The Headship, the Light of New Jerusalem

God in Christ is on the throne at the center of New Jerusalem. Today, God in Christ as the Head is building His Body toward that day (Eph. 4:15-16; Col. 2:19).

New JerusalemThis Christ is the light today and in New Jerusalem. “The people sitting in darkness have seen a great light” when Jesus came to dwell in Capernaum (Matt. 4:13, 16). “A light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:32). “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).

Today our need is to hold to Him as our Head so that a rich supply may flow from Him through us all for the building of His Body (Eph. 4:15-16; Col. 2:19). This building work is the preparation for New Jerusalem.

The headship of God in Christ is the very light. Wherever God is in authority, there is also light. On the other hand, wherever there is confusion, there is darkness. When God’s authority is exercised in a local church, that church will be full of the divine light. If God is not on the throne, if He is not in authority, He cannot shine, and there will be no light. If we all give place to God in Christ so that He may exercise His authority, if we all are willing to subject ourselves to Him, everything in our midst will be full of light.*

* Excerpt from The Vision of God’s Building by Witness Lee, chapter 17, © LSM

New Jerusalem is a Living Building

Growth in the divine life and building bring us into New Jerusalem. In the Old Testament God had physical symbols of His building but in the New Testament He becomes life in His believers and gains a living building.

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is th consummation of God’s living building. Because the building is living, growth in life and the building work are not separate but two aspects of one process. Here are verses about the coupling of these two.

“You are God’s cultivated land, God’s building.” This is 1 Corinthians 3:9, a transition from nourishment and growth (v. 1-8) to matters of building (v. 10-16). The growth on God’s cultivated land is for God’s building.

Ephesians 4:12 speaks of “the building up of the Body of Christ.” Verse 13 says this building work is “until we all arrive…at a full-grown man.” For us corporately (man is singular) to be full grown is the completion of God’s building work, preparing the way for New Jerusalem to appear.

Ephesians 4:15 is about our growing up into Christ our Head in all things. Then in verse 16 a rich supply flows out from Him through all His members. This flow “causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.” Again, growth and building are inseparably linked.

We walk in Christ Jesus, “having been rooted and being built up in Him” (Col. 2:6-7). Roots bring us the life supply for the building up.

New Jerusalem is the conclusion of the Bible and is the final and fullest step in the development of God’s living building.

Growth and Maturity for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is a city of life. Every aspect of the city depends on and is in God’s eternal life. This is the life we all receive when we first believe into and receive Jesus Christ.

When we receive Him we are born again. Immediately, we “as newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation”
(1 Peter 2:2). But to grow a little is not sufficient to be constituted into New Jerusalem.

Paul and his companions labored that “we may present every man full-grown in Christ” (Col. 1:28-29). Through our receiving and applying the perfecting ministry of those the Lord has gifted, we all arrive “at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:12-13). This matches what God desires for New Jerusalem.

We all need to see this light today. We have been saved, our sins have been forgiven, and we have God’s life, but we still must grow in life and become mature. God would never put a man of clay in the New Jerusalem. Every stone built into the New Jerusalem is a precious stone that has been transformed by God. As soon as the life of God enters into man, transformation begins to take place within him in order to gradually build him into the New Jerusalem. Therefore, strictly speaking, we do not walk into the New Jerusalem. Rather, God works us into it. However, this requires the growth and maturity in life.*

Lord, cause me to grow daily in Your life, all the way to maturity!

* The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

No Corruption in New Jerusalem (2)

There is no corruption in New Jerusalem because it is a city fully constituted with resurrection life.

This life is Jesus Christ Himself— “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Today He is our life. He “nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). When we it we are “regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible seed, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).

New JerusalemRegeneration puts us on the path to the incorruptible New Jerusalem. We were regenerated through the resurrection “unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

This life will not fully swallow up the corruption in us until the Lord returns and transfigures our mortal bodies. However, this life operates today to save us from the effects of corruption. Our cooperation with this involves our human spirit mingled with the Spirit.

Ephesians 4:22-24, “That you put off, as regards your former manner of life, the old man, which is being corrupted according to the lusts of the deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man….” In baptism we put off and put on
positionally but in our experience we need to exercise to be renewed every day to apply the positional fact.

