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Week 12 The Fellowship of Christ Face to Face (Revelation19:7-9; 21:1-7, 9-11, 21-26; 22:3-5 )

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Revelation 19:7-9 … “Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 19:8 She was permitted to be dressed in bright, clean, fine linen” (for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints)…19:9 Then the angel said to me, “Write the following: Blessed are those who are invited to the banquet at the wedding celebration of the Lamb!” He also said to me, “These are the true words of God.” NET

Revelation 21:1-7…9-11…21-26 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had ceased to exist, and the sea existed no more. 21:2 And I saw the holy city – the new Jerusalem – descending out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband. 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Look! The residence of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them. 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist anymore – or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have ceased to exist.” 21:5 And the one seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new!” Then he said to me, “Write it down, because these words are reliable and true.” 21:6 He also said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the one who is thirsty I will give water free of charge from the spring of the water of life. 21:7 The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son. …9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven final plagues came and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb!” 21:10 So he took me away in the Spirit to a huge, majestic mountainand showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. 21:11 The city possesses the glory of God; its brilliance is like a precious jewel, like a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 21:21 And the twelve gates are twelve pearls – each one of the gates is made from just one pearl! The main street of the city is pure gold, like transparent glass. 21:22 Now I saw no temple in the city, because the Lord God – the All-Powerful – and the Lamb are its temple. 21:23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God lights it up, and its lamp is the Lamb. 21:24 The nations will walk by its light and the kings of the earth will bring their grandeur into it. 21:25 Its gates will never be closed during the day (and there will be no night there). 21:26 They will bring the grandeur and the wealth of the nations into it… NET

Revelation 22:1-5 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life – water as clear as crystal – pouring out from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 22:2 flowing down the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river is the tree of life producing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month of the year. Its leaves are for the healing of the nations. 22:3 And there will no longer be any curse, and the throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city. His servants will worship him, 22:4 and they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 22:5 Night will be no more, and they will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will shine on them, and they will reign forever and ever. NET

This is our last study! We have taken a journey through the life of Christ from eternity past to eternity future: His sovereign reign before time, His incarnation, His temptation, His suffering, His perseverance, His resurrection, His current work in the lives of His people those coming from death to life, His wrath, His exaltation, and now we look at the day we will see Him face to face!

Intro:

In the summer of my first year overseas, I had to make a trip to Hong Kong to have my passport re-issued. I had heard of the heightened security of the US embassy and I wasn’t looking forward to a day of long lines. Finding the location was my first arduous task as I was no more able to speak Cantonese than I could Mandarin. Yet when I arrived at the embassy, I sighed in disbelief. The queue was out the door as I braced myself for a frustrating wait. After about 20 minutes standing in line, I spied a curious sign to the right of the entrance. It read, “Entrance for US Citizens.” “Are they talking to me?”, I thought, as I made my way towards the glorious sign. An intimidating man standing at the door asked for my passport and I pulled it out for him to check. His serious face warmed into a friendly smile as he ushered me past the crowds. “Right this way, miss.” I felt I had flashed a VIP card as he led me to a room with free coffee and no lines. I walked right up the counter and handed the official my passport. “We can help you with this right away, ma’am.” That customs guy might as well have been my mother. Right there in front of the officer, I started to cry. To a weary traveler in a foreign land, there is nothing so marvelous as being welcomed by fellow citizens from the land of your home.

After my emotional moment with strange glances from the man, I thought about my reaction and reflected on a different kind of homecoming. This time not offered in an embassy, but in my true Home. This time words of comfort offered not from a stranger, but an intimate Holy Father. Can you picture the scene? Can you picture His smile as He wipes the tears away from your face? How can our longing for that day encourage us as we trudge along today?

Suggested Study Schedule

Day 1: Read Revelation 19-22 paying attention to the context of this week’s passages

Day 2: Read the passages in discussion question 4 referring to images in Revelation.

Day 3: Read the comparison Genesis and Revelation verses in discussion question 6.

Day 4: Read the verses in application question 4 paying attention to the ‘therefores’

Day 5: Answer the “discussion questions”

Day 6: Answer the “application questions”

Day 7: Spend time in prayer and meditation on one application from this lesson.

