Revelation

19:1-10

The Reign of Christ, 17:1-22:5

1. The ruin of the harlot, Babylon, 17:1-19:10

vi] The marriage of the Lamb

Synopsis

John's vision of a boulder thrown into the sea, an image of the complete destruction about to fall upon Babylon the Great, prompts a heavenly outpouring of praise to God for the demise of Babylon and the coming day of the wedding of the Lamb. The hallelujah chorus comes first from "a great multitude in heaven", followed up by the "twenty-four elders and the four living creatures." After they sing, "a voice ... from the throne" (Christ??) calls for further praise to God, and "what sounds like a great multitude" responds. Then "an angel" (legei, "he says", = "the mighty angel", 18:21, "another voice", 18:4, or "another angel", 18:1, "...... says" ??) commands John to write down the vision, at which point John prostrates himself before the angel, but is told to "worship God" rather than "a fellow servant."

 
Teaching

The realization of the Kingdom of God is a day of praise for the completion of judgment and the coming of the wedding of the Lamb.

 
Issues:

i] Context: See 17:1-6a.

 

ii] Background: See 1:1-8.

 

iii] Structure: The Marriage of the Lamb:

The hallelujah chorus, v1-8:

A great multitude, v1-3;

"just are his judgments."

The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures, v4;

"Amen, Hallelujah."

An instruction from the throne, v5;

"Praise our God."

The saints respond in a shout like rushing water and peals of thunder, v6-8;

"Let us rejoice and be glad

For the wedding of the Lamb has come."

The instruction to write down the vision, v9-10.

 

iv] Interpretation:

Again inaugurated eschatology becomes realized in this description of heavenly rejoicing. John's vision has revealed what will befall Babylon, the secular city, on the day of judgment - its destruction will be complete, 18:20-24. As if that day has already occurred, the heavens burst open in praise, praise for the just judgment of God and praise for the beginning of the wedding-feast of the Lamb - the not yet is now.

The heavenly hallelujah chorus begins with the "great multitude" (triumphant saints, 7:9, but possibly just heavenly beings, so Aune), a heavenly multitude who praise God for answering the call for justice, cf., 6:10. God has enacted just-judgment against the secular city, Satan's evil empire, and it is right to rejoice. From the heavenly temple / throne-room the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures join in the celebration.

Next, a voice from the throne itself (obviously a voice with divine authority, possibly Christ himself, so Beale) calls on all God's servants to give praise to God. Osborne suggests that it is a call to the saints on earth, but the now of realized eschatology is dominant at this point. This call for praise is to the "servants", the redeemed, the ones who have come unscathed through the day of judgment, the ones coming with Christ to the Ancient of Days / standing with Christ before the Ancient of Days and preparing to share in the wedding-feast of the Lamb. We are, of course, that people, here, but at the same time there, so the call to praise God is rightly to us as well as to those who have already reached that far shore. In response, there is the sound like peals of thunder shouting. This is the sound of the redeemed, victorious believers, those who have persevered in faith. Together they join in celebration for their part in the marriage-feast of the Lamb.

John describes the redeemed as the bride of Christ, those who have made themselves ready by putting on "fine linen." Interestingly, John actually defines what the "fine linen" is, namely "the righteousness of the saints" (Aune argues that this is most likely an addition to the text). The genitive "of the saints" is usually taken as verbal, subjective, "the righteous acts performed by the saints / God's people" (salvation by work??), but it may well be objective, "the righteous acts performed for the saints", ie., Christ's righteous work on the cross undertaken for those who put their faith in him. Note that the linen "was given her to wear", cf., v8 below.

Finally, John is instructed to write the vision down. We are unsure who gives the instruction, but clearly it comes with divine authority. John describes how he is overcome by the whole occasion and responds by bowing before the divine messenger. The messenger tells John to keep his obeisance for God, not a "fellow servant" who stands with all those who give testimony to Jesus.

