The Marriage Supper: a Time of Praise, Revelation Chapter 19 Verses 1-10 (NASB)

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    After these things
What things? The judgment and total annihilation of the whore called Babylon (chapters 17-18). As we have found from our studies of the last two chapters, Babylon is the collapse of the global economy. But it is more than that. It is also the spiritual (evil) motivators that are destroyed. These motivators are greed, envy, anger, idolatry, and so on.

Most scholars tend to write about the harlot as only pertaining to the unbelieving world and/or those who did take the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:11-18). I would suggest that the judgments in chapters 17 and 18 are aimed squarely at organized churches and religions. It is clear that the Revelation of Jesus Christ
       1)  is written to seven churches (Revelation 1:11), and
       2)  "my people" (Revelation 18:4-5) are not to be playing footsie (and a whole lot of other things) with the harlot.
    I heard, as it were, a LOUD VOICE of a GREAT MULTITUDE in HEAVEN, saying
Scholars are divided as to whom the GREAT MULTITUDE are. Some say this is the heavenly host of angels¹; others say this is the same GREAT MULTITUDE of tribulation saints in Revelation 7:9. For all we know it may be a merged choir of all heaven's occupants; angels, redeemed/raptured saints, the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures (verse 4).

It does contain one of the mysteries of heaven, however, in that, we really don't know the language of heaven. It is unified and can be spoken by all listed previously and by fetuses and young children who were not able to or had learned to speak. Spirit-filled believers can testify to talking with God the Father in another tongue or prayer language. But one can only wonder at how the spiritual nature of an unborn fetus, for example, can participate in this LOUD VOICE?
    "HALLELUJAH! SALVATION and GLORY and POWER belong to our God;
This is the first time that HALLELUJAH is used in the New Testament. Literally translated it means "Praise Him Who Is". In the Old Testament, this same HALLELUJAH is translated "Praise the Lord" as in Psalm 104:31-35-35.

We see GLORY and POWER in Revelation 4:11 given to Jesus Christ because He is Worthy. Here SALVATION is added to confirm the completion of His Worthiness. Furthermore, this is the response to the command given in Revelation 18:20.

SALVATION: We can find SALVATION in no other than Jesus Christ (Acts 4:5-12). But the full meaning of SALVATION here is to include the redemption of the earth from the sin curse as we discussed in the chapter 5 verse studies.

GLORY: This is the essence of God. As Moses experienced it (Exodus 33:17-23), the GLORY of God contains GOODNESS, NAME OF THE LORD, GRACIOUSNESS, and COMPASSION.  When one comes to understand and worship God's GLORY, one will not have any other gods (Exodus 20:21-26).

POWER: So POWERful is the GLORY of God, that one becomes afraid of its brilliance (Exodus 34:29-35). This is not being afraid like being scared, but rather like having a holy respect for God. We are to "FEAR GOD" was the conclusion "The Preacher" came to (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

In this verse, we have the three spiritual aspects the GREAT MULTITUDE have in common. Yet how little is heard about these aspects from our present day leaders. If our leaders are to "shepherd" us into eternity, then I think we should be prepared in these three aspects so that we won't feel out of place in heaven. Or to make this even more personal, when was the last time you shared with someone about SALVATION or GLORY or POWER as you have experienced it in your life?
    because HIS JUDGMENTS are TRUE and RIGHTEOUS;
This is the third time we hear that HIS JUDGMENTS are TRUE and RIGHTEOUS (Revelation 15:3 and Revelation 16:7 are the other two times). When something is repeated for three times in Revelation, the statement is to be considered of high importance. TRUE and RIGHTEOUS are requirements to be able to JUDGE. Thus, these JUDGMENTS can only be GOD's JUDGMENTS. We, even as redeemed believers, do not qualify yet (Luke 22:19-30).

