Revelation Series:THE WEDDING IS FINALLY HERE

Revelation 18:1-19:21
My family likes to take pictures as do many of you. Whenever we go out, we try to take a camera. Molly and I have different ideas about what should be in a picture, because  when we take a picture, we want to show what we are seeing, we want others to know and see what we feel is important. And yet, when we show the pictures, we have to be there and explain what the picture is, who is in it, what is going on. Because without that, those looking at the pictures, don’t know what we know.We need to remember what the book of Revelation is all about. It is not here to give us a timetable, so we can predict the end of the world. This book does say what the rest of the Bible says, it tells us of Jesus Christ, it tells us that God reigns and that gives us comfort. Chapters 15-19 are full of visionary pictures, that are often confusingAs chapter 15 starts out, we see a wonderful picture, a picture of those who stand victorious over the beast through the victory of Jesus Christ and these people sing, sing a song to the conqueror. The song of praise is raised because of the victory of the Lamb.Then we read of the punishment of God that is poured out. This is familiar, because we have heard it before in our look at Revelation. Chapter 16 gives us the horrible picture of God’s wrath being poured out, as each bowl is poured out, the punishment of God is seen, seen in all its fullness. There is no mention here of 1/3 or ½ of the earth, the destruction is total, the punishment given is tailored to fit the crime. The crime is having shed the blood of those who announce and bring good news, because they have shed blood, they are given blood to drink. All this simply means is that God’s wrath is full and the punishment is passed out and it is horrible. What is more horrible that all, is that with all these things happening, the people still don’t repent, because repenting time is over, now is judgement.Look at what happens, the hailstones come, the earthquakes rumble and in spite of it all, these people curse God. It is the punishment of the beast and his followers, there is no further chance to repent. The last bowl is poured out into the air, not land, and it is announced, “It Is Done”.In chapter 17, we have a picture that is something evil, totally evil that matches the evil of the dragon, the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth, he evil woman, the prostitute, the one who is the counterpart of satan.Remember the woman that was taken to the desert on the wings of the eagle, Revelation 12:14, a picture of the church kept safe. Well, satan always has his evil counterpart, the evil trinity, and now his woman in the desert, a woman who is warped and twisted, ugly. She rules the peoples, who is drunk on the death of God’s people. This is the woman that rules, she thinks she has all the power, she has led the nations into evil and they have drunk full and now they fall.Here is how horrible, how evil this system is that oppresses God. It is called a habitat for demons, and for those who have been enticed by the evil. The call comes to God’s people, to get out of there, get out, get out, get out, for destruction falls. Babylon, the system that stands against God is destroyed. Babylon that represents the political, the commercial, and religious systems against God. The kings are terrified because their power is gone, what they held onto is destroyed.There is now no one to buy our cargoes, money is destroyed, riches are gone. The sea captains who depended on the kingdom of the beast cry out, all is gone.No more magic, no more music, no more celebration and worship at the throne and altar of evil.The millstone that grinds out God’s judgement is thrown into the sea. Remember that the sea stands for people, mankind. God’s judgment grinds and the city is no more.God’s people respond in praise, that great multitude of God that we heard in Revelation 7:9. This multitude sings, sings praises to the Lord. For his judgement has come, and his judgements are true and righteous. The 24 elders and 4 living creatures fall down in worship. Again and again and again, the call goes out to Praise the Lord.The overriding message of the Revelation is Jesus cannot lose, and satan cannot win! Those following the Lamb wherever He goes will at last be joined to Him. Natural assaults like famine, pestilence, and flood fail, fierce and relentless persecution, and the passing of opposing laws, are powerless to pluck the weakest saint from the hands of Christ. We see the bride without an adversary, the enemy has been cast down, and the bride of Christ is ready to be joined forever to her Husband.In this passage we are standing on the threshold of eternity, the beginning of a reign that will never cease, an occasion of great joy that brings great honor to God. Even though there have been periods of history during which this did not seem to be the truth, we must not allow ourselves to be deceived by appearances. God’s people are being kept and the enemy is being cast down.All of heaven has been waiting for this marriage! Without this marriage, everything else is futile. In this world, gladness and rejoicing are often considered an end of themselves. Our text speaks of a genuine joy-genuine because it reflects the joy of the Savior.We are told of a time when gladness and joy will be brought to their fullest measure, for what God has purposed has come to pass! What the Son has longed for has now arrived!This is the marriage of the lamb, not the church. The church is being presented to him as pure and holy, without blemish. This marriage was central in the thinking of Christ when He lived among us. He referred to Himself as “the Bridegroom,” and His return to heaven as a time of absence from the bride (Matthew 9:15). The purpose of his death and resurrection is to place us into His Kingdom, to be in the light, to be His bride.Remember, it is the Lamb’s marriage, not the church’s! The church is “His wife,” she is presented to him, He is the focus of it all. His wife has made herself ready, no longer a bride, but now the wife, The preparation involves the maintenance of purity, to remain unspotted. (James 1:27)This is purity from every angle: thought, word, deed, and motives and is made possible because of the provision of Jesus Christ the righteous. We are not limited to our own efforts, the Holy Spirit is given to assist us in preparing for the marriage. Whatever hinders our preparation for the “marriage of the Lamb” is to be avoided, for when the marriage arrives, there will be no time for ANY preparationPicture the kingdom of God as the great hall, which houses the light of God’s presence.  