In the previous chapter, we saw how God would bring His fearful plagues to this world. In this chapter, we now see Christ and His glorious army fighting against and overcoming the army of the Antichrist, throwing the Beast and his servants into the lake of fire alive, killing the rest of the Antichrist’ army with the sword of the Word coming out of the Lord’s mouth, and thus finally ending all His battle against Satan.
The substance of this chapter can be divided into three main topics: 1) the raptured saints’ praise of God for bringing the judgment of the great plagues to this world; 2) the proclamation for the coming of the marriage supper of the Lamb; and 3) the Lord’s descent from Heaven with the army of Jesus Christ.
We must all realize that God will most certainly and soon fulfill everything that He has said to us through the Book of Revelation.
The Judgment of God!
Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and have thus become the people of God through faith will be praising Him for saving them from all the sins of the world. Let’s take a look at verses 3-5: “Again they said, ‘Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!’ And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, ‘Amen! Alleluia!’ Then a voice came from the throne, saying, ‘Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!’”
Hebrew 9:27 tells us, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Man is to be judged before God once, but the sentence of this judgment is final and will not be reversed. With His one-time judgment of everyone for his/her sins, in other words, God would render His eternal judgment by throwing the sinners into the fire that burns forever. This is why the Bible tells us that “her smoke rises up forever and ever.”
Some people might think and say, “Once you die, that’s the end of it.” But this is man’s own thought, not God’s. Because everyone has both a body and a soul, whether people believe in God or not, they all know instinctively that God exists, and that sooner or later they will all be judged for their sins before Him.
As there exists a realm of spirits for people, they know that God, though unseen by their eyes, still exists. The realm that can be seen by the eyes of the flesh does not last forever, but there exists the eternal realm of truth, unseen by our eyes. Material prosperity on this earth while thinking of only money and pursuing only material greed cannot be the mankind’s reason for being; its true purpose is to enter into the eternal realm of blessing by knowing God, the Creator of the whole universe, and by knowing and believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Him.
Not only must we know what God has told us, but we must also believe in it. We must not end up in hell by believing and trusting in just our own thoughts alone. Before facing eternal suffering for our sins, we must be forgiven of all our sins and receive eternal life by believing, while on this earth now, in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus.
For everyone, life on this earth is too short. Just as the sun rises and falls everyday, the short journey of our lives ends too quickly, fruitless and meaningless, as if we had been running like a squirrel on a treadmill. Even if you were to live for a hundred years, you couldn’t really say that you’ve lived that long.
If you subtract the trivial rounds of your daily life, such times spent while sleeping, eating, going to washrooms, and doing other such mundane things, from your whole life span, you are actually left with very little time. While you see the things that you had already seen since your birth, and while you meet the people whom you had already met before, your hair has turned all gray, and all of a sudden you find yourself facing your own end.
The only reason as to why our life as the saints are not meaningless is because we, having been born into this world, have met the Lord who has come to us through the water and the Spirit, believed in Him, and thus received the remission of all our sins. How fortunate and thankful we are! Had it not been for the Lord who came to us through the water and the Spirit, we would all be bound to enter the eternal fire and suffer in it.
Whenever I think of this, it still gives me scares, and I come to thank the Lord once more. Hell, which came into existence because of Satan, is the most horrendous place, where the suffering is so great that one would rather wish to die, yet would not be able to do so. It is a place where fire and brimstone burn forever.
To know the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus correctly, and to thus receive the Holy Spirit, one must first meet God’s servants who have already encountered this gospel of the water and the Spirit and who have already been born again. Living as a Christian, whoever wants to find the answer to the question of being born again by the water and the Spirit and of receiving the Holy Spirit can have everything resolved by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The Bible tells us that the Spirit of God is given as a gift to all those who receive the remission of sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit (Acts 2:38). Only those who have the Holy Spirit in their hearts by being forgiven of all their sins through their faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can be said to have the correct faith in Jesus, and only those with this faith can enter into the eternal Kingdom of God (John 3:5). Whether one is blessed or cursed is determined by whether or not one has received the remission of sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Clothed in Fine Linen, Clean and Bright
Those who think of their future and want to resolve their present problem of the remission of their sins are the ones who are wise and blessed. Though one may have lived a checkered life full of shortcomings, if he/she has believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and received the remission of sin and the Holy Spirit into the heart, then this person has lived the most successful life of all.
Revelation 19:4-5 says, “And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, ‘Amen! Alleluia!’ Then a voice came from the throne, saying, ‘Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!’”
Here, the phrase “(to) fear Him” means to accept the Word of Jesus Christ into one’s heart and to live according to His guidance. Only those who have been forgiven of their sins can see and praise God in the Kingdom of Heaven. But those who have not thus received the remission of their sins will suffer in the burning fire of hell and curse God.
