Revelation 21:2, a Song

Revelation 21:2, “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the holy city because the holy God is the element constituting the city. God in Christ as the Spirit has been wrought into every one of His believers to be their holiness and to make them members of holy New Jerusalem.

The new creation in Revelation 21:1 is composed of new heaven and new earth. This holy city comes down “out of heaven” to be on the new earth.

The city is a corporate living person, a bride to marry her Husband, Jesus Christ, the Lamb. This is the fullest blossoming of the church as the wife of Christ in Ephesians 5. Jesus Christ is life, he has become our life, and New Jerusalem is a city of life.

Here are the words of Revelation 21:2 to sing with this music.

And I saw the holy city,
New Jerusalem,
Coming down out of heaven from God,
Prepared as a bride
Adorned for her husband,
Coming down out of heaven from God.

Lord Jesus, gain our full cooperation and accomplish all the preparation of Your bride!


Revelation 21:2 begins And. “And” Points to New Jerusalem
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New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:1-8

This is a summary of the recent posts on Revelation 21:1-8, which review life on the new earth emphasizing the details about New Jerusalem. Each verse is followed by the title with a link to related posts.

New Jerusalem

Verse 1: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more.”

New Heaven and New Earth

Verse 2: “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

John Saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem is Holy with God’s Holiness
New Jerusalem is the City of the Great King
New Jerusalem is Divinely New
New Jerusalem is the Foundation of Peace
New Jerusalem is on Earth from God
New Jerusalem is Heavenly, On Earth
New Jerusalem Comes Down, Prepared
New Jerusalem is the Bride of Christ
New Jerusalem is Adorned with Christ
New Jerusalem is the Bride, Jesus Christ is the Husband

Verses 3-4: “And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them, and they will be His peoples, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death will be no more, nor will there be sorrow or crying or pain anymore; for the former things have passed away.”

A Loud Voice out of the Throne
Behold the Tabernacle of God is with Men
Life on New Earth around New Jerusalem

Verses 5-6: “And He who sits on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said, Write, for these words are faithful and true. And He said to me, They have come to pass. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give to him who thirsts from the spring of the water of life freely.”

The Throne and All Things New
The Faithful and True Words of God
The Water of Life, Now and New Jerusalem

Verses 7-8: “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be God to him, and he will be a son to Me. But the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the false, their part will be in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Overcome to Inherit God’s Blessings
God is Leading Many Sons into Glory

New Jerusalem is the Bride,                        Jesus Christ is the Husband

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2). “The marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). The entire city is the bride and the Husband is the Lamb, Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:25-26 speaks of the Lord’s work to prepare the bride “that He might present the church to Himself glorious” (v. 27) at His second coming, His coming in glory.

John the Baptist spoke of the Lord Jesus as the Bridegroom with all the believers as His increase (John 3:28-30). And in Mark 2:19-20 the Lord Jesus described Himself as a Bridegroom. These words point toward the Husband of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21.

Jesus Christ as the Husband of the church in Ephesians 5 and of New Jerusalem is also prophesied in the Old Testament. Isaiah 54:5, “For your Maker is your Husband; Jehovah of hosts is His name. And the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.” The Lord Jesus is our Redeemer so that He can impart eternal life into us to constitute us to be His bride so that He can be our Husband.

Hosea 2 speaks of Jehovah’s reclaiming Israel from idol worship. Verse 16: “And in that day, declares Jehovah, You will call Me My Husband.”

New Jerusalem as a bride for Jesus Christ the Husband is not a new idea in Revelation; rather, it is the consummation of what is presented to us throughout the Bible.

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New Jerusalem is the Bride of Christ, Adorned with Christ

in Revelation 21:2 New Jerusalem is “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” New Jerusalem as the bride of Christ is a corporate person, composed of all the believers.

This bride is adorned, not with physical jewels and fancy clothing, but with the virtues of Christ lived out through the believers. An example is 1 Timothy 2:9, “women adorn themselves in proper clothing with modesty and sobriety, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly clothing.” Our real modesty and sobriety come from Christ living in us.

New JerusalemSimilarly Titus 2:10 speaks of “all good faithfulness” adorning “the teaching of our Savior God.” And 1 Peter 3:3-4 says that adorning should not be outward things but “the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptible adornment of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very costly in the sight of God.”

Peter also tells us that even gold and silver are corruptible in the eyes of God. Jesus Christ is longing for a bride adorned with incorruptible beauty which can only come from Himself.

