Growth, Transformation for New Jerusalem

The prior posts are about our growth and transformation to bring us into New Jerusalem. The garden of Eden has many parallels with New Jerusalem, but man in the garden was merely a created being without God’s life. Now we have Christ’s redemption, Christ as our life within (Col. 3:4), and we cooperate with this life for growth, transformation, and maturity to manifest God as members of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem

These posts are from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, by Witness Lee, © LSM. Here is a highlight from each post, in the order published, with one significant verse (or more) and a link to the post.

New Jerusalem: Dwelling Place of God The garden of Eden and New Jerusalem are a paradise. The tree of life is in each one (Gen. 2:9, Rev. 22:2) as the divine life supply.

New Jerusalem: Dwelling Place of God (2) Both the garden and the city have the tree of life, the river of life (Rev. 22:1), and precious materials. What God did in the beginning is related to His ultimate goal.

New Jerusalem: God Manifest in Glory God reaches His goal by imparting Himself as life into man. “When Christ our life is manifested, then you also will be manifested with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4)

New Jerusalem: Dwelling Place and Bride New Jerusalem is both a glorious city and a prepared bride (Rev. 21:2, 9-11). To reach this goal, the Lord is sanctifying the church to be glorious, without any spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:26-27).

New Jerusalem: God and Man Mingled In the garden man and God were separate. In the city we are mingled through God’s regenerating and transforming work (2 Cor. 3:18).

We Are Being Built into New Jerusalem God builds us into the city by His work in us which conforms us the the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29) so that the city expresses Him.

We Are Being Built into New Jerusalem (2) We do not enter the city as beings separate from it. Rather, God is building us into the city now. Ephesians 2:22—we “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.”

We Are Being Renewed into New Jerusalem Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23, Colossians 3:10, and Titus 3:5 all speak of the on-going renewing work within us to make us thoroughly new for New Jerusalem.

Built Up to Become New Jerusalem After regeneration, God’s renewing and transforming work in us builds us into the city. Acts 20:32 and Romans 14:19 are two of many verses about this building work.

Growth and Maturity for New Jerusalem For the reality of New Jerusalem we need not only Christ as life but more to grow until we arrive “at a full-grown man” (Eph. 4:12-13).

Growth and Maturity for New Jerusalem (2) For our maturity we need to see more of Christ, count all else as loss, know Him experientially, and pursue Him daily (Phil. 3:7-15).

Growing in God’s Life unto New Jerusalem Our initial salvation brings Christ as life into us. Now our need is to grow in this life, a growth which transforms us into His glorious image (2 Cor. 3:18)

Growth and Maturity for New Jerusalem (2)

The garden of Eden was God’s beginning with man. Since it was a beginning, no growth was required. New Jerusalem is God’s conclusion, God’s final step with man, and the city requires maturity.

To be in the garden of Eden did not require the growth in life. Once man was created, he was put in the garden of Eden….However, to be in the Paradise of the New Jerusalem requires our whole being—our spirit and soul with our body—to be prepared and completely transformed. It requires the growth and maturity in life so that we may participate in God’s eternal dwelling place.*

New JerusalemThe prior post quoted Colossians 1:28 and Ephesians 3:12-13 about God’s desire that we be full-grown, mature. The concluding words of 1 Corinthians exhort us “Watch, stand firm in the faith, be full-grown men, be strong” (16:13).

Philippians 3:7-15 presents a course to maturity. We need to see Jesus Christ to the extend that things which were gains to us, and even everything else, is counted as loss that we might gain Christ. Then we are “found in Him,” found living Him as our righteousness. Also, we seek to know Him and the power of His resurrection to be saved from self. And we forget things behind and stretch forward, pursuing toward full growth in Christ as our goal.

May the Lord stir in us this attitude and desire to forget everything else to grow in Christ to a maturity that matches New Jerusalem.

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

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem: God and Man Mingled

The garden of Eden and New Jerusalem mirror each other. The garden unfolds God’s purpose and the city shows the completion. God and man are present in the garden but are separate. In New Jerusalem God and man are present in a merged, mingled way.

In the garden of Eden in Genesis, we see man, pure gold, and precious stones. The man, the pure gold, and the precious stones are separate from each other. When we come to the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21, we see pure gold and precious stones but no man. Where is man? Can anyone find man in the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21? In Genesis we can see man in the garden of Eden, but in Revelation we cannot see man in the New Jerusalem. Why is this? This is because the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 is the issue of God’s work in man throughout the ages. The city, the place itself, is man. In the New Jerusalem, man, the pure gold, and the precious stones are one and cannot be separated.*

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the mingling of God and man, accomplished by man’s willing cooperation with God’s work in man. God’s work begins with His Spirit regenerating our human spirit (John 3:6), making us alive with God’s life. This is the beginning of God’s work in man.

