No, we are not yet finishing up Revelation in this post. We’re going to spend forever in heaven someday. We might as well spend a few days talking about what it will all be like. 🙂
It’s very ironic to me that one of the angels who poured out the bowls of wrath on the earth now comes to John and says, “Come I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” This angel who participated in the destruction of the old heaven and earth now introduces the new heaven and earth to John.
And like I said yesterday, I’m not sure if this description of the New Jerusalem is describing a literal city, God’s people, or both.
But as I read this, I think of that parable of the pearl of great price. Where a man sold everything he had to get it. (Matthew 13:45-46)
Jesus bought this precious pearl of the church, his bride, with his own blood spilled on the cross. He shed his blood,
to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:26-27)
And now we see his bride coming in all her beauty. John says,
It shone with the glory of God and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. (21:11)
Throughout the description of this bride, you see “twelves” and multiples of twelves, sometimes multiplied by 1000, a symbol of perfection. The twelves themselves seem to be interpreted in 21:12 and 21:14 and reflect how all of God’s people are made up of the 12 tribes of Israel of the Old Testament and the 12 apostles in the New. In other words, we are all made up of the community of faith, starting with the believers of the Old Testament (represented by the 12 tribes of Israel), and all believers of the new (represented by the apostles).
This bride is also decked with jewels (21:19-20) as the high priest once was (Exodus 28:15-21), and with the jewels of Eden itself (Ezekiel 28:13-13).
This bride has no need of a temple to go and meet God, for God himself and the Lamb are its temple. In fact, all the glory of God and the Lamb shines on it. (21:23)
And the bride herself shines. All nations are lit up by her light and bring their splendor into her. (21:24)
This bride will also be perfectly secure. There will be no fear of invaders coming in the night, and so her gates will always be open. As Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed in the beginning because they felt absolutely safe, so will Christ’s people be absolutely safe and secure with one another.
The water of life flows through us as we are filled with the joy of God’s Spirit (John 7:37-39), and we take part of and bear the fruit of life. (22:1-2)
But the best part of heaven and this life to come for this bride? We will see God’s face. (22:4).
This city is described as a cube (21:16). There is only one other cube in the Bible: the Most Holy Place in the Temple where God dwelt. (I Kings 6:20)
As we saw yesterday, God says,
Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (21:3)
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him…they will reign forever and ever. (22:3, 6)
Why is all this possible? Because 2000 years ago, Jesus hung on a cross for our sins. And because of his work, we will shine as his precious jewel, and live and reign with him forever in glory as his bride.
I can’t wait for that day!