Songs of Heaven (6)

Songs of Heaven (6)

Songs of Heaven (6).

Please read Revelation 19:6-9.

“Then I heard what seemed to be the thunderous voice of a great multitude, like the sound of a massive waterfall and mighty peals of thunder, singing:

‘Hallelujah!

For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns!

Let us rejoice and exalt Him and give Him glory,

because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come.

And His bride has made herself ready.

Fine linen, shining bright and clear,

has been given to her to wear,

and the fine linen represents the righteous deeds of his holy believers.’

Another vast multitude is singing a song of celebration. The great choir of heaven is singing in one thunderous voice, sounding like the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder. The mighty choir is singing a wedding announcement, the marriage of the Lamb and His Bride. This is the joyful closing chapter of human history, the ultimate destiny of the righteous.

This Messianic Banquet is a long expected, highly anticipated occasion in the Jewish faith. The wedding supper of Revelation 19 is a fulfillment of Isaiah 25:6-9, which highlights this Messianic feast: “In Jerusalem, the Lord of Hosts will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. There He will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against His land and people. The Lord has spoken! In that day the people will proclaim, ‘This is our God! We trusted in Him, and He saved us! This is the Lord, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation He brings!”

The custom in Biblical weddings was that the host would provide wedding garments for the guests. Everyone who received an invitation was to put on their clean outer garments so they could be admitted to the wedding celebration. At this particular Wedding the Bride is also wearing a special garment given to her, a garment of fine linen, a robe of righteousness. The Bride and the guests were all expected to put on Christ, to clothe themselves in His goodness and purity. The robe was woven by the Christ-empowered deeds of the believers. Apart from Jesus, our righteousness is as filthy rags. But in Christ, we put on garments washed in the blood of the Lamb. We are covered by Christ, the fine linen of true righteousness. Only those who wear the pure robe of Jesus is admitted to the wedding feast.

Who will be attending this Messianic feast? Judging from the life of Jesus on earth, the guest list for the wedding supper will include some surprising people. Those receiving unexpected invitations include the undeserving and the unworthy. Jesus goes to distant highways and the back alleys to invite the lost, the alien, and the left out. The Messiah evidently wants the outcasts to be the in-crowd. Those on the margins are invited to live in the center of the text, the middle of His mercy, marginalized no more. Jesus is one big welcome mat for those on His guest list. Let all who are thirsty, come! Let all who are hungry, come! The doors will be wide open for a world-wide mixture of races and people groups. We shouldn’t be surprised if we’re sitting next to a prodigal son, a reformed prostitute or a diminutive tax collector. To attend the banquet, all the guests need to do is put on Christ, to clothe themselves in the wedding garment offered by the Host. And don’t forget… the wedding hall is immense, and expandable, and there’s always room for more.

The Great Mystery spoken of by Paul in Ephesians 5, the sacred secret of God marrying His people, so often hinted at in Scripture, can now be proclaimed on the rooftops. Isaiah spoke of this mystery when he said, “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so will God rejoice over you.”  (62:5). John the Baptist contributed to the mystery when he called Jesus the “Bridegroom” (John 3:29). Paul joined in again when he calls the church the “chaste virgin” and Christ the “husband.” (2 Cor. 11:2). The deep spiritual meanings of all earthly marriages are now made clear. God has revealed what Scripture has been pointing toward, and what the angels have been anticipating… the spiritual romance of Groom and Bride, the union of the Lamb and the Church.

The Lord has been yearning for this eternal union to be spiritually consummated. He has desired this fulfillment of spiritual intimacy. After coming to the Bride’s house on earth, the Groom has now led the wedding party to the house of the Father, the home of the Groom, for the marriage celebration. This is the time prophesied by Jesus at the Last Supper, when He said, “I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.” (Mark 14:25). It is now time for the Groom to lift the cup of new wine.

As in every wedding ceremony, there comes the time for the vows. What will the Husband promise? Jesus just may quote the vow of Yahweh in Hosea: “I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the Lord.” (2:19-20). And then the vow of the Bride? Perhaps the simple declaration of faith from Doubting Thomas is all that needs to be said: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). And maybe the revelation of St. Peter could be vowed for good measure, “You are the Anointed One, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:16). The mutual commitment will thus be fulfilled, the promise of faithfulness realized for all time. After their everlasting vows are spoken, and their loyalty and love confirmed forever, it is time to rejoice. Let the joyous festivities begin! “How happy is the one who attends a banquet in the Kingdom of God!” (Luke 14:15).

Strike up the band. Put on your wedding garments. Cue the dancers. Let the singers warm up their voices. Pour the best wine for everybody. Slice the meat. Garnish the salads. Open the doors for the guests. A toast for the bride and Groom. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb can now begin. This party will reflect the fullness of joy for life everlasting.

“My beloved spoke and said to me, Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away with Me. For lo, the winter is past and the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time for singing is come.” (Song of Songs 2:10-12).

 

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