"And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." (Rev. 19:6, 7)
Sounds we have
It appears to me that we hear one combined voice of the multitude which sounds like many waters and like thunder. We also heard a voice with the same two characteristics in chapter 14. It was the voice of the 144,000. "And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:" (Rev. 14:2,a)
Earlier we saw the 144,000 while here it is the multitude. Both voices are like thunder and like abundant waters. We understood these aspects of their voices to represent their experience as having been saved by the grace of God's justice and His mercy.
The Lord God omnipotent
What power and majesty is seen here! We are led to ask why this special time of praise? Hasn't God always reigned? Yes, but that reign has been contested. Opposition will rise again at the end of the thousand years but at the time of our present verse all the wicked are dead — having been killed as part of the beast power at Christ's coming (2 Thess. 2:8). Later in the present chapter we will cycle back to see their destruction. Under current symbols, Babylon is the wicked system, the woman representing the false religious system. All her life activities — her vital signs — have stopped. 1824.
In a different set of symbols, Daniel shows us Christ assuming this power as He stands up for His people. "And he [the wicked king] shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book." (Dan. 11:45 - 12:1).
"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." (Rev. 19:7, 8).
references to this occasion
Marriage of the king's son mt2201ff. (The inspection of guests represents the preadvent judgment. At the end of that time comes the resurrection and being received into the Father's house in heaven where the marriage supper is served.)
After the resurrection of the just, we will eat bread in the kingdom lu1414.
We will drink the fruit of the vine in the heavenly kingdom mt2629, mr1425, lu2218.
For the waiting ones, the Lord will dress Himself and serve us lu1237.
She has made herself ready
Is the multitude the Lamb's wife? Not according to the sentence. The multitude is speaking about her. I believe she is the 144,000 because she "hath made herself ready." This special preparation for the sealing is an experience of the end-time righteous who will be alive and translated when Christ comes. The multitude are made ready, too 0714, but they do not go through this preparation for the sealing. The story Jesus told about the marriage supper helps us understand the events surrounding the marriage. Please read about Jesus' explanation 1007c and the discussion about the thief of chapter 16 1615.
Does the robe representing righteous behavior sound like righteousness by works? Do we get ourselves ready to belong to Christ? Isaiah said that our own righteousness is like filthy rags. (Isa. 64:6). However, it's easy to be so worried about avoiding works that we tend to join those who say Lord, Lord but don't do the will of the Father (Matt. 7:22, 23). While we aren't saved by works, obedience is our response of faith which is an essential element (Heb: 11:6). The action in coming to Christ and putting sin out of our lives is our own because it must be our voluntary and determined choice. As we claim Christ's strength He empowers our will. "And to her was granted [by Christ] that she should be arrayed." (Also Phil. 2:12, 13; Rev. 7:14). Even repentance is a gift (Acts 5:31). The glory is all His.
And what about Isaiah? Here's the next verse. "And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities." (Isa. 64:7). The righteous acts of the saints covering the wife of Christ is the outworking of the righteousness of Christ which is a pure gift. The people Isaiah described had refused that relationship.
Also notice the verb tense here. The bride's preparation occurred before the time of rejoicing which we have been studying. She is now the "wife." The marriage supper is the celebration, although it is referred to in verse 7 as the "marriage." Apparently the term can mean either marriage or reception, in terms of the American culture 1615a-ms.
From saints to bride
In the marriage, the bride becomes the wife. Is she then the saints? Let's look at the text.
"Let us [the multitude] be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him [the Lord God omnipotent who reigns]: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Rev. 19:7-9)
If the linen is the
righteousnes acts of the saints, then those who wear it are the saints,
now identified as the bride. This transition here helps us see the relationship
between virgins and wife in Jesus' story of the ten virgins. At the end
of the wedding, the faithful among them, collectively, become the wife.
In Matthew 22 we find the parable of the wedding prepared by a king for the marriage of his son. 1007b. Christ's bride, by His grace, prepares herself for marriage. This is one of the processes of the preadvent judgment. The other is the inspection (or actual judgment). The king looks over the guests to see that they have on the garments furnished for the occasion. Those who are found with the garment — the righteousness of Christ — go in to the supper. They are, collectively, the pure church — by God's grace, you and me.
Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. If they accept the free gift of righteousness, they enter in through the gates into the city (Rev. 22:14).
|Therefore as the church is subject
unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave
himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing
of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church,
not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy
and without blemish. (Eph. 5:24-27)
Notice that Christ not only receives us, but he prepares us by washing us as we listen to His voice in the Scriptures and follow Him. Then He presents us to Himself! This preparation that makes the church glorious and perfect is the work of the preadvent, investigative judgment. The judgment is represented as the cleansing of the sanctuary (and hence the people) in Lev. 16. Our job is to yield ourselves to Him as a wife to a pure husband. Then His righteousness becomes our righteousness not only in title, but in our reflection of His character. The verdict in our case is our own choice!
Robes for the multitude?
We have identified the wife above as the 144,000. In chapter 7 we saw two groups of righteous: the 144,000 and the "great multitude" 0709. Wouldn't the multitude also need the wedding garment described in our text as clean, white robes? Yes, as souls crying under the altar, we saw them receive white robes. 0610. But they were told that it was not time for God's wrath to put an end to the persecution of their brothers who were still alive. The souls had to wait for them 0611b. So here, as the bride of Christ, are the brothers who would be perfected while the souls waited in sleep for the resurrection when they would join them 0107a.
Clean and white
The two characteristics are literally "brilliant" and "pure."
Here we may see the sanctification (pure) and the justification (glowing/bright). Both are gifts from Christ. Sanctification is our fitness for heaven. Justification is our visa, signed by Christ. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just [to do two things for us:] to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9). The table which follows describes a few examples of these two aspects of God's grace. Also see r14f.
Christ's work in us
Christ's work for us
|Bride||Fine linen - pure||Fine linen - white|
|In 1 John||Cleansed (1:9)||Forgiven|
|In Isaiah||Clean – "wash yourselves" (1:16, 17)||White – Scarlet sins become white (1:18)|
|In Leviticus||Cleansed on the day of atonement (16:30)||Forgiven through sin offerings throughout the year (ch. 4)|
|In 2 Peter 3||Without spot (13, 14)||Blameless|
"for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." The word, righteousness, is from dikaiomata, and literally means "righteous acts." The actions reveal the character — righteousness. The bride who becomes the wife of the Lamb receives the robe woven from her actions during her time of preparation 1007c. Here in chapter 19, we are looking at the time of celebration in heaven. This comes at the close of the preadvent judgment of investigation. The bride was found, in the judgment, to be pure and was given the linen robe. She is then presented as the Lamb's wife. This means you and I need Christ's robe of righteousness now. It is His, but becomes ours, too, as we put it on. We are not saved by our own works but because of the work of Christ through us! So although the good behavior is ours, it is empowered by Christ. Hence it is fundamentally His good deeds leaving us nothing to brag about.
The fine linen is also worn by the false woman 1814fi. What do you think is the difference?
We discussed the wedding and
brought in other texts to clarify it, in connection with the thief in chapter
16 1615. We see the perfected
church again as the angel measures the city 2115.
Our view changes from wicked woman to righteous woman
"And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." (Rev. 19:8).
A chiasm shows interesting contrasts
Verse 8 is discussed above
with verse 7.
At the conclusion of the judgment of Babylon, the great harlot (our chapter 19), we find many words and symbols that match ones in chapter 14. Seeing fulfillment described by matching prophetic symbolism assures us that God will carry out His promises and His threats.
The called ones are blessed
"And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Rev. 19:9)
This verse describes the middle of a list of seven blessings pronounced in the book of Revelation. This situation invites us to look for a chiastic structure 0100. Let's read the verses and I'll share the structure. Underlined words show elements common to the contexts of the blessings. Each blessing relates either to the "true sayings of God" or to contamination by deception. Through the Scriptures we may claim promised blessings. For other "true" sayings see re2105 and re2206, and compare da0245.
