My mind turns to the words that are contained in the first two verses of the 21st chapter of Revelation: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” The earth as such is not going to pass away, but the earth as man has made it to be, the old earth, carrying the scars, the pattern of suffering and misery, of chaos and turmoil, must pass away. But first we note that the new heaven is necessary and that the first heaven has passed away, in relationship to the fulfilment of these words. This heaven, individually speaking, is that which must be changed in us before we can be changed, and before we can do our part toward changing the earth into the new-earth state. I think that most people, reading or hearing these words, fail to recognize the vital significance they contain for us in these days: “And I saw a new heaven.”
When I looked at you for the first time, or when we gathered together as a group for the first time, I saw for you a new heaven. I was not so much concerned about changing the earth of your bodies, changing the circumstances of your earth, your affairs, as I was concerned about changing your heaven, that your former heaven might pass away and that you might have a new heaven. And this must work out individually for each and every one of us before it can manifest collectively and have meaning in the world.
In the whole world there is a movement away from the old toward the new. But there is another movement in the world—not just away from the old to the new, by those who know not where to turn, seeking they know not what—but a movement at work in the old, that it may pass away. Millions of people feel, without understanding, the decay and the uncertainty in the old world pattern, and there is movement away from it. But there is also a movement to try to maintain that which is dying, that which is passing away.
We know that this old world, the old heaven and the old world, must pass away. But concurrently with that passing away there must be the emergence of the new heaven and the new earth—the new world. In the world pattern this that seeks to maintain the old order has become desperate. It manifests in various ways. And one of the outstanding ways in which it has been made manifest is in man's desperate effort to try to find some way—without God, disregarding God and even denying God—by which he may perpetuate his pattern of existence on earth.
Water is the symbol of truth. Here we read, "And there was no more sea," which is to say, there was no more contamination of the water of truth which would cause man to die. The heat of the sun, the fire of the sun—symbolizing God's love, an essential thing—without the compensating factors of the pure water of truth will bring destruction. The pollution of the waters. “And there was no more sea”—that the water might no longer be so contaminated that it would not bring about a balance in the pattern of the working of love and truth on earth in the expression of life.
We see individuals banding together in desperation and fear today, working together, when in actual fact there is hate, there is animosity, there is a lack of trust. And we listen to the voices in the world and we hear the voices of the Tower of Babel, and they are scattered. And there is dread, there is terror, there is darkness in the world. These things we recognize and acknowledge. But what do we do about it, and what can we do about it? The peoples of the earth are scattered. The old heaven and the old earth must pass away—the old earth pattern, the old heaven pattern of your own being. If you refuse to let your old heaven and your old earth pass away, how can you expect the world to let it be so? If you refuse to receive your new heaven and your new earth, how can you expect the world to do so?
This new heaven—“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” “Behold, I create all things new”—it begins with the heaven and comes into the earth. “And I John saw the holy city coming down from God out of heaven.” The holy city. A city is an abiding place, a place of living. And where does it come from? Down from God out of heaven. And when it has come on earth, does it cease to be heaven? Does it cease to be a revelation of heaven, a place of heaven? If it did it would cease to be the holy city, the holy abiding place. And an abiding place is the place where we live. The centering of our thoughts, the centering of our feelings, our hearts, is really in the place where we live—Home.
In the world pattern human beings are turning aside from the idea that the old earth can provide a home. We see that the coming of the holy city, down from heaven, down from God out of heaven, brings heaven into the earth, and there is a new heaven and a new earth, “wherein dwelleth righteousness.” If this truth can penetrate heart and mind with sufficient force so that we never forget it, so that we do not turn aside from our purpose here, we can begin to see what we can do to share in something that gives hope, valid hope, meaningful hope, trustworthy hope, to the children of men.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” You cannot have the new earth until you have the new heaven. And I have seen for you a new heaven, a vision if you please—not just a dream of the night but a vision of the day, something to be fulfilled, attained, accomplished, a goal that is worthy of our best endeavor. A new heaven. And out of this new heaven comes a holy city from God's own hands into the earth, a holy city to provide for us an abiding place, a living place, a Home on Earth. Is there anything that can stir the heart more deeply, more surely, than this?—the fulfilment of God's plan for man, by which man may no more be a creature of the darkness of the world. And how shall this heaven appear? How shall we see it? Can you? Do you share the vision of a new heaven? It is more important immediately than attempting to figure out what the new earth would be like. There needs to be a place of heaven. And this little valley here affords us an opportunity to let that new heaven be a reality on earth, that we may begin to receive the holy city from the hands of God, right here where we are. If we acknowledge the new heaven, we will acknowledge the God of that heaven, and we will begin to worship the God of that heaven, and in our serving we will begin to do those things which will let the Temples of the Living God take form on earth—the Temples of the Living God.
