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Kendell Easley: Main Idea: The consummation of the ages is compared to a great marriage and the wedding supper of the Lamb. . .

With the words then I heard, John’s vision enters a second phase. Babylon, the great prostitute so obviously the focus of the vision so far, will not appear in Revelation again. Her judgment is complete. Wonderful new sights await John and us. Beginning with this verse and proceeding through Revelation 20:15, John’s attention will be drawn to the events connected with the great victory of Christ at his Second Coming. Three striking but complementary portraits of his return are seen:

  1. first is Jesus as the Lamb-Bridegroom united to his bride (19:6–10);
  2. second is Jesus as conquering King defeating all evil (19:11–21);
  3. third is Jesus as righteous Judge of all human beings (20:11–15).

Craig Koester: Revelation assumes that readers will belong to some community and that living as a detached individual is not an option. The real question is the nature of the community to which people belong. John has depicted the harlot in strongly negative colors so that readers will be repulsed by what she represents. Here he introduces the bride in a positive way in order that readers might identify with her instead. Both the bride and the harlot are relational images. The harlot is characterized by license and the bride by marital commitment. In relation to the harlot city, which stands under God’s judgment, a couple to be married has no reason to celebrate (Rev. 18:23), but those who belong to the bride have great reason to celebrate the marriage feast of the Lamb (19:9). Moreover, the harlot sought to buy fine linen to satisfy her obsession with luxury (18:12), but the fine linen that adorns the bride is a gift that God has “granted” to her, and it consists of the righteous deeds of the saints (19:8). Although the harlot represents a way of life that seems glamorous, John unmasks its underlying corruption and warns of its coming demise. The bride calls people to the way of righteousness instead.

Grant Osborne: Aune (1998b: 1022–23) says this is the only hymn in the book that “conforms fully to the OT genre,” having three parts: a summons to praise Yahweh (“hallelujah”), a thematic sentence stating the reason for the praise (“our Lord reigns”), and the divine actions that motivate one to praise (19:7–8). As the “great multitude” began the first half of the hallelujah choruses (19:1–5), so it begins the second half as well. The Greek (ὡς ϕωνὴν ὄχλου πολλοῦ, hōs phōnēn ochlou pollou, as it were the voice of a great multitude) is virtually identical, but the “loud voice” of 19:1 is here expanded to “the voice of many waters and like the voice of loud thunders.” In 1:15 the voice of “the one like a son of man” was “like the sound of many waters,” and in 14:2–3 the harpists singing the “new song” were as loud as “many waters and loud thunder” (19:6 is a near duplicate of 14:2; see also Isa. 17:12; Ezek. 1:24; 43:2; Dan. 10:6). The “new song” of Rev. 14:2 is closely connected to the hymn here, for it could only be sung by the faithful, victorious believers, and this song celebrates their marriage to the Lamb. Its incredible volume is in keeping with the stupendous message it provides. Wedding songs are known for their exuberance.


A.  (:6) Reigning on Earth after Subduing Evil Calls Forth the Hallelujah Chorus

  1. (:6a)  Chorus of a Great Multitude

And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude

and as the sound of many waters

and as the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,

  1. (:6b)  Celebration of Praise for the Consummation of History

Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.

G.K. Beale: In light of this OT background, the Greek verb may best be translated “begun to reign” (with an ingressive sense), since, in view of Babylon’s defeat (ch. 18), it is the establishment of God’s rule that appears to be in mind. Although in one sense God’s reign is timeless (the Lord … reigns, as the NASB translates), in another sense it is truly fulfilled in the created universe only as a result of His final judgment of Babylon and can thus be said to have “begun.” This is supported by the parallel in 11:17: “We give Thee thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty … because Thou … hast begun to reign.” In fact, the verse is also a development of 11:15: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

B.  (:7) Rejoicing Characterizes the Marriage of the Lamb

G.K. Beale: Vv. 7-8 form the conclusion of the section beginning with 18:1, but at the same time, together with vv. 9-10, form a transitional segment between that and the following section. . .  The opening words of the verse, Let us rejoice and be glad, allude to Ps. 118:22-24, where the rejoicing comes about because God has caused the stone the builders rejected to become the chief cornerstone. It also alludes to Jesus’ words, “Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:12). God has vindicated both His Son and those who follow Him. This section shows us that the existence of Babylon served as a necessary preparation for the bride’s marriage to the Lamb. The oppression and temptation of Babylon were the fire God used to refine the faith of the saints in order that they be prepared to enter the heavenly city (for a similar notion see on 2:10-11; cf. also 6:11; Rom. 8:28ff.; 1 Pet. 4:12, 19; Phil. 1:28-30).

