Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

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 2:10-12 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.

1 Corinthians 3—Building the Church with Precious Materials

“…you are God’s cultivated land, God’s building.” (1 Cor. 3:9)

In 1 Corinthians 3 we proceed from the stage of the materials to the stage of building, for in v. 10 Paul said “let each man take heed how he builds…” It is interesting to see that before mentioning building, Paul spoke of giving the Corinthian believers milk to drink (v. 2) and of planting and watering, all matters necessary for growth (vv. 6-8). Again we can see that God’s building issues from the enjoyment of God as our life. After drinking the spiritual milk and growing by watering, we are able to build with precious materials, the very God whom we have experienced and enjoyed. On the one hand, we are God’s building (v. 9), and on the other hand we are the builders (vv. 10, 12).

“But if anyone builds upon the foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, stubble.” (1 Cor. 3:12)

As believers in Christ, we are all building today—either with the proper materials that will endure or with the improper materials that will be consumed in the day of Christ. The precious materials—gold, silver and precious stones are all the issue of our enjoying God as life, growing in the divine life, and being transformed in life. By considering the context, it is very clear that we can only build God’s house, the church (1 Tim. 3:15) with what we are. We either build the church with the elements of the Triune God, with which we are being constituted, or we build it with the elements of our natural life—wood, grass, and stubble. Wood, the nature of our natural man, grass, the fallen man of the flesh (1 Pet. 1:24) and stubble, the work that issues from the earthen source, are all combustible and will not stand the test of God’s trying fire (1 Cor. 3:13-15).

May we all be sobered by Paul’s word in 1 Corinthians 3,  not to ruin, destroy or mar the building of God with the knowledge, realizations and attainments of our natural background. We should rather give ourselves to be constituted with the element of the Triune God, the experiences of Christ, and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 21-22—A Glorious City Built Up with Precious Materials

Rev. 21:10 “And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal. 18 And the building work of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of city were adorned with every precious stone…21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls…”

When we arrive at the end of the Bible, we can see the New Jerusalem as the eternal building of God with humanity. The city and its street are of pure gold (Rev. 21:18, 21). Its twelve gates are of twelve pearls (v. 21) and its walls and twelve foundations are of twelve precious stones (v. 14, 18-20). Here the precious materials are forever built into the glorious expression of God (v.11). In the midst of this built up city is the river of water of life (22:1) ever flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb as the eternal supply to satisfy the thirst of God’s redeemed people.

How to Become the Precious Materials for the New Jerusalem Today

To have a the vision of the eternal building of God is the beginning. Having received such a vision, we need to go on to become this miraculous structure of treasure by daily partaking of God the Father’s divine nature to become ” golden.” We should daily enjoy God the Son’s life-secreting work to become “pearls.” And we should daily enjoy God the Spirit’s transforming work to become “precious stones.” It is in this way that we can be transformed  for God’s building, consummating in the New Jerusalem.

The New Jerusalem, as the ultimate sign of the consummation of God’s work of building Himself into man, stands before us as the goal of what our living and work should be today. May all our living and work issue in this miraculous structure of treasure. May every day be one of experiencing and enjoying the Triune God to become the New Jerusalem and ministering the very God whom we have enjoyed to build up the New Jerusalem.

It is my earnest desire and goal that  I would daily live Christ to become the New Jerusalem and minister Christ to build the New Jerusalem until I meet the Lord in His glorious return. I hope you would join me in this most noble pursuit.

As a word of acknowledgement and recommendation, I am unashamed to say that my understanding of the spiritual significance of the precious materials came from the footnotes in the Holy Bible, Recovery Version as well a number of helpful books.  The most extensive coverage of  the subject of the precious materials, to which this post cannot do justice, is found in Chapters 29-34 of  God’s New Testament Economy by Witness Lee, available on-line at www.ministrybooks.org. 

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

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