New Jerusalem: God Manifest in Glory

The tree of life and river of life in the garden of Eden and in New Jerusalem show that God will reach His goal by imparting Himself as life into man.

The two paradises in Genesis and Revelation are both dwelling places for man. They show the purpose and reason why God prepared them for man….God’s unique purpose in this universe is to work Himself into man so that man may have His life and nature and that through His life and nature man may be transformed inwardly (2 Pet. 1:3-4; 2 Cor. 3:18). Ultimately, God and man will be mingled together, and man will have the image of God (Rom. 8:29). The inward being of God will be the inward being of man, and God’s glorious, outward appearance will be man’s glorious appearance (cf. Rev. 4:3; 21:11).*

New JerusalemJesus Christ is the reality of the tree of life. He came to man as “the life” (John 14:6) and we may know today that we have this life (1 John 5:11-13). By our holding onto Christ, this life will increase in us day by day, as in Colossians 2:19.

As this life develops, Christ is formed in us, as Galatians 4 mentions, so that we may be conformed to the image of God’s firstborn Son. Eventually, “When Christ our life is manifested, then you also will be manifested with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4). New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage of this glorious manifestation.

* 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: the Triune God and God’s Redeemed People

New JerusalemRevelation 21:2 – “I saw the holy city,
New Jerusalem, coming down out of
heaven from God.”
Revelation 21:12 – “It [New Jerusalem] had a great and high wall and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names inscribed, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.”
Revelation 21:14 – “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

Many things are mentioned in the Bible, but eventually, at the end of the Bible, there is only one consummation, and this consummation is the New Jerusalem. In this consummation, we can see God (the Father, the Son, and the Spirit) and God’s redeemed humanity. We can see Israel because the New Jerusalem bears the names of the twelve tribes representing saved Israel (Rev. 21:12). We can see the believers because the holy city bears the names of the twelve apostles representing all the New Testament believers (v. 14). The New Jerusalem is the consummation of God and man.*

The verses above show that God’s people from both the Old Testament and the New Testament are constituted into New Jerusalem.

Revelation 22:1 shows God in New Jerusalem—the throne of God, the Father, and the Lamb, Jesus Christ, with the river of water of life flowing out of the throne. As in John 7:38-39, the river here signifies the Spirit flowing to reach man with the divine supply for eternity.

Practical Points Concerning Blending, chapter 3, by Witness Lee, © LSM

Graphic courtesy of

Eating, Drinking, and Worshipping God

In Revelation 22:1-2 we see in New Jerusalem God and the Lamb on the throne, the river of water of life flowing, and the tree of life producing fruit every month.

For eternity the redeeming God will sit on the throne in the center of the New Jerusalem, and out of the throne, that is, out of God Himself, will flow the water of life to saturate the city. Furthermore, the tree of life will grow in the water of life to nourish the city. This saturating and nourishing is the divine dispensing in full. We shall be there eating of the tree of life and drinking of the water of life. For eternity, we shall be eating, drinking, and worshipping God. This is the eternal enjoyment of God’s dispensing. While we are enjoying the dispensing of the Triune God by eating and drinking, we shall worship Him.*

New JerusalemThis is wonderful, but what is eating of the tree of life? It is to eat Jesus. In John 6 He spoke about eating Him. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life” (v. 54) and “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (v. 57).

To eat His flesh is to receive by faith all that He did in giving His body for us, and to drink His blood is to receive by faith all that He accomplished in shedding His blood for us.**

And what is drinking of the water of life? It is to drink the Spirit. First Corinthians 12:13 says that we, “were all given to drink one Spirit.” Simple ways to drink the Spirit, seen in Isaiah 12:3-4, are to rejoice, to give thanks to the Lord, and to call on the name of the Lord. These practices are for today and also for New Jerusalem.

The Conclusion of the New Testament, chapter 20, by Witness Lee, © LSM.
** This sentence is part of a footnote on John 6:54 in the Recovery Version Bible, © LSM.

The Supply of Life in New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:1-2 tells us that New Jerusalem has “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. And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.”

The tree of life grows in the river of life, and the river of life that flows out of the throne reaches every part of the city. Every part of the city receives the life supply because the tree of life grows in the river and the river reaches every part of the city. The tree of life, as a vine, grows on both sides of the river, following the flow of the river. Wherever the river flows, the tree of life grows. The supply of life is in the flow of life. This is a picture of God’s dispensing. Christ as the tree of life is the life supply available along the flow of the Spirit as the water of life. Where the Spirit flows, there the life supply of Christ is found.*

New JerusalemThe tree portrays Christ, who is the Life. Hence, there is only one tree. It grows on both sides of the river as the vine of life. This is John 15:5, “I am the vine.”

This life comes to us as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) who is one with our human spirit as in Romans 8:16. Christ as the Spirit is in us and our human spirit is life (Rom. 8:10). It is here that we receive the river of life now, experiencing the foretaste of its flow in New Jerusalem.

