March 20, 2012
By: John Barnett
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Are you getting ready for The Banquet? The greatest party of all time is approaching. The King of Kings, Lord of the Universe is preparing a wedding feast like none other. In the most breath taking location imaginable He is spreading an immense table. The greatest names of all times will be present and seated. At dinner the invited guests will be rubbing shoulders with Adam and his lovely wife Eve. One of their twin sons, Abel will be sitting with them as well as Seth and his wife. Not too far away will be the amazing preacher, the earliest known prophet Enoch and family. His great grandson Noah and family will be nearby. On down the long table lavishly set will be the likes of Job and clan, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Joseph with all their various family members. What a reunion as Moses and Elijah walk around talking with guests and visiting with old friends.
Further on Jeremiah sits in rapt attention with Daniel and Isaiah as Ezekiel points out again the wonders they see about the Banquet hall, as angelic creatures move about, choirs of angels sing and the glories of the galaxies radiating the glory of God shine down upon the gathered saints. Interspersed with all these Old Testament saints will be multitudes of beaming faces well known to us. Matthew and the rest of the 12 will be at the entrances; there are twelve gates the guests will stream through on the way to sit. Paul at one gate is weeping for joy as he finally sees so many of his spiritual children and grandchildren. Because he died before many of them had grown up, it’s a precious reunion. At one gate John also weeps for joy as he returns to this place he saw from Patmos.
Saints of all the ages are taking their places, a name card with a special name (only theirs and only known by them and their Savior) marks each seat.
And then the party begins. With glorious enraptured souls the Hallelujahs begin to echo down the aisles of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Expectantly each guest invited personally by Jesus looks up. And then they see Jesus, Glorious and Majestic He comes to each, calling them by name, extending His nail scarred hands, and touching them with His love. We have come to the culmination of all hearts of all saints of all time. It is the Wedding Banquet, it is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and it is the scene of Revelation 19 when those who loved Him and waited all their life for Him honor Jesus. It is the assembly of those who have and love the Testimony of Jesus.
Lets stand at our place as if at that banquet even now and listen to the delights we shall soon experience with Jesus. Revelation 19:1-10
Revelation 19:1-6 THE CELEBRATION: Four Hallelujahs
1. A Celebration of Jesus our SALVATION v. 1
2. A Celebration of Jesus the JUDGMENT v. 2-3
3. A Celebration of Jesus we WORSHIP v. 4-5
4. A Celebration of Jesus our SOVEREIGN v. 6
Revelation 19:7-10 THE CONSUMATION: Marriage Banquet
Revelation 19:11-21 THE CONFRONTATION: Christ's Return
Worship is to:
• Bow down to the will of God
• Acknowledge that what He says is true
• Acknowledge that what He does is Right
Revelation 19:1-6 THE CELEBRATION: Four Hallelujahs The Four Alleluias are part of the 140 hallals of the OT (76X Psalms; 64X in the rest.)
1. A Celebration of Jesus our SALVATION v. 1
2. A Celebration of Jesus the JUDGMENT v. 2-3 Is this proper?
• Psalm 104:35 May sinners be consumed from the earth, And the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!
• Romans 3:5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.);
• Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
• 2 Thessalonians 1:8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
• Hebrews 10:30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”
• The answer repeatedly is yes. As God said at the overthrow of Sodom Genesis 18:25 “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
3. A Celebration of Jesus we WORSHIP v. 4-5 WORSHIP by His servants. Greek word # 1401 doulos a slave, bondman, man of servile condition; metaph., one who gives himself up to another's will those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing His cause among men; devoted to another to the disregard of one's own interests. Who are the doulos?
• Phil 2:7 Christly minded servants
• Col 4:12 Prayerfully minded servants
• II Tim 2:24 Gently minded servants
4. A Celebration of Jesus our SOVEREIGN v. 6 What is this attribute of our God? Isaiah 40 clearly develops His Absolute Sovereignty. What is His name? Almighty Old Testament Shaddai #7706 48X. In the New Testament 10X Almighty [9x in Rev II Cor 6:14]
In the ancient Near East, a wedding feast was inseparable from the wedding itself, which involved a week-long series of meals and festivities and was the highlight of all social life. For a royal wedding such as the one Jesus mentions here, the celebration often lasted for several weeks. Guests were invited to stay at the house of the groom’s parents for the entire occasion, and the father would make as elaborate provisions as he could afford. A royal wedding, of course, would be held in the palace, and a king would be able to afford whatever he desired.
