It has been a while now since we have been in the book of Revelation and it would be helpful if I gave you a short summary in terms of what we have considered previously as we are now rapidly heading towards the end of this great part of (often neglected) Scripture. The Revelation has been given to the church to remind her that she exists in the midst of a gigantic spiritual war. The Revelation assures us of the outcome: “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is the Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called chosen and faithful.” (Rev. 17 : 14)
I remind you then that the Revelation to John begins with a focus on the struggles of the church (Rev. 2&3) against the deceptions of false teachers ( 2:6, 15,20ff) and as she is at the mercy of the satanic persecutions of the synagogue of Satan (jealous Jews – 2:9; 3:9) and of the Roman empire. All this provides a general picture of the experience of the church in all the ages .
Before we consider Rev. 19, and the thrilling account of the marriage supper of the Lamb (19:7,9,17) we need to take note of the contrast between the bride of Christ (19:7) - the church and the great multitude (19:1,6) preparing to meet her heavenly bridegroom (the Lamb 19:7,9) and the great prostitute Babylon, the bride of the dragon who is committing spiritual adultery with the nations ( 17: 1-2,5;15-16). This is the war between the bride/ Christ and the prostitute/ Satan.
In order to appreciate this contrast between the bride of Christ and the bride of the dragon, we must go back to Rev. 16:17-21 , the account of the 7th bowl of God’s wrath poured out. The 7 bowl judgments are the last of the three cycles of judgment found in the Revelation to John, the other two being the seven seal judgments and the seven trumpet judgments .
We saw that the 7th bowl judgment splits Babylon into three parts, along with all of the cities of the nations which were linked to Babylon (16:19). Babylon is then introduced as the great prostitute in Ch. 17. In 17:9 -10 we learn that this immoral city is seated upon seven mountains. We are told that from this city a series of 7 influential kings ( 5 who had fallen by this stage) had ruled their evil authority (17:9-10) . John and the readers of his day knew that this city referred to Rome . Rome was now the symbolic “Babylon”, for Babylon in the eyes of the OT Jews had always been understood to be a city of oppression, persecution and humiliation for the Jews. Rome had become a highly immoral city and she exported her vileness to the nations . Her emperors hated Christians , because by their lives and testimonies they condemned their practices of the Roman empire. This was the case also with the Babylon which in OT times was a thorn in Israel’s flesh. She was depicted by Israel’s prophets as the epitome of godlessness, and the prophets foresaw a day , when under the wrath of God , Babylon would fall and be repaid for all her sins. This is what Rev. 17-18 is all about!
Revelation 18 describes the fall of Babylon and the subsequent responses of both and heaven (18:1-8; 21-24) and earth (18:9-20) in response to the judgment of God upon Babylon. Heaven rejoices at her judgment but the earth (all those who had loved and depended upon the prostitute) weeps and wails and mourns over her loss (18:9,11,15,18) because in so doing they that loved the prostitute have lost all their wealth! That which the lovers of the prostitute lived for was now gone. The closing verses of chapter 18 describe a mighty angel crushing Babylon with a millstone (18:21-24). All this is a reminder and an encouragement to the saints to be patient and to persevere. It is an assurance that the great prostitute which has made the life of the church so difficult on earth , and who has killed many saints will be crushed by God. Her fate is sealed, her doom is sure. This brings us to Rev. 19:1-10 , the vision of the church , the bride of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation 19: 1-10
[19:1] After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”  Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”
Whilst Babylon , the city of man has been prospering and going from strength to strength in her iniquity , mocking , persecuting , seducing and killing the saints, God has not been idle. In the midst of the prostitutes deceptions upon the people of the earth, God has always been in the business of gathering the church, the elect of God over all the ages. He has been preparing a bride for his Son, and as the end of the great prostitute - Babylon is now complete, the kingdom of God and the long- awaited “marriage supper of the Lamb” is about to happen. The picture of the destruction of the prostitute (which was begun in 16:17ff) now gives way to the picture of the marriage of the Lamb, and heaven’s citizens celebrate with frequent hallelujah’s ! ( see 19:1,3,4,6)
In Rev. 18:20, we find the first invitation from God to begin the celebration: “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints, apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her.” Justice is finally done! God has now avenged the blood of all those who have suffered for righteousness sake at the hands of the great prostitute. God has avenged all those who remained poor in spirit (humble) while the prostitute made her people to boast in their own glory. God has avenged all those who mourned over sin while the prostitute made her people revel in sin; God has avenged all those who remained meek while the prostitute taught her to be proud and self- assertive ; God has avenged all those all those who hungered and thirsted after righteousness while the prostitute taught her people lawlessness ; God has avenged all those who were merciful, while the prostitute taught her people self -centeredness; God has avenged all the pure in heart whilst with the help of the prostitute many people set up idols in their hearts ; God has avenged all the peacemakers whilst the prostitute currently stirred up war and strife among the nations. God has finally avenged all those who were persecuted and harassed while the prostitute caused her customers to live in a fool’s paradise. I am quoting Jesus words in the beatitudes , and He concludes: “Great is their reward in heaven” (Matt 5: 2- 12).
