Monday, December 28, 2015

Unveiling of the Bride-City

The New Jerusalem - Artist unknown
The New Jerusalem - Artist unknown

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Revelation 21:1-21

TO CHEW ON: "Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband… 'Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife."  Revelation 21:2,9

What an interesting comparison—likening a city to a bride.

Bride Imagery is used in other places in the Bible.
  • Already way back in Isaiah we have Jerusalem referred to as a bride - Isaiah 52:1.
  • And Paul often refers to believers in bride terms:
    • He urges Christians in Rome to leave their old loyalty to law-keeping and "be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead" - Romans 7:4.
    • He exhorts the Christians in Corinth to be faithful to Christ as a bride would be faithful to her husband sexually - 1 Corinthians 6:15.
    • He also challenges the Corinthian Christians to loyalty and purity as if they were a chaste virgin whom he (Paul) anticipates presenting to Christ - 2 Corinthians 11:2.
    • He talks plainly to the church in Ephesus about their ideal intimacy with Christ using words that remind us of the marriage covenant: "For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones" - Ephesians 5:30 (compare Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:8 and Ephesians 3:31). In fact in Ephesians 5:32, Paul spells it out: "This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church."
  • These Bible bride metaphors often refer, as well, to getting ready and being prepared. We see this in John's writings:
    • "… the marriage of the Lamb has come and His wife has made herself ready" - Revelation 19:7.
    • "… the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down… prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" - Revelation 2:20 (our verse for today).

Which takes us back to John's vision, of which my Bible's study notes explain:
"The holy city is the bride of Christ, the church as well as the abode of the saints" - Earl Wesley Morey, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1845.

The vision of this bride-city is rich with symbolism. We might interpret:*
  • The gates to it, located on all sides, to mean that it's open to all peoples (Revelation 21:12,13).
  • The "twelve tribes" and "twelve apostles" to mean that it incorporates both Old and New Testaments (Revelation 21:12,14).
  • The "twelve foundations" as a reference to the "household of God" that Paul talks about, which is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ as the cornerstone (Revelation 21:14; Ephesians 2:20).
  • The cube shape of the city as a symbol of its perfection (Revelation 21:15-17).
  • The precious materials used in the city as symbols of its value, beauty, and glory (Revelation 21:18-21).  (*Morey's study notes used in the above.)

Doesn't reading this wondrous description of the New Jerusalem Bride of Christ (of which we're a part) make you want to stay loyal to Jesus and not get involved with anyone else? Doesn't it also make you want to prepare yourself for the day of this amazing unveiling?

PRAYER: Dear God, in the midst of my mundane, often disappointing, sometimes hostile-to-Christianity life on earth, help me to keep my sites on the real and glorious future You have for Your church and for me as part of it. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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