Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"New Jerusalem" -vs- "Jerusalem Above"

Did I keep you waiting long enough? =) You'll be glad I didn't post the answer sooner, because it would have been wrong. First, I need to modify the actual trivia question itself, since I made a mistake...("Heavenly Jerusalem" is not a symbolic woman, but rather, a symbolic city, which I'll elaborate on in a minute):

Q: Who is represented by the 2 symbolic women "New Jerusalem" and "Jerusalem Above"?

A: "New Jerusalem" = Jesus' Wife
(~aka~ "the bride of the Lamb" "daughter of Zion" "Spiritual Israel")
the 144,000 spirit-anointed Christians

"Jerusalem Above" = Jehovah's Wife
(~aka~ "Zion" "Mother" "the Woman")
Jehovah's heavenly wifelike organization, consisting of his entire celestial family -Jesus, the 144,000, and the angels

*FYI* -Heavenly Jerusalem (the symbolic city) consists of Jesus ("the foundation cornerstone") and his anointed spiritual brothers & co-rulers, the 144,000 ("living stones"/"foundation stones") who together, make up the rulers of the Messianic Kingdom. This can be a little confusing since New Jerusalem is also referred to as a city, but the terminology is different because "New Jerusalem" refers *only* to the 144,000, (the bride), but "Heavenly Jerusalem" refers to both Jesus and the 144,000 *together*

(illustration on pg 277, Revelation-Its Grand Climax At Hand!)

“I saw also the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God and prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2)

New Jerusalem is the bride of Christ, made up of the anointed Christians who remain faithful to death and who are raised to become kings and priests with the glorified Jesus. (Revelation 3:12; 20:6) Just as earthly Jerusalem became the seat of government in ancient Israel, the magnificent New Jerusalem and her Bridegroom make up the government of the new system of things. This is the new heaven. The ‘bride comes down out of heaven,’ not literally, but in the sense of directing attention to the earth. The Lamb’s bride is to be his loyal helpmeet in operating a righteous government over all mankind.
(pg 301 - Revelation-Its Grand Climax At Hand!)

*In a symbolic sense, that makes all of us "bridesmaids" - since "The Great Crowd" are considered "the virgin companions of the bride" (Psalm 45:14) ... we assist and support the anointed remnant here on earth now, and in the future, we'll figuratively be "attending the marriage" of the bridegroom and the bride, when the final sealing of the 144,000 is complete, and the last members of "the brideclass" have finished their earthly course.

(illustration from the book "Religion" written by Br Rutherford & published in 1940)

“And a great sign was seen in heaven, a woman arrayed with the sun, and the moon was beneath her feet, and on her head was a crown of twelve stars, and she was pregnant. And she cries out in her pains and in her agony to give birth.” (Revelation 12:1, 2)

“And another sign was seen in heaven, and, look! a great fiery-colored dragon, with seven heads and ten horns and upon its heads seven diadems; and its tail drags a third of the stars of heaven, and it hurled them down to the earth. And the dragon kept standing before the woman who was about to give birth, that, when she did give birth, it might devour her child.” (Revelation 12:3, 4)

John beholds a woman in heaven. She is, of course, not a literal woman. Rather, she is a sign, or a symbol. (Revelation 1:1) What does she symbolize? In the inspired prophecies, women at times represent organizations “married” to outstanding personalities. In the Hebrew Scriptures, Israel was spoken of as a wife of Jehovah God. (Jeremiah 3:14) In the Greek Scriptures, the congregation of anointed Christians is spoken of as Christ’s bride. (Revelation 21:9-14) The woman John here sees is also married to someone, and she is about to give birth. Who is her husband? Well, later her child is “caught away to God and to his throne.” (Revelation 12:5) Jehovah thus claims the child as his own. Therefore, the woman that John sees must be Jehovah’s symbolic wife.

About eight centuries earlier, Jehovah had addressed this symbolic wife, saying: “All your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah.” (Isaiah 54:5, 13) Jesus quoted this prophecy and showed that these sons were his faithful followers, who later formed the congregation of anointed Christians. (John 6:44, 45) So members of this congregation, spoken of as God’s sons, are also children of God’s symbolic wife. (Romans 8:14) The apostle Paul adds the final piece of information when he says:
“The Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.” (Galatians 4:26) The “woman” seen by John, then, is “the Jerusalem above.”

