17) THE ONE INNER FLOW OF LIFE
Our seventeenth point is that regardless from which direction we approach the city, regardless of which gate we use, we will be on just one street (Rev. 22:2) along with everyone else. Remember that the New Jerusalem is shaped like a mountain, with the base of the city, a square. This “mountain” has three dimensions, all of equal measure: it is twelve thousand stadia in width, length, and height. The city’s one street winds downward in a spiral fashion from the top to the base. It begins at the throne at the top, and the last spiral of the street passes the twelve gates at the base. So regardless from which side or by which gate you enter, you will be on the same street with all the others. We are not divided. We are all in one way, one flow. How significant! It is not just the same street, it is the one street. In a city there may be two streets which are quite alike, but this street is the one street, which means that there is only one flow.
How wonderful it would be if all Christians cared only for the inner flow! Suppose that I am a Christian of Chinese origin visiting Christians in Japan. The Chinese people differ greatly from the Japanese; yet when we forget all the outward things and simply care for the inner feeling, the inner flow, the result is indeed wonderful. There is the same taste, the same feeling, the same sense—everything is the same. This principle also applies, of course, to Christians from Europe and America. The problem is that although the inward flow is one and we are all in that one flow, we care for too many outward things.
Suppose that a group of Christians are together and having wonderful fellowship. They are all in the one flow of life. But then one Christian in conversation asks another, “To which church do you belong?” The other may reply that he is a Methodist, and the first may exclaim, stiffening a bit, that he is a Baptist. Most of us have had this kind of experience. When we fellowship together about Christ, there is a wonderful flow; but when we talk about the denominations, everyone’s face becomes long. Eventually, in the New Jerusalem, we will all be in the same flow, in the one street, and we will all partake of the same food. I hope that it will not be too late for some.
18) THE FELLOWSHIP OF LIFE
Our eighteenth point is that in this city there is real fellowship. This fellowship begins from the throne and reaches all the gates. It is in the flow (the river) of life, with the supply (the tree) of life, and the way (the street) of life (Rev. 22:1-2). However, this fellowship is not just among ourselves; it is also a fellowship between us and God. It is not only horizontal; it is also vertical. When we are in the flow of life, enjoying the supply of life and walking in the way of life, spontaneously we have fellowship one with another. We have proper and genuine fellowship with all the saints and with God on the throne. If you check your experiences, you will find this to be true. We will see more later concerning this flow, this fellowship.
19) THE KINGSHIP AND THE PRIESTHOOD
We have seen that the fellowship is in the flow of life. Now we must see that it is also related to the throne (Rev. 22:1). The throne represents authority, and the proper fellowship in life is always related to the authority of the throne. In other words, the authority is related to the kingship, and the fellowship is related to the priesthood. All the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem are both kings and priests. There must be these two aspects in God’s building. We need the kingship or the authority, and we also need the priesthood or the fellowship.
The Old Testament clearly illustrates this principle in every phase of God’s building. Moses represented the kingship in the building of the tabernacle, and Aaron, the high priest, represented the priesthood. All these had fellowship together. The tabernacle was built up by the authority and by the fellowship. King Solomon represented the authority in the building of the first temple, and the high priest was there, representing the priesthood, the fellowship. Following the seventy years of captivity, in the recovery of the building, there was Zerubbabel, the governor, and Joshua, the high priest. Chapter six of Zechariah portrays Christ as the builder of God’s temple. Upon His shoulders are the two offices of the kingship and the priesthood. As the king He possesses the authority, and as the priest He has the fellowship.
The building of the church is accomplished only by these two offices—the authority and the fellowship, the kingship and the priesthood. If the church is to be built, there must be authority and order. Each of us must subject ourselves to the Headship, the Lordship, the Kingship of Christ. This will deliver us from all kinds of confusion. Christianity today is full of confusion, but there can never be any confusion in the building of the church. Just a little confusion will tear down the building. Any building contractor will tell you that proper order must be maintained during construction. Confusion only damages the building process. In the church the authority of the headship must be exercised among all the members that we may have order without any confusion.
However, the kingship requires the balance of the priesthood. What is the priesthood? It is all of us ministering to the Lord together as priests. We must pray much together. I do not believe any church can be built up by ministry alone. We must pray together as priests, ministering to the Lord, having fellowship one with another. In this way we will experience the kingship and the priesthood. Vertically, there will be the order and authority, and horizontally, there will be the fellowship. In this way the church building will be realized. We need more fellowship under the headship; then we will have the order and the flow. Spontaneously, all the materials will be put together and the reality of the building will be realized and accomplished.
(The Vision of God's Building, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)