And I heard as it
were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and
as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God
1. This is the
fourth hallelujah, the hallelujah of Christ’s reign.
2. It seems as if
the entire angelic host and all those who have been saved by the blood of
the Lamb of God have been more impatient than God to see the Lord Jesus
Christ recognized as the omnipotent and absolute ruler over this world.
With this impending, they cannot contain themselves.
I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of
many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings”
As I mentioned in my comments about Revelation 19.1, this great
multitude of redeemed souls erupts with an awe-inspiring display of
praise. If the throne room of heaven shook to the sound of the seraphim
crying “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is
full of his glory” in Isaiah 6.3, imagine this incredible scene.
Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”
But who is it the redeemed multitudes are shouting their praises
to? Matthew Henry, rightly in my opinion, indicates that this is the
beginning of our Lord Jesus Christ’s marriage song.
As well, John Gill writes, “for
the Lord God omnipotent reigneth; by whom is meant the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Lord of
all, and God over all, blessed for ever, and is the Almighty; and though
he was set up as King over the holy hill of Zion, and has reigned over the
church in every age, and came as King into this world, though his kingdom
was not of it, and at his resurrection was declared Lord and Christ, and
his kingdom was then more manifest, and he has ever since displayed his
kingly power in defending his church, and defeating the enemies of it; yet
now will he reign more visibly and gloriously, his kingdom will be
enlarged from one end of the earth to the other, and he will be King over
all the earth, which will occasion great joy to Jews and Gentiles; (see
Psalm 47:1,2 97:1) and (see Gill on “Revelation 11:17”).”
How can we be sure these shouts of praise
refer to the Lord Jesus Christ? Two reasons, I think: First, the context
in which this is set has to do with the impending marriage of the Lamb.
Thus, it would seem most appropriate for His virtues to be extolled at
this point by His bride and her friends. Second, because God has only just
been adored by such praise. Thus, it is fitting that the Lamb of God,
Whose marriage is about to take place, now be praised.
Let us be glad and
rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and
his wife hath made herself ready.
1. I want you to
notice that it is the Groom Who is honored just prior to the marriage of
the church age believers to the Lamb of God. This is not quite the way our
marriage ceremonies go, is it? The weddings here in the west are more
influenced by moslem tradition than Biblical tradition. You see, the white
gown and the veil are traditions from moslem weddings.
2. Turn to the
parable of the ten virgins in Matthew chapter 25:
shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their
lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
And five of them were wise, and five were
They that were foolish
took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom
cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our
lamps are gone out.
the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to
them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were
ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to
But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein
the Son of man cometh.
3. Though we are
not going to study this parable this evening, we can get an idea from this
passage how marriage took place in our Lord’s days on earth before His
crucifixion, His burial, and His glorious resurrection and ascension to
His Father’s right hand in glory. This parable focuses on the
bridesmaids, but in the background we see how weddings took place. The
bride and her maids were responsible to prepare themselves and to be ready
for the groom to come.
4. But who is this
bride of Christ? A clue comes from John the Baptist’s remarks in John
3.29 response to his disciple’s concerns that so many people were
flocking to Christ. He said, “He that
hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which
standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's
voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” What do we learn from
this? We learn that since John the Baptist described himself as a friend
of the bridegroom and not the bride there are, therefore, some
people who are not a part of the bride of Christ . . . even though they
are God’s children. It is generally accepted by those who adopt the
dispensational view of end time prophecy that the bride of Christ is
composed of those who are Christians during the church age. Thus, Old
Testament saints and tribulation period saints are not members of the
bride of Christ.
5. Back in our
text, John writes, “His wife hath made
herself ready.” That is, the church in glory, composed of all
believers who have lived during the church age which ended with the
Rapture, has done something to prepare herself for marriage.
6. What does this
mean? I am not quite sure. On an individual basis, this seems to indicate
that each of us who know Christ during this present dispensation actually
has some role to play in preparing ourselves for this future marriage to
the Lamb. Is it related to the Christian’s rewards that are given at the
judgment seat of Christ? Perhaps.
7. To acquaint you
with the judgment seat of Christ, which is not at all mentioned in the
book of the Revelation, but which I think occurs in conjunction with the
Rapture, look up the following passages with me. The first two passages
show the certainty of Christ’s judgment of His Own, and the passage in
First Corinthians seems to show the criteria by which that future judgment
will be made:
14.10: “But why dost thou judge thy
brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all
stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”
Corinthians 5.10: “For we must all
appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the
things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it
be good or bad.”
c. First Corinthians 3.11-15: 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer
loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
8. There is much
that we are not certain of concerning the bride of Christ, her making
herself ready, and the judgment seat of Christ, but allow me to share some
Baptist distinctives that, though they are not held by all Baptists, they
are held by credible Baptists and by me:
a. First, from
John 3.29, we know that not all God’s children comprise the bride of
Christ. John the Baptist was not part of the bride of Christ.
b. Next, it seems
that every genuinely born again Christian will be part of Christ’s
c. Third, since Revelation 19.7 shows that the bride has made herself ready, it is reasonable to ask how that is done and where it is done? My understanding is that those who are in the bride of Christ make themselves ready in their local churches down here on earth before the Rapture, which is the only place where they can earn the rewards which will be given them after the Rapture and at the judgment seat of Christ. This according to my understanding of First Corinthians 3.11-15.