Previously, I wrote about the Revelation beatitude that promises blessing for those who stay awake (or are ready) for the coming of the Lord. Today, we turn our attention to one of the most glorious beatitudes in the last book of the New Testament (NT). Here is the passage:
“And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God'” (Revelation 19:9, ESV).
When this beatitude occurs in the book of Revelation, the antiChristian system (Babylon) has been wiped out by the just judgment of God (Rev. 19:2-3, ESV). The kings of the earth who aligned themselves to Babylon face an eternal destiny of punishment (Rev 19:3, ESV). At the other end of the spectrum, lies the eternal destiny of God’s people, which stands in stark contrast to those identified with Babylon. The marriage supper of the lamb points to the consummation or the glorious union of Christ and his bride at his return (Rev. 19:7-8, ESV). When the apostle Paul writes in Romans that nothing can separate the believer from God’s love and presence, the ultimate fulfillment of this occurs during the marriage supper of the Lamb (Romans 8:38-39; Rev. 19:7, ESV). This future reality is everlasting in character and duration. There is no end in sight to the joy expressed and shared between God and his people (Rev. 19:6-7, ESV).
Jesus alludes to the truth of the marriage supper of the Lamb to his disciples on the night of his suffering and death. Listen to these words of the Lord during the upper room discourse found in John’s gospel: “And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also…I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me…” (John 14:3; 16:22b-23a, ESV). Christ’s bewildered apostles could not handle the force of his words; however, love and compassion compelled him to speak them (John 16:6, 12, ESV). His words become a genuine source of comfort for the apostles, especially after the coming of the Holy Spirit, who teaches and guides the sheep into all truth (John 16:13, ESV). Of course, every follower of Christ takes comfort in these words since they transcend the ages. The point being is that Jesus lives out these final moments with his apostles as the Good Shepherd (John 10:2-4). He cares for his sheep by warning them about the coming days of tribulation in addition to giving them hope by reminding them of his glorious return (John 16:16, 33, ESV).
There is a striking parallel between the apostles’ eventual sorrow over Christ’s suffering and death and those invited to the marriage supper of the lamb. In the beginning verses of Revelation chapter nineteen, the great multitude in heaven worships and praises God for the just destruction of Babylon, the city responsible for killing the redeemed of the Lord (Rev. 19:2d, ESV). Their persecution and deaths are tragic and brutal, but their future hope is eternal and joyous like their Savior’s (Rev. 11:7-10; 12:17; 13:7a; 14:13; 20:4; 21:2-3; 22:3-5, ESV). According to tradition, many of the apostles faced intense persecution and eventual martyrdom for their profession of faith. One of the first apostles to face death was James, the brother of John, whom Herod Agrippa killed with the sword (Acts 12:1-2, ESV). Peter faced crucifixion upside down while Paul had been beheaded. All of these men experienced suffering and death before their glorification, which they still await at the return of Christ. The Good Shepherd walked this path of humiliation to exaltation. He blazed this trail for all who would follow him. These martyred apostles and early Christians and all those who suffer for the name will have a place at the table of the marriage supper of the Lamb.
The marriage supper of the Lamb is a time of blessed communion between God and his people. Jesus depicted this glorious time with the parable of the wedding banquet as recorded in the gospels of Matthew and Luke (Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24, ESV). These parallel accounts indicate the Father’s love for his son by organizing this great event (Matt. 22:2-3; Luke 14:16, ESV). Both parables point to a day of judgment wherein the just are those who accept the King’s invitation while the unjust reject the offer (Matt. 22:5-7; Luke 14:18-20, ESV). What the nineteenth chapter of Revelation teaches us is that those at the marriage supper are considered blessed by God, and they suffered along the way. This last point brings to mind Luke’s words in the book of Acts: “…through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22, ESV). It is true that suffering for Christ is severely unpleasant; however, the reward is eternal communion with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The marriage supper of the Lamb sums up everything for the people of God; consequently, to emphasize this point the angel declares, “these are the true words of God” (Rev. 19:9b). May our eyes look to our Lord’s return and his marriage supper.