For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, . . . You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah [My Delight is in Her], and your land Beulah [Married]; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. (Isa. 62:1a, 3-5)
Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: . . . “When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord God. (Eze. 16:1, 8)
“Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate1 than the children of the married woman,” says the LORD. “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. For the LORD has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused,” says your God. “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. . . . O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones. Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.” (Isa. 54:1, 5-7, 11-12, 15) [emphasis added]It is in this sense that the New Jerusalem is also said to be the Lamb’s wife (Rev. 21:2+, 9+). Although the marriage of the Lamb takes place in heaven prior to the Second Coming and the Millennial Kingdom, there is an aspect of the marriage involving the New Jerusalem which extends into the eternal state. This aspect is broader than the initial consummation in Revelation 19+ and likely involves the redeemed of all ages. The relationship of the New Jerusalem as the wife of the Lamb is founded on these OT promises which describe God in a marriage relationship with Jerusalem.
In the new heavens and the new earth, the bride concept will be expanded to include not only the church, but also all the redeemed of all ages as the New Jerusalem becomes the bridal city (Rev. 21:1-2+).2
[The New Jerusalem] is called the Bride, because it embraces the Bride, and because it is the Bride’s everlasting home and residence. But for the very reason that it is the home and residence of the Lamb’s Wife, it must include her retinue, her companions, and her attendants, who share the glory with her, but who are not strictly the Bride herself.3See commentary on Revelation 21:9.
1 “Jerusalem.”—Scherman, ed., Tanach (New York, NY: Mesorah Publications, Ltd., 2001), Isa. 54:1.
2 John MacArthur, Revelation 12-22 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2000), Rev. 19:7.
3 J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), 428.