 
Text - 19:1

The Marriage of the Lamb, v1-10: i] a) A great multitude / the heavenly multitude praises God, v1-3. Unlike the kings, merchants and sea captains who mourn the fall of Babylon, the heavenly multitude, the elders and the living creatures praise God for its fall.

meta tauta hkousa "after this I heard" - after these things i heard. As with "after this I saw", the temporal prepositional phrase "after this I heard", used only here in the Revelation, serves to introduce a new vision / step in the narrative. It seems likely that the heavenly multitude are angelic beings, so Swete, Aune, ......, but some commentators argue that it is the heavenly assembly of saints, so Beale, ....

wJV "what sounded like" - as [a loud voice of a great crowd in heaven]. The comparative here serves to introduce an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what John heard, namely, "a sound like massed choirs in heaven", Peterson.

oclou (oV) gen. "of a [great] crowd" - The genitive is possibly ablative, source origin, "from a great crowd", or possibly adjectival, possessive, "a loud voice belonging to a great crowd in heaven."

legontwn (legw) gen. "shouting" - saying. Again John introduces speech in a vision with the participle "saying", cf., legwn 1:17. Technically the participle agrees with "great crowd", so adjectival, attributive, "a great crowd which was shouting", although if it were accusative it would have properly served as the accusative complement of the object clause introduced by wJV, standing in a double accusative construction.

tou qeou (oV) gen. "[salvation and glory and power] belong to [our] God" - [alleluia (= Heb. "praise Yahweh"), the salvation (redemptive power), and the glory (majesty), and the power (victory) are] of the god [of us]. We would have expected a dative as in 1:6, 5:13, etc.; "to God" = "may ...... be ascribed to God" - a variant exists, "to the Lord our God." Here the genitive is possessive, "are of God" = "belongs to God." "To our God belongs the glorious power to save", CEV.

hJmwn gen. pro. "our" - of us. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / subordination; "God over us."

 
v2

oJti "for" - because [true and just are the judgments of him] because [he judged the great prostitute]. Introducing two causal clauses explaining why glory and power are ascribed to God, namely, because a) God's judgments are true and just ("God's justice is "true" because it is based on his own covenant faithfulness and "just" because it is based on his holy character", Osborne), and because b) God has avenged the blood of his servants by condemning the great prostitute, Babylon the Great.

autou gen. "[just are] his [judgments]" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive, of a derivative characteristic, or verbal, subjective, "the judgments pronounced by him"; "His judgments accord with truth and justice", Cassirer.

en + dat. "by [her adulteries]" - [who was corrupting the earth] in [the sexual immorality of her]. Instrumental use of the preposition, expressing means, "by means of"; "who corrupted the earth with her lewdness", Berkeley. For authV, "of her", see above. The relative clause introduced by h{tiV, "who", establishes the legal basis of God's condemnation of the great prostitute, Babylon / the secular city, namely, she corrupted the earth and persecuted God's people.

ek + gen. "[has avenged] on [her]" - [and he avenged the blood of the servants of him] from [hand of her]. Instrumental use of the preposition expressing means, a means consisting of a source, so Smalley, Beale, Aune, Osborne, Mathewson, but note BDAG, 301.2, followed by the NIV, REB, ESV, ......; "he has avenged the blood of his servants shed by her hand."

twn doulwn (oV) gen. "[the blood] of his servants" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive.

 
v3

deuteron adv. "[and] again" - [and] second. Temporal use of the adverb, "a second time"; "Once more they cried out", ESV.

eirhkan (legw) perf. "they shouted" - they said, [alleluia]. The use of the perfect is unexpected, possibly serving to give prominence to the shout by the heavenly multitude, although in the late Koine period the perfect tense was moving toward the aorist, ie., stative rather than imperfective.

kai "-" - and. Mathewson suggests it is emphatic here, "indeed", although Smalley suggests it is epexegetic, it "sets out further the basis for the heavenly rejoicing in progress."

authV gen. pro. "[the smoke] from [her]" - The genitive is probably ablative, source / origin, as NIV.

touV aiwnaV twn aiwnwn "for ever and ever" - [ascends into] the ages of the ages. Idiomatic for "forever", see 1:18.; "the smoke from her burning will rise for ever", REB. Expressing "the totality and the finality of the city's destruction", Smalley.