Let’s continue with verses 6-9: “And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.’”
It says here that the Apostle John heard the sound of praise, sounding like the voice of a great multitude, the sound of many waters, and the sound of mighty thunderings. This sound was none other than the sound of those who have received the remission of sin gathered together and praising God. This song of praise was made of, first of all, praising God for allowing them to come under the reign of the Almighty God, to be ruled by Him, and to live with Him in glory. All these things have made the saints overwhelmingly happy and joyful and give great glory to God. So, they cannot but praise Him, shouting, “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory.”
Second, the saints continue with their praise: “for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” What does this mean? It means that just as He has promised the mankind, Jesus would return to this earth, marry those who have received the Holy Spirit by believing in Him and by being born again, and live and dwell with them forever.
Marriage is the union of a bridegroom and his bride. When Jesus returns to this earth, in other words, He would accept and live with only those who have been born again of the water and the Spirit. And it means that He would build His Millennial Kingdom and New Heaven and Earth to live with the saints forever and ever. The brides’ glory of living with this Bridegroom is so great that it is beyond description. Just by thinking of it, our hearts swell with happiness.
When the world where Jesus Christ will reign comes, His brides will be extremely happy, beyond what words can describe. How happy would they be when they are reigned by the Good Shepherd? Because Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom of absolute goodness, so would His reign be of absolute goodness and perfection. He will reign over the Kingdom of Heaven.
The One and Only Gospel That Would Qualify You for Heaven
For one to receive the Holy Spirit and enter Heaven, he/she must believe solely in Jesus’ baptism and blood. Because our Lord came to this earth to save all the sinners from all their sins by taking all such sins of the mankind onto Himself, He had to be baptized by John. Having thus received His baptism, Jesus Himself was then crucified on the Cross in our place, was judged for all our sins, rose from the dead again, and became the Lord of eternal salvation for those who believe.
This Lord will now return to the earth, embrace His people who have become His brides through faith, and live with them forever. Those who have become His brides will now live with the Lord on a new earth, a glorious and glorifying blessing for the brides. The saved children of God will thus give glory to Jesus Christ by praising Him forever. These people who are to be reigned by God will rejoice in their happiness. And for this joy, they will give all glory to the Bridegroom.
The whole mankind has been waiting for this event since the very creation. This event is fulfilled when Jesus returns, lifts up those who have received the Holy Spirit, and lives with them. God has made a new world for the mankind and is waiting for us. We exist for this, and for this we have been born into this world.
As the main passage tells us, “His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright,” God has clothed those who believe in Jesus Christ in clean, fine linen. Those who believe in this Word, in other words, have received the remission of sin and their hearts have turned white as snow.
Like this, the brides of Jesus Christ are already prepared beforehand with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. By hearing and believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit while on this earth, one can be born again as Jesus Christ’s bride. This faith is what makes you Christ’s bride, and this faith is what qualifies you to enter Heaven.
Those Who Wait in Hope
The main passage tells us, “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” With what kind of faith should those who have received the remission of their sins live? The brides who have met their Bridegroom Jesus and are living in glory must live their lives in faith and hope, looking forward to the day of their union with this Bridegroom.
As the world gets darker and darker, there is still hope for the saved brides. This hope is none other than waiting for the day when Jesus Christ, having prepared the New Heaven and Earth for His brides, would return to take them away. The Bridegroom will resurrect all His brides then, and give them eternal life. The world in which the Bridegroom and the brides are to live forever is a place that is free from evil, has no sin, and lacks nothing. The brides wait only for this day. This is why those of us who have received the remission of all our sins live with such faith and hope.
The brides who are now living in the present era, in particular, also have many shortcomings of the flesh. But as 1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love,” because the Bridegroom has thus loved His brides, He would cleanse away all their sins with His baptism and accept them as His perfect brides.
This world is running toward its final demise and has no hope left in it. But even as everything is moving ever closer to destruction, the brides must live their lives with their special hope. The time for the fulfillment of this hope is now nearing us. The whole world is now at the risk of crumbling down from earthquakes. The day has neared for everyone in this world to disappear like the extinct dinosaurs of the ancient times. All of a sudden, this world will simply fall down.
Every bride, however, has hope, for when time comes, the bodies of the brides will be transformed into perfect bodies, and they will live with the Lord, who has become their Bridegroom, forever and ever. The brides, therefore, must preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit more faithfully to the worldly people of this era.
Let Us Believe in the True Word of God!
Jesus tells us in John 3:5, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” What, then, is the gospel of the water and the Spirit? The Bible tells us, first of all, that “water” refers clearly to the baptism of Jesus, and is the antitype of salvation (1 Peter 3:21).