Revelation 21:19 records “The foundations of the wall of the city [New Jerusalem] were adorned with every precious stone.” In 1 Peter 2:4-7 Christ Himself is the living Stone who is precious to God. The wall of the city (which is not physical because it is a living bride) is not adorned with physical jewels but with the precious Christ wrought into us through transformation.

The adorning of New Jerusalem as the bride is Christ Himself lived out through all His members. This is the highest beauty in the universe.

New Jerusalem is the Bride of Christ

Revelation 21:2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:9-10, “the bride, the wife of the Lamb….the holy city, Jerusalem.”

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the bride, the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. This is a very important statement in Revelation 21. It declares that New Jerusalem is not a physical city but a corporate living person!

Revelation is a book of spiritual signs. New Jerusalem described as a city shows that it is God’s kingdom built up. New Jerusalem as a bride shows it is a corporate person as the consummation of the church as the Body of Christ, the one new man, and the wife (all three of which are presented in Ephesians).

Ephesians 5:25-27 announces that (1) “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” through His death to redeem her, (2) He is now sanctifying her to match the purity of New Jerusalem, “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word,” and (3) at His second coming He 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.”

In Ephesians 5 the church is described in the human context of husband and wife. This church will be the glorious bride, New Jerusalem, which Christ will present to Himself.


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.

New Jerusalem Comes Down, Prepared

Revelation 21:2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New JerusalemThe fact that prepared follows from God implies that God is the Preparer of the bride. Hebrews 11:16 agrees with this, saying that God “has prepared a city for them”—for those who live as sojourners on the earth while seeking a better country, a heavenly one (11:13-16).

Some of the preparation has been done by the Triune God with no action by us, including incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. These steps are necessary to redeem us and to release the divine life so that it can enter into us. Without this redemption and life, there is no possibility for us to be prepared for New Jerusalem.

After we receive this life, we need to cooperate with it. The word bride indicates a wedding feast, about which the Lord speaks in Matthew 25:1-13. In this parable the wise virgins gain the oil, a type of the Spirit, to fill their vessels. This filling is our cooperation with the preparation of New Jerusalem.

This corresponds with being filled in spirit in Ephesians 5 which requires not being drunk with worldly pleasures and pursuits. This filling also depends on our singing with our heart to the Lord, speaking to one another, giving thanks to God, and submitting to one another.

To be filled with the oil in every part of our begin results in our life and nature matching that of New Jerusalem, the city which is from God and of God.

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New Jerusalem is Heavenly, On Earth

In Revelation 21:2 John tells us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” The fifth matter we consider in this verse is coming down out of heaven.

New Jerusalem comes out of heaven because it is heavenly in nature. In Hebrews 12:22 it is called “the heavenly Jerusalem” and in Galatians 4:26 “the Jerusalem above.”

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 15:45-49 presents a contrast between heavenly and earthly. All that is of fallen Adam is earthly; all that is of Christ is heavenly. Verse 49: “even as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”

We were born into Adam but we have been reborn into Christ; hence we will bear the image of Him as the heavenly man, and corporately New Jerusalem as the heavenly city will bear the same image.

New Jerusalem is in the new creation of Revelation 21:1. This creation consists of heaven and earth. New Jerusalem is heavenly in nature but it comes down out of heaven. It is no longer in heaven; its location is on the new earth.

New Jerusalem on earth fulfills God’s goal in creating man—to have a corporate man on earth to express Him by being constituted with Him to bear His image. This is in progress now; “the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him [Christ] who created him” (Col. 3:10). The consummation of this renewal is New Jerusalem bearing a heavenly image on earth.

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New Jerusalem is on Earth from God

Revelation 21:2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:10 repeats, “the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.”

New Jerusalem is holy, new, the foundation of peace, and heavenly because it is from God. God is holy; whatever is filled with God is also holy, not only in position but even more in nature. Likewise, God is the measure of newness; everything of God, with God’s life, is new; everything lacking the divine life is old, even dead.

New JerusalemFurthermore, New Jerusalem is the foundation of peace because God is its peace. Apart from God, in the fall of man, there is no real peace and no possibility of peace. And New Jerusalem is heavenly because its substance is the divine nature, “the city was pure gold” (Rev. 21:18). Gold in the Bible represents the divine nature.

All the characteristics of New Jerusalem derive from God Himself, from God’s accomplishments in Christ, and from God’s operation as the Spirit in the believers. The Triune God is the element, the substance, of the city.

