THE CONTINUATION OF THE DIVINE GLORIFICATION IN THE CHURCH LIFE
The divine glorification continues today. This glorification began with the Lord’s resurrection, and it is still going on. According to our viewpoint, we may say that the delivery that brought forth the Firstborn and the many brothers covers a long span of time, thus far, more than nineteen hundred years. In the sight of God, this delivery, although lengthy in time, is a matter of resurrection. Through this span of delivery in resurrection, we all have been brought forth to constitute the new man. However, there are yet others being brought forth. It is by this continuing delivery that the Lord’s prophecy in John 2 concerning the raising up of the temple is being fulfilled. The Lord said to the Jews, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (2:19). This raising up of the temple, which is the bringing forth of the new man, has not yet been completed. Because this delivery, this bringing forth, is still taking place, the divine glorification is also continuing today.
I believe that what the Lord has shown us concerning the divine glorification will help us to know what the church life is. The church life is actually the multiplication, the propagation, of Christ. This kind of church life is the divine glorification. The church has been produced in this glorification, and it continues to grow in the divine glorification. Whatever the church does in the matter of fruit-bearing is a continuation of the divine glorification. As the church spreads, this spreading is the fruit-bearing. For example, fifteen years ago there were only a small number of saints in the Lord’s recovery in Europe. But now this number has increased. This increase is a matter of fruit-bearing, and fruit-bearing is the divine glorification.
In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke we have a clear word concerning gospel preaching. In these Gospels the Lord commands the disciples to go forth and preach the gospel. But in the Gospel of John the Lord does not tell the disciples to go out to preach. Instead, in this Gospel the Lord indicates that we are branches of the vine to bear fruit. According to the Gospel of John, the bearing of fruit is actually the proper way to preach the gospel.
We may say that Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the synoptic Gospels, are on the human side, whereas the Gospel of John is on the divine side. On the human side, we have gospel preaching. But on the divine side, instead of gospel preaching we have a divine living, a living of fruit-bearing. Consider the branches of a vine. These branches do not preach; they simply grow in order to bear fruit. As branches of Christ, the true vine, we bear fruit that is the multiplication of the glorified Christ. This glorification is continuous. This continuous glorification is also the continuing delivery of the new man. In this fruit-bearing, in this delivery, Christ is glorified, and in His glorification the Father is glorified.
Suppose on earth today there were only a few Christians and these Christians were scattered throughout the world. What kind of glorification would this be? If this were the situation, there would be hardly any glory at all. But the multiplication of the Lord Jesus has spread throughout the earth. This continuous spreading of Christ is His glorification.
THE CONSUMMATION OF THE CHURCH LIFE
The Father’s house, the vine, and the new man are all related to the divine glorification. As we have seen, the house, the vine, and the new man are all one thing. The Lord’s glorification began in 12:24 with the producing of many grains. These grains are constituents of the Body of Christ, the church, which is the house of God the Father. According to the book of Ephesians, the church is the Body of Christ in Ephesians 1 and the house of God the Father in Ephesians 2. In keeping with a basic principle in the New Testament, the Body is also a house. Furthermore, the house is a family. Even in the Old Testament we have the thought that children are the glory of their father because they are his multiplication. Children may be compared to the many grains that are the multiplication of one grain. A father is the one grain, and his children are the many grains produced out of him. Therefore, as the many grains are the glory of the one grain, so the many children are the glory of the father. This clearly illustrates the concept in this section of the Gospel of John. The Lord revealed the Father to His disciples. The Father gave Him authority over all flesh so that He might give eternal life to His chosen ones and thereby cause them to become God’s children. The children of God are also the many grains. All this is a matter of divine glorification.
It is far off the mark to say that John 14 speaks of the building of a heavenly mansion. This thought cannot be found anywhere in the New Testament. What the New Testament reveals is the church life consummating in the New Jerusalem. What some claim is the heavenly mansion in John 14 is actually what we mean by the church life. Eventually, according to the book of Revelation, the New Jerusalem will come down from the heavens (Rev. 21:2). Therefore, in eternity there will be no such thing as a mansion in the heavens, but the New Jerusalem will be the consummation of the church life on earth.
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 51, by Witness Lee)