In Spirit, Not in the Natural Realm, to See New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:1 presents the new heaven and new earth and 21:2 presents the holy city, New Jerusalem. In 21:10 John tells us that an angel carried him “away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem.” To see New Jerusalem, we need to be in spirit and in an elevated situation.

Jesus “went out from there and came into His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and many hearing were astounded, saying, Where did this man get these things? And what is this wisdom given to this man, and how is it that such works of power take place through His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us? And they were stumbled in Him. And Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and among his own relatives and in his own house.” (Mark 6:1-4)

New JerusalemWhat Mark records here is the opposite of Revelation 21. The people had such a natural remembrance and assessment of Jesus that they could not see the signifi-cance of His teaching and miracles. Due to their unbelief, He could only heal a few people (6:5). Similar cases of spiritual blindness are throughout the gospels.

It is the same today. If we look at the description of New Jerusalem in a natural way we will totally miss its spiritual significance. Revelation is a book of signs (1:1). The materials, dimensions, and features of New Jerusalem should not be understood in a natural, physical way. We need to be “carried away in spirit” to see the reality of New Jerusalem.

 

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 Eternal House of the Living God

New JerusalemRevelation is a book with many spiritual signs. In 1:20 “the seven lampstands are [signs portraying] the seven churches.” In chapter 21–22 New Jerusalem includes many signs describing the eternal dwelling of the Triune God and His people.

Among the many signs in New Jerusalem we see the pearl gates (our entrance through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ), the river of water of life (the flowing, life-imparting Spirit), the tree of life (Jesus Christ our life supply), many ‘twelves’ (a number describing perfection), gold (the divine nature), and precious stones (the Spirit’s transforming work in the believers).

The New Jerusalem is not an actual [physical/material] city just as the lampstands are not actual lampstands but signs of the churches. The New Jerusalem is a great sign of the totality of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people. The church today is a house, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). The house of God today is not an actual house but the totality of God’s people. The church today as God’s temple, God’s house, God’s building, is not an actual physical building but is a sign signifying that the church’s function is to be a house in which the Triune God can dwell.…The New Jerusalem is a city signifying the church’s function in eternity to be God’s dwelling place.*

When we view New Jerusalem in a heavenly, spiritual way rather than an earthly, natural way, we see it as the mutual dwelling of God and His people. Praise Him for this view of New Jerusalem!

* The Divine Economy, chapter 15, by Witness Lee.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Three Materials of New Jerusalem Signify the Triune God.

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the eternal dwelling of the Triune God with His people. New Jerusalem is constructed with gold, pearls, and precious stones. These signify the Triune God and His operation for and in His people.

Revelation has many other aspects such as beasts, fightings, and judgements. However, none of these are the focus of God’s revelation. Rather, they show what God does to clear away the old creation, the creation corrupted by Satan, in order to bring forth the new heavens and new earth with New Jerusalem at their center.

The three sections of the New Jerusalem are constructed with three kinds of materials, or three kinds of elements. The number three is a particular number in the universe, signifying the Triune God. The Triune God is the number three. Every number in the Bible has its meaning, and three signifies the Triune God. Therefore, the three kinds of materials in the New Jerusalem no doubt signify the Triune God.*

The gold signifies the Father’s divine nature, the pearls signify the Son’s work through death and resurrection, and the precious stones signify the Spirit’s transformation of the believers. The Triune God and His operation for and in the believers is the intrinsic essence of New Jerusalem, and New Jerusalem is an eternal display of the Triune God.

* The Organic Union in God’s Relationship with Man, chapter 6, by Witness Lee.

The Gold, Pearls, and Precious Stones of New Jerusalem Portray God

New JerusalemRevelation is a book of spiritual signs (1:1). For example, in 1:20 the Lord Jesus tells us that the seven lampstands are signs of the seven churches and the seven stars signify the messengers of the churches.

New Jerusalem, the conclusion of Revelation and of the whole Bible, is described in Revelation 21–22. The city has many spiritual signs, including those of its appearance, size, and materials. Here is something about the spiritual significance of the materials.

