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.

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.


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Death and Resurrection for New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21–22 New Jerusalem is at the center of the new creation. This is the conclusion and goal of the Bible. Everything positive in the Bible points directly to this conclusion, and the negatives are fully removed by Revelation 20.

Firstly, the Bible shows us that the Triune God was signified by the tree of life. Then He came in incarnation to be the one grain in the flesh, who died and resurrected to produce the many grains. Through incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection God became the many grains which are we. As the many grains we are ground into flour to make one bread, and this bread is the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is the new man as the organism of the Triune God, which eventually consummates in the New Jerusalem.*

New JerusalemGenesis 1 speaks of the creation of man. In Genesis 2 man was in the garden of Eden with the tree of life. This portrayed God wanting to impart His life into man.

However, due to Satan’s corruption of man in Genesis 3, man was shut out from the tree of life. Then God came in the man Jesus, both to save, to cleanse, us from corruption and to be available to us as the reality of the tree of life.

In John 12:24 Jesus said “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” He came and died (He fell into the ground) and in resurrection brought forth us as many grains sharing His life. Together we, as many grains, are one bread, one Body in Christ (1 Cor. 10:17). The issue of this one bread, one Body, is New Jerusalem.

* The Constitution and the Building Up of the Body of Christ, chapter 1, by Witness Lee

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

 

Jesus Christ is the Reality Today and in New Jerusalem

In John 1:29 and 3:29 John the Baptist identified the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God and the Bridegroom. In New Jerusalem the Lord is the Lamb on the throne and the Bridegroom.

The New Jerusalem is the ultimate conclusion of the entire Scriptures. In the Gospel of John we see the Lord Jesus as many items. He was recommended by John the Baptist as the Lamb of God and as the Bridegroom. He is also the light, the life, the way, and everything. The New Jerusalem is the all-inclusive embodiment of Christ as everything. In the New Jerusalem Christ is the Lamb, and He is the Bridegroom to marry the New Jerusalem as the bride. In the New Jerusalem Christ is also the light, the life, the way, and the truth, the reality. The New Jerusalem is the embodiment of all that Christ is.*

New JerusalemJesus Christ is our “light of life” (John 8:12) both now and eternally in New Jerusalem. Everything He is in the gospels, He is in eternity. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke He is the new wine for us to drink. Although wine is not mentioned in the description of New Jerusalem, He is the new wine eternally in the new creation.

In John 6 Jesus is the bread of life to nourish us with Himself as “the life.” In New Jerusalem He is the tree of life to continue nourishing us eternally.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes, even forever” (Heb. 13:8). This verse assures us that everything spoken about what the Lord is in the gospels and epistles is also true in New Jerusalem eternally.

* The Building of God, chapter 4, by Witness Lee.

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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 (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.

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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.

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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.

The Gospel: Be Cleansed, Receive Eternal Life, Enter New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 22:14 proclaims, “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.” This is the gospel to everyone now.

Our robes signify our conduct. In the eyes of God all our living apart from Him, even our good deeds, is like “a soiled garment” in Isaiah 64:6. We need to wash our robes/garments, our conduct. This washing is by the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14) which cleanses us from everything we have done apart from God (Acts 15:9).

This cleansing/washing gives us the right to the tree of life—Jesus Christ becoming our life for our new birth and being our life supply for our daily living with Him.

The cleansing/washing also gives us the right to enter by the gates into the city, New Jerusalem. An unbeliever’s basic need is to confess that he is a sinner apart from God, to turn to God, and to thank Jesus for dying to cleanse him and resurrecting to impart eternal life into him. This is the proper response to the proclamation of Revelation 22:14.

In contrast to 22:14, verse 15 declares “Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and makes a lie.” Those who reject cleansing through the death of Jesus and refuse to repent (e.g. Rev. 16:9) will be outside, that is, in the lake of fire.

May all who are around us hear and respond to Revelation 22:14 to be cleansed, have life, and enter 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.

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