Sometimes it takes people over a year to prepare for their wedding day. From the venue to the guest list to the colors to the food to the flowers to the music… there are so many preparations to be made.
If we prepare so much for weddings in this age, how much more should we prepare for the Great Wedding Banquet of Christ and His Bride (the Church) after the LORD consummates His everlasting, end-time reign?
Let us prepare ourselves as God prepares us for our Big Day.
6 καὶ ἤκουσα ὡς φωνὴν ὄχλου πολλοῦ καὶ ὡς φωνὴν ὑδάτων πολλῶν καὶ ὡς φωνὴν βροντῶν ἰσχυρῶν λεγόντων,
ὅτι ἐβασίλευσεν κύριος
ὁ θεὸς [ἡμῶν]2 ὁ παντοκράτωρ.1
6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns. [NIV]2
And I heard a sound like a great crowd and a sound like great waters and a sound like mighty thunderclaps saying: “Hallelujah, the Lord God, the Almighty, has begun to reign.”
The word I translate sound (φωνή | phōnē) appears three times in this verse; I do not think this is a coincidence. So, while other translations opt for “voice” of a great multitude, (Rev 19:6, NIV; Rev 19:6, NRSV; Rev 19:6, HCSB; Rev 19:6, NASB) and for the “roar” of waters (Rev 19:6, NIV; Rev 19:6, ESV), I preferred to make this repetition more apparent.
For similar reasoning, my translation also reflects the repetition of the adjective I translate great (πολύς | polys).
Apparently, this passage is the inspiration for Handel’s famous Hallelujah Chorus in his “Messiah.”3
Hallelujah is a transliterated Hebrew loanword ( הַלְלוּ־יָהּ) that literally means, “praise Yahweh (YHWH)”.4 It combines the (second-person, plural, masculine imperative form of) verb הָלַל (hālal), which is הַלְלוּ (hallelu) and יָהּ (yāh), which is short for Yahweh (YHWH)5 — the name of the LORD (this is why LORD is capitalized in English translations cf. Ex 34:5-6, HCSB, Ex 34:5-6, NIV).
Hallelujah appears over 20x in the Old Testament, but only in the Psalms (e.g., Ps 104:35, HCSB cf. Ps 104:35, NIV). The term appears only four times in the New Testament — in the fourfold Hallelujah of Revelation (Rev 19:1, 3, 4, 6).6
Except for once in 2 Corinthians (2 Cor 6:18), the word translated Almighty (παντοκράτωρ | pantokratōr) is used in the New Testament only in Revelation (Rev 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 19:6, 15; 21:22). It is used much more frequently in the (LXX — Greek translation of the) OT and other Jewish writings.7
Roman Emperor Domitian (reigned AD 81 -96)8 gave himself the title, “Our Lord and God.”9 In contrast, John emphasizes that it is the LORD who is the Almighty. It is He who “holds all things in his control.”10
In the Greek, the participle translated saying does not seem to plausibly agree in gender/number with any previous noun. This means that John may be breaking grammatical rules for emphasis and to indicate that this passage alludes to Old Testament passages which also begin with say (e.g., 1 Ch 16:31, Ps 96:10; Is 52:7; Ex 15:1 cf. Ex 15:18) as he does when introducing other Old Testament allusions (cf. Rev 1:10b–11; 4:1; 10:4, 8; and 14:7.)11
Begun to Reign
The LORD reigns throughout all times. However, it seems best to take the verb (βασιλεύω | basileuō) as an inceptive or ingressive aorist, which refers to the beginning (i.e., inception) of a certain state or condition.12 In this case, God has established His reign in a special, eschatological (end-time) sense “when the powers of evil are destroyed and the kingdom of God becomes a visible reality.”13 Opting for “begun to reign”14 reproduces the inceptive aorist of the same verb reign in Rev 11:17:15
We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.(NIV)16
For more context on the book of Revelation, please see the earlier post on the frequently misinterpreted passage: Revelation 3:20
Join in Exultation!
After the final destruction of Babylon (Rev 18:21-24), John sees heaven rejoicing in exultation (Rev 19:1-5).17 Then, as in Rev 18:20, the those on earth join the heavenly rejoicing (Rev 19:6f.). The LORD’s “eschatological victory” is cause for celebration,18 and the church on earth is called to join in worship (Rev 19:5-7).19
Sound of Water
The sound of waters can allude to the four cherubim in Eze 1:24, but probably moreso to Ezek 43:2 (NIV): and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.20
The LORD Reigns
As indicated above, “the LORD reigns” recalls several Old Testament passages (Ex 15:18; Is 52:7; 1 Ch 16:31 cf. Ps 97:1; Is 24:23; Mic 4:7).21
The End-Time Wedding (Banquet)
Rev 19:7-9 speaks of the “wedding of the Lamb.” As discussed in an earlier lesson on Jesus’ first sign: turning water into wine at a wedding, “the ‘wedding supper’ was a frequent figure for the coming messianic era.”22
Jesus employs banquet imagery when he tells His disciples that they would eat and drink with Him at His table in His kingdom (Lk 22:30). Moreover, Christ proclaims that, one day, people from around the world will join in the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven (Mt 8:11).23 In addition, in His parables, Jesus describes the kingdom of God with wedding imagery (Mt 22:1f., Mt 25:1f.).
