V99Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.”. For the fourth time (out of seven times) John is ordered to write down “blessed” (Rev 1:33Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.; 14:1313And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”; 16:1515(“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”); 20:66Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.; 22:7,147“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”14Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.). This ‘blessed’ is related to those who are invited to take part in “the marriage of the Lamb”. The only element of the wedding that is mentioned here is the marriage supper.
The invitees cannot possibly be unbelievers. Neither are they the believers from after the rapture of the church, for those haven’t got their resurrected bodies yet. Their resurrection will only take place after the appearance of the Lord (Rev 20:44Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I [saw] the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.). Nor can they be the bride, for a bride is not supposed to be invited.
The invitees are no one else than the Old Testament believers, the friends of the Bridegroom (Jn 3:2929He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full.; Mt 9:1515And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.). Among the invitees are people like John the baptist, Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Deborah, Elijah, Daniel, all together men and women of God for whom we have deep respect. Isn’t it an unimaginable and inconceivable grace of God that you and I are allowed to be a part of the bride when you compare yourself to such people?!
Then John receives a confirmation that everything is true. It looks like too good to be true. He can hardly believe his eyes. It looks as if that’s the reason why it is told to him once more as an explicit emphasis that it is no more than the “true sayings of God”. There is no need for him to doubt whether he sees or hears it right.
V1010Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”. John is impressed by the scene in such a way that he falls down to worship the heavenly messenger. The angel corrects John directly and says that he must not worship him, but God. God alone is worthy of worship. That is what the Lord Jesus also said to the devil during the temptations in the wilderness (Mt 4:1010Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”).
John forgets for a moment that the angel also is a creature. But the angel does not forget it. Good angels do not want honor for themselves, nor do devoted disciples (Acts 10:25-2625When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped [him].26But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am [just] a man.”). Only evil angels, and also evil people, want people to honor them (Col 2:1818Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on [visions] he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,). The angel puts himself on the level of John, not as an apostle, but as “fellow servant”. And he is not only a fellow servant of John, but also of all the “brethren” of John. These brethren have “the testimony of Jesus”, just like him. Therefore the brethren of John are believers from both the Old and the New Testament. The testimony of Jesus binds them together.
‘The testimony of Jesus’ may imply the testimony ‘regarding’ Jesus, which is a testimony that is all about Jesus, the testimony of which He is the contents. It may also imply the testimony ‘that comes from’ or ‘that goes out of’ Jesus, the testimony that He gave when He was on earth and which He continues to give, however, through His servants. Whether it is about Him personally or about what He has said, everyone who has this testimony, meaning has accepted it, has life from God.
In the phrase “for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” a significant characteristic of prophecy is given. Prophecy is not just a foretelling of the future. To know all kinds of things about the future may be considered food for your intellect, but it really is not food for your heart. Real benefit from a study of the future which the Bible tells us, is only the case when you see that in the prophecy it is about the Lord Jesus. The prophecy bears witness of Jesus. In the prophecy it is all about Him. The name ‘Jesus’ indicates that He is the humiliated One. The prophecy shows that He Who was once on earth in humiliation and was rejected, will reign in glory. But it is the same Person. In the prophecy it is all about Him and Him alone and not about knowledge of events.
V1111And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it [is] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.. After a long parenthesis, running from chapter 17:1-19:10, we go back to the historical facts here. In the parenthesis you have seen together with John the judgment over the great harlot and the great Babylon, in connection with a description of the true bride and the marriage of the Lamb. The portion that now follows connects to chapter 16:13-16, where the nations are gathered at Armageddon for the battle. These nations return later in verse 1919And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.. The battle itself is described in verses 19-2019And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.20And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. (see also Rev 17:1414These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him [are the] called and chosen and faithful.”), while in verses 17-1817Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God,18so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” the result of the battle is already given in advance. The rest of the verses (verses 11-1611And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it [is] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.12His eyes [are] a flame of fire, and on His head [are] many diadems; and He has a name written [on Him] which no one knows except Himself.13[He is] clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.14And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white [and] clean, were following Him on white horses.15From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.16And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”) are focused on Him Who as the only One fights, although there are armies that follow Him in His going to the gathered enemies.
In order to show John this interesting scene, heaven is opened. The opening of heaven mocks all materialistic and rationalistic dogmas that assume that there is nothing outside the visible. When heaven is opened and Christ appears, clothed in battle outfit, there is no more denial of a super-terrestrial reality. God enters out of His world into the world of man (Mic 1:33For behold, the LORD is coming forth from His place.
He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth.
). The Lord Jesus comes in majesty to earth where He was once rejected, in order to take the place that is ascribed to Him.
