Guests at a wedding celebrate the union of the bride and groom. They witness the ceremony in which the couple is joined in the marriage covenant, and they should rejoice in the love that binds the two into one. However, they can never be as happy as newlyweds who have genuinely pledged themselves to one another for life.
The eternal relationship between Christ and His saints is the basis for human marriage which, in turn, provides a beautiful symbol for the spiritual union of redeemed humanity with its Savior. Christ has loved His people so much that He laid down His life to ensure their eternal purity. The love saints have for their Lord is demonstrated by their sincere efforts to please Him. This is wonderfully described by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:22-33.
When Christ returns in glory, His bride (i.e. the redeemed of humanity) will be joined to Him completely in resurrection glory. This is the “marriage of the Lamb” (v. 7). Chosen in eternity past and betrothed to Christ by the Father, each believer has been purified by Christ’s sacrifice through regeneration and sanctification of the Spirit. The bride is pure by the imputed righteousness of Christ; she is clothed in her own righteous deeds and adorned with her reward. Her appearance is pictured in verse eight as pure glory (“clean and bright”; Rev. 4:4; 15:6). The saints will be pleasing in the sight of Christ (cf. Ps. 45:9-14), and we shall be pleased to be like Him (Ps. 17:15; 1 Jn. 3:2).
From the rapture of the New Testament Church until the final glorification of all the saints throughout the Millennial kingdom, they are presented and officially wed to Christ. Together, the Lord and His saints will experience eternal happiness before God in His kingdom, which is symbolized in verse nine by “the marriage supper of the Lamb.” The holy angels will certainly bear witness to all of this as fellow servants of and ministers to the saints. As we see in Revelation 19:9-10, all who are part of the marriage celebration are blessed.
The Marriage of the Lamb – Part II (19:7-10)
The Guests are Blessed (vv. 9-10)
Happy are the Saints (v. 9)
The angel which began speaking to John in 17:1 has guided the apostle through this portion of the vision until now. It is he who tells John to record (“write”) the beatitude of verse nine: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” There are seven beatitudes (pronouncements of “blessing” or “happiness”) that appear throughout the book (1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14). Each describes the happiness of the saints as those who read this book, who obey its truth, who sanctify themselves, who die in Christ, and who are resurrected to reign with Christ in the fullness of eternal life in God’s kingdom. This is primarily a pronouncement of happiness for the saints who, despite the trials of this world, will share the joy of the kingdom with the Lord (cf. Matt. 5:3-10). It is symbolized by a joyous feast (Is. Matt. 8:11; 22:1-14).
Holy angelic beings have long been observing, marveling, and participating in God’s work of preparing believers as the bride of Christ (Heb. 1:14; 1 Pet. 1:12). They will likewise join in the joyous celebration that surrounds the heavenly marriage (Rev. 19:5-7). So they, as servants of God also, are certainly guests of this wonderful event in that sense. This seems to be emphasized in the next verse as will be noted.
Many take verse nine to be an invitation to Old Testament, Tribulation, and Millennial saints to come to the wedding of the New Testament Church, whom they single out as the bride. Yet most commentators will also acknowledge that these must ultimately be considered as part of the bride. However, taking into account the entirety of Scripture, this division of the saints by era seems unnecessary when interpreting this passage. Part one of this study addresses this issue.
Rather than merely being an invitation to wedding guests to observe, this verse is an effectual call to the bride (i.e. all the saints of God before and after the cross) to partake of the supper (“called to”). In other words, happy are the people who are saved from sin to enter into and enjoy God’s kingdom! The eternal happiness of the saints of every era of redemptive history is in view here. They all join Christ in resurrection glory to serve God in His kingdom as an eternal representation of His grace, which is precisely God’s purpose for redemption (Eph. 1:3-14; 3:9-11). NT saints are certainly the first to fully partake.
This is precisely what John and the faithful saints of the first century needed to hear. They were going through great persecution from within the church and without (Rev. 1:9). Many churches were plagued by false teachers, which produced false believers and, at best, worldly believers. Christ issued a call for repentance and purity to the churches before His return (Rev. 2-3).
True believers needed and still need this promise of eternal happiness in the kingdom — to know, as the angel reminds John, that, “These are the true sayings of God” (v. 9b). This includes everything revealed since 17:1. Even though rebellion will increase, and its persecution of the saints with it, God will destroy Babylon (Rev. 17-18). He calls for the marriage of the Lamb to begin immediately after the judgments of the Tribulation when Christ returns in glory. This guarantee urges the saints to pursue holiness and maintain hope.