For a contrast to what is TRUE, Jesus gives us an example about the devil in John 8:31-44-47. Along with the lying comes deception (2 John 4-7-11). Believers are warned to not be taken in by the deception to the point of not acknowledging that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. There are so-called Christians today who are trying to downplay this TRUTH. They are in line for HIS JUDGMENTS.
    for 1)He has JUDGED the GREAT HARLOT who was corrupting the earth with her IMMORALITY,
God certainly doesn't consider the HARLOT to be GREAT; only GOD is GREAT. Thus this verse is for human consumption. Humans have a tendency to idolize people they "look up to" or those who have wealth or political power or religious stature. Many so-called Christians succumb to this temptation. They have become corrupted with her IMMORALITY. They have rationalized their "Christian" status with their desired social status even after being specifically command to get away from the HARLOT (Revelation 18:4-5). So strong is the corruption that many times "Christians" don't even recognize it or take steps to remove themselves.

Just a side note, most of the Bible truly is about and for Abraham's descendants. But here "corrupting the earth" makes the JUDGMENT for all mankind.
    and 2) He has AVENGED the BLOOD of His BOND-SERVANTS on her."
Here we finally have the answer to the martyr's request in Revelation 6:10. The list of those avenged is given in Revelation 18:24.

This translation is the only one to use the expression BOND-SERVANTS here. The other translations just use SERVANTS. For a brief discussion on a BOND-SERVANT, please refer to Revelation 1:1 exposition.
    And a second time they said, "HALLELUJAH!
Praise to the One Who Is -- twice indicates this is the highest honor we can give for our salvation (verse 1). Additionally, this time the PRAISE is for the complete victory over Babylon. No longer are these Babylonian practices (primarily economic) found within the body of believers. Instead the ones who removed themselves from Babylon (Revelation 18:4-5) are totally committed to living by faith (Luke 18:1-8).
    Her SMOKE rises up FOREVER and EVER."
This confirms that Babylon, global economy and politics, are completely destroyed. The "ANY LONGER"s in Revelation 18:21-23 are permanent no matter how the devil and beasts will try to survive. The prophesy in Isaiah 34:5-10-15, if you believe that it is talking about this time, says there aren't any noblemen (economists or politicians) who can put whole system back together again in a recognizable form. The earth has been prepared for the 1000 year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:4-6).

SMOKE is all that is left of what was thought to be of substance. As such, it is a symbol of complete destruction and previously just the sight of it caused mourning (Revelation 18:9 and Revelation 18:18). What a contrast here, though, the sight of the SMOKE is cause for a burst of PRAISE!

Note that the duration, FOREVER and EVER, is the same amount of time that those who took the mark of the beast will be tormented (Revelation 14:9-12).
    And the twenty-four ELDERS and the four LIVING CREATURES fell down and WORSHIPED GOD
The twenty-four ELDERS generally are believed to be representative of the redeemed believers in heaven. Neither the ELDERS nor the LIVING CREATURES are mentioned in Revelation after this. After the marriage of the redeemed believer (bride) to Jesus Christ, (the revealed One, bridegroom) takes place (verse 7), there is no need to distinguish between the two --- they have become ONE (Ephesians 5:22-31-33). From here on out, the Revelation truly is the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, the four LIVING CREATURES have positions around the THRONE of God. They continually acknowledge or WORSHIP God for the total and complete GOOD that God is and that is why they continually say "AMEN" (Revelation 5:14). The LIVING CREATURES, by being so close to God, appear to see everything (Revelation 5:8-10). Since they are full of eyes, front and back and within (Revelation 4:6,8), they fully understand what the complete destruction of Babylon (evil) means. It is as if they are to heaven as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is to the earth (Genesis 2:15-17). Even as we, today, cannot find the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so too in heaven after this verse, the four LIVING CREATURES are not heard from again. That is not to say that they are removed from their position around the THRONE.
    who sits on the THRONE saying,
Please refer back to Revelation 4 for the details of this place in heaven.
    "Amen. Hallelujah!"
When the word of God, whether as the Law (Nehemiah 8:1-12) or Salvation (Luke 15:3-7) or Judgment (this portion of Revelation), the response is or should be "AMEN" and "HALLELUJAH!". Israel's sins and punishment (Psalm 106) can be thought of as a microcosm of the whole earth's iniquities and punishment. When the final realization of what God did to save His chosen people, the people are to say "Amen. Praise the Lord!"
    And a voice came from the THRONE, saying,
            "GIVE PRAISE to OUR GOD,
John hears a voice coming from the THRONE. It probably isn't either God's or Jesus' because of the way "GIVE PRAISE TO OUR GOD" is worded. The area around the THRONE is fairly crowded or intense (see previous verse).

