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.

The Rich Supply, Now and New Jerusalem

The description of New Jerusalem includes “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” (Rev. 22:1).

New JerusalemThe river of life for New Jerusalem flows out of the throne. Colossians 2:19 tells us that Christ is “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.”

Christ as the Head is the authority, corresponding to the throne in New Jerusalem. The rich supply out from the Head is like the river flowing out from the throne. 

The rich supply is for the present building up of the Body of Christ by the growth of God in all the members. This building up is the preparation of New Jerusalem in every member and corporately in the members as the one Body.

In eternity New Jerusalem will be complete, with no further need of preparation. Nevertheless, as a living entity, the city needs the proper supply to maintain the freshness of life. This supply is the river of life from the throne which brings the tree of life with its fruits.

To partake of the rich supply today is by “holding the Head” (Co. 2:19) and by “holding to truth in love” to “grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ” (Eph. 4:15-16). Lord Jesus, keep us holding to You in love for Your rich supply to prepare New Jerusalem in us.

New Jerusalem: a Life in Resurrection

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 6:13 says, “Foods are for the stomach, and the stomach for foods; but God will bring to nought both it and them.” The verse also says that our physical body is for the Lord and the Lord for our body. Verse 14 continues, “And God has both raised up the Lord and will raise us up through His power.”

On one hand, both our stomach and physical foods will be brought to nothing. On the other hand, God will bring our entire being, including our physical body, into resurrection. In resurrection we match New Jerusalem, the city of resurrection.

First Corinthians 6 tells us that physical food will be of no significance in New Jerusalem. How is this possible? In resurrection!! Moses is a picture of this; Exodus 34:28 and Deuteronomy 9:9, 18 tell us that he was on the mountain with God forty days and forty night and during this time he neither ate or drank. The Lord’s presence sustained his physical body.

It will be the same in New Jerusalem. The river of water of life and the fruits of the tree of life will be our spiritual food and in resurrection this food will sustain every part of our being. Yes, we will be able to eat physical food, as the Lord Jesus did (Luke 24:41-43) but it will not be necessary.

The resurrection life will be everything we need. Jesus Christ as the real tree of life and the Spirit as the real water of life will fully supply us in New Jerusalem.

God’s Eternal Purpose in Song (5)

The throne of God and the Lamb is the center of New Jerusalem and New Jerusalem is the center of the new earth under the new heavens. Everything in the entire new creation is under God’s ruling. Everything is calm and peaceful because all evil and all rebellion were cast into the lake of fire in Revelation 20.

We are considering a song* about God’s eternal purpose. Its sixth verse:

In its center, as its pow’r,
Is the throne of Christ and God,
Whence doth flow the stream of life
As the Spirit’s living flood.

This corresponds with Revelation 22:1, “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.” The river is a symbol of the Spirit who flows abundantly to all God’s people. Earlier, John 7 records the Lord Jesus speaking about the Spirit as a river of living water.
New JerusalemThe next verse of the song:

Christ, the tree of life, is there
In the flowing of the stream,
Yielding fruit of life divine
As the food of life supreme.

This is 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.”

Both the river and the tree of life if Genesis 2 have their reality in Jesus Christ. He is our real food supply, to nourish us today, unto New Jerusalem, and eternally.

——
* music (composer unknown), words by Witness Lee

Living Water Flows to & in New Jerusalem 2, 3, 4,

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (2)

A hymn on the garden of Eden and New Jerusalem puts many Bible verses into song. New JerusalemVerse 2 of this hymn:

Both in the garden and the city fair
A river and the tree of life are seen,
Christ typifying as the life supply,
The Spirit showing as the living stream.

“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 a river went forth from Eden to water the garden.” (Gen. 2:9-10)

In New Jerusalem is “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.”
(Rev. 22:1-2)

The tree is a symbol; the reality is Christ as our daily life supply, our spiritual nourishment. He told us, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall by no means hunger” and “he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (John 6:35, 57).