God continues with the Spirit’s transforming work in us and concludes with the transfiguration of our mortal bodies when the Lord Jesus returns visibly. The goal of this work is to conform us to His image, as clearly presented in Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18, and Philippians 3:21.

Because God’s work in us conforms us to His image, New Jerusalem is not only the manifestation of God but even more the manifestation of God in man.

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

New Jerusalem: Dwelling Place of God (2)

In Genesis 2 we read that “a river went forth from Eden to water the garden.” In New Jerusalem John was shown “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.”

We see that the dwelling place God prepared for man in the beginning was a paradise and that the dwelling place God prepares for man in the end is also a paradise. Both are pleasant places, and their contents are also similar. The two paradises both have the tree of life and a river, and both have pure gold, pearl, and precious stones. This shows that the dwelling place God prepared for man in the beginning is the same as the one He prepares for man at the end. The two places have almost the same contents. This shows that what God did in the beginning was related to His ultimate purpose, and God’s ultimate purpose is revealed in what He did in the beginning.*

New JerusalemThe materials in the garden and in New Jerusalem  are the same. However, in the garden the materials are present but not built together as they are in the city.

God’s building work is going on through human history. In Genesis 12 Abraham’s tent was a small symbol of the dwelling place God desires. Later, the tabernacle and temple were much larger symbols and included precious materials. Today we are being built in reality to be “a dwelling place of God in spirit.”

By “coming to Him, a living stone” we also “as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5). New Jerusalem is the consummation of this living building, a living composition of God and all His people.


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

Much more about the garden of Eden and New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem: Dwelling Place of God

Genesis 2:9 – “out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, as well as the tree of life in the middle of the garden.”

Revelation 22:2 –  “on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.”

The dwelling place God prepared for man in the beginning was called the garden of Eden, and the one at the end is called the New Jerusalem. Eden means “pleasure.” Therefore, the garden of Eden was a paradise. The dwelling place at the end of the Bible—the New Jerusalem—is also a paradise. The paradise in Genesis 2 has the tree of life in it. Revelation 22 shows that the New Jerusalem also has the tree of life in it. Thus, the paradise in Genesis 2 is the New Jerusalem in Revelation 22.*

New JerusalemThere are many commonalities between the garden of Eden and New Jerusalem. The garden was and New Jerusalem will be the mutual dwelling place of God and His people. Today the reality of these two is our human spirit enlivened by the Spirit. In Christ Jesus we “are being built together into a dwell-ing place of God in spirit” (Eph. 2:22).

New Jerusalem will be the consummation of the building work in this age.

* This is the first of a series of posts with excerpts from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

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

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (8.2)

We looked at eight verses of a song which couples the garden of Eden with New Jerusalem. Eve in the garden as the wife of Adam is a picture of New Jerusalem as the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ (Rev. 21:9-10).

A line in that song, about Christ’s deep long for His bride led us to another song (words and music) which amplifies this longing. This inserted song emphasizes God’s eternal purpose hidden in His heart through the ages, creation, Satan’s deception of man, and Christ’s continued seeking of His bride.

New JerusalemNext: “His life laid down, an offering whose fragrance yet ascends.” He died to gain His bride. Ephesians 5:25, “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

More: “And now in resurrection to her He draws most near.” On one hand Christ is in heaven and not visible to our eyes. On the other hand, He is in us and enlivens us (Rom. 8:10). Soon, Christ “In glory does appear.” He will return to earth visibly in glory.

The inserted song concludes, “As she beholds her Bridegroom, His glory floods her heart, ’til she, His Bride, is raptured, His longed-for counterpart.” We look away to Jesus now and will behold Him in glory at His return.

“He comes to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10) and He will be further glorified in and through His bride, New Jerusalem, the city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (8.1)

Many characteristics in the garden of Eden are like prophecies pointing to New Jerusalem. The prior post is about the bride, which is Eve in Genesis 2 as a picture of the eternal bride, New Jerusalem, in Revelation 21.

New JerusalemWe have been looking at Genesis 1–2 and Revelation 21–22 with a song about the two. Verse 8 of this song speaks of the bride being precious to Christ. Before we conclude the current song, we will go to another, which is about this preciousness.

This inserted song (words and music) begins, “The church is Christ’s deep longing and His good pleasure too.” It also says, “Before the earth’s foundation His thoughts were filled with her.” New Jerusalem as the bride is not a late addition; it is part of God’s eternal plan which existed before creation.

