"HO, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."
Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."
"Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."
The everlasting Gospel, the power of God unto salvation, has, throughout all generations, held out this invitation to the people of the earth. From the fall in Eden to the last generation on earth, guests are chosen for the marriage supper of the Lamb. This will be the great gathering time for the heavenly family, -- the first reunion of all the creatures of God's hand.
God the Father will gather His children in the New Jerusalem, the mother of us all; and Christ the eldest Son and Brother, the Bridegroom, will come forth, and serve the guests. Christ at the marriage feast in Cana looked forward to the time of His own marriage supper, when sin would be forever blotted out; when His bride, adorned in the righteousness of God, and the guests, arrayed in the wedding garments, would await the coming of the Bridegroom. The changing of the water to wine was typical of the transformation wrought in the character of those who would become guests, when at His word mortality was changed to immortality.
In His talk with Zacchaeus, the Publican, the Saviour explained His marriage and the supper. "Because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return." "And ye yourselves [are] like unto men that wait for their Lord, when He will return from the wedding; that when He cometh and knocketh, they may open unto Him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that He shall gird Himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them."
When the Saviour entered the inner apartment of the heavenly temple, He went to make up the subjects of His kingdom. He "came to the Ancient of Days," the Father, "and there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom."
"And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom." This is the marriage of Christ, and the work of the sealing angel is to put a sign upon those of the last generation who are prepared for the wedding supper. The voice from heaven, which, during the loud cry, says, "Come out of her My people," gathers guests for this supper from the very last people of earth. Probation closes when the last guest has accepted the invitation.
John, in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, had been brought a number of times to this great gathering. In the sixteenth chapter are recorded the plagues which fall upon those who turn from the invitation; the eighteenth chapter describes the character of the church and the governments which attract the minds of men from the call of God, and so infatuate them with the feasts of the whore that they lose the privilege of eating at the table of the Lamb. John saw these things, and understood why the time of trouble came; and then the curtain was drawn aside, and from the scenes of debauchery and destruction, which earth presents, his eye rested upon the heavenly gathering at the great supper of the Son of God.
He saw the hosts of the redeemed from earth mingling with angels and the inhabitants of other worlds. And he "heard a great voice of much people in heaven," the greatest chorus the universe ever heard; that in which all voices unite in singing, "Alleluia; salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God."
Salvation is the one theme throughout creation. Worlds, long held in suspense because of sin on earth, raised their voices in the universal anthem. They had witnessed the judgment of God; and they who had followed the dealings of Satan on earth, and who knew of his repeated attempts to overthrow the throne of God, saw the final destruction of the whore, that masterpiece of iniquity. When the last trace of sin was gone, and the smoke of the final burning had ascended up forever and ever, they burst forth in unrestrained accents, saying, "True and righteous are His judgments." And the four beasts and the four and twenty elders bowed before the throne crying, "Amen; Alleluia." These were close beside the throne; and as the command came to praise God, off to the limits of space, rolling on and on like the voice of many waters, sounded the words, "alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready."
Sometimes it may seem that man is alone; but one glimpse of heaven shows that the whole universe is watching, intently watching, and salvation is the thought of every heart. As their lives are more sensitive than ours because sin has not dulled their sensibilities, so their suffering in sympathy with man, is intense beyond description. Love, eternal love rules the universe, and when the conflict is over, a shout resounds through creation, "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth." Then from boundless space the creatures of His love come to witness the gathering at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
In the city of God, the silver table, many miles in length, is spread with the fruits of the new earth. The city which Christ has prepared for the redeemed, rests on the site of ancient Jerusalem which had been purified by fire. It is Eden restored. "His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives ... and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; ... and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee." "Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah (that is, my delight is in her), and thy land Beulah (married): for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. ... As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee."
Everywhere will be seen the character of Christ. The city reflects it, the land speaks of purity, and the redeemed are clothed in the wedding garments, linen clean and white, which is the righteousness of Christ worn by the saints. And as the prophet marveled over the grandeur of the scene, and the glory of redemption completed, Gabriel, thinking still of those on earth who should make up that company seated about the table, said, "Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb"; for the things which thou hast seen are true. Though still future, John had seen things as they will be when sin is a thing of the past.
