The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (4)

Revelation 19:7, “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.” Revelation 21:2, “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

In the parable in Matthew 25, ten virgins all “took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” When he came, five who were ready went in with Him to the wedding feast. Five foolish virgins were shut out. However, the Lord promised that He will never cast us out and that no one can take us out of His hand. As a result, these foolish believers will be in New Jerusalem but after a period of discipline.

New JerusalemThe paths of these two groups of virgins seem to match the verses in Revelation written above. Remember that these two verses are not at identical times but are separated by many events later in chapter 19 and through all of chapter 20.

Those who were ready and went into the wedding feast (Matt. 25:10) are those who “made herself ready” (19:7) and thereby receive the blessing (Rev. 19:9). Entrance to the wedding feast is not based on individual Christian perfection but on corporate experience of Christ, resulting in our building together.

The virgins who came later and were not let into the feast (Matt. 25:11-12), who are then perfected through discipline (as in Heb. 12:5-11) become part of the prepared bride in Revelation 21:2. They miss the wedding feast but are part of New Jerusalem for eternity.

Based on the Lord’s firm promises, I expect all believers to be constituents of New Jerusalem, whether partaking of the wedding feast or not.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (3)

Revelation 19:9: “Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb.” This dinner will be a reward to the Lord’s faithful believers. This dinner is a foretaste of the eternal marriage of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and His wife, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2, 9-10).

New JerusalemThis marriage dinner is presented in a parable in Matthew 25:1-13. The virgins who were ready went in but the virgins who were not ready were shut out. But were they shut out temporarily or forever? Only temporarily; they will be brought to New Jerusalem.

Jesus said, “I give to them eternal life, and they shall by no means perish forever, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father…is greater than all, and no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29).

And Jesus promised: “Him who comes to Me I shall by no means cast out” (John 6:37); “I shall by no means give you up, neither by any means shall I abandon you” (Heb. 13:5). The Lord’s promises here are unconditional. “By no means,” that is, under no circumstances whatever, will He ever cast us out or cease to uphold us. These are His faithful promises. This eternal promise endures unto New Jerusalem.

The prior post shows that the five foolish virgins are believers. The verses above show that they are eternally secure.* “No one,” including the devil and the foolish virgins themselves, can snatch them out of the Lord’s hand. And He will never give us up despite our foolishness. However, such believers should expect discipline from the Lord and the Father (Heb. 12:5-11).

The discipline will seem to be a matter of grief (12:11), but eventually these believers will be prepared and will partake of our Father God’s holiness (12:10) and match the holy city, New Jerusalem.

* For more, see The Assurance, Security, and Joy of Salvation or read online

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Light of the World, A City (3)

The light and the city in Matthew 5:14 are linked to New Jerusalem. This verse also speaks of a city “upon a mountain.” This indicates a high position. We always put lights in high rather than low positions, so that light may reach everywhere. Our high position is in Christ. Ephesians 2:6 tells us that God “raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.”

New JerusalemHebrews 12:18-24 contrasts attributes of the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament attributes are earthly but the New Testament attributes (both Heb. 12 and Eph. 2) are heavenly.

The first ‘New’ attribute is that we “have come forward to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” The heavenly Jerusalem is firstly associated with a mountain, which also is heavenly in nature. Our being the light of the world is not derived from any earthly position; it is a consequence of being in Christ and living one with Him.

The New Testament does not say that New Jerusalem is a city upon a mountain. Instead, by the time New Jerusalem comes down out of heave, the city and the mountain have become one, and New Jerusalem is itself the mountain. The angel “measured the city with the reed to a length of twelve thousand stadia; the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.”

In summary, the light, the city, and the mountain all come out of the divine life in God’s people. The Lord spoke all of Matthew 5, including verse 14, to His disciples, and three times spoke of “our Father” (v. 16, 45, 48). As sons of the heavenly Father we are the light of the world and the city on a mountain. All of this culminates in New Jerusalem.

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

Now & New Jerusalem: Behold His Face (6)

New JerusalemIn New Jerusalem we will see the face of God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:4). In this age, God has shined in our hearts and we turn our hearts to the Lord to behold and reflect His glory.

In 2 Corinthians 3 we turn our heart from everything to the Lord to behold Him. This is the same as Hebrews 12:1-2, “let us…put away every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and run with endurance the race which is set before us, looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.” Lord, enlighten us to see and put away the encumbrances.

The sins we must put away, by confessing and receiving the Lord’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9), are obviously negative. The encumbrances however may seem positive—our attitudes, goals, preferences, interests, etc. However, we must put these away because they hinder our “looking away unto Jesus.” This is like Matthew 1624-25; we must deny ourself and take up our cross to follow Him.

Many parallels are in these verses: looking away, putting away, turning (2 Cor. 3), denying (Matt. 16). Moses is an example; he considered “the reproach of the Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked away to the reward” (Heb. 11:26). He had the Lord’s presence as his reward then and will participate in New Jerusalem as the ultimate reward.  Lord, grant us the same attitude and consideration that Moses had!

By denying and turning, we look to Jesus. This looking, to see His face in spirit today, is our current reward, our foretaste of seeing His face in New Jerusalem. In our looking away to Jesus He, as the Author/Source/Initiator and as the Perfecter/Completer of our faith, will energize us to run the race with endurance to the goal.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (5)

#NewJerusalemWe received the Christian life, the divine life, the life of New Jerusalem, at our regeneration. Now we pursue growth in this life that we may reach God’s goal for us. On one hand, God will bring us to this goal. On the other hand, there is need of our pursuing and our laboring in prayer (prior 3 posts).

