THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

Her Abode and Her Destiny

 

 

The subject of the bride of Christ is an area of interest that is vital to our spiritual growth.  However, it is one of those areas that the churches don’t spend much time studying or thinking about.  The churches that strive to be commandment-keeping peoples fully understand that the principle work of God, in this age (the age of Satan’s world wide influence), is the creation of the “firstfruits”.  It is understood by many, that only the firstfruits will become the “bride of Christ”.  It is not the purpose of this paper to prove “who” the bride is.  The evidence of this understanding is provided in a separate article.  The focus in this paper is on “what the bride does”.

 

The churches also know that the bride will be co-rulers with Christ during the millennium.   There is though, information that is available to us that provides for a more complete level of understanding of the work of the bride.  This information reveals the expectation that God has for the wife of Jesus Christ and the truly awe-inspiring nature of their future work.

 

In order for us to develop a more complete appreciation for the “bride”, the time that the “New Heaven and New Earth” will occur has to be clearly understood.  There are beliefs, in regard to that time, that take away from understanding the value of the brides involvement in Gods work.  The time of the decent of New Jerusalem and aspects of the fulfillment of the “Feast of Tabernacles” are also vital to this study.  As happens so often in the King James and other translations we are not given faithful transliterations of the ancient Greek texts that are now available to us all.  It will be necessary to come to know the time of the coming of the “New Heaven and the “New Earth” and “New Jerusalem” before we can begin to appreciate a more complete measure of the brides worth. 

 

It is very interesting, that for such an important subject, there are only two verses in the New Testament that directly refer to the “bride”.  Rev 21:9 states that; “I will show you the bride”.  As the chapter unfolds there is no clear-cut statement that reveals the bride.  It took many years before I was able to understand how the bride was “shown” in the 21st chapter of the book of Revelation.  The second reference of the existence of the “bride “ is in Rev.22:17;  “And the Spirit and the bride say come”.   These verses provide conclusive evidence that there will be a bride.  But, one of the most important pieces of information concerning the bride is missing.  That is; when will the bride become the bride?  A comprehensive consideration of this question and other aspects of the bride lay the groundwork for the understanding of the time of the appearance of New Jerusalem and the destiny of the Bride of Christ.

  

The bride becomes the Bride of Christ at the marriage of the lamb.  The marriage of the lamb is spoken of in Revelation 19:7-8.  It is quite evident that the marriage takes place BEFORE Christ descends with his army to destroy the beast, the false prophet, the kings and their followers. This occurs just prior to the commencement of the millennial rule of Jesus Christ and his wife.  The Bride of Christ  then provides her valuable influence through the rest of the time of God’s plan for the salvation of mankind.

 

THE NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH & THE COMING OF NEW JERUSALEM 

 

The importance of the work of the bride, and then wife, of Jesus is revealed in the 21st chapter of Revelation.  However, in order to understand and fully appreciate what that work is, we have to know the truth of a particular matter.  We have to know the true time of when “New Jerusalem” descends from heaven.

 

“New Jerusalem is only mentioned twice and both times in the Book of Revelation.  One of the times is in Rev 21:2, but it is 21:1 that most people use to determine when its coming will occur. 

 

21:1  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

 

            The natural tendency is to think that a new heaven and new earth will have to happen after all the things that are prophesied for this earth and its inhabitants has been fulfilled.  Especially since New Jerusalem is mentioned right after the statement of the “lake of fire”.  The lake of fire is generally considered the last event of the progressive stages that God has designed for mankind.  However, with the information that is provided in all of the verses of Rev 21:1-8, that conclusion should be seriously questioned. 

 

            We know that the Book of Revelation is not written in a smooth chronological order.  For instance, the great slaughter of Rev 14:19-20 is in reference to Rev 19:15-21.  With this in mind and with the help of the context in the 21st chapter of Revelation, we can know that the vision that John saw that is described by Rev 21:1-8, is distinct and separate from his previous vision which ended with Rev 20:15.

