The Marriage of the Lamb - Revelation Bible Guide Day 24 - Reservoir Church
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The Marriage of the Lamb – Revelation Bible Guide Day 24

March 22, 2018

Previously in Revelation

24 And in you was found the blood of prophets and of saints,
and of all who have been slaughtered on earth.”

Day 24 – 5th Thursday

Revelation 19:1-10

After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,

“Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power to our God,
    for his judgments are true and just;
he has judged the great whore
who corrupted the earth with her fornication,
and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

Once more they said,

“Hallelujah!
The smoke goes up from her forever and ever.”

And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who is seated on the throne, saying,

“Amen. Hallelujah!”

And from the throne came a voice saying,

“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
and all who fear him,
small and great.”

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
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;
to her it has been granted to be clothed
with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Points of Interest

  • “the loud voice of a great multitude” – So begins the seventh and final of Revelation’s worship scenes, this one on the tail end of Babylon’s funeral.
  • “Hallelujah” – A Hebrew expression of praise, that means Praise Yahweh – the likely Hebrew pronunciation of the name of God (“I am”) first revealed to Moses at the burning bush.
  • “he has avenged on her the blood of his servants” – The singers are celebrating Babylon’s destruction, consumed by its own violence. They’re not bitter or vengeful; they are relieved that their blood or that of any other servants of God will be shed.
  • “like the sound of many waters” – The voice of the victory choir sounds like the voice of Jesus in the first chapter. To follow Jesus is to become more and more like Jesus and at the same time more and more like our true selves.
  • “for the marriage of the Lamb has come” – The unity of Jesus’ people with Jesus is so close, it’s given the metaphor or marriage. The Lamb who was slaughtered and became a shepherd as well is now ready to live happily ever after with the faithful people who love Jesus.
  • “his bride has made herself ready” – There are four women in Revelation. The first and third are Jezebel, from chapter 2, and the prostitute of Chapters 17-18. One is a historical reference, one a generalized one for people of societies that have lost their way and seek to lead other people away from God and away from what is good and true and beautiful. The second the sun-clothed woman from Chapter 12 who gives birth to Jesus. This is Jesus’ mom, Mary, or maybe a Mother-earth like personification of all humanity. The final woman is what all of us can become – loved by, united with Jesus.
  • “the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” – We all know how carefully brides prepare and dress up for their wedding day. The bride of Christ is here called “the saints,” God’s holy ones, and gets dressed in righteous deeds. If you grew up religious, you might have over-specific associations with those words “holy” and “righteous.” Sorry if that is distracting. In the context of Revelation, it’s in contrast to the bad deeds of Rome or any other empire, past or future. It’s resisting the lying, greedy, violent ways of empire and living truthfully, honestly, and peaceably. It’s resisting the marketing propaganda and false worship and exploitation of empire and worshipping the God who cares for us in the incomplete, vulnerable, needy state we find ourselves in this life.

Spiritual Exercise

This week, in light of the judgment on all human systems that resist God and God’s good and humane ways on earth, we consider the command to, “Come out” and turn away from the evil baked into human societies, our own included. Today, consider how you have believed the lies of marketing propaganda and hoped that consumer goods would satisfy you. Invite Jesus if you like, to help you make peace with your emptiness and to look forward to your future fulfillment when you are one with Jesus.

A Direction for Prayer

Pray that God would lead your church to more and more righteous deeds – acts of love and beauty and truth that show the world what Jesus looks like and prepare members of your church for their destiny as part of the “bride of Christ.”

The Bible Guide

This blog post is part of a Lenten journey through the book of Revelation. Every year during the season of Lent, we take a focused look at a portion of Scripture as part of our communal spiritual practice. This year, we are exploring what it means to be Children of God in a Fractured World, with Revelation as our lens. On Sundays, we’re exploring this with our sermons; on weekdays, we’re doing so with our bible guide. The bible guide series starts here.