New Jerusalem is the Bride,                        Jesus Christ is the Husband

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2). “The marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). The entire city is the bride and the Husband is the Lamb, Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:25-26 speaks of the Lord’s work to prepare the bride “that He might present the church to Himself glorious” (v. 27) at His second coming, His coming in glory.

John the Baptist spoke of the Lord Jesus as the Bridegroom with all the believers as His increase (John 3:28-30). And in Mark 2:19-20 the Lord Jesus described Himself as a Bridegroom. These words point toward the Husband of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21.

Jesus Christ as the Husband of the church in Ephesians 5 and of New Jerusalem is also prophesied in the Old Testament. Isaiah 54:5, “For your Maker is your Husband; Jehovah of hosts is His name. And the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.” The Lord Jesus is our Redeemer so that He can impart eternal life into us to constitute us to be His bride so that He can be our Husband.

Hosea 2 speaks of Jehovah’s reclaiming Israel from idol worship. Verse 16: “And in that day, declares Jehovah, You will call Me My Husband.”

New Jerusalem as a bride for Jesus Christ the Husband is not a new idea in Revelation; rather, it is the consummation of what is presented to us throughout the Bible.

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The Divine Romance: God & New Jerusalem

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More at New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All the New Testament Blessings.

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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.

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 is the Eternal Marriage (7)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem as the eternal marriage is portrayed by Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, prophesied in the Old Testament, and plainly presented in the New Testament beginning in the gospels. Now we look at the epistles.

Second Corinthians 11:2-3 says, “For I am jealous over you with a jealousy of God; for I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I fear lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your thoughts would be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity toward Christ.”

In preaching the gospel, Paul brought the Corinthians into an engagement relationship with Christ. It is the same today; when anyone receives the gospel, that person enters the engagement which points to New Jerusalem.

As receivers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are pure virgins, not in ourselves but in Him, not of ourselves but of Him. Yet, there is a risk that we would be corrupted. The note on simplicity in 2 Corinthians 11:3 in the Recovery Version NT begins,

Referring to the believers’ single-hearted loyalty, single-minded faithfulness, toward Christ. In the garden of Eden, Eve, the wife of Adam, was deceived by the serpent, Satan, through his questioning and undermining of God’s word, and was thus carried away to the tree of knowledge and distracted from the simplicity of eating the tree of life (Gen. 3:1-6).

New Jerusalem is a city of life. It is also a city of transparency and purity, not obscurity nor corruption. Our preparation for the wedding feast and for the eternal marriage is to be pure and simple toward Christ by loving Him and letting Him save us from all other loves. Let us frequently declare, Lord Jesus, I love You. And ask, Lord, keep me simple and pure toward You.

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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo in Portland, Maine by David Kan, a seeker of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Marriage (5)

New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage is implied in both the giving of the first covenant in Exodus 20 and the prophecy of the new covenant in Jeremiah 31.

New JerusalemHosea speaks to and condemns Israel’s departure from God to go after other gods. Nevertheless he also has some encouraging words about the future:
• “she will say, I will go and return to my first husband” (v. 2:7)
• “in that day, declares Jehovah, you will call Me my Husband” (v. 2:16)
• “I will betroth you to Myself forever” (v. 2:19a)
• “I will betroth you to Myself in right-eousness and justice and in loving-kindness and compassions” (v. 2:19b)
• “I will betroth you to Myself in faithfulness, and you will know Jehovah” (v. 2:20).

The last three of these five phrases show that the eternal marriage is of God. He (not we) planned, He (not we) initiated, He (not we) betrothed, and He (not we) supplies the righteousness, lovingkindness, and faithfulness.

Our response is to love Him and to call Him our Husband. Our response is also to “go and return” to Him from all other “husbands/lovers/idols/distractions.” Our responses will be repeated multiple times in our experience. This is our path to the eternal marriage, to New Jerusalem.

The seeker in Song of Songs said, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine….Draw me; we will run after you.” We can pray with her, Lord kiss me! Lord Jesus, may I realize that Your love is better! Draw me so that we can run after You! 

