The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 6:24

The Lamb is Jesus Christ and the wife of the Lamb is the holy city New Jerusalem. Their marriage is in love, the love of God to us and our response to and with His love.

Ephesians concludes, “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” The Lord certainly desires that we love Him. This love is the first commandment (Mark 12:30) and in response to this love He and the Father make their dwelling with us (John 14:23), a precursor of New Jerusalem as their eternal dwelling.

New JerusalemWe are to “love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” Our love must originate from God because our natural love is corruptible. He is the only incorruptible One and New Jerusalem will be an incorruptible city to match Him as His wife.
New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance
Incorruptible and Undefiled and Unfading
Pursue the Incorruptible New Jerusalem

In contrast, the Gospels have examples of corrupted, selfish love. In Matthew 20 the mother of James and John, who loved the Lord, asked that her sons sit on His right and left in the kingdom. In response the Lord told His disciples not to strive for greatness but to be a servant, even a slave.

We have been regenerated of incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23) and all our love for the Lord should spring from this. Lord, thank You for Your love to us that we may love You in purity from now unto New Jerusalem.

Photo by NASA, ESA, STSci; courtesy of NASA.

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 6:23

New Jerusalem“Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him [the Lord our God the Almighty], for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). “The bride, the wife of the Lamb” (21:9) is “the holy city, Jerusalem” (21:10).

The love of this marriage is foreseen in the love of God for us, Christ’s love in giving Himself for the church, and our loving Him in return. Prior posts considered this love in Ephesians 1, 2–3, 4, and 5.

Ephesians 6:23: “Peace to the brothers and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Love with faith is the means by which we partake of and experience Christ (1 Tim. 1:14). Faith is for receiving Him (John 1:12), and love is for enjoying Him (John 14:23)….By means of this traffic of love and faith, peace remains our portion. We are kept in peace by the coming of God’s love to us and by the going of our faith to Him. This traffic also keeps us in the continual supply of grace, in the enjoyment of the Lord (v. 24).*

All that we have is “from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” so that the Triune God can bring us all the way to New Jerusalem and the marriage dinner of the Lamb.


Part of footnote 2 on Eph. 6:23 in the Recovery Version Bible, footnote written by Witness Lee, Bible © 2017 by Living Stream Ministry.
Titus 3, “This Wonderful Faith and this Super-Excellent Love” in song.
More on faith and love, in Luke 7, John 21, Gal. 5, Eph. 3, and 1 John 3.
Photo by Mary Hollinger, courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 5

The eternal marriage of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and the bride, New Jerusalem, is presented in Revelation 19:7-9 and 21:2, 9-11. This marriage is in the love of God which becomes our love to Him and to one another.

New JerusalemEphesians exhorts to walk worthily of God’s calling (4:1) and to “walk in love” (5:2*). Our walk in love is “as Christ also loved us and gave Himself up for us” (5:2). When we experience the love of Christ to us and respond by loving Him, our walk becomes worthy. Lord Jesus, we love You.

Ephesians 5:22-33 speaks about human marriage as a picture of the eternal marriage. “This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church” (5:32).

“Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (5:25). The wife’s subjection [5:22] plus the husband’s love [5:25] constitutes a proper married life and typifies the normal church life, in which the church is subject to Christ and Christ loves the church.** This normal church life is a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

Christ loved the church and gave Himself “that He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word” (5:26) with the goal “that He might present the church to Himself glorious…holy and without blemish” (5:27).

The characteristics of the church in 5:27, which match New Jerusalem, show us that the consummation of Christ’s loving and giving is New Jerusalem.


*Verse numbers without a book name are in Ephesians.

** Part of footnote 1 on Ephesians 5:25 in the Recovery Version Bible, footnote written by Witness Lee, Bible © 2017 by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 4

Ephesians presents the eternal love of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and His wife, the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). Ephesians 1 and 2 focus on God’s love to us. Chapter 3 begins to set forth our experience of this love.

New JerusalemChapter 4 begins with an exhortation to walk worthily of God’s calling (4:1*). The first step in this walk is “with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, bearing one another in love” (4:2). This is not our own love. Instead, as stated in 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.” This love maintains us in the oneness (4:3).

To no longer be tossed about as children (4:14) we need to grow into Christ in everything by holding Him, the reality, in love (4:15). As we grow into Him, a rich supply flows out from Him for “the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love” (4:16).

The building up of the body of Christ, in love and by the rich supply flowing out from the Head, is part of the preparation of the bride of Christ. Both the body and the bride are living compositions of all His believers. By the rich supply we are not only “joined together” but even more “knit together” (4:16).

In New Jerusalem we will be “no longer little children,” nor “tossed about,” but fully knit together, grown to maturity, and built up in love.

*Verse numbers without a book name are in Ephesians.
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 2–3

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. Their marriage is in love. Ephesians 1 presents God’s love in the context of His purpose and all that He accomplished.

In contrast, chapter 2 begins with us being dead in our offenses and sins (2:1*). Nevertheless, “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ” (2:4-5). God loved us before creation (1:4), and now, although we are in a fallen creation, He still loves us.

