Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. 9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:6-9)
This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. The season of Advent is not simply a prelude to Christmas. During the twelve days of Christmas, we celebrate the nativity of Christ. It’s a time of remembrance, feasting, and faith. During the four weeks of Advent, we anticipate the second coming of Christ. It’s a time of repentance, fasting, and hope, when the Bride makes herself ready for the marriage of the Lamb (Rev 19:7). The invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb is a call to repentance. The bride makes herself ready through penitential preparation.
Repentance is a confession of sin and turning away from sin, but it’s not the same as a New Year’s resolution. Repentance isn’t simply a resolution to stop something. It’s more than renunciation. Repentance is turning away from sin and turning towards Christ in faith. We may be tempted to think that because Advent is a penitential season it’s somehow an unhappy season. But repentance is turning to Christ, so Advent is a time of rejoicing and blessing. Repentance and blessing go together: “The Bride has made herself ready . . . blessed those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:7, 9). There is blessing in the invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb because it’s call to repentance.
There are seven benedictions in Revelation (Rev 1.3; 14.13; 16.15; 19.9; 20.6; 22.7; 22.14). The book contains a sevenfold blessing. The Bible concludes with a perfect and complete benediction. The blessing in Revelation 19:9 is the fourth of seven. It’s the centre, the hinge, the blessing of blessings: “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9a). This benediction is followed by a solemn angelic attestation: “These are the true words of God” (Rev 19:9b). These four weeks of Advent are a time of prayerful and penitential preparation for the marriage supper of the Lamb and a time of watching and waiting for the coming Bridegroom.
Revelation 19:6-9 reveals the Bridegroom’s love for us, which turns our hearts to him. In my next note to the church, I will consider three aspects of Christ’s love, which are revealed in these verses: (1) Christ’s love for us in personal: he knows us; (2) Christ’s love for us is redemptive: it saves us; (3) Christ’s love makes us beautiful: it sanctifies. In the meantime, I invite you join me in meditating on Revelation 19:6-9 as we wait and watch for the coming of Christ.