In the last few days, we have been meditating on God's plan for the ages to call a body of people from all nations who will enter into a marriage covenant with Jesus. Our Bridegroom will come for His bride and live with those who respond willingly to His love. In Middle Eastern weddings, it is the bridegroom's responsibility to prepare or build the place where they will live after their marriage.
Let's look now at the place that God has prepared for those who love Him:
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "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. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." 5He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." 6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son (Revelation 21:1-7. Emphasis mine).
The holy city descends from above. It's not something we build on Earth but something Christ has made and descends to Earth for His people (v. 2). It's not New Washington or New London, but it is the New Jerusalem, the place where God has promised to dwell forever. The Lord told Solomon that He had put His Name forever in Jerusalem: "My eyes and my heart will always be there" (1 Kings 9:3). Could that be why there is so much warfare about the city of Jerusalem? I believe God's enemies want to trample on and eject the name of the God of Israel from Jerusalem completely, and for the embodiment of Satan himself, the Antichrist, to be enthroned on the sacred mount at the center of Jerusalem: “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
Verse 2 tells us that the New Jerusalem comes down prepared as a bride. Some explain the sentence by saying the city itself is the bride. Those who hold to that position remind us that we are being built into a temple as living stones: "you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5 Emphasis mine). To bring a different view, though, Revelation 21:27 says that those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life will live there, not that they are it! Whatever position you hold about the above passage, the main point is that the Lord will live with us, and this city will be our dwelling place. Yes, the waiting is hard, but oh, so worth it when the time comes. Keith Thomas
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