New Jerusalem: the Full Expression of God

Revelation declares “He who was sitting [on the throne] was like a jasper stone” (4:3), “her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone” (21:11), and “the building work of its wall was jasper” (21:18). The first quote refers to God, the other two to New Jerusalem.

God’s appearance is like jasper (4:3), and the entire city has the appearance of jasper. This means that the entire New Jerusalem looks like God, which is the fulfillment of Genesis 1:26. God made man in His image to express Himself. When the New Jerusalem comes, all of God’s people will bear God’s expression, God’s image, God’s appearance. All of God’s people will be fully transformed for the full expression of the Triune God.*

New JerusalemGod created man from the dust of the ground. But in regeneration His life enters into us and begins a process of transformation. This gradually changes us from clay to precious stones, of which jasper is foremost in the description of New Jerusalem.

The Spirit works within us for this transformation, and God also uses our outward environment. Romans 8:28-29, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Because those whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son.”

The “good” toward which everything works is our conformation to the image of God’s Son. At the completion of this work, New Jerusalem, with all God’s transformed-conformed people builded together, will be the full expression of the Triune God.

* The Divine Economy, chapter 15, by Witness Lee

Our Creator, Redeemer, and Regenerator

God created us for Himself but Satan stole us and corrupted us. But God is able! The Triune God brought us back to Himself as life and into His house, as seen in the three parables in Luke 15. Our return to God put us on the path to New Jerusalem.

First, God the Father is the Creator (Eph. 3:9). He created all things, including you and me. If He did not create us, we would not exist. So we must thank Him for being the creating God. Second, the Son as the Lamb is our Redeemer (John 1:29; Eph. 1:7). He shed His blood for our sins that we might be redeemed back to God….So we must praise Him, our redeeming Lamb! Finally, the Spirit, shown by the river of life, is our Regenerator (John 3:6). The Spirit regenerated us so that we are born of God….We should greatly appreciate such a three-one God for our threefold existence; He is our Creator, Redeemer, and Regenerator.*

New JerusalemGod created man. Then man became fallen and dead spiritually. But Christ redeemed us and the Spirit regenerated us. Our regeneration was a spiritual birth. Now we are growing in this life. This grow requires milk, then solid food, plus exercise (Heb. 5:14).

Hebrews 6:1 encourages us, “Let us be bought on to maturity.” Paul and his companions were laboring and praying “we may present every man full-grown in Christ.” May this also be our aspiration. Let us be brought on to maturity, to New Jerusalem.

* The Triune God—The Triune God and the Person and Work of Christ, chapter 11, by Witness Lee

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

The Triune God, our Entrance to New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:12-13 tells us that New Jerusalem has “twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names inscribed, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel: on the east three gates, and on the north three gates, and on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.”

The three gates on each side signify that the Triune God—the Father, Son, and Spirit—works together to bring people into the holy city. This is indicated by the three parables in Luke 15….In order for a sinner to be brought to the Father’s house, there is the need of the Son, the Shepherd, to bring back the lost sheep; there is the need of the Spirit to enlighten people’s hearts that they may repent; and there is the need of the Father to receive the returned and repentant prodigal son. Hence the Triune God is the entrance to the New Jerusalem.*

New JerusalemWe were all sinners. Romans 5:19 says “through the disobedience of one man the many were constituted sinners.” We were also dead. In Luke 15:24 the Father said “this son of mine was dead and lives again.” But through the operation of the Triune God we have come back to life and to the Father’s house!

The Father’s house develops and enlarges through the Bible in many stages. Luke 15 is a portrait of one stage of this development. New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage of this development. We have been brought back to life and to the Father’s house to be in New Jerusalem.

* The Triune God—The Triune God and the Person and Work of Christ, chapter 11, by Witness Lee

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is a Corporate Composition of God and all His People

In the Bible”saints” are “those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, the called saints” (1 Cor. 1:2). He is our sanctification. New Jerusalem is composed of the Old Testament saints, indicated by the names of the twelve tribes at the gates, and the New Testament saints, represented by the names of the apostles on the foundations.

