The Divine-Human Romance thru the Bible

A recent post presented a song, “The Bible is a romance…God and His chosen people. God in Christ is the Bridegroom, His saints, the Bride, portrayed.”
The first portrait of this romance is Adam and Eve; the reality and consummation is
the bride, the wife of the Lamb…the holy city, Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:9-10).

New Jerusalem

Here are all the posts in this series on the divine-human romance, consummating in New Jerusalem, presented in the order of the books of the Bible:

Adam and Eve (Genesis 2) are a picture of Christ and the church in Ephesians 5.

The Triune God’s seeking a bride is portrayed by Abraham’s servant sent to obtain a bride for Isaac. (Genesis 24)

God wooed His people Israel and desired that they love Him. (Exodus) Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “You shall love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Boaz redeemed and married Ruth as a picture of the divine-human marriage. (Ruth)

Ruth’s seeking played a great role in her marriage to Boaz. May we be those who “follow the Lamb wherever He may go.” (Revelation 14:4)

The Lord is our Husband and Redeemer in Isaiah 54. He redeemed His people so that He could marry them.

He loves us with eternal love, draws us with His lovingkindness, and writes His new covenant in our hearts. (Jeremiah 31)

This marriage is of God, rooted in His righteousness, lovingkindness, compassions, and faithfulness. (Hosea)

The Lord Jesus is the Bridegroom—this is His word in the gospels. To prepare us to be His bride, we need Him as our new garment to be our righteousness and as our new wine to enliven us.

The Spirit fills us to burn brightly as we go to meet the Bridegroom. (Matthew 25)

We cooperate with the Spirit’s filling to be burning as we go forth. (Matthew 25)

We have been betrothed to our Husband, Christ. May we be kept single and pure for Him! (2 Corinthians 11)

Husband and wife in Ephesians 5:22-33 are strongly tied to the eternal Husband and wife. Verse 32: “This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.”

Let us rejoice and exult…for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife, New Jerusalem, has made herself ready. (Revelation 19)

The Lamb’s wife made herself ready by receiving Him as our eternal righteousness and by living Him as our daily righteousness. (Revelation 19)

The holy city, New Jerusalem…a bride adorned for her husband. The eternal Husband is the Lamb, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. (Revelation 21)

The Spirit and the bride in oneness say, Come! in response to the Lord’s statement, I come quickly. (Revelation 22)

The Bible shows the love story of a universal couple. God loved us, sent His Son for propitiation, poured His love into our hearts, and caused us to love Him.

We respond to the Lord’s attraction. A song declares, “Jesus Lord, I’m captured by Your beauty…all my heart to You I open wide.”

Our Husband is loving and faithful. His word reveals much about this divine-human romance culminating in New Jerusalem. The progress of this romance depends on our response to Him. Lord Jesus, reveal Yourself and reveal this romance to me more every day. Lord, draw me to love You with my whole heart.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Gaining a Bride for Christ, An OT Picture

New JerusalemAdam and Eve are a picture of the Jesus Christ, the Lamb, and New Jerusalem “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:9-10). So are Boaz and Ruth. Another picture is Isaac and Rebekah.

In Genesis 24 Abraham sent his oldest servant to get a wife for Isaac (v. 1-9). The servant made the journey and had a long interaction with Rebekah’s family (v. 10-56). When asked, Rebekah gave a firm answer about going to Isaac (v. 57-58). (May we each have such a firm, unhesitant answer about going to Jesus.) Her family blessed her, she went with the servant (v. 59-65), Isaac received and loved her and she became Isaac’s wife (v. 66-67).

In the New Testament Abraham is called the father of all who are of faith (Romans 4:16). He is a figure (a picture) of God the Father. Isaac, his son, is a figure of Jesus, the Son of God, and the offering and return of Isaac (Genesis 22) is a picture of the death and resurrection of Jesus (Hebrews 11:17-19).

Although the Bible does not directly tell us, the servant is a figure of the Holy Spirit. The father sent the servant to find a wife, to give her something of Isaac’s riches, and to bring her to Isaac. Likewise, the Father sends the Spirit (John 14:26) to convict us (John 16:8-11), to declare to us the riches of Christ (16:12-15), and to strengthen us so that Christ may make home in our hearts and that we may be filled unto all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Here we see, in an Old Testament picture, the Triune God’s New Testament work to gain a bride for Christ. In this age the bride is the church (Ephesians 5) and in the future the bride is New Jerusalem (Revelation 21).

Photo by Josh Robbins, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Bible is a Romance

Have you ever considered that the Bible presents a romance? Love and marriage are seen beginning with Adam and Eve in Genesis 2 and concluding with New Jerusalem in Revelation 21-22. A song which presents this view begins:

New JerusalemThe Bible is a romance
In the most holy sense:
God and His chosen people
In love it so presents.
This Universal Couple
Throughout it is displayed;
God in Christ is the Bridegroom,
His saints, the Bride, portrayed.

