10 August 2012

Revelation 19:3-10

"Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb" (v. 9)


Today's passage begins with the great multitude in heaven singing a psalm or song of praise. Evil is being defeated, and the saints are being vindicated. Smoke from the collapse of the earthly powers which thought they were eternal is rising in an awful contrast to the incense of heaven (verse 3). The elders representing the people of God and the living creatures representing the rest of creation ratify that cause of praise to God (verse 4). That leads to a divine call for all to praise God (verse 5) and to make God the centre of their attention and commitment (rather than any emperor or other 'beastly' systems or powers. The great multitude praise God that the time for the heavenly banquet has come. The prophet Hosea had talked of Israel, the people of God, being God's bride. At Passover time the Song of Songs was read as an allegory of God's betrothal to Israel in the wilderness. Now the bridegroom has come to be seen as Jesus, who as the ultimate Passover Lamb, has redeemed a new Israel (Revelation 5:9) and made it fit and ready to be his bride (Ephesians 5:23-33).

A new beatitude follows: "Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb!" As we worship, particularly as we gather around the Lord's table, we join with those worshipping in heaven; and by doing so we help what is true in heaven to become more real on earth. There is always a danger on earth of turning our attention from God and making something other than God our focus, as a sort of idol. The writer starts down that slippery slope when he wants to worship the angel. He is rebuked. God must be the focus of everything (verse 10).

To ponder

  • What are the signs that we are making something other than God the centre of our attention and commitment?
  • What difference would it make to you in your life and discipleship if you were to act as if you were the bride of Christ?


Bible notes author

Ken Howcroft

Ken Howcroft was designated by the Conference in 2013 to be the President of the 2014 Conference. He is currently a minister of the British Conference of the Methodist Church seconded to the Methodist Church in Italy to look after the English-language Methodist Church in Rome.