Deeper Christian Life Ministry – Search The Scripture 18 July 2021 (Lesson 1009)
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Topic: The Marriage Supper Of The Lamb (STS 18 July 2021)
TEXT: Revelation 18:1-24
1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.
7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.
14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,
16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
MEMORY VERSE: “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God” (Revelation 19:9).
The marriage supper of the Lamb is the glorious consummation of Christ’s union with His Church after the rapture. There is a smooth transition from the preceding chapter that focused on the judgment of Babylon to the current chapter which discusses the joy and jubilation of the Bridegroom and the Bride with the phrase “And after these things”. As the righteous on earth are translated and become residents of heaven and the shouts of “hallelujah” with “a great voice of much people in heaven” rend the air, the stage is set for the long-awaited celebration of the marriage supper of the Lamb, during which Christ, the Groom weds the Church in a grand epoch-making ceremony (Ephesians 5:27). The present dispensation of grace and church will close with the rapture, which is the sudden catching away of the righteous (dead or alive) to meet the Lord in the air (1 Corinthians 15:51,52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17). This will immediately be followed by the seven-year great tribulation and the reign of the Antichrist, who will grievously afflict the inhabitants of the earth who refuse to take his mark or worship him (2 Thessalonians 2:7-10; Revelation 13:16,17). The desire of all should be to go with the Lord at rapture, as that is the gateway to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
Question 1: What is the marriage supper of the Lamb?
PRAISE OF GREAT MULTITUDES TO GOD IN HEAVEN (Revelation 19:1-6; Exodus 15:1,7; Judges 5:1,2,13; Revelation 5:9,10; 7:9-12; 16:5-7; 18:20; 14:7-11; Malachi 1:4,5; Revelation 4:8-11; Psalm 72:2-19; Revelation 11:15-17)
John sees an immense host of worshippers in the text singing, “Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God… for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia… the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia… for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth”. The word, hallelujah, written in Greek in the New Testament, is a pure Hebrew compound word haleluya, composed of Halel (Praise), u (ye), ya (the Lord). Thus, the word literally means, “Praise ye the Lord”. The phrase, “praise the Lord” and the response “hallelujah” mean the same thing. The word appears in many places in the book of Psalms (Psalms 106:48; 111:1; 113:1,9; 146:1,8; 148:1,13) but only four times in the entire New Testament, and all four occurrences are in the text in connection with the marvellous celebration of the marriage of the Bridegroom to His Bride. TheThe first six verses where hallelujah is prominent reveal, one, the context of praise, which is the destruction and ruin of Babylon with all evildoers, the same way the Israelites praised Him when the Egyptians perished at the Red Sea; two, the causes of praise – rebellion is over and justice is meted out; full salvation has come; God is honoured and the Bride of the Lamb is ready; three, the content of praise – salvation, glory, honour and power are always ascribed to God in audible, Christ-centred praise; four, the congregation who praise – the redeemed saints in heaven and angelic hosts; five, the command to praise – given to all who fear, know and serve the Lord, both small and great. Living saints on earth will soon join this immense host of heavenly praise-singers.
Four reasons underpin the mighty shouts of hallelujah. The first is salvation. This is the greatest blessing anyone can ever receive from heaven. The God of love, grace and power planned and provided salvation for all in Christ. Our present, continual, full and final salvation is of the Lord; so, He deserves our praise. The second is the severity of His judgment on wicked Babylon and unrepentant sinners in all generations in their celebration of the triumph of His glory and power (Revelation 12:10; 7:10; 16:5). God has the final authority and can deal decisively with impunity. Realisation that God is the ‘Avenger’ for His oppressed and persecuted servants (Revelation 19:2; Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30) should make believers continually praise and serve Him. TheThe third hallelujah comes with an “Amen”. The word, “amen” conveys affirmation, confirmation and sacred ratification; it seals and affirms God’s promise, prophecy, power and authority. The fourth and final hallelujah accompanies the proclamation that, “the Lord God omnipotent reigneth”. His sovereignty and supremacy demand the worship, praise, submission and adoration of both “small and great”. The Lord will be praised by an innumerable crowd He has redeemed by His “blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9). To sing praise that is acceptable to God on earth and be among singers in heaven, a sinner must repent of sin and be cleansed by His blood. This is the experience that made the redeemed in heaven refer to the Almighty as “the Lord our God”.
Question 2: What are the reasons for the shout of hallelujah in the text?
