Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall cover two very crucial aspects of New Jerusalem—its gates and its street. Undoubtedly, the city proper, the wall, and the foundations are very important. However, if the New Jerusalem had no gates, there would be no way to enter into it. In that case, this city would not be at all practical; it would be good only for exhibition. But because the New Jerusalem has twelve gates, it is very practical.
Some ministries are good. However, because these ministries have no gates and no streets, there is no way to actually enter into what they have to offer. The special character of Brother Nee’s ministry is that whenever he ministered a particular matter, he always gave you a clear view of the way to enter into it. Many talk about Romans chapters five, six, seven, and eight. But no matter how much they talk about these chapters, they do not give you the way to get into them. Brother Nee’s book, The Normal Christian Life, on the contrary, shows us the gates and a definite way to practice what this book describes. The more you read this book, the more you can see the gates it provides for you. Although I appreciated certain other ministries in the past, I eventually discovered that there was no way to enter into what was being presented. The ones who had those ministries could show me a beautiful building in the air that I could admire, but they provided no practical way for me to enter into it. The ministry in the Lord’s recovery today continues the principle of Brother Nee’s ministry. Everything we minister is presented in a practical way. Hence, you have a way to enter into what the ministry provides you. Likewise, New Jerusalem is practical. Its practicality is seen in its gates and in its street. No matter from what direction you approach this city, you have a way to enter into it.
This matter of practicality has caused me to lose a number of good, intimate friends in the Lord. Once I was invited to England to stay with a brother who had an outstanding ministry. While I was there, this brother and I had a number of long conversations lasting two to three hours each. All our conversations concerned the practicality of the Body of Christ. We both had seen the Body, God’s present testimony, and the principle of resurrection life. I could echo what this brother had seen, and he could echo what I had seen, especially regarding the Lord’s Body. However, there was a difference between us. Through the help of Brother Nee, I had seen the practicality of the Body and was burdened to take care of this. But those related to this ministry in England did not care for the practical aspect. Eventually, through our lengthy conversations, I learned that this brother had only the view of the Body, but no practical way to experience it. He neither saw this practicality nor was willing to see it. I made it clear to him that we wanted not only the vision of the Body, but also the practicality of the Body. In my concern for the practicality of the church, I have published the book entitled, The Practical Expression of the Church. Although I have lost some dear friends over the matter of the practicality of the church, the way is still the way. During the more than eighteen years since my visit with this brother in England, the Lord has vindicated the practicality of the church.
Let us now devote our attention to the gates of New Jerusalem. The significance of the gates is not less profound than that of the foundations. It is crucial to grasp the significance of these twelve gates.
Revelation 21:13 reveals that in New Jerusalem there are three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south, and three on the west. Thus, the city lies square (v. 16), with three gates on each of its four sides. The east side at the front, toward the glory of the sunrising, ranks first; the north side at the top ranks second; the south side at the bottom ranks third; and the west side at the rear ranks fourth. The gates on the four sides are toward the four directions of the earth, signifying the availability of the entrance of the holy city to all the peoples on earth. (Compare with the four heads of the river in Genesis 2:10-14.)
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