The New Jerusalem has three sections. The city proper, or the city itself, is pure gold (21:18b). This means that the base of the city is gold. The second part of the city is its twelve gates, each of which is a pearl (vv. 12-13, 21). The third part of the city is the wall with its foundations, all of which are precious stones (vv. 14, 18a, 19-20). The entire wall is jasper, and the foundation of the wall has twelve layers. The first layer of the foundation also is jasper. Revelation 4:2-3a tells us that God’s appearance is like jasper. Thus, in appearance the city is exactly the same as God. God appears like jasper, and the city also appears like jasper.*

The base of New Jerusalem is the divine nature, portrayed by gold. Nothing natural, nothing of the old creation can support this marvelous city. On this base and with the jasper, New Jerusalem has the same appearance as God because the purpose of the city is to express God, to manifest His glory.

* The Organic Union in God’s Relationship with Man, chapter 6, by Witness Lee.


TO MY READERS:

Most of the posts in the coming months will include quotes from the website Excerpts from Books by Watchman Nee and Witness Lee by Living Stream Ministry. Each post will identify the specific source for the quotation.

This week my blog returns to three posts a week, ending the two posts a week which began in November.

The Street of the City is Pure, Divine Gold

New JerusalemRevelation 21 tells us “the city [New Jerusalem] was pure gold, like clear glass” (v. 18) and “the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass” (v. 21).

Recent posts, Pure Gold and Divine, Eternal Gold, discuss the gold in verse 18. The gold in verse 21 is the same. It represents the divine nature, it is eternal, it is pure and transparent, and it is not physical gold.

Second Peter 1:3-4 says that God “has called us by His own glory and virtue, through which He has granted to us precious and exceedingly great promises that through these you might become partakers of the divine nature.” God’s glory is involved in calling us and bringing us all the way to the city of glory, New Jerusalem.

Through God’s calling and the precious promises He gave to us, we become partakers of the divine nature. By partaking we are constituted with this nature and we walk according to this nature, portrayed by the golden street of New Jerusalem.

This constitution is like clear glass and our walk is like transparent glass—nothing in darkness, nothing deceitful, nothing sneaky, nothing cloudy. We advance in this clearness and transparency by laying hold of the “precious and exceedingly great promises” to partake of more of the divine nature.

Lord Jesus, thank You for the wonderful promises in the Bible. Keep me feeding on them every day. Constitute me with Your divine nature and keep me walking in it all the way to New Jerusalem!

Enter by the Regenerating Resurrection

New Jerusalem has twelve gates; “the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl” (Rev. 21:21).

Like the gold of New Jerusalem, the pearls are not physical. They are spiritual signs. They represent the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Through death He terminated all the problems that separate us from God. In resurrection He released the divine life to us to regenerate us. “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

New JerusalemThis life is our entrance into New Jerusalem. The city is entirely separate from our fallen, natural life and is wholly in the realm of the divine, eternal life.

The Lord also presented this in His words to Nicodemus. He said, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). When we are born again, regenerated by the Spirit with eternal life, we enter the kingdom of God. New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage of this kingdom.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is our entrance into New Jerusalem. Each gate is one pearl; this is the one, unique way to get into the city. Yet there are twelve pearl gates; this shows that the Triune God (three) faces all of creation (four) to invite and allow every human being a chance to enter the city.

“He who believes into the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). This is our entrance into New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:9-20

Revelation 21:9-11: “Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.

Here are the recent posts from Revelation 21 with the main verse for each.

21:9, God’s Final Judgments, then New Jerusalem
21:9, The Bride, the Wife, New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem21:10, Carried Away in Spirit to See New Jerusalem
21:10, On a High Mountain, See New Jerusalem
21:10, Heavenly Jerusalem is on Earth from God

21:11, New Jerusalem Has the Glory of God
21:11, New Jerusalem’s Precious Light
21:11, New Jerusalem, Clear as Crystal

21:12, The Great and High Wall of New Jerusalem
21:12, New Jerusalem has a Wall with Twelve Gates
21:12, The City has 12 Gates, 12 Angels, 12 Names

21:13, We Enter by the Gates into New Jerusalem

21:14, New Jerusalem’s Wall has 12 Foundations

21:15, New Jerusalem is Divinity in Humanity

21:16, New Jerusalem is the Eternal Holy of Holies
21:16, Holy of Holies: Come Forward, Don’t Wait

21:17, The Eternally Perfect Wall of New Jerusalem

21:18, The Jasper Wall Expresses God                                               New Jerusalem
21:18, New Jerusalem is Pure Gold                                                       in Revelation
21:18, New Jerusalem is Divine, Eternal Gold                                          21:1-8

21:19-20, The Foundations of New Jerusalem’s Wall

Many older posts about Revelation 21:9-11.
Many older posts about Revelation 21:12-21.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Foundations of New Jerusalem’s Wall

Revelation 21:19-20, describing New Jerusalem, says, “The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone: the first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.”