 

21:1  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

 

It does seem like this has to be describing an earth that will exist after all things are accomplished.  Through Ezek 47:20-21, we can know the future partitioning of Israel for each tribe.  The boundaries for the tribes disclose the fact that there will be seas after Gods ruler-ship begins.  There are other prophecies that show that there will be seas during this time.  If one takes the view that verse 21:1 is speaking of the time that God is dwelling with men, we would have to ask, how could there be no more sea?  To answer that question we have to consider the fact that beside the seas of the earth there is another specific sea that the Bible speaks about.  And, we have to be careful to consider that the context of verse 21:1 is speaking in terms of heaven, a singular heaven.  ---   In the present heaven, the throne of God is located at the head of a “sea of glass”.

 

Rev 4:6  And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

Rev 15:2  And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

 

And Paul speaks specifically about a heavenly Jerusalem in Hebrews 12:22

 

22  But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

 

When God permanently moves the “heavenly Jerusalem” to the confines of the earth, the “sea of glass” is never mentioned again.  A “city” of pure gold, like unto clear glass and the “street” of the city of pure gold, as it were transparent glass, is spoken of.  There is no “sea of glass” referred to in the earthly location of New Jerusalem.  Also, it will be abundantly shown that the new haven and new earth are created prior to the coming of New Jerusalem.  The only conclusion that I can come to is; since there will be earthly seas when New Jerusalem accompanies God as He dwells with men, the “sea”, that verse 21:1 is speaking about, is the sea of glass and will be no more.  It is the only sea that has the potential to be no more during Gods rule over mankind.  The absence of the heavenly sea in-itself will make that heaven a different or new place.  It is also very interesting that the only place that the term new heaven is used in the singular is in Rev 21:1.  This points us to a singular heaven.  In this case, the reference is to the “third” heaven, which is understood to be the location of Gods throne.  The third heaven is referred to in 2 Cor 12:2.  All the other times that the Bible speaks of  the new heavens it is in the plural, which would include the terrestrial and the celestial.  But, there is more. 

 

There has been talk of a possibility of the shifting of the “poles” of the earth by various scientists.  Their evidence includes credible measurement of movement of mass from the Earth’s equatorial region toward the polar-regions.  We know that in the last days of this age, the earth is going to experience dynamic convulsions.  It is so very interesting that verses 12-14 of Rev 6 describes an event that can be understood as an actual pole shift. 

 

           During a shifting of the poles the stars will look as if they are falling to the earth.  When that shift is complete the stars position in the heaven will be changed.  In essence, it will be a new heaven.  A new celestial heaven.   Verse 14, with the mountains and islands moved out of their places, describes formation of a new earth.  It is again described with the pouring out the last bowl during the time of the vengeance of God.   This last bowl also clearly defines the time that the new earth is formed.  

  

12  And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

13  And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

14  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

 

           . 

 

            The same scene is pictured in Isaiah chapter 34.  The prophecy pictures a span of time and ends in verse 8 with “the day of the Lord’s vengeance”.  Verse 4 makes it clear that “all” of heavens host (H#6635) shall fall down.  Gesenius’ Hebrew Lexicon states of “host”  #6635 in Isa 34:4:  “used of the sun, moon and stars”.

 

There are only two possibilities that would accomplish this effect.  Either the whole universe would be moved while the earth remained on its axis, or the earth’s axis was rotated while the universe remained in its normal state.

 

Isa 34:4    And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved (to melt; fig. to flow), and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.

5   The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah (city in Edom where the sacrifice resides) and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea (an area near Hebron named after the descendents of Edom).  This is similar to Jeremiah 46:10 where a sacrifice is assembled, but sacrificed elsewhere.  See “The Day of Teruah” paper near the end of the section titled “IS TERUAH FULFILLED BY THE “BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON”?).

8   For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the 

     controversy of Zion.

 

            In Isaiah 65:17, God states that he will create new heavens and a new earth.  Notice that in Isaiah it is plural “heavens”.  No throne or sea in the “third” heaven, a new placement of stars in the second heaven, and favorable weather conditions in the first heaven would all account for new “heavens”.  