Hebrews 13:20-21 is on the side that God will do what is needed. “Now the God of peace, He who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, in the blood of an eternal covenant, perfect you in every good work for the doing of His will, doing in us that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ; to Him be the glory forever and ever.”

His doing in us is based on the Lord’s blood shed in His redeeming death. The goal of His doing is eternal glory to Him through New Jerusalem.

Hebrews 12:1-2 is on the side that we need to cooperate. “Let us…put away every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and run with endurance the race which is set before us, looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith…” We follow the example of the Old Testament people of faith, described in Hebrews 11, to put away all hindrances and run the race before us.

Are we able to do this? Not in ourselves! But we “look away unto Jesus!” He attracts us and empowers us to overcome all the distractions and run toward Him with New Jerusalem as the ultimate goal. While we are looking to Him, He perfects our faith, just as He has already authored (initiated) it. Praise Him! Lord, keep me looking away to You!

Photo courtesy of

New Jerusalem, City of the Living God

New JerusalemRevelation 21–22 presents a vision of the holy city, New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven to the new earth. Let’s look at descriptions of this holy city in other books of the Bible.

Hebrews 12:22 speaks of “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” The living God desires a living city composed of all His redeemed and regenerated people.

When we are made alive with the divine life in regeneration, we become “sons of the living God” (Rom. 9:26) to be “the temple of the living God (2 Cor. 6:6) and “the house of God, the church of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). These consummate in New Jerusalem, the city of the living God.

Revelation 21:23 says of New Jerusalem, “the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” This combination of city and light reminds me of Matthew 5:14-16. Verse 14 says, “You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” Although New Jerusalem is not said to be “upon a mountain,” it will be very prominent in the new creation, in no way hidden.

 Today the kingdom people, with Christ shining within us, are the light to the fallen world. In eternity we, built into the city with Christ continuing to shine within us, will enlighten the new creation.

Hebrews 12 presents the city of the living God. Hebrews 11 also speaks about New Jerusalem: “the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God” (v. 10) and “He [God] has prepared a city for them [the people of faith]” (v. 16).

Here are some prior posts about the God-prepared city in Hebrews 11.
We Enter New Jerusalem by Faith
Enter into What God Has Prepared
God Has Prepared the City, But …
God Has Prepared, We are Experiencing

Photo courtesy of

We See Jesus, We Look Away to Jesus

Hebrews 2:6-8a, quoting Psalm 8:4-8, says about Jesus, “What is man, that You bring him to mind? Or the son of man, that You care for him? You have made Him a little inferior to the angels; You have crowned Him with glory and honor and have set Him over the works of Your hands; You have subjected all things under His feet.”

New JerusalemJesus was made “a little inferior to the angels” in incarnation (see Phil. 2:5-8) and was “crowned with glory and honor” after His resurrection and ascension (see Acts 2:22-36).

Hebrews 2:8b-9a continues, “For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing unsubject to Him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him, but WE SEE JESUS…”

What does this have to do with New Jerusalem? Today we do not see all the things God has done. Apparently not all things in this world are subject to Jesus. We don’t see New Jerusalem. We don’t realize how God is working in a hidden way to prepare for the second coming of Jesus. But, we do know God is “leading many sons into glory” (Heb. 2:10), a glory which consummates in New Jerusalem.

We cannot correlate everything around us and all that happens in society with “leading many sons into glory,” but WE SEE JESUS. Rather than trying to understand world events, let us “run with endurance the race which is set before us, LOOKING AWAY UNTO JESUS, the Author and Perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:1b-2a).

Jesus is the Author of our faith and it is by this faith that we look to Him. It is by this faith we realize that God is leading us into the glory of the Lord’s return, the glory of the kingdom, and the glory of New Jerusalem. Lord, keep us looking away from outward things and looking at You.

Photo courtesy of NASA and ESA.

Jesus Christ, the Originator and the Finisher

New JerusalemRevelation 1:5-6 says that Jesus Christ, through His redemption, “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.” Revelation 22:3-5 says that we will serve Him as priests and will reign with Him in New Jerusalem. Thus, the kingdom of priests extends from the Lord’s resurrection to eternity.

Revelation 5:9-10 says the same. In a praise to the Lamb, we read, “You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made them a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.”

These verses make it clear that we are a kingdom of priests not by our choice nor by our accomplishments nor by our efforts nor due to anything else of ourselves. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests.

Since we are priests, we should live as priests. But learning to live as a priest is also not by our own determination nor by our own energy. The key is “looking away unto Jesus, the Author [Originator, Inaugurator] and Perfecter [Finisher, Completer] of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

The “looking away” to Him is also our “coming to Him” (1 Peter 2:4) by which we “are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood” (2:5). Our coming to Him is by prayer, singing, declaring His word, thanking Him, calling on His name (Romans 10:12-13), and praising.

He is the initiation of the kingdom of priests and He will bring us to the consummation in New Jerusalem.

A song begins_-_Take time to behold Him,
______________Speak oft with Thy Lord,
____________Abide in Him always,
______________And feed on His Word.

Photo by Gregory Heath, courtesy of CSIRO Australia.

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