The bride or the “body” of Christ is also the New Jerusalem, a city. Jerusalem of old was selected to be the place of the Temple where God would dwell among the people. It was a place of connection and interaction, devotion and sacrifice, symbolism and authority. And now, we are looking to the New Way.
“Come, I [the angel] will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me [John] away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
The New Jerusalem, although described as an object with gates and walls and jewel-like appearance, it is clearly John’s effort to describe the indescribable. It’s still a dwelling place, but different.
I am always reminded of one of the best sermons I ever heard on the resurrected Christ, that He was the same and yet different, in the form of a human, but with traits that exceeded anything observable as human: appearing and disappearing, solid but not solid, not confined to time and space. If the resurrected Jesus would be so different, doesn’t it make sense that the “bride” would be equally different.
In my mind, there is a foolishness to any attempts to truly understand the supernatural relationship between God and human. This binding is unique. And we can choose to be bound or be loosed from God.
Am I a spirit being or not? Is my essence within or not? I cannot convince another person of that reality through words alone because it’s not a “word” kind of thing.
Have you ever tried to remember something and seems to literally dance around the edges of your consciousness? This is how I think about the Spirit self. It’s there and not there. It’s tangible and not tangible. It’s the ultimate paradox.
And perhaps, whether it’s hard to imagine, there is something important to the otherness of Christ uniting with human. I think about the symbolism of Christ as male and the bride as female. There’s something in this oppositeness that changes the equation, that creates something new, that “New Jerusalem.” Marriages of today are experiencing a stretch beyond anything we could have imagined. Sexuality is also reaching past comfort boundaries of the past. But does that change the relationship of the Christ and the bride?
In Galations 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” These human differences do not exist in the Spirit realm, the ultimate relationship. So, despite the fact that it’s nice to have the symbolism of the traditional couple, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s necessary for the ultimate union. Just saying.