A BUILDED CHURCH NEEDING TO BE FULL OF GOD’S NATURE
The New Jerusalem also has a street (Rev. 21:21b). This street is joined to the city proper and the two cannot be separated. Therefore, the Bible tells us that the city is pure gold (v. 18), and that the street is pure gold (v. 21b). The street is just the city proper.
After entering in through a gate, we need to walk, but to do so we need streets. In the New Jerusalem, although there are twelve gates, there is only one street. When I was young, I pondered over this portion of the Word again and again, but I just could not understand it. My mind simply could not comprehend it. I thought, “How can people enter in through twelve gates yet walk on one street? Furthermore, since all twelve gates lead to the throne in the center of the city, shouldn’t there be twelve streets leading from the twelve gates to the throne?” Moreover, when I studied the Greek text, I found out that the word street is singular in number, further indicating that there is only one street. Therefore, I was really perplexed. Later I became clear after someone showed me a simple drawing. Then I realized that the street is not straight, but spiraling. In the first circle the street goes around the twelve gates, then as it turns inward, the circles become smaller and smaller until finally it reaches the throne. Thus, the street is not complicated at all. No matter which gate you enter in, you are on the one street. You can never get lost here. Ultimately this street will take you to the center, to the throne.
Later you will see that this city is a cube. It has not only length and breadth but also height; furthermore, its length, its breadth, and its height are equal (v. 16). It is a cubical city built upon a mountain. This corresponds with what is revealed throughout the Scriptures, that is, that the cities built by God are all built on mountains. In former days the city of Jerusalem was built on Mount Zion. Now this New Jerusalem is also built upon a mountain. Because the city is a cube, its street is a spiral. Moreover, the street does not spiral on a flat plane; it spirals upward, going up higher and higher towards the center. I cannot speak too much concerning these things.
Another thing we need to keep in mind is that the street is pure gold. You cannot find a grain of sand in it. It is all pure gold. In the Scriptures gold denotes the nature of God. This indicates that the city is filled with God and the nature of God. There is absolutely no earthy element. The street is altogether simple and pure. The street is also one—without any complication, and it is pure gold—without any mixture.
The principle revealed here is also very practical for the building up of the church. A few days ago I met several brothers who were discussing a certain matter. Some of them said to do it one way while the others said to do it another way. Eventually they came to an impasse. Thus, you can see that there were two streets among them. We all know that when we walk, it is better to have just one street. When we come to a fork in the road, we are often in a dilemma, not knowing which way is the right way. Likewise, if there are two ways existing at the same time in the church service, it will not be possible for the saints to be built together. Thank God, however, that in the New Jerusalem there will always be only one street of pure gold; there will never be two streets. Thus, it is not hard to walk in the New Jerusalem. This shows us that when we come together with the brothers, whether it is for the Lord’s work, for overseeing the church, or for taking the lead in the meeting, we must have only one street, which is the nature of God. If we turn away from the nature of God and pay attention to other things, then it is very likely that you will have a suggestion, I will have another suggestion, and a third brother will have still another suggestion. Everyone’s suggestion is a street, so eventually we will not know whose suggestion to follow.
Perhaps you would ask me, “This being the case, how do we know which way matches God’s nature? How can we tell whose suggestion is right?” Please be reminded of what we said earlier. A person who wants to enter in through the gate must first have all the sand in him transformed into pearl. With such transformation, it will be easy to touch the nature of God. A brother once said it best when he said, “If there is no cross, there is no church. There is a cross erected at the entrance of the church, and everyone who wants to come in must first be hanged upon it.”
At the pearl gates all natural things that have not already passed through the cross are shut out. Everything brought through the gates is pearl. Furthermore, the pearl gates and the golden street are linked to one another. Therefore, if you have truly entered in through the pearl gate, you can easily find the golden street. As we are coordinating and serving with the brothers and sisters in the church, if in every matter we would seriously learn the lesson of putting our self, our view, our opinions, and our natural being outside the pearl gates by hanging them on the cross, then we will easily find the street of God’s nature and know God’s way of doing things. We all must learn this serious lesson. We do not do things according to his opinion, your opinion, or my opinion. All our opinions, including his, yours, and mine, must be shut outside the pearl gates. Inside the gates there are no earthy feelings, ideas, or elements. Outside the pearl gates there is sand and earth, but inside the gates everything is pure gold. On one side of the cross, there is man’s opinion, viewpoint, ability, and idea. On the other side of the cross, none of these things exist. There is only God’s nature, and everything is pure gold.
(The Building Work of God, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)