When Jesus turned 30, He went to John, who had been baptizing the people of Israel in the Jordan River. Jesus tells us that John the Baptist was the representative of the mankind and the last High Priest of the Old Testament. Meeting this John, Jesus received His baptism from him, which fulfilled all the righteousness of God (Matthew 3:15, 11:11-14). The baptism that Jesus thus received was the eternal offering through which all the sins of the world were passed onto Christ Himself.
The incarnation of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, His baptism, His blood and death on the Cross, and His resurrection and ascension—all these things were the works of the Holy Spirit. When one believes that Jesus came to this earth and made, through the water and the Spirit, all his/her sins disappear at all once, he/she can then become a righteous person, freed from sin, and a bride of Christ. This is not something accomplished by man’s thoughts, but it comes from the thoughts of God Himself.
The truth is that the water, the blood, and the Holy Spirit are the three essential components for the salvation of the mankind from sin, and none of them can ever be absent at all. The Bible elaborates on this clearly and exactly in chapter 5 of 1 John. It tells us that these three elements of the water, the blood, and the Holy Spirit are one in all, and that our salvation from sin cannot be whole and approved if any one of them is missing.
When we know and believe in this truth, that the perfect salvation is to believe in these three―the water, the blood, and the Holy Spirit—we can then realize and accept the love of Jesus that has saved us, and thus our hearts can actually become completely sinless. The Bible promises us in Acts 2:38, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
What, then, is this Word that enables us to receive the Holy Spirit? This is none other than the Word of Jesus’ baptism (the water), of His death on the Cross (the blood), and of His being God, resurrection and ascension (the Holy Spirit). This Word of salvation had actually been prophesized in the writings of Moses and other prophets of the Old Testament, and was fulfilled and testified in all four Gospels of the New Testament. Also, the “eternal salvation of atonement completed at once,” which is detailed in the Book of Hebrews, testifies repeatedly to the righteousness of God, which we have received through our faith.
Though everyone in this sinful world is living a life of the flesh that falls far short before God, he/she must receive the remission of sin offered by God, and live one’s life by placing his/her hope in Heaven. This is the gift of God that He has given to the mankind. We must all receive this grace given to us freely. Believing in the Word that our Lord would return, build His new Kingdom, and let us live in it is our true hope. We must live with this hope, and this is what I most fervently believe.
Do you know how widespread sin is in this world? Compared to the time of Noah’s flood, the sins of this era are far more spread. In Noah’s time, seeing that the thoughts of the mankind were always evil, God had decided to destroy the first world with flood, told Noah to build an ark, and saved those who entered this ark by believing in His Word.
Though God had said that He would most certainly judge the world with water, only Noah’s family of eight believed in His Word. They thus made the ark over a hundred-year period, and entered it to escape the flood. When they did so, God began to bring His judgment to the first world. The sky turned dark all of a sudden, and torrential rain began to rain. Perhaps in just an hour, the water might have reached as high as the third floor. So it rained for 40 days, submerging the whole world under water.
Just as Noah and his family had entered the ark believing that a new world is about to be opened, you and I must live this age in hope. Just as they could build the ark for a hundred years because they had believed in God, I believe that we, too, must persevere and preach the gospel. God told Noah, “Make yourself an ark (Genesis 6:14).” This Word tells us that ‘for us to defend our own faith,’ we must first devote ourselves to the Lord and to preach the gospel.
Though the born-again have hope, there is no hope for those who do not believe in the gospel. There is only despair for these unbelievers of the gospel. Regardless of whether people believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit or not, we must still preach it to them with faith. The present age is the kind of time when people must believe in this true gospel as soon as possible. Those who believe in the gospel that we preach will find happiness, but those who do not believe in it will only be cursed. The latter—that is, those who do not believe in the gospel—are the fools who will receive God’s eternal judgment and be thrown into hell.
Do not lose your hope. If the righteous were ever to lose their hope, only death would await them. If we have no hope, we would have neither the desire, nor the interest, nor any more reason to live on. Let us, therefore, live with hope.
In today’s age, those who believe in Jesus and have thus been born again are the truly happy ones. For the mankind, its only hope left is to receive the remission of sin—that is, there is no other hope but to receive the Holy Spirit. When people are forgiven of all their sins, they can have hope and live happily forever, but if they are not, only destruction would await them, for they would not have received the Holy Spirit.
It is because I have received the remission of all my sins that I can live through today’s world with hope. It is my hope and prayer that you, too, would live your life with this hope. I pray that you would not attach yourself to the vain thoughts of the world, but instead live your life as the wise bride, loving your fellow righteous brothers and sisters, helping them to stand firm in Christ, not losing your faith, waiting for the Bridegroom, and meeting Him when He finally comes to take you away.
I thank God for enabling us to live in His glory.