John, overcome with inexpressible joy and gratitude, fell at the feet of Gabriel, to worship him; but he who stands in the presence of God, a channel of communication between God and man, raised the prophet, and pointing toward the throne, said "Worship God!"
I, though Gabriel, am but one of His creatures, drawing life from Him and am thy fellow servant and the fellow servant of all who have the Spirit of Prophecy." Gabriel, as the angel of prophecy, feels a tender regard for those with whom he has had open communion; and as he sees the redeemed at the marriage supper, he is able to trace their history and salvation, through their adherence to the Spirit of Prophecy. And he, the servant of God, in bearing light, is a fellow worshiper with all who have received the light; for it is the Spirit of Prophecy which brings all to the unity of the faith.
Beginning with the eleventh verse, the closing scenes of earth's history are again opened before John. This time he sees heaven's hosts marshaled, -- ten thousand times ten thousands of angels, arrayed as warriors under their Commander. "The Lord hath opened His armory, and hath brought forth the weapons of His indignation: for this is the work of the Lord God of Hosts."
At the head of the forces, rode the Commander in chief of all the hosts of heaven. He was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood. Satan the opposing general, had bruised and wounded Him; but His sacrifice only endeared Him to His own troops, and they became His loyal subjects for eternity. He was seated on a pure white horse, a sign of royalty. On His head He wore many crowns in token of the victories won.
To His devoted followers, the name of the Commander was "Faithful and True." On His vesture and on His thigh, was written, "King of kings, and Lord of lords"; but aside from these letters He had a name known only to Himself and the Father, -- a name expressing the depths of divine character which even eternity cannot interpret. Since each redeemed one has an inner experience with Christ, which is a secret between two, so the Father and His eldest Son know each other as none others can know them. To His Father, Christ is the Word of God. The completest union is here signified. God has spoken through Christ in all His creation, and the name Word of God is an eternal reminder of the everlasting covenant into which the Two entered when Christ received that name. It was the Word of God which was made flesh, and dwelt among us. It is the Word that saves, and it is this same Word that destroys. To the one who obeys the Word, it is a healing balm of all the ills to which human flesh is heir. When disregarded, it becomes the stone of stumbling, and rock of offense over which men fall and die.
For the first time in all ages, Christ goes from heaven as a warrior, clad with helmet and sword; for the first time, He comes to rule with a rod of iron. For six thousand years He has been the gentlest of the gentle. He is the shepherd that carries the lambs in his bosom; the father who pities his child. "Can a woman forget her sucking child? ... yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee." But when He comes at the end of the time, to meet the armies of earth that are in battle array on the plains of Armageddon, His eyes flash flames of fire, which burn through the souls of men; and out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, and with it He smites the nations.
He whose Word has been the saving grace through time, now holds aloft the Word of God, and men are condemned by their own hearts. To the righteous, waiting ones, He comes on a white cloud, and they are caught up to meet Him in the air; but, while to one company, His coming brings immortal life, to the other, who have scorned the Word when it was spoken in human language, that Word, as it comes from Jehovah Himself, becomes a consuming fire.
There is a great earthquake, the earth opens and reveals a lake of fire. This is the first revelation of the lake of fire, which the center of the earth now holds in keeping until the day when Christ treads "the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." The fire from the mouth of Christ slays the remnant of the wicked. They who were prepared to slay the people of God, fall, as did the Roman guard when the angel of the resurrection drew near to the earth. The beast in Europe and the false prophet in the United States, having blended their forces for the accomplishment of their one desire, -- the destruction of the remnant of God's people, -- fall before Him who sits on the white horse. His name is the Word of God, and He is followed by the armies of heaven, clothed in robes of dazzling purity, each riding a pure white horse. The world is marshaled under the beast and the false prophet and these both are cast alive into the lake of fire. "A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction. How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken!