 
v4

b) The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures praise God, v4. The twenty four elders and the four living creatures are the "celestial worship leaders" in the Revelation, so Osborne. They give solemn affirmation to the hymn sung by the great multitude.

tw/ qew/ (oV) dat. "[fell down and worshiped] God" - [and twenty four elders and the living beings fell and did obeisance to] god. Dative of direct object after the verb "to do obeisance to."

tw/ kaqhmenw/ (kaqhmai) dat. pres. mid. part. "who was seated" - the one sitting. The participle may be taken as a substantive standing in apposition to "God", or adjectival, attributive, as NIV.

epi + dat. "on [the throne]" - John's favorite spacial preposition is followed by a dative here, rather than the usual genitive, but obviously still taking the sense "on, upon."

legonteV (legw) pres. part. "And they cried" - saying [amen, alleluia]. The participle may be classified as attendant circumstance, expressing action accompanying "fell down and did obeisance", "and said ....", or adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of their falling down and worshiping", "saying", ESV. Note John's flexibility with participles, and this one in particular, legwn 1:17.

 
v5

ii] An instruction from the throne of God, v5. This verse could be viewed as a third source of praise to God, so Osborne, but it is more in the terms of a call to praise than praise in its own right. This is indicated by John's use of the imperative aineite, "give praise [to God]", rather than allhlouia, "Hallelujah!" The call goes out to all God's servants, that is, all those who reverence him.

kai "then" - and. Here indicating a step in the narrative, as NIV.

apo + gen. "from [the throne]" - [a voice] from [the throne]. Expressing source / origin. A voice from the throne, or the temple, is usually viewed as the voice of God, although here the voice states "praise the God of us." Some suggest the voice on this occasion is that of Christ, but other possibilities have been offered, eg., one of the four living creatures.

legousa (legw) "saying" - See legonteV, v4.

tw/ qew/ (oV) dat. "[praise our] God" - [praise] the god [of us]. We may have expected an accusative direct object of the imperative verb aineite, "praise", but the dative of direct object reflects Semitic idiom, "give praise to God", virtually meaning "Hallelujah!"

kai "-" - and. Smalley suggests that the variant kai here is epexegetic, specifying the servants, "even those who fear him."

oiJ foboumenoi (fobew) pres. mid. part. "you who fear [him]" - the ones fearing [him]. If we recognize the variant kai, "and", we are best to classify the participle as a substantive standing in apposition to "servants", but it can also be treated as adjectival, attributive; "Praise our God, all his servants and all people, both great and small, who have reverence for him", TEV. The series of nominatives in the second half of the verse function as vocatives, ie., nominatives of address.

oiJ mikroi kai oi megaloi "both great and small" - the great and the small. Both articular adjectives serve as substantives, together standing in apposition to the participle "the ones fearing."

 
v6

iii] The saints respond with a shout, v6-8. Aune notes that this hymn of praise fully complies with OT form: a) It opens with a call to praise God by the redeemed (+ angels etc., ???), "Hallelujah"; b) oJti, the first reason is provided for the call to praise, namely, "the Lord our God, the Almighty reigns", c) oJti, a second reason is provided for the call to praise, namely, "the wedding of the Lamb has come" / the kingdom has come, and the redeemed have prepared themselves (often viewed in terms of obedience, but far better seen in the terms of persevering in faith) by putting on the fine linen "given" to the "bride" "to wear" (presumably the righteousness / faithfulness of Christ ???)

kai "then" - and. Here used to indicate a step in the narrative, as de.

wJV "[I heard what sounded] like" - [i heard what seemed / something] like, as [a sound of a great crowd and] like, as [a sound of many waters and] like, as [a sound of mighty thunder]. Comparative. Note the assumed object of "I heard"; "then I heard what sounded like the sound of a vast crowd", Barclay.

oclou (oV) gen. "a [great] multitude" - of a [great] crowd - The genitive "crowd" limits the noun "sound", so adjectival and usually classified as verbal, subjective, "like the sound made / produced by a great crowd"; "I heard what sounded like a crowd", TEV. The same sense applies to the genitives "of many waters" and "of mighty thunder." The crowd is presumably made up of the redeemed, but may well include the angels as well; it is a heavenly choir. "And then I heard the sound like the voices of a vast crowd, the roar of a great waterfall and the rolling of heavy thunder", Phillips.

legontwn (legw) gen. pres. part. "shouting" - saying. Again John introduces speech in a vision with the participle "saying", and does so with little regard for syntax. We probably should approach it with the same flexibility, cf., legwn 1:17. Possible classifications: a) given that the participle agrees with the three genitives "of a great crowd", "of many waters" and "of mighty thunder", it could be treated as an attributive adjective, "who were saying ......" (durative present); b) Ignoring the genitive case it could be treated as attendant circumstance, expressing action accompanying the verb "I heard", "and they were saying ....", or c) as the complement of the assumed object of "I heard", "I heard something ......... saying / shouting / crying out .....", although the participle is plural and the assumed object of "I heard" would be singular. We are best to translate it according to sense; "And this is what they cried out", Cassirer, also Barclay, ....

oJti "for" - [alleluia], because [the lord the god of us, the Almighty, reigns]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the great multitude gives a universal call to praise God , "Alleluia", namely, because God has begun his reign / the kingdom has come (taking the aorist ebasileusen, "to reign", as ingressive, so Smalley, Aune, ...., although Mathewson suggests a timeless temporal sense, "the Lord reigns").

hJmwn gen. pro. "our" - The NIV takes the genitive as adjectival, possessive, but possibly idiomatic / subordination; "Lord God over us."

oJ pantokratwr (wr oroV) "Almighty" - Nominative, standing in apposition to "God", which itself stands in apposition to "Lord". "The Lord our God, sovereign over all, has entered on his reign", REB.

 
v7

cairwmen (cairw) pres. subj. "Let us rejoice" - let us rejoice [and exalt and give the glory to him]. As with the verbs "exalt" and "give", John employs a hortatory subjunctive for the call of the heavenly choir to give glory to God; "let us rejoice and be glad, let us praise his greatness", TEV. Note that for the verb "to give", as in "give the glory to him", the aorist tense is used where the present tense would be expected, as with "to rejoice" and "to exalt." All uses of the subjunctive "to give" in the NT take an aorist so it seems likely that usage had dictated the tense.

autw/ dat. pro. "[give] him [glory]" - to him. Dative of indirect object.

oJti "for" - because. Introducing a second causal clause explaining why the great multitude gives a universal call to praise God, namely, "because" "the wedding of the Lamb has come", kai, "and", "the bride has prepared herself", kai, "and", "God has given her cloths to wear."

tou arniou (oV) gen. "[the wedding] of the Lamb" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive; "the Lamb's wedding day", Cassirer. The image is primarily used of the eschatological day of salvation, Isa.25:6, Matt.8:11-22, Lk.13:28-29.

hlqen (ercomai) aor. "has come" - came. This aorist is usually translated as if it were a perfect tense, as NIV. The action is obviously punctiliar, and in time terms it has only just taken place. Such action is rightly expressed by an aorist; see Mathewson p260.

hJtoimasen (eJtoimazw) aor. "[his bride] has made [herself] ready" - [and the wife of him] has prepared [herself]. The sense of the verb "to make ready" is variously applied by commentators. Shaping faithfulness through obedience is a popular approach, but it seems better to understand "to make ready" as possessing faithfulness in Christ, by grace through faith apart from works of the Law, ie., by faith in the faithfulness of Christ. As a bride prepares herself for her wedding day by adorning herself with fine clothing, so the redeemed prepare themselves for the eschatological day of salvation by adorning themselves with the fine linen provided to them by God, namely, ta kikaiwmata twn aJgiwn, "the righteousness of the saints", v8b, ie., verbal, objective, "the righteous (the faithfulness of Christ) given to / which is bestowed on the saints." See v8b below.

 
v8

iJna + subj. "[was given to her] to wear" - [fine linen, bright clean] that she should wear = to wear [was given to her]. This hina construction serves as if an infinitive, forming a noun clause subject of the impersonal verb "was given." The subject of iJna + subj. is "fine linen, bright and clean", and as with an infinitive it is accusative. The personal pronoun auth/, "to her", serves as a dative of direct object.

