The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb

New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:2, 9). This marriage is foreshadowed by Christ and the church, presented in the context of human marriage in Ephesians 5. This relationship is in love. Here is a link to each post about this relationship in Ephesians plus a verse from each. The last four links are for a song about Christ’s love for the church.

New Jerusalem

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 1
“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.”

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 2–3
“God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…made us alive together with Christ.”

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 4
“Holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ” for “the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 5
“Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…that He might present the church to Himself glorious.”

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 6:23
“Peace to the brothers and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 6:24
“Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.”

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Spoken to Ephesus in Revelation 2
“I have one thing against you, that you have left your first love”

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Spoken to Ephesus in 1 Timothy 1
“Remain in Ephesus in order that you might charge certain ones not to teach different things….The goal of the charge is love.”

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 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.”

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem, 2
“I was their Husband, declares Jehovah.”

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem, 3
“The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem, 4
“The bride, the wife of the Lamb….the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God”

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Spoken to Ephesus in 1 Timothy 1

New JerusalemLast month there were six posts from Ephesians on the love between Christ the Husband and His wife the church (now) and New Jerusalem (eternally). My most recent post was the Lord’s rebuke to Ephesus in Revelation 2 because of their loss of the first love to Him.

How did they lose this love while remain-ing very active for the Lord in many things? First Timothy 1 gives us a view.

Paul exhorted Timothy to “remain in Ephesus in order that you might charge certain ones not to teach different things nor to give heed to myths and unending genealogies, which produce questionings rather than God’s economy, which is in faith”
(v. 3-4)

Then Paul says “the end/goal/purpose* of the charge is love out of a pure heart and out of a good conscience and out of unfeigned faith” (v. 5). These three inward sources of love make for a proper church life and prepare us for New Jerusalem.

The goal of Paul’s charge is love for the Lord out of a proper, upright inner being. The things which quench our love for the Lord and oppose this goal are different teachings, myths, genealogies, vain talking, and law teaching (v. 4-7). In contrast, 2 Timothy 2:22 exhorts us to pursue love “with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Lord Jesus, I love You! Save me from all the distractions to remain in Your love.

* Various translations in 1 Tim. 1:5, thanks to Bible Hub.

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Spoken to Ephesus in Revelation 2

New Jerusalem is a marriage. The relationship of the Lord and the city, His bride, is in love. Last month there were six posts on this love from verses in Ephesians, The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians.

At the beginning of Ephesians God “chose us…to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” At the end of Ephesians “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” Approximately 30 years after Ephesians was written, the Lord spoke to them again in Revelation 2:1-7.

New JerusalemThe Lord commended the Ephesians for their work and labor and endurance and hating what He hates (v. 2-3, 6). However, He also said, “I have one thing against you, that you have left your first love” (v. 4).

The Lord focused on this one lack among them because loving Him is so important. We go to the marriage of the Lamb in love and with love.

The Lord’s word to the Ephesians is also to us: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (v. 7).

The Lord’s instruction to us is “Remember therefore where you have fallen from and repent” (v. 5). We need the rebuke in verse 4 and the reminder in verse 5. Thank the Lord that there is still time to repent!

Lord Jesus, forgive me for letting my love to You fade. Please keep my ear open to the Spirit and remind me always to love You.

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

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 17 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit, the emphasis, of Revelation. Throughout Revelation Jesus Christ is carrying out God’s economy to develop His corporate testimony, which consummates with New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRevelation 15 to 18 is mostly judgments (ch. 17). Verse 17:14 says, “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and they who are with Him, the called and chosen and faithful, will also overcome them.” Here again the Lord is declared to be the Ruler of the whole earth.

In 17:14 He displays His victory. The victory is simple—the Bible gives no details of this “war.” The victory is simple because the war is extremely short, exactly like the war in 19:19-21. It is short because the Lamb is the overcoming and almighty Lion (5:5). The ultimate result of these victories is a new creation, with New Jerusalem, in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13).

Verse 17:14 also says, “they who are with Him, the called and chosen and faithful, will also overcome them.” The faithful believers with the Lamb overcome all the opposers, as also in chapters 12 and 19. These believers  participate in the Lamb’s victory.

In 1:5 and 3:14 the Lord Jesus Christ is the faithful One, and in 19:11 His name is “Faithful and True.” Furthermore, in 21:5 and 22:6 His words are faithful and true. The faithful believers are those who love the Lord, love His word, and take His word as their nourish-ment and enlightening. This is John 14:23, ” If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.”

Certainly in New Jerusalem we will all love the Lord and keep His word absolutely, but we need to be perfected now. Lord, grant us more love for You and Your word every day; form Yourself as the faithful One in us.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 2 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The testimony of Jesus is the centrality of Revelation (19:10). Here are more characteristics of our Lord Jesus Christ related to our progress to New Jerusalem (Rev. 2). Some of these characteristics are also in Revelation 1:13-20.

New JerusalemWe see the Lord Jesus Christ walking in the midst of the seven lampstands (1:12-13), the seven churches (1:20) and caring for them in Revelation 2–3. His care is not limited to this age, because the lampstands today are the forerunner of the eternal lampstand, New Jerusalem.

