After being perfected and matured, the defeated believers will join with the overcoming God-men to enjoy the eternal blessing of God’s complete salvation in the new heaven and new earth (Matt. 19:29; Rom. 5:21). That blessing is just the New Jerusalem.
In the enjoyment of God’s complete salvation, the God-men will participate in the holy city—the New Jerusalem—in its consummated stage as their temple—the Triune God Himself—for their dwelling in eternity (Rev. 22:14b; 21:22). They will eat the tree of life (22:14a, 2) and enjoy the spring of life and drink the water of life in the river of life (21:6; 22:1).
In the new heaven and new earth the God-men will have God as their God and be sons of God (21:7). They will also participate in the divine and human marriage life of the processed and consummated Triune God and the transformed and glorified tripartite man (v. 9). This is not the wedding, which will be a reward to the overcomers in the millennium; this is the marriage life of the believers with the Triune God for eternity.
In the New Jerusalem all the God-men will serve God as priests and reign as kings over the nations forever and ever (22:3b, 5b). They will have no curse and no night but will enjoy God’s shining as their light (vv. 3, 5; 21:25, 23).
There are mainly four kinds of “Christians” on the earth today. Some who call themselves Christians are actually not genuine believers but are false, or nominal, Christians. Each kind of “Christian” has a particular destiny.
The first category of “Christians” is the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church as the great Babylon will be burned. This is not my word but the word of the Bible in Revelation 17:5 and 16. There we are told that one day, probably at the beginning of the great tribulation, three and a half years before the one-thousand-year kingdom, God will use Antichrist with his ten kings to execute His judgment on the Catholic Church by burning her utterly with fire.
The second category of “Christians” is the false Christians, the nominal Christians, who are the tares prophesied by the Lord in Matthew 13:38-42. In a number of so-called churches today there are many false Christians, those who claim to be saved but have never been regenerated by the Spirit. A real Christian is one who not only repents unto God but also receives God in Christ into his being by exercising his spirit to receive Christ into his spirit. By so doing his spirit has a direct contact with Christ as the divine Spirit. This is needed in order for a person to be genuinely saved. Electricity may be installed in a certain building, with all the electrical wires and switches built in. However, the lights in the building will not shine if a connection is not made at the switch so that the electrical current can flow. Once the connection is made, the electrical power operates and the lights shine. A nominal Christian may agree with all the doctrines concerning Christ and may even repent, yet he has never opened himself in his spirit to receive Christ as the Spirit into his spirit. He has never experienced a spiritual “connection” so that the Spirit as the divine electricity can flow into him.
I was born into Christianity and was educated in Christianity. I heard many doctrines, and I proclaimed to others that I was a Christian. When people opposed Christianity, I contradicted them. But I was not saved until I heard the gospel one afternoon in April 1925 at the age of nineteen. At that time I had a direct contact with God. Unless a person has such a contact with God by his spirit contacting God’s Spirit, he can never be saved.
The false Christians, the tares, in all kinds of churches will be bound into bundles to be burned up in the lake of fire (Matt. 13:30, 40-42). When the Lord comes back, the first thing He will do in executing His judgment is to send His angels to bind up the false Christians into bundles and cast them directly into the lake of fire. They will not need to pass through the judgment at the white throne mentioned in Revelation 20:11-15. It is terrible to be a false Christian. When the Lord comes back, the false Christians will be the first to be judged. They will be judged at the time of the Lord’s coming, one thousand years before the rest of the unbelievers are judged.
The third category of Christians is the genuine but defeated believers. In 1 Corinthians 3:12 their work and conduct are likened to wood, grass, and stubble, which are good only to be burned. Many genuine Christians are not overcoming but are defeated. At His coming back, the Lord will burn their work and conduct by fire, but the defeated believers themselves will be saved, yet so as through fire (v. 15). Furthermore, they will be disciplined (Matt. 25:30) and transformed to be mature and perfect so that they will be qualified to participate in the New Jerusalem in its consummated stage for eternity. They will have no share in the New Jerusalem in the thousand-year kingdom, but after they are perfected and matured, they will join the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth after the one-thousand-year kingdom.
The fourth category of Christians is the genuine and overcoming believers, the overcomers. In 1 Corinthians 3:12 their work and conduct are likened to gold, silver, and precious stones, which can never be burned. For such a work and conduct they will be rewarded (1 Cor. 3:14; Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Cor. 4:5; Matt. 25:19) to enter into the coming millennial kingdom to reign with the Lord and partake of His joy, as revealed in the above list of their rewards. They will also enjoy the New Jerusalem as their blessing from the Lord as a reward in the thousand years. After the thousand years they will be joined by the God-men perfected in the millennial kingdom in the participation of the final consummation and enjoyment of the New Jerusalem in its consummated stage for eternity.
We need to be not only genuine Christians but also overcoming Christians. I hope that we will all be the overcomers.
(The God-Men, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)