Context of Revelation 19:7-9; 21 and 22

In Revelation19:7-9, we return to the end of last week’s lesson to pick up on the ‘bride of Christ’ metaphor. Chapters 21 and 22 detail the final consummation of God with His people. Death and the devil have been destroyed and all the people of God are together with Him at last. There are many allusions to Isaiah 60 and 65, and Ezekiel 40-48 in these chapters.

A Bit about Jewish Wedding Customs

“We can clarify the general time and place of the wedding supper of the Lamb by comparing it with marriage customs in the ANE (ancient near east.) There were 3 main events involved in marriage. First, the parents chose a bride for the groom. This takes place presently as the Holy Spirit calls the elect out of the world to be Christ’s bride through regeneration. Second, when the time for the marriage had come, the groom would leave his home with his friends, go to the home of the bride, and escort her from her home to his. The bride did not know when this would occur. This will take place when Christ will come to take His bride to heaven... Third, the groom provided a feast for his bride and his friends at his home that lasted several days. This will take place on earth either at the Millennium, throughout the Millennium, or beginning with the Millennium and continuing through eternity. The present verse (19:7) describes the wedding proper, stage 2, which had taken place in John’s vision. It also announces the bride is ready for the feast, stage 31.”

Discussion Questions: Grasping the Meaning

1. In 19:7-9, how is the bride of the Lamb described? What does the fine linen represent? What other images of the bride are seen in Ch. 21:2, 9 & 22:17? What is meant by these images?

2. When the Spirit and bride say, “Come” in 22:17, to whom are they speaking?

3. What is the “new heaven and new earth” that John is referring to in Revelation 21:1? What was the “first heaven and earth” that passed away? What is the significance of no more seas?

4. What is “the new Jerusalem” in 21:2? Why is it called by this name? Where is it coming down from, and where is it going to?

5. In 21:9-14, 22-26 how is the new city described? How do these earlier passages shed light on the Revelation images?

6. Having the glory of God- Exodus 40:34; Isaiah 60:1; Ezekiel 43:4-5

7. Brilliance like costly jasper- Revelation 4:3

  • 12 gates named with the 12 tribes of Israel- Revelation 7:1-8
  • 12 foundation stones with 12 apostles of the Lamb- Matthew 19:28
  • 12 gems- Exodus 28:17-21
  • No temple- 2 Chronicles 6:18; Ezra 6:12; Psalms 27:4
  • No sun or moon- Isaiah 60:19
  • The gates are never closed- Isaiah 60:11; Psalms 87:2-6; Psalms 127:1
  • Clear crystal river flowing from throne- Isaiah 35:6-7; Ezekiel 47:1, 9, 12
  • A tree of life bearing 12 kinds of fruit; leaves for healing the nations- Psalms 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8; Ezekiel 47:12.

8. In Revelation 21:1, 4, 23 and 22:3, 5 write a list of the things done away with.

9. Now contrast these differences with the original creation in Genesis. What does this bring to light as to the significance of their absence in the new heavens and earth? (Fill in chart below first.)

Genesis

Revelation

1:1-

21:1-

1:16-

21:23-

1:5-

22:5-

1:10-

21:1-

3:14-17-

22:3-

3:19-

21:4-

3:17-

21:4-

3:24-

22:14-

1. We see many ‘no more’s’ but in 21:5, we read “I am making all things new.” What things are made new? (What other passages might support your answer?)

2. In 21:3-7, and 22:3-5 how is God’s relationship with His people described?

3. Write a summary of what you have learned about Christ in these passages. (Look for the times you see “God and the Lamb.” What titles/names are spoken of God and what is their significance? Can you distinguish between the Father and the Son?)

Application Questions: Grasping the Heart

1. In Revelation 19, the bride seems to be the purified saints. In Revelation 21, the bride is the city of Jerusalem. So what is the bride? A city? A people? Both? How do these relate and what is the significance2?

