Revelation Bible Study #25
Revelation Series #25
Well as we read and studied chapter 18 we saw the destruction of the world system referred to as Babylon. And so now we get to move to The Good Stuff, amen. Believe it or not there are some things as we read verses 1-10 of chapter 19 that will actually back up or give a firmer foundation to some of the things we said all the way back in chapter 4 verse 1. There are some things in the wedding and the whole marriage process that will add that for us - The long-awaited Marriage of the Lamb, the Physical Bodily Return of Christ with the Church to Planet Earth is coming in this chapter, although we won't get to it today. The Defeat of Satan, the Beast, and the Battle of Armageddon will come in this chapter. That will end will end the 7 year period of Tribulation. When we get to chapter 20 we get to see Satan Bound and cast into a pit followed by a 1000 Year Earthly Kingdom. Satan’s final rebellion and the Great White Throne Judgment will all happen in chapter 20 followed by The creation of a New Heaven and a New Earth which will be, whenever the Rapture comes, 1007 years after that, in chapters 21 and 22. So we're getting close. We will finish this up before we get to the holidays.
Let’s read Chapter 19:1-10
(now, after what? After all of this stuff that has just happened. After all the 7 vials. We've had the 7 seals, the 7 trumpets, and the 7 vials. And after all of that, after Babylon has been destroyed. After all this. And I just want to remind you who is taking John on this journey. Back in chapter 18 verse 1, we saw "'another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor." This reference to another angel has come up a few times and some people wanted to say that it was Christ and my conviction on that is that it's not Christ, because it's called another angel. I think that's too common a term for Christ. Again here we see him referred to as another angel. And in verse 10 you will see further evidence as to why it isn't Christ in this instance and if it isn't Christ in this instance then it's probably not Christ in the other instances.)
“After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: (now, I wish I had a huge multi-media setup and I could pipe in some special effects and different things. What he hears here is a huge crowd noise. As a kid growing up, when you are playing basketball or something and you say, 'it's down to the last minute and the fans are calling out <crowd noise> . . . All of us guys get that. But get whatever image you have, if you've ever been in a crowd and if you've ever heard a roar, then get that image in your mind, when Pujols hits a home run, or the band finishes the song, whatever …)
. . . a great multitude in heaven shouting:
(Folks get used to it, it’s going to be loud at least at times, in Heaven. When people are shouting, countless multitudes, and instruments are being played, it's just going to be loud in heaven, folks. We're going to have new ears and a new mindset. So it will be alright)
A great multitude in heaven shouting:
"Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, 2for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants." 3And again they shouted: "Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever."
(the smoke from who, the smoke from Babylon - remember chapter 18, they saw her smoke and the merchants mourned. They saw her smoke and the producers and the distributors and the consumers all mourned as they saw her smoke)
He has avenged on her the blood of his servants." 3And again they shouted: "Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever." 4The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: "Amen, Hallelujah!"
5Then a voice came from the throne, saying: "Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!" 6Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, (I got the picture, I've been to Niagara Falls several times and I don't know if you've been there. But if you've been there and you get right down next to the water, it's just loud. When there're millions of gallons of water going over the falls every second it's just amazing and the sound; that's the picture that I had in my mind as I read as the sound 'of rushing waters'
and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
"Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) 9Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' " And he added, "These are the true words of God." 10At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me,
(who said, who's talking here? Another angel, right.)
"Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
A couple of things about those last two verses because we are not going to pay too much attention to them as we get into study. So let me make a couple of observations there, the latter half of verse 9 and verse 10. "These are the true words of God." This goes back all the way to 17, this whole scene that we've seen here, of the vials being poured out and this another angel came and we get to this point. So as we come all down through that what this angel is saying is, God said he was going to do it and now he's brought it all to pass. These are true words. The words of God are true.
"And at this I fell . . ." Now listen, John knew this wasn't God and John knew he wasn't supposed to worship an angel but he just couldn't help himself. We probably would have done the same thing and the angel would have said, 'Get up." There at the end it says, "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." One writing just basically flipped it and said, "The study of prophecy testifies about Jesus." Isn't that what we've said from the very beginning? We've said that this is the revelation of Jesus Christ, not the revelation of John, not the revelation of the antichrist, not the revelation of the end times, this is the revelation of Jesus Christ. And if the study of prophecy points you to anything but Jesus it's missing the mark. (congregation comment) No doubt about it, it does not stand on its own. It's not just 'hey let's look at the end times,' it's always about Jesus Christ. It's always about Jesus Christ. And so I don't want us to miss that.
Let me give you an overview of the four points of this part of chapter 19 and then I'll get into my teaching on it.
