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.”

Hastening the Coming of the Day of God (and of New Jerusalem)

New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:9-10) and the Lamb is Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. He says, “Behold, I come quickly” (22:7) and the Spirit and the bride respond “Come” (22:17). Then the Lord says again, “Yes, I come quickly” and John answers “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (22:20).

New JerusalemWe need to pray, Lord, come. Furthermore, Peter tells us how to speed up the Lord’s coming— “what kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness, expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:11-12).

Peter urges us to live a holy life and a life of godliness. A holy life comes from the sanctification of the Spirit separating us unto God both in position and inwardly. Godliness—”a life that lives Christ and expresses God in Christ*” comes from experiencing Christ as our life day by day. In this holy life and godliness we are expecting the Lord’s coming and the day of God.

By this life, we also hasten the coming. The Lord is eager to come and we pray Come, Lord Jesus. But, He will not come until “His wife has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7).

We must get ready but cannot get ready by ourselves. We get ready by opening to and cooperating with the Spirit’s work in us. We need the Spirit’s regenerating (John 3:6), renewing (Tit. 3:5), sanctification (2 Thes. 2:13), transformation (2 Cor. 3:18) and more. All of this is for preparing the bride, the wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem.

* Part of footnote 3 on 1 Tim. 6:3 in the Recovery Version NT, footnotes written by Witness Lee.

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb

New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:2, 9). This marriage is foreshadowed by Christ and the church, presented in the context of human marriage in Ephesians 5. This relationship is in love. Here is a link to each post about this relationship in Ephesians plus a verse from each. The last four links are for a song about Christ’s love for the church.

New Jerusalem

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 1
“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.”

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 2–3
“God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…made us alive together with Christ.”

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 4
“Holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ” for “the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 5
“Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…that He might present the church to Himself glorious.”

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 6:23
“Peace to the brothers and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 6:24
“Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.”

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Spoken to Ephesus in Revelation 2
“I have one thing against you, that you have left your first love”

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Spoken to Ephesus in 1 Timothy 1
“Remain in Ephesus in order that you might charge certain ones not to teach different things….The goal of the charge is love.”

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem
“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.”

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem, 2
“I was their Husband, declares Jehovah.”

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem, 3
“The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem, 4
“The bride, the wife of the Lamb….the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God”

Photo 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)

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 6:24

The Lamb is Jesus Christ and the wife of the Lamb is the holy city New Jerusalem. Their marriage is in love, the love of God to us and our response to and with His love.

Ephesians concludes, “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” The Lord certainly desires that we love Him. This love is the first commandment (Mark 12:30) and in response to this love He and the Father make their dwelling with us (John 14:23), a precursor of New Jerusalem as their eternal dwelling.

New JerusalemWe are to “love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” Our love must originate from God because our natural love is corruptible. He is the only incorruptible One and New Jerusalem will be an incorruptible city to match Him as His wife.
New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance
Incorruptible and Undefiled and Unfading
Pursue the Incorruptible New Jerusalem

In contrast, the Gospels have examples of corrupted, selfish love. In Matthew 20 the mother of James and John, who loved the Lord, asked that her sons sit on His right and left in the kingdom. In response the Lord told His disciples not to strive for greatness but to be a servant, even a slave.

We have been regenerated of incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23) and all our love for the Lord should spring from this. Lord, thank You for Your love to us that we may love You in purity from now unto New Jerusalem.

Photo by NASA, ESA, STSci; courtesy of NASA.

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.

Out from Christ to be Presented to Christ

Genesis 2:21-22: “Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. And Jehovah God built the rib, which He had taken from the man, into a woman and brought her to the man.” This first human couple is a picture of Christ and the church (Eph. 5:23-32) which consummates in Christ and New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage (Rev. 21:1–22:5).

New JerusalemPrior to the formation of Eve, God brought every living creature to Adam. “The man gave names to all cattle and to the birds of heaven and to every animal of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper as his counterpart” (Gen. 2:20). No other creatures was a match for Adam.

But, when Eve was brought to Adam, “The man said, This time this is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman because out of Man this one was taken. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:23-24).

The inability of the creatures to match Adam, and the wonderful correspondence of Eve to Adam shows that only what came out of Adam matches him to be his counterpart. In the same way, only what comes out of Christ can match Him to be His counterpart/ companion/suitable helper*.