2. You are likely familiar with the imagery of the purified people of God as the bride of Christ. Below are several other Bible passages which refer to this metaphor. What do these verses bring to light? What particular aspects of the marriage relationship are drawn out in these verses? Why do you think God chose wedding imagery as a way to communicate Christ’s relationship with His Body in the final chapter of the Bible?

  • Isaiah 49:18
  • Isaiah 61:10
  • Isaiah 62:5
  • Hosea 1:1-2; 2:1-2, 19-20; 3:1
  • John 3:27-30
  • Ephesians 5:28-32

3. Last week we touched on a few ways that people responded when they saw visions of God’s presence on earth. What happened when the following people saw some vision of God? Contrast this with the new relationship we will have with God in heaven. Why will we get to enjoy a level of intimacy that they did not?

  • Jacob with God (Genesis 32:27-30)
  • The elders of Israel (Ex. 24:9-11)
  • Manoah and his wife (Judges 13:18-22)
  • Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-5)

4. In discussion question 6, we saw the comparison of the ‘first creation’ with the ‘new creation’. How do the contrasts between Genesis and Revelation strike you? Have you ever heard it said that God is ‘restoring everything back to the original creation’? How would you respond to this?

5. Sometimes we hear the phrase, “They are so heavenly-minded, they are no earthly good?” Do you agree or disagree? What effect do you think meditation on our future home in the presence of God is supposed to have on our hearts? Does it have this effect for you? Why or why not?

6. The following passages speak of the ‘effect’ that thoughts about heaven should have on our hearts. What is the “therefore” of these heaven images? Which of these applications most hit your heart?

  • 1 Corinthians 15:55-58
  • 2 Corinthians 5:1-10
  • Colossians 1:3-6
  • Philippians 2:10-12
  • Philippians 3:20-4:1
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
  • 1 Peter 1:3-16

7. Of all the descriptions of the physical nature of heaven and our relationship with God there, which one is most meaningful to you?

8. Share with one another what truths have been most meaningful to you. Spend a moment writing down the insights you have heard from others during this study that have enriched your own perspective.

9. Christ, the bridegroom, the Lamb, the sun, lamp and temple of heaven. What about this week’s lesson has made Him appear more beautiful or glorious to you this week? Spend some time meditating on these images and write out your own words of worship to God, as well as one application you will take away from this lesson.

Group prayer requests

Lord Jesus,

How we long for the beauty of the mysterious place described in these images. We cannot fathom its brilliance, yet the most tremendous truth is our presence there together with You! Many days the intimacy of your presence seems a far-off dream. Help us to soak our hearts in longing for the fulfillment of all your promises seen here. We rejoice as we wait for that day! How we long for you!

Amen.

Rev 22:17, 20

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say: “Come!” And let the one who is thirsty come The one who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!


1 Edwin Yamauchi, “Cultural Aspects of Marriage in the Ancient World” in Dr. Constables Bible Study Notes: Revelation at http://www.soniclight.com//, accessed April 6, 2007.

2This is a tough one! Here’s one answer I found helpful: “In keeping with the language of the Old Testament (Isaiah 54:4-8; 60:15-16, 21; cf. 62:1-2), the “new Jerusalem” represents God’s faithful people, who are identified in Revelation21:2 and 9 as “the Bride of Christ” (that is, the church triumphant in heaven.) Paul speaks in the same way when in Galatians4:25-26 he contrasts the earthly city of Jerusalem of his day with “the new Jerusalem above,” which is the heavenly city that is free (by grace) and that is the “mother” of Christians, who are the true heirs of Abraham by means of the covenant fulfilled in Christ (cf. Hebrews 12:22.) Already in Revelation19:7-8 John had seen the church, the bride of the Lamb, adorned and made ready to be received by her Lord. Now, the Bride is pictured as the holy city of Jerusalem who will remain forever in God’s presence. Incidentally, even today it is common usage to refer to the people making up a city by the name of the city (as for example, “St. Louis [meaning the people of St. Louis] boasts of the arch on its riverfront....”) Hence, there is no difference between “New Jerusalem” and “the Bride of Christ,” the church.” Bride of Christ at http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=6642//, accessed November 2, 2007.

Related Topics: Character of God, Fellowship