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 Word of the Lord Jesus Brings us to New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:1 John said, “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.” This new heaven and new earth are the scene in which New Jerusalem appears.

The Lord Jesus foretold the passing away of the old creation when He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall by no means pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Perhaps the Lord’s word is the basis for Peter to quote Isaiah, “the word of the Lord abides forever” and to declare “according to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”

New JerusalemThe Lord’s comparison indicates that we should give more attention to His words than to heaven and earth. They will be replaced but His words will carry us onwards into New Jerusalem. Here are a few of the many functions of this word.

• We have been regenerated by incorruptible seed, “the living and abiding word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23)
• We live, not by bread alone, but by “every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4)
• We grow spiritually and taste the Lord by means of “the milk of the word.” (1 Peter 2:2-3)
• We are sanctified to match the holiness of New Jerusalem by the “washing of the water in the word.” (Eph. 5:26)

To hold to the Lord’s word is tied to loving Him. Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word” (John 14:23) and “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love” (15:10).

Loving the Lord Jesus and holding His word are basic necessities for today. They also prepare us for New Jerusalem and will continue eternally in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Holy and Without Blemish in Love

New JerusalemEphesians 5:27 tells us that Christ 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.” This church is His well-prepared bride, the forerunner of New Jerusalem.

Christ cares for the church, “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.” This corresponds with Revelation 21:2, “New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” His washing prepares the bride.

Also, we cooperate with Him. For example, holding to Him in love that His rich supply may flow out. This corresponds with Revelation 19:7, “the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Our cooperation prepares the bride.

The result of both sides of this preparation, is the bride “holy and without blemish.” This matches Ephesians 1:4, God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” Three phrases stand out:
holywithout blemishin love.

The church becoming New Jerusalem, “the holy city,” as the bride of Christ must be fully holy to match the Bridegroom. The bride must also be without blemish to match the unblemished Bridegroom. Being completely holy and without blemish fulfills Matthew 5:48, “You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Christians are the Father’s children, having the Father’s divine life and divine nature. Hence, they can be perfect as their Father is….The kingdom of the heavens is the highest demand, and the divine life of the Father is the highest supply to meet that demand.*

Love is the key for our perfecting, as part of “things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor. 2:9). To love God means to set our entire being absolutely on Him, that is, to let our entire being be occupied by Him and lost in Him, so that He becomes everything to us and we are one with Him practically in our daily life.º

Lord, keep us loving You every day from now to New Jerusalem!

* Part of the footnote on. Matt. 5:48       º Part of the footnote 3 on 1 Cor. 2:9
Both are in the
Recovery Version Bible, © 2017 by Living Stream Ministry.

No Spots nor Wrinkles nor Blemishes in New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:2, 9-10 present to us the city New Jerusalem, prepared as “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” This Lamb is Jesus Christ, the Lion-Lamb in Revelation 5 who conquered as a Lion and redeemed as a Lamb.

Ephesians 5:25-27 speaks of the church as the current stage in the preparation of New Jerusalem. This is in a context about human husbands and wives. “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also 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 glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that she New Jerusalemwould be holy and without blemish.”

In verse 25 Christ “gave Himself up” on the cross. In 26 He is now sanctifying us by the washing of the water in His living word. In 27 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.”

Spots indicate things not part of the church, wrinkles indicate oldness, any such things and blemishes indicate other defects, faults, shortcomings, and unwanted materials. The bride Christ will present to Himself will have no foreign things, no oldness, and no defects. Likewise, New Jerusalem, the consummation of this glorious church, will have nothing foreign, nothing old, and nothing defective.

However, God’s goal is not merely to eliminate everything negative. His goal now for the church is that she be holy and glorious to match God’s nature and expression, and His goal for eternity is New Jerusalem, holy and glorious.

More about What is NOT in 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.

Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 21

Revelation 21 presents the new creation with New Jerusalem as its outstanding feature. In verse 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.”

Jesus Christ is the real Husband in the universe and New Jerusalem is the wife. This likeness is in Ephesians 5:23, “a husband is head of the wife as also Christ is Head of the church.” Jesus described Himself as the real Bridegroom in parables in Matthew 9:14-17 and 25:1-13. And John the Baptist referred to Him s the Bridegroom in John 3:29.

New JerusalemOn one hand, we are responsible to prepare ourselves for the wedding day. An example is our need to have much oil in our lamps, signifying the Spirit filling our being, as in Matthew 25. On the other hand, Jesus Christ prepares us first by His redemption and now by His life in us. Both are presented in Ephesians 5:25-27.

Revelation 21:4 says, “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.” The wiping of tears, and the absence of sorrow, crying, and pain correspond to the Lamb’s care in Revelation 7.

Death will be no more because of “our Savior Christ Jesus, who nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10).

