Notes on Revelation 19:1-9

Revelation 19:1-9; Isaiah 14:12-17
CHAPTER 19:1-9
Glory belongs to God and to the Lamb. If the church is looking for its advantages on the earth, it falls into Babylon. Jesus wills that she should have the glory that belongs to Him, and that she should with Him wait until He enters into His glory to enjoy it with Him. If she is looking for an earthly glory, she becomes unfaithful to her heavenly Bridegroom; and this is the greatest unfaithfulness. We ought not to have any of the things which the price of this world gives, but receive the heavenly things from the hand of God, and expect them from Himself. The church ought to be on the earth the manifestation of that thorough detachment from the earth.
She ought to be entirely independent of everything else, and in absolute dependence on God. This is the trial and proof of faith—to refuse the possession of things before God gives them. It was the sin of Saul to have sacrificed before Samuel had come. It is infinitely better to wait for the enjoyment of everything with Christ. "All things are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's" (1 Cor. 3:22-2322Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's. (1 Corinthians 3:22‑23)). And if this link is broken, the relationship between God and the creature is broken also. The church must wait for the epoch of her glory, until the judgment of God be executed. Satan always tries to deceive the church in this respect. He even endeavors to unite Christians in a spirit of human association to arrive at a spiritual millennium which is not promised, and which would exalt man and the means he has in his hand. Nothing will make the bride happy but the presence of the Bridegroom. On the other hand, God will not exercise His power in the government of the world without Christ. Those who endeavor to produce a spiritual millennium want to use the resources of men. And as they must have money, they rest on what man can give. It is a Babel, notwithstanding the excellence of the intentions; and Christians who expect the blessing before the judgment always rest on the energy of man.
Rev. 19:3-43And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. 4And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. (Revelation 19:3‑4). The church praises the Lord because of the judgment of Babylon. The Lamb is not yet manifested. God judges corruption. The Lamb judges the beast, because it rises up against the King of kings.
Rev. 19:5-65And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (Revelation 19:5‑6). God begins to take possession of His kingdom. When God acts as king, He executes judgment. If He were now acting as a king, every soul here would be cut off; but now He is acting in patience and in grace during the priesthood of Jesus.
Rev. 19:77Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7) is the expression of our joy. It is impossible that Christ can take possession of His kingdom before the church has made herself ready, and is manifested in the glory, and, that having been through resurrection, introduced into the glory for the marriage of the Lamb. Jesus will have us united to Him in the glory. When Christ shall manifest His glory, He wills that the world which has despised us should know that we are loved even as Christ Himself was loved. The marriage of the Lamb will be to us the manifestation of that love. Babylon being judged, the Lord celebrates the marriage-supper of the Lamb. We see the contrast between Babylon, the glory of the world, and the church of God, which has suffered with Christ, which has been persecuted in the world, but which is now glorified with Jesus. We see here the entirely heavenly character of the church.
The sufferings of the church are absolutely necessary to her. As soon as she ceases to suffer, she begins to lose her true character, and her testimony in the world ceases. Awakenings have always been accompanied with difficulties and persecutions, because Satan is not yet bound. A man who cannot use arms to defend himself must suffer. It is also very trying to live with persons around us without having one thought in common with them; and the more the natural affections are alive the more the heart will suffer. The Holy Spirit quickens sensibility; but He gives strength to bear the suffering. At the same time, sensibility being more tender, it is wounded on every side without meeting with any sympathy. God tries Christians thus in order to manifest Christ in them. He cannot alter this until He has executed the judgment. As long as the heart yields itself to the testimony God sends, it is yet the time during which God will leave His children in suffering. The power of the Holy Spirit is not of the world: it enters into the world; but it cannot accustom itself to the world, neither find there its contentment. If we consider the mission of the Holy Spirit, the position of the Bridegroom in heaven, all concurs to decide us to suffer with Christ and for His name.
Is it anything extraordinary that the Holy Spirit should attach us to heaven, and detach us from the earth? Jesus had the taste of heaven in everything He did, and the world cannot bear this. Whatever binds the church to the world loosens her from Christ. Jesus cannot recognize anything in the world, for there is nothing in the world that has not, according to its power, contributed to reject Him. It is impossible for a wife to attach herself to two husbands. It is not only forbidden, but it is quite impossible. As a bride, the church belongs to Christ; and we are dead to everything except to Christ risen. Christ for the church can only be a heavenly Bridegroom. As a temporal and Jewish Saviour of Israel, Jesus forbids His disciples to go into the way of the Gentiles; He was a Jew and He could only acknowledge those that were Jews: "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 15:2424But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 15:24)). The church, in order to have a Christ, must have a risen Christ. The world having rejected Christ, Christ owns no fellowship with the world. The cross has put an everlasting barrier between the world, as such, and Jesus. "The world seeth me no more" (John 14:1919Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. (John 14:19)), except as a Judge. Jesus saves a soul in separating it from the world, and communicates to that soul a life capable of enjoying the world to come where Jesus is glorified and loved.