- The Historicist,
remember they see all of Revelation as painting a picture of history to the end, they would say this: With the fall of the papal system, the church is prepared to join Christ in further conquests of the nations through the gospel and celebrate His triumphal reign. Alleluia (v. 1), repeated four times in the first six verses, is a Hebrew word, suggesting to Elliott, Vitringa, Daubuz, and others, that the Jews are to have a prominent part in this song. Elliott writes: “the Jews will probably just at, or after this catastrophe, be converted and join, and perhaps take the lead in, the earthly Church’s song of praise on the occasion.” The marriage of the Lamb (v. 7) is variously understood, depending upon the millennial leanings of the scholars. It either represents the future state of the true church after the fall of the papacy “as if in permanent union with her glorious head” (Barnes), or it may refer to the true church at present, in a relationship to be intensified in the future. Caringola writes: “In Christ, we have already attained to this event. Yet the prophecy signifies that the church, at this point of triumph, attains to permanent union with her head and Lord.”
- The Preterists viewpoint,
which would see most of this having been fulfilled shortly thereafter, before the later part of the first century: David Chilton presents a side-by-side comparison of the first six verses of this passage with the last five verses (15–19) of chapter 11, seeking to establish the identity of subject matter in the two passages which represent the closing visions of the two major sections of the book. There are six elements in each passage: The final point in chapter 11 is the opening of the heavenly temple (v. 19). At the end of chapter 19, the marriage of the Lamb (v. 7) is announced. Chilton concludes: “The appearance of the Bride, prepared for marriage, is thus equivalent to the opening of the Temple and the full establishment of the New Covenant.” An intriguing and unique element of this segment is the introduction of the marriage of the Lamb, a concept not previously hinted at in Revelation, though the unfaithful harlot has received much attention. Chilton writes that the destruction of the Harlot and the marriage of the Lamb and the Bride— the divorce and the wedding—are correlative events. The existence of the Church as the congregation of the New Covenant marks an entirely new epoch in the history of redemption. God was not now merely taking Gentile believers into the Old Covenant (as He had done under the Old Testament economy). Rather, He was bringing in “the age to come” (Heb. 2:5; 6:5), the age of fulfillment.… With the final divorce and destruction of the unfaithful wife (which they would see as Israel) in A.D. 70, the marriage of the Church was firmly established. A prerequisite of the coming of the marriage day is that His wife has made herself ready (v. 7). Chilton comments:
The duty of the apostles during the Last Days was to prepare the Church for her nuptials.
- The Futurists,
of course all believe that these events are of course future, but disagreement as to when and who. Some see this taking place immediately after the Rapture of the Church though separated by 15 chapters, others see it taking place immediately before Christ’s return. Some identify the Bride as The Church alone while others as All Believers throughout history seeing the Bride and the Guests as one in the same
We will talk about that more in a minute.
- The Spiritualist / Idealist view
which sees all of Revelation as a spiritual picture of Christ and of the Church and of history, they see it as being told over and over and over again: For the fifth time in the Book of Revelation, this chapter brings us to the end, when Christ returns (cf. 6:12ff; 11:15ff; 14:14ff; 16:17ff), closing Act VI. Two aspects of this event are presented in the two parts of the chapter. The opening verses (1–10), proclaim the wedding day for Christ and His church; in verses 11–21, it is the day of doom for the followers of the beast.
Hendriksen explains in some detail the Jewish marriage customs of apostolic times, from which the biblical imagery is derived. Throughout the entire Old Testament dispensation the wedding was announced. Next, the Son of God assumed our flesh and blood: the betrothal took place. The price—the dowry—was paid on Calvary. And now, after an interval which in the eyes of God is but a little while, the Bridegroom returns and “It has come, the wedding of the Lamb.” Moffatt writes: “The marriage day of Christ and his church is the day of his second advent.” Milligan writes: It may be a question whether we are to distinguish between the bride herself and those who appear to be spoken of as guests at the marriage supper. But the analogy of Scripture, and especially of such passages as Matt. 22:2; 26:29, lead to the conclusion that no such distinction can be drawn. Those who are faithful to the Lord are at once the Lamb’s bride and the Lamb’s guests.
<Four Views Taken from Steve Gregg book "Revelation: Four Views">
So, let's talk about a few things here. First thing that I want you to see is:
“Cubed” (to the 4th Power)
I heard what sounded like the ROAR of a great multitude in heaven shouting …
A. Hallelujah! The first one.
What does the word 'Hallelujah' mean? Praise Be to God.
Now if you have a KJV or another translation it may say 'Alleluia.' The reason they may say is because the Greek doesn't have any way to say “Hallelujah”. In the Greek alphabet they don't have a way to transliterate Hallelujah. We don't have that trouble in English, we can just say it. Virtually in every language the word Hallelujah is the same. But in the Greek it's Alleluia with no 'H'.