It should be noted that this command to "GIVE PRAISE to OUR GOD" is for a select group. The use of the pronoun, OUR, shows that this is a unified group, His bond-servants, who are to PRAISE HIM. Otherwise, the command could have been generic, "GIVE PRAISE TO GOD".
    all you His BOND-SERVANTS,
The THRONE is surrounded by this group of BOND-SERVANTS. To be a BOND-SERVANT implies one who is totally committed to God for eternal life. Since this portion of scripture comes after the fall of Babylon, this group, more specifically, probably are those who did come out of her, Babylon (Revelation 18:4-5). The New Testament has many examples (Luke 6:20-26; Luke 8:11-15; Luke 16:19-31; Matthew 19:23-30) of how difficult is will be for people who believe they are materially independent from God to reach this position around the THRONE. Even today, they bring that same attitude within the organized church. The penetration of material independence is so great that many churches seem to function just fine without putting too much faith/trust in God.
    you who FEAR Him,
This FEAR is a holy respect for God. One would think that PRAISE and FEAR do not go together, but PRAISE rises up out of respect. This is the way Psalm 112:1-6 describes this PRAISE and FEAR relationship. In fact, after all is considered (as the Preacher did in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14), all that matters is to "fear God and keep His commandments". The Preacher goes on to say that this applies to every person,
    the small and the great."
Material status is uniquely earthly and has no place around the THRONE. Around the THRONE, we all will be His BOND-SERVANTS and share equally in His blessings (Psalm 115:12-13-18). Take a moment right now as you have studied this verse and just "Give PRAISE to OUR GOD!"
    And I heard, as it were,
    -- the voice of a great multitude (the Redeemed as in verse 1) and as
    -- the sound of many waters (as Jesus in Revelation 1:15) and as
    -- the sound of mighty peals of thunder (as Jesus in Revelation 14:2), saying,
Thus, this is the combined voices of the Bride and the Bridegroom whose marriage will soon be celebrated (next verse).
    "Hallelujah!
The happy couple shouts, "Praise to the One Who Is"! The kingdom has been delivered to God the Father, the Almighty (1 Corinthians 15:20-24-28). The fall and complete destruction of Babylon (materialism) also fulfills the earth's redemption process (Revelation 5:1).
    For the Lord our God, the ALMIGHTY, REIGNS.
This isn't like the wedding vows you hear in churches today, but this is a vow, nevertheless, which recognizes the KINGLY AUTHORITY of God, the Father. As One Couple (Philippians 3:17-21), they recognize God using His fullest and mightiest name, the ALMIGHTY (Revelation 4:8, Revelation 1:8). If you are among the REDEEMED, then someday, you, too, will take this vow.

The word, REIGNS, really would have been better translated, "has begun to REIGN."  This is the beginning of God's kingly REIGN over the earth both spiritually and physically (Revelation 20:4-6).
    "Let us
    • REJOICE and
    • BE GLAD and
    • give the GLORY to Him,
The "us" is the happy couple celebrating their marriage (see previous verse). The groom always has given GLORY to Him (God, the Father - John 5:17-47). So this request is mostly likely a reminder for the BRIDE .
    for the MARRIAGE of the LAMB has come and
When we become a believer in Christ, the engagement period leading up to this marriage begins. This is a spiritual marriage and has nothing to do with the physical urges that drive so many of the earthly marriages (Matthew 22:23-30-33).

