The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready

New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:9-10). In Revelation 19 a great multitude shouts, “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, New Jerusalemand His wife has made herself ready.”

We, all the believers in Christ, as members of the corporate bride, get ready by cooperating with the Spirit’s work in us. Our cooperation hastens the readiness of the bride and the Lord’s coming.

Two portions in Matthew (one in the next post) speak about our readiness. Matthew 24 charges us to watch and to be ready for the Lord’s coming. His coming is both for judgment and for presenting the church to Himself glorious as His prepared bride.

The charge to be ready is in the context of historical and present unreadiness. These people are a warning to us. I see three principles to safeguard us. First, the Lord says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall by no means pass away” (24:35). Lord, make Your words always living to us.

Second, people are occupied with worldly endeavors. These are not necessarily evil but “If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.” Lord Jesus, keep me loving You and the Father!”

Third, in Gethsemane the Lord put watching and praying together. To watch is to be alert in fellowship with the Lord in prayer. Lord, make me a praying person. These three actions get us ready for the rejoicing of Revelation 19 and onward to New Jerusalem.


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 LSM.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Where Does the River Flow Today?

In New Jerusalem there is “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1).

Where is this river today? The answer is in John 7. “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. But this He said concerning the Spirit.”

New JerusalemThe river of New Jerusalem in Revelation is “of life” and this life is the eternal life of God. This is not a physical river but a spiritual river.

This river flows in everyone who comes to the Lord. To come is to drink. This drinking is spiritual: “we were all given to drink one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13).

How do we drink? The Lord invites us to come to Him. We can pray honestly and simply to Him, telling Him whatever is on our heart. First Peter 5:7 asks us to cast “all your anxiety on Him because it matters to Him concerning you.”

Isaiah 12:3, “Draw water with rejoicing from the springs of salvation.” When we praise the Lord, we are drinking. And Isaiah 55:1, 6, “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters….Call upon Him while He is near.” The Lord is rich to all who call upon Him; this is another way to drink the river.

The river of New Jerusalem is the same flowing Spirit we drink today.

Take Freely the Water of Life

 

 

A Bountiful Supply, Now and New Jerusalem

After the description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21, verse 22:1 says, “And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.”

New JerusalemThe prior posts are about what comes out of Christ will be presented to Him. Those posts focused on the pattern in Genesis 2. Then I began to consider New Testament verses about what comes out of Christ. These correspond with the river flowing out of the throne in New Jerusalem.

Galatians 3:5 speaks of “He who bountifully supplies to you the Spirit.” This bountiful supply is today’s equivalent of the river of life in New Jerusalem. That river is the Spirit flowing from God and Christ—the Triune God as our bountiful supply for eternity. We receive this “out of the hearing of faith” (Gal. 3:5).

In Philippians 1:19 Paul says, “I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Paul was in prison and some were preaching Christ out of envy and strife to trouble him. Even within such a negative environment, he expected salvation by the bountiful supply of the Spirit, the same Spirit flowing out of the throne in New Jerusalem.

This salvation was not escape from prison nor punishment to those afflicting Paul. Rather, salvation was his daily living and magnifying Christ in every situation (Phil. 1:20-21). Ultimately in New Jerusalem we will all live and magnify Christ 100 percent of the time. This wonderful salvation comes based on the petition of believers for one another.

Lord, remind us to pray for one another that we may experience the bountiful supply and thereby live and magnify You day by day.

The Bright Lamb-Lamp of New Jerusalem

In Matthew 16:28 the Lord said that some disciples would see “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” A week later three saw Him transfigured. This is the kingdom of God with the glory of God. Ultimately, the kingdom and glory is New Jerusalem. John tells us that he saw the city has the throne of the kingdom at its center and has the glory of God (Rev. 22:1, 21:10-11).

The seeing of the kingdom in Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9 gives us a preview of New Jerusalem. These chapters speak not about outward power but about the appearance of the Lord.
“He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light.” (Matt. 17:2)
“He was transfigured before them, and His garments became sparkling, exceedingly white.” (Mark 9:3)
“And as He prayed, the appearance of His face became different, and His garment dazzling white.” (Luke 9:29)

New JerusalemAlthough Jesus knew beforehand that this transfiguration would happen, Luke records that He prayed. We need to pray to release what God wants for His kingdom on earth, as in Matthew 6:9-10.

His prayer and transfiguration indicate that the change in His appearance was from within, not from outside. The Greek word translated transfiguration is also transformation in 2 Corinthians 3:18. There the word clearly indicates a change by the Spirit operating within us to bring us onward in glory.

The brightness of the Lord Jesus on the mountain is a preview of His brightness as the Lamb-lamp in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23). This is the glory of God radiating through Him, a glory brighter than the sun, so that New Jerusalem “has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it.”

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New Jerusalem, not in the Natural Realm (2)

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the Lord’s redeeming work on the cross, the Lord’s sanctifying/purifying work now, and His glorifying work at His return.  We see New Jerusalem by being carried away in spirit (out of the natural realm) onto a great and high mountain (above the level of our ordinary living).

To consider Revelation 21–22 as something natural is to miss the reality presented here. This is to repeat the error common in John’s gospel—interpreting or trying to grasp the Lord’s spiritual presentation by natural understanding. Here are more examples of this.

