THE NEW JERUSALEM AS THE ULTIMATE CONSUMMATION OF THE MINGLING OF DIVINITY WITH HUMANITY
After the church, God’s building becomes the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2). Noah’s ark, the tabernacle, the temple, Christ, the church, and the New Jerusalem are all God’s building. However, these are all different aspects of one building, not many buildings. In the New Jerusalem we can find items related to Noah’s ark, to the tabernacle of Moses, and to Solomon’s temple with the old Jerusalem. We can certainly see Christ as the house and temple of God, and we can also see the church. Therefore, the New Jerusalem is the ultimate expression and consummation of God’s building.
The New Jerusalem contains the names of the twelve tribes of Israel and the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (vv. 12, 14). The twelve tribes of Israel are the representatives of the Old Testament saints, while the twelve apostles are the representatives of the New Testament saints. This shows us that the New Jerusalem is a living composition of all the saints in the Old and New Testament times.
Moreover, God is the light of the New Jerusalem, and Christ is the lamp (v. 23). God is in Christ, and out of God in Christ flows the Spirit as the river of water of life (22:1). God the Father is the light, God the Son is the lamp, and God the Spirit is the river of living water. From the throne of God and the Redeemer at the center, the Triune God flows throughout the entire city for the mingling of God with His creatures. This is the real meaning of the building of God. Therefore, the New Jerusalem is a living composition of all the redeemed ones throughout the generations with God in Christ through the Holy Spirit as the center. It is a universally great corporate man mingled with God to be a living Body and a built-up city.
The New Jerusalem is a full picture of the mingling of the Triune God with His redeemed creatures, the mingling of divinity with humanity. Now God is no longer merely a God outside of man. He is a God within man.
Besides this one building, there is not another building of God. God has only one building in the universe. Why then did the Lord speak of “many abodes” in John 14:2? In 2:16 the Lord clearly indicated that the Father’s house is the temple. What then is the Father’s house in 14:2? This verse says, “In My Father’s house are many abodes; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” How can we fit this verse into God’s building? When some preach the gospel, they tell people that if they do not believe in Jesus, they will go to hell, and if they do believe, they will go to a heavenly mansion, or a heavenly hall. Should we believe that today, while God is building His church, He is also building “mansions” in heaven? Many times I have been condemned for preaching that there are no “heavenly mansions.” My intention, however, is not to preach away the heavenly mansions but to help the children of God know what the real building of God is. The real building of God is not a heavenly hall but the mingling of Himself with man, His creature.
Certain hymns contain the thought that God is a God in heaven and that someday we will go to heaven. Do not think that I do not believe that there is a heaven. I certainly believe that there is a heaven and that God is in the heavens, but heaven where God is now is not the eternal habitation of God. We can prove this with Revelation 21:2, which says, “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” In eternity God will dwell in the New Jerusalem, which comes down from heaven. We may have the thought to go to heaven, but God has the thought to come down from heaven. The habitation of God in eternity is His divine building, the New Jerusalem, the mingling of divinity with humanity.
(The Building of God, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)