 

17  For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

18  But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

19  And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.

20  There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.

21  And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

22  They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

23  They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.

24  And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

25  The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

 

            The above verses begin with the statement that God is going to create new heavens and a new earth.  Then the verses chronicle changes that are going to accompany the make up a “new earth”.

 

            We also have to consider Isaiah 66:18-24.

 

18  For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.

19  And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.

20  And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.

21  And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD.

22  For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.

23  And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

24  And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

 

            Here, the new heavens and new earth are set in time that describes the bloody end of Satan’s rule and the beginning of the millennial rule of Christ and of his righteous government.  In addition, verse 23 states:  “shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. 

 

            Next, we should look at what Peter has to say about new heavens and a new earth.

 

2 Pet 3:10  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

12  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness

 

Peter very clearly says that the heavens will experience great change at the coming of the day of the Lord.  There are many that believe that these verses in 2 Peter are describing the “lake of fire”, which represents the end of all that God reveals to us about his plan of creation.  There are other words that could be used, in a credible translation, that would change the complexion or nature of these verses.  It would make for an interesting separate study.  Nevertheless, there is much evidence that shows that the day of the Lord comes prior to Christ’s millennium.  Right after God’s vengeance on the realm of unrighteousness, the righteousness and influence of New Jerusalem arrives to bless the world. 

 

 

Paul has more to say about it in 1 Thes 5:2-3

 

2  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

3  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

 

They are going to be crying “peace and safety” at the time that the God’s “two witnesses” lie dead in the street. 

 

Rev 11:10  And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

11  And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

 

              The two witnesses are raised to life before the period of time that the new heavens  new earth are created.  It is the time when the first fruit will be standing on the sea of glass watching the wrath of God poured out upon the earth.  The pouring out of the last bowl will be the time when the formation of the new earth is finished.  It had begun with the sounding of the 6th trump.  The 6th trump is also the time when the change in the angle of the earth axis created a new heaven.

 

                      Rev 15:2     And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had

                      gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the

                      number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

                     Rev 15:7    And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials

                      full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.

 

            After the resurrection of the two witnesses and the first fruit the justice of the seven bowls have to be administered and the marriage of the Lamb has to take place.  Then the nations armies, having no idea of their fate, are drawn to the places of their sacrifice in the land of Israel.  They suddenly receive their judgment with their devastation on the day of the Lord.

 

Rev 16:13  And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

14  For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

 

Ezek 39: 17  And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.

 

 

THE FULFILLMENT OF THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES

 

Now to continue with the 21st chapter of Revelation. 

 

2  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

 

 

            First we can notice that new Jerusalem is prepared as a bride.  The “city” of new Jerusalem is not the bride.  It is prepared as a bride, however those preparations are manifest.

 

Then in verse 3, we are given one of the two times in the New Testament that describes the fulfillment of God’s sixth Annual Sabbath Day.  The Feast of Tabernacles, for thousands of years has pictured the time that God will tabernacle with Israel.  Physical Israel.  Verse after verse in the Old Testament describe the unending blessings that will come to Israel when God tabernacles with or over them.  Verse three shows that God is now fulfilling his promise.

 

 The word “men” in verse three is Strongs G#444. anthropos, (anth'-ro-pos; man-faced, i.e. a human being).  This word is used 560 times in the New Testament.  I could not find one time that was not clearly used as a direct reference to human beings.  It’s not even used for the occasional reference of an angle talking to men or women.  With this in mind, we can conclude that Rev 21:3 means exactly what it plainly says.  God himself will dwell with men, with human beings. 

 

God will not be far off in the 3rd heaven.  He will be in the “holy city, new Jerusalem” that will be within the margins of the earth.  The city that descends from heaven is a spiritual city and remains a spiritual city in its new location.  It is not darken by nightfall.  It is continuously lighted by the glory of God and the Lamb.  This light will not interfere with the physical or earthly night and day cycle.  Its inhabitants are spirit beings including God the Father, God the Son, the bride (wife) of Jesus and angles.  We are fully aware that the spiritual realm is undetectable by the human physical realm.  New Jerusalem is a “Spiritual” city

   

            Before moving on I would like to pay particular attention to the last words in verse 3. They are of special interest and should be compared to those of Zechariah and many other places that say the same thing. 

