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.

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.

New Earth is Coming; the World is Going

“According to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). This new creation is presented to us in Revelation 21:1-2 with New Jerusalem as the site of God’s throne.

The Bible speaks of both the earth and the world. The earth was created by God for His purpose but the primary meaning of “world” in the Bible is the system created by Satan to take men away from God. The Lord Jesus told us, “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the ruler of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). He accomplished this by His death.

The world is still around us because the judgment on the cross has not yet been brought to conclusion. This is like a person pronounced guilty by a judge in a law court. The verdict is final but it takes some time to transfer the criminal to prison. This is why the Lord asked the Father to “keep us out of the hands of the evil one”—the cast-out ruler—who is the source of the world (John 17:14-16).

New JerusalemIn Revelation 20 the executing of the judgment on the world will be concluded. The devil and everything originating with him (including the lust and vainglory of the world – 1 John 2:16) will be cast into the lake of fire. As a result, the new earth will have New Jerusalem but will not have any world.

The Lord told us, “take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Now, by regeneration, He is the Overcomer in us: “everything that has been begotten of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory which has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).

The new heaven and new earth with New Jerusalem is our goal. May God keep us from the world, even though we outwardly are living in the world. Inwardly Christ is life both today, in the coming age, and in New Jerusalem.

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God’s Eternal Purpose for the Earth (6)

God created the earth and man for His purpose. Man was deceived by Satan and captured by the world, but God in Christ saved us. The world was judged and will be totally eliminated and God will gain a new earth with New Jerusalem for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose.

New JerusalemIn Christ we are not of the world, but the world remains around us and attracts the fallen portion of our being. We need to cooperate with the regenerated part of our being to overcome the world.

Like James, John warns us about the world, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him; because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vainglory of life, is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16).

John also encourages us, “And the world is passing away, and its lust, but he who does the will of God abides forever” (v. 17). Our secret to overcoming the world is to love the Father to let Him energize us to do His will. Then we “abide forever,” being in New Jerusalem.

First John 2:17 is similar to the Lord’s word in John 14:23, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.” Again, our love is the key. Then the Father and Son can be active within us and their presence will save us from the attractions of the world.

Father, I love You! Lord Jesus, I love You! Strengthen Your abode within me now and unto New Jerusalem!

Bible verses are quoted 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.

Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (5)

We are growing and being perfected in our Christian life. Our maturity in life and our perfection (Matt. 5:48) match New Jerusalem. This is not merely human maturity and human perfection; rather, it is Christ growing in us, Christ formed in us (Gal. 4:19), Christ making home in our hearts (Eph. 3:17). Christ in us becomes our maturity and perfection.

In 1 John 2:5 His word is for our perfection: “whoever keeps His word, truly in this one the love of God has been perfected.” In John 14:23 the Lord Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.” On one hand we need the word for our perfecting in love. On the other hand we need love to keep the word. Growth in Christian life is often bidirectional like this, not a matter of a sequence of steps. Lord, keep me loving You and Your word.

#NewJerusalemGod’s love is perfect, but there is a need for it to be perfected in us. This perfection saves us from all other loves, as in 1 John 2:15. And this perfection prepares us for New Jerusalem.

In 1 John 4:12 we love one another because God’s love is in us. While we are loving, God abides in us. The result is that God’s love is perfected in us. This shows that the perfection is not our human doing but is our cooperation with God working in us. “His love is perfected in us!

Then in verses 16-17 God is love in us. We open ourselves to this love, and then we and God have a mutual abiding and His love is perfected in us. Again, it is God in Christ perfecting us by being formed in us. Our cooperation with God’s perfecting work in us is the preparation of New Jerusalem.

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Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (3)

While we are growing in our Christian life we are also being perfected. Our maturity in life and our perfection (Matt. 5:48) match New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemOur perfection includes transformation. Romans 12:2 exhorts us, “…be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.”

The result of transformation is that we corporately show forth the will of God. This will is good, in God’s sight, as is New Jerusalem. However, there may be outward events which help our transformation, which are not “good” according to our understanding.

In the same way, Romans 8:28 tells us that “all things work together for good to those who love God.” Again, this is God’s view of “good” and it applies to those who love God, those who are foreknown and predestinated by Him in eternity past to go through a process in order to be glorified (8:29-30). This glory ultimately is New Jerusalem.

Our transformation, the renewing of our mind, includes a change in our concept of “good.” God’s view of “good” is that we be transformed, conformed to the image of His Son (8:29), and glorified for New Jerusalem. This is far beyond a good job, a good, car, a good vacation, good food, etc.

Paul was pursuing God’s “good” (Phil. 3:12-14). Hence, in physical things he was content to abound or to be abased (Phil. 4:11-12).

The will of God in Romans 12 is well pleasing to Him, and to us when we are one with Him. God has predestinated us from eternity for His good pleasure (Eph. 1:5). And His good pleasure consummates in eternity with New Jerusalem. The will of God, including New Jerusalem, is perfect since God is perfect.

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The Mystery of God Revealed in Spirit to Those Who Love God

This is the era of the mysteries of God (1 Cor. 2:1), of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11), of God’s will according to His good pleasure (Eph. 1:9), of Christ (Eph. 3:4), of the gospel (Eph. 6:19), and of godliness (1 Tim. 3:16). These are not separate mysteries but multiple facets of one mystery.

