Betrothed to Christ as a Pure Virgin for New Jerusalem

Two thousand years ago John saw “New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” John had been carried away in spirit to have this eternal view, unlimited by time*. In our human life in time, we need to cooperate with the Spirit for the preparation of the bride by the growth, perfecting, and renewing in Ephesians and Colossians.

Another aspect of the preparation of the bride is in 2 Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous over you with a jealousy of God; for I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” For this, Paul urges us to stay with “the simplicity and the purity toward Christ” (v. 3). We hold to the Jesus we received, the Spirit who regenerated us, and the gospel presented to us in the Bible (v. 4).

New JerusalemMatthew 5 also speaks of the pure in heart. To be pure in heart is to be single in purpose, to have the single goal of accomplishing God’s will for God’s glory (1 Cor. 10:31). Ultimately the goal and the glory are New Jerusalem.

Our pure heart is also in 2 Timothy 2:22, “flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” A pure heart is a single heart without mixture, a heart that seeks only the Lord and takes the Lord as the unique goal.

Lord, draw us daily to Yourself as our unique goal to purify us unto New Jerusalem.


Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

* More on seeing New Jerusalem in spirit:
See New Jerusalem with a Spirit of Faith
In Spirit to See and Enter New Jerusalem

The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus and the Preparation of the Bride

The Lord Jesus promised, “you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt. 26:64). He will come to judge the earth, to rapture the believers, and to “present the church to Himself glorious” as His bride, His wife. We must cooperate with His operation to be ready for this. Here are links to posts on this topic with a key point or verse from each.

New Jerusalem

The Lord says, “Behold, I come quickly.” In response “The Spirit and the bride say, Come!”

We do not merely wait for His coming. We can be people “expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God.”

In a parable in Matthew 24 the Lord charges us to watch and to be ready for His coming.

In Matthew 25 “The bridegroom came; and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast.”

In Matthew 25 there is a warning to us—not all believers were ready to enter.

The readiness of the bride comes from God working in us in response to our cooperation.

Our cooperation includes letting the Lord’s living word operate in us, not loving the world, watching in prayer, denying the self to be filled in spirit, and not saying, my Master delays.

Until the Lord comes, “count the long-suffering of our Lord to be salvation.”

On one hand Christ sanctifies the church “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.” On the other hand, Revelation declares “His wife has made herself ready.”

The Lord Jesus will come again in glory and will present the glorious church to Himself for His wedding. Eternally, glory fills New Jerusalem and the city “has the glory of God.”

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (7)

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.” Ephesians 5:25-27, “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word, that He might present the church to Himself New Jerusalemglorious.”

Does the wife, New Jerusalem, make herself ready or does Christ do it by His sanctifying washing? BOTH! The wife prepares herself by cooperating with the Lord’s operating in her.

Peter’s failure the night the Lord was arrested, the foolish virgins not gaining the oil, and the wicked servant saying that his lord delays all show us that in ourselves we cannot get ready. We need the washing of the Lord’s living word to wipe away all the negative things in us and to bring in more of the divine nature so that the church can become glorious.

The Lord’s desire is to sanctify us to become His glorious bride, the church now and New Jerusalem eternally. However, the Lord will not force Himself on us. We must choose to cooperate. To initially receive His redemption and His eternal life is once for all. But to cooperate with Him for this sanctifying is a life-long process. The word faithful appears about 50 times in the New Testament.

Our faithfulness is the fruit of the Spirit’s work in us (Gal. 5:22). Our faithful cooperation brings us forward to readiness and to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (6)

New JerusalemRevelation 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.” We need to pursue this readiness because we do not know when He will return.

An evil slave of the Lord says, “my master delays” (Matt. 24:48). Also, 2 Peter 3 says that mockers are saying there is delay but the Lord “is long-suffering toward you, not intending that any perish but that all advance to repentance.” The Lord is waiting in His mercy so that we have time to advance, to get ourselves ready.

We should never say “my Master delays” but instead “count the long-suffering of our Lord to be salvation” (2 Peter 3:15). This is not our initial salvation, but “much more we will be saved in His life” in Romans 5:10. This much more salvation is our growth in His life, our gaining the oil of the Spirit in our vessel, our preparing to be the constituents of His wife who has made herself ready.