So when we refer to the guests being happy, we are primarily speaking of all those who partake of God’s kingdom. That logically includes the holy angels, but here it specifically refers to all the saints.
Helpful are the Angels (v. 10)
As mentioned earlier, verse 10 emphasizes the holy angels as servants of God in His kingdom who observe the marriage of the Lamb and rejoice in it. They are indeed guests at the wedding, but they do not share in the unique happiness between Christ and His bride.
But as a saint, John was completely overwhelmed by all of this spectacular information. In fact, he was so overcome with emotion that he “fell at [the angel’s] feet to worship him.” This likely means that he was showing respect to the angel as one whom John felt was greater than he. The word, “worship” (Gr. – proskuneo), can describe the ancient custom of prostrating oneself to pay homage to one of superior rank or status (e.g. Gen. 23:12; Ex. 18:17; Ruth 2:10; 1 Kings 1:23; cf. Acts 10:25). It can also indicate worship of the true God (e.g. Josh. 5:14; Matt. 14:33) or of a false god (e.g. Lk. 4:7).
As a Jewish Christian, John certainly knew that the Triune God alone is worthy to be reverenced as the Sovereign Creator (cf. Ex. 20:3; Deut. 6:13; Matt. 4:10). He understood that Jesus of Nazareth is God the Son incarnate, who is the Christ and Son of God — King of kings and Lord of lords (Col. 2:18-19; Rev. 1:5-8, 17; 15:3-4; 17:14). It seems more likely that, in context, he is inclined to see the glorious angel, which bears such marvelous revelations from God, as one of higher rank than a human being who needed salvation.
But the heavenly messenger is quick to correct the apostle by saying, “See that you do not do that!” This is an emphatic and proper rebuke. The angel knew that the message he bore was the word of God to be given to the church. That made him nothing more than “a fellow servant” of John and all Christians (“your brethren”).
The angel was simply serving God by bringing this revelation to John to give to the church (Rev. 1:1-3). It is the church of Christ who bears “the testimony of Jesus” (i.e. the Gospel of Christ), and the revelation John received has been given for that purpose. We miss the point if we get distracted by the angelic messengers.
It is certainly amazing that these heavenly beings, who have never sinned, should be used by God to minister to those who need to be redeemed from sin. Yes, they are holy and glorified, and we will have fellowship with them for eternity. However, they are not greater than the saints. They are created beings who serve Christ by aiding the saints in doing God’s will (Heb. 1:5-14).
Therefore, the saints and angels are equally servants of the Almighty (cf. v. 6). So John’s response and ours must be to “worship God!” That is precisely what God wants when we receive and understand this and all of Scripture. For He has given us the truth of His Word so that we might know Him and do His will (Jn. 17:3; 2 Tim. 3:16). We are to represent our Lord Jesus Christ and His kingdom in word and deed as His ambassadors to a rebellious world (2 Cor. 5:20; Phil. 2:12-16). As the angel reminds John, “…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” In other words, the central theme of our witness to the world is the good news that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior to the glory of God (2 Cor. 4:5-6)! That is the heart of faithful preaching and Christian living.
The angels will rejoice when the marriage of the Lamb takes place. They will witness that most wonderful completion of God’s salvation of sinful human beings. But they cannot know the happiness of the union between Christ and the saints. Our joy in that celebration is unique because we are the very reason that Christ came into the world to die. We are the bride of Christ, chosen in Him and betrothed to Him before the foundation of the world. We are His bride, presented and wed to Him at the end of the age when He comes to rule the earth. What rich and beautiful symbolism to remind us that the happiness of heaven with Christ awaits us!
When we observe the Lord’s Supper, we are commemorating Christ’s death for us which makes us a pure bride. And we proclaim it until He comes again (1 Cor. 11:26). The bread represents His sinless life, and the juice pictures His life blood shed for the forgiveness of sins — the blood of the covenant that joins us to Him eternally (Matt. 26:28). When establishing the ordinance of the communion, our Lord said that He would not drink of the fruit of the vine again until He drinks it new with us in the kingdom (Matt. 26:29). That will be the Marriage Supper of the Lamb — the celebration of the completed union of Christ and His saints in the glory of heaven.
Does knowing the truth about the certainty of your relationship with Christ move you to worship God? Are you looking forward to the joy of eternity with Him?
Return to the top of this page
© Copyright 1997-2016 Richard E. Clayton, Jr. All rights reserved.