The Bible begins with a wedding, ends with a wedding, and is shot through with pictures of a faithful Bridegroom loving an unfaithful bride. Weddings in biblical days foreshadowed deep spiritual truths concerning the ultimate Bridegroom and his bride. It’s exciting to get to the final chapters of Revelation and see the culmination of these pictures. Today, read the following optional article, and discover some of the parallels between the Jewish wedding and “Yeshua’s” Second Coming.
I cannot resist repeating one of my favorite You-Tube videos of a song and dance prepared by Lin-Manuel (creator of Hamilton) and his father-in-law to surprise his new bride, Vanessa. It foreshadows the deep joy and festivity of the wedding supper of the Lamb. Looking forward to this can help us put in perspective the transitory suffering of this life.
The suffering Jeremiah prophesied, and has happened,
will be reversed, for His prophetic words are sure. In Revelation 18, this from Jeremiah was quoted:
For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Before your eyes and in your days I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in this place. (Jeremiah 16:9)
But now there will be a great reversal:
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride had made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)
(In a documentary on “Fiddler on the Roof” Lin-Manuel expresses how many people thought this was such a beautiful Jewish wedding, while they are not Jewish — but the documentary made the point that Fiddler on the Roof has eternal truths that are applicable in every culture. )
Want to see the documentary? Here’s a link:
The first time Jesus came it was on the foal of a donkey, but when John saw Him returning, He was riding a white horse with the armies of heaven arrayed in fine white linen. In the past I’ve posted a painting from Martin French of this, but Martin decided this portrait of Christ was too holy to portray, and asked me to take it down. How I loved that painting, yet I appreciate his thinking, for indeed, this vision is Holy, Holy, Holy. But I will at least give a portrait of the white horse. When Kathy Troccoli and I did our Falling in Love with Jesus series, she would tell the women “Even if God never gives you a Prince Charming or turns your husband into a Prince Charming, we do have a PRINCE, in fact, A KING OF KINGS, A PERFECT BRIDEGROOM, COMING FOR US ON A WHITE HORSE!”
Jesus IS coming in power, strength, and beauty with an army of witnesses. He will war against the enemies of His Bride and banish evil forever and ever. One impact of Revelation on me is to behold Christ in His glory, which we will do this week. Scripture promises us that as we behold Him, we become like Him, so let’s get ready to behold and have our breath taken away.
There’s much to cover this week as I want to end when Lent begins. Therefore, you won’t be in Mystery Explained except for one optional reading, though I’ve summarized a few things from it. I think listening to the sermon will be very helpful — and I’ve given you two days to do it.This is a wonderful section, so encouraging, so I hope you can take time to truly take it in.
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
Monday: Judgment Complete, Rejoicing in Heaven
In John Stott’s commentary series, Michael Wilcox describes this helpful diagram. In the middle is earth, and in an inner circle on earth is his Church, the twice born. From below rises the up the power of Satan to endeavor to gain hold of Her, and Satan’s mouthpiece is Babylon (earth-dwellers, unbelievers). From above reaches God, with a mightier power to rescue His Church and, indeed, His earth. Babylon all all evil is finally destroyed forever.
In these opening 5 verses of Revelation 19, the perspective is from heaven. I’ve often wondered what those who have gone before can see. But here it is clear they see the final destruction of evil on earth — evil that has haunted their loved ones. And of course, they are rejoicing!!! Indeed, this may be us rejoicing, should we not be on earth at His Second coming.
2. Read Revelation 19:1-5
A. Who is praising God, and why, according to these verses?
B. Imagine those you know who love you and are “above” watching down. What specifically do you think makes them rejoice though they see the sorrow you are going through now?
3. Read Revelation 19:6. What does the voice sound like in verse 6? What thoughts do you have as you mediate on this image?
4. I’m going to choose a few things from Mystery Explained for you to comment on:
A. Campbell compares the rejoicing in this section to an answer to the question posed in Psalm 79:10. What is the question and how does this answer this?
B. Campbell says that “Amen” and “Hallelujah” mean trust and praise. Think about ways you use these two words — does this bring any light?
C. As you are maturing, is praise more a part of you life? Explain.
Tuesday: Fine Linen White and Clean
5. Read Revelation 19:7-9
A. What is she given? What must she do?
B. Is that salvation from God or the righteous works of the saints? Explain.
6. Compare the above to Isaiah 61:10-11. Similarities?
7. Compare to Matthew 22:1-14. What do you learn?
8. Challenge question: See Matthew 22:14 and Revelation 19:9. Thoughts?
9. Are you confident you are clothed in white linen? If so, what gives you confidence?
10. Read Revelation 19:9-10 and describe how John responds to the angel and how the angel responds.
11. Have you ever or are you now ever tempted to fall into idolatry with a person? If so, how did you come to your senses or how will you prevent this?
Wednesday: King of Kings and Lord of Lords
This description always means the best. Here He comes with the right to judge evil and banish forever. It is a fearful picture for unbelievers, called earth dwellers, but those who believe and have been longing for justice are thankful for the final end to evil. I also think about what Spurgeon said about the Song of Songs. “Like King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Song of Songs is the best song. What is that? The love of Christ for His Bride.” Here He comes to defend her and keep her safe forever and ever and ever!
12. Read Revelation 19:13-16 aloud and share what stands out to you, and why, including any questions..
We are finally at the last battle, the true end of evil, before Christ reigns, I believe, forever on the new heaven and earth, though some believe for a literal 1,000 years. (We’ll get into that next week, but the Idealist view takes the numbers of Revelation symbolically, and 1,000 means a long time or forever.)
13. Read Revelation 19:17-21
A. What does the angel call to the birds to do to get ready for what will be the corpses of the enemies in verses 17-18?
B. Inspired by demons, kings gather together to war against Christ. What will be their fate, and what will be the fate of the best and false prophet? (Verses 19-21)
14. (Optional) Read the rest of Campbell’s commentary beginning with The Last Battle and Last Judgment Concluded to the end of this section.
15. Try to imagine a new heaven a new earth where Christ reigns forever and there is absolutely no sin, sorrow, or death. What pictures and thoughts do you have?
16. Listen to this sermon and share your notes and comments.
17. What is your take-a-way and why?