Peter exhorts us to “be on your guard lest being carried away by the error of the lawless, you fall from your own steadfastness.” Our steadfastness (our faithfulness, in next post) is for us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This growth is the much more salvation in Romans and has the prepared bride and New Jerusalem as its goal.


Rather than the error of “my Master delays” we can be those
Hastening the Coming of the Day of God (and of New Jerusalem)

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (5)

When the Lamb’s wife, New Jerusalem, is ready, there will be great rejoicing in heaven and the Lord will come to take her. This readiness depends on our cooperation with God’s operation in us.

Aspects of this cooperation in prior posts include: letting the Lord’s living word operate in us, not loving the world, watching in prayer, denying the self to be filled in spirit, and fanning into flame the gift of God which is in us. In addition to these positive actions, we New Jerusalemneed the Lord’s warning, “You also, be ready, because at an hour when you do not expect it, the Son of Man is coming” (Luke 12:40).

The Lord says we must be ready because do not know when He will come. We should never relax. The Lord tells us it is an evil slave who says, “My master delays” (Matt. 24:48). The Lord’s return might seem delayed to us but we need to be saved from such thoughts.

“You have need of endurance in order that, having done the will of God, you may obtain the promise. For in yet a very little while the Coming One will come and will not delay” (Heb. 10:36-37). This is God’s word—the Coming One will not delay.

One aspect of His coming is to take His bride. Let us not delay in getting ready. Lord, be merciful to us that we could always take Your faithfulness and endurance in our getting ready for Your coming and for New Jerusalem.

Photo by Dan Darolti, courtesy of Good Free Photos.

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (4)

“Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb [Jesus Christ] has come, and His wife [New Jerusalem] has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). Our getting ready is by cooperating with the Spirit, not by self effort.

New JerusalemSimon Peter is a warning to us. “He [Simon] said to Him [Jesus], Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). His readiness was his decision out of his own zeal, his natural love for the Lord, and his self-confidence, but that night Simon Peter failed completely.

The readiness of the bride comes only from God working in us in response to our cooperation. In contrast to Peter’s zeal before the Lord’s crucifixion, Romans 12 charges us to “be burning in spirit” and 2 Timothy 1 charges us to “fan into flame the gift of God” which is in us.

In contrast to Peter’s natural love, Ephesians concludes with grace to “all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” Such love comes from God. First John 4 tells us that “God is love” and that we love “because love is of God.” At that time Peter was confident in himself but later Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God.”

Eve was constituted with a rib taken out of Adam to match him. In the same way, New Jerusalem is the bride, the wife, to match Christ. Her constitution must come from Him, not from anything of the fallen, natural realm.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (3)

New JerusalemIn Matthew 25 the Lord spoke a parable about a wedding feast. When the bridegroom came, those who were ready went in with him to the feast. This parable is a picture of the real wedding feast, with the Lord as our Bridegroom and New Jerusalem as His bride, who has made herself ready.

Those who were ready were filled with the Spirit. Those who were not allowed to enter had little of the Spirit. We should not think that those excluded from the feast were not believers. Look at the ten virgins in Matthew 25; both wise and foolish:
• all are virgins (v.1); unbelievers are not virgins in the Lord’s view;
• all went forth to meet the bridegroom (v. 1); unbelievers don’t do this
• all responded to the cry to go forth (v. 6-7); unbelievers won’t do this
• the foolish had lamps that were lit (v. 8); the spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord
(Prov. 20:27), their spirit being “lit” indicates it was enlivened by the Spirit;
• the foolish called the bridegroom Lord (v. 11); unbelievers don’t do this.

The conclusion of the parable is “Watch therefore” (v. 13). Watch, pray, let the Spirit fill us. “Set your mind on the things which are above, not on the things which are on the earth” (Col. 3:2). “Do not be drunk with wine [neither physically nor with worldly pursuits], …but be filled in spirit” (Eph. 5:18). We don’t wait passively for New Jerusalem; we pursue now to be filled and ready for the wedding feast!

Photo courtesy of Burning Well.

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (2)

New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” “Let us rejoice and exult, New Jerusalemand 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).

In Matthew 24 the Lord spoke to us about being ready. Three keys here are living contact with the Lord’s word, loving God, and watching in prayer. In Matthew 25 He continued with a parable about being ready for a wedding feast, which depicts the real wedding feast with Him, the feast tied to New Jerusalem.