New JerusalemThe mystery will reach a conclusion (Rev. 10:7), and everything of God will, pleasure, and purpose will be manifested. Nevertheless, the contents of the mystery—God, Christ, the kingdom, God’s will, the gospel, and godliness—will continue eternally in New Jerusalem.

How can we see and enter into this mystery? Revelation in spirit and grace are necessary. For our sake, the apostles received a revelation in spirit (Eph. 3:3, 5) and received grace to minister it to enlighten us (3:7-9). This is according to God’s eternal purpose (3:11) so it surely includes New Jerusalem.

The mystery of God proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 2 was not according to human wisdom. To grasp God’s wisdom, our first key is “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not come up in man’s heart; things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (2:9). Natural senses (eye, ear, etc.) cannot touch the things God has hidden. Our need is to love Him. O God, we love You.

Our second key is “We have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit which is from God, that we may know the things which have been graciously given to us by God” (2:12). We have received the Spirit and, the things which God has prepared, “God has revealed them through the Spirit” (2:10). O God, grant me a spirit of revelation to see the things You have revealed by Your Spirit.

To see more of New Jerusalem, which is mysterious to the natural man, we love God and receive the Spirit’s revelation.

Love the Lord to see New Jerusalem

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God’s Kingdom, Now and New Jerusalem

God has called us into His kingdom and glory (1 Thes. 2:12) to fulfill His purpose of being expressed and reigning through a corporate man (Gen. 1:26-28). Ultimately this goal is fulfilled in New Jerusalem which expresses God and is the center of His ruling in the universe.

New JerusalemRevelation 1:6 tells us that Jesus Christ “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever.” Again God’s kingdom and glory are linked. Today God has made the believers His kingdom; in the future the whole earth will be.

In Revelation 1:9 we read, “I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos…” The apostle John was inwardly in the kingdom while outwardly exiled to Patmos. New Jerusalem will be an open manifestation of the kingdom’s inward reality in which John was, and we are, participating.

In 1:9 John does not mention glory, only tribulation and endurance. Romans, Thessalonians through Titus, and James all have multiple mentions of endurance, which is needed to hold fast our faith in tribulations. Second Thessalonians 3:5 says, “the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the endurance of Christ.” Our natural endurance is not what God wants; we need to be led into the endurance of Christ.

New Jerusalem will not display our natural (and fallen) virtues. Rather, it will be an exhibition of what God has imparted into us, including the love of God and the endurance of Christ. The glory of New Jerusalem will be a product of our loving God with the love He gives us and the many virtues of Christ realized by us in our living now, both in good times and in trials.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Pursue now, unto New Jerusalem (2)

Our present New Testament pursuing includes peace, love, sanctification, and building up (verses in prior post). All of these point toward New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAdditionally, 2 Timothy 2:22 entreats us to “flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Our pursuing of righteousness is our pursuing of Christ because God has made Him righteousness to us (1 Cor. 1:30).

“We are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). Not only New Jerusalem, but also the entire new universe will be characterized by righteousness. Furthermore, Psalm 89:14 says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne.” Ultimately the throne is in New Jerusalem from which the living water flows for eternity (Rev. 22:1).

We also pursue faith. This faith is our conviction of things not seen, including New Jerusalem, the city with foundations toward which Abraham looked (Heb. 11:1, 10, 16). We pursue peace too, which comes from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (start of Rom., 1&2 Cor., Gal., Eph., Phil) and is called “the peace of Christ” in Colossians 3:15. Additionally we pursue love, the love which is of God (Rom. 5:5) and is God Himself (1 John 4:16).

All our pursuing (and our fleeing also) is “with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” To call on the Lord is to cry out to Him. This is an audible calling, as in Acts 7:59, and 9:14, 21. Here is much more on the Biblical history of calling on the name of the Lord. Given this long history, it is likely that even in New Jerusalem we will call on the name of the Lord Jesus.

Lord, bring me into the practice of 2 Timothy 2:22. Give me calling companions with whom I can call on You and pursue You as my righteousness, faith, love, and peace.

More: Discovering the Indwelling Christ as the Spirit by Calling on Him at Holding to Truth.

The House of the Living God—The Church Now, New Jerusalem in Eternity

The Fall 2012 issue of Affirmation & Critique* is on New Jerusalem. Here is an excerpt from the second article, Aspects of the New Jerusalem as the City of the Living God (by Witness Lee).

God has been working throughout the ages, first creating the universe and man and then coming to earth to redeem man. The Lord Jesus, the God-man, lived on earth, He was crucified and resurrected, He ascended, and He poured Himself out as the Spirit upon His disciples. The disciples then went out to preach the gospel. As a result of the preaching of the gospel, throughout the centuries people have been saved and added to the church in order to be built up as the Body of Christ to express Him.…The New Jerusalem is a great sign of the totality of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people.

The church today is the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). This house is not an actual house but the totality of God’s people. This house is a sign signifying that the church’s function today is to be a house in which the Triune God can dwell. In eternity this house will be enlarged to a city—the New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe physical things of the Old Testament were signs. Now we are in the New Testament age, the age of reality. This reality is spiritual, not material. We “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit” (Ephesians 2:22).

How wonderful that God desires to dwell in His people. For this Christ is making His home in our hearts (Ephesians 3:15) and we are being built up as a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5). This is the fulfillment of what the Lord promised in John 14:23, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.”

The key is to love the Lord Jesus. Lord, grant us mercy to love You every day from now unto New Jerusalem!

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

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