Hebrews 11:40 says, “Because God has provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” This is a wonderful verse!…Without the New Testament saints the Old Testament saints could never be perfected….The saints of the Old Testament time are merely a part of the holy city. Without the New Testament saints the holy city could never be perfected. The Old Testament part needs the New Testament part as a perfection. By this verse we can realize that the holy city is not a physical place beside or outside of the redeemed ones. Rather, the redeemed ones are the composition of this holy city, and this holy city is the composition of all the redeemed ones.*

New JerusalemThe church, the Body of Christ, the one new man, and the bride of Christ are not different things but are four aspects of one corporate entity. This entity is never physical. It is always presented as a composition of all God’s people. Two examples: we were all baptized into one Body (1 Cor. 12:13) and we have put on the new man (Col. 3).

New Jerusalem is the consummation of this corporate spiritual entity. It is not a  physical city but a composition of the Triune God with all His people.

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

Organic Union with the Triune God

The description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22 is full of spiritual signs. Among these signs are the materials—gold signifying the Father’s divine nature, and pearls portraying the Son’s redemptive death and regenerating resurrection. These become our entrance into the kingdom of God which consummates in New Jerusalem.

In the New Jerusalem the precious stones are we plus the Spirit. The transforming Spirit becomes one with us, His transformed ones. Therefore, the pearls are Christ and we, and the wall of precious stones is the Spirit and we. These two items, the pearls and the precious stones, indicate that the second of the Triune God and the third of the Triune God have made Themselves one with us. Without the Spirit it would be impossible for us as pieces of clay to become jasper, bearing the same appearance as God. But now we have the life-giving Spirit, who is actually the consummated Triune God, in us, making us one with Him. Thus, we are altogether in the organic union with the Triune God.*

New JerusalemThe Lord spoke about this organic union in John’s gospel. For example, He said that in resurrection “you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” The Lord lives in us and we live in Him. In the epistles this thought continues—many verses speak about Christ in us and us in Christ.

Romans 8:9 declares that the Spirit dwells in us and in 2 Corinthians 3:18 we are being transformed by the Lord Spirit. This organic union is for our Christian life today and for eternity in New Jerusalem.

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

Redeemed, Regenerated for New Jerusalem

Revelation is a book composed with many spiritual signs (1:1). Many aspects of New Jerusalem are signs, including the three types of materials which represent the Triune God and His work for, on, and in His believers.

The first material is gold, which constitutes the city proper and forms the base of the city. In the Bible gold refers to God the Father as the base, the fountain, the source. The second material is pearl. Pearls are produced by oysters, and oysters live in the sea, signifying the death water….Christ is the living “oyster.” He lived in the death water, the world. …Through His death we were redeemed, and His death also released His divine life (John 12:24).

Through Christ’s resurrection we were regenerated (1 Pet. 1:3), and regeneration is the very entrance into the kingdom of God (John 3:5). In the New Jerusalem God the Father is signified by the gold, and God the Son, by the pearls.*

New JerusalemIn John 3:5 the Lord Jesus tells us, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

The converse is that everyone born of water (signifying a baptism of repentance) and of the Spirit (who imparts eternal life into us) enters the kingdom of God. New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage of this kingdom’s development.

Regeneration brings us into the kingdom of God. It also initiates a work of washing and renewing within us. This work gradually makes our entire being new, so that we match New Jerusalem not only in the word but in reality.

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

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

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.

New Jerusalem is a Spiritual Blessing

Ephesians 1:3 declares, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” Verses 4 to 14 present some details of these spiritual blessings. New Jerusalem is the consummation of all these blessings.

The blessings are from the Triune God. Ephesians 1:4-6 speaks about the Father’s selection and predestination. Verses 7-12 speak of the Son’s redemption for the accomplishing of God’s eternal purpose. Verses 13-14 speak of the Spirit”s applying to us what the Son accomplished.