Matthew 25:10: “The bridegroom came; and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast.” The key to readiness is being filled with the Spirit. signified in this parable by oil in the vessels.

God created man with spirit, soul, and body. Due to the fall of man, man’s spirit was deadened and his soul became the self. In regeneration the Spirit enlivened our spirit. Now there is a need to deny our self by exercising our spirit to take our cross daily so that the Spirit may spread from our spirit to saturate our soul. One aspect is Ephesians 4:23, “be renewed in the spirit of your mind,” a part of our soul.

To be ready, we need to deny our self in its ambitions, pride, pleasures, complaints, and many other things, and instead seek the Lord in His word, in prayer, in rejoicing, in singing, both alone and with other believers. This is our path to readiness on our way to the wedding feast and New Jerusalem.

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.

The Spirit and the Bride Say, Come

In Revelation 21:2 John tells us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” This is in eternity, in the new creation (21:1).

In Revelation 22:7 the Lord says, “Behold, I come quickly.”  In 22:12 He says “Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is with Me to render to each one as his work is.” In 22:16 He says further, “I Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches.” These verses in Revelation 22 show us that the concluding words of the Bible are before eternity. They are for us now, in the church age, before our Lord comes again and before the believers are gathered to His judgment seat (1 Cor. 4:5, 2 Cor. 5:10).

New JerusalemAlthough Revelation 21:2 presents New Jerusalem as the bride in the new creation, even before the Lord’s second coming, the bride is functioning. This is seen in Revelation 22:17, “The Spirit and the bride say, Come!“. This appeal expresses the desire for the Lord to come again.

We should each desire that the Lord come soon. In 2 Timothy 4:8 Paul is anticipating the reward promised in Revelation 22:12. Paul says this reward is for “not only me but also all those who have loved His appearing.”

Lord Jesus, we love You and we love Your appearing. Lord, come quickly!

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem

The graphic is the first verse of a song about Christ’s love for the church. His love is clearly stated in Ephesians 5:25-27, “Christ also New Jerusalemloved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her…that He might present the church to Himself glorious.”

This expression of love is in the context of human marriage, which is a pattern of Christ and the church. Christ and the church as Husband and wife eventually develops to Christ and New Jerusalem as Husband and wife (Rev. 21:9-10).

This song says, “Before the earth’s foundation His thoughts were filled with her.” This eternal thought is unveiled in Genesis 2. Man was created and then placed in front of the tree of life. With the tree of life is a river (of life) and out of these came Eve, the wife of Adam.

This is a picture of Christ desiring to become our life so that we match Him and can become His counterpart, His wife, first as the church, then as New Jerusalem.

In Genesis 3 man fell into sin which brought in death. But, as the song says, “His heart’s love is established, And nought can Him deter.” God cannot be defeated. We can delay Him but eventually He will win our hearts and bring forth New Jerusalem. Then we will join the multitude to declare:
“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.” (Rev. 19:6-7)

New Jerusalem: the Bride’s Clothing

New Jerusalem is “a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2). “And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean.” (Rev. 19:8).

The prior posts showed from Paul and Peter’s writings that the adornment of New Jerusalem is not outward, but is the virtues of Christ brought forth through us. The same principle applies to the fine linen clothing of the bride. This clothing is not a fancy dress as is often seen in human weddings.

There is a multitude “standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes” (Rev. 7:9). The angel told John that this multitude made their robes “white in the blood of the Lamb” (v. 13). This implies that the clothing of New Jerusalem, the bride composed of all this multitude, is not a physical dress but is Christ Himself.

Revelation 19:8 speaks of the clothing, then says “the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.” Christ is the objective righteousness of all His believers. But here Christ as our righteousness has been experienced and is being lived out as righteous deeds, our righteousnesses (plural)._________ two aspects of righteousness

The clear word in Revelation 19 about our clothing being Christ as our virtues is the flip side of Isaiah 64:6, “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” When we live Christ, our garment is bright and clean, but when we live in self, our garment is filthy. Other verses about our garments should be viewed in the same way. This is New Jerusalem: the city is clothed with Christ to express Him.

 

%d bloggers like this: