Mar 26 2012 - E100.99a – Revelation 19, Hallelujah
In Revelation 19, the Hallelujah chorus celebrates three things: God’s judgment upon “the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries” (19:2); the unrivalled reign of “our Lord God Almighty” (19:6); the wedding of the Lamb to the bride that has been prepared for him (19:7).
These three are closely connected. God establishes his reign over all the earth by destroying all rival claims to power – all those who have sought to establish their own kingdom in the earth. God created humankind to bear his image and to rule over creation in his name and for his glory. The tragedy of human history is not that people have sought to rule over the earth but that they have sought to do so by their own power and for their own ends. They have sought to make gods of themselves. God will bring all rival claims to power to an end; good news for Christians suffering under the crushing power of Rome. God will at last answer the cry of his people, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” (6:10, cf. 19:2, “He has avenged on her the blood of his servants”).
With the destruction of all who have sought to build a kingdom for themselves, the scene is now set for the kingdom of God to be established in unrivalled glory. The prophecy of 11:15 has now been fulfilled, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” But Christ, the Messiah, will not reign alone. He has a bride who will share in his reign. The time has now come for him to take his bride, for him to be united with his people for all eternity (see the beautiful picture of Revelation 21).
Most of us like to receive a wedding invitation; we are pleased to share something of the joy of the couple being married. In 19:9 John is told, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” Who are those who are invited to the celebration? The answer is given in the closing verses of Revelation, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” It’s an open invitation. No one need be left out. All are welcome. The Spirit echoes the call of Christ to all who are thirsty to come to him and drink (John 7:37). The bride, those who know Christ, join in the call for all to come. Those who receive the invitation not only respond to it themselves but also pass it on to others. In the words of a tract by John Bunyan, “Come and welcome to Jesus Christ.”
Make sure that you don’t miss out on the greatest royal wedding in all of history. Be there.
Heavenly Father, help me not only to look forward to the great wedding feast of the Lamb but to invite others to the feast.