The testimony rendered to Jesus can only operate in taking a soul morally out of the world, and in causing it to enter into the church. Could one have a risen Bridegroom in heaven, and an earthly bride in the earth? This is not possible. Having the life of Christ in a body that is still of the world, the Christian suffers, and sees himself fettered by this body of death. It is Christ alone, Christ risen, Christ glorified, who is the Bridegroom of the church; and a church of the world, a religion of the world, is impossible. To secure the church Christ must die; and the church cannot possess a living Christ, unless He be a risen Christ. We suffer here, because we have a risen soul in a body that is not risen, and this is in a world at enmity with God. To wish to prepare a church here on earth for the coming of Christ is to understand neither Christ nor the church. It is when the Lord God Almighty has taken to Him great power to reign, when the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His bride hath made herself ready, that the church knows joy. To say that Jehovah reigns now, is, in one sense, a sort of blasphemy. God does not exercise His power in direct government. Do you think that He permits sin to prosper, infidelity to lift up a high head, and that He allows that war should exercise its depredations under His own government? Does not all this prove that Satan is the prince of this world? The Lord only enters upon the exercise of His kingly power down here when the downfall of Babylon takes place.
To apply the Psalms to the present time, when they say, "The Lord reigneth," is to produce confusion. These Psalms express righteous judgment, and the desire to wash one's feet in the blood of the enemies. What connection is there in this with the spirit of the Christian? This relates to a dispensation of judgment and of righteousness, and not of grace. Grace is acting now to draw the heart, and to make it cleave to heavenly things. In the reign of Christ God will reign in righteousness; and the Spirit of Christ in the Psalms calls for justice in the time of His reign. The principles of the relations of God with men are quite different. The reign of Christ will be for the earth a time of joy; but that joy will proceed from the presence of righteousness acting upon the earth; Psa. 96; 97; 98; 99 When Jehovah takes to Him His power and reigns, He will execute justice and judgment in the earth. Do you believe that if He were actually exercising judgment, things would go on in the earth as they do now? The Lord is acting in grace now, and when He executes justice, the wicked will be cut off, and the righteous will then be able to live in peace, for he will be sustained and filled with joy. When Christians have chosen to sing the Psalms as belonging to the church, the relationship of Jehovah with Israel and those of the Father with the church have been confounded, and the church is thrown into darkness and worldliness. When all this is confounded, Jehovah is not found just, and the Father does not sanctify His people. In the Revelation we do not find the relationship of the Father with the church. So long as the church is on earth, God has not assumed the power of His kingdom.
In Revelation 19:77Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7) the primary object of the love of God is to unite the church to Christ. This must take place in order that Christ may appear in glory and judge the beast. The church is not yet the wife—she is only betrothed to Christ. The Holy Spirit can never produce the glory of the church, nor celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb, because He cannot be the Bridegroom of the church. And to wish for the joy of the millennium through the Holy Spirit only, is to wish for the joy of the bride without the Bridegroom, which is a folly. There must be the personal manifestation of Jesus. The church must be risen to be with her risen Spouse.
What is actually the effect of testimony in the world? It is to raise persecution according to the power of the Holy Spirit which is put forth. If one would have it otherwise, the Lord must reign and execute justice. To wish for a millennium by the Holy Spirit is also to wish for the most violent persecution. The more the Holy Spirit acts, the hotter the persecution is.
In paradise, when God builded the woman, He presented her to Adam: this is what will happen concerning the church; Eph. 5:2727That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27). The love of Jesus for the church is something much more intimate, much higher, than the love of God for the world. He has given His life for her; He washes her by His word; He will present her to Himself glorious with the same glory that He is Himself in as risen and glorified. This will be the marriage-supper of the Lamb. The church is the bride united to Jesus in glory. She is justified, purified, and glorified. A bride in a vile body is not fit for a Bridegroom in a glorious body.
The Almighty taking to Him His power and reigning is still a thing to come. God only reigns now through His hidden providence. In His kingdom all shall be set in order; but He cannot make the earth and the creation happy, before that which is most precious to Christ be there for the enjoyment of it with Him. The first thing necessary to the full accomplishment of the counsels of the Father and of the love of Jesus is the resurrection of the church, and the marriage of the Lamb. Our portion is to be with Christ, and to have the enjoyment with Him of all that He inherits, and of all that He enjoys. The principle of faithfulness in the church is not to recognize nor to take anything before her heavenly Bridegroom comes. She is to live as a virgin, waiting for the return of Him to whom she is betrothed, and to keep herself in His absence from all that is unworthy of Him.