In 21:5 He is sitting on the throne and He tells us, “Behold, I make all things new. And He said, Write, for these words are faithful and true.” His making all new is seen in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”

The words He speaks are faithful and true because He Himself is Faithful and True (Rev. 3:14, 19:11). These few verses show that so many characteristics of Jesus Christ today match what He is in New Jerusalem, and are our path from today unto New Jerusalem.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 14 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

Revelation 19:10 tells that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit (the essence, the focus, the heart) of the prophecy (the book of Revelation). Throughout Revelation Jesus Christ is carrying out God’s economy to bring all God’s people to New Jerusalem and all that is of the devil to the lake of fire.

Skipping over the two beasts in chapter 13, we look at Jesus Christ in chapter 14. It begins with a praise before the throne. There are many praises in Revelation—here and chapters 5, 12, 19—and surely there will be more praises in New Jerusalem. Perhaps we could say that praising our Lord keeps us on our journey to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemVerse 14:5 tells us that no lie is in those who sing. The devil is the source of lies (John 8:44) and Jesus is the truth, the reality (John 14:6). The singers are one with the Lord and have nothing to do with the devil.

Verse 14:5 also tells us that “they are without blemish.” This is His doing (with our cooperation), washing us with His living word that we may be without blemish (Eph. 5:26-27).

In 14:9-12 there is a warning not to worship the beast. The Lamb is worthy and we worship Him. We praise Him with our words and our singing.

In 14:14 on a cloud is “One like the Son of Man sitting, having a golden crown on His head.” The crown is another affirmation in Revelation that Jesus Christ is the Ruler over all (1:5, 19:16). He now reaps the ripe harvest of the believers, the culmination of His sowing in Matthew 13. This ripeness is a matter of maturity, a maturity which is needed for New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

No Lie, No Falsehood, in New Jerusalem

The devil has no part in New Jerusalem nor in the entire new creation because he has been cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).

The devil is the father of lies, the source of lies is his nature, and in him is only falsehood, no reality (John 8:44). This is a total contrast to Jesus Christ who is the reality (John 14:6), the expression of God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

New JerusalemThe truth has come to us in word of the truth of the gospel (Eph. 1:13, Col. 1:5). By our receiving this word of truth, the Spirit as the anointing entered into us.

Now the Spirit of reality is living in us, anointing us with the reality. This anointing “is true and is not a lie, and even as it has taught you, abide in Him” (1 John 2:27). When we abide in the Lord, we abide in the reality, the truth; here there is no lie, no falsehood. This is a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

In Revelation 14:1-5, 144,000 are on the heavenly mount Zion with the Lamb. Verse 5: “And in their mouth no lie was found; they are without blemish.” “No lie” indicates nothing of the devil is with them.

Furthermore, they are without blemish. They have been washed by the Lord with the water in His living word (Eph. 5:26-27). This washing not only eliminates blemishes, all of which originated with the devil. The washing also imparts the Lord’s holiness so that we “would be holy and without blemish.”

The holiness matches the holy city, New Jerusalem. The city is not merely without lies, falsehoods, and blemishes. Much more, New Jerusalem is saturated with God’s holiness and glory to express God.

Here is a summary of all posts about what is NOT in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 2 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The testimony of Jesus is the centrality of Revelation (19:10). Here are more characteristics of our Lord Jesus Christ related to our progress to New Jerusalem (Rev. 2). Some of these characteristics are also in Revelation 1:13-20.

New JerusalemWe see the Lord Jesus Christ walking in the midst of the seven lampstands (1:12-13), the seven churches (1:20) and caring for them in Revelation 2–3. His care is not limited to this age, because the lampstands today are the forerunner of the eternal lampstand, New Jerusalem.

Revelation 2:1 repeats the fact that the Lord is “He who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.” His walking and speaking care for the churches. As our High Priest, His care brings us to Himself and ministers Himself to us. His goal is to be glorified in us when He returns (2 Thes. 1:10) and in New Jerusalem.

Our response to His care should be the best love for Him (2:4) so that our love governs our working for Him (2:2).

In 2:8 the Lord describes Himself as “the First and the Last, who became dead and lived again.” Nothing in our lives starts without Him and nothing ends apart from Him. Therefore, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because it matters to Him concerning you” (1 Peter 5:7). Lord, fulfill in us Your word in 2:10, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

In 2:12 He is the One “who has the sharp two-edged sword.” This sword is His living and operative word which is sharper than any physical sword and which can divide all the mixture in our being (Heb. 4:12). By the dividing, He can wash away all our blemishes to present us to Himself glorious (Eph. 5:26-27), causing us to match New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Not Outside of New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:15 says, “Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and makes a lie.” Outside means outside the city, New Jerusalem, in verse 14.

Where is this outside location? Revelation 21:8 tells us, “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.”

New JerusalemAll of these negatives are outside because New Jerusalem is holy (Rev. 21:2), pure (21:18, 21), bright and clean (19:8). We might think that we are clean, but we are not clean up to the standard of New Jerusalem.