Also, God’s people are often metaphorically depicted as a bride (Hos 2:19f.; Is 54:4-8; Is 62:5; Eph 5:25, etc.) and Jesus is described often described as the bridegroom (Eph 5:25; Mk 2:19-20; Jn 3:29).
Now the prophesied banquet in which the LORD would destroy death and the shame of His people forever is coming to fruition (Is 25:6, 8)24
This is a great reason to rejoice and be glad (cf. 1 Ch 16:31; Ps. 31:7; 32:11; 70:4; 118:24; also Is 25:9)25 and to give God glory (Rev 19:7).
Fine Linen: Righteous Acts
Finally, we read that bright and clean fine linen was given to the Lamb’s bride — and that the linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people (Rev 19:8).
This recalls Is 61:10 in which the Servant of the LORD declares that the LORD:
has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.(NIV cf. Ezek 16:7-14)26
As we likely see here, and as I have argued before, faith and deeds are two sides of the same coin. True, saving faith necessarily produces godly works of mercy and obedience. The righteous acts here “follow salvation as the necessary proof that regeneration has occurred.”27 We are not saved by godly works; godly works are a by-product of being saved (cf. Eph 2:8-10).
Those who remain faithful (Rev 2:10, 13; 13:10; 14:12; 17:14), continue to testify for Christ (Rev 1:9; 6:9; 12:11, 17; 20:4), persevere through hardship and persecution (Rev 1:9; 2:2–3, 19; 3:10; 13:10; 14:12), and keep God’s commands (Rev 12:17; 14:12), are said to have made themselves ready.28
And yet they are also given fine linen to wear. This linen likely alludes to the that of the high priest who was to put on sacred, fine linen before entering the Most Holy Place to make a sacrifice for the people of Israel on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).29
As Osborne points out:
Here we have the two sides of the Christian life described in Phil. 2:12–13. The believers “work out their own salvation” (= “prepared herself”) as God “works in them” (= God “has given her clothes to wear”).30
Righteousness is bestowed (cf. Rom 3:21f.) and subsequently demonstrated. Let us prepare our righteous wedding garments
Memorization Tutorial (Video)
Memorize Revelation 19:6 after watching a brief tutorial based on the Memorize Any Bible Verse In Less Than Five Minutes Method below:
- Barbara Aland et al., eds., The Greek New Testament, Fifth Revised Edition (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2014), Re 19:6.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Re 19:6.
- J. Ramsey Michaels, Revelation, vol. 20, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), Re 19:1.
- William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 46.
- Moisés Silva, ed., New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014), 253. cf. Paige Patterson, Revelation, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, vol. 39, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012), 341.
- NIDNTTE, vol 1, 253
- M. Robert Mulholland Jr., “Revelation,” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: James, 1–2 Peter, Jude, Revelation, ed. Philip W. Comfort, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2011), 567.
- “…persecuted both Jews and Christians. Tradition says that under Domitian the apostle John was banished to Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation (Rv 1:9).” Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Domitian,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 639.
- “he styled himself “perpetual censor” and even “Lord and God,” Brian W. Jones, “Domitian (Emperor),” ed. David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 221. cf. “Domitian also claimed to be a god while he was alive. People were to hail him “lord” and “god,” according to the Roman historian Suetonius. He expelled astrologers, he persecuted Jews, and he also persecuted Christians. Asia Minor, which already worshiped the emperor, were to be extra enthusiastic in expressing worship for Domitian.” Craig S. Keener, NT385 Book Study: Revelation, Logos Mobile Education (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
- Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 346 cf.
- G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 933.
- “Ingressive (Inceptive, Inchoative) Aorist… A. Definition… The aorist tense may be used to stress the beginning of an action or the entrance into a state.” Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 558. cf. Leon Morris, Revelation: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 20, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1987), 216.
- Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 346.
- “because the Lord God Almighty has begun to reign” (ἐβασίλευσεν, ingressive aorist)” G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 931.
- “(ebasileusen, has begun to reign—an ingressive aorist that reproduces the one in 11:17…” Grant R. Osborne, Revelation, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), 672.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Re 11:17 cf. “Ἐβασίλευσεν may be taken as an ingressive aorist (“he began [has begun] to reign”) instead of a “timeless aorist,” which would see the reigning as occurring throughout unspecified ages. The ingressive aorist is evident from the literary and thematic link with the climactic expression of God’s reign in 11:17…” Beale, 932
- Mulholland, 568 cf. “The first stage of the destruction of Babylon the Great occurred in 17:1–19:5. There the preliminary judgment of the “great prostitute” (17:1; 19:2) took place via a God-directed civil war (17:16–17), as the beast and vassal kings turned on her. The final violent destruction of Babylon the Great (18:21 with its future orientation) was to be concluded in another event, the return of Christ in judgment.” Grant R. Osborne, Revelation, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), 669.
- Michaels, 19:1
- Gary M. Burge and Andrew E. Hill, eds., The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012), 1621. cf. “The praises of the church relate to the coming of God’s reign” George R. Beasley-Murray, “Revelation,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 1450.
- Beale, 932
- Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Re 19:5–6.
- Craig S. Keener, Revelation, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1999), 450. cf. “Another essential part of the Jewish expectation of the restoration of the kingdom was the messianic banquet” Mulholland, 567.
- Mulholland, 567
- Keener, NIVAC 450
- Osborne, 672; Keener IVP
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Is 61:10 cf. Osborne, 674; Keener IVP
- Osborne, 674
- Osborne, 673–674.
- Keener IVP
- Osborne, 674