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16 The Marriage of the Lamb (Rev 19:1-10)
Looking abroad on Christendom to-day, 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.Rev 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.
(Vv. 2-4) 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. 1Co 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."Rev 19:11-21; Rev 20:1-3)
We have already learned from Rev 11:15-18; that with the sounding of the last judgment trumpet, the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. The record of this great event is followed by an important parenthetical portion of the Revelation that brings before us the leading persons and events during the time that immediately precedes the reign of Christ. After this parenthesis the prophetic history of coming events is continued in Rev 19:11.
(V. 11) We are now told of the public appearing of Christ and His saints to establish His reign over the earth. John says, "I saw heaven opened." Whenever the heavens are opened it is in connection with Christ. When on earth "the heavens were opened unto Him" in order that at last heaven could look down and see on earth One in whom the Father found all His delight (Mat 3:16; Mat 3:17). After the ascension, Stephen can say, "I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God." The heavens are opened now in order that believers on earth can look up and see a Man in the glory (Act 7:55; Act 7:56). In Rev 4:1 we see "a door opened in heaven" that John might pass in spirit into that scene of glory to find Christ, as the Lamb, the theme of universal praise, being the One who, as Creator and Redeemer, is worthy to receive "glory and honour and power" (Rev 4:11, Rev 5:9-14). In this nineteenth chapter the heavens are opened that Christ may come forth to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. Hereafter we shall still see the "heavens open," that angels may wait upon Christ - the Son of Man - in millennial days, when under the reign of Christ, heaven will be in touch with earth (Joh 1:51).
In the vision, John sees "a white horse," the symbol of victorious power. His first coming was in circumstances of weakness and lowly grace, as a little babe. The next coming will be in power and glory. We know that the Rider on the white horse can only represent Christ, for who but Christ can be described as "Faithful and True." At His first coming He was marked by "grace and truth" that brought salvation to men. At the second advent He will come forth as Faithful and True to execute judgment; thus, at once, we read "in righteousness He doth judge and make war."Mat 11:27).
(V. 13) His "vesture dipped in blood," would surely speak, not of His blood shed for sinners, but rather of the blood of rebels - the sign of their death under judgment. From the Gospel of John we know that, as the Word, Christ reveals the Father in grace and truth. Here we learn that He declares God in righteousness and wrath against the nations.2Th 1:7). Also we know that believers will come with Christ, for we read, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col 3:4). Here the armies which follow Christ, would seem to refer to the glorified saints rather than angelic hosts. From Rev 17:14 we have learned that those who are with the Lord of lords and King of kings are "called, and chosen, and faithful," statements that could hardly be applied to angels. Further we read of these followers that they are "clothed in fine linen, white and clean," and thus morally fitted to accompany the King and Lord in His victorious power.
(V. 15) Saints may accompany the Lord but it is He, Himself, who will execute judgment. It is His mouth that will speak the word that, like a sharp sword will destroy the wicked. It is His hand that will wield the rod of iron that, in fulfilment of the second Psalm, will break in pieces the apostate and rebellious nations. It is His feet that, with unsparing judgment, will tread "the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." Psa 2:8).
(Vv. 17, 18) The verses that close the chapter foretell the judgments that will immediately follow the appearing of Christ. In the ninth verse we have heard of the blessedness of the saints in heaven who will be called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Here we read of a very different supper - "the supper of the great God," that will take place on earth, to which those who prey on the remains of the dead are called to feast on kings, captains, mighty men, horses and their riders, free and bond, small and great, who will be overwhelmed in judgment at the appearing of Christ.
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Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Revelation 19". "Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent