Most of us still get so-called snail mail, but we probably get a lot less than we used to. In the last decade the volume of mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service declined by 36 percent. It is presently at a 29-year low. A few things are still mailed—including Today in the Word! Many people also still send wedding invitations the old-fashioned way, although this too may be slowly changing.
In today’s text, invitations to the Lamb’s wedding are not sent by the postal service or Evite. First, the invitation is issued audibly by “what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder” (v. 6). The invitation is part of a larger ovation that celebrates the destruction of “the great prostitute” Babylon (v. 2).
Next, the Lamb’s wedding invitation is put in writing. The angel tells John to write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (v. 9). Clearly these words are addressed to all who read the book of Revelation. In a sense, it is an invitation from the future that has been sent to those of us who have not yet arrived there.
The multitude says that the bride has “made herself ready” by arraying herself in “fine linen, bright and clean” (vv. 7–8). “Fine linen” represents the righteous acts of God’s holy people, and a subtle implication in these words hints at the relationship between grace and righteous behavior. On the one hand, the bride puts on what has been given to her. On the other hand, she makes herself ready. The righteousness of the bride is not her own but is the righteousness of Christ, which comes as a gift and is reflected in her practice.
John falls at the angel’s feet (probably because of the message), but the angel is only a “fellow servant” and is not worthy of worship (v. 10). In an age of celebrity preachers and writers, make sure to never confuse the messenger with the message. Don’t ascribe the glory that belongs to God alone to those who merely speak for Him.