Text: Rev 19:1-8
NT Parallel Text: Eph 5:22-33
Focus Verse: Rev 19:7 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;
Main Idea: In addition to celebrating the downfall of Babylon, the multitude from heaven celebrates the return of Jesus to be with his church.
[This song from heaven follows the lament from earth. While the earthly kings and merchants lament Babylon, the heavenly perspective celebrates the removal of this enemy of the church.]
The contrast between the City of Man and the City of God is born out in this song from heaven. While the earthly city is pictured as a prostitute who both corrupts the world and is consumed by it, the heavenly city is described as a bride. Of course, the only difference between any particular human being associated with the church vs. the world is merely the saving power of Jesus.* He is the one who makes us ready for his heavenly marriage.
The picture of Christ relating to the church like a husband to a wife has deep biblical roots. In the OT, God is pictured as married to Israel, who is largely an unfaithful wife. (See the prophet Hosea.) In the NT Jesus told many parables about how the Kingdom of Heaven is like a wedding feast. The Apostle Paul also compared human marriage to the heavenly model of Christ loving and dying for his church. (Eph 5:22-33)
Conclusion and Application
Of course, there are limits to this analogy as there are to every analogy. No husband can save his wife from her sin through his own life and death - nor should he try. All of us need Jesus. It is also possible to place too much emphasis on human marriages, in ways that cause singles to feel excluded. The nature of every analogy is to make a comparison and there are always limits to how it can be applied.
With that in mind, it is still worthy pondering the marriage analogy as a picture of Christ and the Church. Consider these points that flow from the analogy of the marriage and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb:
- Anticipation. Because the Wedding Supper of the Lamb is still future, this highlights that the church is waiting with anticipation for the return of Christ. Like the whole of the book of Revelation, we are future oriented people who are anticipating the return of Jesus.
- Joy. The Wedding Supper is a joyous celebration. Let us "rejoice and exult" as we think about this future hope.
- Preparation. The bride "making herself ready" (19:8) is part of the picture. Of course, it is the work of Jesus through the Holy Spirit that empowers us to grow in holiness. But, nonetheless, it is still the church working together, with the gifts of its members, that causes the whole body to grow up in grace. (Eph 4:11-16)
* Here is a link to a great song from one of our own musicians on Spotify. Runaway Bride, John Stuart