 

Rev 21:3 ---- and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

 

Zech 13:8      And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.

9    And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

 

            How more inspiring can it be said that God is going to fulfill his promise to the physical nation of Israel ???  

 

            Up to now there is more than sufficient evidence to show that the spiritual city of New Jerusalem will descend and take its new location at the beginning of the millennium.  But, there is more that is revealed in verses 4-8 in Revelation 21. 

 

Rev 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

6  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

7  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

8  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

 

            I believe the first thing to notice is that Rev 21:1-8 is a sequence of verses that represents an individual or complete vision.  Everything in the vision, after the statement in verse 3 that says “the tabernacle of God is with men”, from verse 4 to verse 8, is in the future tense.  Verse 4 contains a statement that is hard to understand.  It says that “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death”.  Most have concluded that if there is no more death, then, those people exist in a state of eternal life.  But verse 6 states that “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely”.   Why then does verse 6 offer eternal life, from the fountain of the water of life, to these same people, if they already have “life”?  Then verse 7 is an encouragement to overcome sin, which would be necessary to gain eternal life.  Also the promise is to “inherit all things” in the future.  Verse 5 states that God will make all things new.  All things will be made new with the commencement of Christ’s reign on this earth.  In verse 2, we can understand that new Jerusalem being prepared as a bride would occur just after the marriage of the Lamb, which happens at the beginning of the millennium. 

 

The words, “and there shall be no more death” presents a valid question and may have several potential answers.  Verse 8 gives credibility to one of the possible answers by taking us all the way to the lake of fire and showing us who will have their part in the second death.  It does not sayhave had their part in the lake of fire”.  The lake of fire in verse 8 is a future event.  Verses 3 & 4 may be telling us that if God is dwelling with his people they will be saved and will not have any part of the second death.  We may also consider there won’t be any more sorrow, crying or pain as in the 6,000 year tribulation of Satan’s rule.  Those are the former things of Satan’s influence that are passed away.  These first eight verses are describing the unprecedented alterations to heaven and earth that accompany the beginning of the all-encompassing rule of Gods kingdom and its everlasting significance.

 

            The second and last biblical reference to the fulfillment of the feast of tabernacles is in Rev 7:15.  It is set within a complete or uninterrupted vision from the viewpoint of observing an innumerable multitude of people. 

           

Rev 7:13  And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

14  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

16  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

17  For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

 

There are many areas of interest in these verses.  The first is that the correct translation from the Greek for “came out” should without question be “are coming out”.  This completely changes the time element for these verses.  Next, instead of “great tribulation” it should be “the great tribulation”.  The important thing here is that this represents a title of the nature of a state of affairs.  The tribulation period prior to the millennial rule of Christ was NEVER referred to as “the great tribulation”.  It was only spoken of as “great tribulation”.  “The great tribulation” is in reference to the effect of the state of affaires of Satan’s six thousand year rule.  The following commentaries speak to this point.

 

Jamieson Fausset and Brown:   great tribulationGreek, “THE great tribulation”; “the tribulation, the great one,” namely, the tribulation to which the martyrs were exposed under the fifth seal, the same which Christ foretells as about to precede His coming (Mat_24:21, great tribulation), and followed by the same signs as the sixth seal (Mat_24:29, Mat_24:30), compare Dan_12:1; including also retrospectively all the tribulation which the saints of all ages have had to pass through.

 

Gill:  and he said to me, these are they which came out of great tribulation: seeing this company designs all the elect of God, that ever were, are, or shall be in the world; "the great tribulation", out of which they came, is not to be restrained to any particular time of trouble, but includes all that has been, is, or shall be;

 

 The last part of verse 14 pictures a people who have accepted and have been cleansed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

The people who are living today who have been called and chosen by God have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb and go to the throne of God in prayer.

 

Now we are shown, in verses 15 and 16, some of the blessings, that come as a result of God dwelling with his people.  The words, “dwell among”, is a rendering that closely corresponds with the Hebrew term “tabernacle among” that is found in Lev 26:11

 

Lev 26:11  And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.

And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.  

 

            In verse 16 the statement,  “neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat” is not a good translation.  The NIV’s rendering is much better; “The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.” 

 

The incredible blessings that will be given, as a result of Gods presence and a worldwide conversion, is the hallmark of the millennium.  It is the conclusive fulfillment of the 6th annual holyday, the seven day  “Feast of Tabernacles”, that we now observe.

 

 It is of the utmost  importance  to see that verse 17 shows that this multitude will be led to the waters of life.  They are “converted” physical human beings being led to eternal life.  Revelation chapter 7:13-17 parallels Revelation 21:3-7.  All of this clearly shows us that the spiritual holy city and “God himself” will come down to be with mankind at the beginning of God’s righteous rule on this earth. 

 

 

 

I WILL SHOW YOU THE BRIDE 

 

The knowledge of the actual timing of New Jerusalem’s descent from heaven is required in order to understand the inspiring message that is given in Rev 21:9-27.  That message shows us a principle responsibility that is going to be given to the bride.  It tells us how and where that responsibility will be fulfilled.  In other words, it shows us the abode and destiny of the bride of Jesus Christ.  

It all begins with Rev 21:9. 

 

9     And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.

10     And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

 

For years I would read, “I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife”.  I would read through the rest of the chapter and would never find something that was “showing” the bride.  It seemed that by the time John finished seeing the vision, the angle forgot to show him the bride.  Though, there are many that believe that “holy Jerusalem” has to be the bride.  But, holy or heavenly Jerusalem existed a very long time before there would be a bride.  

 

Heb 12:22  But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

 

As I was driving at night a few years ago, if I remember right, it was along the I-5, some- where in northern California, the answer came to me.  The bride, in this vision, was represented by the wall of the city, as described in verses 12-14 of Rev 21. 

 

11  Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

12  And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

13  On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

14  And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

 

We are told that the twelve apostles represented the foundations of the wall.  The church has been built on a foundation of the twelve apostles. 

 

Eph 2:19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

 

In this instance, the saints who are the church, who will become the bride, represents a holy temple on this earth.  But, these verses clearly show us that the church, which becomes the bride, has been built upon a foundation of the apostles.  The wall that we see in Rev. 21, is twelve thousand furlongs  long.   The following is suggested by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown  [literally, “to twelve thousand stadii”: one thousand furlongs (125 miles) being the space between the several twelve gates].\

 

Then continuing in chapter 21, And the building of the wall of it was of jasper”,  “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl”.   “And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones”. (notice: plural foundations for the twelve apostles and a singular wall for one church) -------  It becomes clear that the “wall”, including the gates, represents the “bride”. The bride has been the church of God that has been built upon the foundation of the apostles.  We should remember this vision pictures a spiritual city with a spiritual wall.  It is also interesting to see that this wall may also be considered a wall of “righteousness” being made up of the church of God. 

 

2 Tim 4:8  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 

 

This thought is made all the more inspiring when we read certain verses relating to walls in the Old Testament. 

 

 

 INSPIRING PARALLELS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT

 

Our God, in the Old Testament, has given us some descriptive references to the value of the wall that is described in Revelation 21.  The particular wording of the KJV has hid the value for some of these inspiring references.  Since my wife was sensitized by the illustrative vision of the wall that was shown to John, she was able to recognize the importance of these references as she read through the “Living Bible”.  The following quotes are from the New Living Bible.

 

Ezek 13:10-14  "These evil prophets deceive my people by saying, 'All is peaceful!' when there is no peace at all! It's as if the people have built a flimsy wall, and these prophets are trying to hold it together by covering it with whitewash!

Tell these whitewashers that their wall will soon fall down.  A heavy rainstorm will undermine it; great hailstones and mighty winds will knock it down.

And when the wall falls, the people will cry out, 'Where is the whitewash you applied?'

"Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will sweep away your whitewashed wall with a storm of indignation, with a great flood of anger, and with hailstones of fury.

I will break down your wall right to the foundation, and when it falls, it will crush you. Then you will know that I am the LORD!