Revelation 2:1 repeats the fact that the Lord is “He who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.” His walking and speaking care for the churches. As our High Priest, His care brings us to Himself and ministers Himself to us. His goal is to be glorified in us when He returns (2 Thes. 1:10) and in New Jerusalem.

Our response to His care should be the best love for Him (2:4) so that our love governs our working for Him (2:2).

In 2:8 the Lord describes Himself as “the First and the Last, who became dead and lived again.” Nothing in our lives starts without Him and nothing ends apart from Him. Therefore, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because it matters to Him concerning you” (1 Peter 5:7). Lord, fulfill in us Your word in 2:10, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

In 2:12 He is the One “who has the sharp two-edged sword.” This sword is His living and operative word which is sharper than any physical sword and which can divide all the mixture in our being (Heb. 4:12). By the dividing, He can wash away all our blemishes to present us to Himself glorious (Eph. 5:26-27), causing us to match New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 1 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe heart, the central theme, of Revel-ation is the testimony of Jesus. He (not judgments nor beasts) is our focus.

In Revelation our Lord Jesus is seen in many ways. This post begins a look at some of His characteristics as they relate to our progress unto New Jerusalem. (Rev. 1:1-6)

In Revelation 1:4-5 grace and peace come to us from God who is, was, and is coming; and from the seven Spirits; and from Jesus Christ. Grace enables us to grow (2 Peter 3:18) and peace sustains us in the tribulations we face. The goal of our growing is the maturity of New Jerusalem.

In 1:5 Jesus Christ is the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. Although we may not be faithful to Him, He is faithful to care for us and to care for God’s purpose through us, all the way to New Jerusalem. He is also the Ruler of everything, no matter how confused we are by human governments today.

He is the Firstborn and we are His many brothers (Rom. 8:29), who have been made alive (resurrected) together with Him (Eph. 2:5-6) for the city of resurrection.

In 1:5 He also loves us and released us from our sins by His blood. Because He loves us, we are supplied to love Him. And we thank Him for releasing us!

In 1:6, He “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.” The consummation of this is our reigning with Him and serving Him as priests in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:5, 3).

Revelation 1:6 ends, “to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.” Yes, glory and might to our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ now and in New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Brotherly Love for New Jerusalem

First Corinthians 2:9b speaks of “things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” These “things” are not physical. Rather, they are “things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not come up in man’s heart” (2:9a). These mysterious things planned by God consummate in New Jerusalem.

My prior post is The Mystery of God Revealed in Spirit to Those Who Love God. Less than two weeks ago I attended a Christian gathering focusing on our experience of Christ as seen in Revelation 1–3 and 21–22. This gathering presented a strong tie between loving the Lord and God’s ultimate mystery, New Jerusalem. Here is a highlight.

New JerusalemIn the seven epistles in Revelation 2–3, the first step of degradation was losing the first/best love to the Lord (2:4). This love is seen positively in the sixth epistle, to Philadelphia (3:7-13), a name which means “brotherly love.” This is the atmosphere the Lord desires—that we love Him supremely and, in our love for Him, love all our brothers.

In this atmosphere of love we find the preparation of New Jerusalem. This is shown by the only mention of New Jerusalem in Revelation 2–3. The Lord promises the overcomers, “I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which descends out of heaven from My God, and My new name.” Such writing indicates that the overcomers in Philadelphia belong to, are one with, and are possessed by God, New Jerusalem, and the Lord.

The atmosphere of love matches the Lord’s word in Matthew 22:34-40, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” However, we should not try to fulfill this command in ourselves; instead, we apply 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.”

New Jerusalem comes forth in this atmosphere of love seen in Philadelphia; this is the best love becoming the bridal love for our Lord.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemEphesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” The spiritual blessings all lead to God’s glory (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14). Hence, they point towards New Jerusalem, God’s city of glory.

What God gives us are “spiritual blessings” (not physical) and they are “in the heavenlies” (not earthly) and they are “in Christ” (not in the old creation). All these characteristics of God’s blessings—spiritual, heavenly, in Christ—are for His eternal purpose and match characteristics of New Jerusalem. (God also promises to take care of our earthly needs but we should not long for or seek material blessings.)

These blessings are in three portions, each ending with the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14). These blessings are “according to the good pleasure of His will” (v. 5) and “according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself” (v. 9) and “according to the counsel of His will” (v. 11). These blessings relate to New Jerusalem because this city is the consummation all that God is doing according to the good pleasure of His will.

Ephesians 1:4 says, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” God’s choosing of us was in eternity and it is for eternity, including the eternal city New Jerusalem. God chose us to be holy before Him. This is for the “holy city” (Rev. 21:2) where we will “see His face” (22:4).

God’s choosing is also in love, for the eternal marriage of Christ and His bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2, 9). How wonderful that this one verse of blessings in Ephesians has so many pointers toward New Jerusalem. Lord Jesus, we love You!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Pursue Now, unto New Jerusalem

New JerusalemA recent post encourages us to
Pursue the Incorruptible New Jerusalem
I am convinced that we should do this, although this phrase is not explicitly in the Bible.

