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Revelation 19:6-10: The Blessing of Being Invited Print E-mail
Revelation
Sunday, 10 June 2012

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Wedding days are normally exciting and joyous celebrations. The coming together of a man and woman to commit to one another for the rest of their lives is a momentous occasion. I have great memories of my own wedding day. I remember getting ready and meeting Glenna in the sanctuary and seeing her in her dress for the first time (we went the non-traditional route so that we could take more pictures before the ceremony). I have a distinct memory of standing outside the sanctuary waiting to walk in and listening to “Before the Throne of God Above” being sung and trying to take it all in: the weight, the excitement, the joy. It was a great day of celebration.

Our passage tells us of our future wedding day.  Before we look at some of the details, we should begin by noting a couple of important realities.  First, weddings were celebrated differently in John’s day.  Instead of the focus just being on one day, actually two events were involved in a marriage: the betrothal and the wedding.  The betrothal happened first and legally meant that a couple was husband and wife.  Yet, the actual marriage happened later.  And it was a joyous celebration that started at the house of the bride and ended with a feast at the groom’s house. 1  It is this celebration that stands as the background for our passage. 

Second, we should note the contrast between the great prostitute (17:1-19:5) and the bride of Christ.  John did not haphazardly put these symbolic women back to back.  We belong to one of the two groups represented by these women: we are either in rebellion to God (symbolized by the prostitute) or we have turned from our sins and trusted in Jesus’ death (symbolized by the bride of Christ).  We have seen the judgment that will come for the great prostitute and all that she represents.  In our passage this morning, we see the blessing that will come for the Bride of Christ.  The passage centers around the great cry that is heard from the multitude, which was mentioned in 19:1.  So then, what does John tell us about this great cry?

The Description of the cry (v. 6a)

John describes the cry at the beginning of verse 6.  Look at that with me.  The great multitude represents all believers.  We have seen this before in the book (see 5:13, 7:9-10, 19:1).  All of those who have turned from their sins and trusted in Christ will be gathered on that Day.  They are the ones who have been ransomed by the blood of Christ (5:9), those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (7:14), those whose names have been written in the book of life (13:8, 17:8), who have conquered and remained faithful (ch. 2-3). 

This multitude of believers in Christ will lift their voice and it will sound like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder.  We have seen the great description of the dragon (12:3-4), the beast (13:1-2), and the false prophet (13:11).  We have seen the great prostitute and her rebellion (ch. 17-18).  But here we see the greatness of those who have been redeemed by Christ.  They will lift their voice and the sound of it will be great.  Yet, what exactly does John tell us that they will cry at this point?

The Content of the cry (v. 6b-8)

First, the multitude praises God because He reigns.  Look at verse 6b.  Once again we see the cry of Hallelujah, or ‘Praise Yahweh.’  Why is God to be praised?  He is to be praised because He reigns.  Our God rules over all.  He is the sovereign Lord of the universe.  No one and no thing is outside of His control.  As we have seen in His judgments, even His enemies are ultimately under His sovereign control.  They will justly face the judgments of God.  The seven churches of Asia, to whom John was writing, had to be encouraged by such declarations.  The local governments do not reign.  The Jews who were persecuting the churches do not reign.  Rome does not reign.  No, the Lord our God the Almighty, He reigns!  On that Day, the Bride will praise the Lord because He reigns and no one will be able to deny that reality.

Second, the multitude rejoices and gives God glory because the marriage of the Lamb has come.  Look at verses 7-8.  The word translated exult means ‘to be extremely joyful.’  Thus, the idea is that on this day the people of God will be absolutely full of joy.  They will rejoice and be glad!  Why are they joyful?  What is the source of this great joy?  John tells us: for the marriage of the Lamb has come.  No more waiting on the Groom.  No more sin.  No more suffering.  Instead of losing all that made us joyful like the inhabitants of Babylon (see 18:21-24), our great rejoicing will just be beginning, for the great wedding Day of the Lamb has come.  All of the expectation and longing will be over.  It is difficult to wait for the coming Day. 

I remember wanting to be married so bad in the days of my engagement.  In the same way, we have been betrothed to Christ through our faith in His death at the cross.  We are His Bride even now.  Yet, the wedding Day has not yet come.  We still long for that ultimate fulfillment.  We long to be rid of the temptations and trials of this life.  We long to be rid of the distractions and doubt that so often plague us.  We long for this Day.  And when it comes, O how we will rejoice.  How extremely joyful we will be on that great Day!