Note that "the LAMB" is previously used for Jesus Christ in the Revelation (Revelation 5:6 and Revelation 14:1).
    His BRIDE has made herself READY."
Who is the BRIDE?  From a Revelation viewpoint, she is
  1. Those who came out of Babylon (Revelation 18:4),
  2. Those who are not defiled by women (Revelation 14:4),
  3. Those who didn't take the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16),
  4. The tribulation martyrs (Revelation 6:11),
  5. The overcomers (Revelation 3:21, Revelation 3:12, Revelation 3:5, Revelation 2:26, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:11, and Revelation 2:7),
  6. Those who occupy the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9-27), and
  7. Those who are wearing bright and clean linen clothes (next verse).
As one can see, there is no distinction as to race, religious affiliation, social status, or wealth. Thus for the BRIDE to make herself READY must be something other than that. It is left to the reader to determine how the BRIDE has gotten herself ready.

An interesting sidebar here: while the BRIDE is referred to in the feminine form here, it probably is to reinforce the concept of believer procreation. That is, it is the female side of human beings which bears the child. In the same manner, believers beget other believers when the Gospel is proclaimed with the help of the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-5-21). This partially explains why it seems more difficult for male believers to witness to others about Salvation. They aren't use to being child bearers.
    And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean;
The BRIDE is permitted to be dressed in a bright and clean fine linen wedding dress. More than that, to be able to be the BRIDE, she must be dressed like this (Matthew 22:1-14). John confirms that she truly is dressed like this (Revelation 21:2).

This also signifies the priestly role that the BRIDE will play (Revelation 1:6 and Revelation 5:10). In the Old Testament, the priest's robe or ephod was made of fine twisted linen (Exodus 28:1-6-43). The material of the ephod is symbolic of:
Material
our High Priest is
Reference
Gold
God
John 10:30
Blue
Truth
John 14:6
Purple
King
Luke 1:32-33
Scarlet
the Lamb
John 1:29
Linen
Righteousness
1 John 2:1
                            table from "An Exposition of The Revelation of Jesus Christ", Ella A. Rust, p. 317

Jesus Christ is both the GROOM and High Priest (Hebrews 9:11-14) and is dressed like this (Revelation 19:11-14). If the groom and BRIDE are to be a married couple, then she, too, must be pure and clean (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
    for the fine linen is THE RIGHTEOUS ACTS of THE SAINTS.
What are the characteristics of these RIGHTEOUS ACTS?
  1. They are the result of exercising faith, e.g. Abraham's faith, Romans 3:21-28 and Romans 4:3-8.
  2. They are performed in the power of the Holy Spirit by the "new man" (Ephesians 4:17-30 and Romans 7:1-6).
  3. They are the effect, not the cause, of being in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:26-30-31).
There is a paradox here. We cannot be saved (or become the BRIDE) by works (RIGHTEOUS ACTS) (Ephesians 2:8-10). Salvation only happens by faith in Christ Jesus (GROOM). Yet here at the marriage feast, what we are wearing is what we did (RIGHTEOUS ACTS) after we accepted Christ by faith.
    And he said to me, "Write, `BLESSED are those who are invited to the MARRIAGE SUPPER of the LAMB.'
The speaker probably is the angel in Revelation 17:1 who had shown John the destruction of Babylon (materialism globally). He goes on to show the other side: the MARRIAGE SUPPER of the LAMB.  The sight must be so awesome that John is standing there grasping for anything he can relate this to. Apparently, he can't find anything so beautiful, and so the angel has to remind him again to "WRITE" (Revelation 1: 11,19).

