FOREVER AND EVER
Verse 3 says, "And there will no longer be a curse." Thank God, Genesis 3 will completely pass away and there will no longer be a curse. Everything introduced in Genesis 3 can be summed up in the word curse. Even death is a kind of curse. However, in the new heaven and new earth there will be no more curse, nor will there be any death. All of the history of sin will be over; man will glorify God well.
Verse 3 continues, "And the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it." The situation here is unlike Genesis 3, where God walked in the garden in the cool of the day. Here God is reigning; His very throne is located here. Now the garden has become the city, the place where God is enthroned. "And His slaves will serve Him." What will the slaves of God do in eternity? They will serve Him. We should never think that in eternity we will have nothing to do. No, we will forever be His slaves, serving Him.
Verse 4 says, "And they will see His face, and His name will be on their forehead." All of our work for the Lord must be led by fellowship. True service to the Lord is in fellowship. Serving alone is not enough; there must be the fellowship. They will serve Him, and they will see His face. Oh, how many times when we see God we have already done His work. But I must say that we can do His work only after we see God. We should not be doing the work and constantly regretting—this is not fellowship. May God deliver us from any service which is not in fellowship, and may He save us from ever accomplishing any work without being able to fellowship after we have finished. We should never feel proud, self-content, or self-sufficient upon finishing the work. May God save us and deliver us from any kind of service which does not issue from fellowship and which is not in fellowship, and may He enable us to remain in fellowship even after we have finished the work. God’s servants will not only have fellowship with Him, but "His name will be on their forehead." This is their testimony; this is what others who behold them will see. Everyone will know that these people are the people of God.
Verse 5 says, "And night will be no more; and they have no need of the light of a lamp and of the light of the sun, for the Lord God will shine upon them." In this city night is over. The lamp is the man-made light, and the sun is the natural light. All of man’s work and all natural means will no longer be of any use because everything will be visible. Today we may be confused and not see clearly. Even after we have accomplished some service, we may not know where we are, but it will not be so in that day.
The last clause of verse 5 is the most important. "And they will reign forever and ever." This was the purpose of God in creation. In Genesis God’s purpose was that man should rule, and now he has obtained that purpose—man is ruling. This is not something in the millennium. This passage of Scripture, Revelation 21 and 22, is not a description of the millennium, but of eternity. They will reign unto eternity, and they shall reign forever and ever. God’s original goal is reached.
God wanted man to have dominion over the earth and to destroy Satan. Now man is reigning, and Satan has been cast into the lake of fire. God’s purpose for the man He created has been attained. On the one hand, God wanted man to be like Himself, and on the other hand, God’s appointed work for man was that he should rule. Now we have seen a bride—golden, glorious, and beautiful—with all kinds of treasure within her. She lacks nothing and is without spot, wrinkle, or any such things. Furthermore, she is holy and without blemish. She is truly clothed with glory. The glorious church spoken of in Ephesians 5 has been fulfilled in this way. What kind of work will those in the church do? They will reign forever and ever.
We may say that God’s plan can be frustrated, but His plan can never be stopped. Since creation God’s work has suffered much frustration. In fact, it seemed as if His work was being destroyed and that His plan would never succeed. But in Revelation God has reached His goal. There is a group of people full of pure gold, which is something of God. They are full of pearl, which is the work of Christ. And they are filled with precious stones, the work of the Holy Spirit. They will reign forever and ever.
Now that we have seen God’s purpose and how He is working, what should we do? Should we hold a revival? Should we open a seminary? Or should we go back to our housework as usual? What are we doing here? God is doing a great thing. When we compare our work with His, how short we feel! May God be gracious to us, that having seen such a vision we will pay the full price. Once a man sees a vision he will be changed. May God give us a vision of what He is doing and what He is after. May He show us the kind of people He desires to obtain and how precious is that which He has set His heart upon. If we see these things, we will cry out and say, "Oh, how small I am! How much attention I have paid to myself!" And we will say, "If God does not work in me, I will never be able to do His work. Only when God Himself moves in me with His mighty power can I go on well." This great vision must overthrow us. It must cause us to see that our condition today can never satisfy God’s heart. Our hope is that God would give us this vision. Once we have seen it, we will give our whole being to it; every part of us will be changed. Today we are standing between these two alternatives—being an overcomer or being a failure. How can any of us afford to be slack in prayer? If we neglect to pray, we will never be God’s overcomer.
May the Lord Jesus, who has risen from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, sustain us and lead us by His own mighty power that we may henceforth and forever belong to Him, forever consecrate to Him, forever serve Him, and forever go His way. May the Lord be gracious to us now and to eternity. Amen.
(The Glorious Church, Chapter 5, by Watchman Nee)