The Divine Economy, by Witness Lee

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The New Jerusalem is not an actual city just as the lampstands are not actual lampstands but signs of the churches. The New Jerusalem is a great sign of the totality of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people. The church today is a house, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). The house of God today is not an actual house but the totality of God’s people. The church today as God’s temple, God’s house, God’s building, is not an actual physical building but is a sign signifying that the church’s function is to be a house in which the Triune God can dwell. Today the church is a house, and in eternity the church will be enlarged. When the church is enlarged, it becomes a city. The church as a house is not an actual physical house in the same way that the church enlarged to be the holy city will not be an actual physical city. The New Jerusalem is a city signifying the church’s function in eternity to be God’s dwelling place.

Many Bible teachers have misunderstood and misinterpreted the New Jerusalem. They say that the New Jerusalem will be a heavenly mansion as a physical place for all God’s redeemed ones to dwell in. It is altogether not logical to say that the New Jerusalem is a physical mansion or a physical city for God’s redeemed people to lodge in. The New Jerusalem, the holy city, is a golden mountain (Rev. 21:16, 18). This mountain is twelve thousand stadia in length, breadth, and height (v. 16). Twelve thousand stadia is about thirteen hundred and fifty miles, the approximate distance from New York to Dallas. Such a high mountain has only one street which goes down spirally from the top of the mountain to reach all the twelve gates on the four sides of the city.

If this is a real city to lodge in, we must ask how all God’s redeemed through all the centuries will be able to lodge there. How could so many people live in a city with only one main spiral street? How could these people travel in a city with only one main street? For a physical city with only one main street to contain billions of people is impossible. The holy city is not a physical heavenly mansion, but a sign signifying the totality of all God’s chosen people. In the eyes of God, all His redeemed people will be like a great city just as today in God’s eyes all the redeemed people are His house. In this age God’s people are His house, but in eternity God’s people will be His city. The New Jerusalem will be the ultimate consummation of God’s people.

(The Divine Economy, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)