So those in Heaven say “Hallelujah” and it gives three things.
What does it say belongs to God?
All of these things belong to our God. Aren't you glad He shares? That's one of the first things you learn, in 1st grade you are evaluated on works well and plays with others. Aren't you glad that salvation belongs to God, that power and glory belong to God, and he's not stingy? He shares. That's good news.
And then it says something about His judgments. What does it say about His judgments? True and Just or righteous. I like the word just because it's 'just as he said it was always gonna be.' But the word 'just' means righteous or right. This is a response to the fact that this world system, this Babylon has been destroyed. And it says, 'and again . . .' Now who do you think is talking in these verses, the talking and the shouting. Who is the 'they?' At this point? I don't know that it's really important but I think this is angels et.al., the host of heaven that's calling out to us. Because you'll see we get involved in a minute. And the fact that we get involved in a minute makes me think it's not us yet.
B. Again THEY shouted Hallelujah!
And what's the reason behind this Hallelujah? Just a real simple one.
Smoke, what about the smoke?
Smoke rises forever, what does that mean? Remember in several places we see images of Babylon burned in 14, in 18 etc. Obviously the smoke is not going to rise physically forever but this is a shouting, exaltation. The picture here is of Eternal punishment and also that the System is eternally ended. Also the picture of 'the smoke rises forever' is that nobody is going to forget this.
C. And then the third Hallelujah.
Who gets involved here? Is it us?
1. Yes, The 24 Elders, and we've identified that as the Church, and
2. 4 Creatures, cherubim
But WE are there, That's us. Amen. “Iknowthat'sright!” That's what they said. The 24 Elders fell down and worshipped. By the way, the 24 elders have been pretty prominent up until now in Revelation. Chapters 1, 2 and 3 talk about the church and then the church is gone. Chapter 4 begins to talk about the 24 elders. And this is the last time the 24 are mentioned. Why, because they are getting ready to take on a new identity, in just a second. I just wanted to point that out. This is the last time we are called the 24 elders.
The word 'Amen' – first time it is found in scripture is in Numbers 5:22, and it's definition or meaning is right there, it means, “So be it.” It happens to be in a process of judgment being pronounced on an adulterer, but she, after the judgment has been pronounced has to agree with it. Dr Criswell, about this word 'Amen' says, “it's a word of divine ratification of sacred sanctification. A word of avowal of commitment to truth, of seal, of affirmation. It is the highest word of praise that human speech can utter.” Now, I'm gonna be honest with you. I'd like you to say, "Amen" more. But, I'd also like people to say 'Amen' more 'educatedly.' In the church, especially growing up we did say amen a lot in our churches, but sometimes it was just like, Do you even know what you're saying? Preacher would say, "If you don't get right with God you're all going to go to hell!" and someone would say "Amen!" Is that really where you want an Amen? Because you don't really want people to die and go to hell do ya? No. So you can say, "Well," or you can say "That's right," or you could say "Ouch," or you could say something but we need to be educated about the way we say things. And I'd like to hear people speak more, and talk more and agree more, but let's be educated about it. It's the highest word of praise. It's coming in line with God.
Psalm 72:18-19 says, "18 Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. 19 Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen."
Now see, that's where Amen ought to go. It's the highest form of coming into agreement with God. That God is God and he is righteous and he is holy and that he is glorified and he is powerful, and he is almighty and he wins.
And then we get our
D. fourth “Hallelujah!”
Before we get our fourth "Hallelujah" we kind of get a call to it. Did you catch that? Go back there and look. After the "Amen, Hallelujah!" then it says, "5Then a voice came from the throne, saying: "Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!" Do you know what the throne was saying? “Everybody in the house say . . . (wait for response) YEAH … Hallelujah” That's what was happening in heaven! Isn't that good? All this stuff is going on and then we get this. And as I was studying I was thinking “everybody say yeah.” And so I was laughing in my office this afternoon as I was typing this down.
And so this voice comes down. Now some of you don't know in rap concerts, someone will say, 'everybody say yea-yah,' and what happens in the audience? Everybody goes, 'yea-yah.' So you get this voice from heaven that says, 'everybody say yeah,' and so EVERYBODY . . . We started out with just the church and the four living creatures saying, 'Iknowthasright!' And then somebody says, 'Everybody say yeah' and Everybody says, 'yeah.' We know it's everybody because before we heard multitudes, but then at this point he says, "6Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, (It's more, it's magnified from what we had before)
and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah!"
And they give some additional reasons for their Hallelujah.
What are the reasons for their Hallelujah?
1. “For Our Lord God”, now some of your translations may say Almighty, and that's true. But it's not meaning he's just “kind of strong”. It is the word Omnipotent. He is All Powerful, not just a little powerful. Omnipotent!
