II. THE KINGDOM REWARD
After we have experienced life and grow in life, resulting in the issues of fruit-bearing, building up of the Body of Christ, and reigning in life, we have made ourselves ready for the Lord’s return. In His timing, He will then come back to begin the millennial kingdom. All those that have fully matured in life and served Him faithfully in building and reigning will receive a reward. All those who are not matured and are unfaithful in serving the Lord will be punished. The reward is glorious and the punishment is grievous. The reward is the early enjoyment of the New Jerusalem. It includes the out-resurrection from among the dead (Phil. 3:11), the transfiguration of the body of humiliation to the body of His glory (Phil 3:21), the marriage feast (Matt. 25:10), ruling over many things, the joy of the Lord (Matt. 25:21, 23), having the authority over the nations (Rev. 2:26), and reigning with Christ a thousand years (Rev. 20:4). The punishment includes not having all the above items, not being known by the Lord (Matt. 25:12), being cast into the outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 25:30), and his work being consumed, suffering loss, though being saved yet as through fire (1 Cor. 3:15). The reward was originally the common portion of all the believers; however, due to the degradation of Christians, the millennial kingdom became a reward to those who are faithful to God’s eternal purpose and have overcome all degradation to be full-grown in life. Therefore, as young Christians, we must aspire to receive the kingdom reward by being normal Christians, experiencing life every day to grow in life until we reach maturity, bearing fruits of virtue, bearing fruits of people, building up the Body of Christ, and reigning in life for God. Then at the Lord’s return, we will get the reward (Rev. 22:12).
III. THE NEW JERUSALEM
The New Jerusalem is the final issue of life. It is the ultimate consummation of the divine, eternal, indestructible life growing in all God’s chosen, redeemed, and regenerated people. It is the mingling of the processed Triune God with the transformed tripartite man. It is not a physical city as many suppose. It is a spiritual city. It is the full growth of the church, the Body of Christ, the bride of Christ (Rev. 21:2; Eph. 5:25-27). “And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, as a jasper stone, clear as crystal’’ (Rev. 21:10-11). “And the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb’’ (Rev. 21:23). “And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street. And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month, and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations’’ (Rev. 22:1-2). The throne of God and of the Lamb is on the top and in the center of the city. Out of it flows the Spirit as the river of water of life in the middle of the golden street. “And night shall be no more; and they have no need of the light of a lamp and the light of the sun, for the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever’’ (Rev. 22:5).
A. A City of Life
The New Jerusalem is a city Of life. It has a river of water of life and the tree of life. It is not of knowledge. The tree of knowledge is gone. Only the tree of life is there growing in the middle of the river of water of life. It is absolutely a city of zoe.
B. A City under God’s Authority
The New Jerusalem is a city under God’s authority. The throne of God and of the Lamb is on the top and in the middle of the city. A throne represents the authority of the one who sits on it. The throne of God and of the Lamb represents the authority of the Triune God. There is no rebellion in the New Jerusalem because everyone is in full subjection to the Triune God.
C. A City of Fellowship
The New Jerusalem is a city of fellowship. Fellowship is the Spirit flowing. Wherever the Spirit flows, there is fellowship. The river of the water of life out of the throne of God is the flowing of the Spirit. The river is the fellowship of the Spirit bringing us God and the Lamb, the Father and the Son.
(Lesson Book, Level 4: Life—Knowing and Experiencing Life, Chapter 19, by Witness Lee)