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

Photo courtesy of

The Redeeming and Life-Dispensing God

In Revelation 22:1 an angel showed the apostle John “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

The river of water of life proceeds out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. For the water of life to flow out of the throne means that it flows out of God Himself. In the New Jerusalem, we have God in the Lamb, and out of the redeeming God flows the river of life, the life-giving Spirit. This is the dispensing of the Triune God. Before God could dispense Himself into us, He had to redeem us. Thus, the picture in Revelation 22 reveals that the redeeming God is the life-dispensing God. The Lamb signifies redemption, and the river of life signifies the dispensing of life. For eternity, our God will be the redeeming and life-dispensing God.*

New JerusalemIn the Bible redemption is for life. in Genesis 2 God desired that man would eat of the tree of life. At that time redemption was not needed. But since Genesis 3 there has been redemption to bring us back to life. In John 19:34 “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.”

The water which flowed out of the Lord’s side is a picture of the Triune God dispensing Himself as life to us. In Revelation 22:14 we read, “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.” Redemption is for life and life brings us into New Jerusalem.

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

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; this too is © by LSM.

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.

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

Transformation, Renewing, Sanctification, Washing for New Jerusalem

Every human being is born into the old creation. Every human being who turns to God and believes into Jesus Christ is born a second time, born again, into the new creation. The culmination of this new creation is “a new heaven and a new earth” with “the holy city, New Jerusalem” as its center (Rev. 21:1-2).

Being born again is a positional transfer into the new creation and a gaining of the life of the new creation. Being born again is also a guarantee that our condition, our inner nature, will change to fully match New Jerusalem in the new creation. In our second birth Jesus Christ as the Spirit enlivens our human spirit and remains within us eternally. He is our guarantee.

New JerusalemHis growth and spreading within us transforms, renews, sanctifies, washes us, changing our inward nature from the old to the new creation, to the shining of New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 5 speaks of the “washing of the water in the word.” This is not the printed word of the Bible but the living word which comes through the Bible page in front of us or the Bible memory within us.

This living word is the Spirit and the Spirit is the flow of life in us. John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life…the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” We experience this living word when a passage of the Bible becomes so bubbling in us, or when we receive fresh light on it, or when the Spirit applies it to our personal situation.

In our present experience the living word is irregular but in New Jerusalem the Spirit flows constantly as the river of water of life.

New Jerusalem: the Full Expression of God

Prior posts speak of our transformation by the Spirit’s renewing to bring forth New Jerusalem as the full expression of the Triune God. Our transformation and renewing from men of dust in the old creation to living stones in the new creation is also a sanctification, a washing. Transformation, renewing, and washing are not separate actions but three views of the same action.

New JerusalemThere are two washings in our Christian life. One is the cleansing from sins by the blood of Jesus. That is a judicial matter. The other washing is living, by the flow of His life within us. This post is about the living washing.

Titus 3:5: “according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Regeneration, being born again, is a once for all matter. But regeneration brings eternal life into us and this life is a flowing life. This flow, portrayed by the river of water of life in New Jerusalem, washes us continually.

Ephesians 5:25-27 also speaks of our sanctification by this washing: “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word, that He might present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things.”

On the cross Christ gave Himself to gain the church. Now He is “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.” The goal of this washing is that the church, as the forerunner of New Jerusalem, be glorious, radiating the glory of God.

Growing in Life unto New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is a city of the divine, eternal life, a city fully in resurrection. The source of New Jerusalem is God the Father who came in Christ the Son. He declared to us, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).

New JerusalemAt the time we believed into Jesus Christ, we received the life of New Jerusalem. Now we take the divine nourishment so that this life can grow in us. First Peter 2 speaks of growing by the milk of the word of God. Colossians 2 speaks of the growth of the Body (including each of us as members) by the rich supply flowing out from the Head, Christ.

We grow in the divine life unto maturity. New Jerusalem is a composition of all God’s people, all mature in His life, all living in resurrection. The city is maintained in eternal freshness by this life.

Verse 1 of [Revelation] chapter twenty-two says, “And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Here we see the Triune God in full. There is God, the Lamb, and the river, which represents the Spirit (John 7:38-39). Notice that there are not two thrones—one for God and one for the Lamb. There is only one throne. Then how do They sit? Are They side by side or are They one on top of another? By now you should know that God is in the Lamb and the Lamb is in God [John 14:10-11]. They coinhere one another. And out of this throne, God the Spirit is flowing out as a river. When the Spirit reaches you, you have both the Father and the Son.*

Today the Spirit is flowing to us with a bountiful supply (Phil. 1:19), the same flow as in New Jerusalem. Lord, keep me in this flow and mature in me.

* The Triune God—The Triune God and the Person and Work of Christ, chapter 11, 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.

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