JerusalemGod created man from the dust of the ground. But in regeneration His life enters into us and begins a process of transformation. This gradually changes us from clay to precious stones, of which jasper is foremost in the description of New Jerusalem.

The Spirit works within us for this transformation, and God also uses our outward environment. Romans 8:28-29, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Because those whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son.”

The “good” toward which everything works is our conformation to the image of God’s Son. At the completion of this work, New Jerusalem, with all God’s transformed-conformed people builded together, will be the full expression of the Triune God.

* The Divine Economy, chapter 15, by Witness Lee

New Jerusalem, a Golden Mountain

New JerusalemRevelation 21 describes many aspects of New Jerusalem, including its materials and its dimensions. Because Revelation is a book of spiritual signs, many descriptors in it signify spiritual facts.

‘Twelve’ is a frequent number in the dimensions of New Jerusalem. In the Bible ‘seven’ indicates completeness in temporal matters and ‘twelve’ indicates completeness in eternal matters. ‘One thousand’ is a sign of fullness, plentifulness.

The New Jerusalem, the holy city, is a golden mountain (Rev. 21:16, 18). This mountain is twelve thousand stadia in length, breadth, and height (v. 16).…Such a high mountain has only one street which goes down spirally from the top of the mountain to reach all the twelve gates on the four sides of the city.

If this is a real [physical] city to lodge in, we must ask how all God’s redeemed through all the centuries will be able to lodge there….How could these people travel in a city with only one main street? For a physical city with only one main street to contain billions of people is impossible. The holy city is not a physical heavenly mansion, but a sign signifying the totality of all God’s chosen people.*

New Jerusalem is God dwelling with all His people. God is unlimited; in Him there is space for all His people. The one street of New Jerusalem is a picture of Jesus Christ as our way (John 14:6). He is “the Author and Perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). He has brought us into Himself as our spiritual street and He will bring us to completion, to New Jerusalem.

* The Divine Economy, chapter 15, by Witness Lee

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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

New Jerusalem is the Mingling of The Triune God with His People

God has been seeking a dwelling with man since creation. Many stages of this dwelling developed through the Old and New Testaments, culminating in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAn early picture of this dwelling, this building, is Abraham’s tent with his altar in front of it, a miniature of the tabernacle with an altar built centuries later. At that time God told Moses, “Let them make a sanctuary for Me that I may dwell in their midst” (Exo. 25:8).

In the Old Testament, due to the fall of man, God could only dwell with man, not in man. But the redemption obtained by the Lord Jesus cleansed man.

In the New Testament God does not dwell ‘with man’ but ‘in man.’ Even before accomplishing redemption, the Lord Jesus spoke of this. “You will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20). “Abide in Me and I in you” (John 15:4).

In the epistles many verses speak of us being in Christ and Christ being in us. This is mutual indwelling, also called coinherence or mingling. The ultimate stage of this coinherence is New Jerusalem.

The New Jerusalem is a full picture of the mingling of the Triune God with His redeemed creatures, the mingling of divinity with humanity. Now God is no longer merely a God outside of man. He is a God within man.

For eternity God will dwell in His people and His people in Him. This mutual dwelling is New Jerusalem.

* The Building of God, chapter 1, by Witness Lee.

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of God’s Building through the Bible

New Jerusalem, as the conclusion of the Bible, shows God’s goal—to have a living building composed of Himself and all His people.

New JerusalemWe see this building clearly in the New Testament. At first the eternal Word came to tabernacle among us (John 1:14). Jesus alone was God’s tabernacle at that time. In John 2:19-21 He spoke of Himself as the temple, the replacement for the old, physical temple.

Later, He redeemed us by His death and regenerated us through His resurrection (1 Peter 1:3). Now we are being built together. A few verses which speak of our involvement in God’s building work are 1 Corinthians 3:9 and Ephesians 2:19-22 and 4:15-16. In these verses both we and God in Christ are being built together. The ultimate issue is New Jerusalem.

Noah’s ark, the tabernacle, the temple, Christ, the church, and the New Jerusalem are all God’s building. However, these are all different aspects of one building, not many buildings. In the New Jerusalem we can find items related to Noah’s ark, to the tabernacle of Moses, and to Solomon’s temple with the old Jerusalem. We can certainly see Christ as the house and temple of God, and we can also see the church. Therefore, the New Jerusalem is the ultimate expression and consummation of God’s building.*

When the New Testament speaks about building it is always coupled with life. We are built together in the divine life which flows out from Christ the Head in Ephesians 4:16. This building is maintained in eternal newness by the flow of the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

* The Building of God, chapter 1, by Witness Lee.

