Glorious Bride Part 10
To the elect of God, who like living stones are being fashioned and joined together to become One New Man; be joyful always, for the Lord is near. Cast off the old nature, and put on the new with garments washed in the blood of the lamb, as you serve one another in love, praying fervently for each other, as we see His glorious day approaching.
Well, what an amazing journey we have been on. The woman in heaven, as seen by John Rev 12:1 and depicted in the heavens above by the sun, moon and stars, has been seen at each stage as the Eternal Purpose of God unfolds and develops here upon the earth. Last time, we came to the end of act 2, in which Jesus had taken centre stage, for it was all about Him, and what He had accomplished on His First Coming in preparation for His Bride at His Second Coming. But then the curtain closed as the clouds hid Him from sight, when He ascended from the Mount of Olives returning back to the Father’s side, where He is received until the restoration of all things. Acts 3:21. John saw this return to Heaven in his vision of the woman, as we read in our central passage for this series:
“And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.” Rev 12:3-5
This passage brings a new development in our story, for we have now introduced “the dragon”, and John describes him later in verse 9 “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Rev 12:9 Throughout all history, there has been an adversary, Satan, who opposes God and seeks to frustrate, hinder and prevent the Eternal Purpose of God being fulfilled. There is now a major shift in the story, a repositioning of the main characters. Jesus has returned to Heaven, Satan is cast down to the earth, and where is woman now? Reading further in Rev 12, we will notice that she is now upon the earth, but I will cover these things in another series where we will look at the Great Tribulation and the final preparations of the Bride. But I do want to take a glimpse into the future, for it is indeed glorious. John caught a glimpse, a peek behind the curtain, and saw the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” Rev 21:9-11
In this passage we are given a connection between the “Bride, the Lamb’s wife” and “the great city, the holy Jerusalem”. Previously we have seen how the great city Jerusalem is the personification of the wife of God the Father. (see Part 5 of this series), and now John sees the great city of Jerusalem descending out of heaven. Something has happened, the primary reality of things in heaven, the Jerusalem above coming down towards the earth. Deep I know, but let’s continue because there’s more. In with Rev 21:2 John writes “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” Notice that the two descriptions of Jerusalem are not quite the same. The phrase here in v2 is “the new Jerusalem”. Almost as if there are two Jerusalems, one is the “Holy Jerusalem, the great city” the other is the “New Jerusalem, prepared as a bride”. There is represented here both Jerusalem as in the ancient and Holy City of God, but also the new Jerusalem the glorious Bride. What are we to make of this? I believe John sees one city, but dual natures combined in one reality coming down out of Heaven but both describing the Bride, the wife of the lamb.
When Jesus was sentenced in Jerusalem and crucified outside her city walls, He had come to the Wife of His Father, through whom He was made incarnate. And when He died upon the cross, His shed blood paid for the sins of His Father’s wife after she had been adulterous. In so doing, provision was made for Jerusalem and Israel to be restored back into the blessing of a new marriage covenant. But there is more, that through His sacrifice, Jesus not only paid for the sins of Jerusalem, His Father’s wife, but also for the sins of the whole world (both Jew and Gentile) to create a New Jerusalem, that would become His, the wife of the lamb!!
There is a profound mystery here. Something that brings all these things together in one new glorious revelation. My understanding is that as the Son is begotten from the Father, so also the Bride is begotten from Jerusalem! As Paul writes to the Galatians “But the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all” Gal 4:26 But in the same way that Jesus is also God, so the Bride is also Jerusalem. The Bride is because Jerusalem is. Without Jerusalem, there could be no Bride. The Bride is Jerusalem in the same way that Jesus is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being”. Heb 1:3 The Father and the Son together with the Holy Spirit are One, so also the Jew and the Gentile shall be one, and that together shall become the New Jerusalem, the wife of the lamb. This abolishes any notion that Israel is replaced. On the contrary, Israel and Jerusalem are not replaced any more than the Father is replaced by the Son! No, it is through the marriage of the Father and Israel (Jerusalem) that the marriage of the Son and the New Jerusalem can happen. These things are all so wonderfully linked together.
As the reference to Jerusalem in Rev 21 represents the old and the new, I believe there is dual prophetic meaning and fulfilment with the prophecies of Isaiah that refer to Jerusalem. In other words, there is fulfilment for both the wife of the Father, and the wife of the Son!
In closing, I want to read from Isaiah 62. A familiar passage, but instead of seeing this as relating only to Jerusalem, let’s see it also as a prophecy about the Bride, the New Jerusalem
For Zion’s (Bride) sake I will not keep silent, And for Jerusalem’s (Bride’s) sake I will not keep quiet,
Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; And you will be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord will designate. You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,” nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”; But you will be called, “My delight is in her,” and your land, “Married”; For the Lord delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so your God will rejoice over you. On your walls, O Jerusalem (Bride), I have appointed watchmen; All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; And give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem (His Bride), a praise in the earth. Isaiah 62:1-7 (brackets mine)
This concludes our series on the Glorious Bride. I pray you have been quickened in your Spirit, and awakened in Bridal love. May the Lord keep you always, as His Day draws near.