Blessed ones, anything that comes from God's hands, out of the invisible realm into the realm of form as we know it, is supposed to be something which we are to receive to be used in the building of the holy city. Must we imagine that the holy city comes down from God out of heaven completely built, completely made, all of its parts in place—something to settle on the face of the earth out of the sky and be ready-made, ready for you to start walking down the golden streets? I think not.
That which is to come down from God out of heaven, the holy city, is to come down and take form in its parts. It is to take form here on earth. And certain parts of that holy city are to come down from God out of heaven into the earth through you, each one of you, and all of us together. We cannot hope, just the few of us that are here, or even the few who are working consciously with us on the face of the earth today—we cannot hope to bring all the parts of the holy city together and assemble them on earth, but we can do our part. We can begin the work. We will need the help of many, many more. But we are supposed to be here for that very purpose, that the holy city may begin to truly come down from God out of heaven into view. And that holy city is so large and contains so many buildings, so many temples and palaces, so many beautiful and wonderful things, that before it is complete every responding person on earth, every man, woman and child who will share in the works, will have been the instrument by which some part of it has come down from God out of heaven into the earth, so that it could be given form.
We have noted in times past that your physical body in itself has no choice but to receive, to accept, that which is imposed upon it. You can see how that is true with respect to your physical body, for the state of your spirit and mind and heart, whatever your spirit may be, is made manifest in the body, because the body conforms in the physical substance to that which is imposed upon it out of the vibrational realms of mind and heart. Now if this is true with you, and with all others, it is likewise true of the earth as a whole. The physical substance of this earth has no choice but to receive that which is imposed upon it. And what is it that is being imposed out in the world? We have no need to describe it. You know well enough. The earth has no choice but to accept and receive that which is imposed upon it, for the substance of the earth conforms to that which is imposed upon it. It conforms.
Now this holy city, the new Jerusalem—the new spiritual consciousness—yes, the substance and the form of it—comes down out of heaven from the hand of God through you. We must begin to let ourselves be changed before we can be worthy workmen in the building of the holy city. We must let the things of God be imposed upon our bodies. And how shall the things of God reach our bodies? Through our minds and through our hearts. And if we do not let that which is of God reach our bodies through mind and heart, how can we hope to let the things of God reach the substance of the earth, that the holy city may take form?
I would that somehow I might find words, in the current of the spirit, to impress deeply upon your hearts and minds tonight the fundamental fact that until this becomes the most important thing in life to us we are going to be devoting our time and attention, our abilities and capacities, to the building of that which is not of the holy city. Ugly things will take form, destructive things, and there is enough of that in the world. We must be delivered from the old heaven to the new while we live here on earth, and then we must stay true to the new heaven long enough for the new earth to appear, for the creative pattern to be worked out. Human impatience spoils so much. The new heaven begins to take form for the individual, he begins to be aware of its coming from the hand of God, and then, because it does not instantaneously appear in full form on earth, he rebels and becomes impatient and dissipates the new heaven and re-establishes the old, spoiling the new.
The new heaven must take form in your life as a specific creation in which you share with God the responsibility of creation. But until the new heaven is there in actual fact, and you have shared with God the responsibility of His creation, you cannot possibly begin to share with God the creating of your new earth. It cannot be done. Man has tried every sort of method to try to get around this necessity. He has tried to take a shortcut of some kind. He was going to ignore his responsibility in creating the new heaven, and by his own effort, if God would not work with him, he was going to create a new earth according to his own fancy. And it has failed, over and over again. Human beings are in such a hurry. They are so impatient. If it does not appear overnight they violate centering, turn their capacities to the uses of ill vibrational factors, and bring forth hell once more.
Blessed ones, why should we forget so easily, so readily, our task?
How is it that human beings become impatient so quickly? Instead of being true to the new heaven when it begins to appear, attention is turned to something one does not like in the old earth, before it has disappeared, and lo and behold, the new heaven becomes an old heaven. But what did we find in our previous meditations? The old dragon, the serpent, the devil, was cast out of heaven. The self-active expression of man cannot get into heaven, and the moment the consciousness of man or woman becomes self-active, even though it has been received into heaven, in that moment it is cast out of heaven and it is in hell. It is an instantaneous thing, for the self-active mind and heart cannot remain in heaven. The heaven simply dissipates, and it must be built or created anew.