This "BLESSED" is the fourth one in the Revelation (see the list in Revelation 1:3). There is variance among scholars as to whom are the invited. Some suggest that the BRIDE is not at the MARRIAGE SUPPER. In Jewish weddings, the bride was brought to the groom at the end of the MARRIAGE SUPPER. So the invited must be guests. Interpreting this says that the believers saved under grace, i.e. after Christ's resurrection and up to the rapture are not the ones invited. That would leave pre-Christ's resurrection and after rapture believers as the invited. This distinction may be reading too much into this verse; rather, it probably means the invited are those who have attained salvation regardless for age period. God doesn't want any to perish (2 Peter 3:8-9-13) and the MARRIAGE SUPPER is for the living. Furthermore, Jesus in Matthew 8:5-11-13 indicates there is no distinction between Jews or Gentiles at the SUPPER. This doesn't take anything away from the status the Jews hold as God's chosen people.

In a sense, everyone is invited to the SUPPER as everyone's name is written in the book of life to begin with. We choose to "uninvite" ourselves by having our name erased from the book of life (Revelation 3:5). Our actions or life style or life motivations then indicate our choice (James 4). If we choose to be an enemy of God, then we certainly aren't going to be invited to the MARRIAGE SUPPER. The SUPPER is for the cleansed (previous verse) and the righteous. The invitation is the knock on the 'church' door (Revelation 3:20).....we choose to answer the knock or not.
    And he said to me,"These are TRUE WORDS OF GOD."
This seems so obvious to us, but John has seen and written about so much caused by the devil or deceiver (Revelation 12:9), that he may have wondered whether this MARRIAGE SUPPER is one of the devil's deceptions (Mark 13:14-22-23). Thus it is entirely appropriate for the angel to confirm that the invitation to the MARRIAGE SUPPER is authentic and from God.

This expression is used twice more in the Revelation (Revelation 21:5 and Revelation 22:6). Heaven must be so awesome and different due to the absence of evil that John has to be assured that this is NOT a deception. All uses of this expression surround glimpses of the new heaven.
    And I fell at his feet to worship him.
Clearly John is very human and totally out of place during the vision of the MARRIAGE SUPPER. He did what many who have had this kind of brush with purity and righteousness (see Matthew 17:1-6-8 for example) have done.  Except here, Jesus was involved in the SUPPER, so John falls down at the angel's feet and that is not good. First, we must WORSHIP GOD and not angels. The worship of angels defrauds the worshipper of their desired goal (Colossians 2:16-18-19).
    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;
The rebuke is firmly given with sweet humility. The angel is a created being with the purpose to serve God and by extension the redeemed (ones who hold the TESTIMONY of JESUS). These who hold the TESTIMONY of JESUS are the same ones with whom the dragon (devil) is making war (Revelation 12:17).

Angels are very aware of their position in heaven. Apparently, they, too, at one time were given a choice: Serve GOD or join the devil (dragon -- Revelation 12:7-9). This angel chose to serve God and, in turn, the redeemed.

Interestingly, John doesn't fully understand what he has done wrong because he will do it again (Revelation 22:8,9).
    WORSHIP GOD. For the TESTIMONY of JESUS is the SPIRIT OF PROPHESY."
It is clear where our worship is to be directed: GOD. Anything else is idolatry and violates God's forever commandment (Exodus 20:4-6). The angel here acknowledges that the God he knew from his creation was also sent to earth to assume a human form (denoted by the use of the name JESUS -- Luke 1:26-31-38 and Matthew 1:18-25). The angel emphasizes God as the triune God. WORSHIP GOD (the Father). For the TESTIMONY of JESUS (the Son) is the SPIRIT (Holy Spirit) of PROPHESY. Soon this Holy Trinity will be doing away with the Unholy Trinity (devil himself, Revelation 20:10; beast, verse 20; and false prophet, verse 20).

In a sense, angels, too, do a form of prophesy (Revelation 14:6-12).

¹   MacArthur, John Jr., Revelation 12-22, Moody Press, Chicago, page 196
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only