Thursday, 12 August 2021
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” Revelation 21:9
With the new heaven and the new earth prepared, and the prospect of eternal joy or eternal condemnation laid out, a new vision begins, that of New Jerusalem. The words of this verse are a close parallel to the words of Chapter 17. There, Mystery Babylon was introduced, and so the contrast between the two cities is highlighted by the parallel use of the words –
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.’” (17:1, 2)
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’” (21:9)
This is a pattern that has been repeated many times in Scripture. The first is the introduction of a negative entity which is then followed by a good one. Cain and his line were introduced (Genesis 4:1), followed by Seth and his line (Genesis 4:25). The generations of Ishmael were noted (Genesis 25:2), followed by those of Isaac (Genesis 25:19). The generations of Esau were introduced (Genesis 36:1), followed by those of Jacob (Genesis 46:8).
This pattern continues on in various ways and at various times, such as introducing King Saul and then King David. The pattern defines those who are sons of Adam by nature (seeking after worldly things) and those who are sons of God by nature. The sons of God include those before the cross because of their anticipation of the coming Messiah. They also include those after the cross because of their faith in God’s Messiah who has come, Jesus.
Likewise, the idea of the city opposed to God, Babylon (Babel), was first described in Genesis 11 (introduced in Genesis 10). However, the city of God, Jerusalem, was first introduced in Genesis 14 (Salem) with the introduction of Melchizedek (see Psalm 76:2).
Thus, there are these divergent concepts being explored and developed in Scripture in order to reveal what God is doing as opposed to what man is doing. The final end to Babylon has been described, and now the introduction of the eternal city – New Jerusalem – is to be described. With this understood, John begins with, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me.”
As in verse 17:1, which of the seven angels that this is remains unstated. Therefore, the angel’s identity is irrelevant. It is simply one of the seven. To John, this angel is “saying, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’”
This is in contrast to the harlot of Revelation 17. A harlot is a wife to no one, but rather gives herself away to whoever will participate in her wickedness. Further, the harlot was said to sit on many waters, implying exactly the idea of harlotry. She spread herself out among many lovers, and she committed fornication with the kings of the earth and the earth’s inhabitants.
In complete contrast to this, there is a bride who will receive the affections of her husband, the Lamb – Jesus. There is a united bond between the two that will last forever because of the love of God which is found in Christ Jesus.
Life application: Although a city is going to be described, the New Jerusalem, it is the people who comprise a city. In other words, what will be described may be literal, and it may be an actual edifice that God has prepared. However, as with other biblical passages, New Jerusalem is more than its material parts. Rather, it is the city of the people of God.
The bride of Christ is both the city and its people. To miss this is to miss what God has been doing since the very first pages of the Bible. Since that time, He has been working in and through history to secure for Himself a people who live by faith. This is the premise of both testaments and of every story to be found in the Bible’s pages – faith that God will restore what was lost and that it will be even more glorious because it will be eternal.
The splendor and the majesty of what will be displayed in the coming verses will be highlighted with the glory of God itself. It will be more wonderful than mere words on paper can describe. If you have never called on Jesus Christ as Savior, you will have no part in this marvelous and eternal beauty, so make the right decision today, even now.
Call on Him and share in what lies ahead. Call on JESUS!
Lord, to be a part of Your glorious plan for the ages is more than our minds can grasp. To know that You have accepted us in Christ, even when we fail you, gives us the greatest hope. May we never fail to give you the praise, glory, and honor for all You have done for us. Thank You for the reconciliation You alone have provided through Him! Amen.