II. THE ETERNAL DWELLING—THE NEW JERUSALEM
A. The Tabernacle of God with Men
Now we go on to consider the eternal dwelling. Revelation 21:3 says, "And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall tabernacle with them, and they shall be His peoples, and God Himself shall be with them." According to the New Testament, God’s people are His dwelling place. Some Christians think that God’s dwelling place is among us not in an inward way, but in an outward way. If there are one thousand saints and God is dwelling among them, they will consider God to be number one thousand one. God, however, is inside of us, and His dwelling place is among us in an inward way. If one thousand saints are together and God is among them, God is not number one thousand one; rather, He is in the one thousand saints.
Some Christians do not believe in the matter of the mingling of God and man. Nevertheless, the Bible is filled with the thought that God is mingled with His people, for God’s people become His dwelling place. God’s dwelling is both small and large. When we come together, we all are one corporate dwelling. However, if I stay at home, I myself am God’s dwelling. If I come together with others and insist that I myself am God’s dwelling place and that all the others are individual dwelling places for Him, that will be erroneous. When we come together, we are not many dwellings; we are one dwelling place of God. However, when we are all at home alone, we are each God’s dwelling. At such a time, God has many dwellings. When I am alone, I may say, "Lord, now You have a house. I am Your house, Your dwelling." But when I come to the meeting of the church, I should not come as an individual house of the Lord separate from the others. If I do that in the meeting, I will no longer be God’s dwelling. When I am alone, I have the sense that I am God’s dwelling and that God is with me. But if I still cling to this concept in the church meeting, I will sense that I am no longer the house of God. When we come together, we are just one house, one dwelling of God. This is a matter of experience, not a matter of doctrine.
When God dwells in us, we enjoy Him as our neighbor. God is the best neighbor. Therefore, we will never be alone, for He is always with us. Because God is beside us, we have safety. Everyone today, especially little children, desires safety. When my grandchildren are with their grandmother, they feel safe. But in the presence of a stranger they feel insecure. When God, the best neighbor, is with us, we are safe.
B. Constituted of God’s Redeemed
The eternal dwelling of God is composed of His redeemed, both of the Old Testament represented by the names of the twelve tribes of Israel and of the New Testament represented by the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. In His redemption God dwells within and in His people. Hence, we shall be His eternal dwelling.
C. God and the Lamb Being the Temple
Pay no attention to the misleading teaching that there is no mingling of God and man and that we do not have the divine nature in us. What God has bestowed upon us and imparted into us is much more than this. Eventually, we become God’s house, His dwelling, and God and the Lamb become our temple (Rev. 21:22). The New Jerusalem will be the tabernacle of God, God’s dwelling place, composed, on the one hand, of all the redeemed and, on the other hand, of God and the Lamb. In God’s eternal dwelling there will be no temple because God and the Lamb will be the temple. In the Old Testament the temple was not only the dwelling place of God, but also the place in which the priests served God. As God’s redeemed people, we shall dwell in God forever. We shall be His dwelling (John 14:23), and He will be our dwelling (Psa. 90:1). Thus, there will be a mutual dwelling. God will dwell in us, and we shall dwell in Him. He will become our enjoyment, and we shall become His enjoyment. To see His face will be our pleasure, and to see our face will be His joy.
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 108, by Witness Lee)