How is Babylon become a desolation among the nations! I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the Lord." These all are slain, and at the end of the thousand years, are burned in the lake of fire which purifies the earth. "Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare His righteousness: for God is judge Himself."
From time immemorial, the prophecies have foretold this day of vengeance, and warned the inhabitants of the earth to flee from the wrath to come. But men were lovers of their own selves. To Jeremiah the Lord said, "Prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation; He shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, He will plead with all flesh; He will give them that are wicked to the sword. ... And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground."
The culmination of all destruction comes at the appearing of Christ as Commander of the hosts of heaven. And when the slain cover the earth from one end to the other, a mighty angel is represented as standing over against the sun, and crying so that the fowls of the whole earth hear, saying, "Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great." It is over. Those who sought to slay the truth, -- men from every kindred, representing all classes, lie dead, slain by the Word which they rejected. And while Christ returns to heaven with the redeemed, the fowls of the heavens devour the bodies of the slain. This is the one supper, -- a feast of death. What a contrast to the marriage supper of the Lamb! It is the last feast, even for birds of prey, whose very existence typifies the devouring nature of sin. The earth is soon without form and void! Even the life of birds is destroyed; for the elements melt with fervent heat; the heavens roll together as a scroll, and the atmosphere is dissolved.
All are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb; all may be there, but those who have rejected the Word will be smitten when He comes as a consuming fire.
Page 314; Isa. 55:1; John 4:10, 14; Isa. 55:2; Isa. 55:3; Isa. 55:4; Isa. 55:5; Isa. 55:6; Rev. 3:18; Rev. 3:20; Rom. 1:16; Gen. 3:1-6.
Page 315; Eph. 3:14, 15; Gal. 4:26; Rom. 8:29; Isa. 66:10-12; 1Cor. 15:51-54; Luke 19:11, 12; Luke 12:36, 37; Matt. 22:11-14; Dan. 7:14, 27.
Page 316; Luke 14:17; Luke 14:23; Rev. 19:9; Zech. 7:11, 12; Jer. 7:13, 14; Isa. 66:4; Luke 12:37; Prov. 8:31.
Page 317; Rev. 19:1, 2; Matt. 25:41; Psa. 112:7, 8; Rev. 16:7; Rev. 19:4; Job 25:3; Rev. 19:7; 2Kings 6:17; Rev. 19:3-7.
Page 318; Mark 14:25; Matt. 26:29; Luke 14:15; Zech. 14:4; Isa. 49:10-13; Isa. 62:4, 5; Isa. 65:19; Zech. 3:4; Isa. 61:10; Rev. 19:8, 9; Luke 15:22-24.
Page 319; Dan 10:21; Luke 1:19, 20; Rev. 19:10; Isa. 7:9; 2Chron. 20:20; Eph. 4:11-13; Rev. 19:11; Jer. 50:25; Isa. 63:1; Zech. 13:6; Judges 5:10.
Page 320; THE BIBLE DESCRIPTION OF SOME OF THE MANY CROWNS. Rev. 2:10; Rev. 14:14; 1Pet. 5:4; 2Tim. 4:8; 1Thess. 2:19; Psa. 103:4; Heb. 2:7, 9; Prov. 14:18; 1Cor. 9:25; Rev. 19:12-16; Heb. 13:20; Zech. 6:13; Matt. 21:44; Psa. 2:7, 8.
Page 321; Isa. 40:11; Heb. 4;12; Psa. 103:13; Isa. 49:13-17; Isa. 11:4; Deut. 32:22; Psa. 97:3-5; Isa. 63:1-6; Isa. 64:1-3; Matt. 28:3, 4; Jer. 25:33; 2Thess 2:8; Dan. 7:11; Rev. 19:13, 14.
Page 322; Jer. 50:22-24; Isa. 66:15, 16; Psa. 50:3-6; Deut. 29:27; Rev. 19:1721; Jer. 25:30-33; 2Thess. 2:8.
Page 323; Isa. 11:4; Luke 21:22; Matt. 24:28; Jer. 4:23-27.