This section starts the return of Jesus to earth. It starts with the wedding of the bride (believers) to Jesus himself. It is quite possible that this is the place in time where the “rapture” takes place. Mounce** describes that a wedding in biblical times was in two parts: the betrothal of the bride to the bridegroom, and the wedding. These two were separated by a period of time in which the bride and bridegroom were considered married and were to be faithful to each other. The wedding would start with a procession to the bride’s house followed by a return to the house of the groom for the marriage feast. (Pg. 340).
6 And I heard as a voice of a huge1 multitude and as a sound of many waters and as a sound of mighty thunders, saying,
for the Lord [our] God, the Almighty has reigned.
7 Let us rejoice and be overjoyed
and give him glory
because the wedding of the lamb has come,
and his wife has prepared herself.2
8 And bright, clean fine linen was given to her to wear3.”
(For the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.)
9 And he said4 to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the ones who have been invited5 to6 the wedding supper of the lamb.’” And he said7 to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 And I fell down before his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you don’t do this!8 I am your fellow-slave and of your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy9.”
1 πολλοῦ (huge)
It is comforting to know this gathering is large. We will take joy with the saints through the ages that have entered into the body of Christ. Though it is a large number, there is plenty of room. In fact, we are encouraged to invite our neighbor.
2 Allusions to Isaiah 54:5. Jesus also refers to himself as the bridegroom in Mark 2:18-22. Osborne*** points out that this is the only place in the Apocalypse where the bride is say to have “made herself ready”. He states that they’ve made themselves ready by being faithful. (Pgs. 673-674), Mounce** (Pg. ). Beale* agrees, but also says that the wedding clothes represents the saints’ vindication as a result of her being faithful. (Pgs. 935-944).
The saints do make themselves ready by placing their faith in Christ and keeping that faith. That is why we are rewarded it we endure to the end. The parable of the seed speaks of the word joyfully received which dies for lack of root or being overcome by weeds and thorns of this world. The parable of the ten virgins has all of them having lamps, but half of them not having enough oil, thereby missing the bridegroom.
We are called to be faithful in faith. He Who is called faithful will enable those who walk in faith to persevere to the end. As the farmer relies on God for the seed to grow, so it is that we will be ready for the feast. He will do it.
3 ἵνα περιβάληται (to wear)
Greek: “so that she may be clothed”. Note that the bright and clean linen stands in contrast to the great prostitute. The passage reflects back to the message to the church of Sardis in 3:1-6 and to the message to the church of Laodicea in 3:14-22 where they are told that they need to buy white clothes (contra the black clothes that they were known for) so that they would not be naked.
In the story where a child is able to see through the nonsense of the world to say, Why does the emperor have no clothes?, as the emperor’s procession goes by, a truth is revealed. All the pomp and ceremony of the world does not cover our nakedness. The eyes of God see the complete reality of who and what we are, even into the darkness of the human heart. Yet He seeks us, and would clothe us in Christ His Son.
4 λέγει (he said)
Greek: “says”. Note that the text doesn’t speak of an Angel here! Beale* states that it is probably the angel introduced in 17:1, 18:1, or 18:21. (Pg. 946).
5 οἱ... κεκλημένοι (the ones who have been invited)
or “the ones who have been called”.
We are not forced to join Him at the table, or to stay. Judas chose to leave and betray Jesus. It is love that calls us and for love we take a seat.
6 εἰς (to)
7 λέγει (he said)
8 ὅρα μή (See that you don’t do this!)
Greek: “See not!”
9 Mounce** explains this passage as a subjective genitive, thus “the message attested by Jesus is the essence of prophetic proclamation”. (Pg. 342). John is to worship the one who gives the vision (God), not the one who interprets it (the angel). Beale* (Pgs. 947-948) says that “spirit of prophecy” could also mean that that God’s people are “prophetic people” as he looks forward to 22:8-9.
It can be easy to become enamored with the messenger, whether that is a person, ritual, book, or tradition, instead of the message. Those things are but material manifestations, mere shadows, of the light of the world. They are good to the extent they reflect that light, and bad to the extent they deflect that light. May His light be a lamp for our feet.
NT = New Testament
OT = Old Testament
ESV = English Standard Version
NASB = New American Standard Bible
NIV = New International Version
KJV = King James Version
TR = Textus Receptus (A late Byzantine Greek text of the NT. A
predecessor of the TR was used in the translation of the KJV)
LXX = Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT)
The Greek New Testament with Greek-English Dictionary B. Aland (Editor), K. Aland (Editor), J. Karavidopoulos (Editor), B. M. Metzger (Editor), C. M. Martini (Editor)
(BDAG) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition Walter Bauer (Author), Frederick William Danker (Editor)
A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament Bruce M. Metzger
(Kittel) Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (VOLUMES 1-10) Gerhard Kittel (Editor), Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Translator)
*The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.).) G. K. Beale
**The Book of Revelation (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) Robert H. Mounce
***Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) Grant R. Osborne
+Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics Daniel B. Wallace
++An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek C. F. D. Moule
+++Biblical Greek (Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici) Maximilian Zerwick
A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament Max Zerwick (Author), Mary Grosvenor (Author)