God’s NT Building is Living, not Physical

God’s New Testament building is living!

Christ Jesus in resurrection is the Cornerstone. Acts 4:10-12
All the building is “in Christ.” Ephesians 2:20-22
“All the building is growing.” Ephesians 2:21
“We are the temple of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 6:16
We all, “as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” 1 Peter 2:5
—–and additional verses in the prior posts

New Jerusalem is not physical!

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s New Testament building.
New Jerusalem shows the completion of all the growth and building in the NT.
New Jerusalem has a living temple, not a physical temple;
——-“the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” Rev. 21:22
New Jerusalem is living to be “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” Rev. 21:9

Earlier posts about New Jerusalem as a living city, not a physical city:
New Jerusalem is Spiritual, not Physical
New Jerusalem: Not a Physical Building
A Physical Building is not the House of God

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (9)

Ephesians presents much about our growth into Christ in all things, which matches His growth within us, and our being built together in Him. New Jerusalem, a living city, is the consummation of this growth and building.

New Jerusalem

Here are links to recent posts on God’s living New Testament building. The key verses in each post are listed.

Jesus Christ is the living Cornerstone of God’s NT building. Matt. 21:33-41; Acts 4:10-12
Jesus Christ is the Living Stone and we also are living stones. John 1:41-42; 1 Peter 2:2-7
Jesus Christ is the temple in resurrection, and all His believers are part of this temple.
John 1:14, 2:19-22, 14:2, 23; 2 Cor. 6:16

We are God’s cultivated land, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:1-16
In Christ Jesus all the building is growing into a holy temple in the Lord. Eph. 2:19-22
We have been rooted and are being built up in Christ Jesus. Eph. 3:16-21; Col. 2:6-7

Our growth in life is for the building up of the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-16
The growth of the Body is unto the building up of itself in love. Eph. 4:15-16, Col. 2:19

Earlier posts about New Jerusalem as a city of life and God’s NT building in life:

New Jerusalem, not in the Natural Realm
The Living House Becomes the Living City
New Jerusalem is a Living City

New Jerusalem is a Living City, a City of Life
New Jerusalem is a Living, Spiritual City
We are God’s Living House

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (8)

Ephesians 4:11-16 focuses on God’s life being ministered for our growth in life and for furtherance of God’s New Testament building work. The growth and the building work are inseparably linked and both consummate in New Jerusalem.

By holding the Head, Christ, we “grow up into Him in all things” (v. 4:15). Then there is a flow out from Him which joins us together and knits us together. This flow is both through the gifted members (v. 4:11) and “through the operation in the measure of each one part” (v. 4:16). “Each one part” equals every believer in Christ, every member of the Body of Christ.

New JerusalemThis flow through all of us “causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love” (v. 4:16). The growth of the Body and the building up of the Body proceed together. This is God NT way which ultimately concludes with New Jerusalem.

Colossians 2:19 is parallel, “holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.” Our holding to Christ the Head allows a rich supply to flow out from Him for our knitting together and growth.

The whole Body, including all the members, “grows with the growth of God.” God was born into us at regeneration and is growing within us. New Jerusalem is the consummation of this growth; it is the manifestation of God in/through all His people built together.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (7)

God’s New Testament building comes forth from the growth of His life in us. New Jerusalem is the consummation of this growth and building up.

Ephesians 4:11-16 speaks much about growth and building. Verse 11 says that the ascended Christ gave some as particular gifted members to His spiritual Body. These gifted members are “for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ” (v. 12).

The gifted members train all the members to minister Christ to one another. This ministering is a life supply which issues in the building up of the Body. The goal is that “we all arrive at the oneness of the faith…, at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13). Here “full-grown man” clearly indicates our growth in the divine life.

New JerusalemOn the positive side growth brings building up, pointing toward New Jerusalem. On the negative side growth brings us away from spiritual childhood where we are subject to “winds of teaching” and other aspects of a “system of error” (v. 14).

For our growth, for our building up, we need the gifted members (v. 11). We all also need to hold to truth in love (v. 15). Jesus Christ Himself is the truth, the reality, as He declared in John 14:6. We hold to Him in love. One aspect of holding in love is to declare Lord Jesus, I love You.

This loving of Him certainly will intensify as we are prepared to be His bride, His wife, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2, 9-10).

 

 

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