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The Rider On The White Horse

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Chapter 19 of Revelation brings us to the end of the world as we know it with the Second Coming of Christ Jesus, the glorious appearing of our Lord. The chapter opens with celebration:

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.
Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear."
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)  Rev 19:6-8 NIV

We have now come to the wedding of the Lamb, where he claims his Bride for himself. She is mentioned again in Chapters 21 and 22, under the figure of a great city which is called "the bride, the wife of the Lamb."

Most of the commentators identify the bride as the church, other Scriptures lead me to believe that the bride may be a metaphor for the church, but it also is used to describe Israel. We can say it would be accurate to refer to the church as the body of Christ.

Regardless, Jesus speaks of this wedding supper of the Lamb when, in Matthew 8:11, he says: "many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast [the wedding feast] with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." So, Old Testament saints are part of the supper as well.

In Chapters 21 and 22, when the new Jerusalem, the Holy City, comes down from God out of heaven, "prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband" {Rev 21:2 NIV}, and labeled the "bride of the Lamb," it will have twelve gates named for the twelve tribes of Israel and twelve foundations named for the twelve apostles. So there is a blending of Old Testament and New Testament saints in the bride of the Lamb.

There is some controversy over Verse 7, it says, "bride has made herself ready,"

·        Some say it means the judgment seat of Christ is now over…

In Second Corinthians 5:10 he says, "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due to him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad," {2 Cor 5:10 NIV}.

Þ    This is a time of evaluation. It is not to settle destiny but to determine the degree of reward.

Þ    It is a time when our service for the Lord during these days on earth is evaluated, and we are shown what was done in reliance on the Spirit and what was done in the energy of the flesh.

Þ    According to the apostle, those deeds done for self-glorification or in the energy of the flesh for selfish purposes are all "burned with fire," and all that is left are the "righteous deeds of the saints."

·        Others say, "fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear," and, "the fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints." So here the bride has made herself ready by faithfully enduring the tribulation that precedes Christ’s return.

Þ    Even her righteous deeds are washed in the blood of the Lamb so that the garments she wears are bright and clean white linen.

·        Regardless of your position the truth is clear: everyone must prepare for the day of judgment!

The importance of this occasion is seen in Verses 9 and 10:

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."

At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Rev 19:9-10 NIV

It is a great honor to be invited to this wedding feast.

That invitation is the gospel which goes out to all men and women everywhere, in every age, inviting them to the wedding feast of the Lamb to be part of the body of Christ.

The passage should remind us of the parable Jesus told in Matthew 22.

·        A great king, said Jesus, made a wedding banquet for his son. He sent invitations out to certain ones but they refused to come. This seems to refer to the nation Israel. When Jesus presented himself to the nation at the Triumphal Entry, riding down the Mount of Olives on a donkey as Zechariah had predicted, ["Behold your king comes unto you, meek and lowly, and riding on a donkey," {cf, Zech 9:9}] the people received him but the leadership of the nation rejected him and thus refused to come into the banquet hall. Then the king sent his messengers out into all the highways and byways, and he appealed to anyone, good or bad, to come to the wedding feast, {cf, Matt 22:2-14}. When one came who was not suitably clothed, the king gave orders to have him tied and thrown outside into the darkness…

·        So it will be on this day—only those whose garments are white will be in the presence of the Lamb.

It is almost impossible to describe adequately the beauty of this scene and to make it real to our hearts. What a wonderful, blessed thing it is to be invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb! So incredible is it that the angel adds, "These are the true words of God."

·        John is so moved by this that he falls down to worship the angel and is immediately rebuked. The angel says, "No, do not do that. I am merely another servant of the King. I am like you, one of those who bear the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!"

·        And how do you do that? The very spirit of prophecy itself tells us how, for the angel adds, "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." All prophecy points only to Jesus. It is not designed to give us a calendar of the last days, though some read it like that.

·        No, the spirit, the essence, of prophecy is to bear witness to Jesus. He is the central figure of all Scripture. It is not events which we are to focus on, but the One who brings them to pass, the Lord Jesus himself. So we are instructed here by the angel to focus our attention upon him.

Þ    In Verses 11-16 we come to the end of all history. This is the once far-off divine event toward which all human events since the beginning of time have moved -- the unveiling of the presence of Jesus in power and great glory.

Þ    It is the most prophesied event in the Bible. Three different times in this book, at the end of each of the series of judgments -- the opening of the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls of wrath -- we have been brought to the very edge of this event, and each time the Spirit of Truth has brought us back again to see in more intensified form what God is doing in the world of that day.

But now at last we come to the event itself…

Þ    This is what Paul calls, in Second Thessalonians, "the splendor of his coming" {2 Th 2:8 NIV}, or literally, in the actual Greek, "the outshining of his presence."

It is what Jesus spoke of in Matt 24:

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory." Matt 24:30 NIV

The first chapter of Revelation also refers to that,

Behold, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him. {Rev 1:7 NIV}

Now we read of this actual coming in Verse 11 and following, READ: Rev 19:11-16 NIV


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