The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
Written by Pastor Jim Law
The events of the past year have been a profound wake-up call for the second coming of Jesus Christ. No escapism in that claim, only blessed hope. No bizarre predictions of when Christ will return because they are always wrong. Only settled conviction that the promises of Jesus’ return fill the New Testament with the triumph of the Kingdom of God over all rivals.
The pandemic and political upheaval of 2020 is yet another reminder of the groaning of this creation, and our need for redemption found in Christ alone. Jesus taught that there would be precursors, or birth pains, prior to his coming. He spoke of wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, and famines all serving as the labor pains of this fallen world. (Mark 13:7-18; the Apostle Paul as well, Romans 8:22)
Jesus referred to his second coming over twenty times in the gospel accounts. The New Testament writers mentioned Christ’s return in nearly every book. Jesus offered his most endearing promises within the context of his return (John 14:1-6).
Thoughts of Christ’s return ushered me to the book of Revelation recently where I was reminded of the future gathering of God’s people called, “The marriage supper of the Lamb.” The Apostle John describes this glorious event, “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 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; 8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” (Revelation 19:6-8)
What a sound!
John exhausts human language to capture the awesome sound of this multitude crying out in unhindered praise. Some months ago, I read that the loudest crowd noise at an NCAA football game reached a level of 133.6 decibels. For context, a jet engine during takeoff is about 150 decibels from 85 feet away. I thought of these measurements as John recounts the sound from the great multitude who inhabit heaven.
The cacophony that thunders from football stadiums is deafening and exciting for those caught up in the intensity of the game. But I am confident that the booming praise coming from the corridor of heaven is beyond description. John writes of praise given when Christ defeats a rebel world, and in turn, all things come under full submission to His Lordship: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.” (19:6)
James Hamilton is helpful in describing what it means when the Lord our God the Almighty reigns, “This means the end of incompetent, unworthy, unqualified government. No more will God’s world be troubled by those who cannot rule it. No more will God’s world be troubled by those who rebel against his authority, reject his claim on them, refuse to be guided by his wisdom, and trouble those who honor the world’s rightful Lord….When God begins to reign, the world will finally be ruled as it should be.” (James M. Hamilton, Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Churches, p. 350)
Revelation 19 is the celebration of the triumph of Christ over a world system that has died an expected death (I John 2:15-17) and has come under the righteous judgment of God. This is the biblical worldview on how history ends, namely, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God. (Philippians 2:5-11) The Bible is not fuzzy on who is in charge and who will have the last word.
What a Picture!
In this passage, we find rich metaphors of God’s redemption coming together for the greatest of celebrations. Jesus the bridegroom, and his bride the church, merge with the picture of Jesus, the Lamb of God who was slain for the salvation of his people.
Tracing the biblical theme of redemption leads to an important connection which is emphasized throughout the book of Revelation. Our hope of Christ’s second coming is rooted in what he accomplished in his first coming. As God’s son, he left his throne in heaven on a divine mission birthed from the foundation of the world. Jesus lived a perfect life. He died an atoning, substitutionary death which stands over history as the only payment for sin. His resurrection was a glorious affirmation that he could deliver on all that he promised. He is alive and the only one qualified to be your all-sufficient Savior.
Hamilton again helps process this picture, “Isn’t it astonishing that such a bridegroom would give himself to us? We don’t deserve to have him help us cross the street. And he gave everything. He left Heaven, walked dusty roads, endured the cross, rose from the dead, poured out the Spirit, accomplished redemption for us. It is almost too good to be true. But it is true. Wonder of wonders: trust in Jesus and he will come for you on that day.”
What a Savior!
Your response to Christ now determines if you will be among that number at the marriage supper of the Lamb. The message of the Bible places Christ, in no uncertain terms, as the difference between eternal life and eternal perishing, between forgiveness and judgment. Call on him now for “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (I John 5:12)
Behold Him there, the risen Lamb!
My perfect, spotless Righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace.
~Charitie Lees Bancroft (1841-1892)