|Rev. 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.|
|Rev. 14:12, 13 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.|
|Rev. 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments [from contamination by spirits from the mouths of dragon, beast, and false prophet], lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.|
|Rev. 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.|
|Rev. 19:21; 20:3, 5, 6 And the remnant [the wicked remaining after the beast and false prophet were cast into the fire] were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. . . . [An angel form heaven] laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. . . . . But the rest of the dead [those not made alive to reign as judges] lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.|
|Rev. 22:6, 7 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.|
|Rev. 22:14 - 19 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. . . . . For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.|
A Blessing for hearing and
keeping the words of the book (1:3)
B1 Blessing for righteous who die during the time of the three angels (14:13)
B2 Blessing for those who watch. "I come as a thief." (16:15)
Keystone Blessing for those who are called. The words are authentic (19:9)
B1 Blessing for the dead who are raised in the first resurrection (20:6)
B2 Blessing for those who keep the sayings. "I come quickly." (22:7)
A Blessing for doing the commandments and entering the city (22:14)
The heart or center of a chiastic structure is a focal point. What a loving God it reveals! He invites us to the feast! We have sinned and fallen short of God's glory (Rom. 3:23). We have no right on our own to be part of the wedding party. Yet the heavenly messenger assures us, "These are the true sayings of God." Compare a similar statement in da0245.
Do His commandments
The A shell above is more significant than it first appears. Translators of most modern versions prefer "wash their robes" instead of "do His commandments" for 22:14 Since none of the original writings of the inspired writers exist arguments for one reading or the other aren't decisive. The fact that the chiastic structure shown above would not work for "wash their robes" leads this commentary to see the KJV and NKJV readings, "do His commandments" as correct. More than that, the reading "do his commandments" is required for two other chiastic patterns involving 22:14. See at 2210 and the article on this topic.
Knowing who John tried to worship widens our understanding
"And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Rev. 19:9, 10)
Worship ... do
John apparently thought that Christ was speaking. But it was not so who was it? We go back to verse 5 for the one, in the flow of the text, who could be represented by the pronouns, "he" and "him." "And a voice came out of [or 'from'] the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great." So the voice comes from the throne. The Father is seen as the One on the throne and the Lamb is in the middle of the throne in chapters 4 and 5. But our verse 10 clarifies that the voice is not that of either the One or the Lamb because they are worthy of worship and the one speaking to John said he was not to be worshipped. The living ones ("beasts" in KJV) and elders are also connected with the throne (Rev. 5:11). We saw the elders as representatives of those who will be resurrected when Jesus comes (Rev. 4:6). Who then was the one speaking to John? We have two clues from verse 10. First, he identifies himself to the apostle as "thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren." This draws our attention back to the fifth seal. "And . . . I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain. . . . And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." (Rev. 6:9-11). John was soon to die and "sleep" in his grave (Rev. 14:11) and so the elders would become his representatives in heaven (Rev. 5:9). He would then become one of the souls waiting (symbolically) under the altar. The one speaking to him is a “fellowservant” and a brother who would await the resurrection.
The other clue confirms this. The one speaking to John has "the testimony of Jesus." This gift is for the final remnant. God permitted John to misunderstand. John bowed down but didn't worship. The experience allows us to see the real origin of truth, "the true sayings of God" (vs. 9) as brought to light by the Holy Spirit who is the “spirit who reveals or clarifies “prophecy. Thus the "spirit of prophecy." In the correction of John’s mistake in bowing, our focus turns to God. In this turning from human to divine, we see the picture. Jesus testifies by the Holy Spirit through human messengers.
"The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy." I believe we are living at the very end of time. False prophets (although usually not calling themselves prophets) are all around us. God has a true prophetic voice for us who would be His end-time, purified people. It is heard through the three angels (Rev. 14:6-11). It is the gift of prophecy — the testimony of Jesus communicated through the Holy Spirit. It is the end-time truth entrusted to those who keep the commandments in the midst of a religious world which tells us that we are saved either without full obedience to God, or by obedience to the church (Rev. 12:17). The angel flying in the sky cries, "Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come." (Rev. 14:6).
Why did John try
to worship the living one?
"And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Rev. 19: 9, 10)
God permitted John to
misunderstand. He bowed down but didn't worship. The experience allows
us to see the real origin of truth, "the true sayings of God" (vs. 9)
— the "spirit of prophecy." In the correction of his mistake, the focus
of our attention is drawn from the living one, a human representative,
to God. In this turning from human to divine, we see the picture. Jesus
testifies by the Holy Spirit through human messengers.
I believe we are living at the very end of time. False prophets (although usually not calling themselves prophets) are all around us. God has a prophetic voice for us who would be His end-time, purified people. It is heard through the three angels 1406a. It is the gift of prophecy — the testimony of Jesus. It is the end-time truth entrusted to those who keep the commandments in the midst of a religious world which tells us that we are saved either without obedience to God, or by obedience to the church (Rev. 12:17). The angel flying in the sky cries, "Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come." (Rev. 14:6).