New Jerusalem is the bride, the wife of Jesus Christ. According to the pattern in Genesis 2, New Jerusalem should come out of Christ to be the proper match to be presented to Him.

For more about the church, the precursor of New Jerusalem, coming out of Christ to be presented to Christ, see chapter 2 in The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee. It can be freely downloaded from Bibles for America (English) or Rhema Literature (30 languages).

* Various translations in Gen. 2:20, thanks to Bible Hub.

Photo by Mary Hollinger, courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.”

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (3)

Revelation 19:9: “Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb.” This dinner will be a reward to the Lord’s faithful believers. This dinner is a foretaste of the eternal marriage of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and His wife, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2, 9-10).

New JerusalemThis marriage dinner is presented in a parable in Matthew 25:1-13. The virgins who were ready went in but the virgins who were not ready were shut out. But were they shut out temporarily or forever? Only temporarily; they will be brought to New Jerusalem.

Jesus said, “I give to them eternal life, and they shall by no means perish forever, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father…is greater than all, and no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29).

And Jesus promised: “Him who comes to Me I shall by no means cast out” (John 6:37); “I shall by no means give you up, neither by any means shall I abandon you” (Heb. 13:5). The Lord’s promises here are unconditional. “By no means,” that is, under no circumstances whatever, will He ever cast us out or cease to uphold us. These are His faithful promises. This eternal promise endures unto New Jerusalem.

The prior post shows that the five foolish virgins are believers. The verses above show that they are eternally secure.* “No one,” including the devil and the foolish virgins themselves, can snatch them out of the Lord’s hand. And He will never give us up despite our foolishness. However, such believers should expect discipline from the Lord and the Father (Heb. 12:5-11).

The discipline will seem to be a matter of grief (12:11), but eventually these believers will be prepared and will partake of our Father God’s holiness (12:10) and match the holy city, New Jerusalem.

* For more, see The Assurance, Security, and Joy of Salvation or read online

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (2)

Revelation 19:7, 9: “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 – 21:9-10] has made herself ready….Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb.

The marriage dinner is a blessing, a reward, to believers who have lived faithful to the Lord. It is a foretaste of the eternal blessings of New Jerusalem. These believers have been and will continue to rejoice and exult and give the glory to the Lamb.

New JerusalemThe parable in Matthew 25:1-13 speaks about the faithful believers participating in the marriage dinner. “The bridegroom [a picture of Jesus Christ] came; and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast” (v. 10). Five others, who were unprepared, did not get into the feast.

Many would say that those who were unprepared were not believers, they were unsaved. Actually, they are saved believers.They are spiritual “virgins,” which unsaved people are not.

Their lamps were lit, although “going out.” These lit lamps typify their human spirit, regenerated by the divine Spirit. “The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah” (Prov. 20:27). They have oil, portraying the Spirit, in their lamps, but did not take extra oil in their vessels.

These unprepared believers during their lifetime “went forth to meet the bridegroom.” All, prepared and unprepared, arose at the cry, “Behold, the bridegroom! Go forth to meet him!” In contrast, John 5:29 shows us there will be two different resurrections for the dead, one for believers and one for unbelievers.

When the Lord says to the unprepared, “I do not know you” it means I do not approve you, as in Matthew 7:23. The next post considers these unprepared believers regarding New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb

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

Then John told us, “One of the seven angels…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, coming down out of heaven from God” (21:9-10).

The vision of New Jerusalem was after the Lord’s victory (Rev. 19:11-210, after the kingdom in resurrection (20:4-6), and after the last judgments (Rev. 20:7-15). However, prior to these, there are declarations about the marriage of the Lamb in 19:7, 9:

New JerusalemLet 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.”

“Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb.”

This dinner is a blessing, a reward, to believers who have lived faithful to the Lord’s interests. It is a foretaste of the eternal blessings of New Jerusalem. Surely they will rejoice and exult and give the glory to the Lamb.

In human culture, a marriage celebration, including a marriage dinner, is often one day. Yet, “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8). Thus, the marriage dinner of the Lamb is both one day and a thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6). During this time Satan will be bound, making everything peaceful (20:2-3, 7).

Finally New Jerusalem will come out of heaven, the eternal wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.

Bible verses are quoted 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.

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