John further describes in these verses how the Bride has made herself ready for that Day.  He says clearly: his Bride has made herself ready.  Does this mean that the Bride has saved herself?  No, for such would contradict the rest of John’s book (and the rest of the New Testament).  Rather, his point is that through her faith and her faithful following after Christ she has made herself ready.  Yet, she could not have done this without the sovereign grace of God: it was granted to her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. 

In order for the Bride to be ready on that day, she must be clothed in righteousness.  In one sense, we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ through faith in His death and resurrection (see Philippians 3:9).  Yet, the faith that saves us is a faith that produces righteous deeds (see James 2:14-26).  We are saved by faith alone, but true, saving faith never comes alone.  It is always evidenced by good works.  And all of this takes place because it was granted by God.  God sent Christ to live a perfect life and die for our sins.  God raised Him from the dead for our justification.  God opened our eyes to our sin and to our need for a Savior.  And by His grace we walk in righteousness. 

We see in this the tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.  The Bible teaches both.  This passage teaches both.  Thus, we are not forced to choose between one or the other.  Rather, even though we cannot explain it all, we affirm that both are true.  The Bride must make herself ready and it must be granted by God for her to do so.  Just as Paul tells us in Philippians 2, we must work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (‘make ourselves ready’) for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (‘He has granted’). 2  May we be responsible in making ourselves ready, knowing that the Lord will grant us grace to do just that.

The Response to the cry (v. 9-10)

We see the angels’ (possibly the one mentioned in 18:21 or 18:1 or 17:1) response to the cry in verse 9.  Look at that with me.  What an encouraging statement to those seven churches in Asia?  The blessing will be for those who endure, those who hold fast until the end, those who remain faithful until that Day.  Again, John is writing to them to encourage them in remaining steadfast.  We have seen his warning of what will happen to those who do not endure in ch. 17-18.  Here we see his positive encouragement.  And what better encouragement could there be?  On that Day, those who have been faithful to the Lord will be invited to feast with Him. 

As we saw in our call to worship, Isaiah describes such a feast.  He speaks of rich food and well-aged wine.  Isaiah writes: He will swallow up death forever and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will tae away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.  This is what the Lord has for us on that Day.  And how will we respond?  Isaiah goes on: It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us…let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isaiah 25:6-9).  Indeed, blessed are the invited!

John responds in verse 10.  Look at that with me.  John starts to worship the angel, but the angel stops him.  He makes it clear that he is only a servant to Christ like John.  Only God is to be worshipped, not His servants.  I love the description of God’s servants that the angel gives.  They are the ‘brethren who hold to the testimony of Jesus.’  John adds: the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, probably referring to the fact that all true prophecy centers on the gospel of Christ.  Prophecy is given to us by God to point to Christ.  It reveals to us who He is, what He has done, and what He is going to do (as with this book).  And all who hear this good news of Jesus’ coming and dying, rising again, and promising to return, and turn from their sins and follow Him will be part of the ‘brethren who hold to the testimony of Jesus.’  They will be a part of the Bride of Christ.  They will be invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb.

If you are here this morning and you have never turned from your sins and trusted in Christ, then let me plead with you to do so right now.  Christ, the Lamb of God, has given Himself to pay for your sins and make you a part of His people, His Bride.  Repent and believe in Him today so that you will be numbered among the blessed on that Day.

If you are here this morning and you are a follower of Christ, then let me encourage you with this word: you are eternally blessed.  Nothing that happens in this life, no circumstance, no suffering, no persecution, can steal away your invitation to the feast.  It may not always seem like it in this life.  In fact, we are promised suffering on the earth.  Yet, we must never forget the glory of being invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.  Today we may struggle, but on that day we will rejoice and be extremely joyful.  O brethren of the testimony of Jesus, keep an eye on that Day.  The Groom is coming for His Bride.  Nothing can keep Him away from His Beloved.  So do not lose heart.  Do not grow weary in doing good.  Do not despair.  The Wedding Day is coming.  The feast is being prepared.  And O how blessed we are to be among the invited!  Amen.

1 Robert H. Mounce, The book of Revelation NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1977), p. 340.
2 Grant R. Osborne, Revelation BECNT (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), p. 674.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 June 2012 )

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