II. WORK WITH GOD TO CARRY OUT HIS DIVINE BUILDING IN THREE ASPECTS FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF GOD’S ETERNAL ECONOMY
First, as co-workers and elders, we must have the realization that we are working with God (1 Cor. 3:9). To work with God is not a small thing; it is a divine matter. What does it mean to work with God? To work with God is to carry out His divine building in three aspects—the church, the Body of Christ, and the New Jerusalem. This is God’s universal, divine building. All the works of God in the universe are being carried out with this as the center, the line, and the goal for the accomplishment of God’s eternal economy.
The goal of the economy of God, which is eternal, is His divine building. This divine building has three aspects: the first aspect is the church, which is easy to understand; the second aspect is the Body of Christ, which is very divine and mysterious and is therefore not easy to understand; and the third aspect is the New Jerusalem, which is even harder to understand. The Bible has been with us for two thousand years, but everyone has been puzzled concerning the New Jerusalem and no one has been able to explain it. Gerhard Tersteegen, a German brother, referred to the New Jerusalem but in an insufficient way. Brother T. Austin-Sparks referred to it more than Tersteegen did, but it was still difficult for people to comprehend.
However, in these seventy years among us in the Lord’s recovery, God has given us a thorough interpretation and analysis of the New Jerusalem. In our hymnal we have at least three hymns written in 1963 concerning the New Jerusalem. When you read them, you will notice that the contents are nearly the same as the present light, except that they are not as transparent as what we see today. I do not have to be humble or proud; I am just stating a fact. Concerning the New Jerusalem, all the items and aspects have become clear and have been unfolded before my eyes to such an extent that they are altogether transparent. What is the street of pure gold? What are the pearl gates? And what is the wall of precious stones? The Lord has shown us that these reveal that the basic elements of the city are simply the Triune God: God the Father is the base of pure gold, God the Son is the twelve gates of pearl, and God the Spirit is for the wall of precious stones. The New Jerusalem is built up with these three divine elements.
How is the city sustained? Our life is sustained by our eating and drinking. Eating and drinking are equally important to us. Sometimes we can live without eating for several days, but we cannot stay alive as long without drinking. Likewise, we have a divine drinking, that is, we have to drink the flowing God. Our God is forever new; He is also a flowing God, a God who is always flowing. The Father is the fountain, and when the fountain emerges, it becomes a spring, which is the Son. When the spring flows, it becomes a river, which is the Spirit. Hence, the Triune God is the flowing God with the Father as the fountain, the Son as the spring, and the Spirit as the river. The Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit as the fountain, the spring, and the river—gives us to drink of Him daily.
In a preceding chapter we said that in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body and were all given to drink one Spirit. The Lord Jesus also said, "But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall by no means thirst forever; but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water gushing up into eternal life" (John 4:14). This eternal life is the New Jerusalem. In the New Jerusalem there is not only the Triune God as our river of water of life, but there is also the tree of life in the river. The tree of life is the Lion-Lamb. Christ as the redeeming Lamb and the overcoming Lion has dealt with our sin and God’s enemy, Satan. This Lion-Lamb as our tree of life has fresh fruits to be our supply. In this way the New Jerusalem is sustained.
(How to Be a Co-worker and an Elder and How to Fulfill Their Obligations, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)