Come, I Will Show You the Bride,

the Wife of the Lamb

21: 9-10

   DIG: What is it about the City that John and his readers are meant to notice in particular? Why? What impresses you most about the City and its central figure?

   REFLECT: How do you feel about the fact that
the Holy City of Jerusalem will be your hometown? How do you feel about the fact that this is what Jesus has prepared for you?

    God’s nature has more than one characteristic. He loves and judges; saves and condemns. Both of these characteristics are demonstrated here. Imagine, one of the same angels who poured out a bowl of ADONAI’s wrath one thousand years earlier is now inviting John to see the Lord’s love for His faithful ones. This angel was one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues (15:1). Either he or another of those seven angels had also poured out God’s judgment on the wicked city of Babylon (17:1). Revelation has been called a tale of two cities. Babylon and the New Jerusalem; the prostitute and the Bride. One he saw thrown down with violence, to disappear forever (18:21); the other he saw coming down from heaven in glory to endure forever. Babylon was both a monstrous system of spiritual and political wickedness, and also a literal city that served as the capital city of Satan’s kingdom during the Millennium. On the other hand, the New Jerusalem is also both a glorious literal city as well as the universal tabernacle of God, and eternal kingdom of righteousness.484

    Escorting John on a personal tour of heaven’s capital city, the angle came and said to the apostle: Come, I will show you the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb (21:9). The Holy City will have trees, streets, and mansions, but its true identity will be the Lamb and His Bride. The New Jerusalem is described as a bride because it draws it character from its people. Those people make up the Bride of the Lamb, a title originally given to the Church (19:7). However, as David Stein writes in his Jewish New Testament Commentary, there is no Church apart from the Jewish people and no Israel apart from the New Covenant. All those of faith, both Jew and Gentile, will comprise the Bride. As we approach the end of the book of Revelation, the figure of the Lamb becomes increasingly prominent. In the next twenty-two verses He is mentioned seven times.485

    John’s amazing vision began when the angel lifted him up and carried him away in the Spirit (21:10a), similar to what Ezekiel experienced (Ezekiel 3:12-14, 8:3, 11:1, 11:24, 40:2,43:5). When he received the visions in the book of Revelation, John was a prisoner of the Romans on the island of Patmos (1:9). But he was transported from there in an incredible spiritual journey to see what human eyes could never see without God’s help. John’s visions were not dreams, but spiritual realities, like those Paul saw when he was also caught up to the third heaven (Second Corinthians 12:2-4).486

    His first stop was a mountain great and high outside the City itself, in order to have a clear view from his vantage point. And he saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from ADONAI (21:10b). That emphasizes its divine origin. It is the City whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10). It will come down to the freshly created new earth from heaven where it has been for all eternity. Earlier in the chapter (21:2) John had given us a simple summary statement that the Holy City was coming down to the new earth. But his perspective seemed to be from a distance where he had observed the actual creation of the entire new earth and its atmosphere. Here, the angel seems to bring him to a closer location, where he can watch in great wonder as the glorious City moves down right past his very eyes.487

    How far it will descend we do not know. Nothing is said about it coming to rest upon the new earth. It may do that, but it also may remain suspended above. One thing is for sure however, what goes on in the Holy City will be more important than what takes place on the earth because the New Jerusalem will be the capital city of God’s new creation.488

 

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