More: “Creation sprang to being, but deep in Him did hide a heart of depth unfathomed fixed on a glorious Bride.” God’s plan was not revealed until the New Testament time (Col. 1:26) but all was firm in His heart from the beginning.

Then it speaks of sin beguiling and mocking man but Christ never forsaking His bride. Next, “Then mercy richly flourished, and love was, oh, so vast, as graciously He sought her with wisdom unsurpassed.” All the problems in the universe, including the fall of man, serve only to manifest the unsurpassed wisdom of Christ. Eternally New Jerusalem will be a complete manifestation of this wisdom triumphing over every obstacle.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (8)

New JerusalemGenesis 1–2 reveals God’s intention in pictures. The reality is in the New Testament.

Many wonderful things in Genesis 1–2 are fully realized in New Jerusalem. Here is the eighth verse of a song connecting these two ends of the Bible, plus several of the underlying Bible verses.

Within the garden also was a bride,
Who was to Adam as his counterpart;
Lastly, the city is itself the bride
As Christ’s own fulness, precious to His heart.

Genesis 2:21-22 tell us, “Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. And Jehovah God built the rib, which He had taken from the man, into a woman and brought her to the man.” This is the bride, the counterpart to Adam in the song.

The reality is first seen in John 3. All the redeemed and regenerated people become the bride of Christ. The reality is also seen in Ephesians 5:25-27; Christ died to redeem the church, His bride, He is now cleansing her by the washing in the water in His living word, and He will present her to Himself not only spotless but even more, glorious.

Eternally, Revelation 21:2 presents “the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (7)

A song couples the key characteristics in the garden of Eden with those of New Jerusalem. The garden presents God’s intention and the city shows His accomplishment. Verse 7 of the song:

’Tis for the city man is wrought upon,
Therefore regenerated and transformed
To purest gold, to pearls and precious stones,
As Christ’s own Body, to Himself conformed.

New Jerusalem is God’s goal. All of God’s creation, including man, is for this goal. New JerusalemAll the negatives among men and throughout the universe have root in Satan’s rebellion against God (Isaiah 14) and his corruption of the human race. But nothing can defeat God!!!

Ephesians 3 tells us that God “created all things, in order that now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

All the negative things are merely the black background to further manifest God’s wisdom. He will make this wisdom known now through the church and eternally in a fuller manner through New Jerusalem.

Humanity has fallen, but God came in Jesus Christ to redeem and to regenerate mankind. By regeneration we receive the divine, eternal, incorruptible life. As this life grows and spreads within us, we are transformed (Rom. 12:2), to be the precious materials for the building of the Body of Christ, which will consummate in New Jerusalem.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (6)

Genesis 1–2 presents many pictures. The reality of these is in the New Testament and their consummation is New Jerusalem. A song couples these two ends of the Bible. Verse 5 of the song is about the tree of life in the garden of Eden but outside of man. Verse 6:

But in the city glorious the tree
Within the corporate “man” doth grow, thereby
Revealing Christ Himself as life divine
New JerusalemBeing to man his inward life supply.

In New Jerusalem is “the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month” (Rev. 22:2). This is Jesus Christ, who is “the life” to become, through death and resurrection, “our life” (Col. 3:4).

As the reality of the bread of life, He is our daily nourishment that we may “live because of Him.” We, like Paul, should be able to declare “for me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21).

The song says the tree grows within the “corporate man.” This is a reference to New Jerusalem, the culmination of all God’s building work. This work builds all the believers together. One reference to this is in Ephesians 2:22, “you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.” New Jerusalem is God’s dwelling place.

In Romans 12, “we who are many are one Body in Christ.” This is our position from the time we believe. Now, by Christ as our life supply, we grow in His life for the building up of the one Body, the “corporate man” which becomes New Jerusalem.

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (5)

Genesis 1–2 presents many pictures which are fulfilled in New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22. A song couples these two ends of the Bible. Here is the fifth verse of the song and the Bible verses underlying it.

New JerusalemMan in the garden of the clay was formed,
In nature as the Lord created him;
The tree of life was then without the man,
Not having yet become his life within.

Genesis 2:7 says, “God formed man with the dust of the ground.” Then 2:9 says, “out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, as well as the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

The tree of life symbolizes Christ, who is “the life,” to be our life, the life that brings us into God’s building and builds us together as New Jerusalem.

God told Adam that he could eat from every tree except that he should not eat the tree of knowledge. This is God’s first commandment to man. However, man violated that command, ate from that tree, and was shut out from the garden with no access to the tree of life.

But God’s purpose cannot be stopped by this failure. God came in Christ, redeemed us, and regenerated us with Himself as life, the reality of the tree of life, the life of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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