For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
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;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” (Revelation 19:6-8).
In Matthew 22:1-14 Jesus teaches the parable of the wedding feast. He begins that parable by saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son,” (v. 2). Those invited generally ignored the kings gracious invitation and some of them ill-treated the kings servants who had delivered the invitation and even killed them. The king had the people who had rejected his invitation killed and then sent his servants out to call as many as they could find, both bad and good, to the wedding feast. At the last, the banquet hall was filled!
In the parable, God is king and Jesus is the Son. Those first invited who ignored their invitation and killed the messengers were the people of the Jewish nation. Can you imagine people who care so little about the Great King that they would deliberately snub an invitation from Him? He has honored them greatly by asking them, but they show nothing but contempt for Him. One does not treat a king in that way.
But there are multitudes of people today who are treating God in that very way. They “presume” upon His qualities of mercy, forbearance and patience – that is, they act as though God will always be there for them no matter what attitude they hold toward Him. They do nothing about His gracious invitation.
“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
As with the king in the parable, God’s longsuffering will end. Those who refused His invitation and killed his servants were, by their contempt for Him, signing their own death warrant. People who refuse His invitation today and act as though they do not care that there is a Great King of all the universe who is reaching out His hand to them are, in a manner of speaking, committing spiritual suicide! His invitation is not a matter of indifference – it is a matter of life and death!
The scene portrayed in Revelation 19:6-8 is one of rejoicing and worship. It takes place before the throne of God in heaven after the conflict and chaos described in the preceding scenes has ended. Jesus has led the armies of His saints to victory. It is time now for celebration and feasting because God reigns and is bringing to completion His grand design for His creation!
All through His ministry Jesus had preached that the kingdom of God was at hand. And, yes, the kingdom of God did come in the first century. The sermon Peter preached on the day of Pentecost was a declaration that King Jesus had taken the throne of that kingdom and was reigning at the right hand of the Almighty. But the full realization of the kingdom must wait until the end of time. In 1 Corinthians 15:24-26 when writing about the resurrection which takes place at the last day, Paul said that after the resurrection…
“Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
The mighty shout that goes up in the scene described here is that that promise has finally been achieved – “the Lord our God the Almighty reigns!” The powers that had usurped His rightful place have been defeated and deposed. The end of the last of these is described in the last part of this chapter where the “beast” (undoubtedly Satan) and the false prophet (representative of false religion) are captured and thrown alive into the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. (Revelation 19:20-21).
It all culminates in the marriage of the Lamb and His gloriously adorned bride, the church, the people washed and cleansed by His precious blood. Their clothing of fine linen is their righteous deeds – pure, holy, godly lives of service and praise lived consistently with their cleansing. Paul wrote about the church as the bride of Christ in Ephesians 5:25-27.
“Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”
This beautiful bride – these lovely people – these for whom Christ died so that He could take them to Himself to love them, protect them, provide for them – are what this wedding is about. They are coming to live with Him in joyous, eternal union, resplendent in their white robes! The purpose of God from the beginning is finally and fully being realized and there will be such a celebration as never before in all of creation! I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
Are you prepared for the wedding of the ages – the wedding that will far surpass that which any earthly prince, any movie star or any celebrity has ever staged? Are you ready for a life with Him who is the bridegroom, the One who loves His bride supremely? You can share in all the glory and blessings, all the joy of the most joyous celebration ever known by simply becoming one of His own, allowing Him save you from sin, dress you in royal garments and make you fit to live with Him eternally!