Revelation 19:1-10: The Marriage of the Lamb

Revelation 19:1‑10  •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Looking abroad on Christendom today, we see, on the one hand, that the great Christian profession is becoming increasingly corrupt, and will end at last in being supported by the political leaders who derive their power from the bottomless pit; in the language of the symbols, the woman will sit upon the beast. On the other hand, we see the true people of God becoming increasingly weak outwardly and insignificant in the eyes of the world.
In the face of the corruption of the profession, and the weakness among the true people of God, there is the ever present danger that we, who desire to be true to the light that has been given to us, may grow weary and faint in our minds; that our hands may hang down, our knees grow feeble, and that we may wander from the straight and narrow way into a wider and easier path.
In order that we may press on, in spite of every difficulty, and run with patience the race set before us, we continually find in Scripture that the Spirit of God directs our thoughts to the end of the journey. Thus, in this passage, having seen, in the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters, the final judgments of all the corruptions of Christendom, we are now carried in spirit to heaven to have unfolded before us the glory of Christ and the final blessing of His people. How good, then,
To look beyond the long dark night,
And hail the coming day,
When Thou to all Thy saints in light,
Thy glories wilt display.
John can say, “After these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven.” We are permitted not only to see the final judgment of the false church on earth, but there is also revealed to us the final blessedness of the true church in heaven.
Already, in chapter 18:20, we have heard that heaven, together with saints, apostles, and prophets, are called to rejoice over the judgment of the false woman. Now we are permitted to hear heaven's response for “much people in heaven” are heard saying “Hallelujah.” They speak, too, with one voice—“a great voice.” All the mind of heaven is one. As we sometimes sing, “No jarring note shall there discordant sound.” Babylon had professed that salvation was alone found in her false system: she had arrogated to herself glory and power, as we read, “She hath glorified herself,” and said in her heart, “I sit a queen.” Heaven, with one voice, ascribes “salvation,” “glory,” and “power” to God.
Moreover, heaven sees that the judgment of this false system is the vindication of the holy character of God. With one voice, heaven says, “True and righteous are His judgments.” Looking back we see the arrogance, the self-glorification, and display of power of this corrupt system that has been allowed to continue for centuries. We recall, too, the persecutions by which the blood of millions of God's people has been shed at the hands of the false woman, with no apparent intervention on the part of God. Seeing these things we might be tempted to think that God has been indifferent to the evil of the world and the sorrows of His saints. At last the day will come when it will be seen that the longsuffering of God does not mean that He is slack concerning His promise, or that He has not seen the sufferings, and heard the cries, of His people. In righteousness He will judge all the corruptions and avenge the blood of His servants. This intervention of God calls forth a second “Hallelujah” from the hosts of heaven.
Moreover, the saints fall down and worship God, and for the third time we hear heaven raise its “Hallelujah.” The first Hallelujah is called forth by the attributes of God; the second Hallelujah for His holy judgments on evil; the third Hallelujah is worship for all that God is in Himself.
The corruptions of earth having been dealt with and the blood of God's saints avenged, we are permitted to look by faith beyond all the judgments and see the glory of Christ and the blessing of His people. We see that the way is opened for the reign of Christ to be established, and the great day of the marriage of the Lamb is come. In view of these great events, a voice from heaven calls upon all God's servants, both small and great, to praise our God. With great delight heaven responds to the call, for at once John hears the praise of a great multitude like the impetuous rush of waters, and the sublime roll of thunder, saying “Hallelujah.” This fourth Hallelujah is the expression of heaven's joy in that the glory of Christ is secured, and the desires of His heart fulfilled. His sufferings will have a glorious answer for the reigning time has come, and His love that led Him to die for the church will be satisfied, for “the marriage of the Lamb is come.” We are thus permitted to see the fulfillment of all the counsels of God for Christ and His church. It is blessed to see that from the beginning of man's history, and through all time, God has ever kept before us the truths so dear to His heart concerning the Lamb and the bride. Abel's firstling of the flock begins the story of the Lamb. Abraham takes up the story when he tells us that “God will provide Himself a Lamb”; Moses continues the story when, on the Passover night, he tells Israel to take a lamb “without blemish”; Isaiah foretells that Christ will be “brought as a Lamb to the slaughter.” John the Baptist, looking upon Christ upon earth, can say, “Behold the Lamb of God;” Peter reminds us that we are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot;” and the apostle John brings before us the Lamb in the midst of the throne, as it had been slain, and carries us on to the glorious answer to all His sufferings, when the great day of the marriage of the Lamb is come.
