d. The Rejoicing Saints, 19: 1-10
The symbolization of the complete destruction of Rome ushers in the fourth of the triumphs
of the consummation.
This triumph pictures the exultation of the redeemed saints.
The scene opens with a great host in heaven singing a hallelujah chorus.
It is a song which attributes deliverance and glory and power to God
because of His righteous judgments upon wicked, persecuting Rome.
It is not a song of rejoicing over the evil which has fallen upon Rome as much as it is
a song of rejoicing over the triumph of righteousness and truth.
Above the wails and lamentation of fallen kings, merchants, and mariners, and above the noise
of crashing walls and flaming streets is heard the song of the rejoicing saints
that righteousness has triumphed over evil.
The destruction pictured in the fall of Rome was great.
But no greater than would have been the destruction wrought by godless nations
and men and women allowed to proceed unchallenged and unhindered along the roads
of cruelty, degeneracy, and persecution of the righteous people of God.
It is this triumph of righteousness that calls forth the hallelujah chorus.
The chorus repeats the hallelujah and John remarks that the smoke of Rome is
going up forever and ever is the thing which called forth this second hallelujah.
The destruction of Rome was not pictured as that of a city which burns to the ground
and where men go in to remove the wreckage.
It is pictured as an eternal destruction, an eternal burning.
There is always fuel to add to the burning so that the small goes up forever and ever,
and such a city can never be rebuilt.
With this second hallelujah we have the introduction of the four and twenty elders
and the four living creatures as they join in the song of triumph and say, " So be it; Hallelujah!"
A voice from the altar with a command for all the Lord's servants to praise Him.
And at this point John heard the redeemed as a great multitude,
as the voice of many waters to take up the song, " Hallelujah: for the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigneth."
They sing of this joyous occasion, for they consider that the marriage of the Lamb and the bride has come.
The bride is the church, and she has kept her robe pure and white for this occasion.
The bridegroom is the Lamb, who has been preparing a place for His bride.
Now the joyous hour for the union has come.
But it appears that the redeemed were premature in their thoughts.
The time for the complete union has not come yet.
The Lamb has yet another battle to fight before all opposition to the union is removed.
One of the messengers assuages the disappointment by telling John to write,
" Blessed are they that are bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb."
All of the redeemed will be there, but the time is not yet.
The book of Revelation does not reveal to us the marriage of the Lamb and the church.
By the time we get to that, perhaps chapter 21, the figure has changed and the marriage is
not mentioned again, even though there is perfect union between Christ
and the redeemed.
John does this often.
He did not show the releasing of the winds of retribution (7:1); he changed that figure to the trumpets.
He prepared the way for the Parthians to invade Rome (16:12), but he did not use them.
He changed the figure and let an earthquake and giant hailstones do the destructive work.
In both instances the goal was reached.
So it is with the symbol of the marriage.
The vision is symbolical, certainly.
A few make it literal and tell when, who, where, what, and all about it.
One man was heard to say that it was a real marriage and that the apostle Paul would
perform the ceremony because he had so much to do with the the betrothal.
All such ideas are fantasy and no more.
The Oriental marriage was a great and happy occasion.
But the public marriage ceremonies in John's day had become so corrupt that
the Christians could not attend.
Here is one where all may and will attend -- they will be the bride when that final happy union
with the Lamb comes.
The marriage was a beautiful symbol for the union of Christ and His church.
This is the reason for the joyous song of the triumphant redeemed.
Next: e. The Victorious Warrior: Christ, 19:11 to 20: 10