Notice too that this is no small group rejoicing in heaven. John describes them as a great multitude ( 19:1,6 - see also Rev. 7:9 - “ a great multitude that no one could from every nation, tribe, people and language”) . All of them have come out of the great tribulation, which is the entire period of time between the first and second coming of Jesus Christ. The true church has suffered on earth, but her time has now come to celebrate! The church is finally at rest – Hallelujah!
 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” The worship and the praise goes as always to God , and we note in verse 5 that immediately after their “Amen!” another voice is heard, directing the church in heaven to worship the God who has delivered His people from their enemies : “And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.”
The destruction of Babylon is a cause for celebration , for the church has entered into her promised rest (Hebrews 3:7 - 4:13), but there is more to that celebration than this . Here is the beginning of the consummation- that which happens when a marriage is formalized. And so we read in vv. 6 & 7 :  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.  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.”
A wedding is a time of celebration and fine dressing . And so we read:  it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. Please note :
· the wedding garments are said to be given to the bride by her groom before the wedding.
· Clothed in His righteousness the church shows evidence of her love for Christ through the showing of her righteous deeds. The church is not only righteous by proclamation; she is also righteous by demonstration! …” we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph. 2:8-10) One way in which the bride prepares herself for the marriage feast is by remaining faithful to her bridegroom is to resist the seductive ways of the prostitute and by living righteously .
Jesus transforms His people into a radiant, spotless church, something which Paul points out in Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
With the time for the wedding now at hand, we read in verse 9 : “And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
In Matt. 22:1-14 / Lk 14:15-22, Jesus told a parable about a wedding banquet, in which a king invites a number of people to the wedding of his son, but they say that they are too busy to attend. Here in John’s vision, the people in Jesus’ parable who refuse to come to the wedding would be those who would rather serve the beast and the prostitute.
Since Christ’s invited guests (Israel) will not come, we read that the king “said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.” In fact, Jesus goes on to speak of how the king provided his guests with appropriate wedding garments. So here is the wedding invitation from God to attend the wedding of his Son. But this invitation is not that of a guest, but as a bride!
To all of you who are trusting in Jesus Christ through faith alone, you have received your invitation to the marriage supper of Christ the Lamb. And we are invited to this wedding not merely as guests or spectators. We are invited to become Christ’s own glorious bride: “radiant, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb! Amen.
 See Matthew 5:2-12 ( Beatitudes)
 This doesn’t mean that God has not ruled over all prior to this moment. Of course he did. But until this moment, God has ruled according to his long-suffering mercies, allowing evil to run its course, even allowing the dragon, the beast, the false prophet and the harlot to persecute his people. No longer. God’s wrath is now complete.
 The “Lord God Almighty reigns.” Should be translated as “The Lord God Almighty has begun to reign!” (an ingressive aorist tense , not a present tense). John hears the great multitude shouting “Hallelujah!” with great intensity because something dramatic and climatic has happened .
 In Isaiah chapters 61-62, the prophet speaks of God giving to his people, Israel, fine wedding garments, which are said to be “garments of righteousness.”