Imagine that you are walking toward the door of the kingdom, hoping against hope that you will be allowed to enter.  As you approach, you see that the door is haloed by an unearthly glow.  When you get closer, however, you realize that the “halo” Is really the escaping rays of light that refuse to be contained behind the wooden door.  So brilliant is their light, that even these scattered rays have the awesome power to expose the previously unseen.  As you stand spellbound by their power, you begin to notice that your garments appear soiled and lightly stained.  You wonder why you didn’t notice that before, and then suddenly realize that the light stains are becoming darker and darker.  Could it be that the colors are actually deepening right before your eyes?  Or is the light opening your eyes to realities that you simply had not noticed before?  Yes, that’s it! Along life’s journey your robe had become ragged and black with sin, but you just hadn’t been able to see it, or perhaps you hadn’t looked.As you stand there, contemplating your inexcusable blindness, you begin to see the hopelessness of your plight.  The kingdom you see before you is the kingdom of holiness and the light you ponder is the penetrating light of God’s presence.  Surely, no one whose robes are stained and spotted with sin will be permitted inside this kingdom of perfection. In utter despair you turn to leave, but just then you hear steps behind you.  Glancing back over your shoulder, you are amazed to see the sinless Christ, brilliantly robed in gleaming white, smiling.  “Would you like to enter the kingdom?” He asks.”Yes,” you reply.  “I long to be a part of God’s family, to live with Him forever.  But I am unfit.  His kingdom is the kingdom of perfect light, and in that light my darkness is exposed.  I cannot enter.”Once again He speaks.  “But do you not desire to enter?”  “Yes, oh yes,” you cry in frustration.  “But in these rags?””No, my child.  My Father would not accept those rags.  But I will exchange your soiled robe for Mine of gleaming white.  Here, take it, put it on.  Then you can go into the kingdom.”You attempt to speak, but you find no words.  You can’t even bear the thought of the Sinless One wearing your rags.  You stand silent, in disbelief.Finally He speaks.  “It’s the only way, My child.  Only My robe is pure enough to withstand the intensity of My Father’s light.  Take it, and enter.”Your heart heavy with remorse, you begin to remove your filthy rags.  You don’t look up, but soon you feel His tender touch as He places His robe on your body.  Then He says, with gentle confidence, “Now you’re ready.  Go inside and stand before My Father.”  Before you walk through the open door, you turn and watch Him walk slowly away, burdened under the weight of your soiled robe.As soon as you enter the room, you understand why there is only one robe worthy to be worn there.  Each corner of the great hall is bathed in the light of purity.  The walls, the floor, and the ceiling all glow with the radiance of God’s holiness.  And then you see Him, the King of kings, on His throne, and you are melted by His loving smile.  “The robe,” He says.  “I’ve seen it before.  Where did you get it?”Surely he knows your answer.  Could He think that you would dare claim it as your own or say that you earned it?  Too well He knows the condition of the rags you wore as you approached the kingdom.You whisper the only word that will satisfy His question.  “Jesus.”  And then His smile widens as He says, “Welcome home, My child.  This is where you belong.  Come, join the celebration!  One whom I have loved and called has made the exchange and now stands unblemished in My presence!”Jesus took the accumulated rags of human sin with Him to the cross and freed us to accept His robe of purest white.  But what exactly does that mean?  When do we place the robe on our shoulders?  Do we wait until we stand in the shadow of heaven’s gate?  No.  We will have no time, after death, to contemplate our plight.  It is here, in this life that we must decide to respond in love and faith to Jesus’ accomplished work of salvation.  It is here, through he revealed truth of Scripture, that He meets us and offers us His robe of redemption.Then comes the rider on the white horse, we have come to the great climax of all history. This rider on a white horse is identified for us by four different namesVerse 11 Faithful and True, to bring in perfect justice. All the wrongs done on earth will be made right; all the cheats and scams that we are familiar with today will be exposed and corrected; all drugs that blow the minds of people will be eliminated; all crime will be brought to an end; all hatred among mankind will cease.Verse 12 A name written on him that no one knows but himself. His blazing eyes speak of full discernment, penetrating knowledge. Many crowns speak of full authority.Verse 13 His name is the Word of God. The sharp sword is the Word of God. Have you ever been smitten by the Word of God? Some word from the Bible has caught your attention and awakened your conscience, and you are suddenly aware that God sees deeper into you than you thought he ever could.Verse 16 KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS, He rules with an iron scepterHere is Jesus Christ, no longer the lamb, but now the Warrior, the King, the Messiah. He goes to conquer and rule and his weapon is the Word. He has a name that is secret to those who do no know him, but to those who are his friend, we know his name. He is king and He is lord and He is Jesus.Look at the end of the battle, the beast and the prophet, the unholy son and unholy spirit are cast into the fiery lake and the rest are destroyed by the Word.The invitation is to come to the wedding feast of the Lamb. We who are part of the wedding feast are robed in robes of righteousness, these are given to us by Jesus Christ.The end is coming and the judgement of God will fall, the judgement which was for you, however, has fallen on Jesus Christ. You need not fear the beast, the prophet, the dragon, for you will be at the wedding feast.So I make a recommendation, start practicing praise songs.

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