I. ITS GATES BEING PEARLS
Now we come to the second application of the New Jerusalem, which is altogether related to the gates. Its gates are pearls (Rev. 21:21a). As we have seen, the entire New Jerusalem is a great sign. Its twelve gates are twelve big pearls. It is impossible for natural pearls to be so big that they can be the gates of the city. The pearl in the city is not a natural pearl but is used by God as a sign.
A. The Issue of a Twofold Secretion
When an oyster is wounded by a grain of sand, it secretes its life-juice around the grain of sand and makes it into a precious pearl. Pearls signify the issue of Christ’s secretion in two aspects: His redeeming and life-releasing death and His life-dispensing resurrection. Without God’s revelation we can never realize that the death of Christ secretes, dispenses, to produce the gates of the city. The twelve gates are the issue of Christ’s secretion also in His life-dispensing resurrection. He resurrected to be the life-giving Spirit to dispense the divine life into the believers (1 Cor. 15:45b). This is a kind of secretion issuing in a big pearl to be the gates of the city. Both Christ’s death and resurrection have an issue, a secretion.
B. Requiring the Seeking Believers’ Daily Experience of the Death and Resurrection of Christ
Both kinds of secretion (dispensing) require the seeking believers’ daily experience of the death of Christ subjectively by the power of Christ’s resurrection that they may be conformed to the death of Christ (Phil. 3:10). We have to put not just Christ’s death itself but the secretion of His death into our daily experience subjectively. We may know that we have been crucified with Christ, but we need to experience this. When a couple is quarreling, is that the talk of ones who are being crucified? When a brother talks to his wife, he has to consider that he is a crucified person.
Stanza 2 of hymn #938 (Hymns), a short song for baptism, says, “No longer I! No longer I! / Christ in me I’ll testify!” In our baptism we declared that we were finished. It is no more I, but Christ who lives in me (Gal. 2:20). In our subjective experience, we should be on the cross. We may know this teaching, but in our daily experience we are short. In our daily life, we do not practice being crucified with Christ.
A number of times when I was irritated at my wife, I tried to argue with her. But when the word of my argument came to the tip of my tongue, I was reminded—“Is this being crucified on the cross?” Right away I stopped. I went to my study room and prayed, “Lord, forgive me. I know I have been crucified, but I don’t practice it. What a shame, Lord! I have been following You for over sixty years, yet I would still try to argue with my dear wife. Still I live and not Christ. I have been teaching others about this for more than sixty years, but I did not apply what I taught.”
Dear saints, the second application of the New Jerusalem is for us to experience subjectively the death of Christ in our daily life. We cannot do this in and by ourselves. None of us can practice such a thing. Everybody likes to argue. Argument comes from our natural life, from “I” not Christ. But we should have this “I” all the time crucified on the cross. We have to put this application of the subjective death of Christ into our daily experience. We can experience His death only by the power of the resurrection of Christ.
The chorus of hymn #631 says, “If no death, no life.” This life comes to us not by our natural life but by the power of Christ’s resurrection. Yes, we have been crucified, but how can we keep ourselves on the cross all the time? No human being can do it except those who know the power of the resurrection of Christ; they have the capacity, the ability, to practice this. By the power of the resurrection of Christ, we have the ability and the power to keep our pitiful self on the cross. How can a sister be a good wife? A good wife is a crucified wife, a wife on the cross.
We are required to remain on the cross under the crucifixion all the time. Sometimes I went to the Lord and said, “Lord, I cannot carry out this kind of Christian life. I thought that after I believed in You, You would do good things for me.” The Lord answered, “Yes, I will do everything good for you, but you have to remain on the cross. As long as you live by yourself, I can do nothing for you. I can do something for you only if you remain on the cross.” I said, “Lord, how can I do it? I have no power to do it.” The Lord said, “I am in you, I am the resurrection, and I have the power to enable you to remain on the cross.” Stanza 1 of hymn #631 says, “If I’d know Christ’s risen power, / I must ever love the Cross.” Life is Christ. If I am going to live Christ out, I have to remain on the cross to die there. This is the second application of the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem has twelve gates, and they should be applied to our daily life by our keeping ourselves crucified all the time in our daily experience that we could be conformed to Christ’s death.
The believers also should seek the daily experience of the resurrection of Christ subjectively by the bountiful supply of the Spirit (the reality of resurrection) of Jesus Christ that they may be conformed to the image of the firstborn Son of God (Phil. 1:19; Rom. 8:29). We are required to do two things: to experience Christ’s death subjectively in our daily walk and also to experience the power of resurrection in our daily walk. How can we experience Christ’s death in our daily walk? By the power of resurrection. How can we experience Christ’s resurrection in our daily walk? By the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Jesus Christ is the reality of His resurrection. By His resurrection we can experience His death. Then how can His resurrection be applied to us? His resurrection can be applied to us only by the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Now the Spirit is here. The Spirit of Jesus Christ is Christ Himself as the life-giving Spirit, who is the reality of the resurrection of Christ.
Christ’s death can be experienced by us only through Christ’s resurrection, and Christ’s resurrection can be real to us only by the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has become the life-giving Spirit, and He is within us. When we turn to our spirit, we meet Christ as the life-giving Spirit, who is the very reality of Christ’s resurrection. It is by this Spirit that we experience Christ’s resurrection. To experience Christ’s resurrection is to contact the life-giving Spirit.
In order to apply this we have to remain in our spirit all the time to meet Christ as the Spirit, who is the reality of His resurrection. Then we have the power to remain on the cross. The application of the gates of the city is first to remain on the cross by the power of Christ’s resurrection. Second, we have to apply Christ as the life-giving Spirit living in our spirit. We have to touch Him all the time. This is why the Bible tells us to pray unceasingly (1 Thes. 5:17). It is only through prayer that we can touch Christ in our spirit as the life-giving Spirit, the Spirit who is the reality of His resurrection.
When we practice the death of Christ, we will be conformed to His death, having the image of a dead person on the cross. When we touch the Spirit, we touch Christ in His resurrection, and this will conform us to the image of the glory of the firstborn Son of God. His death applied to us will conform us to the mold of His death, and His Spirit in us will conform us into the glory of His image, the image of the firstborn Son of God. The first application of the New Jerusalem is for us to do everything based upon the divine nature. That is simple. But now we have an application in two aspects: the application of Christ’s death and the application of Christ’s resurrection as the life-giving Spirit.
(The Application of the Interpretation of the New Jerusalem to the Seeking Believers, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)