2. And then it says, "Let us Rejoice and be glad."
3. And then it says, "Let us Give Glory." Now, this is just me pulling aside here. Do you remember, and we've talked about this before, what it means when it calls for us to “Give God the glory?" We've talked about this. In the Old Testament, when they call people to give glory to God it meant something. Akin was told by Joshua to give glory to God. It's a call of confession. I'm just imagining here. God's done what he said he was going to do. God's finally gotten the victory he said he was going to get. God has finally taken complete authority. Do you think that some of us – me, and you and countless ones for a fleeting moment doubted that God was gonna do what he said he was gonna do. Yeah we have. Is God really gonna finish this whole thing out? Is satan really gonna be defeated? Is this thing really gonna go out? When we get to this point, we're all gonna have to 'fess up and say, "Lord, I'm sorry. I doubted you." Because the fact is we have all been there or will be there because we're all human. They had to give God glory. Remember that.
Let us rejoice for the Lord God is Omnipotent and what?
4. The marriage of the Lamb has come. God Revealed his Power in DOING what he said he would do and presenting the Church to Christ as his Promised Bride. Hallelujah Our Lord God Omnipotent reigns.
Now let's talk about this second part for a minute. Let's talk about the Bridegroom and the Bride. The Wedding of the Lamb Has Come.
2. Bridegroom and Bride
Let's talk about the Bridegroom first and then we'll talk about the Bride.
Here on earth, in general, the wedding is all about the Bride. One of the first things I tell a couple when I'm talking to them about a wedding, I look to the guy and I say, "Now listen, this is all about her. You need to know this right up front. This is all about her and she's been planning this all her life." Well listen to me, this wedding is different. It's all about Him.
He's been planning this for eternity past. This is all about him. So here we talk about the Bridegroom. The bridegroom is defined for us in a particular way. He's not referred to as Jesus. He's not referred to as the Messiah. What is he referred to as? The Lamb. That's important, because this entire scene is about those who have been redeemed. I think the angels may get in, they may be able to be spectators, they are probably going to be serving at the supper, but they are not guests, they are not the bride. This is for those who have been redeemed. So this is about His redemptive sacrifice. Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom. Any doubt about that?
- 1. Jesus said so
Jesus is the bridegroom first and foremost because Jesus said so. So if there is any wondering about the imagery we are talking about here, Matthew 9:14-15, Jesus referred to himself. They said to Jesus, look, your disciples, they are not fasting. We fast all these days of the week and your disciples are not fasting. And he said to them, well, the guests of the bridegroom mourn when he is not here. Are they going to mourn while he is here, Of course not. He said when the bridegroom is taken away, then they'll fast. But right now they are not fasting because the bridegroom is here. Who was the bridegroom? He was. They were talking about his disciples.
Matthew 22 is a parable. It's a parable of the wedding banquet, that invitations were sent out for them to come. Who is the wedding banquet for? It is for the Son of the King. Who is the son of the king? Christ is.
In Matthew 25, is the parable of the ten virgins, five wise and five foolish. They were looking for the bridegroom who is coming. Who is the bridegroom? Jesus. Is the son of the king. He is the one that when the midnight cry goes out there in Matthew 25, for the bridegroom, he is the one who will be there.
- 2. John the Baptist said so.
John 3:29, "The bride belongs to the bridegroom." Now here is the thing. In John 3 they were coming to John and saying, hey John, you know you've been baptizing and all these good things, but now all the people are going over to Jesus. Oh my goodness, what are we going to do? They are leaving you and they are all going to Jesus. But John said, “you don't get it. The bride belongs to the bridegroom.” Now let me stop right there and say New Life Baptist Church doesn't belong to me. New Life Baptist Church doesn't belong to the deacons. New Life Baptist Church doesn't belong to anybody else. The bride belongs to the bridegroom. John then says "The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice." John says, “that's all I'm about. I'm about waiting for the bridegroom. I'm about pointing the bride out to the bridegroom. Bringing the bridegroom to the bride. That's all I'm about.”
Listen to me, if the bridegroom shows up in the room, the bride ought to go to the bridegroom, not hang out with the friend. It's a dangerous thing when the bride places more emphasis on the friend of the bridegroom than on the bridegroom, I don't care who the preacher is. It's a dangerous thing, when the friend becomes more important. If they say, “I don't want to hear what Jesus has to say, I want to hear what pastor so-and-so has to say.” Now we may not say it that way, but we gotta be careful. There was no jealousy for John over baptisms and followers because John's job was to bring the bride to the groom, not to himself. They were leaving John and going to Jesus and that's exactly what it was all about. When the groom shows up, the bride should go to him.
- 3. Paul said so.
