The marriage of the Lamb is at the epoch when "the kingdoms of this world are to become our Lord's and his Christ's" -- when the Lord God Almighty takes to himself his great power and reigns, 11:15, 17. Therefore, in connection, are heard the mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia; for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth," 9:16. This scripture, then, corresponds with that in Matt.24:30, 31, when "they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." For, "when the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats -- the one on his right hand and the other on his left," Matt.25:31, 32. Those on his right, we learn from 1 Cor.15:51, and 1 Thess.4:16, 17, are the elect, gathered by the angels from all parts under heaven, who are caught up to meet the Lord in the air -- and those on the left are consequently the living wicked, who are to be slain by the sword which proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lamb, 19:21.
The wife who "hath made herself ready," is shown by the foregoing scriptures to be, undoubtedly, the church triumphant -- the redeemed, who have been raised out from among the dead, and the living saints, caught up together to meet the Lord in the air; to welcome him in his coming to reign. These constitute the bride, the Lamb's wife; for as "the husband is the head of the wife," even so "Christ is the head of the church," Eph.5:23. He "loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish," Eph.5:25-27. This accords with God's ancient promises to his people. Thus Isaiah saith: "Thy Maker is thy husband; the Lord of hosts is his name, and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel: the Lord of the whole earth shall he be called," Isa.54:5. Also Hosea: "And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi," my husband; "and shalt call me no more Baali," my Lord. "And I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the Lord," Hos.2:16, 19. Thus is the church "espoused to one husband," to be presented "as a chaste virgin to Christ," 2 Cor.11:2.
The epoch of this presentation being here symbolized, it synchronizes with that part of the parable of the "ten virgins which took their lamps and went forth to meet the Bridegroom," when, the Bridegroom having come, "they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut" -- those left without, afterwards crying in vain for admittance, Matt.25:10. The wife had been made ready by its having been "granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white -- [mar. 'bright']; for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints," 19:8. Such were the "white robes" given to those who cried from under the altar (6:11), and who afterwards, at an epoch synchronizing with the marriage of the Lamb, appeared, "a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues," who "stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb," 7:9, 10. These were they of whom one of the elders asked, saying, "What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?" and who was answered: "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes," 7:13-17. These had complied with the condition to the promise: "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before the Father and before his holy angels," 3:5. "These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb," 14:4.
"Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb," 19:9. Truly are they blessed; for "they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat," 7:16. They attain the promised blessing: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection," 20:6. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away," 21:4. So entranced was the apocalyptic seer at these symbols of the glorified redeemed, that he fell at his feet to worship the angel who showed him these things. But his fellow servant shrank back from the reception of homage, and pointed to God as the only object of adoration.
The union of the saints to Christ in the clouds of heaven being symbolized, they receive the gracious welcome: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world," Matt.25:34. But first it is necessary to redeem the "purchased possession" (Eph.1:14), to reconquer the revolted province, which, since the fall, has been subject to "the god of this world" (2 Cor.4:4), the "prince of the power of the air" (Eph.2:2), to rescue it from the dominion of the usurper, and deliver it from its present mis-rule "up to God the Father" (1 Cor.15:24), who will bestow it on One who is worthy to wear its crown. For when Daniel saw that "the judgment was set and the books were opened," he also "saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came in the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him; and there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed," Dan.7:10, 13, 14. He comes, then, to dispossess the usurper, and to take possession of his kingdom. The next representation, then, symbolizes the coming of: