5.12 God's victory - a Christlike Bride
For thousands of years the saints of God, who have endured suffering, have longed for the Day of the Lord when Christ finally returns as King, to conquer evil on earth and in the spiritual world. After this time, the Bride of Christ will receive power for a thousand years to reign in goodness and righteousness with Christ over all humanity.(Rev.20:4-6, 1Cor.6:3)
In the eternal age which follows, the co-regency of Christ and the Bride is symbolized by a new city, the new Jerusalem. This city will crown a new heaven and a new earth, and will forever replace the evil dominion of the Devil. (See illustrations 4.7, 4.8, Rev.21, 22.)
Ever since the beginning, God had the following purposes in mind:
- The replacements for the fallen angels would be much more mature morally, and have greater stability than their predecessors.
- To this end, God purposed to strengthen the foundation for the rule of his kingdom (based upon the trinity) with support and help of the Bride of Christ. The model for this was the "training" which Christ himself underwent on earth. Those who have learned to overcome in temptations and trials will therefore even be given authority to judge angels.
- In place of Eden's garden of paradise, the center of God's expanded kingdom will therefore be the great city Jerusalem, which will be glorious beyond imagination.
- The power which will hold all things in harmony is derived from the love relationship within the trinity, symbolized by the love between the Bride and the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
- In order to be able to rule rightly, human nature and thought must be developed and sanctified into Christlikeness. The mind of the Bride has been trained in the school of life to be able to discern between good and evil. The Bride's nature, which has been sanctified into Christlikeness through suffering, is symbolized by her adornment of gold and precious stones.
Precious stones, which originally were worthless coal, have been transformed into something priceless through great pressure and heat. The gold has been purified from slag through a fiery refinement process. On her head, the bridal congregation has crowns of victory. These symbolize that they have overcome in temptations, and that they have won others for God.