- DRESSED LIKE A BRIDE . The new Jerusalem

 The new Jerusalem

1. John contemplates a new world, the new Jerusalem, dressed like a bride. Which world? Which Jerusalem? Which bride? Does a woman symbolizes Jerusalem? John says: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had passed away and no longer was there any sea. I saw the new Jerusalem, the holy city coming down from God, out of heaven, adorned as a bride prepared for her husband.” (Rev 21, 1-2)
2. It is a new world, different,  transfigured because of the relationship with God. The alliance is renewed: “Here is the dwelling of God among mortals: He will pitch his tent among them” . The sea (from where the beast comes out) does not exist any more: “There shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain, for the world that was has passed away.” And the one who was seated in the throne said: “I make a new world” (Rev 21, 3-5; Ez 36, 26-28), a new world that has the new Jerusalem like its centre: “God is in the middle of it” (Ps 46), it is “the city of the great King” (Ps 48), what the prophets dreamed has been accomplished: “My dwelling will be near them, I shall be their God and they shall be my people” (Ez 37, 27), “in this mount the Lord will make a banquet to all the peoples”, “he shall consume the death for ever”, “he shall wipe away the tears from all cheeks and eyes” (Is 25, 6-8). In the Bible God´s first word is : Let there be! (Gn 1,3) and the last one is similar: “I make a new world”.
3. And he added: “These are certain and true words”, “it is made: I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end”. God is at the beginning and at the end. His word is accomplished. It is an invitation: “To the one who is thirsty, I will give free the spring of the life’s water” This will be the heritance of the winner: “I shall be a father for him and he shall be a son for me”. It is a God´s gift, but it also depends on human answer. Not everything is valid: “The cowards, the unfaithful, the abominable, the murderers, those who fornicate, those who made poisons, the idolaters and all the liars will have their part in the lake of fire” (Rev 21, 5-8). The lake of fire in symbol of the judgement.
4. One of the angels who had seven coups shows the bride to John: “the wife of the lamb” (Rev 21, 9). God is the husband of Jerusalem (Is 54, 5), but here the husband is Christ (Jn 3, 29; Mt 22, 1). And the wife? She is the counterpoint of the sovereign prostitute, whose features are amply described (Rev 17, 1-18). A woman symbolizes Rome and a woman symbolizes the new Jerusalem. Due to whatever may be, the features of the wife do not appear. An emptiness is noticed. Nevertheless, she is the bride of the Song, “bright like the sun” (Song 6, 10), “clothed with the sun” (Rev 12, 1). She is, like nobody, Mary Magdala  who follows Jesus (Lk 8,2; see Jn 12, 3; 11, 5; Lk 7, 37), she is beside the cross (Jn 19, 25), while everybody flees (Mk 14, 50); crying, she looks for  Jesus in the sepulchre and she does not find him (Song 3, 1-3), she finds him resurrected. She is the first witness, sent to announce it to the rest (Jn 20, 11-18; Mk 16, 9; Mt 29, 1-10) and, so, “apostle of the apostles”. It is the community to whom the bridegroom is snatched (Mt 9, 15), but it waits for the wedding banquet to come (Mt 25, 1-13), it is the bride presented to Christ (2 Co 11, 2)  who is made “only one flesh” with him (Eph 5, 31-32). And Mary? Mary is Jesus´ mother  (Jn 2, 5). To call her “wife of the eternal weddings” (EG, 288) can lead to confusion. It is necessary to revise that tradition.
5. The bride is the new Jerusalem: “He took me up in a spiritual vision to a very high mountain and he showed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God”, “it shines with the glory of God”. The new Jerusalem comes down from heaven, it is a God´s gift. John has the passage of Ezekiel in front of him. The Lord’s hand places him “over a very high mountain”, in which peak “a city was built”. A man “who seemed to be made of  bronze” (for John, Christ) “he had a flax cord and a measuring rod in his hand and was standing in the gateway”, “the house was surrounded with a wall”, “the glory of the Lord filled the house” (Ez 43, 5). The city “had a large and high wall, it had twelve doors and, over them, twelve angels and names engraved that are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel”. The wall is settled on twelve stones and, over them, “the names of the twelve apostles” (Rev 21, 12-14; Ez 48, 31-34). Its doors are opened to all the peoples of the earth. The new Jerusalem includes the joint presence of Israel and the Church.

