Scripture Reading: Revelation 21:1-8
“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:3)
In this vision, John saw a city coming down out of heaven from God. The city is not the new world; it is a picture of the condition of the people in the new world. This city is a symbol which represents the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is a picture of the people of God being brought to their new world to inhabit the new creation.
This city is called “the holy city,” in that it is completely set apart for God and it is completely separated from all sin. It is called “the new Jerusalem,” to distinguish it from the earthly Jerusalem. In the Old Testament God chose Jerusalem as His earthly dwelling place. The temple, where the sacrifices were made, was in the city of Jerusalem. Within the temple in Jerusalem was the holy of holies, the most sacred place on earth, where the presence of God was manifested. You will notice in the new Jerusalem there is no temple, for God Himself is the temple. There is no need for sacrifice, for the Lamb of God made the final sacrifice that freed His people from their sins.
This city is also pictured as “a bride adorned for her husband.” The Church is the Bride of Christ. The Lamb of God bought her with His blood. He protects her from all evil (19:11ff). He nourishes and cherishes her (Ephesians 5:29). He sanctifies her “having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26,27). And now she is made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
I have lost count of how many weddings I have conducted. Most weddings are filled with great joy. While most people focus on the bride at a wedding, I have found great delight watching the groom, especially when the bride first appears and begins her walk down the aisle. Some grooms are filled with tears of happiness. I’ve actually had a couple of grooms so excited that they could not wait in place for their brides to come. They took off down the aisle to get a better view of their brides as they approached the chancel of the church. I often tell people at the wedding that Jesus looks at us, His Bride, in the same way. He is filled with delight in us and rejoices over us. Marriage is sacred because it is a picture of the gospel — Christ, the Bridegroom and the Church, His Bride being united in love forever.
Lord Jesus, Bridegroom of the Church, You love Your Bride and gave Your self for her. Thank You that I belong to Your Church and am loved sacrificially, unconditionally and eternally by You. I look forward to the day when I will see You face to face, the day You receive Your Church into glory with You.
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