THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
New Jerusalem #1.
January 9, 2009
And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having been
prepared like a bride having been adorned [for] her husband. (Revelation 21:2 ALT)
(9) And one of the seven messengers who have the seven bowls brimming with the last
seven calamities came, and he speaks with me, saying, “Hither! I shall be showing you the
bride, the wife of the Lambkin.” (10) And he carries me away, in spirit, on a mountain,
huge and high, and shows me the holy city, Jerusalem, as it is descending out of heaven
from God, (11) having the glory from God. (Revelation 21:9-11 CV)
This is the first issue of a series, which, Lord willing, will look at New Jerusalem, which is also called the
holy city and the bride of the Lambkin. It could be called a city-bride. Like the series on the kingdom of
our Lord, I plan to keep this series as an open-ended one that I will expand upon over the next year.
To begin, it seems rather strange to call a bride a city, or to call a city a bride. How are we to interpret
John’s vision of this city-bride? Is it to be seen as a literal city, a great monumental structure
geographically located on a new earth or perhaps above it in the heavenlies?
Over the years, I have read many descriptions that focus on a geographical city and what men think the
city will look like. For example, some picture it as a huge cube; some picture it as a pyramid; some picture
it as this thing floating amongst the clouds of the sky; and yet some picture it as the moon, a bright
shining orb that will circle the new earth. Others just sing fancifully about the city and “meeting their
loved ones at the pearly gates,” “walking on golden streets,” and “living in heavenly mansions” forever
and ever. But is this how we are to view the city that John was told by the angel of the Lord is the bride,
the wife of the Lambkin? Did the Father send His Son to this earth to die for the sin of the world just so a
select group of people will be able to walk on streets of gold? Was Jesus’ death on the cross about
bringing forth a literal city; and is this God’s desire, a literal structure of gold and precious stones in
which to reside with mankind?
I suggest that the only way to approach a study of the bride, the wife of the Lambkin, is to see it the same
way that John saw it―in spirit, and to discern what it signifies . It is important to understand that The
Revelation of Jesus Christ as penned by John, the apostle of love, under the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit, signifies what must occur.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things
which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant
John…. (Revelation 1:1 KJV)
Signify means “to be a sign of or indication of;” it refers to something of meaning and importance. The
Greek-English Keyword Concordance defines signify as “a faded metaphor, no longer meaning to make
known by signs, but by speech.” A metaphor is “a figure of speech transferring attributes to an object
which does not possess them.” For example, the river of the water of life (Revelation 22:1; also 21:6)
represents the spirit of God (John 7:38-39). Therefore, if we want to know God’s heart, we must discern
John’s word-pictures for their spiritual meaning.
Unfortunately, many people see the many images of the Revelation in a literal sense and fail to see that
they signify something important. In order to understand what is signified in the Revelation, we must
look beyond the physical realm to see into the spiritual realm. After all, John was in spirit in the Lord’s
day when he was given his vision of the unveiling [revelation] of Jesus Christ.
I believe that it is safe to state that many of the Lord’s people interpret Scripture with the natural mind
and fail to see beyond the physical realm in which we live. Another way of stating this is that many
Christians look at Scripture through the lens of the world and the things of the world rather than
discerning the meaning in spirit. Many are like the Corinthian believers that Paul had to exhort because
they were babes who required the milk of the word and could not digest the meat of the word, which is
for those who are spiritual.
(9) But just as it has been written, “What [things] an eye did not see and an ear did not hear
and did not enter into the heart of humanity, [fig., no person thought could happen] , which
[things] God prepared for the ones loving Him.” [Isaiah 64:4] (10) But God revealed [them] to
us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all [things] , even the depths of God. (11) For
who among people knows the [things] of the person, except the spirit of the person, the
[one] in him? In the same way also no one knows the [things] of God, except the Spirit of
God. (12) But we did not receive the spirit of the world, but the Spirit, the [One] from God,
so that we should know the [things] having been graciously given to us by God; (13) which
[things] also we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in [words] taught by the
Holy Spirit, interpreting spiritual [things] by spiritual [words] [or, combining spiritual [ideas]
with spiritual [words]] . (1 Corinthians 2:9-13 ALT)
Paul clearly laid down the principle in understanding Scripture and, especially, in understanding the
purpose and plan of God. First , he declared that something tremendous is in store for those who love
God. Second , he declared that these things are revealed to us through His spirit. Immediately, this tells us
that this is a spiritual matter that cannot be discerned through our natural mind. Third , Paul confirms
this thought by declaring that only the spirit of God knows such things. Fourth , he reminds all the saints
of Christ that we do not receive the spirit of the world but the spirit that comes from God. Fifth , he tells
us that the spirit is given so that we should know what God has given us. Sixth , what Paul taught the
Corinthians and all the church of his day, as well as us today, was taught him by the Holy Spirit. Seventh ,
and most importantly, to understand the things of God, one must interpret them spiritual by spiritual.
The words in brackets in the above verses are not in the original Greek and most translations add words
to make the meaning clearer. This particular translation makes the point that we must interpret spiritual
things or ideas with spiritual words.
Now, this fits perfectly with the Patmos vision, which signifies what the spirit of God revealed to John
while in spirit. John saw pictures of things in spirit and heard words in spirit. And the only way to
understand and interpret what John saw and heard is in spirit, interpreting spiritual things [symbols,
pictures] by spiritual words, or combining spiritual pictures with spiritual words. The objective is to see
all that John saw from the perspective of the spirit of God and not from the spirit of the world. This is
why John had to be carried away in spirit to a mountain, huge and high, when it came time to see the
bride, the Lambkin’s wife (Revelation 21:9-10).
In spirit, you cannot see or discern the bride, which is also described as the holy city, unless you get above
the things of this world and get away from the fog and clouds of life to see into the spiritual realm, to see
the very heart of God. You must combine spiritual with spiritual. Anything else is of the world that is
passing away. If you believe in Jesus, then you have received the spirit from God so that you should know
the things taught by the Holy Spirit.
Be like John, who, when he was in spirit, declared: “Then I saw…”
It is time to see what John saw.
The Upward Call: #03-0991
by: Stuart H. Pouliot