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Marriage (3)

“Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come” (Revelation 19:7). This eternal marriage was first portrayed by Adam and Eve. In Exodus 20 the Lord’s word “those who love Me” points toward this marriage, which reaches its ultimate conclusion in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIsaiah 54:5 is so clear: “For your Maker is your Husband; Jehovah of hosts is His name. And the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.” Here the Lord is saying to the Old Testament part of His people that He is the Husband. And they are the wife.

In this verse “Husband” is first, then “Redeemer.” As here, there are other examples in the Bible where words are not in time order but arranged to place God’s purpose first. To be our Husband, God must first (in time) be our Redeemer. But, Husband is first in Isaiah 54 because that is what God desires.

For Israel, redemption was in Exodus 12–14, followed by engagement in Exodus 20. For the New Testament believers, redemption was through the death of Jesus, followed by engagement in resurrection. The marriage will be when the Lord returns and continue in New Jerusalem.

Despite the engagement, the majority of Israel strayed from their Husband. Nevertheless, He does not change. After hundreds of years, in Jeremiah 3:14 He says, “Return, O apostate children, declares Jehovah, for I am a Husband to you; and I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and will bring you to Zion.”

His mercies are new every day. Let us return to Him, whether from a long absence or from a short distraction. “Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help” (Hebrews 4:16). By His mercy, let us come forward all the way to New Jerusalem.

Photo by J. R. Douglass, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Marriage (2)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the eternal wife of the Lamb Jesus Christ. This marriage was first pictured by Adam and Eve in Genesis 2. Eve came out of Adam’s side during his deep sleep just as the church came out of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection.

Exodus 20 has the ten commandments. Verse 6 says that God shows “lovingkind-ness to thousands of generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.”

The mentioning of love here indicates that God’s intention in giving His law to His chosen people was that they become His lovers (Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:35-38; Mark 12:28-30). In bringing His people out of Egypt and giving His law to them, God was courting them, wooing them, and seeking to win their affection. Jeremiah 2:2; 31:32; and Ezekiel 16:8 indicate that the covenant enacted at the mountain of God through the giving of the law (24:7-8; 34:27-28) was an engagement covenant in which God betrothed the children of Israel to Himself (cf. 2 Cor. 11:2).*

Deuteronomy 6:5, referenced in this quote, says, “You shall love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” And Jeremiah 2:2, also referenced in this quote, speaks of the engagement, “Thus says Jehovah: I remember concerning you the kindness of your youth, the love of your bridal days, when you followed after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.”

The Old Testament verses, understood in the light of New Testament verses, clearly point to the marriage between God and His people. This is the marriage which generates the praises in Revelation 19:7 and is completed with New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:2, 9.

* This is the first part of footnote 2, Exodus 20:6, in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003.

The Divine Romance of a Universal Couple

Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ is a series of volumes which covers the whole New Testament. Details are here. Below is an excerpt about the divine romance.

New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:2 John tells us, “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:9 says that New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

The subject of the Bible is a divine romance of a universal couple; the male is God Himself, and the female is God’s chosen and redeemed people (Gen. 2:21-24; Isa. 54:5; Jer. 2:2; 3:14; 31:32; Ezek. 23:5; Hosea 2:7, 19; Matt. 9:15; John 3:29). In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, God likens His chosen people to a spouse (Isa. 54:6; Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 16:8; Hosea 2:19; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:31-32) and a dwelling place for Himself (Exo. 29:45-46; Num. 5:3; Ezek. 43:7, 9; Psa. 68:18; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Tim. 3:15). The spouse is for His satisfaction in love. As the bride of Christ, the New Jerusalem comes out of Christ, her Husband, and becomes His counterpart, just as Eve came out of Adam, her husband, and became his counterpart (Gen. 2:21-24). She is prepared by participating in the riches of the life and nature of Christ.

This excerpt lists many verses about the romance between God and His people. One portion is the latter part of Ephesians 5. Here Paul speaks about husbands and wives but his emphasis is seen in verse 32, “This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.” Human marriage is a picture of Christ and the church.