When we begin to feel and know that heaven, when we touch it in some hour of our togetherness, why should we so quickly forget it and start reacting to the old things in the old world that have not yet passed away? If that new heaven really means something to us we are not going to forget it; we are not going to forget the God of that heaven. We are going to so function that we can be workers to receive from the hand of God out of heaven the material by which the holy city may be given form right here on earth. But the substance out of which that holy city must be formed is already right here on earth. The physical substance of that holy city is not going to come drifting down out of the sky. It is right here now. This substance of the earth must be caused to conform to that new heaven. Blessed ones, the substance of the earth has no choice but to conform to that which is imposed upon it. It will not resist forming to the patterns of heaven. It may resist forming to the patterns of hell, but it has no choice if you insist.
If we let the old heaven pass away, the old concepts of heaven, the old limitations, so that we begin to see and know a new heaven, we begin to be in position to share with God the work of creating on earth the manifestation of the holy city. And you have a part to play. It is for you to share that creative work with God. And before this holy city can be complete, all those who dwell on earth who respond and yield, now and in the days to come, must play their parts. We cannot build it alone. “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” So the Lord must build it, and we must build it; we must share the building with God. And if we do, there will be something coming from the creative hand of God out of heaven to us, and we will give it form. And we will be true to the heaven, regardless of what is yet manifest on earth, regardless of the things on earth that must still pass away, regardless of the things that we may say we do not like on earth. But if we react on earth to the things we do not like on earth we become subject on earth to the things we do not like, and in that moment we are no longer subject to God, no longer sharing with God the work of building, creating the holy city, letting it come down from God out of heaven into the earth.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Now how is this city prepared? As a bride adorned for her husband. God is the husband, the Father, our King, however we might say it. You did not create your own body, but you have adorned your body with whatever adornments it has, its clothing.
In the beginning man was instructed to dress the garden planted eastward in Eden—to dress it, give it form, and to keep it. He was to give it form, give it its pattern of appearance. The holy city is “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”—the bride's clothing, the pattern of her appearance. The appearance of her body was by reason of her clothing. So it is with the holy city that comes down from God out of heaven. That holy city is prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. God provides the form of the bride, but the substance of the appearance, the dressing, the form, must be provided here; for the holy city will remain invisible until we give it the clothing of its appearance.
“I saw the holy city coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” That means that the outer manifestation of its form must appear by reason of what we do on earth, and that appearance must precede the wedding. It does not come afterwards. It comes first, before the union of heaven and earth, before heaven and earth become one in actual fact, in relationship to the patterns of being. We are responsible for giving the dressing, the outer appearance of the form, to that which God provides—exactly the same as a bride adorned for her husband. Blessed ones, once we begin to see that, and know it and remember it, we will not do those things which keep the bride, the holy city, hidden from view in her secret chambers. We will do those things that provide the clothing, the adornment, the outer means of manifestation and appearance, so that the bride may come forth from her secret chambers; the bride, the holy city, may come forth from this invisible place and be given form, that it may appear to the children of men, that it may be seen—not in its nakedness, but in its adornment—the holy city, new Jerusalem, the manifestation of heaven on earth. And it takes our sharing with God in creative work.
But when we begin to touch the spirit of heaven, the coming of the wedding, so to speak, the beginning cycles of the union of heaven and earth, we must not violate those sacred things by reacting to what we do not like that remains as yet on earth; because this which is on earth cannot be given a different form and appearance until something is received out of heaven from the hand of God to change that appearance, to change that form, in the building of the temple of the living God, the holy city.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Here we see the portrayal of exactly the same principles that we have seen at work, as recorded in the Book of Genesis, in relationship to the creation of the earth in the beginning. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” The light of understanding, the light of illumination, so that we may now, in this day and time, do our part in the recreative work by which the holy city may be given form on earth.
So let us not forget our calling. Let us not use our capacities for building chaos or increasing difficulty, or rebellion or fighting against God in any way, shape or form; but let us be true to our calling, in the name of our King, that we may now, and in the days to come, do our part toward dressing and keeping the holy city. For as it comes down from God out of heaven, as it comes from the garden that God planted eastward in Eden—both the same thing—we must dress it and keep it; we must give it form and adornment, that it may appear and have meaning on earth. And the holy city will remain in its secret chambers, in the invisible realm, until we provide the clothing of its appearance, the adornment of its manifestation—it will not come forth otherwise. And each has a part to play in giving form to something of that holy city. We cannot do it all, but we can do our part, that others may share, until the task is done. And when the holy city is prepared, adorned, made manifest, then we can receive our Lord and King into that holy city, and the marriage, the union of heaven and earth, shall be reestablished in the absolute sense, according to the divine design. Then we shall have accomplished that to which we are called in the holy name of our King.