A wedding feast that a king prepared for his son would be a feast of all feasts, and Jesus was therefore picturing the most elaborate celebration imaginable. The fact that it was a wedding celebration was incidental to the purpose of the parable, the only mention of the groom being that of identifying him as the king’s son. No mention at all is made of the bride or of any other aspect of a wedding. The point is that because the feast represents the greatest festivity imaginable, given by the greatest monarch imaginable, for the most-honored guests imaginable, a royal wedding feast was chosen as the illustration of the ultimate celebration.
As we discover the TESTIMONY OF JESUS in (19:1-10), we are with Jesus as He celebrates His union with His wife and bride. Why did Jesus never marry while on earth? He was waiting for His perfect bride in heaven. On your way to the table at that heavenly banquet, what gift are you going to have with you? What is your offering of love to the One who loved you with an everlasting love?
Marriage is a biblical symbol for the relationship between God and His people. In the OT:
• Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.
• Jeremiah 3:14 “Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.
• Hosea 2:19-20 “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; 20 I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the Lord.
But because of continued unfaithfulness God divorced Israel:
Jeremiah 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. (KJV)
In the NT we have the symbolism of Christ and the Church as His Bride:
• Matthew 22:2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,
• Matthew 22:10 “So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
• Matthew 25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
• Mark 2:19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
• John 3:29 “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.
• 2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
• Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
1. As a godly marriage grows in its love, so a relationship with Jesus grows in its love.
2. As the intimate relationship of a husband and wife is the closest and deepest sharing known on earth, so the relationship we have with the Lord is to be the deepest, closest and most intimate.
3. As marriage brings truest joys, as does a genuine relationship with Jesus.
4. Marriage demands loyalty and faithfulness, as we must offer absolute loyalty to our Lord Jesus.
So we come to the culmination of all hearts of all saints of all time. It is the Wedding Banquet, it is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and it is the scene of Revelation 19 when those who loved Him and waited all their life for Him honor Jesus. It is the assembly of those who have and love the Testimony of Jesus.
What can we bring to Him? What gift is worthy of giving to your Beloved at your wedding night? How can you express our love to the One who loved you and me so much He gave His very life for us?
Jesus already told us what He loves and wants so much to see in our lives. Have we been listening? He has told us of at least ten elements of daily life He will reward when ever He sees them in us. Do you know what they are? Are you practicing these reward-getters at every opportunity?
First let me sketch them and then we can all ponder ways to seek for Christ's well done each day in some of these areas. Jesus loves to see Himself in us. How? Here is a start.
1. A CHRISTLIKE DISPOSITION IN ADVERSITY. Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.12 “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (When you are attacked, maligned, defrauded or whatever remember Stephen. Where did he look for an example? Yes, he looked at and followed the example of Jesus !)
2. A CHRISTLIKE SECRECY IN SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES Matthew 6:3-18 “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,4 “that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. 5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.6 “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.17 “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,18 “so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Start acting like Jesus did. He went out to commune before day sometimes. He stayed up all night in prayer other times. The key is an unbelievble longing for God !)
3. A CHRISTLIKE ATTITUDE TOWARD POSSESSIONS. Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;20 “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Take some of your stacked possessions and overnight them to the Bank of Heaven. Jesus says Give and you have forever. Keep and you lose forever!)
4. A CHRISTLIKE LOVING OF THE UNLOVELY. Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. (Do you have a neighbor, coworker, relative who is unpleasant to you? Give them something in the name of Jesus!)
5. A CHRISTLIKE SERVING OF THE UNFORTUNATE. ’Luke 14:13-14 “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.14 “And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Matthew 25:40 “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Pick new social companions. Pick the handicapped, the poor, the informally educated, the non-financially successful, the other ethnic groups. That is the Body of Christ. It is unshockable, accepting, color blind and incredible generous. Make plans right now to use your house, your car, your money unto the least and it is like you invited Jesus over!)
6. A CHRISTLIKE INVESTMENT IN PEOPLE (THEY LAST FOREVER) OVER THINGS (THEY DON’T). 1 Corinthians 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. (Jesus counts souls inveted in. He counts lives touched by the gospel, by prayer, by deeds of kindness. What have you done this week He has counted?)
7. A CHRISTLIKE DEVOTION TO GOD'S WILL. Colossians 3:23-24 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (What are you called to do this week? Go to school? Then act like you are a Rhodes scholar. Go to work for your company? Be as productive as if it were your own. Are you home rearing childrn? Raise them like your were Mary raising Jesus!)
8. A CHRIST LOVING EXPECTANCY. 2 Timothy 4:8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (Does a newly wed need to be told to look forward to seeing his beloved after work? Does a new mom need to be prodded into loving that sweet little bundle of joy? Long for Jesus He loves to be loved!)