New Jerusalem• In 6:51-55 no one understood how the Lord could give us His flesh to eat for eternal life. But He spoke of the Spirit who gives life (v. 63).
• In 8:32-34 He spoke about being free from the slavery of sin but the hearers thought only about human slavery.
• In 8:51-53 the Lord spoke about keeping His word to overcome eternal death but the hearers could only think of physical death.
• In 11:11-14 the Lord used sleep as a picture of death; the disciples thought of physical sleep and could not comprehend His word.
• In 14:7-11 the Lord told the disciples that they had seen the Father manifested in His living and doing, but they only thought of physical seeing.

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the church as the Body of Christ, His fullness (Eph. 1:22-23). New Jerusalem is also the consummation of the new man created by Christ in Himself (Eph 2:15), the holy temple growing in Him (2:21), and the dwelling place of God in spirit (2:22). Surely this is not in the natural realm. Lord, carry me away in spirit to see New Jerusalem!

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New Jerusalem, not in the Natural Realm

New JerusalemJohn saw New Jerusalem when an angel showed it to him and carried him away “in spirit onto a great and high mountain” (Rev. 21:9-10). The angel’s showing, in spirit, and on a high mountain, indicate that seeing New Jerusalem is not based on human capability, is not in the natural realm, and is not on an ordinary level.

New Jerusalem is the bride of Christ, the consummation of His work of redeeming, sanctifying, and glorifying all His believers (Eph. 5:25-27). Thus, we should not think of New Jerusalem as a physical city. To think about the Lord’s words in the physical realm is to repeat a recurring error. Here are examples of this error from John’s gospel.

• In 2:19 Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews were in the natural realm, thinking He spoke about the physical temple. But, He spoke about His body in resurrection.
• In 3:3-6 Jesus spoke about being born anew, being born of the Spirit. Nicodemus misunderstood, thinking about natural birth.
• In 4:10-14 Jesus spoke about living water but the Samaritan woman only could conceive of physical water.
• In 4:32-34 the Lord spoke about being nourished by doing the Father’s will but the disciples only thought about physical food.
• In 6:38, 42 the Lord spoke about coming out of heaven but the Jews could not get beyond their knowledge of His human family.

These examples (and more in the next post) show the futility of depending on our own knowledge and comprehension with divine things. To see and understand New Jerusalem we need to be out of our natural understanding. We need to ask the Lord to carry us away,to keep us in spirit, and to bring us the high mountain so that we may receive a revelation of New Jerusalem.

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We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (3)

In the New Testament are many verses about our growth and maturity. This is needed so that we will match New Jerusalem’s perfection.

#NewJerusalemColossians 1:28 speaks about becoming “full-grown in Christ.” In the next verse Paul tells us that for this full growth “I labor, struggling according to His oper-ation which operates in me in power.”

Struggle indicates a considerable effort. This shows both the importance of our maturity (to match New Jerusalem) and the non-trivial effort to reach maturity.

This struggle is not only for the apostles. Colossians 4:12 tells us “Epaphras, who is one of you [a Colossian], a slave of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.”

Epaphras copied Paul’s example, and struggled for the maturity of his fellows believers.  Lord, grant us the willingness to struggle as Epaphras did. To struggle for maturity in this way is to struggle for New Jerusalem, which is the goal of the will of God, the goal of the bible, the goal of all the revelations in the Bible.

This struggle for maturity is not in our own effort. Instead, like the praying of Epaphras, the struggle is by our cooperation with God so that He can move through us. Our confidence is in God “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun in you a good work will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God began a good work in us by regeneration in response to our believing. God will complete the work to bring us to maturity and to New Jerusalem at a speed dependent on our cooperation.

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Partake of One Bread, One Body, One City

Pictures of the oneness of New Jerusalem include the one flock, the one new man, and the one Body. Another picture is in 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, “The bread which we break, is it not the fellowship of the body of Christ? Seeing that there is one bread, we who are many are one Body; for we all partake of the one bread.”

The breaking portrays the death of Christ and the partaking implies His resurrection. By His death and resurrection, we have all become one in Him. This is the oneness of His Body, of the one new man, and of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPartaking of the bread makes us one. This is not the physical bread on the table, which is only a symbol. Remember John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” Jesus Christ is the real bread, the living bread, as testified in all of John 6. Today our eating/partaking must be by exercising our spirit to contact the Spirit.

The most solid way to partake is with the Word and Spirit together. Ephesians 6:17-18 encourages us to receive “the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit.”

The word in verse 17 is “the instant word spoken at the moment by the Spirit in any situation. The sword, the Spirit, and the word are one. When the constant word in the Bible becomes the instant word, that word is the Spirit as the sword that kills the enemy.*”

The spirit in verse 18 is “our regenerated spirit, indwelt by the Spirit of God. It may be considered the mingled spirit — the spirit that is our spirit mingled with God’s Spirit. In praying, the main faculty that we should use is this spirit.**”

Receiving the word in spirit energizes us to participate in the one Body as the foretaste of New Jerusalem.

*Note 4 on Ephesians 6:17 and **note 3 on Ephesians 6:18 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version © by Living Stream Ministry

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