Paul identified Jesus as the bridegroom. II Corinthians 11:2 says, "I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him." So that's what this is all about.
In Ephesians 5 Paul makes that great comparison between the marriage relationship and the bride and the bridegroom. He says, "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." In verse 26, "to make her holy." In verse 27, "and to present her to himself as a radiant church." In verse 29, "feeds and cares for it." In verse 32, "this is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church." In other words, if the picture in Ephesians 5 of a bride and a husband is a picture of Christ and the church, then Christ is the bridegroom. It also means that there will be a ceremony. Why would he compare it to a wedding if there wasn't going to be a ceremony? There will be a wedding, there will be a consummation, there will be a unifying of Christ and the bride, just as the husband is preparing. And Christ is the husband and God is preparing a bride.
So let's talk about the bride for a minute.
B. The Bride
Let's talk about the Bride. Let's talk about who she is. Who is she?
- 1. Old Testament Israel? Is this the bride?
Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea all called Israel the wife of Jehovah. Problem is, Old Testament Israel, when you read those prophets, she left God, committed adultery and idolatry. She's been repudiated and thus been divorced from God, by God because of her own adultery. Let me say this. Israel will return. We've talked about that already. Israel will return as a people, not all, or every individual Jew, but Israel as a people will return and God will receive her back. But, here's the thing, a bride who's been married to a husband and leaves him and then comes back would never be referred to as 'pure and chaste'. You understand?
For all kinds of reasons, yet if for no other reason than she was married to him in the first place, she is no longer a virgin. She is no longer a pure and chaste bride. And the bride in the New Testament is always referred to as pure and chaste. She is referred to as a virgin.
So that leaves us with nothing else to say than that
- 2. The Bride is The Church. New Testament, since Pentecost, The Church, is the Bride of Christ.
Go back again to what I just said in II Corinthians 11:2 that says “I am going to present her as a pure chaste virgin.” Ephesians 5:30 says, "for we are members of his body. 31For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church."
So this has to be the church. And if we are one body, then the church is the bride of Christ and the church is the body of Christ. Why? Because we are going to leave one another and we united in that marriage ceremony with him. It is also referred to as the household of faith.
You say, wow that is too many ways to see. Is it really? See, when my wife and I got married, we left our father and mother, we became one flesh. We became the same body. Her body is mine, my body is hers. She became my bride and we became a household. We became a home. In like fashion, the church is the body of Christ, the church is the bride of Christ, it is the household of faith - in Christ.
- 3. Think about it. Every tribe, every race, every language, every people group, the roaming Gypsies of Eastern Europe, the proper British, the radical Americans, the traditional Asian, the tribal African, the Island believer, all together in Christ, by his death. Gentiles and Jews, barbarians of days gone by, faithful puritans, American Indians, all a part of the body of Christ. Isn't that a beautiful thing? Isn't that a wonderful thing that's going to be presented to him?
- 4. And God is still preparing, even at this moment, God is still preparing the bride. He is still growing the bride, if you will, preparing the bride for Christ. When we bring people to Christ, in a sense, we join with John the Baptist and Paul the Apostle, and every evangelist down from Apollos to Billy Graham in being like a friend to the groom. Even though we are part of the bride, we become part of that process of bringing people to Christ and presenting them.
- 5. What a Spectacular Day this is going to be. Without comparison will this day be.
I don't take wedding ceremonies for granted when I do them. People call all the time and say, “Will you do this wedding for me?” And I have to sit down with them and meet with them and talk with them. Because I have to decide can I paint a picture of Christ with this wedding ceremony? And that doesn't mean that I have never married anyone that I didn't believe knew Christ, I have married a few. But I was convinced that their marriage could be blessed, that their union would honor the Lord and that potentially could bring them to Christ. But a wedding ceremony is a picture of the marriage of the Lamb and it draws attention to God's restoration of all things.
As the bride comes to Christ, how does it describe her here? Look back at those verses here.
- 6. How is she dressed?
- a. Dressed in “fine linen, says it's white, bright and clean.” None of these things are just simple things here.
I want you to think about linen with me for a minute. Linen is from flax, which is a fiber plant. Egypt has produced the best, forever, including in that time. It was used for the curtains of the tabernacle. It was used for the veil for the screen. It was used for entire outfit that the priest wore. Only linen was used. The turban, the breastplate, everything that he wore, the outer garment, all of the separating things in the Temple, all these things were made of linen, why? It is because linen is a picture of purity. And so the Temple was covered and surrounded by linen. The people were separated between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place by linen. The priests wore linen. It was all a picture of purity. Flax is from the family of herbs, it is cultivated for its fiber.