9. A CHRISTLIKE ENDURANCE OF TRIALS. 1 Peter 1:7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, (What are you struggling with? If it is health, you can be rewarded for your attitude. If its adversaries, you can be rewarded for your answers. If its all the above and more, you can be rewarded for your activies if they are Christlike!)
10. A CHRISTLIKE FOCUS ON THE WORD. 2 John 5-8 And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. (Jesus rewards those that love Him so much they get His Word into their lives. Are you overflowing with the world or the Word?)
When John said we as believers are clothed in our works, what is this? Isn’t salvation by grace alone? Are these works here being spoken of? Yes and yes! God has paid the full and final price in Christ for our salvation. However, we were saved for a purpose. Look at Ephesians 2:8-10
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (KJV)
This whole concept of being clothed with my good works puzzled me until I read Dr. Lehman Strauss and some others as they wrote on this verse. Here are some key points to consider:
1. These are righteous deeds not to be confused with the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God imputed to us at conversion as in Romans 3:21-22. We can only receive this gracious gift. It is never earned.
2. The Bible also declared that all the good deeds of an unsaved person amount to dirty bandages full of filth. This is Isaiah 64:6.
3. We know that apart from Christ we can do nothing. So, any righteous deeds we wear are the result of a yeildedness to the Holy Spirit. Oh to be channels only in His hands. Note Philippians 2:12-13.
4. However, here in Revelation 19:8 we have the right acts of believers during their earthly lives. When will these acts of righteousness be revealed? At the jugment seat of Christ. There are three main portions that deal with this event.
• It is a REFLECTION OF OUR SANCTIFICATION [in our BODY]: Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand [paristemi presentation as in 6:19; 12:1; etc.] before the judgment seat of Christ. (KJV)
• It is a REVELATION OF OUR SELECTION [of our BUILDING MATERIALS v.12]: First Corinthians 3:11-16 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (KJV)
• It is a RECEPTION SPONSORED BY OUR SAVIOR: Second Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (KJV)
Here are some of those probing questions to make us squirm a bit!
• Has it ever occured to you Christian, that you are making your own outfit to wear at this Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the greatest of all events?
• What are you putting into this special outfit? In the old world a father spent years building the bride’s chest, and spent years selecting items to lovingly fill it.
• Are you being sanctified by continual washing by the Word? If this is refused, Dr. M. R. Dehann used to say “there are two words in Eph 5:26 sanctify and cleanse. These words are quite different. Let God clean you each day or He will be forced to give us a cathartic. We will be purged by fire at the judgment seat.” [cleansed = katharizo ‘catharsis’]
• What good are you doing for God that will be spared by the flames of His refining? All self-glorification will burn up, all self-gratification will go, everything done in the energy of the flesh will turn to soot. What do we have that will survive?
• What will you be wearing? the fruits of a good and godly life? The pure white linen of a self-sacrificed life lived in dedication to Christ is a stark contrast to the purple and scarlet of the Harlot that lived for self alone. Its your choice!
APPENDICES: THE NATURE OF THE REWARDS:
What are they and how are they described in Scripture? They are described in terms of generalities. What we know about rewards is given in terms that are more general than specific. These are:
1. The Promise of Crowns. This seems to be used as a symbol of victory, authority and responsibility.
2. The Promise of Heavenly Treasure (Matt. 6:20; 1Pet. 1:4). Stresses their eternal value and security.
3. The Promise of Accolades or Commendations. This is seen in those passages where a reward is administered in the form of something like "well done thou good and faithful servant . . ." (cf. Matt. 25:21; Lk. 19:17; 1 Cor. 4:5b).
4. The Promises to Overcomers. These could refer to special blessing of rewards to those believers who overcomer special trials and tests rather than a general promise to all believers. See Rev. 2:7; 2:11, 17, 26; etc.
5. The Promise of Special Responsibilities and Authority of the Lord's Possessions (cf. Matt. 19:28; 24:45-47; 25:21, 23; Lk. 19:17-19; 22:29-30; Rev. 2:26).
Revelation 19 has the only four occurences of the Hebrew word Hallelujah. The translation of this word, praise the Lord, is often used in the Bible (Psalm 106, 111-113, 117, 135, 146-150).
God's Salvation prompts our gratitude.
God's glory prompts our reverential worship.
God's power prompts our confident trust.
This trio is the trio of genuine prise that exalts our God !
The 24 elders represent the people of God (4:4, 10; 5:6, 11, 14; 7:11; 11:16; 14:3) and the 4 Cherubim all of God's creation (4:6-9; 5:6-14; 6:1-7; 7:11; 14:3; 15:7) together exalt the Almighty.