 

Ezek 22:28,30 And your prophets announce false visions and speak false messages. They say, 'My message is from the Sovereign LORD,' when the LORD hasn't spoken a single word to them. They repair cracked walls with whitewash!

"I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land, but I found no one     (it will be built with the righteous, remembering 2 Tim 4:8).

 

Isa 26:1   In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song: Our city is now strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God's salvation.

 

Isa 60:18  Violence will disappear from your land; the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround youlike city walls”, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there.

 

 

JOHN’S VISION IN REVELATION 21 REVEALS AN AWESOME RESPONSIBILITY 

 

            Isaiah provides us with a moving description of the glorious environment that the nation of Israel will be blessed with.  .  The 47th Psalm gives us a description that is centered on the time of the marriage of the Lamb.  The last verse speaks of the nature of the bride and the work of the bride.  A full development of the psalm is given at the last part of the paper titled,  “The Day of Teruwah”.

             

The charitable ones of the people (their nature) are gathered together (at the time of the wedding), even the people of the God of Abraham; For the protectors of the earth (a part of their work) belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.

 

But, without an understanding of 21st chapter of Revelation we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the more detailed description of the part that the bride contributes to that culture of righteousness.  Verses 22-23 shows us that the city is a “spiritual” city. In addition, it shows us that the temple that is detailed in Ezekiel chapters 40 –44 is not the temple of this city.  

 

22  And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

23  And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

 

There will be a physical temple in the physical city of Jerusalem AND a spiritual temple in the spiritual city of Jerusalem that has been moved from the third heaven to the boundaries of the earth.  When we consider the words of Isa 26:1 and Isa. 60:18 it is a likely conclusion that New Jerusalem will sit atop the earthly Jerusalem.  “We are surrounded by the walls of God's salvation”.    “Salvation will surround you like city walls

 

The last four verses reveal the reason for the wall of spiritual JerusalemOnly those who have the Spirit of God, dwelling in them, will be permitted to enter the city.

 

24  And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

25  And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

26  And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

27  And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever

worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

 

            There are many that see these verses depicting the time when all evil has ceased to exist (after the lake of fire) so they feel that it is reasonable to say that in no wise can evil to enter in to the city.  With this in mind, there are questions that must be asked and a critical examination of verses 24-27 is necessary.

 

First of all, why must there be a wall?   We can easily say the “wall” is the principle factor in the verses from Rev 21:12-27. 

 

12  And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 

25  And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

27  And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever

worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

 

The only reason for a presence or manifestation of a wall, in the Bible, is for protection or separation.  When all evil is done away with there will be no need of a wall to separate or protect us from that evil.

 

Then in verse 24, the statement in the KJV “the nations of them that are saved” is not true to the intended original Greek grammar.  What should it be?  In the original, the words “which are saved”, with out question, is in the future tense according to the “Analytical Greek New Testament.  Green’s Interlinear Bible translates it as “the nations of those saved”.  Being in the future tense, a more clear yet accurate rendering would be, “the nations that will be saved”.  It is so interesting to me that all of the older translations (1587 and older) include this statement, whereas, most of the newer translations leave it out altogether.  We should ask --- why?

 

A verse by verse examination of Rev 21:24-27, in its correct grammatical sense of time (past, present, future), reveals a complete description of the existing condition at the specific time that John had been taken to in the vision.  It shows us that a significant period of time has passed since the beginning of the millennium when New Jerusalem was established. This allows for the conversion of people and their name written in the “book of life”.

 

                  24  And the nations of them which are saved  shall walk in the light of it: and                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                       future        future                             

the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

                                     present

 

During the millennium they bring their honor to God’s spiritual city through their conversion.

 

25  And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.                                       past (aorist)

                                                  

Green’s Interlinear:  “the gates of it not at all may be shut”.  The gates have been open from the beginning of Gods kingdom on earth and will remain open.  Yet, they are guarded as we shall see later. 

 

            26  And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

                                     future

 

The kings of the nations shall continue to bring their glory and honor to God.

