GOD’S ULTIMATE INTENTION FULFILLED BY THE ENJOYMENT OF THE TRIUNE GOD AS THE TREE OF LIFE
The precious materials at the flow of the river in Genesis 2 are for God’s building. At the end of the divine revelation there are the tree of life, the river of water of life, and the precious materials built up as a holy city, the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1-2; 21:18-21). This city is the counterpart of Christ and the dwelling place of God for God to rest in. As the counterpart of Christ, the holy city satisfies Christ, and as the dwelling place of God, the holy city satisfies God.
The beginning of the Scriptures shows us the tree of life with a flowing river issuing in precious materials. At the end of the Scriptures there is a universal city built up with these precious materials with the tree of life growing in it and the river of life flowing in it. This shows that God’s eternal purpose, His ultimate intention, is to have a divine building built by the tree of life with the flow of the river of water of life to produce the precious materials. According to God’s ultimate and eternal intention we have to be transformed and built up. Transformation is for God’s building. How spiritual we are depends on how much we have been transformed and how much we have been built up.
The book of Romans provides a sketch of the Christian life. This book begins with justification by faith (3:21—5:11) and continues with sanctification (5:12—8:13), transformation (12:1—15:13), conformation, and glorification (8:14-39) for the Body life (12:1-21). Through the Lord’s redemption we are justified and brought back to Him. Now a transforming work is going on within us in the spirit. We have to be sanctified, transformed, and conformed to the image of the Son of God. This is all for the Body of Christ, which is the building. Justification is for sanctification, sanctification is for transformation, and transformation is for God’s building. We are transformed and thus conformed into the very image of Christ that we may be materials good for God’s building.
God’s building is the expression of God Himself. The New Jerusalem has the appearance of jasper (Rev. 21:11), and jasper is also the appearance of God (4:3). The city’s wall and the first foundation of the city are built with jasper (21:18-19). This means that with the New Jerusalem there is the image of God. Furthermore, within the holy city is the throne of God and of the Lamb (22:1), which means that God’s authority is exercised there. Thus, God’s purpose and intention are fulfilled by the enjoyment of the Triune God as the tree of life.
I hope that we can bring this fellowship to the Lord in prayer so that this truth will be so living within us. Our need is to take Christ as our food, drink, air, and abode. Our need is to enjoy Him so that we may be transformed day by day and be built up together with others. Then God’s image will be expressed among us and through us, and His authority will be exercised among us over the enemy. Thus, God’s intention will be fulfilled.
(Excerpt from The Tree of Life, ch. 14)