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Chapter Excerpt by Dr. Cynthia D. Wallace, author of
DON'T MISS THE RAPTURE
A Scriptural Re-Examination of the End-Time Scenario
WEDDING AND WAR - THE LAMB AND THE LION
Chapter 12:4 Excerpt from Don't Miss the Rapture
What do we do, then with the familiar prophetic passage from Revelation 19:
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Rev. 19:7-10 [emphasis added].)
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Rev. 19:11-14 [emphasis added].)
It would seem to follow here that, if the Lamb’s “wife” is “arrayed in fine linen, clean and white”, and the “armies of heaven” are “clothed in fine linen, white and clean”, that the “wife” and the “armies in Heaven” must be one and the same. But wait. By the very fact of distinguishing between the two in these passages, the Scriptures may well be indicating otherwise. One must at least be open to search out the reason why such a distinction is made – namely, why in verse 7 the “wife” is referred to, while in verse 14 the reference is to the “armies of heaven”. Why not say again the “wife”, if indeed it is the “bride”?
It is important to note that the white linen is identified as symbolising, not the “bride” only, but “righteousness”. (See Rev. 19:8, 14.) Thus the “wife” and the “armies of heaven” cannot simply be presumed to both be the “bride”, merely on the basis of their being seen wearing similar garments! This can have far-reaching implications.
Recall that the martyred souls under the altar (pre-Rapture) are similarly arrayed. (Rev. 6:11.) Angels as well are seen clothed in pure white linen. Consider the following:
And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. (Rev. 15:6 [emphasis added].)
So while it is reasonable to accept that the “wife” is identified with the “saints”, the reverse cannot automatically be assumed, namely, that all those dressed in pure white linen are necessarily the “wife”, or even “saints” more generally. This is in fact clearly not the case, even if based only on the garments of the angels.
It is widely assumed that Revelation 19:10 and 19:11 (above) flow into one another in a continuous sequence. This is largely predicated upon this observation that both the “wife” and the “armies” are similarly clothed. They are thus thought to be one and the same. The otherwise obvious distinction between a “bride” preparing for her wedding day and “armies” preparing for war would be far more clear if there were only a chapter break at Revelation 19:11!
Chapter 19:1 starts out “And after these things”, which, in the Book of Revelation, characteristically indicates the continuation of a vision or two sequential scenes of the same vision. So, although after Chapter 18 this vision switches from Earth to Heaven, Chapter 19 actually continues describing the same vision as in Chapter 18, which carries on through Chapter 19 verse 10. There is no interruption in the scene itself between these two chapters, only a change of location (first Earth, afterward Heaven).
Where the real break does come is where we encounter the “And I saw”. This is language characteristically used to indicate the start of a new and different vision (in this case, still in Heaven). As such, Chapter 19, verse 11, where this phrase occurs, should in fact have begun a new chapter. These same introductory words mark the beginning of virtually every chapter in the entire Book of Revelation, from Chapter 4 through Chapter 21! Only in this one single instance is there a failure to recognise this phrase as signalling a new vision, ergo demanding the customary chapter break. This would have helped countless generations to identify Christ’s dramatic set off for Armageddon as a separate account from the adjoining preparation for the marriage supper of the Lamb! This represents an astonishing shift in an otherwise regular pattern, with far-reaching repercussions.
At Revelation 19:9-10, even as it stands, there is a decided dénouement or rounding out of the narrative regarding the culmination of the fall of Babylon and the resultant rejoicing in Heaven, finishing with the readiness of the bride for her marriage supper:
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God.… (Rev. 19:9-10)
The angel’s words to John at the end of this passage – “These are the true sayings of God” – signal a sort of summing up, a type of “selah” or “amen”, punctuated by John’s falling at the angel’s feet to worship him, an act which, although mildly rebuked by the angel, itself connotes an element of finality and an expression of closure as regards that vision. The fact that the following words, “And I saw”, are not separated here by the usual chapter break has, it seems, resulted in a monumental doctrinal error. This may be directly attributable to a misinterpretation by the biblical scholars and translators themselves at the time of the King James Version or even before; and it has been perpetuated throughout the ages.
It is also noteworthy that, for something that should be the most important event of all time for Christian believers – their marriage to Christ, their Beloved, their Bridegroom – it is not even stated that the marriage actually takes place at this moment in Heaven! We cannot take the unfathomable risk of making this grandiose assertion or even assumption. The highly anticipated portrayal here of such a crowning and momentous occasion is conspicuously absent. Now look at this passage again:
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. [SELAH!] (Rev. 19:7-10a.)
The narrative of the wedding preparation and all reference to this joyful and momentous occasion are cut off here with verse 10. Note that the “wife is not even yet wearing her “fine linen, clean and white”. It has simply been granted her (agreed) that she should (future) wear these garments for her wedding feast (v. 8). Yet the armies setting out from Heaven with the Captain of the Host, just a few verses later (v. 11), are already clad in their “fine linen, white and clean” (v. 14) and ready to go!
So unless you equate the marriage supper of the Lamb with the following passage of the climactic departure from Heaven of the conquering Christ the King and His warring armies, you may be obliged to recognise that a totally new vision narrative begins at verse 11 with Christ’s grand and glorious charge to Earth:
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev. 19:11-16.)
That does not sound to this observer like a wedding day. Could it be that, while the “bride” has “made herself ready”, there is some unfinished business for the Bridegroom to first attend to (namely, Armageddon)? Could it be that the “bride” will be allowed to stay out of the fray in the place prepared for her in the Father’s House, for the duration?
Is it not significant too that the vision that closes with the Lamb’s “wife” making herself ready portrays Jesus in His role as Bridegroom and “Lamb”, while the following verses – shifting abruptly to the armies of Heaven – describe Him in His role as Lion, Warrior, conquering King of Kings, with flames of fire in His eyes and blood on His garments!?
If these two passages represented an unbroken sequence in the same vision, such a sudden shift from Lamb to Lion would not seem to be the customary “way of a man with a maid”. (Prov. 30:19.) The sheer inappropriateness of such an instantaneous and radical shift, in the presence of the holy “bride”, would serve to strongly reinforce the premise that the departing-armies text is not a seamless continuation of the marriage-supper text.
Thus while innocently reading along in unbroken prose, our presuppositions can lead us to pass right over this watershed shift. Because Revelation 19:9 brings us all the way up to the marriage supper of the Lamb, we tend to assume that therefore what follows next has to be the very moment of the wedding. Yet closer attention reveals that it is not explicitly stated that the wedding, or even necessarily the marriage supper, actually take place at that moment, just before Christ surges forth with his armies; and there is certainly no description here of this long anticipated and unique event!
DON'T MISS THE RAPTURE
Dr. Cynthia D. Wallace, 2011
A Scriptural Re-Examination of the End-Time Scenario
There are many theories about the return of Christ and the Great Tribulation, but what does Scripture tell us about these events? In Don’t Miss The Rapture, Dr. Cynthia Wallace clarifies—and at times confronts—some controversial Rapture theories of the church, and weighs them against the totality of Scripture. Pre- mid- or post-Tribulation persuasions are at the epicenter of the curent-and-choice end-time debate, with no overall consensus to date. This book is an in-depth Scriptural answer to the question. A corollary to this underlying theme is the vital importance of "watching" and being "ready". This two-fold message is abundantly supported by Dr. Wallace's painstaking and thorough approach to Scriptural analysis, with fresh and provocative insights into the various and complex issues at stake. 336 pages, paperback.
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