Friday, September 23, 2016

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

Rev 19:6  Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Rev 19:7  Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; Rev 19:8  it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure"— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. Rev 19:9  And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are the true words of God."

Throughout the Bible God’s people are compared to a bride and the Lord Jesus Christ as our husband.  In the above text we see that the fulfillment of our relationship to the Lord is yet future when we are brought to him without any remaining sin so that we might commune with him and enjoy him perfectly. 

On the one hand we are taught that only those clothed in the garments he supplies will be admitted, Mat 22:11  "But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment.  Mat 22:12  And he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless.  We know that this is the imputed righteousness of Christ given to us so that we are acceptable to a holy God.

On the other hand we are told to be preparing ourselves for our wedding day; to clean up and put on clothes befitting the wife of the Lord.  We see this in vs. 8 above.  As we said the marriage relationship is used from the very beginning to describe the church’s relationship with Jesus and so it is fitting that Revelation shows its fulfillment.

In 19:2 the picture is that of a husband who has defeated those who are trying to defile and destroy his wife, Rev 19:2  for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants."    All that has tried to cause us to be unfaithful to the Lord will finally be gone forever.  The entire plan of redemption has finally come to pass and God has shown himself to be sovereign and gracious and worthy of all praise.  We also see another contrast in that while the marriages and relationships of this world have ended, for the saint the greatest relationship is just beginning.

All this is in keeping with the way the Jews normally arranged a marriage.  The first step was to be betrothed or engaged in which the terms of the marriage were made and announced.  From this point on they were considered man and wife though the relationship was not yet consummated; they live apart.  During this time the husband would pay the dowry to the bride’s father which was sometimes services rendered.  I liken that to the church being promised to the Son from eternity; in this case it was definitely an arranged marriage, so at some point the dowry was to be “paid”.  “From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride, with his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died.”  Someone has said that the entire OT announces the betrothal and when Jesus came the first time the betrothal took place and we are in the waiting interval.

Next, according to custom, on the day of the marriage supper (ceremony) the groom would come to the bride’s house with friends and take her home and they would have a wedding feast which could last for days.  Is that not what we are waiting for and what the text refers to?  Is not the church, the bride of Christ, waiting for him to come and take us back to his house that we might dwell together as we were purposed to live so long ago? 

But verse 8 should not be overlooked, “it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure"— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”   During this time we are to be adorning ourselves with that which would be pleasing to our husband just like a normal bride would, Rev 7:14  I said to him, "Sir, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Whatever good works we clothe ourselves in it is because they are washed in the blood of the Lamb.  Whatever righteous things we do it is due to the grace of God but fix ourselves up we must.  What would we say of a bride who didn’t try to look attractive to her husband?  In this picture the bride is in her wedding dress waiting for her groom to come get her.  Wouldn’t she make sure to keep her dress white and if it gets dirty to keep it washed? 

We must be careful of using grace to defile ourselves.  Tit 2:11  For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, Tit 2:12  training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, Tit 2:13  waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Tit 2:14  who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Paul tells us in that the grace shown to us in salvation is to make us a perfect bride for the Lord.  Yet sometimes some who call themselves Christians think that they can live for this world and be unfaithful to the One who has already paid our dowry!  In the text in Titus Paul even seems to make an allusion to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in 13-14.  He bought us to be a faithful wife to him, not to give ourselves to the illicit lover of this world. 

It is no accident that immediately preceding Rev. 19 we read of the destruction of this world which is likened to a prostitute.  This motif is laid out throughout the Word so that we are without any excuse to live for this world.  We are betrothed to Christ and our wedding day is fast approaching.  Let us be busy preparing ourselves for that day by removing from our lives anything that dishonors him, 1Jn 3:3  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.