Moreover, God has ever had before Him the church as the bride of Christ, to be at last presented to Him for the satisfaction of His heart. Before ever the fall came in may we not see in Eve, who was presented to Adam as one that was “his like,” the great secret, now disclosed, that Christ was to have a great company of saints made like Himself and presented to Himself? Rebekah, the one in whom Isaac found comfort and love, keeps up the story of the bride. Again, we know how Asenath, Ruth, Abigail, and the bride of the Song of Songs, all present different pictures of the church as the bride of the Lamb. Throughout the ages and changing dispensations, the rise and fall of Israel, and through the Christian period with all the failure that has marked it—behind all—God has been carrying out His great purpose, and everything has been moving on to the great day of the marriage of the Lamb.
That the bride “hath made herself ready” will surely indicate that the judgment seat is past. All the failure in her wilderness journey through this world has been dealt with, and nothing remains but that which has the approval of Christ. The bride will be displayed in fine linen, which, we are at once told, “is the righteousnesses of the saints” (JND). All that the saints have done for Christ, and in His Name, during the time of their sojourn on earth—all the sufferings, reproaches, and insults, they have endured, every cup of cold water given for His sake —will be remembered in this great day, and be found “unto praise and honor and glory.” The smallest act that has Christ for its motive is a stitch in the garment that will adorn the church when at last it is presented to Christ without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. How good to realize that not one member of Christ's church will be absent in this great day. Both small and great will be there. Every one of the untold millions of the martyrs who suffered every form of violence and outrage in the days of pagan Rome will be there; all those who passed through yet greater horrors at the hands of Papal Rome will have a glorious answer to all their sufferings. The vast host of saints who through the ages have lived their lives in obscurity under the eye of God as the quiet in the land, and of whom we have no record in history, will at last be displayed in glory as forming part of the bride of Christ, “holy and without blemish.”
O day of wondrous promise!
The Bridegroom and the bride
Are seen in glory ever;
And love is satisfied.
Further we learn, not only will the church enter into the special place of blessing for which she has been chosen, but there will also be those who are blessed as being “called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” A marriage supper cannot be confined to the Bridegroom and the bride; of necessity it includes the guests. At this great marriage feast, the guests surely represent the great host of the Old Testament saints who, though they form no part of the church called out from Jew and Gentile, during the Christian period between Pentecost and the Rapture, yet they will share in the resurrection of the saints as forming part of that great company that are spoken of as “They that are Christ's at His coming” (1 Cor. 15:2323But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. (1 Corinthians 15:23)), and will have their special place of blessing in the day of glory. All the long line of saints before the Cross will be there; Abel and the great army of martyrs will be there; Enoch, who walked with God, and the “ten thousands” of God's saints of whom he prophesied, will be there; Abraham and the “strangers and pilgrims” who turned their backs on this world to seek a heavenly country will be there; Moses, and all those who chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, will be there. In a word, all the great host of saints from the Garden of Eden to the cross of Christ, who have trodden the path of faith, “both small and great,” of whom the world was not worthy, will be there, and have their part and blessing in the marriage supper of the Lamb.
These wonderful unfoldings of coming glory are closed with the assurance that “These are the true sayings of God.” We can, then, be fully persuaded of their truth and heartily embrace them in the faith that rests on “the true sayings of God.”
Overcome by the glory of the angel that announces these great events, John falls at his feet to do him homage. At once he is admonished not to worship one that is a fellow-servant, but to worship God. The angel was but a servant to announce the true sayings of God, and thus lead us to worship God—the end of all true service. Moreover, we are reminded that “the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus” (JND). Prophecy does, indeed, unfold to us the coming judgment of the nations, and the future blessing of God's people, but all is in view of the glory and honor of Jesus. The great end of “the true sayings of God” is Jesus. Well it is, then, in reading prophecy to have before us not simply future events but JESUS Himself.
Jesus, Thou alone art worthy
Ceaseless praises to receive;
For Thy love, and grace, and goodness
Rise o'er all our thoughts conceive.