 

27  And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever                    past (aorist)

                                         

            worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.                                                                           present 

                                                                                                 

Nothing that would defile New Jerusalem, the city of God, has been able to enter it.  Only those who have been cleansed by Christ’s sacrifice and therefore written in “the book of life” have been granted entrance.  Also notice, that there will be those who will be saved in the future as verse 24 reveals.

 

The picture remains the same throughout chapter 22.  In Rev 22:11-15, every thing that was seen by John that was written in the “present tense” was occurring at the time he saw the vision Also, the theme of the “wall”, continues in verse 14.

 

Rev 22:11  He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he

that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

12  And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

13  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

14  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of                                                                                present                                              future

life and may enter in through the gates into the city.                                                                                                                  past (aorist)

 

 Again, only those who have been justified through Jesus Christ and have the Spirit of God dwelling in them, have access to the life giving blessing that result from spiritually entering that city.  Their blessing is that they may have right to the tree of life, which indicates it is something that they don’t posses but may attain.  Notice, that the wall of the city of New Jerusalem is still in place in this verse, and performing its function.

 

15  For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie

                                         present     present

 

That function is to separate the just from the unjust.

 

 

 

THE SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE SAY COME

 

Now we come to Rev 22:17 Where an invitation to salvation is given.  It has to be one of the most inspiring and revealing verses in the Bible.  But this sweeping invitation to salvation was originally given by Jesus in John 7:37.

 

37  In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

38  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

 

At the time that Christ spoke those words, only those that God had called and chosen could thirst for the living water.  “Any man” would not be able to respond.  Only those that God had personally called and chosen would be able to understand and respond.  And too, the ”bride of Christ” was yet to come.   But, it has been made clear that with the coming of God to this earth and the establishment of New Jerusalem, its gates would be continuously openIt means that any one, “any man”, who would desire to be a part of the kingdom of God may enter.  A person will not have to be individually called and chosen by God to receive the Spirit of God.  When Christ said these words that are quoted in John 7, he knew that its great significance would not be realized until the “great fall harvest”, which is pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles.  In verse Rev 22:17 these same words are repeated.  But it isn’t Jesus that is giving the invitation, it is the “bride of Christ” with the Spirit of God and those who have received that spirit that are giving this glorious  invitation. 

 

17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. 

 

The first time that “any one” can take of the water of life freely is when Christ begins his millennial rule.  But, Jesus does not give the personal invitation as in John 7.  God the Father, as an individual, does not give that invitation.  In a personal sense it is given, at the beginning of the millennium, by the “bride”.  There is good reason for this change.  The reason has to do with the wall of New Jerusalem.  The bride was depicted as the wall.  It will be the wall that keeps the abominable ones from entering the city.

 

            In other words it is the bride, at that time, that will determine who will enter the city and who will not enter the city of God.  Verse 21:12 indicates that angels, at the gates, will enforce the will of the bride, however that will be accomplished.  And, it will be the possession of God’s Spirit that will qualify those who are to be written in “the book of life” and have access to the city.  The wife of Jesus Christ will be given the responsibility of determining who may enter through the gates of the wall into the eternal glory of the city of God. This reveals the spiritual maturity of the wife of Jesus and his trust in her.

  

  In this present age, God the Father decides who will be given the opportunity to possess the Spirit of God, and become the first fruits.  The first fruits have access to heavenly Jerusalem and are small in number.  The difference between now and then is that, in the millennium, everyone who desires to have God’s Spirit may have it.  And, multitudes and multitudes will be given the Spirit of God and will have access to the city of God.

 

            With all of this in mind, I think that the verses in Isaiah chapters 26 and 60 are able to take on special significance. 

 

Isa 26:1   In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song: Our city is now strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God's salvation.

Isa 60:18  Violence will disappear from your land; the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround youlike city walls”, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there. 

 

We can now have a better understanding of why The Day of Teruah (the 4th annual Holy Day) is worthy of such joy and praise.  On that day, Jesus Christ will be married to his bride.  It will be the work, of this husband and wife, which will bring multitudes and multitudes of spiritually minded offspring into the city of God and have their names entered into the “book of life”.