The Wedding Feast and New Jerusalem

This concludes a group of posts about New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage. A link to each post is presented. The primary verses are:

“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)

“Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb.” (Rev. 19:9)

“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)

“One of the seven angels…spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he…showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” (Rev. 21:9-10)

“At that time the kingdom of the heavens will be likened to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom….The bridegroom came; and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast.” New Jerusalem(Matt. 25:1, 10)

New Jerusalem: the Unique Marriage
New Jerusalem: the Unique Marriage (2)

The Believers Together Are New Jerusalem

The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb
The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (2)
The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (3)
The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (4)

Rejoice, the Marriage of the Lamb has Come

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Rejoice, the Marriage of the Lamb has Come, and His Wife [New Jerusalem] is Ready

Recent posts are on the marriage and marriage dinner of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and New Jerusalem as the bride, the wife of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7, 9; 21:2, 10). When the Lord returns, He will present the church to Himself as His glorious bride (Eph. 5:27).

New JerusalemA song (words + music) express the Lord’s and our longing for this wedding day. The first verse is:
__Lord, Thou wilt soon appear,
____Thy day is almost here.
__Oh, how we love Thy coming soon!
____We have no other
____Lord, life, or lover
__Than Thou, Lord Jesus, our Bridegroom!

With the eternal marriage in view, the Lord spoke of Himself as the Bridegroom in Matthew 9 and 25. To prepare us, He is our Lord to rule us, our Life to supply us, and our Lover to attract us.

Ephesians has many verses on love, and presents human marriage as a picture of the eternal marriage of New Jerusalem. Part of the second verse of the song says:
__Oh what an hour sweet
__When Bride and Bridegroom meet
__And love surpassing comprehend.
Looking forward to the day of His return, Ephesians ends, “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” Lord Jesus, we love You and are eager to see You return and to comprehend the surpassing love! This longing is expressed in the third verse of the song, “Soon we shall see Thy face! / Amen, Lord Jesus! Quickly come!”

The last verse of the song says, “Thou, our Lord Bridegroom, Thou / Soon wilt return to claim Thy Bride.” Then Revelation 19:7 will be fulfilled, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife [New Jerusalem] ]has made herself ready.”

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The Believers Together Are New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:2 New Jerusalem is “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” In 21:9 the angel says, “I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb” and in 21:10 he shows “the holy city, Jerusalem.”

In 2 Corinthians 11 we, the believers, are engaged to Christ. In Ephesians 5, in the context of husbands and wives, we, the church, are being prepared to be presented to Christ. In Revelation 22:17 we are the bride speaking one with the Spirit. All the believers together, the one universal church, are the bride to be the wife of the Lamb.

New JerusalemIn Isaiah 54:5, Jeremiah 3:14, 31:32, and other verses, God declares that He is the Husband. In Ephesians 5 Christ is the Husband, and in Revelation 21 the redeeming and enthroned Lamb is the Husband.

Since this bride, this wife, is New Jerusalem, we corporately are New Jerusalem!! New Jerusalem is not a place we go to; we are the city! Since we are the city, where does that put Jesus Christ? He too is the city!

In John 14:20 He told us that in resurrection He is in us and we are in Him. Developing this fact, many verses in the epistles speak of “Christ in us” and we “in Christ.” The eternal consummation is that we are New Jerusalem in Christ Jesus. He and we coinhering are the eternal city! New Jerusalem is a married couple!

The portion above answers, “Who is New Jerusalem?” A related answer is in “Where is New Jerusalem?”

New Jerusalem: the Unique Marriage

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). Then he told us, “One of the seven angels…came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride,
the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem” (21:9-10).

New JerusalemEternally New Jerusalem is the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. This is the unique eternal marriage.

In Matthew 22:23-33 the Sadducees asked the Lord about the continuation of earthly marriages after the resurrection of the dead. The Lord’s answer in verse 30 is, “in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” Here the Lord speaks about the “resurrection of life” (John 5:29), the resurrection of those who are righteous in Him (Acts 24:15), the first/best resurrection (Rev. 20:5, 6).