New Jerusalem not only comes “from God” but also comes with God. The city and God can never be separated. God is on the throne at the center of New Jerusalem, and God’s glory illuminates the whole city.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

New Jerusalem is the Foundation of Peace

New JerusalemAnother aspect of the description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:2 is the name Jerusalem. The Hebrew word means foundation of peace.

Salem in Hebrew means peace. In Hebrews 7:1 Melchisedec is the king of Salem, and Hebrews 7:2 interprets this as king of Peace. This Melchisedec is a figure of Christ Himself (see Heb. 5:5-10). New Jerusalem is founded in peace because it is of God, who is the God of peace, as He is named in Philippians 4:9 and 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

This God of peace became incarnated in Christ. He said to us, “These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have affliction, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In Christ we have peace! In the world—that is, in politics, business, education, legal affairs, our community, etc.—we should not expect nor hunt for peace.

Philippians 4:6-7: “In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses every man’s understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”

When we present every request to the God of peace, we experience the peace of God and are saved from unpeaceful anxiety. This inward reality is our foretaste of the eternal and universal peace of New Jerusalem.

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New Jerusalem is Divinely New

Revelation 21–22 present New Jerusalem to us. It is new compared to the Jerusalem from King David’s time to now, but in what way is it new?

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is new because it is entirely in God and of God. This is the divine definition of new—everything in God is new but everything outside of God is old. Everything around us is old because the first creation has fallen away from God.

The clearest presentation of this divine definition of new is in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” Galatians 6:15 also speaks of this new creation. A small portion of a footnote on the new creation in the Recovery Version NT says,

The old creation is our old man in Adam (Eph. 4:22), our natural being by birth, without God’s life and the divine nature. The new creation is the new man in Christ (Eph. 4:24), our being that is regenerated by the Spirit (John 3:6), having God’s life and the divine nature wrought into it (John 3:36; 2 Pet. 1:4), having Christ as its constituent (Col. 3:10-11), and having become a new constitution.

The old creation was old because it did not have God’s element; the new creation is new because it has God as its element. Although we are still the old creation, we experience the reality of the new creation when we walk according to the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25).

New Jerusalem is unchangingly new because it is constituted entirely with God’s life and nature wrought into our redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified humanity.

New Jerusalem is the City of the Great King

New JerusalemRevelation 21:2: “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New Jerusalem is a city but Revelation is a book of signs. As a sign, the city represents the ultimate stage of the kingdom of God. The kingdom exists today as a hidden, spiritual reality which will be manifested in the kingdom age and in eternity.

Matthew 5:35 says “Jerusalem…is the city of the great King.” This is a quote from Psalm 48:2, ” Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion, the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” Surely New Jerusalem will be the most beautiful city and it will be the joy of the whole new earth.

New Jerusalem is composed of the great King and all His people. A view of the city concerning its people is in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” New Jerusalem is full of divine light; “the city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23).

As a city, New Jerusalem portrays the kingdom of God brightly shining with the glory of God to illuminate the whole earth.

 

New Jerusalem is Holy with God’s Holiness

Revelation 21:2: “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New Jerusalem is holy because God is holy (Lev. 11:44 quoted in 1 Peter 1:16) and the city is saturated with God’s holiness. This God, who is Triune, operates on us and in us to make us holy to match New Jerusalem.
1 Corinthians 1:2 – those “who have been sanctified* in Christ Jesus”
Romans 15:16 – “sanctified in the Holy Spirit”

These verses speak of our sanctification, our being made holy, in position. This occurs, and is complete, when we first believe in the Lord. This is Acts 26:18 – “those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” And Hebrews 10:10 – “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

New JerusalemTo match New Jerusalem’s purity and transparency, it is not enough to be holy in position. After our initial, positional sanctification we also need to be saturated with God’s holiness.

Hebrews 10:14 refers to the process of being saturated: “those who are being sanctified.” Ephesians 5:26 tells us how this is accomplished: “He [Christ] might sanctify her [the church, including every believer], cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.”

The goal of this washing is that Christ, at His second coming, “might present the church to Himself glorious…holy and without blemish” (5:27). This holy and glorious condition, without any spot or wrinkle or blemish matches the holy city, New Jerusalem.


* The English words holy/holiness and sanctify/sanctification are translations of closely related New Testament Greek words. They seem very different because holy came into English from an Anglo-Saxon root and sanctification came from a Latin root.

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