gar "-" - for. Here more reason than cause; introducing an explanation. In fact, the clause virtually serves as an explanatory note.

estin (eimi) pres. "stand for" - [the fine linen] is. Here epexegetic with the sense "signifies, stands for" = "which stands for", so defining "the fine linen" which was edoqh, "given" (theological passive; given by God), to her (the holy / saints, the bride of the bridegroom = the redeemed).

twn aJgiwn gen. "[the righteous acts] of God's holy people" - [the righteousness] of the holy = saints. Of twenty NT translations consulted, all took the genitive as verbal, subjective, so "the righteousness performed by the holy / saints" = "the good things God's people have done", CEV, so NIV - "the righteous deeds of the saints", ESV; "the good deeds of God's people", TEV; "the righteous living of the saints", Phillips; "the merits of the saints are her linen", Knox (a shocker!). As noted in hJtoimasen above, given the context it is more likely that the genitive is objective, "the righteousness (ie., the faithfulness of Christ) given to / which is bestowed on the holy / saints." The bride is given (by God) the linen gown to wear enabling her to attend the wedding of the Lamb, for which she rejoices and gives God the glory. The gown is a righteousness, not earned / done, but given / bestowed, namely, the righteousness of Christ (his faithful obedience to the Father on the cross performed on our behalf, which obedience / faithfulness is ours in Christ, as a gift of grace through faith). In the Revelation, the redeemed are those who conquer / persevere in faith (by grace), not those who persevere in obedience.

What do the commentators say? Koester notes both the subjective and objective approach and suggests it is more likely subjective - "the just deeds done by the believer constitute the garment"; "The bride has made herself ready for the marriage by dressing herself with righteous deeds", deeds that are "to be the bride's way of life", Strelan; Osborne suggests that the genitive may be plenary, both subjective and objective; Beale also sees the genitive as plenary: subjective - the good works which serve as the evidence of a believer's right standing in the sight of God; objective - the righteous act of God toward believers in the terms of vindication; "From one point of view she has made the dress herself; she has worked out her own salvation (v7, Phil.2:12). From another, it was given unto her, for God had been at work in her (v8, Phil.2:11", Wilcock; Beasley-Murray balances the subjective and objective, "the bride made herself ready through repentance and faith and continuance in righteous deed which are the fruit of faith (cf., the emphasis on 'works' in the seven letters). Yet it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen. Holiness is the gift of God. It is the holy life of the Redeemer in the redeemed. This duality characterizes the Christian life through all its stages"; Smalley sees it as subjective, but takes "righteousness" = "righteous behavior" to mean "holding faithfully to the testimony concerning Jesus", cf., v10 (righteousness as obedience to the one law, faith in Christ); Boring makes the point that the "faithful witness" does not save, and is "enabled and empowered by God" - "it is her witnessing that prepares her for the marriage of the Lamb"; Mounce sees "righteousness" in the terms of the faithful witness of the justified, so also Hughes who stresses the fact that the "righteous deeds" are the product of a believer's justified status - ie., a "trust and obey" partnership; Aune solves the problem by suggesting that v9b is an "explanatory gloss."

 
v9

iv] The instruction to write down the vision, v9-10. Unlike the Old Testament prophets who are told to "go and say", John is told to go and "write", ie., the revelation lies in the text. The revelation revealed in the vision is that those who are kalew, "called = invited", to the wedding-feast of the Lamb are blessed; "those who belong to God are blessed", Koester.

kai "then" - and. Used to indicate a step in the narrative.

moi dat. pro. "to me" - [he says] to me [write]. John does not identify the person who now speaks to him and so theories abound. The one speaking may be the voice from the throne, v5, or "another angel", 18:1, or "another voice", 18:4, or even the revealing angel of 1:1, etc. Given v10, he is likely to be an angelic being.