New JerusalemAs with the gold of New Jerusalem, so also the stones are not physical. They portray the Spirit’s work in us.

Precious stones are not created but are formed through a process in the earth. In the Bible, precious stones portray the Spirit’s transforming work in all the believers. This is 2 Corinthians 3:18, “We all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.”

Our transformation happens by our beholding and reflecting the glory of the Lord, and transforms us into His image of glory. Ultimately this is the glory of New Jerusalem.

As with all the other “twelves” in New Jerusalem, the twelve stones proclaim eternal perfection. The variety of the stones portray the variety of the attributes of Christ constituted into us by the Spirit’s transforming work.

We all have a portion of our Lord’s love, faithfulness, boldness, patience, holiness, wisdom, meekness, etc., but some may have one of these in a greater degree than others. But we all are one Body in Christ and now and one New Jerusalem to come.

New Jerusalem is Divine, Eternal Gold

Revelation 21:18 says of New Jerusalem, “the city was pure gold, like clear glass.” We must not think that this is physical gold. Physical gold, although valued highly in our societies, does not measure up to the much higher standard of New Jerusalem, as shown in the following verses.

James 5:3, “Your gold and your silver have rusted, and their rust will be a testimony against you…”
1 Peter 1:7 “The proving of your faith, much more precious than of gold which perishes…”
1 Peter 1:18 “Knowing that it was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were redeemed…”
1 Peter 3:3 “Let your adorning not be the outward plaiting of hair and putting on of gold or clothing with garments, but the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptible adornment of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very costly in the sight of God.”

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem being pure gold means that it is constituted of the divine nature. Physical gold is not the real thing—it was created by God to portray something of Himself. The basic element of New Jerusalem is the divine nature trans-mitted into us by the regenerating Spirit.

Physical gold has caused much envy and greed, many robberies, and ostentatious displays. The divine gold has none of these problems. Furthermore, Peter tells us that physical gold perishes. Divine gold is eternal. New Jerusalem is pure, divine, incorruptible, eternal, and much more precious than physical gold.

No Physical Gold in New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is Pure Gold

Revelation 21:18 says of New Jerusalem, “the city was pure gold, like clear glass.”

New Jerusalem is “pure gold.” Pureness is one of God’s attributes. He desires that we receive Him as our life and partake of His purity. Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart.” First John 3:2-3 says, “We know that if He is manifested, we will be like Him because we will see Him even as He is. And everyone who has this hope set on Him
New Jerusalempurifies himself, even as He is pure.”

In ourselves we are not pure, but we can seek His purity. First Timothy 3:9 speaks of “holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.” The pure conscience is for holding the mystery of the faith but also the more we hold it, the more we are purified.

James tells us “the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, forbearing, compliant, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, without hypocrisy.” We can ask the Lord daily to be our wisdom in order to gain its purity and to be saved from hypocrisy (mixture, impurity, corruption, falsehood).

Since New Jerusalem is “like clear glass” the absence of mixture is clearly visible. And the clearness allows the glory of God to shine out through the entire city. Revelation 21:11 declares, New Jerusalem “has the glory of God.”

New Jerusalem’s Precious Light

Revelation 21:11 describes New Jerusalem, “Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” This precious jasper stone is not a New Jerusalemphysical stone but a spiritual symbol.

In God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, stones are living persons. Jesus Christ is a living and precious Stone. By coming to Him, we too are living stones for God’s building (1 Peter 2:4-5).

In Revelation 4 John saw “a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne there was One sitting; and He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance.”

The jasper of New Jerusalem is “a most precious stone” indicating that the whole city is most precious in God’s sight. New Jerusalem is most precious because it fulfills God’s eternal desire—a corporate expression of Himself in humanity. This desire was first indicated in Genesis 1:26 when God created man in His own image.

However, created man was like a photo, having the image of God but without the reality. To bring forth His corporate expression in man, the Triune God came to be life in man. This life is also the light as the Lord promised in John 8:12; not a natural light nor a man-made light, but God Himself shining through us. This is the most precious light of New Jerusalem, the light which expresses the One sitting on the throne at the center of the city.

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