New JerusalemEach of these three sections leads to the praise of God’s glory. Ultimately New Jerusalem will have and display God’s glory and praises will go to God for this glory.

First Corinthians 10:16 tells us that “the cup of blessing which we bless” is the fellowship of the blood of Christ. This too is a spiritual blessing.

Galatians 3:13-14 proclaim that “Christ has redeemed us…in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Here the blessing we receive is the Spirit. This is an eternal blessing based on God’s promise to Abraham.

Jesus told us that our heavenly Father will care for our outward needs. This is true but God’s highest desire is to bless us with Himself.  The blessing of New Jerusalem is not outward but it is to live in and with the Triune God for eternity.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (3)

A hymn coupling the garden of Eden with New Jerusalem is based on many Bible verses. Verse 3:

Both in the garden and the city bright
Three kinds of precious substances are found;
There are the gold, the pearls, and precious stones
Which for the building work of God abound.

Genesis 2:12 speaks about gold, bdellium (a pearl-like material from the resin of a tree), and onyx stone coming out of the flow of the river of life. Revelation 21:18-21 presents the materials of New Jerusalem—gold, pearl, precious stones. Between these two ends, 1 Corinthians 3 tells us that the church, God’s building, is built with gold, silver, and New Jerusalemprecious stones.

These descriptions are not about physical materials. Gold signifies the divine nature of God the Father, of which we partake now as part of our salvation (1 Peter 1:3-4).

The pearl and silver refer to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son, through which we receive salvation and enter New Jerusalem. The twelve gates of the city are twelve pearls, three on each side. This depicts the Triune God facing every direction on earth to welcome us into the city.

The precious stones portray the work of the Spirit in us (2 Cor. 3:18), to transform us from our natural fallen condition to a precious condition matching New Jerusalem.

The song says these materials abound for God’s building. This is because the materials in reality are the unlimited Triune God who is working in us to bring forth His building now for the ultimate producing of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem’s River from the Throne

Revelation 22:1 says, “he showed me 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.”

New JerusalemThe river comes out of the throne of God. This tells us that we need to be under the throne, under the ruling of God and the Lamb. The extent to which we are ruled is the extent to which we are watered.

This throne is “of God and of the Lamb.” God and the Lamb share one throne because They are coinherent—God is in the Lamb, Jesus and the Lamb is in God, the Father. This is Jesus’ word in John 14:11, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.”

The Triune God is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. The throne is of Two, but where is the Spirit? The Spirit is the river! John 7:38-39, “He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. But this He said concerning the Spirit.” The Triune God is here!

First Corinthians 12:13 declares, “in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body…and were all given to drink one Spirit.” Baptism is once for all, but drinking is lifelong. Let us drink the Spirit all the time to be saturated with the life of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Triune God is the Living Temple of New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:22 John says about New Jerusalem, “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”

The temple is not a physical building! It is a living Person, the Triune God! The entire New Jerusalem, as the consummation of all God’s New Testament building, is spiritual. This is not a new concept in Revelation 21. The Lord spoke this at the beginning of His ministry.

New JerusalemJohn 2:19 records His words, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews were focused on their physical temple, but “He spoke of the temple of His body” (v. 2:21). The Lord Jesus Himself is the temple.

The whole city is the holy of holies, which is the innermost part of the Old Testament temple. The holy of holies is the place for man to meet with God and speak with God. Moses did this, as recorded in Numbers 7:89.

The Triune God as the temple is the Triune God as the holy of holies, which is the Triune God as the whole city. We enter the city by the pearl gates, the death and resurrection of Christ, and then we are built into this city. This building work in the Triune God is described in many verses including Ephesians 2:20-22, 4:15-16, Colossians 2:7, and 1 Peter 2:4-5.

Lord Jesus, I believe into You to receive the eternal life for New Jerusalem. Now keep me in the reality of Your New Testament building work to be in You as the living temple. 

 

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