The second verse focuses on Adam and Eve.
The third verse draws from God’s longing
expressed in Exodus, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.
The fourth verse sets forth something from
Song of Songs.
The fifth verse concludes:

Christ is our coming Bridegroom;
We are the Church, His Bride,
Redeemed, regenerated,
The issue of His side,
In source, in life, in nature
And person fully one,
His counterpart forever,
The New Jerusalem.

“The issue of His side” (4th line of this verse) was portrayed when Eve was built with the rib taken from Adam’s side. The reality is the church produced by the blood (for redemption) and the water (for life) that came forth in the Lord’s crucifixion (John 19:34). The ultimate issue is in Revelation 22:1—the throne of God and of the Lamb sends forth the river of water of life to supply New Jerusalem for eternity.

Let us Follow the Lamb Wherever He Goes

New JerusalemBoaz and Ruth are a picture of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5) and a picture of the Lamb and New Jerusalem (Revelation 21). Boaz redeemed Ruth from her poverty, then married her and brought her into his house. Jesus Christ has done the same for us.

A part of this wonderful picture is Ruth’s seeking. She said to her mother-in-law, “For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you dwell, I will dwell; and your people will be my people, and your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16). May we all have such an attitude in our heart and declare it with our mouth.

After going to be among God’s people, Ruth was not passive; she went out to glean after the harvesters. As a sojourner and a widow, this gleaning was her right (Leviticus 23:22; Deuteronomy 24:19-21), and she came forward to exercise this right.

In God’s mercy she came to the field of Boaz (Ruth 2:1-3). We must come forward, but it is the sovereign God who arranges where we will be. Thank God for this marvelous picture.

Ruth followed the instruction of Boaz to stay with his reapers (Ruth 2:8-9, 23). Ruth was also obedient to the instructions from her mother-in-law (Ruth 3:1-5). Probably her simple obedience followed from her simple and firm declaration in verse 1:16.

May the Lord grant each of us a heart to go, to dwell, to be among God’s people, and to be with God. May we be those who “follow the Lamb wherever He may go” (Revelation 14:4). Eventually, New Jerusalem will be the destination of our going, New Jerusalem will be our dwelling, and New Jerusalem will be our abiding with God’s people and with God.

Here is Ruth 1:16-17 in a song.

Redeemed to be Married to a Rich Man

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:2 John says, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” In 21:9 New Jerusalem is identified as the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. Many couples in the Bible foreshadow this eternal marriage.

In recent reading I was pointed toward Boaz and Ruth as a picture of the eternal marriage. Boaz was “a man of great wealth” (Ruth 2:1). He is a picture of Jesus Christ, who is so rich to us:
• …the same Lord is Lord of all and rich to all who call upon Him (Romans 10:12)
• To me…was this grace given to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel (Ephesians 3:8)
• To whom God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)

Ruth was a Gentile, not part of Israel. She was also a widow and a poor person. As sinners we were alienated from Israel (Ephesians 2:12), poor, and without a husband. Nevertheless, Boaz redeemed her, as recorded in Ruth 4:1-9. Boaz is a picture of Christ, who redeemed us no matter what our natural heritage and status were.

Boaz did not stop with redemption. He took Ruth as his wife (Ruth 4:10). Likewise Jesus Christ did not stop with redeeming us. He took us all as His corporate wife, the church, ultimately to be New Jerusalem.

Boaz and Ruth became ancestors of Jesus, who declared God and expressed the glory of God (John 1:14, 18). Similarly, in the eternal marriage of the Lamb, New Jerusalem “has the glory of God” (Revelation 21:11).

Thank the Lord for this wonderful picture of the Lamb and New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Jesus Lord, We’re Captured by Your Beauty

The Bible is a love story concluding in New Jerusalem with an eternal marriage of the Triune God and all His people. This is what John saw and what we see in Revelation 21:2 and 21:9-11. There is a song about this eternal romance which begins:
..Jesus Lord, I’m captured by Thy beauty,
_.._All my heart to Thee I open wide;

These first two lines point us in the proper direction. We did not initiate the relationship with God, the relationship which culminates in New Jerusalem. Rather, we were drawn by the beauty of the Lord Jesus and then, in response to Him, we opened our heart.

New JerusalemThe last verse of the song says:
..My Beloved, come on spices’ mountain;
..__How I yearn to see Thee face to face.
..Drink, dear Lord, from my heart’s flowing fountain,
_.._Till I rest fore’er in Thine embrace.
..Not alone, O Lord, do I adore Thee,
_.._But with all the saints as Thy dear Bride;
..Quickly come, our love is waiting for Thee;
_.._Jesus Lord, Thou wilt be satisfied.