This resurrection of life is at the Lord’s second coming, when the dead believers in Christ and the believers who are alive on earth both enter into a full resurrection, including the redemption of their bodies. They all are constituents of the city of resurrection, New Jerusalem. All these believers are the corporate wife of the Lamb, married to Him. Per the Lord’s word in Matthew, they are no longer in any human marriage.

I do not see any clear word in the Bible about marriages among the nations on the new earth around New Jerusalem, but for the believers in Christ, the city is clearly the unique eternal marriage.

The Light of the World, A City

New JerusalemIn Matthew 5:14 the Lord Jesus told His disciples, ” You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” But how dies this relate to New Jerusalem? We will use a few posts to consider this, but one obvious link is the word “city.”

Here the Lord tells His disciples “You are the light of the world.” In John 8:12 and 9:5 He says, “I am the light of the world.” How can we be what He is? It is because when we can receive Him into our being, He becomes both life and light within us.

He is “the light of life” and we are born again with this life. Now we have Christ as our life and our light. We become “children of God” who can “walk as children of light” and “shine as luminaries in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

The Greek word φωστηρ translated “luminaries” in Philippians is used only one other place in the New Testament—”Her [New Jerusalem’s] light was like a most precious stone” (Rev. 21:11). New Jerusalem shines because Jesus Christ is the light infusing the entire city.

Revelation 21:23 tells us, “the glory of God illumined it [New Jerusalem], and its lamp is the Lamb.” Because the city is transparent (21:21), clear as crystal (21:11), the glory of God in the Lamb radiates through the city to the entire universe. In this way, New Jerusalem is the fulfillment of the Lord’s word in Matthew 5:14.

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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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Created for the Glory of New Jerusalem

In Isaiah 43 God speaks of gathering His scattered people, “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created, formed, and even made for My glory” (v. 7).

The words create, form, and make all appear in Genesis 1–2 (e.g. 1:1, 26; 2:4, 7-8). The declaration in Isaiah 43:7 shows us that all God’s work from the beginning of creation has a goal—His glory. God created us not merely to live a good human life. God put man in the garden of Eden with the tree of life. This is a picture of God wanting to be life to us.

New JerusalemThis picture in Genesis 2 is before sin, before death, before the curse, before rebellion against God. God being life to us is not a reaction to these negatives. God wants His life to be received by us, to be in us for His glory.

The tree of life is also in New Jerusalem. Christ has become life to all His believers and is our life eternally. This life operates in us to transform us and build us together to be His corporate Body in this age and to be the city of New Jerusalem in eternity.

This is “for God’s glory.” New Jerusalem “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). The glory of God illuminates New Jerusalem (21:23). And, because the city is like clear, transparent glass (21:11, 18, 21), God’s illuminating glory will shine out through the city.

In these verses we see three steps. First, God created, formed, and made us. Second, God in Christ became life to us. Third, the result is God’s glory. These three steps cover the entire Bible, from creation to New Jerusalem.

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We Are God’s City

New JerusalemThis blog often writes about New Jerusalem being a living composition of God with His people, not a physical city.

The simplest proof of this is in Revelation 21. “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (v. 2). The Husband, Jesus Christ, is a living person, and the bride is a corporate living person to match Him.

“Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb….And he carried me away in spirit onto great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem” (v. 9-10). Again, there is a living Husband, the Lamb, and a corporate living bride, the wife of the Lamb. The city, New Jerusalem, is a corporate person.

Matthew 5:14 has the same thought. “You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” Here the Lord Jesus describes all His disciples (v. 1) as the light of the world. This same description, that we are the light, is in Ephesians 5:8 and Philippians 2:15. Of course, we are not light in ourselves, but we are the light because He is the light in us, shining through us.

The Lord then likens the disciples, a corporate light, to a city. The shining city on a mountain portrays the disciples. The thought here, at the start of the New Testament, matches the thought at the end of the New Testament—a city depicts God’s corporate people. This is New Jerusalem—all God’s people, filled with His fullness and glorifying Him (Eph. 3:19, 21).

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Exodus, Ezekiel, Revelation

There are similarities in the presentation of God’s move on earth in the books of Exodus, Ezekiel, and Revelation.