While praying on the phone with a brother, he touched 2 Timothy 2:22, which is about pursuing. That motivated me to look at New Testament verses on pursuing and how the objectives pursed relate to New Jerusalem. Here are the verses which touched me.

Romans 14:19 exhorts us to “pursue the things of peace and the things for building up one another.” First Peter 3:11 also urges us to pursue peace. Pursuing peace is certainly related to New Jerusalem because the name Jerusalem means “foundation of peace” (one two). Building up is a central feature of the New Testament (e.g. 1 Cor 3:6-12, Eph. 2:19-22, 4:15-16, 1 Peter 2:4-5) and New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s NT building.

First Corinthians 14:1 charges us to “pursue love, and desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” Love is not mentioned in the description of New Jerusalem but the God who is love is on the throne at the center of the city. How does prophesying relate? He who prophesies builds up (1 Cor. 14:3-5, 12).

In Philippians 3:12, 14 Paul tells us that he was pursuing toward the goal. He was such an advanced Christian by that time, yet he still pursued because there is always more of the unlimited Christ to be gained. His goal was to gain Christ, be found in Christ, know Christ experientially, to attain to the out-resurrection, and to lay hold of Christ (3:9-12). New Jerusalem will be the fulness of all these aspirations.

Hebrews 12:14 exhorts us to “pursue peace with all men and sanctification.” Peace is as in Romans 14:19.  The ultimate stage of *sanctification is the “holy city, New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2, 10).

Lord, draw us to pursue You every day as our peace, our love, our building up, our sanctification, our goal all the way to New Jerusalem.

* The Greek words translated sanctification and holy are very similar. The apparent difference in English is that one word comes from a Latin root and the other from an Anglo-Saxon root.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Grace be with Those Who Love Jesus Christ

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the bride of Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:2). Love is the critical factor for the bride to be prepared so that we may rejoice with all our Lord’s lovers that “the marriage of the Lamb has come” (Revelation 19:7).

Ephesians 5:2 encourages us to “walk in love, even as Christ also loved us and gave Himself up for us.” To walk in love is to have our daily life governed by and filled with love from the Lord to us and reflected from us to Him. Lord, fill us with Your love!

Ephesians 6:24 says “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” Regarding this verse:

The enjoyment of the Lord as grace is with those who love Him. In this book [Ephesians] the phrase in love, which is rich in feeling, is used repeatedly (1:4; 3:17; 4:2, 15-16; 5:2). Later, the church in Ephesus was rebuked by the Lord because she had lost her first love toward Him (Rev. 2:4)….The church, which is the Body of Christ, is also the bride of Christ, Christ’s wife. With the Body, the emphasis is on taking Christ as life; with the wife, the emphasis is on loving Christ. Therefore, this book emphasizes and also concludes with our love toward the Lord.*

Here is another verse of the song introduced in the prior post:
___Lord, keep my love burning brightly for You,
___A love never dwindling always hot for You,
___A love, shining brighter all the way for You,
___A love, so fresh like the day I first touched You

Lord Jesus, keep my love for You fresh, burning, and shining every day from here to New Jerusalem.

* Part of note 2 on Ephesians 6:24 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © 2003 by LSM.

Lord, Keep My Heart Always True to You

The first step in the New Testament toward New Jerusalem “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2) was God’s sending of John the Baptist to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Matthew 3:3).

Milford Sound, NZ, USFS photo by Robert Westover, CC 2.0This preparation was to turn men’s hearts to the Lord. Both John and the Lord Jesus exhorted people to repent, to have a turn to the Lord, to have a change of heart, to seek and love the Lord.

Matthew records many words of the Lord Jesus regarding our hearts.
We should be pure in heart (v. 5:8), seeking only God and His glory, a glory which consummates in New Jerusalem
Our treasure should be in the heavens so that our heart may be there also (v. 6:21)
The Lord Jesus is meek and lowly in heart (v. 11:29) and we can take Him as our lowliness and meekness
We should never let our heart get fat (calloused, dull, hard) but rather eagerly receive all the Lord’s words that they may grow in our hearts (v. 13:3-23)
We should not live a life according to traditions but always keep our heart close to the Lord (v. 15:1-9), loving Him and seeking Him
We apply the Lord’s forgiveness to forgive our brothers from our heart (v. 18:35)
We feed our fellows slaves with spiritual food, rather than being drunk with worldly people and saying in our heart that our Master delays (v. 24:45-51)
Above all, we love the Lord with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind. (v. 22:37)

The Lord says to the church in Ephesus, “I have one thing against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4). The more we love the Lord, the more we take Him as our life supply, symbolized by the tree of life (v. 2:7), which is a prominent characteristic of New Jerusalem (v. 22:2).

Here is a song, “Lord, keep my heart always true to You.” Lord, draw us to love You wholly and purely that we may be supplied by You as our tree of life to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

U.S. Forest Service photo by Robert Westover, Creative Commons 2.0.

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