In the first line, Jesus Christ is our Beloved, and we can pour out the longings of our heart to Him every day. In the next phrases, reflecting the poetry of Song of Songs, the lover asks the Beloved to “come on spices’ mountain” (Song 8:14) and yearns to see Him “face to face.” The mountain signifies His kingdom. This kingdom was brought forth by the Lord’s death and resurrection which are symbolized by the spices. When He comes in glory to manifest His kingdom, we will see Him “face to face.”

Then the lover asks her Beloved to drink of her heart’s flowing fountain and expresses her longing to be in the eternal embrace of New Jerusalem. Finally the song presents the corporate lover, all God’s people, as the Bride, asking the Lord to come quickly (as in Revelation 22:17) and declaring the Bride’s love for the Bridegroom.

May the Lord attract us more to stir up more love for Him in our hearts! Come, Lord Jesus! Come and bring us onward to the fullness of New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The Love Story of the Bible

New JerusalemBeginning with Adam and Eve, many married couples in the Bible are pictures of New Jerusalem as the eternal, universal marriage of the Triune God and all His people. Recent posts looked at Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Matthew, John, Corinthians, and Ephesians. In Revelation 19:7 we rejoice because the marriage of the Lamb has come. In this marriage the Triune God embodied in Jesus Christ is the Husband and New Jerusalem is the wife.

Here is an encapsulation of what I presented in this series of posts:

The entire revelation of the Bible shows us the love story of a universal couple. That is, the sovereign Lord, who created the universe and all things, the Triune God — the Father, the Son, and the Spirit — who went through the processes of incarnation, human living, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, and who ultimately became the life-giving Spirit, is joined in marriage to the created, redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified tripartite man — composed of spirit, soul, and body — who ultimately constitutes the church, the expression of God. In the eternity that is without end, by the divine, eternal, and surpassingly glorious life, they will live a life that is the mingling of God and man as one spirit, a life that is superexcellent and that overflows with blessings and joy.*

Because New Jerusalem is a marriage, love is prominent. This is not our natural love but the love of God given to us which becomes our love to unite us with Him. Because of God’s love, He redeemed us, made us alive, and deposited His love in us:
• Herein is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as a propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
• God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…made us alive together with Christ. (Ephesians 2:4-5)
• The love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5)
• We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

Lord, thank You for Your love. Constrain me to love You from now unto New Jerusalem.

* See Revelation 22:17 in this online NT (© LSM).

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb

New Jerusalem, wife of the LambAs the consummation of all the Bible verses pointing to the eternal marriage, in Revelation 21:2 John says, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” In 21:9 an angel said to John, “Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And in 21:10 John says that the angel “showed me the holy city, Jerusalem.”

The Lamb is our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. In New Jerusalem He is the Husband, He and God are the temple (21:22), He is the Lamp through whom God’s glory is shining (21:23), and He and God are on the throne (22:3).

The city, New Jerusalem, is the bride and wife of Jesus Christ. It is a living city, composed of all God’s people throughout the ages. This corporate people is married to Him.

This marriage fulfills the picture of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2; the Lord’s word in Exodus 20; His words through Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Hosea; His speaking about Himself as the Bridegroom in the gospels; and the reality of the husband and wife in Ephesians 5.

Because New Jerusalem is the consummation of everything positive in the Bible, the characteristics of the city should (to some extent) be our experience today. The characteristics shown in the verses above are first, we take Him (the Lamb) as our Redeemer; because of His wonderful death, we can pray to receive forgiveness of sins from Him, and to thank Him for this forgiveness.

Second, He should be enthroned in our heart, or, as Ephesians 3 says, by prayer for the Spirit’s strengthening He can make home in our heart. Third, we should seek Him and come to Him daily as our temple. Fourth, we ask for His shining in us and through us. May the Lord keep us in His mercy that we may have these experiences as a foretaste of New Jerusalem as the wife of the Lamb.

Photo by Randy Roberts, courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.

The Spirit and the Bride Say Come

New JerusalemIn Revelation 22 the Lord Jesus says three times, “I come quickly” (verses 7, 12, 20). In 22:17 we read the response: “the Spirit and the bride say, Come!” This cry, Come, is in the present age; it is a cry for the visible coming of the Lord Jesus, which will end this age.

The bride here is New Jerusalem, as clearly stated in Revelation 21:2, 9-10. In verse 22:17 the Spirit and the bride speak together, showing that they are one. The Spirit has not only regenerated the members of this corporate bride (John 3:6) but has also transformed them (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Now the members of the bride live in the reality of one spirit with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17). This oneness in living is demonstrated by the oneness in speaking with the Spirit.