Exodus 2 has some human history of Moses. Exodus 3 begins to unveil God’s revelation and speaking to Moses and God’s instruction for him to speak to Israel, God’s people. Through the book of Exodus, although Israel often was not faithful, God accomplished what he had promised. The second half of Exodus is primarily the revelation of the plan for the tabernacle, the work of preparing it, and its completion. The conclusion of Exodus is ” the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle” (40:34).

#NewJerusalemEzekiel 1 begins with one man, Ezekiel. It quickly progresses to God’s revelation and speaking to him (Ezek. 1), and then God’s instruction for him to speak to Israel (Ezek. 2–3). Thereafter is a long section with God’s judgment on Israel (again showing their unfaithfulness) and the nations.

Beginning in Ezekiel 33 God comes to recover His people inwardly, giving them a new heart and a new spirit and putting His Spirit within them (36:26-27) and accomplishing other things for His purpose. Then, from chapter 40, God reveals His house and the river of living water in the good land. In this revelation, the glory of God fills His house (43:4, 44:4).

Revelation begins with God’s revelation and speaking to John, and then God’s instruction for him to write to the churches (1:11, 19). Revelation 2–3 speak about the churches, both their strong points and their unfaithfulness. Following this are many judgments. Finally, it unveils God’s building, the city New Jerusalem, “having the glory of God” (21:11).

The parallels in these three books are simple even though the details have spiritual depth. God speaks to one man, tells him to speak to God’s people, judges both God’s people and the nations, and ultimately gains a building He fills with glory. Thus we can see that Exodus and Ezekiel show us in typology the path from God’s revelation to New Jerusalem.

The Church, Forerunner of New Jerusalem

The church is both singular, universal and plural, in many cities. The universal church includes all believers in the New Testament age. As such, it is the forerunner of New Jerusalem which includes all God’s people of the Old and New Testament ages.

Here we look at verses about the nature of the church, which also give us a view of the nature of New Jerusalem. First, in Matthew 16:18, the Lord Jesus speaks of “My church.” The church is His. Likewise, New Jerusalem is His. More specifically, it is His bride, His wife. An angel said to the apostle John, “I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb….and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:9-10).

New JerusalemIn Acts 20:28 (and 1 Cor. 1:2, 1 Tim. 3:5, and other verses) is “the church of God.” The church, and New Jerusalem, are certainly of God as the source and of God as the element, the content (like “a table of wood” is made of wood).

In 1 Timothy 3:15 is “the house of God, which is the church of the living God.” And, in Hebrews 12:22 is “the city of the living God.” Both the church, the house, and New Jerusalem, the city, have the living God as their source and their element. Both the church and New Jerusalem are alive with the life of God.

The church is not a physical structure. Rather, the church, and New Jerusalem, are “the household of God” (many translations of 1 Tim. 3:15), the people of God. God is the element of New Jerusalem and we, His people, are the living components containing this living element. God is living and both the church and New Jerusalem are living organisms.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (4)

New JerusalemRomans 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.” This good, well pleasing, and perfect will is ultimately to bring forth New Jerusalem.

Romans 12:1 shows us that a base for our transformation is to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.”

This consecration comes out of the foregoing chapters of Romans—realizing that we, as fallen, natural men, cannot please God but need His life in us to enable us to be people for His purpose.

We cannot transform ourselves. Second Corinthians 3:18 tells us that we are transformed by beholding the glory of the Lord; He is the source! Ephesians 4:23 says we should “be renewed in the spirit of our mind.” Our transformation is by renewing and our renewing is accomplished by the Spirit in our spirit.

The first verse of a hymn (music) by Witness Lee speaks of God’s intention, His will, and our consequent need for transformation (see graphic in this post). The fourth verse of the hymn, based on 2 Corinthians 3:18, presents something of God’s goal.
__By the power of His Spirit
____In His pattern He transforms;
__From His glory to His glory
____To His image He conforms.
New Jerusalem, radiating the glory of God (Rev. 21:11), is the fulfillment of God’s will.

The chorus is a good prayer for each of us.
__Lord, transform us to Thine image
____In emotion, mind, and will;
__Saturate us with Thy Spirit,
____All our being wholly fill.

The hymn is © 2001 by Living Stream Ministry, used by permission.
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