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.

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem, 3

This is the next verse of a song about Christ’s love for the church as His wife. This love extends to New Jerusalem, His eternal wife.

New JerusalemIt begins with mercy and love. Ephesians 2:1-3 speaks of our fallen condition but 2:4 declares the contrast, “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.” Through mercy and love, God made us alive together with Christ and raised us up together with Him.

Ephesians 2:7 tells us that God’s desire is that “He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” The ability to produce this display out of our fallen condition manifests God’s unsurpassed wisdom and is through His grace, both mentioned in the verse and the song.

Certainly we can sense the love of God and must thank Him for this love, yet we are limited. We should expect, as in the song, that the fulness of this love is only comprehended by God.

This verse of the song ends with Christ laying down His life as a fragrant offering. The Lord spoke of this in John 10:11, “the good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” And Ephesians 5:25 tells us, “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

The fragrance at the end is clearly typified by the fragrance of the offerings in Leviticus and implied by the Father’s word “This is My Son, the Beloved, in whom I have found My delight” (Matt. 3:17).

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem, 2

We look at a song about Christ’s love for the church, a love clearly stated in Ephesians 5:25-27. This statement is in the context of human marriage as a portrait of Christ and His wife, the church in Ephesians and New Jerusalem in Revelation.

New JerusalemThe graphic begins with part of the second verse of the song. Creation is presented in Genesis, but the church and New Jerusalem are the “mystery which has been hidden from the ages” until after the resurrection of Christ. Although it was not revealed before the resurrection, as the song says, it was “hidden in God” and hinted by the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2.

The graphic continues with part of the third verse of the song. Sin entered and man was shut out of the garden of Eden, with no chance to be one with God. Man’s helpless state is shown in many ways through the Bible, for example in Romans 7.

Nevertheless, Christ’s love for the church and His longing for New Jerusalem did not end. He is not discouraged. Even during the Old Testament times, God sometimes spoke of Himself as the Husband of His people (e.g. Jer. 31:32).

God waited for the time proper in His divine view, the time to come in incarnation, the time to manifest His love for mankind. Continued in the next post.


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 Living Stream Ministry.

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.

Not Loving the Soul Life for New Jerusalem

Near the beginning of the New Testament, the Lord Jesus told us to deny our self, take up our cross, and lose our soul life. This denying, taking up, and losing is the practical termination of our natural life so that His resurrection life, the life of New Jerusalem, may be manifested.

New JerusalemNear the end of the New Testament we read about some who faithfully carried out this word of the Lord. “They [some believers] overcame him [the Devil] because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved not their soul-life even unto death” (Rev. 12:11). Not loving the soul life = denying it.

In Revelation 2 and 3 the Lord had multiple churches in Asia Minor, yet He was not satisfied. In the epistle to every church, he called for overcomers. Even in speaking well about Philadelphia, He called for overcomers. And in Revelation 12 we see that He gained some.

These overcomers “loved not their soul-life even unto death.” In contrast, they loved “our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility” (Eph. 6:24). This means that they loved the Lord absolutely. They did not love with any selfish motive* but denied themselves.

Incorruptibility is a characteristic of New Jerusalem. We need to deny even our natural love for the Lord, that we may love Him with this incorruptible love. We love Him in this way now, when He comes, and unto New Jerusalem.

*James and John loved the Lord Jesus, but in the early years they loved selfishly. They asked, “Grant to us to sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory” (Mark 10:37). In their later years, after the Lord’s resurrection, they were faithful unto death.
Photo courtesy of Burning Well.

 

Through Sufferings to New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemThe Christian life includes sufferings, but our focus is not on them. Instead, we focus on the unseen, weighty, eternal things including Christ as our hope of glory—the glory of His return and of New Jerusalem.

Romans 8:16-18 says, “The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God. And if children, heirs also; on the one hand, heirs of God; on the other, joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed upon us.”

Romans 8 is clear that we are children of God growing to be heirs. During this growth we suffer, but not by ourselves. “We suffer with Him.” The result is “we may also be glorified with Him.” May we be filled with the attitude that the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory, a glory which concludes with New Jerusalem.

Romans 8:35 asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword?” Verse 40 answers that nothing can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

In Romans 5 our hope, which is Christ in us, energizes us to pass through sufferings. In Romans 8 love, which is also Christ in us, energizes us. Then Romans 12:12 encourages us to “Rejoice in hope; endure in tribulation; persevere in prayer.” By rejoicing and praying, we contact the Lord, and He supplies us to walk the suffering path to His return, after which we enjoy New Jerusalem.

 

 

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