In [Revelation] chs. 2 and 3 it was the Spirit speaking to the churches; here, at the end of the book, it is the Spirit and the bride, the church, speaking together as one. This indicates that the church’s experience of the Spirit has improved to the extent that she has become one with the Spirit, who is the ultimate consummation of the Triune God.*

Reaching such oneness with the Spirit is the completion of preparation of the bride for the marriage of the Lamb. This oneness will be a characteristic of New Jerusalem. To grow into this living oneness, we need the rich supply from our Head, Jesus Christ. This supply comes through our dropping all distracting involvements and holding Him as our reality, as in Colossians 2:16–3:4.

We can pray, Lord, I love You and I open to You. Save me from my outward formalities so that I may experience You as my reality and receive Your rich supply for me to live one with You. This is the preparation of the bride and the path to New Jerusalem.

* See Revelation 22:17 in this online NT (© LSM).

Rejoice, Exult for the Marriage of the Lamb

New JerusalemMany verses in the Bible point toward New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage. Eventually Revelation 19:7-8 says, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.”

When we received the gospel, God put us into Christ Jesus and He became righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:29-30). Now we should live in Christ and live because of Christ. We should be able to declare “Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20) and “to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).

The fine linen is clean. The Greek word for clean is the same as for pure in Revelation 21:18, 21. The clean fine linen matches the pureness of New Jerusalem (v. 18) and the pureness of its street (v. 21).

The fine linen is also bright. This matches the brightness of the river of water of life flowing from the throne of New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1). When Christ is enthroned in us today, the river is flowing today, and its brightness is expressed through us.

When we live Christ daily, He becomes the righteousnesses, the righteous actions, of our daily living. Because He is clean, pure, bright, and righteous, our living expresses these attributes. Our life-long living and expression of Christ is recognized by the fine linen given in Revelation 19. This also shows that our living matches New Jerusalem.

Lord, thank You that You are my righteousness. Now Lord, I desire to experience You and live You as my daily righteousnesses; bring me into a living which matches New Jerusalem.

Related posts: Christ Our Righteousness and Righteousnesses
New Jerusalem is Prepared by Our Cooperation with Christ Dwelling in Us
Fine Linen for the Bride and the Army

Rejoice, the Marriage of the Lamb Has Come

Beginning with Adam and Eve, many verses in both Old and New Testaments point toward New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage. Finally, Revelation 19:7 declares,
Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

New JerusalemBecause the marriage has come, let us rejoice and exult/celebrate/be exceedingly glad. “Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9). The marriage celebration is a feast with our Lord.

In the gospels the Lord described Himself as the Bridegroom. He has been waiting since then. He went through death, resurrection, and ascension for this. Now He is our heavenly Minister and High Priest (Hebrews 7) interceding for us that He may “save to the uttermost those who come forward to God through Him” (v. 25).

We have already received His salvation, we have its eternal assurance and security, and we will be in New Jerusalem. Yet, we need to experience this salvation daily so that we may be saved completely and in many details, such as being saved from impatience, anger, pride, complaining, depression, self life, and love for the world. This salvation to the uttermost is the much-more salvation in His life (Romans 5:10).

We cannot save ourselves from these difficulties but we can, by prayer, singing, and praising, “come forward to God through Him.” This is our cooperation with Him. He is able to save but we need to cooperate. Our coming forward becomes part of the process whereby “His wife has made herself ready.” Let us pray, sing, and praise our way to New Jerusalem.

 

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Marriage (8)

New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage is portrayed and prophesied many times in the Bible, including Ephesians 5:22-33. Verse 22 speaks about husband and wife but verse 23 shows that husband and wife are a picture of Christ and the church.

New JerusalemVerses 25-27 present three stages leading up to the marriage of Christ and the church:
• Christ loved the church and gave Himself unto death to redeem her (v. 25);
• Now Christ is sanctifying her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word to purify her to match Him (v. 26);
• Soon He will present the church to Himself glorious and holy, not having spot, wrinkle, or blemish (v. 27).

His work to sanctify the church by the washing of water in the word will result in a glorious and holy church without any negative element. This condition matches New Jerusalem, which is also glorious and holy with nothing negative.

Verses 28-33 continue to speak about both husbands and wives and about Christ and the church. Verse 32 shows Paul’s emphasis,
_This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.
Since this is a spiritual mystery, we should ask the Lord to grant us “spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Ephesians 1:17). Then, by revelation (not by natural effort) the mystery can be made known to us (Ephesians 3:3).

The preparation of the church as the bride is also for the preparation of New Jerusalem. The more this mystery is revealed to us, the more it will operate in us, and the more we will be prepared. Lord Jesus, grant me a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Lord, reveal this great mystery in me.

 

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