In the New Testament there is mention of an opened heaven five times (Mt 3:1616After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove [and] lighting on Him,; Lk 3:2121Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened,; Jn 1:5151And He *said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”; Acts 7:5656and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”; Rev 19:1111And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it [is] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.), each time in connection with Christ. When heaven is opened before the face of John, he sees “a white horse” (cf. Rev 6:22I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.), the sign of victory. On the horse he sees Someone Who is characterized by the names that He wears. Those names indicate how He will operate. The work that He does is judging and making war in righteousness.
He is called “Faithful and True”. These names characterize Him in the execution of God’s plan with the world (cf. Rev 3:1414“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:, where Christ is called by these names, in contrast to the unfaithful Christianity). Judgment and war are the first acts with which He will execute God’s plan, but He will do that in a totally different way than man acts. He is the righteous Judge and “in righteousness He judges and wages war”.
V1212His eyes [are] a flame of fire, and on His head [are] many diadems; and He has a name written [on Him] which no one knows except Himself.. The description makes you think of a description which you have come across at the beginning of this book (Rev 1:1414His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.). The Lord Jesus is described there in His judgment of the church because of her unfaithfulness. He is described here as the One Who judges the unbelievers, namely the beast and the false prophet. The “many diadems” that He wears on His head, go far beyond the ten crowns of the beast (Rev 13:11And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns [were] ten diadems, and on his heads [were] blasphemous names.) and the seven of the dragon (Rev 12:33Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads [were] seven diadems.). His royal dignity is not to be compared with any other dignity. These crowns show a dignity and glory that will be visible for everyone and which will constrain admiration.
In addition He has “a name written” which will be readable by everyone, but of which He alone knows the profound meaning. Whatever will be seen and admired of Him, there will nevertheless be aspects of His Person that remain hidden for us, creatures. It regards to aspects that He Himself alone and the Father know (Mt 11:2727All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal [Him].).
V1313[He is] clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.. His robe being “dipped in blood”, means that He will come to exercise revenge (Rev 14:2020And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.; Isa 63:1-41Who is this who comes from Edom,
With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah,
This One who is majestic in His apparel,
Marching in the greatness of His strength?
“It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
2Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?
3“I have trodden the wine trough alone,
And from the peoples there was no man with Me.
I also trod them in My anger
And trampled them in My wrath;
And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments,
And I stained all My raiment.
4“For the day of vengeance was in My heart,
And My year of redemption has come.
). The blood is that of His enemies, not of the martyrs and less of His own. Then you hear His name. That name is “the Word of God”. This name you also find in another writing of John (Jn 1:1,141In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.). It means that He is the full revelation of God, in both His life on earth and in His eternal existence. He alone reveals God’s love as well as God’s holiness and righteousness. He also judges as the Word. He does everything in accordance with God’s Word, because He Himself is the Word of God.
V1414And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white [and] clean, were following Him on white horses.. The Lord Jesus will not appear alone. There will be armies that follow Him. These armies consists of all glorified saints (Zec 14:55You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD, my God, will come, [and] all the holy ones with Him!; Jude 1:1414[It was] also about these men [that] Enoch, [in] the seventh [generation] from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones,; Col 3:44When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.; 1Thes 3:1313so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.). You can derive that from the description of their clothes (see verse 88It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright [and] clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.). Also angels will accompany Him (2Thes 1:77and [to give] relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,; Mt 25:3131“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.), but they will not ride on horses. The airspace will be filled with an enormously dazzling army. What to John is an impressive spectacle, will be terrifying to everyone on earth.
V1515From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.. He shall strike the nations with “a sharp sword” which comes “from His mouth”. He alone has a sword, the armies do not. With this sword He will execute the judgment and He, Who is the Lamb, will pour out His wrath over His enemies (Rev 6:1717for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”). There is no mention of a furious battle, there is nothing mentioned about any opposition. How could that be when the Lord of hosts appears in armor and acts in power and majesty? His arm grants Him power and He does not need anyone’s help (Isa 59:16b-1816And He saw that there was no man,
And was astonished that there was no one to intercede;
Then His own arm brought salvation to Him,
And His righteousness upheld Him.
17He put on righteousness like a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing
And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.
18According to [their] deeds, so He will repay,
Wrath to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies;
To the coastlands He will make recompense.
; 63:33“I have trodden the wine trough alone,
And from the peoples there was no man with Me.
I also trod them in My anger
And trampled them in My wrath;
And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments,
And I stained all My raiment.
Although the armies are with Him He personally executes the sentence. After the execution of the judgment He will reign and they will also reign with Him. He does that like a shepherd that herds his flock. The judgment is general and it spares nothing and nobody, which is indicated by the treading of the “winepress”.
Now read Revelation 19:9-15 again.
Reflection: Mention some differences between the bride and the invitees for the wedding.