oiJ .... keklhmenoi (kalew) perf. mid./pas. part. "those who are invited" - the ones having been called [to the dinner of the wedding of the lamb are blessed]. The participle serves as a substantive, nominative subject of an assumed verb to-be. The verb is best taken to mean "invited" rather than "called". John does also use the stronger eklektoV, "chosen", 17:14, chosen for special service to God, but of course, the chosen ones are those who believe and conquer, those who persevere in faith.

tou gamou (oV) "[the ]wedding [supper]" - The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "dinner, supper", as NIV, while the genitive "of the Lamb" is adjectival, possessive.

moi dat. pro. "-" - [and he said] to me. Dative of indirect object.

au|toi pro. "these [are]" - Presumably the antecedent of "these [words]" is "Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb."

tou qeou (oV) gen. "[the true words] of God" - [the words true] of god. The genitive is probably ablative, source / origin; "these are the true words from God"; the words come from God and are therefore reliable and true.

 
v10

kai "at this" - and. Used to indicate a step in the narrative; "then I fell down at his feet to worship him", ESV.

emprosqen gen. "at [his feet]" - [i fell] before [the feet of him]. Spacial preposition, "before".

proskunhsai (proskunew) aor. inf. "to worship" - The infinitive here is adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "in order to worship him." The two words "fall down" and "worship" are often used together in the Revelation such that they are virtually synonymous. Usually "fall down" kai, "and", "worship", so the infinitive here could be epexegetic, "fell down before his feet, that is, do obeisance to him."

autw/ dat. pro. "him" - Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to worship."

moi dat. pro. "[he said] to me" - [and he says] to me. Dative of indirect object. Mathewson suggests that the reason for the choice of the narrative present "he says" is to foreground the words of the angel over the faulty action of John (his attempt to worship the voice).

o{ra mh "don't do that" - see not. The construction oJraw + a prohibition = "see that you do not do"; "You must not do that", ESV.

sou gen. pro. "with you" - [i am a fellow servant] of you. The genitive is adjectival, possibly possessive / relational, "a fellow servant of yours" = "I am your fellow servant." Translations often take the genitive here to express association, given the sun prefix of "fellow servant", so NIV, ESV, ..... "Like you and your fellow believers, I also serve God", TH. See Wallace, 129.

twn adelfwn (oV) gen. "[with your] brothers and sisters" - [and] of the brothers [of you]. Again the NIV takes the genitive here to express association, "with", as for sou above, although adjectival, possessive / relational is possible; "I am a fellow servant of yours, and of your brothers", Berkeley.

twn econtwn (ecw) gen. pres. part. "who hold to [the testimony]" - of the ones having [the testimony]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "brothers"; "I am a servant just like you and everyone else who tells about Jesus", CEV.

Ihsou (oV) "of Jesus" - The genitive is usually treated as adjectival, verbal, objective, "the testimony about Jesus", as CEV above; "witness to Jesus", Phillips. Of course, subjective is also possible, so Smalley, Beasley-Murray; "testimony born by Jesus", Moffatt; "the testimony / witness which Jesus gives." "For we both possess the declaration of the truth which Jesus brought to us", Barclay.

tw/ qew/ (oV) "[worship] God" - Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to worship"; "It is God alone whom you must worship", Barclay.

gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why believers and angels are fellow servants who together hold the testimony of Jesus and therefore worship God and not each other; "because the testimony of (by / which is from) Jesus estin (is = amounts to) the Spirit of prophecy.

thV profhteiaV (a) gen. "[the Spirit] of prophecy" - Taking to pneuma to be "the Holy Spirit", the genitive is likely to be adjectival, attributed (verbal, objective); both angels and believers hold / possess "Spirit inspired prophecy ("the Spirit of God that inspires prophecy", cf., Aune), ie., "testimony from / which is guided by Jesus." As such, both angels and believers are fellow servants / brothers, and thus their worship can only be God centered. Note that pneuma is sometimes taken here as "spirit" = "soul", a person's soul / spirit. Usually viewed as distributive and the genitive "prophecy" as attributive, giving "prophetic soul[s]", with the overall sense being that "the message attested by Jesus is the essence of prophetic proclamation", Mounce.

 

Revelation Introduction

 

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