Genesis 2, 1 Corinthians 3 and Revelation 21-22—Enjoying God to Build with Precious Materials

In my previous post I  addressed the mistaken concept among many people that the eternal destiny of the people of God is to go to a physical heavenly mansion. Such a misconception results in a serious misaiming in our living today.

In this post, I will focus on three passages—Genesis 2, 1 Corinthians 3 and Revelation 21-22, that reveal the crucial importance of enjoying God today to become the precious materials with which to build the church, consummating in the New Jerusalem.

Genesis 2—the Flow of the River Issuing in Precious Materials

Genesis 2:10-12 And a river went forth from Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided and became four branches. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that goes around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there.

In Genesis two we can see that issue of the flow of the river from the garden were three kinds of precious materials—gold, bdellium (a kind of resinous pearl) and onyx stone (a kind of precious stone). Such a type is for our experience today. The river from Eden signifies the river of water of life (Rev. 22:1; John 7:37-39). It is by enjoying this river as our spiritual drink today( 1 Cor. 10:4; 12:13), that we can be transformed into precious materials for the building of God. May we remain in this flow so that the Lord as the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18) can transform us continually from one degree of glory to another.

Genesis 2 is the stage of the raw materials for the building of God. Gold, pearl and precious stones are related to the three of the Triune God. Gold signifies God the Father with His divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). Bdellium, a pearl-like resin, signifies God the Son in His redeeming and life-releasing death (John 19:34) and His life-dispensing resurrection (John 12:24). Onyx stone, a kind of precious stone, signifies God the Spirit with His transforming work (2 Cor. 3:18). The building materials for God’s house are nothing less than the Triune God experienced and enjoyed by us. Continue reading

Heaven or the New Jerusalem—Is there a Difference?

“And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev. 21:2)

 Fundamentally Different, Not Just a Matter of Semantics

Many people unintentionally, mistake the New Jerusalem for heaven. When I was a child, I remember singing a song that says:

“I’ve got a mansion just over the hill top
 in that bright land where we’ll never grow old
and some day yonder, we’ll never more wander,
but walk those streets that are paved with gold.”

 I may have gotten a few words wrong, but the gist of the song is pretty clear.  That is, that we’re going to heaven—“to that bright land where we’ll never grow old” and “walk those streets that are paved with gold.” However, in aspiring to heaven,  the writer was, in referring to golden streets,  addressing an attribute of the holy city, New Jerusalem.

In the many years since my childhood days of singing that song, I’ve never once read in the Bible where it says that heaven has golden streets. However,  Revelation  21:21, in speaking of the New Jerusalem, does say “the  street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” You can see from this illustration, the thought of heaven having golden streets,  is just one example of the confusion of heaven and the New Jerusalem.

Well, someone may say, “Aren’t they one and the same—heaven and the New Jerusalem? I say heaven. You say New Jerusalem. It’s all about the same.” However, the opening verse I referenced points to a distinction. In Revelation 21:2 it says that the holy city, New Jerusalem is coming down out of heaven. This verse directly indicates a difference, for the New Jerusalem to come down out of heaven indicates that the two expressions are not synonymous.

Then what is the distinction?

Heaven, God’s dwelling (1 Kings 8:50), the place of His throne (Isa. 66:1), and the place where Christ ascended physically after His resurrection (Acts 1:9-11)  is no doubt a physical place. However, the New Jerusalem is not a physical place “to which we go” but the greatest sign in the entire Bible (see Rev. 1:1) signifying, God’s spiritual, eternal building of divinity and humanity.  It is the eternal, consummation of all God’s work in humanity throughout the ages, a mingling of God and man to be the mutual dwelling place for both God and all His redeemed people for eternity. Continue reading