David danced before the Lord. You know we sing a little spiritual song sometimes, "When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon my heart, I will dance like David danced." My mom was listening to my CD once and she said, "So what does that mean?" You remember David danced when the Ark of the Covenant came back to Jerusalem. Michal, David's wife looked down and she saw David and she was embarrassed by David. When we read that sometimes we read that wrong. We say, “oh David was naked”. No he wasn't. And so my mom said, "Oh, so does that mean when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon my heart I have to dance naked?" I said, “no, that's not what the scripture says.” Scripture doesn't say he was naked. Scripture says he had nothing on but a fine linen ephod. The picture there is that when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon my heart, it's nothing but me naked in the righteousness of God. That's how I should worship Him, clothed in nothing other than the righteousness of God. OHHH That’ll Preach!
The Old Testament required that linen and wool were never worn together. You couldn't wear mixed things. Why? It is because you don't mix the purity of God. There's a picture there. So you need to see that. The bride comes in a garment of fine linen. I want you to get this. She was in a garment of fine linen, which was righteousness. But do you know much about the clothes they wore during that time?
- b. The Garment of the Bride - she wore both tunic and toga. What's the difference? One is Inside. The other Outside. The bride of Christ, when she is presented to Christ will be clothed inside and out in righteousness, tunic and toga. She will have the inner righteousness of Christ and the outer righteousness of what? Look it tells us? Not just good deeds, but “righteous acts” plural.
We need to get this. If we don't get anywhere else, we gotta get this part. We wear Inner righteousness of Christ.
And Outer righteousness of righteous acts.
This is the blessedness of Justification and Sanctification.
The Tunic on the inside is the Justification of Christ, “just as if I'd never sinned."
The Toga, on the outside, that linen is our Sanctification, when our outside begins to match up with our inside. It is when who we are in Christ is reflected on the outside to a watching world. It's that inner Justification versus the outward obedience of Sanctification.
It's the inner garment that's been imputed to us or rendered to our account and it's the outer actions that “come in line” with what's going on in the inside, with the truth of doctrine, to bring glory to God.
This (inner) is positional righteousness and
this (outer) is practical righteousness.
That's how the bride is dressed. When we received Christ he gave us our tunic. He gave us our inner garment. But our outer garment, if you will, when you read this, it says, "For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready."
You see, our outer garment is, as it were, woven with our own hands under the guidance, direction, and power of the Holy Spirit that comes from surrender and obedience. “The Bride has made herself ready” … And if you picture your grandmother with sewing needles … two of them SURRENDER and OBEDIENCE! Whew that is TRUE! Oh I hope we get this tonight!
The Bride has made herself ready. How do we do that? Through Obedience to the Promises of God, the Plans of God and the Purposes of God! God has the Plans for your Wedding Toga! Eph 2:10 … “created for good works that God has prepared in advance for you to do”
- 7. When are we going to receive the Adornments for our Garment? We’ve been “laying up these treasures with our righteous acts” We’ve laid them up where moth and rust can’t destroy and thieves can’t steal … When do we get them?
2 Corinthians 5:10 says it is at the “Bema Seat” because we as Christians are not going to be a the great white throne. Our judgment for our sins and our sin nature has been poured out on Christ at the cross. If you go through the cross you don't have to go through the great white throne judgment. All right? That's the good news. But, we do have to stand before Christ, not the great white throne, but we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, where everything we've done is going to be laid out, and you say, "Oh man . . ." I know. I do too. Everything we've done is going to be laid out before Christ. I believe that happens in chapter 4, when the church is taken to heaven. When you see those peals of judgment and all that has taken place in chapter 4, that's when we are going to go before the seat of Christ. And we are going to receive, good and bad, what we deserve. Now you say, “wait a minute, if I'm going to get the good and the bad, then how am I going to make that into a white garment? I mean come on, all of us, that's not going to work.” Yeah it is. No, it's not going to be grey, it's going to be white. Because I Corinthians 3:12-15 gives us a further picture about that judgment of Christ. It says at that day, some things are going to be precious stone, gold and silver and some things are going to be wood, hay and stubble. That's right. In I Corinthians 3 it says that only the precious will survive the fire of God's judgment and verse 14 says that the precious that survives, we will receive reward for what survives. You know what Dr Criswell said? He said, “some people's toga is going to be a little short”. If you read I Corinthians 3, it absolutely says that. It says that some people will just get there by fire. It says “that's why I'm praying for you and impressing and calling you, because some are going to be rewarded and some, everything they have is just going to be burned up.” They are going to get into heaven, but as Dr Criswell says “they are going to be standing there kind of naked, as if, by fire.” And that's why Paul says, "be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord . . ." I Cor. 15:58 Because He's saying, “look I want you to have a lot of clothes on!” That's what he's saying. Paul says “I want you to have good stuff.” That's why Paul pleads with us. And so we are going to be presented to Christ in fine linen. I think I've spent enough time here and it's time to move on.