  1. Rejoicing Glorifies God

Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him,

  1. Rejoicing Celebrates the Fulfilment of Great Expectations

for the marriage of the Lamb has come

and His bride has made herself ready.

There are some significant questions raised by this event of the marriage of the Lamb:

  • Who is the Bride?  (The Church?  Israel?  All the Redeemed?)
  • Who are those invited guests and is this a distinct group from the Bride?
  • When does this ceremony take place (Right before Christ returns and inaugurates the millennial kingdom?  In the millennial kingdom?)
  • How long does this ceremony last?  (MacArthur says for the entire duration of the millennial kingdom)
  • Where does this ceremony take place? (In heaven?  On earth in the millennial kingdom?)
  • What relationship, if any, is there between this event and the OT prophecies of a great wedding banquet?

Daniel Akin: Verses 7-8 speak of the preparation of the bride for her wedding day. Through sanctification by the Word and Spirit, she has made herself ready (see Eph 2:10). This is the only time in Revelation where the saints are described as making themselves ready, preparing themselves as the bride of Christ for His coming. How do we prepare ourselves and get ready for that day? I believe the book of Revelation itself provides the answer.

  • The bride prepares herself by remaining faithful to Christ in a fallen and evil world.
  • The bride prepares herself by enduring hardship in the midst of suffering.
  • The bride prepares herself by trusting God in the face of martyrdom.
  • The bride prepares herself by obeying God to take the gospel to all tribes, languages, peoples, and nations.

G.R. Beasley-Murray: The Bride made herself ready through repentance and faith and continuance in righteous deeds which are the fruit of faith (cf. the emphasis on “works” in the seven letters, e.g., 2:2ff., 9, 13, 19, etc.).  Yet it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen.  Holiness is the gift of God.  It is the holy life of the Redeemer in the redeemed.  This duality characterizes the Christian life through all its stages (Phil. 2:12f.) and finds its ultimate manifestation in the salvation and judgment which the kingdom of God bring.

John MacArthur: Betrothed in eternity past, presented in the Father’s house since the Rapture, the church is now ready for the wedding ceremony to begin. That ceremony will coincide with the establishment of the millennial kingdom, and stretch throughout that thousand-year period to be finally consummated in the new heavens and the new earth (cf. 21:1–2). The idea of a thousand-year-long ceremony may seem farfetched; yet it is no more difficult than several thousand years of betrothal. And it must be remembered that “a thousand years in [God’s] sight are like yesterday when it passes by” (Ps. 90:4), and that “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” (2 Pet. 3:8). In the new heavens and the new earth, the bride concept will be expanded to include not only the church, but also all the redeemed of all ages as the New Jerusalem becomes the bridal city (21:1–2). It should be noted that in the Old Testament, God is the Bridegroom of Israel (Isa. 54:5–6; 62:5; Jer. 31:32; Ezek. 16:7–14; Hos. 2:16, 19). . .

The recipients of this blessing are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. That they are invited guests marks them as a distinct group from the church, since a bride would hardly be invited to her own wedding.

These guests represent Old Testament believers. Matthew 8:11 and Luke 13:28 both refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as being in the kingdom, and Luke 13:28 also mentions the prophets. All the heroes of the faith mentioned in Hebrews 11 will be among the invited guests. So will John the Baptist, the greatest of all Old Testament believers (Matt. 11:11), who described himself as the friend of the bridegroom (John 3:29) and hence one of the invited guests. All the Tribulation saints, glorified and still alive on earth and entering the millennial kingdom, will be guests.

Some may question why the church age believers should be granted the honor of being the bride, while believers from other ages are merely guests. But one may equally ask why God singled out Israel to be the covenant people. The only answer to both questions is that God sovereignly purposed that it be so (cf. Deut. 7:7–8). It must be remembered that the wedding imagery is just that; imagery that is not reality, but pictures God’s intimate union with His people. There will be no “second-class citizens” in God’s kingdom, just as all the participants in a wedding enjoy the celebration. And in the new heavens and the new earth, as noted above, the imagery of the bride will be expanded to encompass all the redeemed from all ages (21:1–2).

Israel looked forward to this great wedding banquet: Isa. 25:6-10.

