The eternal glory of the Bride of Christ is a manifestation of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary and a direct answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17.

The Eternal Glory of the Bride of Christ

by Daniel Lim
3 months ago Teaching

In Revelation 21:1–23, the apostle John was shown a vision of the Lamb’s wife, whose description was beyond human words. John described the Bride’s glory with words such as “[she was] descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal” (Revelation 21:10–11, emphasis added).

The word iaspidi (ἰάσπιδι) was used only four times in the entire New Testament and is exclusively found in the book of Revelation (Revelation 4:321:1118–19). It appears to be a word borrowed from a non-Greek language source, and the corresponding word in Hebrew is found three times in the Old Testament (Exodus 28:2039:13Ezekiel 28:13). The word יָֽשְׁפֶה is transliterated as yashepheh and is always translated as jasper in English Bibles.

In most classical and contemporary cultural contexts, the jasper stone is not often viewed as the most valuable or the most beautiful. But the Bible consistently uses jasper to express the beauty and majesty of God around His throne. It even stands out in a list of many precious gemstones. The description of the brilliance of the jasper stone in Revelation communicates a level of brilliance, purity, and beauty that is beyond the jasper stone we find on the earth. Its crystal-like purity and clarity are not natural qualities found in most jasper on earth and rather reflect the glorious quality of a divine reality.

The Bible clearly proclaims the eternal beauty of the Bride of Christ in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:18–21, emphasis added)

Paul continues,

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:28–30, emphasis added)

Paul continued to emphasize the eternal nature and glory of the Bride of Christ when he wrote in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17–18, emphasis added).

The eternal glory of the Bride of Christ is a manifestation of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary and a direct answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17.

Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. . . . I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (John 17:1–5)

And the glory which You gave Me I have given [believers], that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:22–24)

Jesus revealed in this prayer that He desired His covenant Bride to share and behold His glory forever. The glory of Christ is the glory that He shared with His Father before the world was. It was the eternal glory of God—the uncreated, majestic beauty and splendor beyond anything in or of the created order. Thus the Bible declares through the mouth of Isaiah, “I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images” (Isaiah 42:8, emphasis added).

Nothing in the created order would be comparable to the Father and His Christ. Lucifer was corrupted because, as an anointed cherub that covered God’s shekhinah glory, he beheld his own bestowed beauty and glory, coveted the glory and the supremacy of his Maker, and fell into deep corruption and iniquity (Ezekiel 28:14–15). God then created man and woman in His own image as His image-bearers. Lucifer came to deceive Adam and Eve and they fell under the influence of the Tempter. The Lamb of God, the Repairer of the Breach, was slain from the foundation of the world, and the Lamb’s Book of Life records the names of the redeemed of the Lord (Isaiah 58:12; Revelation 13:821:27). He desires for all the descendants of Adam to be redeemed and justified by faith in Christ (1 Timothy 2:4), sanctified by His Word and His Spirit, and finally glorified in Christ when He comes.

The glory which He would not share or give to anyone, He has given to the Bride of Christ. The glory of jasper was only used in the Bible in Revelation 4:3 to describe the glory of the Ancient of Days sitting on His throne and then the Lamb’s wife in Revelation 21. This image of jasper displays a glory and beauty that could only be from God Himself and the glory He has given to His chosen Bride.

Paul calls the glorious unity of Christ and the Church a great mystery (Ephesians 5:31–32). In order to fully appreciate the gravity of Paul’s statement, we must understand that Paul was a man of God entrusted with many mysteries hidden for ages and had been given the grace to receive an abundance of revelation. But even Paul calls the mystery of Christ and the Church a great mystery. Apart from this great mystery, there are eleven other mysteries explicitly described in the new covenant. Below is a list of twelve mysteries mentioned in the new covenant. One will need to devote much time and prayerful exegesis to understand these mysteries in Christ.

1. Mystery of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:10–12)
2. Mystery of Christ (Colossians 4:2–6)
3. Mystery of Christ and Church (Ephesians 5:22–33)
4. Mystery of God (Colossians 1:25–27Revelation 10:7)
5. Mystery of Israel (Romans 11:11–36)
6. Mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:14–21)
7. Mystery of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:50–58)
8. Mystery of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:1–12)
9. Mystery of the seven stars in His hand (Revelation 1:12–20)
10. Mystery of godliness (1 Timothy 3:14–16)
11. Mystery of God’s will (Ephesians 1:7–12)
12. Mystery of the harlot Babylon and the Beast (Revelation 17–18)

I believe the mystery of Christ and the Church becoming one flesh, which Paul speaks of in Ephesians 5:31–32, has a very rich meaning. I believe careful contextual exegesis of this verse in the context of the New Testament reveals unified, indwelling unity, and even Christ and the Church as having resurrected bodies (same flesh).

One of the high points of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans was his exposition of the law of the Spirit of life reigning in those who are justified by their faith in Christ, envisioning believers as transformed and conformed into the image of the Son of God (Romans 8:1–35). That is the destiny of the Bride of Christ: to become one flesh with her Bridegroom and to reflect the image of His glory—to be restored to the glory that she fell from as Adam’s race. The first Adam fell, but the second Adam (Jesus Christ) offered redemption to all the children of Adam into glory, the eternal glory of Christ.

We creatures who were made out of the dust of the earth, have been destined in Christ to attain an eternal weight of glory. Who are we that He is mindful of us? He made us a little lower than the angels and then He crowned us with glory and honor (Psalm 8:4–5). The Bride of Christ is the corporate identity of the redeemed of the Lord from all ages and every tongue, tribe, and nation—both Jews and Gentiles. She is one, indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, prepared for eternal habitation with Christ and His Father to behold and reflect His glory. This is the story of Israel and the Church, God’s covenant people, the one new humanity, His covenant Bride. This is the gospel. There is no news as good as this news. God created mankind in His love and pleasure. We fell short of His glory through the Tempter who offered us the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Yet while we are still sinners, Christ even died for us and paid the full price to redeem a people from every tongue, tribe, and nation to Himself.

These are not just His people, His children, His friends, His joint heirs, His priests, and His nations, but His eternal covenant Bride with whom He desires to dwell forever (Ephesians 2:19–22). He loves us and desires our presence. He found us worthy through His own agape love and through the riches of His grace. He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of Himself: Christ in us, the hope of glory. This is our glorious story. Hear it, believe it, understand it, live it, and preach it!

Do you think of yourself when you hear the term Bride of Christ, including references to her beauty and glory? Why or why not?

Want more from Daniel Lim? His book Bible 360º: Total Engagement With The Word Of God can help you develop a vibrant devotional life and experience heart change through ten dynamic and highly practical ways to engage with God through the Bible. It is available from the Forerunner Bookstore in English or Chinese. Learn more >>  

Daniel Lim

position

  • Senior Leader, IHOPKC
  • Facilitator, Onething Global Leadership Summit
Daniel Lim served as the Chief Executive Officer of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City (2008-2020). He was trained at a Baptist seminary (MA in World Missions) and served as a Baptist pastor in Southeast Asia. With a passion for the gospel of the kingdom of God and the glory of Jesus Christ, Daniel teaches at conferences, churches, universities, and seminaries throughout the nations.

Daniel is the author of Bible 360°: Total Engagement with the Word of God. Daniel is married with two children. One of his children went home to be with the Lord in 2008 during a crisis relief effort.

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