Exactly what, though, is Jerusalem above? Since Paul spoke of her as “above,” and John sees her in heaven, she is clearly not an earthly city; neither is she the same as “New Jerusalem,” since that organization is the bride of Christ, not Jehovah’s wife. (Revelation 21:2) Notice that she is crowned with 12 stars. The number 12 is associated with completeness in an organizational setting.* Hence, these 12 stars seem to indicate that she is an organizational arrangement in heaven, just as ancient Jerusalem was on earth. Jerusalem above is Jehovah’s universal organization of spirit creatures that acts as his wife, both in serving him and in producing offspring. John sees this woman as being robed with the sun and having the moon beneath her feet. When we add her crown of stars, she is completely surrounded by heavenly lights. God’s favor shines upon her day and night.

Compare the 12 tribes of fleshly Israel, the 12 apostles, the 12 tribes of spiritual Israel, and the 12 gates, 12 angels, and 12 foundation stones of the New Jerusalem.—Revelation 21:12-14.

(pgs 177-178, Revelation-Its Grand Climax At Hand!)

(illustration on pg 179 of Revelation-Its Grand Climax At Hand!)

“And she gave birth to a son, a male, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod. And her child was caught away to God and to his throne...” (Revelation 12:5, 6)

This vision was given to John long after Jesus’ human birth and also after his anointing as God’s Messiah. Since it obviously has to do with the same person, it must have reference, not to Jesus’ human birth, but to some other event, namely, his being installed in Kingdom power.
So the birth of God’s Messianic Kingdom was here pictured. Satan is shown later as persecuting the “woman” and making war with “the remaining ones of her seed.” (Revelation 12:13, 17) The “woman” being heavenly, and Satan by this time being hurled down to the earth (Revelation 12:7-9), he could not reach those heavenly persons of whom the “woman” was made up, but he could reach the remaining ones of her “seed,” her children, the brothers of Jesus Christ still on earth. In that way he persecuted the “woman.”
(pg 1198, Insight on the Scriptures Vol. 2)

The Edenic Promise
Jehovah God, at Genesis 3:15, stated his purpose prophetically in the garden of Eden . . .
“And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.”
As to the identity of those involved in this promise and prophecy: The vision given to the apostle John, at Revelation 12:9, informs us that the “serpent” is Satan the Devil. Evidence indicates that the “seed” of the “woman,” long looked for by righteous men, is to be identified with the “seed” of Abraham, Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:16; Matthew 1:1) The “seed” was to be bruised in the heel by the serpent. Jesus Christ was put to death, a wound that proved not to be permanent, however, for God raised Jesus out of death. But the “seed” is, in turn, to bruise the serpent’s head, defeating him permanently.

Who is the “woman” involved in the covenant?
Certainly not Eve, who had become God’s enemy. In order to defeat, “bring to nothing,” the spirit creature Satan the Devil, the “seed” would have to be, not human, but spirit. (Hebrews 2:14) Jesus at birth was a human Son of God, but at the time of Jesus’ baptism God acknowledged him as His Son, sending holy spirit down upon him. Jesus here became the spirit-begotten Son of God. (Matthew 3:13-17; John 3:3-5) Later, at his resurrection, he was “made alive in the spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18) Who, then, was the “mother,” not of the human babe Jesus but of the spirit-begotten Son of God? The apostle Paul says that Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Hagar, and Ishmael figured in a symbolic drama, in which Isaac represented those who had heavenly hopes, including Paul himself. Paul then states that their “mother” is “the Jerusalem above.” Jesus Christ calls these his “brothers,” indicating they have the same mother. (Hebrews 2:11) This provides a basis for identifying the “woman” of Genesis 3:15 with “the Jerusalem above.”—Galatians 4:21-29.
(pg 522, Insight on the Scriptures Vol. 1)

*So just to recap* -the "woman" in Genesis and Revelation who gives birth, and becomes "mother" to the "seed" (the Messianic King, Christ Jesus, and his anointed heirs & co-rulers, the 144,000) is the same symbolic woman, "Jerusalem Above"= Jehovah's heavenly wifelike organization.