THE CHURCH WITHIN THE WORLD SITUATION
The first three chapters of the book of Revelation are on the local churches as the golden lampstands, trimmed and dealt with by Christ the Head as the Priest. Then after chapter three, chapters four and five are on Christ, and chapters six through twenty are a section on God’s governmental, universal administration to purify and clear up the entire universe by judging and eliminating all the negative things. While the world situation is going on, the church is within the world situation. Thus, within this section there are at least six mentionings concerning the church. In 7:9-17 is an innumerable multitude under the Lamb’s overshadowing care. The great multitude consists of the redeemed ones, throughout all generations from the nations, who constitute the church (Rev. 5:9; Rom. 11:25; Acts 15:14, 19). While the judgment of all the calamities is taking place, Christ will overshadow His redeemed ones. In Revelation 12:1-17 is the universal woman with the man-child. This signifies God’s chosen people with the stronger ones as the overcomers among them. It is the man-child that causes the great dragon to be cast down from the heavens to the earth. In 14:1-5 is the firstfruit of the believers before the great tribulation, the one hundred and forty-four thousand. This signifies that as God’s chosen people are growing on this earth, a small number among them will become the firstfruit, the overcomers. In 15:2-4 are the martyrs who had been under Antichrist’s persecution, standing upon the glassy sea. These are the later overcomers who overcome Antichrist at the end of the great tribulation. In 19:7-9 is the bride ready for Christ’s wedding. This bride is a corporate bride, referring to the body of overcomers who mature earlier to be ready as Christ’s bride for His marriage. Finally, in 20:4 and 6 are the co-kings of Christ in the manifestation of the kingdom of the heavens. These co-kings will be the overcomers reigning with Christ for a thousand years. In these six portions of the Word, the church is referred to. This indicates that the Lord is doing something to cause the believers to become overcomers, to make the saints mature to usher in the New Jerusalem as the ultimate consummation of God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people.
THE NEW HEAVEN
AND NEW EARTH
WITH THE NEW JERUSALEM
After the millennium of a thousand years, the old heaven and the old earth pass away through fire and are renewed into the new heaven and new earth (2 Pet. 3:10-13), into which the New Jerusalem will come for God’s eternal expression. Revelation tells us that John saw a new heaven and a new earth and that he saw the holy city, New Jerusalem (21:1-2). The verb "saw" is in the past tense, confirming the fact that the New Jerusalem is not only something to come but something that has come already and is now existing.
The new heaven and new earth with the New Jerusalem is the issue, the result, of Christ’s death. Christ died to clear up the old creation, so eventually the old creation with the old heaven and the old earth will pass away. Christ died on the cross to sweep away the entire old creation, so one day there will be no more old heaven and old earth. Everything of the old creation will be over. His death terminated the old creation, and His death as the grain of wheat released the divine life to germinate the new creation. The new creation is eventually realized in its ultimate consummation in Revelation 21 and 22 where the old heaven and the old earth have passed away and the new heaven and the new earth have come in. This is a new beginning with a new universe, and in this new universe is the New Jerusalem.
(The Divine Economy, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)