THE BRIDE OF CHRIST, PART 1
Rev 21:9-14 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; and had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: on the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
This portion of John's heavenly vision was brought into his view by one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues. Many things in the Revelation letter are merely mentioned but not further described. Here is one such passage. Why was this messenger one of the seven angels of wrath, and why only one? The duty of God's messengers, His angels, seems to be ever changing. Once a deliverer of God's wrathful plagues, this angel was now sent to reveal the bride of His Son, Jesus Christ to the world. John was told by this angel to Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. We only need to turn to a few passages in the New Testament in order to identify the bride and the bridegroom referred to in this verse as well as in Rev. 19:7-8. In John 3:26-30 we are assured that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Bridegroom, and in Ephesians 5:22-33, we have scriptural proof that the bride is the entire membership of His faithful followers that make up His church, the church of Christ.
Not only did the angel show John the bride of Christ, but he also carried him away in the spirit to a great and high mountain. From this vantage point, John was to see clearly, a vision of the bride of Christ. All things that prohibit seeing something in its true and pure state evidently needed to be removed, in order for it to be seen, and perfectly understood. To fully understand God's Word, anything that clouds, or hinders, the view our mind's eye must be removed. We must symbolically scale a high mountain, away from the "earthly smog" that sometimes hinders and makes God's will confused and unclear, in order to look down upon the clear, unadulterated Holy Word of God, and find the true wisdom which it contains. For John to view the bride of Christ, His church, he was carried to a high vantage point in order see its true, symbolic representation.
It was from that unhindered, and unbiased view that John saw the glorious, and triumphant, church of Christ symbolically represented as that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. At the beginning of this chapter we found that the church of Christ, the earthly portion of His kingdom, was given a similar description: John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. It is this same city, which also symbolically represents the heavenly portion of the kingdom of Christ, that we saw the eternal resting place of all saints that overcome earth's Satan-inspired sinful nature (See Rev. 3:12). Searching through the Revelation letter, it seems to be significant that the symbolic, harlot city known as Babylon represents the sin-filled, temporal city of mankind. Contrasted to that evil city we find the righteous, eternal city of God, known as the New Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
Both Christ's heavenly kingdom, referred to as the New Jerusalem, and His earthly kingdom, known as church of Christ, are described here as His bride. (H)er light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Although using descriptive words to allow mankind to get a glimpse of heaven, the true glory and splendor of the heavenly kingdom of our Lord and Savior is indescribable, and beyond the human comprehension of mankind. Verse 23 of this chapter tells us that this heavenly city receives its light from both God and Christ Jesus, the Lamb. Mankind can only see it in human terms such as radient, glistening, gems that are clear as crystal. Also, a great wall surrounds this symbolic city, having twelve gates, guarded by the angels of God, and on these gates were written the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. Bearing up this wall were twelve foundations identified as the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The configuration of these foundations is not revealed. Whether they extend completely around this symbolic city or at intervals, is not given. However, verses 19 and 20 add to their description, and will be discussed next.