C.  (:8) Righteousness Clothes the Bride

  1. Divine Grace – Righteousness as a Gift of God

And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean;

G.K. Beale: White clothes in Revelation, when worn by the saints, always signify a gift from God given to those with tested and purified faith (3:5-6, 18; 6:11; 7:13-14; in 3:18, the idea of buying the clothes from Christ is used to encourage believers to identify with Christ’s clothes in 1:13-14, which means to identify with Him and not with the compromising world). Therefore, the white clothes are not merely the saints’ righteous acts but the reward for or result of such acts. This emphasizes God’s justifying or vindicating action. The final clause of v. 8 could thus be paraphrased: “the fine linen is the reward for or result of the saints’ righteous deeds.” The white robes would then represent two inextricably related consummative end-time realities:

(1)  human faithfulness and good works as a necessary evidence of a right standing with God and

(2)  vindication or acquittal accomplished by God’s final judgments against the enemy on behalf of His people. . .

Consequently, the saints are clothed with pure linen as a symbol of God’s righteous final, end-time vindication of them because, in spite of persecution, they persevered in righteousness on earth. The full-orbed meaning of the pure garments is that God’s righteous vindication involves judging the enemy at the very end of time, which shows that the saints’ faith and works have been in the right all along. This dual sense of fine linen here suits admirably the rhetorical purpose of the entire book, which includes exhortations to believers to stop soiling their garments (3:4-5) and not to be found naked (3:18; 16:15). This underscores the aspect of human accountability highlighted by v. 7b: “His bride has made herself ready.” Yet the readers can be encouraged to obey the exhortation with the knowledge that God has provided grace for them to clothe themselves now by the power of the Spirit.

  1. Human Responsibility – Righteous Acts of Faith

for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Gordon Fee: Thus even at the end, while still keeping his imagery intact, John recognizes that for God’s redeemed people everything is gift, nothing is earned. So on the one hand, the wedding garment “was given her to wear”; on the other hand, such people are not merely passive recipients, so John adds that the fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s people. That is, they receive the wedding garment as gift, while at the same time they are clothed so that their active righteousness is visible to all.


A.  (:9) Exclusive Blessing to Participants

  1. Blessing Based on Divine Election

And he said to me, ‘Write,

Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’

Charles Swindoll: The analogy of the church’s marriage to Christ reflects these ancient Jewish wedding customs. In God the Father’s foresight, He chose the church “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). When sinners are saved, they are betrothed to Christ —a binding relationship that is still awaiting its complete realization. At the presentation, the church will be raptured to meet the Lord in the air (Matt. 25:1-13; 1 Thes. 4:17). Then, at the wedding feast of the Lamb, the final consummation will begin as Christ and the church take their places to reign over the earth (Rev. 20:4-6).

  1. Blessing Based on the Truth of God’s Word

And he said to me, ‘These are true words of God.’

B.  (:10) Exclusive Worship Directed to God Alone

  1. Inappropriate Worship

And I fell at his feet to worship him.

  1. Instruction on Proper Worship in Accordance with the Testimony of Jesus

And he said to me, ‘Do not do that;

I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’

Craig Keener: The angel’s explicit prohibition of worshiping him may be guarding against certain syncretistic practices among Jews of Asia Minor, in which some worshiped angels.  The emphatic demand that God alone is to be worshiped challenges all forms of idolatry, including those offered the emperor in the name of loyalty to the state.

Kendell Easley: Now if “the testimony of Jesus” in verse 10 means the same as it did in verse 9, then verse 10 does not mean that human witnessing about Jesus is the true essence of prophecy. Rather, it means that only when Jesus’ human servants proclaim the same message that Jesus taught and attested do they truly prophesy. The best way to evaluate whether prophets claiming to have a word from God are genuine is to evaluate whether their message is just like the one that Jesus gave. The negative of this statement is equally true: those who do not proclaim the same testimony that Jesus held do not have the true spirit of prophecy.

G.R. Beasley-Murray: The testimony borne by Jesus is the concern or burden of the Spirit who inspires prophecy.  Such is the chief thrust of the teaching on the Paraclete in John 14-16 (see especially Jn 16:12ff.).

John Walvoord: The revelation of Christ is in contrast to the Christ of the Gospels, where He is revealed in rejection, humiliation, suffering, and death. His return is to be one of triumph, glory, sovereignty, and majesty. This is anticipated in the judgment upon Babylon in chapters 17 and 18, and in the dramatic introduction of the second coming in 19:1–10. In many respects, Christ’s second coming is not only the high point of Revelation, but the high point of all history. Here is the manifestation of the Son of God in glory, the demonstration of the sovereignty of God, and the beginning of the end of human rebellion. How poverty-stricken is any theology that minimizes the second coming of Christ, and how limited the hope that does not include this glorious climax to God’s program of exalting His Son and putting all creation under His control (cf. Ps. 2).