THE PERSONALITIES AND READINESS FOR THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB (Revelation 19:7,8; Ephesians 5:22-27,32; Matthew 25:1-13; Revelation 14:4,5; 12:10; 7:10-14; Daniel 7:13,14)
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7). Christ, the Lamb of God, referred to Himself as the Bridegroom (Matthew 9:14,15). Concerning Christ, John the Baptist says, “he that hath the bride is the bridegroom”, adding that he is only a “friend of the bridegroom” (John 3:27-30). Obviously, the bride is the Church which, “he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). Apostle Paul was inspired to communicate this truth with clarity to believers in Corinth, saying, “I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2). He teaches that believers’ marriage union should be modelled after that of Christ and His Church; “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:22-27,30,32). Christ’s bride comprise believers who are chaste and holy that He will present to Himself in a grand epoch-making marriage ceremony (Ephesians 5:27). Israel in the Old Testament was described as the wife of God but has been put away for her idolatry, also referred to as spiritual adultery (Isaiah 54:5-8; Hosea 2:1-23). In God’s scheme, the Israelites will return and be reconciled to the Lord and “all Israel shall be saved…” (Romans 11:26), but she cannot be referred to as a virgin; no restored wife is ever referred to as a virgin. So, Israel is not the bride but all who are blood-bought and saved out of all languages, tribes, people and nations, Jews and Gentiles. That is why John the Baptist referred to himself as “the friend of the bridegroom”. Desirable as this great event may be, it is not all who know, sing, preach and pray about it that will eventually take part in it. God cannot admit the defiled to the marriage of His Son, irrespective of their social or religious status and affiliation.
Question 3: Who is the bride of Christ?
POSSESSION AND BLESSEDNESS OF PARTICIPANTS AT THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB (Revelation 19:8-10; 3:4; 7:13,14; Job 29:14; Isaiah 64:4-6; 61:10; Romans 4:6-8,22-25; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Luke 1:72-79; Matthew 5:6-16,20; Romans 6:11-13,17-22; 1 John 3:7-10)
“And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Revelation 19:8). Christ, the Groom, knows that it takes possession of God’s righteousness to witness His marriage and made the provision through His vicarious sacrifice in order to qualify all who are willing to be there (Hebrews 13:12; Ephesians 5:25-27). Those who “outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” lack the requisite qualification to be there. All other substitutes to righteousness obtainable through faith in Christ are “filthy rags” in His sight (Philippians 3:6,9; Romans 10:3; Matthew 23:28; Isaiah 64:6). Every sinner who truly repents and exercises faith in Christ receives “the gift of righteousness” and accompanying grace to walk in newness of life (Romans 5:17). Thus, he is spiritually arrayed in clean, white and fine linen, and ready for the marriage of the Lamb (Isaiah 61:10). Therefore, everyone seeking admission into that glorious gathering must be, one, converted from sin and all forms of defilements and worldliness to the Lord; two, cleansed by the blood of the Lamb; three, clothed with the garment of righteousness; four, consecrated entirely to the Lord; five, constant in cleaving to the Lord; six, courageous in maintaining scriptural conviction; and seven, consistent in holiness. God is consistent in His demand for holiness in both testaments (Leviticus 19:2; 1 Peter 1:15,16). Holiness is the major requirement for the holy union with the Lord at His marriage supper. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14)
Question 4: How can one qualify for the marriage supper of the Lamb?
John is commanded to pen down the blessedness of all who will partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb. “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” Recall that Christ promised after instituting the Lord’s Supper that, “I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). The joy of all who will sit at the same table to feast with Christ will be indescribably glorious. What with the personal touch of His holy hands wiping tears of privation, persecution, rejection, ostracism, loss and loneliness endured in His name! There, all will hear His comforting words and receive rewards for souls won and services rendered in His name (Hebrews 6:10; 1 Corinthians 15:58).
Question 5: Explain the blessedness of being at the marriage supper of the lamb.
After John received the revelation of the marriage supper of the Lamb, the proclamation of blessedness on privileged participants and the divine affirmation of this truth, he fell at the feet of the angel in obeisance but was forbidden from doing so by this heavenly messenger. He quickly pointed the apostle’s attention to God who is the right Person to worship (Revelation 19:10). Worship of angels is forbidden in the scriptures (Colossians 2:18; Revelation 22:8,9; Matthew 4:9,10; Deuteronomy 4:19). It is therefore idolatrous to make anything or any personality, other than God, our object of worship (Exodus 20:4,5).
In conclusion, everyone should prepare for the marriage supper of the Lamb now by being rapture-ready. Readiness requires righteousness, Christ-likeness and cross-bearing with constant self-examination, intake of God’s word, prayer, watchfulness and perseverance.
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