Following, or concurrent with, the judgement of the great whore the people of God sing and shout and rejoice. Yes, it is quite appropriate for God loving people to celebrate when righteous justice is accomplished. The true Church can now take her place as the rightfully acknowledged bride of Christ. In this chapter He is both seen as a lamb and as a warrior hero coming on a white horse. Truly the metaphors throughout this whole book are mixed. This is in part to emphasise so many different aspects, angles and layers of the story – it is not a simple story – just as life is not simple or straightforward. The ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ are often mixed in together – sometimes it was those who were themselves a part of the beast who ‘came out’ and testified against her. Sometimes the ‘coming out’ was partial and still tainted. It is the same story across churches today of all denominations. The wheat and the tares are mingled in together and will not be totally separated until the day of final harvest.
The second half of this chapter revisits the great ‘day of battle’ and the judgement of the beast. Either it is overlapping the previous chapter or taking us back a little further again to the point just prior to the sixth bowl (Armageddon). So much of the book runs and reruns overlapping scenes like a movie shot from multiple angles and a directors cut that sews together various sections of the film from an artistic viewpoint rather than from a strict perspective of pure chronology. Whatever the specific order of events may be, the picture is emerging… one of victory, justice, love, marriage and of a soon coming conclusion and of living happily ever after.
It would be very difficult to build much of a picture about the marriage supper from this short statement in the book of Revelation alone. What is its purpose and meaning? It’s not a literal marriage of one man and one woman of course. We also must not picture a typical western style wedding day either. We have numerous literal marriages mentioned in the Bible as well as various references made to such – not least of all in Jesus’ parables. In Matthew 22 we have a wedding parable where various guests are invited, one of whom arrives inappropriately attired, these guests are neither the bridegroom nor the bride. In Mat 25 we read of a group of young virgins awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom, some with oil and others without oil in their lamps, these are neither the bridegroom nor the bride. In John 3 John the baptist makes reference to the “friend of the bridegroom,” clearly again this is distinct from the bridegroom and the bride. These events to come are not at all simplistic but every legitimate participant will know the joy of the occasion.
Concerning the first coming of Jesus Christ into this world we read…
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed…”
At the commencement of His ministry He opened the scroll in the synagogue and read all of the nice parts of Isaiah 61 (vs. 1&2) and stopped short of quoting , “and the day of vengeance of our God.” When James and John suggested calling fire down from heaven upon His enemies He rebuked them. It was this very lack of militant action that caused many to doubt if He truly was the Messiah. The prophecies of old clearly indicated that Messiah would be a man of war and a military deliverer. Even if we spiritualise some of those meanings there still remain so many specific prophecies about the Day of God’s wrath coming upon wicked men. Personally, I have no doubt about whose blood is upon His garments in this chapter. This is not the precious blood of His salvation in view now but rather the blood of His enemies. I’ve already asked, in what order do these final battles occur? At which juncture is He here leading and intervening in person? In what manner will He personally lead armies and fight? How long will these wars last?
I get the impression that many Christians picture His return as being some kind of magic wand moment (probably because that was how I used to imagine it). But there may yet be time to run and battles to be fought, and won, before all the nations submit and make their peace with God and His Christ. For example, where does Psalm 2 fit in…
“Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.”
PSALM 2: 1-4
It goes on to say…
“You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
The subject of the moment and manner of His return, and the imminently ensuing events, of course goes beyond just the Book of Revelation and is more than we can consider in this short overview but like so many other topics it is wide ranging and filled with complexities.