In verse 7, it says “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb…” – this is the first time this has been mentioned specifically, and the idea of the ‘marriage of the Lamb’ is a very beautiful concept that goes back to the sacrificial system of Leviticus; the peace offering particularly. Some see a brief allusion to this idea of a ‘messianic banquet’ found in Matthew 8:11 and Matthew 26:29. I think it’s caught up in the Jewish customs of marriage where there is a betrothal period that’s binding and considered marriage, but they live apart. There’s a waiting period, there’s a seven-day feast to consummated it. It’s like when we trust the Lord, we were already betrothed to Him because the concept of marriage is an Old Testament metaphor to describe God and His people. I think probably because marriage is one of the most intimate faith-oriented, love-focus covenants that man knows. Beginning back in Isaiah 54:6 and particularly in Hosea 2:14-19 where God’s relationship to His people is described as a marriage relationship. This is picked up in the New Testament, in 2 Corinthians 11:2 and Ephesians 5:21-31. So here the concept is continued, and it’s very interesting to me to notice that this metaphor of us, as the Bride of Christ is changed many times: in verse 9 we are the guests at the wedding feast; in Revelation 21:2 & 9 we become the new Jerusalem. The people of God go by many different metaphors, and the church as the ‘bride’ and Jesus as the ‘groom’ is just one of them.
Look at verse 8, “It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean;…” – now there’s 2 things here; some say the idea ‘made herself ready’, an aorist indicative positive speaks of the righteous deeds of man, and they would back that up in the latter part of verse 9 where it says that these white linen robes are the upright deeds of God’s people. I think there’s some element of truth there, that we are to prepare ourselves; we are to get ready for the Lord’s Coming by doing Christ-like deeds. But i also want to say this, in verse 8 it seems permission has been granted and it is an aorist passive. What we have is the old dichotomy of God’s initiating love, but man’s faith response is exactly like Philippians 2:12-13 “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure”. So God permits them to be dressed, but they are to dress themselves. It’s kind of like the ‘spiritual armor’ of Ephesians 6:10-11. At salvation the armor is provided for us, but the Christian must individually pick up the armor and apply it to his life. The same is true here and i see both sides. As a matter of fact, in verse 9 where it says, “…those who are invited…” is a perfect passive participle which again implies God’s initiative love, not our merit to be a part of the wedding feast. Now notice as it mentions, “…righteous acts of the saints.” – usually this is translated by a forensic concept of imputed righteousness or justification by faith, but the ‘righteous acts’ that is talking about here is not something we do to gain God’s favor, but it’s something we do because we have God’s favor in Christ. It flows out of gratitude, not a desire to work our way to God. For all our righteousness is as filthy rags before God says Isaiah (64:6). Now the word ‘saints’ here means ‘holy ones’, but we’re holy only because we’re connected with Christ, not because we are holy in ourselves. You might want to see 2 Corinthians 5:21 in connection to that.
“Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” – this idea of ‘Blessed’ is the fourth of seven ‘blesseds’ (beatitudes) in the book of the Revelation, and of course this ‘marriage supper of the Lamb’ is the idea of the Messianic banquet. “…And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.” – this is an emphasis on the truthfulness of the words of God (cf. Rev. 21:5; 22:6). Now in verse 10, “Then I fell at his feet to worship him…” – John must have thought this angel was God, or Christ, and he mistakenly did bow to him, but he did it twice (cf. Rev. 22:8) which shows a problem here. This same angel in 22:8 addresses John saying, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God.” – it seems the only difference between men and angels is of degree. This angel claims that he’s a servant of God, and that he has affirmed who Jesus is; fully God and fully man. Now this ‘testimony of Jesus’ is a phrase used quite often in the book of the Revelation (1:2; 6:9; 12:17; 14:12). Now notice as it says, “…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” – what does that mean? Well it may mean that all prophecy has its focus in Jesus Christ, and indeed Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament Messianic prophecies with an amazing precision as to chronology of events and circumstances. The fulfillment of the prophesied 2nd Coming of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords will be no less than as certain as His first Coming.
(TO BE CONTINUED)