6 “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: ‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.’ 9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.’ 10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.” ~ Revelation 19: 6-10
Here is the main idea of the passage: “…the great choir of Heaven once again praises God- the wedding of the Lamb has come. In Matthew 25: 1-13, Christ had compared the coming of His Kingdom to a wedding for which people must be prepared…“The multitude was singing, rejoicing, exulting, and giving glory to God in a time of celebration like nothing ever seen before, for it will celebrate the wedding feast of the Lamb, referring to Christ. This next great vision, the bride getting reading for her wedding, contrasts with the ‘Great Prostitute’ of 17:1. His bride has prepared herself- the bride is the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2, 9-10), the Church, the believers, those redeemed by Christ’s blood. This is the culmination of human history- the judgment of the wicked and the wedding of the Lam and His bride, the Church.” (Life Application New Testament Commentary)
6- “The fifth voice is the earth’s response, like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder (v. 6). The rejoicing spreads from heaven to earth, in keeping with the movement in 18:20 from “heaven” to ‘you saints and apostles and prophets’ on earth. The earth’s hallelujah (v. 6) answers to the multiple ‘hallelujahs’ in heaven. The announcement that our Lord God Almighty reigns is no news to heaven, but on earth it is an announcement of eschatological victory: the Lord God Almighty has taken direct control of the earth and has begun to reign anew. This is the visible realization of what was announced seven chapters earlier in connection with the seventh trumpet: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever’ (11:15).” (The IVP New Testament Commentary)
6- “The Almighty reigns throughout history, but here He is praised for establishing His reign without rival or resistance at Christ’s return.” (ESV Study Bible Commentary)
7- “Marriage of the Lamb. The wedding imagery expresses the intimacy, love, and joy between Christ and His people. It fulfills the commitments expressed earlier in Scripture (Is. 54:5–8; Hos. 2:19, 20; Eph. 5:26, 27).” (R.C. Sproul’s Reformation Study Bible)
7-9- “The praise of the heavenly choir now turns to the marriage of the Lamb. His bride’s garb is ‘fine linen, bright and pure,’ which is interpreted as ‘the righteous acts of the saints (…in contrast to the gross sins of Babylon). It appears the ‘vast multitude’ of Heaven dwellers being a choir to being the bride of the Lamb. The fourth blessing statement of the book (vs. 9) has a twist: By accepting the invitation to the marriage supper one becomes part of the bride.” (HCSB’s: The Apologetics Study Bible Commentary)
10- “Overwhelmed by the grandeur of the vision, John collapsed in worship before the angel. The Bible forbids the worship of angels (Colossians 2:18-19). The central theme of both OT prophecy and NT preaching is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (John MacArthur Study Bible Commentary)
How is this text applicable in the 21st Century?
Recently, we discussed why Christians need the Church, despite the growing sentiment by many believers that “Christ Followers do not have to be a part of a Church to be a Christian.” But let me first be clear, merely attending a church does not make one a Christian, nor does this venture guarantee a one way ticket to Heaven. Being a Christ Follower is a matter of the heart. Nevertheless, Christians should have a deeply rooted appreciation for the Church even in the face of failing flesh- as Jesus was very clear in Scripture for His love for the Church.
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of the Ten Bridesmaids which can be useful for this illustration. The text describes a wedding in Israel at this time, which “always included a processional of the bridegroom to the bride’s family home,” at night, with a path illuminated by lamps. However, several of the bridesmaids were ill-equipped and forgot the most essential ingredient- oil for their lamps (Life Application New Testament Commentary). This parable describes the dangers of unpreparedness. Namely, Christ was concerned with those who will not be prepared for His Return.
God’s word instructs us to congregate with other believers. Proverbs 27:17 states, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” A medical student associates with fellow students studying medicine, as they venture through school. Boxers train with other experienced fighters to prepare for their up and coming bouts. Teachers collaborate with other teachers concerning educational matters. And business students network with their professors, professionals in the field, and other business students studying accounting, finance, or marketing.
Naturally, our identities gravitate toward other like-minded individuals who share our commonalities. Yet, there are Christians who have determined that “Church is not necessary to be a Christian!” Rather, they have given their-selves an excuse or free pass because of a negative church experience in the past.
Notwithstanding the situation, the logic is irrational. Especially when considering you more than likely have offended, criticized someone else, or been a hypocrite too, on another given occasion. Yes, the Church is broken. Yes, there are messed up individuals there just like you. Yes, there are hypocrites there (this includes everyone, again, just like you). But Jesus Christ is the Litmus Test for Christianity. Not the individual who fell from grace, or the difficult person in the pews who tends to cause trouble. As I’ve stated plenty of times before, where there is Light, there will be bugs.
Fellowshipping with other Christians has many benefits- including, learning from more mature believers the walks of life, and how to grow in faith. In the end, we are all responsible for our own personal relationships with Jesus Christ. Moreover, iron sharpens iron no matter the capacity of the blade being scrutinized. Conversely, bad company also corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33).
“We’ve all been invited to the great wedding supper of the Lamb. And just like children being whistled in to dinner by their parents, we need to wash up before we sit to enjoy the feast. This washing can come only by the blood of the Lamb, who takes away our sins when we trust Him alone for salvation, for reconciliation, for forgiveness, and for cleansing. Then, as we meet daily with God, accepting His invitation for intimate fellowship through His Son, we can approach the throne of grace for forgiveness of the sin that can cast a shadow over our relationship with God (1 John 1:9).” ~ Charles Swindoll
Additional Reading: Revelation 19
Prayer: Father God, I pray that I live authentically for You today. Help me let go of the past, and move forward to where You are working in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.