In Revelation 21:9, an angel, one of the seven angels with the seven bowls of the seven last plagues told John, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” He then takes John, “in the Spirit” and shows him the Holy City, Jerusalem.
We know that the church is the bride of Christ, the Lamb of God, so how is this city also the bride?
The designation of the bride of the Lamb is not in the identity or person of the individual but in the relationship with Christ. These are represented both in the image of the bride and the dwelling place of the bride and groom. Let me phrase that another way. In the same way a husband and wife may own a house, but their relationship creates a home, the bride and groom are not simply individuals but the manifestation of the committed relationship they share.
The discussion of the bride is a beautiful analogy throughout Revelation. In 18:23, the final judgment of Babylon was given and, in that judgment, the voice, the presence of both the bride and groom were permanently removed from the city. No more Jesus, no more church, just doom and destruction (note: I know that doesn’t sound beautiful, but look at the fact that Jesus completely rescues His bride from the enslavement of this wicked city, never to return). In 19:7, there is a call to rejoice because the bride of the Lamb has made herself ready. In 21:2, we are introduced to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed. (This refers back to Isaiah 61:10, “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”) and in Revelation 21:9 we are shown the bride from a different vantage point, a high mountain.
This imagery of bride and groom to explain the relationship helps us understand the depth of the commitment that Jesus makes with us. The two shall be as one, joined together, til death they won’t part and since there is no more death, it is an eternal commitment. Jesus will live with His people, in His people and His people will live in Him. The two that were separated by sin, will be separate no more, but shall be one, for all eternity. The rebellious roaring lion of sinful humanity will lie down with the lamb, at peace.
This is in such stark contrast to the relationship of the woman and the beast. This is the image of mankind in a relationship with wickedness and evil. This is the collective of those who reject Christ, the “anti-church”, the non-believers. This woman is degraded, calling herself the mother of prostitutes and abominations. She is profane and drunk. Instead of being honored by her husband, the beast, whom she believes she controls, she commits adultery and is used by the kings and the beast. Instead of being loved and cherished, she is hated and killed and consumed.
None of us leave this life alone. Our time on earth is for us to choose our relationship, with Jesus or against Jesus. There is no undecided or agnostic. A failure to choose is, in itself, a relationship choice. There are only 2 relationships available, which relationship do you desire?
Angel said: I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb and he carried me and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem
1. behind me: loud trumpet voice: write and send to the 7 churches – purpose
4. before me: throne of heaven with someone sitting on it – author
3. wilderness: woman sitting on a scarlet beast covered with blasphemous names – evil
9-10: to mountain great and high: see a holy city, Jerusalem, the bride, the wife of the Lamb
prostitute vs bride, the drunk on blood blasphemous adulterer vs the bride made pure and dressed in white by her husband, the one consumed by the beast vs the one honored and loved by the lamb
Any temptation of today pales in comparison – gold is simply paving stones