6. The new Jerusalem shelters the nations that are looking for the true God: “The angel who was speaking to me had a golden measuring rod to measure the city, its gates and its wall. The city is laid out like a square: its length is the same as its breadth. He measured it with his rod and it was twelve thousand furlongs (2.400 kms); its length, breadth and height are equal. Then he measured the wall: it was a hundred and forty-four cubits high. (65 metros) The angel used an ordinary measure.” The city is made with “gemstones” (Ex 28, 15-21;( Is 56, 11-12): “the square of the city was made with pure gold like translucent glass”. The old temple was measured before” (Rev 11, 1). Now the new Jerusalem is measured. In it “I did not see any sanctuary, because the Lord, the almighty God, and the lamb is its sanctuary”. The whole city is God´s and Christ´s dwelling (21, 15-22).
7. What Jesus announces in the Tabernacles feast is accomplished, the light and the water (Jn 8, 12; 7, 37): “The city does not need neither the sun nor the moon to illuminate it, because the glory of Yavé rises upon you, and his lamp is the lamb. The nations will walk in its light” (Is 60, 1),. “Nothing unclean will enter it, or anyone who does what is evil and false but only those whose names are writ ten in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Rev 21, 23-27). “Then he showed me the river of life (Ez 47, 1-12), clear as crystal, gushing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of the city, on both sides of the river are the trees of life producing fruit twelve times, once each month, the leaves of which are for healing the nations. No longer will there be any curse (Ze 14, 8). The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the City and God’s servants will live in his presence. They will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads”, “they will reign forever” (Rev 22, 1-5).

8. Testimony given to John by the angel : “These words are sure and true; the Lord God who inspires the prophets has sent his angel (Jesus) to show his servants what must happen soon.” “I am coming soon! Happy are those who keep the prophetic words of this book.” I, John, saw and heard all this. When I had seen and heard them I fell at the feet of the angel who had shown me everything, to worship him. But he said to me, “No, I am a fellow servant like you and your brothers, the prophets”, “it is God you must worship.” (22, 6 – 9; Tb 12)

9. And he told me: “Do not keep secret the prophetic words of this book because the time is near. John should not seal the book, it is to say, he should not keep it in secret. The churches should know it. The message is actual, a longer period does not fit: “the time is near”. Jesus says: “I am coming soon, bringing with me the salary I will pay to each one according to his deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Rev 22, 10-13; 1, 8)

10. He also says: “Happy are those who wash their robes for they will have free access to the tree of Life and enter the city through the gates. Outside are the dogs, sorcerers, the immoral, murderers, idolaters and all who take pleasure in falsehood!” (Rev 22, 14-15). In the Bible sacred prostitution is forbidden: “There shall not be among the daughters of Israel a consecrated prostitute, or a consecrated homosexual among the sons of Israel. You shall not bring into the house of Yahweh, your God, a gift for prostitutes, or the wages of a dog, to pay for the vow that you have made, for both of these are abominable in the eyes of Yahweh.” (Dt 23, 18-19). “Do not give what is holy to the dogs, or throw your pearls to the pigs” (Mt 7, 6). According to Tertulian in his treaty about the baptism (18,1), “dogs” are those who pretend to be Christians, but they really desecrate and stain the name of Christ.
11. Conclusion: “I, Jesus, sent my angel (John) to make known to you these revelations concerning the Churches. I am the Shoot and Offspring of David, the radiant Morning Star”, “The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” Whoever hears let him say, “Come!” “Whoever is thirsty let him approach, and whoever desires, let him freely take the water of life”. One warning: nothing may be neither added nor taken away to the words of this prophetic book (Rev 22, 16-19; Is 55, 1). As a farewell, he says that he testimonies all this: “Yes, I come soon” (Rev 22, 20). Jesus repeats what, in the last dinner, he says to his disciple: “I don’t leave you orphans, I shall come back to you. A little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. (Jn 14, 18-19); “you feel sorrowful now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice.” (Jn 16, 22). When the community meet to celebrate “the dinner of the Lord” (1 Co 11, 20), it hopes, like a bride, the husband’s arrival. And it says in God´s spirit: “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22, 20-21; 1 Co 16-22)
* Dialogue: Is it still actual the new world and the new Jerusalem, dressed like a bride? Does a woman symbolizes Jerusalem?

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