What about the Wedding?
3. The Wedding
A. What does it say?
What does it say to us about the wedding? Not a hard question. (it has come) That's all it says. What it says about the wedding is that it's come. And that's past tense, by the way, by this time, so John doesn't even see the wedding. John just says the wedding of the Lamb has come. It's here, it's happened. We don't know anything about the wedding specifically. Why? Because it doesn't tell us. It doesn't say much about it at all.
John is told to write of the blessedness of it, of those being added, of those being invited to it, but the wedding ceremony itself is not recorded at all.
It happens, it is real, but what is it? We don't know.
But let me tell you this about the marriage process in that day.
B. Marriage Process in their Day
- 1. Couples were promised to one another.
Engaged usually when they were little. They were promised to one another and they were engaged. And that wasn't like 'Oh here I kind of like you and here's a ring and let's get married next June 12th.' They were promised. And the only way to break that was through divorce. It was just like you were married except you weren't married. Why, because you were little. You were promised to one another. It could only be broken through a divorce. If one party was unfaithful during that engagement period it was considered adultery, just like if you were married. When they grew up and when the bridegroom had everything in line, when he had paid the dowry that needed to be paid,
- 2. then the bridegroom would go to the bride's house and get her ...
...and bring her back to his house or his parents house and there the wedding would take place. Oh I like the way that sounds … Now you ask, “why do I believe that we're not going through the tribulation?” Good question. It is because the bridegroom had to go to the bride's house, after he had paid the dowry, and gets the bride, and he takes her back!
Now there's a whole lot more reason, and we talked about them back in chapter 4 you can go back to my stuff there, but this just adds to it. The bridegroom would go and get the bride and would bring her back to his house,
- 3. they would have a ceremony, and they would have a huge feast ...
...and all the guests would be there. And the guests would celebrate, sometimes for a week. ... Wait a minute. A week? Is there a final week that we are waiting for? Is there one from the book of Daniel? Yes there is. The bridegroom goes and he gets his bride, and he brings her back to his house, and they celebrate there for seven years?
Now we, the Church, are engaged to Christ.
Right now, in 2010. We have been engaged since AD 30ish, depending on if you believe it was 6 or 4 BC that Christ was born, right there around 30. Somewhere in there, 28-30.
I Peter 1:8 says, "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy," That's talking about us. We are engaged to Him. And he will come to our house. John 14 says, "I am going to prepare a place for you." In John 14 that is the bridegroom was talking to the bride. He was saying, “listen, I'm not going to forget about you, I just have to go get things ready.” No, "I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
And he says you will always be with him there.
I Thessalonians 4:13 and following says that he will come down from heaven with a loud command and we will be caught up with him so we will be forever with the Lord. We will be judged at that point when we go up to heaven so that we can be presented spotless. All that stuff, we want all that stuff burned up, don't we? We want a white wedding gown, if you will, to wear so that we can return and reign with him.
- 4. The marriage takes place in heaven
because in Chapter 21 John sees the bride coming down from heaven and it calls the bride his wife in John 21. That means the marriage ceremony takes place in heaven. When it will be we don't know. How it will be we don't know. If you want an idea, go to the Old Testament and read when the tabernacle was dedicated and it was, in a sense, God's marriage to Israel. Read when Solomon dedicated the Temple. Those would be pictures of what it might be like. Think about when Melchizidek came to Abraham and he offered him bread and wine. Think about Jesus Christ, that his first miracle was at a wedding. So, the marriage of the Lamb. Let me get you to the supper and see if I can finish this up.
4. The Marriage Supper
We don't know a whole lot about the wedding but let's talk about the Supper. There's been an engagement, a preparation of the dress, and now it says, "Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" Note that this is the supper of the Lamb, which means that those present are going to be ones who understand and experience redemption.
A. Blessed are They Which Are Invited
- 1. Blessed are THEY.
That word that is translated “They” is a simple word “ho” and it's a distinctive word. It's like saying 'this' or 'those' or 'that' or 'these'. In other words, Blessed are These who are invited to the wedding of the Lamb.
- 2. Now is the bride invited?
No, the bride does the inviting, right? So the bride has to be distinct from those that are invited to the supper. Bride and groom are there, I think the angels will be looking on, if you will they will serve the party guests, but the guests are something altogether different. Blessed are these. It's a distinction. If all the saints in history were the bride then he would have said Blessed are those that are the wife of the Lamb. Right? But he didn't. He said “Blessed are these”, there's a distinction here between the bride and these here.
