THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
#03-09190
New Jerusalem #29.
Abundant Divine Life
December 28, 2009
The city was pure gold, like pure glass. (Revelation 21:18 LITV)
(1) And he shows me a river of water of life, resplendent as crystal, issuing out of the
throne of God and the Lambkin. (2) On each side of the river are trees [the tree of life]
that grow a different kind of fruit each month of the year. The fruit gives life, and the
leaves are used as medicine to heal the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2 CEV [NASB])
It only seems right that, as we come to the conclusion of John’s vision of New Jerusalem, the key word
to describe this glorious city is life . The city itself is life, and it extends life to and influences all that it
touches. But the question is: What kind of life exudes from the city, and whence does it come?
It is the divine life, the very life of God and of His Son, and it comes from the very throne of God and the
Lambkin.
In relation to judgment, Daniel saw a river of fire flowing forth from the throne (Daniel 7:10), and John
saw the river form into a lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15). But in John’s final vision of New Jerusalem,
there is no longer a river of fire but rather a river of water of life. Judgment according to the law is no
longer in view, for the law is written on the heart of New Jerusalem, and there is no more need for
judgment; all is done according to the perfect will of God.
When God’s perfect government goes forth as depicted by His throne, it brings life to all that it touches,
which means that the new earth and, by extension, the new heaven will be filled with the very life of God
or, if you will, with divine life. All will come to know the mind, the will, and the love of God, for this
speaks of divine life.
I have not mentioned it in previous issues, but the city is made of pure transparent gold, like clear glass.
In other words, this gold is so refined that you can see through it. In the physical realm, most gold has
some impurities in it and is seldom transparent. For it to become transparent, it must be worked into
extremely thin sheets; only then will light shine through it. But God’s city is depicted as huge, and it is
transparent; nothing is hidden. The entire city shines forth as gold, and absolutely everything about the
city speaks of transparency. The transparent gold speaks of divine life just as the river of water of life
does. However, the gold speaks of the very character and essence of this life, which is love. God is love
(1 John 4:8, 16) is the gold of God . The whole city is the love of God. True love is always transparent
and never fails (1 Corinthians 13). Think about!
Consider the streets of gold; streets signify fellowship and commerce. People travel and meet one
another on streets, and they conduct business on streets. New Jerusalem is the perfection of commerce
and fellowship because the very life and essence of the city is divine life and love. It is a pure and
transparent relationship between God and His sons, as well as between and among all the sons of God,
and all that is outside the city experiences this same transparency when in contact with it.
Returning to the water; today, the water that we drink is often filled with impurities, but not so with the
water of God. It is pure; it is refreshing; it is fulfilling; it is life itself. It too is transparent, for it is crystal
clear. The end of the Revelation calls out for all who are thirsty to come and take of the water of life
without cost, just as Jesus cried out on the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles (John 7:38).
But what is this water? It is the life of the spirit of God, for it is the spirit that gives life , and the
words that Jesus spoke are spirit and life (John 6:63). Let us not forget that in Christ all will be
made alive and that the last Adam became a life-giving spirit (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45).
God is spirit (John 4:24) and, to commune with God, that is, have fellowship with Him, we need to be
in spirit. Also, let us not forget that New Jerusalem is a holy temple in the Lord, the dwelling of God in
spirit. So, the river of water of life speaks of the spirit of God that gives life. Need we be reminded that
those who are in Christ are a temple of the Holy Spirit, and when they are transfigured, they will occupy
immortal, glorified, spiritual bodies in the image of the Son of God?
But there is more, for John saw the tree of life on each side of the river. The Concordant Version
translates the tree of life as trees, which makes sense, since there must be more than one tree for it to be
on each side of the river. There was one tree of life in the Garden of Eden, but here there are twelve
trees lining the river of water of life. The spirit of God flows from the throne as signified by the water of
life and feeds the trees with the divine life.
Of course, we must understand this by combining spiritual thoughts [pictures] with spiritual words
[understanding, truth] (1 Corinthians 3:13). The Son of God is the tree of life, but how we are to
interpret more than one tree. We could say that it is one tree, for there is only one divine life; however,
this life is expressed by 12 trees that speak of the abundant life of Christ (John 10:10) and perfect
communion with God. It is one tree, yet it is expressed in 12 ways as depicted by the 12 kinds of fruit
given forth by the trees. This means that this life never ceases; it is immortal and eternal .
Again, there is more, for in Scripture, the word tree can signify a nation (Judges 9:8-15), which refers to
a community of people under one government. As such, the tree(s) of life signifies the nation that
sustains the life of all other nations on the new earth. If you recall, Jesus told the Jews―the bad figs or
the Judahites, according to the flesh, who rejected Him as Messiah and the King of Judah―that the
kingdom of God was being taken away from them and given to a nation [ethnos] producing the fruit of
it (Matthew 21:43). This nation is New Jerusalem, the tree that produces kingdom fruit. It is the nation
of abundant life manifested in and through the immortal sons of God.
As presented in issue #28 of this series, the throne of the Lambkin speaks of the rule of God’s Son along
with all the sons of God; they are the Christ and the Lambkin, just as Christ is both Head and Body.
We could say that the nation or people of life will be the fruit that sustains life, and its leaves will be
medicine to the nations. There are twelve kinds of fruit, for New Jerusalem is made up of twelve tribes
of the sons of Israel (Revelation 21:12), which, as we have seen, also speaks of the perfection of
government. I believe that every nation on earth will be governed by one of the tribes.
It is interesting that the first mention of leaves in Scripture is the fig leaves that Adam and Eve used to
cover their naked bodies after Adam’s one transgression (Genesis 3:7). In Hebrew, the word for leaf is
aleh , which comes from the root word alah , which has many meanings, one of which is “to ascend or
arise.”
Since the tree of life first appears in Genesis, perhaps, we can apply this same meaning to the tree(s) of
life in Revelation. If so, then the leaves speak of the ascended life of the nation or New Jerusalem. It is
the ascended life of Christ in an immortal people called New Jerusalem that will bring healing to the
nations, those that are outside. The healing comes through New Jerusalem, that is, the complement of
Christ. They have ascended to the throne, and, in their ascendancy, they will bring life and healing to
all.
Finally, the fruit and leaves of the trees could be seen as divine influence. Life influences that which it
touches. If we see that New Jerusalem signifies a people, that is, the sons of God conformed to the
image of Christ, the Son of God, we must see that these partakers of the divine life influence all that
come in contact with them.
This is the spiritual picture we need to see in the conclusion of John’s Patmos vision. It is summed up
with three words: ABUNDANT DIVINE LIFE !
The Upward Call: #03-0190
by: Stuart H. Pouliot