THE NEW JERUSALEM AS THE EMBODIMENT OF ALL THAT CHRIST IS
The New Jerusalem is the ultimate conclusion of the entire Scriptures. In the Gospel of John we see the Lord Jesus as many items. He was recommended by John the Baptist as the Lamb of God and as the Bridegroom. He is also the light, the life, the way, and everything. The New Jerusalem is the all-inclusive embodiment of Christ as everything. In the New Jerusalem Christ is the Lamb, and He is the Bridegroom to marry the New Jerusalem as the bride. In the New Jerusalem Christ is also the light, the life, the way, and the truth, the reality. The New Jerusalem is the embodiment of all that Christ is.
If we read the Gospel of John again, we can find many items that Christ is. Then when we come to the New Jerusalem, we can find all these items there. Everything that the Lord is, is in the New Jerusalem. Every item of the Lord in the Gospel of John is in the New Jerusalem as the all-inclusive embodiment of what the Lord Jesus is. This means that all that the Lord is has been wrought and built into the redeemed people and mingled with them as one. The ultimate picture in the record of the entire holy Scriptures is a building as the embodiment of all that Christ is. This is the building of God.
Hebrews 11:10, 16 and 12:22 speak of the New Jerusalem. The Old Testament saints, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, expected to share in the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, the city which has the foundations. This heavenly city with the foundations is not a physical place. It is a building, a living composition, of all the redeemed ones composed together in God, through Christ, and with the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 11:40 says, “Because God has provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” This is a wonderful verse! If the heavenly city were a physical place, objective and outside of the redeemed ones and only to be expected by the redeemed ones, the Holy Spirit would not have said in this verse that we, the New Testament saints, are a perfection to the Old Testament saints. Without the New Testament saints the Old Testament saints could never be perfected. The Old Testament saints can be compared to a body; without legs, arms, and hands it could not be a perfect body. The upper part of the body needs the lower part as a perfection. The saints of the Old Testament time are merely a part of the holy city. Without the New Testament saints the holy city could never be perfected. The Old Testament part needs the New Testament part as a perfection. By this verse we can realize that the holy city is not a physical place beside or outside of the redeemed ones. Rather, the redeemed ones are the composition of this holy city, and this holy city is the composition of all the redeemed ones.
Hebrews 12:22-23 says, “But you have come forward to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem; and to myriads of angels, to the universal gathering; and to the church of the firstborn, who have been enrolled in the heavens; and to God, the Judge of all; and to the spirits of righteous men who have been made perfect.” The church of the firstborn is the composition of the New Testament saints, who have been enrolled in the heavens. They are not in heaven; they are simply enrolled in the heavens. The righteous men are the Old Testament saints. Verse 24 continues, “And to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant; and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaks something better than that of Abel.”
These verses speak of coming forward to eight items. Some may argue that since the heavenly Jerusalem is the second item, the New Testament saints as the church are the fourth item, and the Old Testament saints, the righteous men, are the sixth item, the New Jerusalem must be something other than the saints. If we read these verses carefully, however, we can realize that these items are the “bricks” of the same building. For example, the Lord Jesus is the seventh item, and the blood of the Lord Jesus is the eighth; the blood is something of the Lord Jesus. In the same principle, the New Testament saints and the Old Testament saints are “bricks” of the holy city, New Jerusalem, which includes Mount Zion.
Therefore, the New Jerusalem is not a physical place, but a personal composition of all the saints redeemed by God and built up together with God and in God as a dwelling place for the satisfaction and rest of God. This is proven by Revelation 21, which says that the New Jerusalem is a composition with the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel and the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (vv. 12, 14). It is a composition of all the redeemed ones built up together in God and with God to be the building of God. In this building, God is the satisfaction to the redeemed ones, and they are the satisfaction to God. This building is the mutual rest and satisfaction for God and man.
(The Building of God, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)