Only God is holy, pure, bright, and clean. Thank Him that He has come to us in Christ Jesus. Now we can repent and receive Christ. Furthermore, every day we can confess our sins and He will “cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

We are also clean by letting the Lord’s word come to us (John 15:3), pure by His working within us (Phil. 1:6, 10) and by obedience to the truth and brotherly love (1 Peter 1:22), and bright by taking our Lord Jesus as the bright One (Rev. 22:16).

God in Christ becomes our holiness to constitute us part of the holy city, New Jerusalem. Our Lord Jesus establishes our hearts “blameless in holiness” (1 Thes. 3:13) and our Father disciplines us “that we might partake of His holiness” (Heb. 12;10). And Christ is sanctifying the church, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word so that the church will be holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:26-27).

We praise and thank our Lord Jesus Christ that He is the One who qualifies us to be in New Jerusalem, the holy, pure, bright, and clean city.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Purified for New Jerusalem by Cooperating with the Lord (2)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is pure: “the city was pure gold, like clear glass” (Rev. 21:18), “the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass” (21:21). New Jerusalem is the bride, the wife of the Lamb (21:9); “it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean/pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints” (Rev. 19:8).

For us to match the purity of New Jerusalem, first the Lord cleanses/ purifies our hearts by faith (Acts 15:9). Second, He cleanses us from unrighteousness as we are enlightened and confess our sins (1 John 1:9). Third, He purifies us as we cooperate with His moving in us both to depart from unrighteousness and to let Him live through us as righteousness.

Ephesians 5:26 is also in the third step of this cleansing/purifying. The Lord sanctifies the church, “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.” Here word is the Greek rhema, which means the instant word, the particular word or speaking enlivened to us as we read or remember the printed words of the Bible.

The Lord is cleansing the church but we need to cooperate. The exhortation in James 4:8 hits responsibility on our side, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-souled!” Double-souled is double-minded, having the heart divided between two parties — God and the world.*

These rhema words to us “are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). They might be as simple as “no” to separate us from something of the world. When we respond to these words, the life in us has a way to flow. This is “the washing of the water in the word.” By this washing we experience a little more of the purity of New Jerusalem.

*From the footnote on James 4:8 in NT Recovery Version Online.
For the verses cited in this post, clean and pure both come from the same Greek noun and cleanses and purifies both come from the related Greek verb.
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service. 

Partake of God’s Holiness for the Holy City

Revelation 21:2, 10 and 22:19 declare that New Jerusalem is the holy city. As the consummation of everything positive in the Bible, New Jerusalem is the ultimate expression of God’s holiness through His people.

Regensdorf-Watt, SchweizA series of posts looked at God’s impartation of His holiness into His chosen people. This series did not touch holy days, holy garments, holy places, etc. and only looked at a minority of the verses about God’s holy people.

Here is a summary and link to each of the posts.
A. God’s basic word is in 1 Peter 1:16, “You shall be holy because I am holy.” Our being holy is a result of the life we received in regeneration (1 Peter 2:9, 1:23).
B. Jesus Christ came to establish the new covenant promised in Jeremiah 31. He was “begotten of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20), is “the Holy One” in His human living (John 6:69), in His death and resurrection (Acts 3:14), and in His ascension (Revelation 3:7).
C. It is of God that we “are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God: both righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”
D. God “saved us and called us with a holy calling…” (2 Timothy 1:9) and we “were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise” (Ephesians 1:13).
E. Hebrews 10:10 says “we have been sanctified…once for all.” This speaks of a fact accomplished by the Lord and applied to us. Hebrews 10:14 says we “are being sanctified.” This speaks of His gradual working of the fact into all our being and all our living.
F. Ephesians 2:21 says that in Christ we are “growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” This is an ongoing experience by the washing of the water in the word (Ephesians 5:26-27).
G. We pursue sanctification (Hebrews 12:14) and exercise to be holy by contacting the One who is holy. Such contact is in spirit by our prayer, singing, praising, reading, or speaking.
H. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says “…God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” He disciplines us “that we might partake of His holiness.” Don’t be discouraged; God’s choosing and discipline will bring forth our sanctification.
I. As we are pursuing a holy manner of life, we are “expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12). Come Lord Jesus!
J. In Hebrews 2:10 God is leading many sons into glory and in verses 11-12 the Lord (“He who sanctifies”) is singing praises to the Father in our (“we who are being sanctified”) singing.

God’s choosing and calling of us, Jesus Christ the Holy One as our sanctification, and the Spirit’s sanctifying work in us bring us onward to “the coming of the day of God” and New Jerusalem.

Reminder: the English words holy/holiness (from an Anglo-Saxon root) and sanctify/sanctification (from a Latin root) seem very different, but they are translations of closely related NT Greek words.

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