What do you think about weddings? Timothy was our first child to get married. When I performed the wedding for my son and his bride, weddings took on a whole new meaning to me. There I stood, a father joining his only son and his son’s beautiful bride in marriage. I knew it before, but at that time it all hit me. This lovely bride of my son is about to enter my family.
At the wedding, the father of the son becomes the new father of the bride. From this day forward, she wears my name, just as my son does.
When Tim and Stephanie made their promises and stated their vows and gave their rings, one of the greatest blessings about her was knowing that she was and is a faithful Christian, a young lady of great character and spiritual dedication. Twenty years of prayers that God would prepare a faithful Christian wife for my son were answered that day. And Stephanie took on my family name when she took the name of my son as his wife. She became part of our family. Her life now has the potential to bring either honor or dishonor our family name.
Woe to the man who marries a faithless woman that practices wickedness. She can never bring honor to the family or the name she receives. (In the same manner: Woe to the woman who takes the name of a faithless, wicked man. She and her children will pay a terrible price).
In this week’s lesson, Revelation describes a woman who is powerful because of her association with evil. She is powerful, she is comfortable, she is popular and at the center of much attention, decorated with jewels and wealth and filled with immorality. She also kills the saints and rides the beast of hell. She is the prostitute who gives herself to the rulers of the earth, and her wild living and party spirit knows no boundaries. Her life is filled with the cheap worldly thrills of wickedness. Whose wife is this harlot? Whose name does she bear? She is filled with adulteries. She is drunk from the blood of the saints. In her confidence she boasts and brags that she sits as queen and will never mourn. But God’s judgment comes and suddenly she falls, never to recover. Only her shame endures. The very evil that empowers her now devours her as her lovers and those that used her witness her doom and cry over their personal losses at her demise. God’s hand is clearly swift in bringing about her fall.
Then, in marked contrast to the cries of woe on earth, from above comes a shout of joy. A loud resounding, four-fold, “Hallelujah!” is shouted from a multitude of celebrating saints, the twenty-four elders, the four living creatures and all the servants of God both small and great. The wicked woman is fallen, gone. Now another woman rises before us. Who is this beautiful woman dressed as a bride? She has received her garments from God. Instead of wicked Babylon, she is the holy new Jerusalem!
Now the wedding announcement of the Lamb to His bride is declared. Jesus, the Son of God, takes a bride who has prepared herself in righteousness and splendor.
Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!!!
May we be among the celebrating saints that gather in this glorious wedding feast!
Now listen as I read Revelation 17:1 through 19:10. (Read prayerfully and with intensity).
Listen to what God has said in the past about Israel and the danger of her becoming like this woman who rides the beast! Notice Jesus words in Luke 13:34-35 and Luke 21:20-24. Now listen to the Old Testament warnings.
"Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices.
And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.
19 Your wickedness will punish you;
your backsliding will rebuke you.
Consider then and realize
how evil and bitter it is for you
when you forsake the LORD your God
and have no awe of me,"
declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.
20 "Long ago you broke off your yoke
and tore off your bonds;
you said, ’I will not serve you!’
Indeed, on every high hill
and under every spreading tree
you lay down as a prostitute.
21 I had planted you like a choice vine
of sound and reliable stock.
How then did you turn against me
into a corrupt, wild vine?
30 " ’How weak-willed you are, declares the Sovereign LORD, when you do all these things, acting like a brazen prostitute! 31 When you built your mounds at the head of every street and made your lofty shrines in every public square, you were unlike a prostitute, because you scorned payment.
32 " ’You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband! 33 Every prostitute receives a fee, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favors.
34 So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors. You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you.
35 " ’Therefore, you prostitute, hear the word of the LORD! 36 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you poured out your wealth and exposed your nakedness in your promiscuity with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols, and because you gave them your children’s blood, 37 therefore I am going to gather all your lovers, with whom you found pleasure, those you loved as well as those you hated. I will gather them against you from all around and will strip you in front of them, and they will see all your nakedness. 38 I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery and who shed blood; I will bring upon you the blood vengeance of my wrath and jealous anger.
In Revelation, who is this prostitute riding the beast? Is it not the very people of Israel and Judah? Is this not the fulfillment of God’s prophets on his people? The Revelation of Jesus Christ through this book shows us that the Lord has cast off this adulterous woman. God divorces the city of Jerusalem and the people who have rejected Him and Jesus Christ his Son. A new bride arises in this book, a pure and holy bride. She is the new Israel, the new Jerusalem, the new bride. She is the church of Christ. Ephesians 5:22-32 says this mystery clearly.
While it is certainly true that Revelation speaks of a cosmic center of wickedness here that has implications beyond the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Still, this is the first and clearest application of the words of this prophecy.
God understands divorce. He hates it. But he has also experienced it and knows and understands the bitterness of it. He has been forsaken by His own chosen people! The words of the Old Testament prophets and the words of Revelation bring home the terrible truth about what evil can do to God’s people. What it can turn us into. Will we take our covenant in Christ as seriously as we take our marriage vows? Will we forsake all others and give ourselves only to Him? For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death… But here it all changes… till death brings us together forever! Either death or Christ’s return!
Just what does the wife of the Lamb in Revelation look like? Who is she?
Go back to Revelation 5 and see what Jesus has done. By his blood he has purchased a new people for God, I believe this is also a new bride for himself. Ephesians 5:23-24 says: 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
31"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
One day the Father will say to Jesus, “Son, it’s time to go and get your bride!”