The river is a picture of the Spirit flowing to us to refresh and enliven us. Jesus said, ” If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink….This He said concerning the Spirit” (John 7:37-39). Also, we “were all given to drink one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13).

Our eating and drinking are for our Christian life today and will increase in the coming age and in New Jerusalem.

Jesus Says, Come to Me and Drink

New JerusalemThe first part of Revelation 22:17 is the cry for the Lord Jesus to come, to return visibly to earth. The second part of the verse is, “And let him who is thirsty come; let him who wills take the water of life freely.”

While the Spirit and the bride call out to the Lord to return, they also call out to all thirsty human beings to come and drink the living water.

This call repeats the invitation the Lord Jesus made on a feast day in Jerusalem, “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” (John 7:39) It also repeats the Lord’s promise in Revelation 21, “I will give to him who thirsts from the spring of the water of life freely.”

Thirst is not physical but rather indicates that man needs Jesus Christ to be his life to satisfy his inner longing. The Spirit and the bride are motivated to proclaim the gospel, that Jesus Christ can satisfy man’s hunger and thirst. May each of us be motivated in this way!

The first time a person believes in the Lord, that person gets to drink living water. Then throughout his Christian life that person can and should “drink the one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). Eternally all who have tasted the living water will drink “the river of water of life” which flows in New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem in Revelation 22:1-5

“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.” (22:1-2)

Revelation 22:1-5 presents much about New Jerusalem—the throne, the river of water of life, the tree of life, and many blessings for all who are part of New Jerusalem. All the characteristics of New Jerusalem can be experienced today (to a lesser degree) in our Christian life. May we be those who seek the Lord Himself (not merely His doing good for us) and pursue with others to know Him in a deeper way.

New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:1-8
New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:9-20
New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:21-27

Here are the titles of recent posts and their links for 22:1-5.

New Jerusalem22:1, A River of Water of Life
22:1, New Jerusalem’s River from the Throne
22:1, New Jerusalem’s River Flows in its Street
22:1, The River is from the Throne
both Today and in New Jerusalem

22:2, The Tree of Life in New Jerusalem
22:2, Jesus is the Tree of Life in New Jerusalem
22:2, The Tree of Life is Here Today
and in New Jerusalem

22:2, The Tree for the Healing of the Nations

22:3, Christ Redeemed Us for New Jerusalem
22:3, New Jerusalem, the City of the Great King
22:3, We Serve God as Priests in New Jerusalem
22:3, We Serve as Priests in New Jerusalem

22:4, See His Face Now and in New Jerusalem
22:4, Follow the Lamb and Live to Him

22:5, New Jerusalem is Full of Light, No Night
22:5, The Lord God Shines in New Jerusalem
22:5, We Reign in Life Now and New Jerusalem

Many older posts about Revelation 22:1-2
Many older posts about Revelation 22:3-5

 

The River is from the Throne both Today and in New Jerusalem

In Revelation 22:1 the river of water of life flows out from the throne of God and the Lamb to supply the entire city for eternity. This flow is the Spirit. We also see this river in New Testament epistles for the preparation of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemWhen Paul wrote Philippians he was in a Roman prison and he also describes another difficulty. Yet he says in 1:19, “I know that for me this [prison and difficulty] will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians begins, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The blessings from our Father and our Lord are realized in the bountiful supply which is the Spirit. This is the present realization of the river (the Spirit as the bountiful supply) from the throne of God and the Lamb.

The result of this flow is Paul’s expectation that “even now Christ will be magnified in my body.” The flow of the Spirit produces the expression/magnification of Christ just as the river in New Jerusalem maintains the expression/magnification of God by the city.

Similarly both Ephesians 4:15-16 and Colossians 2:19 speak of a rich supply flowing out from the Head, Christ, which results in the building up of His Body. The rich supply is the Spirit and the building up is the preparation of New Jerusalem. Lord, keep us in this rich supply of the Spirit to prepare us for New Jerusalem! 

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

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