Studies in Daniel and Revelation, Part 11

Two Suppers, 19:6—21

In this section of the Revelation, we have two contrasting suppers presented to us. One will take place in Heaven, the other on Earth. One will be the cause of great joy and rejoicing, the other will be a time of awful despair and agony. The one is known as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and the other the Great Supper of God. The Marriage supper of the Lamb will see the saints of God in all their glory, but the Great Supper of God will conclude the time of God’s wrath on the Earth and begin the establishment of God’s Kingdom of Earth.

1. Recap: God’s wrath on display

When the Revelation describes God’s wrath being poured out on the Earth, we understand that to mean that part of the Earth which will make up the ten-nation confederacy that will exist within the territory once occupied by the old Roman Empire. The other nations of the world will not be included during this time of the manifestation of God’s wrath; although we may be certain these other nations will feel the effects of some of these judgments.

2. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb, 19:6—10

After Babylon has been dealt with, John’s attention is once again back in Heaven—

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

“Hallelujah!

For our Lord God Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and be glad

and give him glory!

For the wedding of the Lamb has come,

and his bride has made herself ready. (verses 6, 7)

The time of the great wedding in Heaven will have arrived. The question scholars ask is this: Who is the bride, the wife of the Lamb? Some scholars believe the bride to be Israel; others claim she is the Church.

Throughout the Old Testament, the nation of Israel is repeatedly referred to as being “married to God” and God being a husband to Israel. Some scholars see a difference between that bride and the bride of the Lamb; they see two brides in Scripture, one manifested on Earth, the other in Heaven. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb will take place in Heaven just before the Second Coming of Christ with His Saints to the Earth in glory and power. When He reigns, His Bride will reign with Him. This is the Church, which He has called out the world for this very purpose. Of course, there will be other saints in Heaven besides those who make the Church, but they will be distinguished from the Bride.

The other bride, the wife of God, on the other hand, will be on the Earth; estranged from God, her husband, but one day to be gloriously restored to a full relationship with Him on the day of her repentance.

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be a time when the results of the judgment seat of Christ will be on full display. That event will take place immediately after the rapture of the Church—

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12)

But the full manifestation of the Bride’s glory will take place at this event, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, where she will display the same glory as Her Head, the Lamb. This can only happen after the false church has been exposed and judged.

Concerning the Bride, we read this encouraging statement in verse 8—

“Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

This does nor refer to imputed righteousness, but rather to exactly what the text says: the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints themselves, their good deeds done on the Earth, which the judgment seat of Christ will reveal and which will for the wedding garment of the Bride.

Every good thing we do on Earth for the glory of God forms the garment we will wear on that day. Our wedding garments are being prepared right now, on Earth, as the Holy Spirit works in us and through us to do His will. We are minded of what Paul wrote to the Corinthians—

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, is work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:11—15)

With verse 9, we see a group of saints in Heaven separate from the Bride—

Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

These “friends of the Bridegroom” will be the Old Testament saints and the Tribulation saints, who, though not part of the Church, will share in Christ’s glory as redeemed people.

3. The Second Coming, 19:11—16

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

The last time John wrote about a rider on a white horse was back at the beginning of the Revelation when the first seal was broken. The first rider did not descend from Heaven, but came from the Earth. The first rider was the Antichrist. This new rider comes down from Heaven and is the Son of God returning in glory to take vengeance on His enemies and to deliver His people on Earth who are to this very day anxiously awaiting their Messiah.

Notice the vivid description of the Lord as He descends: He rides a white horse as the Prince of Peace; He is called “Faithful and True,” as He was in the message to the Laodicean church; He is returning to execute judgment and to establish God’s authority over all the Earth; His eyes are blazing with fire; the crowns He wears speak of His authority over all the nations on Earth.

He has three names. One, we are told by John, is beyond human understanding. The second name is “the Word of God.” Literally, He is “the Word made,” the Word made flesh, God revealed to man. This name shows the eternity of the Son of God, one Substance with the Father but separate and distinct in personality. His third name is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” This is more of an official title than a name. The first time He came, He was not recognized as such, but this time He will be.

The “armies of heaven” that will accompany Christ at His Second Advent will be made up of three groups: the Church, all the saints of former dispensations, and the Tribulation saints who had been martyred under the Beast and the Antichrist. All three groups will follow their Lord in glorious return to the Earth.

The “sword” that is seen coming from His mouth is the Word of God, and the “winepress” Christ is seen treading upon is symbolic of God’s judgment being meted out unsparingly. Compare with Isaiah 63:1—6—

“I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing.

For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me.

I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground.”

4. The great Supper of God, 19:17—21

And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.”

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

This section of the prophecy is known by some as the Great Supper of God. An angel is seen standing in the sun, summoning the birds to come and feast upon the carcasses of the slain who had gathered to fight at Armageddon. The Beast is seen marshaling his troops and the armies of the Antichrist’s kingdom are all coming to do battle against the returning Christ. But they will be struck down by the Word of the Lord in a moment. This is an awful picture of man in his very last rebellion against God. We think about how ridiculous it sounds when we say “the armies of man gathered to fight against God,” but to God, it is just as ridiculous for puny man to oppose His will at any point.

While the carnage will be complete, two men will be taken alive; the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and they will cast alive into lake of fire, where a thousand years later they are still said to be still suffering. This is not annihilation, it is eternal damnation.

In the Old Testament, we read of two men who went to heaven without dying, Enoch and Elijah. At the close of the New Testament we have to other men cast into the fires of eternal hell also without dying. The terrible fate of these two men should serve as a warning to all who would rebel against and oppose God’s will.

(c)  2009 WitzEnd
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