Because of this love, God was merciful to forgive us and to make us alive with Christ, to raise us up with Christ, and to seat us in the heavenlies with Christ (2:5-6). This is our salvation by God’s mercy and grace based on His love.

Now we are in position to experience the love of God. Paul prays that we be strengthened into our inner man so “that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith”
(3:16-17). By His making home in us, we are rooted and grounded in His love. This empowers us to apprehend the vast riches of Christ (3:17-18) and “to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ” (3:19).

In experiencing this love we are “filled unto all the fullness of God” that there may be glory to God in the church (3:19-21). This experiential love, filling, and glory all increase unto New Jerusalem.

*Verse numbers are in Ephesians.
Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 1

A voice from heaven 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” (Rev. 19:7). Then John told us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2).

New JerusalemEphesians speaks about the church, God’s household, God’s kingdom, His temple, the body of Christ, one new man, and marriage. All of these point to New Jerusalem. Since New Jerusalem is a marriage, it is in love. Let us therefore look at love in Ephesians.

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love”
(1:3-4*). Thus, the love of New Jerusalem originated in eternity past, as part of God’s eternal plan. In this love God predestinated us to be His sons (1:5) so that we may have His life to match His Firstborn Son for the eternal marriage.

In time we are touched by and enter into this eternal love. Paul commends the Ephesians, saying he “heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you and your love to all the saints” (1:15). These believers were already living in the eternal love of New Jerusalem.

*Verse numbers without a book name are in Ephesians.
Art courtesy of pixabay.com.

Jesus and New Jerusalem: “Out of Heaven”

The Lord Jesus told us multiple times that He came down out of heaven:
John 3:13, “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man…”
John 6:38, “I have come down from heaven not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.”
John 6:51a, “I am the living bread which came down out of heaven.”

New JerusalemRevelation 21:2 says, ” I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride.” And 21:10, “He [the angel] 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,”

Both the Lord Jesus, the Bridegroom, and New Jerusalem, the bride, come down out of heaven. The two correspond to each other, as Eve corresponded to and complemented Adam in Genesis 2.

Eve is a strong contrast to the animals God created; among them “for Adam there was not found a helper as his counterpart” (Gen. 2:20). Eve was the complement to Adam because she came out of Adam. God built Eve with the rib He had taken out of Adam.

New Jerusalem comes out of heaven because it is composed of the life and nature of Christ imparted into us in His resurrection. First Corinthians 15:47-48 make a contrast, “The first man [Adam] is out of the earth, earthy; the second man [Christ] is out of heaven. As the earthy is, such are they also that are earthy; and as the heavenly is, such are they also that are heavenly.” As the heavenly new creatures, we compose the heavenly bride, New Jerusalem, which matches the heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

Holy and Without Blemish in Love

New JerusalemEphesians 5:27 tells us that Christ will “present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that she would be holy and without blemish.” This church is His well-prepared bride, the forerunner of New Jerusalem.

Christ cares for the church, “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.” This corresponds with Revelation 21:2, “New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” His washing prepares the bride.

Also, we cooperate with Him. For example, holding to Him in love that His rich supply may flow out. This corresponds with Revelation 19:7, “the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Our cooperation prepares the bride.

The result of both sides of this preparation, is the bride “holy and without blemish.” This matches Ephesians 1:4, God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” Three phrases stand out:
holywithout blemishin love.

The church becoming New Jerusalem, “the holy city,” as the bride of Christ must be fully holy to match the Bridegroom. The bride must also be without blemish to match the unblemished Bridegroom. Being completely holy and without blemish fulfills Matthew 5:48, “You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Christians are the Father’s children, having the Father’s divine life and divine nature. Hence, they can be perfect as their Father is….The kingdom of the heavens is the highest demand, and the divine life of the Father is the highest supply to meet that demand.*

Love is the key for our perfecting, as part of “things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor. 2:9). To love God means to set our entire being absolutely on Him, that is, to let our entire being be occupied by Him and lost in Him, so that He becomes everything to us and we are one with Him practically in our daily life.º

Lord, keep us loving You every day from now to New Jerusalem!

* Part of the footnote on. Matt. 5:48       º Part of the footnote 3 on 1 Cor. 2:9
Both are in the
Recovery Version Bible, © 2017 by Living Stream Ministry.

No Spots nor Wrinkles nor Blemishes in New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:2, 9-10 present to us the city New Jerusalem, prepared as “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” This Lamb is Jesus Christ, the Lion-Lamb in Revelation 5 who conquered as a Lion and redeemed as a Lamb.

Ephesians 5:25-27 speaks of the church as the current stage in the preparation of New Jerusalem. This is in a context about human husbands and wives. “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word, that He might present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that she New Jerusalemwould be holy and without blemish.”

In verse 25 Christ “gave Himself up” on the cross. In 26 He is now sanctifying us by the washing of the water in His living word. In 27 He will “present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that she would be holy and without blemish.”

