I’m the kind of person that asks the weird questions. The questions nobody ever has an answer for. The questions that make people look at me weird. Like…
Will there be sex in New Jerusalem??
I grew up in a non-denominational, but mostly Baptist leaning, church. As a result, we didn’t say the S word. No, not the 4 letter S word (although that one was also forbidden, along with “crud” and “doggonit”.) No, I mean the 3 letter S word.
I remember once, during Wednesday night youth group, we were discussing relationships and such and one of the “more worldly” guys brought up the subject of sex. He said the word. Let me tell you, the proverbial pearls were clutched and fans snapped open. A half dozen 15 year old girls fainted. I’m kidding, of course, but not really. It was scandalous. He was so annoyed by the reaction that he just kept repeating it. Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex. It was something straight out of a Salt-N-Pepa song.
There are certain things that just stick with you in life. For me, that’s one of them. It made me question everything and was one of the catalysts that propelled me into the “Truther” life. Why was sex taboo? Was it bad? Why would YHWH create something that was so bad? Why couldn’t we discuss the right way to go about it?
That was almost 20 years ago and I still don’t have the answers to those questions. I have no idea why the church has made sex into a dirty word. Universally, we as the church tell YHWH that what He created is dirty and dangerous. So it’s no surprise that the idea of sex in the New Jerusalem is shocking. And why no one is talking about it. It seems so obvious that YHWH would not allow such an unclean act into His perfect world.
Or would He…?
I believe He would – and will. I believe there will be sex in New Jerusalem. But not dirty, dangerous sex. I believe the New Jerusalem style of sex will be the form that He always meant it to be. Lets see why.
First off, we have to be clear about what New Jerusalem is.
New Jerusalem is different from Heaven. Revelations 21:2 says “And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” This new city is the place YHWH has wanted ever since the fall of Adam. Its our chance at community with Him. But Heaven is the place where YHWH dwells now and the angels worship Him. The New Jerusalem is where those of us who “make the cut” will go in the end. There are many speculations about what it will be like, but the general idea is that it will be very much like the world we have now, just without sin and death.
Second, we need to be clear about what the Bible says about sex.
Sex is not simply a carnal lust that must be satisfied. Nor is it solely for procreation. Sex was designed to bond a man and a woman together. To become one flesh. To create a lifelong tie that would hold them together. Any married couple can tell you how tense a marriage can become if there are seasons of “drought” in this area. Its a union – a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual union. There is nothing dirty or dangerous about the sex that YHWH created. Its beautiful and pure. And it has a purpose.
But is sex supposed to be pleasurable? Pleasurable to the point of lust? The entire book of Song of Solomon seems a pretty good argument for good lovemaking, if you ask me. And its pretty darn explicit. Proverbs 5:18-19 says “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.”
And when we look at the creation story, we see that YHWH joined Adam and Eve (sexually) in the garden. Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be one flesh” – there is no mention in this verse about children being the reason for this. YHWH made the entire garden for His and His creation’s pleasure. He told them to do as they like, with the exception of the one tree. And, of course, we know that Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed.
Does any of this sound like YHWH made sex to be shameful or something to be hidden away and never spoken of?
An argument can be made that sex is so often used sinfully. To that I say: Well, OF COURSE IT IS. Because sex is a beautiful gift that YHWH gave us. Its a beautiful, spiritual, vulnerable gift – and because its so incredibly wonderful, the enemy can also twist it to be so incredibly awful. Its not just about a physical union, and anyone who has had sex probably knows this. When you sexually bond with a person (unless you are just 100% emotionally checked out at the time) it changes things.
Further, when we see sexual sins in the Bible, more emphasis is generally placed on the intent and not the act. We see David lusted after Bathsheba to the point that he murdered her husband to get her. YHWH actually redeems this and gives them Solomon. And Jesus says “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Just like all sin, its a heart issue not merely a physical issue.
So ,if YHWH has placed sexual sin on the same level as most other sins, then why have we elevated it? Why have we, as the church, made sex and sexual sins one thing? Why is it taboo to talk about sex and why do we think that YHWH would ban it from His perfect city? Fire can kill people and cause irreparable damage just as easily as it can light a dark room. Do you think YHWH will ban fire from His perfect city?
No. YHWH gave us sex for the purpose of procreation and for pleasure. Just as He gave us food to eat for sustenance, He also made it taste good and gave us variety so that we could enjoy eating.
So now that we have an idea of what New Jerusalem will be like and we’ve established that sex is a good and holy thing, how can I be sure that it will there?
YHWH gives us a beautiful picture of what New Jerusalem will be like in Isaiah 65 and there are some clues there that tell me that sex will be a part of this. Lets look.
“For behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
for I will create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem and take delight in My people.
The sounds of weeping and crying will no longer be heard in her.
No longer will a nursing infant live but a few days, or an old man not live out his years.
For the youth will die at a hundred years, and he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.
They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
No longer will they build houses for others to inhabit, nor plant for others to eat.
For as is the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, and My chosen ones will fully enjoy
the work of their hands.
They will not labor in vain or bear children doomed to disaster;
for they will be a people blessed by the LORD— they and their descendants with them.
Even before they call, I will answer, and while they are still speaking, I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
but the food of the serpent will be dust.
They will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain,”
Two things stand out to me in this passage. The first is that there are three references to having children. And you know what is required to have children? Sex. And secondly, it mentions building houses, planting vineyards and eating the fruit. This tells me that life will go on as we know it now – but without sin and death. We will eat grapes and drink wine for the pleasure of doing so. And we will have homes to live in. Finally, it says that we will “fully enjoy the work of their hands.” Enjoy. Pleasure. Maybe we’ll have hobbies like painting or gardening. Maybe we’ll have tree swings to push our kids on. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be having pure and holy sex with the one we are bonded to.
New Jerusalem will all be as YHWH intended it to be in the Garden of Eden. Before the fall. Before sin came in and ruined things. And I believe that sex will be there, in all its glory. With the beauty, intimacy and power that YHWH intended. Without any body insecurities, physical deficiencies or scars from past relationships. There will be no contamination from the immoral sex on TV or feelings of being inadequate. It will be pure, holy and, yes, pleasurable – likely in a way we cannot even begin to fathom.
Kim McClure is a blogger at www.findingherworth.com