This renewing saves us practically from the corrupted old man and makes us new to match incorruptible New Jerusalem.

The Redeeming God in New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:1, “And he [an angel] showed me [John] a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.”

In eternity future God as the redeeming God will administrate within the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and the new earth. Revelation 22:1 speaks of the throne of God and of the Lamb. The one throne for both God and the Lamb signifies that God and the Lamb are one—the Lamb-God, the redeeming God, God the Redeemer. In eternity the very God who sits on the throne will be our redeeming God, from whose throne proceeds the river of water of life for our supply and satisfaction. This depicts how the Triune God—God, the Lamb, and the Spirit (symbolized by the water of life)—dispenses Himself into His redeemed people under His headship (implied in the authority of the throne) for eternity.*

New JerusalemIn New Jerusalem we have both redemption and life. The redeeming God is here. The death of Jesus Christ accomplished all that is necessary for our forgiveness and reconciliation to God. This qualifies us to partake of God as our life. Throughout the current age we grow in this life.

We “grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ” (Eph. 4:15). Then out from Him flows a rich supply through all His members which “causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.” This is Christ’s headship to bring us into the reality of New Jerusalem to remain eternally under His throne and in the Spirit’s flowing.

The Conclusion of the New Testament, chapter 20, by Witness Lee, © LSM.


Following the pattern earlier this year, posts in the coming weeks will focus on quotes from Excerpts from Books by Watchman Nee and Witness Lee by Living Stream Ministry. Each post will identify the specific source of the quotation.

New Jerusalem: Satisfaction in Love and Rest in Expression

New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb,” Jesus Christ, and also “the tabernacle of God” (Rev. 21:2-3). These characteristics are not new at the conclusion of the Bible; they occur often throughout the Bible.

In both the Old and the New Testaments God likens His chosen people to a spouse (Isa. 54:6; Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 16:8; Hosea 2:19; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:31-32) and a dwelling place for Himself (Exo. 29:45-46; Num. 5:3; Ezek. 43:7-9; Psa. 68:18; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Tim. 3:15). The spouse is for His satisfaction in love, and the dwelling place is for His rest in expression. Both aspects will be ultimately consummated in the New Jerusalem. In her, God will have the fullest satisfaction in love and the uttermost rest in expression for eternity.*

The love between God and His people is important throughout the Bible. The books of Moses are, on one hand, filled with laws, commands, and ordinances. On the other hand, they often speak about our heart and our loving God. The Lord Jesus repeated this in John 14:21, 23, coupling loving Him and keeping His commandments. Second John 6 says the same.

New JerusalemIn Ephesians 3:17 we are “being rooted and grounded in love.” And 4:16 has “the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.” The building up of the Body of Christ in love is the preparation of New Jerusalem to be His loving bride. Likewise in Colossians 2:2 we are “knit together in love.”

Lord, increase our loving You daily. Make us those who “who have loved Your appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). Bring us onward to New Jerusalem

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

Photo courtesy of NASA.

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.

 

We Are Made New for New Jerusalem

A recent post focused on our being sanctified, separated positionally, and sanctified, saturated dispositionally, for the holy city New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAll human beings are in the old creation, under sin and death (Rom. 5:12). We need to be made new to be part of New Jerusalem in the new creation. Like sanctification, our change from old to new has two stages—positional and dispositional.

The positional change is immediate at the time of our believing. We repent and believe into Jesus Christ.

Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” In Christ we are positionally new; this fact stands firm in the Bible. But are we new in all our living? in all our attitudes and reactions to people and situations? We are not.

We need the dispositional renewing by the Spirit’s working in us. Romans 12:2 exhorts us “be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.” We need dispositional renewing to fully enter and prove the will of God.

Ephesians 4:23 is the same: “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” That is our need. The way is in Titus 3:5—God “saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit, who gave birth to our deadened spirit (John 3:6) is working within us to spread into our mind to renew us dispositionally.

This renewing constitutes us with the newness of God so that New Jerusalem can manifest this newness eternally.

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 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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