20) THE WALL IN GOD’S LIKENESS
Our twentieth point concerns the wall which surrounds the city. The wall’s appearance is jasper (Rev. 21:18), the same as the description of God’s appearance in Revelation 4:3. This means that the wall of the city expresses God’s likeness, God’s appearance.
21) THE SEPARATION AND PROTECTION OF THE WALL
The twenty-first point relates to the purpose of this wall. Its function is to separate that which is holy from that which is common, to separate that which belongs to God from that which does not belong to God. Such a separating wall is also a protection. The wall of any house is a separating factor, separating that which is within from that which is without, and such a separation protects all within the house. The wall of the holy city is a real separation: everything within this wall is holy, and everything without is common. This wall also affords full protection to all within the city.
God’s very appearance is the separating factor of this wall. The more a local church is in the likeness of God, the more it is separated from the world and everything common. How do we acquire God’s likeness? We can acquire God’s likeness only by God’s life. If the life of God flows within us, we will be in His very likeness, and His likeness will be the separating power of the church. Why is Christianity so similar to the worldly communities of today? Because there is practically nothing about most of those in Christianity in the appearance of God. Most Christians lack God’s likeness without because they lack the flow of His life within. Oh, God’s life must flow within us that we may bear His likeness without! This will cause the church to be separated from the common and worldly things, and at the same time this will protect us from so many injurious influences.
22) THE BUILDING OF THE WALL
Next, this separating wall, as the protection to the city, needs to be built up. This does not happen overnight, for this wall is built of precious stones. The real building of the church is in this matter of separation. The city, which is all of gold, signifies the divine nature, and this nature does not involve much building. All the gates of the city are pearls, which do indicate some amount of building. The wall, however, is the main part of the building of the city. As we have seen, this wall as the separating and protecting factor, is in the likeness of God. It is one hundred forty-four cubits high, that is, twelve times twelve, which signifies completion in completion. The wall is indeed high. Some people accuse us of having such a high wall and giving the appearance of being sectarian; yet we must have such a high wall. Most of the time our wall is not high enough. We must have a wall one hundred and forty-four cubits high to keep out everything common, and this wall must be built with precious stones.
It is quite easy to find mud to produce clay bricks, but it is extremely difficult to find precious stones. We may easily produce a large quantity of clay bricks overnight, but in one month’s time we can hardly acquire one piece of precious stone. Precious stones require much transformation work. It is easy to build a clay structure, but the work of transformation is exceedingly slow. We must be transformed into the likeness of God. Remember, God is in the appearance of jasper. Today, we are pieces of clay; hence, we must be transformed into pieces of jasper and then built up to a height of one hundred forty-four cubits.
23) THE MEASUREMENT OF THE WALL
The twenty-third point is that the measurement of the wall is “according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel” (Rev. 21:17). This signifies that it is in the situation of man being like an angel. Luke 20:35-36 reveals that it is in resurrection that man will be the same as the angels. Therefore, the building of the wall is in resurrection. It is not of the natural life.
In summary, we have seen several features of the wall: a) It has the appearance and likeness of God, b) it is a separating factor, c) it affords protection, d) it is built exceedingly high, e) its stones are material which has been transformed, and f) it is something in resurrection. Oh, this city is so rich in all points! It reveals all the aspects of the building of the church. There is no other portion in the Scriptures which is so rich concerning the church life.
(The Vision of God's Building, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)