Let me just tell you quickly who I think it is
- 3. . Two groups … These are the Old Testament Saints and the Tribulation Saints;
all those pre-Acts 2 and post-Revelation 4. That's who I think those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb are. Think back to Matthew 25, the story of the ten virgins. They were not the bride, they were the friends of the bride. And it says there were five wise ones and five foolish ones. Could it be that there are some in Israel who are wise and some in Israel who are not? Absolutely. We've got Old Testament saints who truly knew God, truly trusted God and truly followed God, they were the wise ones. The five that weren't, they were the foolish ones. Revelation 21, the bride is seen as a city coming down because the city contains the bride. And when you talk about the city as a bride that doesn't mean that only the church is in there, I believe everybody is going to be in there. You've got the bride and her attendants, her family and that is all considered to the glory of the bride.
It said “blessed”. Blessed, what does the word blessed mean? “Happy”. That's right, this word for blessed means happy. Happy are those who are invited. It's the word “makarios” which means happy. Happy are they.
There is a great blessing for those that get invited. I want you to think this for a minute. Don't think that leaving the Old Testament saints out of the bride-'hood' that they are less blessed. When you read Scripture it's obvious that there are rewards in heaven and different things in heaven. Listen, there are promises for Israel that are not for you and me. And that doesn't make us any less than Israel. That makes us different. And I think through that 1000 year millennium we will have those distinctives and after the 1000 years, no more distinctive. I think it's a period of that Kingdom mentality, for this feast. They will be seated in honor, they will rejoice at the wedding. I mean, from John the Baptist backward, there will be seats of honor. There will be a seat of honor for John the Baptist, you sit here. Rahab, you sit here. Hannah, you sit here. Samuel, you sit there. Gideon, you sit there. Abraham . . . they are seated in places of blessing, in places of honor. All the way down to the least martyr that dies during the Tribulation, they will have a seat of honor at the wedding feast of the Lamb.
C. The Feast.
Let me just talk about the feast for a minute. What is it going to be like? It's not told to us very clearly here.
- 1. Isaiah 25:6-9 talks about,
let me just read it for you. Let me just flip over there because I believe this is a good picture of this wedding feast. And I think it's exactly what we are talking about. Isaiah 25, verse 6:
"On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. 7 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8 he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. "
That's a picture of the feast and isn't it good to hear that there's going to be meat there? Isn't that good news? There's going to be meat there! And by the way, I'm not going to do it now, but if you go on and read Isaiah 26 there is a beautiful song that is sung.
- 2. What is the disgrace that is going to be removed?
It is disgrace of rejecting God in the Old Testament and the disgrace of rejecting Christ in the New Testament. That disgrace is going to be removed when we get to this time. Chapter 26 is a beautiful song that says, 'Can you see the marvelous thing that's going on.' In Luke 22, Jesus says, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."
You see, those believers of old at this wedding feast are going to be rejoicing because it is a beautiful thing and their disgrace is going to be removed. All of us who have observed the Lord's supper and commemorated his death for these 2000 years, we are going to be celebrating because we finally get to share it with him face-to-face. Every time we celebrate the Lord's supper we are saying, “Until then.” And so it's going to be a beautiful picture.
Do you remember the miracle of water into wine, do you remember what they said when they tasted it? Wait a minute. What they were saying is, “we've never tasted anything like this!” They got a little taste of heavenly wine. It wasn't the typical run-of-the-mill stuff. This was heaven's stuff. It's going to be a beautiful, beautiful thing. Let me read you one more thing and I'll close. It's an old Hymn entitled, There Be.
(in present at that marriage supper)
There be prudent prophets all,
The apostles six and six,
The glorious martyrs in a row,
And confessors in betwixt;
And though the glory of each one
Doth differ in degree,
Yet is the joy of all alike
And common certainly.
There David stands with harp in hand,
As master of the choir.
A thousand times that man were blest,
That made his music hear.
Their Mary sings “Magnificat”
With tune surpassing sweet,
And all the maidens bear their part,
Singing at her feet.
Te Deum doth saintly Ambrose sing,
And Augustine the same.
Old Simeon and Zacharias
Anew their songs inflame.
Mary Magdalene hath left her tears
And tearfully doth sing
With all those saints whose harmony
Through every street doth ring.
And in that holy company
May you and I find place,
Through worth of Him that died for us.
And through His glorious grace,
With cherubim and seraphim
And hosts of ransomed men,
To sing our praises to the Lamb,
And add our glad “Amen.”
Amen. And just like David said in Psalm 72, Amen and Amen.
Revelation Four Views: A Parallel Commentary – Steve Gregg
W.A. Criswell Expository Sermons on Revelation
Dr. J.A. Seiss Expositions on Revelations
MacArthur Bible Studies: Revelation – John MacArthur
Dr. David Jeremiah Expositions on Revelation
The Pulpit Commentary: Revelation
Wiersbe: The Bible Exposition Commentary