24) THE CITY’S DIMENSIONS
Our twenty-fourth point is that this city has three equal dimensions (Rev. 21:16). In the entire Bible the only other structure that is equal in all three dimensions is the holiest of all. Whether in the tabernacle or in the temple, the holiest of all was always in three equal dimensions. In the tabernacle it was ten by ten by ten cubits, and in the temple it was twenty by twenty by twenty cubits (1 Kings 6:20). The entire city of the New Jerusalem is in three equal dimensions. This proves that the whole city is the holiest of all.
Holiness is the nature of God. Love reveals God’s heart, righteousness is God’s way, and holiness is God’s nature. Only God Himself is holy, for only God is separated and uniquely different from everything else. The New Jerusalem is a city which is absolutely saturated and mingled with God; therefore it is absolutely holy. It is entirely different from all other things. Whenever we experience the mingling of God with us today, there is a real separation, a real holiness. In anything we do, if we have some experience of God in Christ being mingled with us, we experience holiness in that very thing. Holiness signifies a separation from common things. The more you are mingled with God in Christ, the more you will be holy. You will be different and separated from all things common. To be holy means to have something of God mingled with us. Holiness is not a matter of action, but a matter of nature, for holiness is God’s nature. It is not what we do, but how much we have been mingled with God. An aloofness from everything is not holiness. Holiness is determined by how much we have experienced being mingled with God. Chapter 12 of Hebrews says that God chastens us that we might be partakers of His holiness (v. 10). That means that He chastens us that we may partake of His nature by being mingled with Him. The New Jerusalem is absolutely and thoroughly mingled with God; therefore it is the holy city.
25) THE “NEW JERUSALEM”
Our twenty-fifth point concerns the name of this city. Why is it called the “New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2)? What is the newness? Again, it is God Himself, for only God is new. In the church life we need both holiness and newness. The church life must not be common, and the church life must not be old. When we attend some Christian meetings, our only impression is a sense of oldness. Ephesians 5 says that the church must be without spot or wrinkle. A spot speaks of something which has been damaged, whereas wrinkles are the sign of oldness. The church must be without spot, without any wound or damage from the enemy, and the church must be without wrinkles due to oldness. We should never say that we are an old church. No! The church must be very new, without a trace of oldness. Every day the church must be new. If we experience Christ day by day, we can maintain this newness. On the other hand, if we do not grow daily in our experiences of Christ, we will perpetuate something old. Our experience may have been new last year, but it is much too old to apply this year. We must grow in Christ to have the newness. The church is the one new man; it will be the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth.
We may tell how much a local church has grown by observing one factor: if the situation and atmosphere of the meeting is the same this year as it was last year, then there is oldness; there has been no growth. On the other hand, if the church is continually growing, the meetings will be continually new. In the holy city the tree of life brings forth a new kind of fruit every month (Rev. 22:2). Christ is so rich—we can never exhaust Him! We must have some new experiences of Christ every day to keep ourselves in newness. This newness and freshness are a proof that the church is growing.
26) GOD AS LIGHT
Our twenty-sixth point is that in this city there is no need of any man-made light or even of any natural light such as the sun (Rev. 21:23; 22:5). In the church life we do not need either of these, for we have God in Christ as our light. Natural light signifies our natural sight or insight. Many times in the meetings of the church some brothers and sisters bring in their natural insight. And sometimes in the meetings people bring in light manufactured by human hands. In the church life both natural light and manufactured light must be dealt with and rejected. We must trust in God and experience Christ; then this very God in Christ will become our light.
What is light manufactured by human hands? Suppose that in the local church there is a brother whose mentality is not adequate. Therefore, someone recommends that he should go to see a psychiatrist. This signifies the light of the lamp, the manufactured human light. You may ask what we should do then with this brother. We must pray, and sometimes we must even fast. We need to deny the human way and look to the Lord. He will be our light; He will enlighten us as to what we should do. In all things we must deny the natural way, the natural light, as well as the human way, the human light. We must trust in the Lord, realizing that He is our light. We need to experience God more and more. In the holy city, there is only God; God Himself must be our experience in all aspects.
Some brothers have too many lights: they have the light of the sun, the light of the moon, the light of the stars, the light of candles, the light of oil lamps and electric lights. They have too many ways. In the church life we must learn how to drop all these kinds of lights. There is only one light which is needed, and that is God Himself. He is the light and the way! He is everything! We must reject all other ways, all other lights. To do this involves learning some real lessons.
27) WITHOUT NIGHT
Our twenty-seventh point is that there is no night in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:25; 22:5). We have previously indicated that day and night will continue in the new earth, for there is still the sun and the moon. But because God enlightens the holy city, neither the sun nor the moon is needed; thus there is no night within the city. What is the meaning of this? At night we are tired and asleep; hence, the absence of night signifies that we will never be tired. In the New Jerusalem we will no longer require sleep, for we will continually experience resurrection power. We become tired because we are still in the old creation. Night is something of the old creation. Today, in the church life, we are still physically in the old creation; thus there is always a certain period when we are tired. Spiritually speaking, however, we should never be tired; we should never grow weary in the spirit. There should not be any night in the church.
28) TWO CURRENTS AND TWO CITIES
In our twenty-eighth point we must see that throughout the Scriptures there are two currents with two cities. One current is of Satan, and the other is of God. With the current of Satan there is a city called the Great Babylon (Rev. 17:5), and with the current of God there is the holy city, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2). The book of Revelation unveils these two cities. The Great Babylon is none other than the mingling of Satan with the human race. In the eyes of God, Babylon consists of all the worldly people. On the other hand, the New Jerusalem is the mingling of God with His people.
These two cities are never compatible. The holy city is always separated from Great Babylon, and Babylon is always seeking to damage the holy city. Eventually God must intervene to judge Great Babylon and build up the holy city. Even so, if the church is to be adequately built up today, there must always be a judgment upon all worldliness. Worldliness is the very element of Great Babylon. If we bring anything worldly into the building of the church, we are mixing Babylon with the holy city. God will never allow this! He will come in to vindicate Himself. We must be constantly alert to keep the building of the church separated from anything worldly, anything of the Babylonian city and its elements.
May we bring all of these points to the Lord in prayer. Pray for the church regarding all these things. I believe God’s Word will not be in vain. Something will be worked out on this earth, because God’s Word has been released.
(The Vision of God's Building, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)