Spots indicate things not part of the church, wrinkles indicate oldness, any such things and blemishes indicate other defects, faults, shortcomings, and unwanted materials. The bride Christ will present to Himself will have no foreign things, no oldness, and no defects. Likewise, New Jerusalem, the consummation of this glorious church, will have nothing foreign, nothing old, and nothing defective.

However, God’s goal is not merely to eliminate everything negative. His goal now for the church is that she be holy and glorious to match God’s nature and expression, and His goal for eternity is New Jerusalem, holy and glorious.

More about What is NOT in New Jerusalem.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

Out from Christ to be Presented to Christ (2)

In Genesis 2 God built the rib, which He had taken from Adam, into Eve and brought her to Adam. No other creature could be Adam’s counterpart, but Adam welcomed Eve as his counterpart. This is a picture that the church, growing into New Jerusalem, is built with Christ to be presented to Him as His wife.

New JerusalemGod took the rib from Adam while he was in “a deep sleep.” Sleep here signifies death, as in John 11:11-13 and 1 Thessa-lonians 4:13-16. Then Adam was awake, signifying resurrection, and Eve was brought to him. Like Eve, both the church and New Jerusalem come forth through the death and resurrection of Christ.

Through death Christ both redeemed us and released His divine life, which was imparted into us in resurrection. Now “Christ is our life” (Col. 3:4). Christ our life, not our natural life (which must be denied), is the life of the church and of New Jerusalem. It is by this life that the bride of Christ is prepared.

This life is imparted by the Spirit. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing” (John 6:63). “The Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). However, this Spirit is not separate from Christ. He, as the Spirit, enters into our human spirit; as a result, “If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit* is life because of righteousness” (Rom. 8:10).

Christ our life energizes us to deny our natural life, our self, and Christ our life grows until in the church, the new man, “Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:11). By His being all and in all His members, He can present the church to Himself glorious (Eph. 5:27). In the new creation and New Jerusalem there will be no self left to deny and absolutely Christ will be all and in all.

For more about the church, the precursor of New Jerusalem, coming out of Christ to be presented to Christ, see chapter 2 in The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee. It can be freely downloaded from Bibles for America (English) or Rhema Literature (30 languages).

* This is our human spirit because 1) it is contrasted with our human body and 2) the divine Spirit is life whether Christ is in us or not.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Out from Christ to be Presented to Christ

Genesis 2:21-22: “Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. And Jehovah God built the rib, which He had taken from the man, into a woman and brought her to the man.” This first human couple is a picture of Christ and the church (Eph. 5:23-32) which consummates in Christ and New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage (Rev. 21:1–22:5).

New JerusalemPrior to the formation of Eve, God brought every living creature to Adam. “The man gave names to all cattle and to the birds of heaven and to every animal of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper as his counterpart” (Gen. 2:20). No other creatures was a match for Adam.

But, when Eve was brought to Adam, “The man said, This time this is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman because out of Man this one was taken. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:23-24).

The inability of the creatures to match Adam, and the wonderful correspondence of Eve to Adam shows that only what came out of Adam matches him to be his counterpart. In the same way, only what comes out of Christ can match Him to be His counterpart/ companion/suitable helper*.

New Jerusalem is the bride, the wife of Jesus Christ. According to the pattern in Genesis 2, New Jerusalem should come out of Christ to be the proper match to be presented to Him.

For more about the church, the precursor of New Jerusalem, coming out of Christ to be presented to Christ, see chapter 2 in The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee. It can be freely downloaded from Bibles for America (English) or Rhema Literature (30 languages).

* Various translations in Gen. 2:20, thanks to Bible Hub.

Photo by Mary Hollinger, courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Rejoice, the Marriage of the Lamb has Come, and His Wife [New Jerusalem] is Ready

Recent posts are on the marriage and marriage dinner of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and New Jerusalem as the bride, the wife of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7, 9; 21:2, 10). When the Lord returns, He will present the church to Himself as His glorious bride (Eph. 5:27).

New JerusalemA song (words + music) express the Lord’s and our longing for this wedding day. The first verse is:
__Lord, Thou wilt soon appear,
____Thy day is almost here.
__Oh, how we love Thy coming soon!
____We have no other
____Lord, life, or lover
__Than Thou, Lord Jesus, our Bridegroom!

With the eternal marriage in view, the Lord spoke of Himself as the Bridegroom in Matthew 9 and 25. To prepare us, He is our Lord to rule us, our Life to supply us, and our Lover to attract us.

Ephesians has many verses on love, and presents human marriage as a picture of the eternal marriage of New Jerusalem. Part of the second verse of the song says:
__Oh what an hour sweet
__When Bride and Bridegroom meet
__And love surpassing comprehend.
Looking forward to the day of His return, Ephesians ends, “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” Lord Jesus, we love You and are eager to see You return and to comprehend the surpassing love! This longing is expressed in the third verse of the song, “Soon we shall see Thy face! / Amen, Lord Jesus! Quickly come!”

The last verse of the song says, “Thou, our Lord Bridegroom, Thou / Soon wilt return to claim Thy Bride.” Then Revelation 19:7 will be fulfilled, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife [New Jerusalem] ]has made herself ready.”

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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