God’s New Testament people are the church and they, with God’s Old Testament people will become the eternal wife, New Jerusalem. This living city is the conclusion of the divine romance of a universal couple.

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

New Jerusalem is a Universal Married Couple

In Revelation 21:2 New Jerusalem is a bride prepared for her husband and in verses 9-10 New Jerusalem is the bride, the wife of the Lamb. This is a universal couple, a marriage of the Triune God and His people.

The first couple in the Bible is Adam and Eve. Adam is “a type of Him who was to come,” a picture, a prefigure of Christ (Romans 5:14). Since Adam is a type of Christ, is Eve merely a human being with no spiritual significance? Surely not. Ephesians 5:22-33 speaks of husbands and wives. Verse 32 says, “This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.” Human couples are a picture of the great mystery, Christ and the church. According to Romans 5, Adam is a type of Christ, and in the light of Ephesians 5, Eve is a type of the church, the wife of Christ.

A full description of Eve as a type of the church is the subject of chapter 2 in Watchman Nee’s book, The Glorious Church, also available for online reading.

In Revelation 21:2 New Jerusalem is a bride prepared for her husband and in verse 3 New Jerusalem is the tabernacle of God. The bride is for Christ’s satisfaction and the tabernacle is for the Father’s dwelling. Although they are distinct in function, they are not separate. Both are the corporate composition of all God’s people. God’s redeemed people are the wife of the Lamb and mutually and coinherently dwelling with God as the tabernacle.

Today the New Testament believers are both the wife of Christ in Ephesians 5 and the house of God in 1 Timothy 3:15. Eternally, God’s Old Testament people together with His New Testament people will be the eternal wife and eternal tabernacle. The Triune God is the Husband of the universal couple and mutually dwelling with us as the tabernacle.

New Jerusalem is the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb

In Revelation 21:2 John tells us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” In verses 9-10 the holy city is called “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” Christ is the Lamb of God (John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:19) and New Jerusalem is His bride, His wife. This is the clearest statement in the Bible that New Jerusalem is not a physical city. Rather, it is a corporate, redeemed, regenerated, transformed wife with a redeeming, life-giving, gloriously shining Triune Husband.

The marital relationship between God and His people was first presented in figure in Genesis 2 with Adam, a type of Christ per Romans 5:14, and Eve. Jeremiah 2:2 indicates that Israel’s time in the wilderness after leaving Egypt was a time of betrothal to God and in verse 31:32 God says that He was Israel’s Husband even then. Later Isaiah declared to Israel, “your Maker is your Husband” (54:5) and through Jeremiah God cried out to Israel, “I am a Husband to you” (3:14). In Hosea 2:16 God tells Israel that they will call Him their Husband.

In Matthew 9:15 the Lord Jesus portrayed Himself as the Bridegroom. During this age He is away from His people but soon there will be a cry, “Behold, the Bridegroom! Go forth to meet him!” (Matthew 25:6). May the Lord be merciful to fill our hearts with a “going forth” attitude every day.

In John 3:26 the disciples of John the Baptist came to him and reported that many people were going to Jesus. In John’s reply, he said that he was not Christ but was the friend of the Bridegroom (verses 28-29). In John’s reply, Christ is the Bridegroom and the many people who come to Him, His increase (verse 30), are the bride. This bride is composed of all the people born anew of water and the Spirit (verses 3-8).

Ephesians 5 also speaks about Christ as the Husband and the church as His wife. There will be more about this in a post on the preparation of the bride.

In Revelation 21 New Jerusalem is the bride, the wife of the Lamb. In Revelation 19 we read that “His wife has made herself ready.” No physical city can make itself ready. This too shows us that New Jerusalem is a corporate, living person.

New Jerusalem as the bride, the wife of the Lamb, is the consummation of the marital relationship portrayed throughout the Bible. God in Christ is the Husband and all the redeemed and regenerated people will be His wife. This universal couple is New Jerusalem. May Revelation 19:7 be our expectation and declaration: “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.”

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