Our Lord Reigns

Title: Our Lord Reigns

Bible Book: Revelation 19 : 6-10

Author: Johnny L. Sanders

Subject: Heaven, Marriage In



You may get tired of hearing this, but I believe this would be a good time to remind you that my purpose in this series of messages has not been to answer all your questions; make predictions about various nations or ethnic groups, or to identify the latest Anti-Christ for you. I couldn’t do that if I tried, but I have heard the speculation. I can assure you, I am looking for answers every day. My purpose has been to try to focus on the promise made in 1:3, where all who read the Revelation are promised a blessing. I have made no claim of special knowledge - or revelation beyond what the Lord has set before us all. Once again, I want only to skim the surface, looking for that blessings. I don’t know about you, but a close look at the Revelation has been a blessing surpassing anything I had anticipated, and it just keeps getting better and better. Today, I would like for us to begin by reading in verses 1-5 of this chapter about a celebration in heaven. It is important to keep these verses in mind as we move forward, so let’s read them together:

“After this I heard something like the loud voice of a vast multitude in heaven, saying: Hallelujah! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God, because His judgments are true and righteous, because He has judged the notorious prostitute who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality; and He has avenged the blood of His servants that was on her hands. A second time they said: Hallelujah! Her smoke ascends forever and ever! Then the 24 elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who is seated on the throne, saying: Amen! Hallelujah! A voice came from the throne, saying: Praise our God, all you His servants, you who fear Him, both small and great! (Rev 19:1-5, HCSB).

As I pointed out in the last message, the words “after this” bridges the gap between the destruction of the notorious prostitute, the fall of Babylon the Great, and the complete victory of the Lamb of God over all foes. Babylon, regardless of the political makeup of the world under the Anti-Christ, represents the systems of the world under the control of the prince of this world, Satan. As we have seen, it will seem that Satan is in complete control. He has brought forth his beast out of the earth and his beast out of the sea to do his bidding (Ch. 13). He has sent his powerful angel forth from the bottomless pit to wreak havoc on the earth. However, just as it must seem that the devil has everything under his control, God commands seven angels to step forth and pour out His final seven bowls of judgment upon the earth.

After this, the Lamb of God appears wearing the crown of victory, and the notorious harlot falls in defeat “in one hour.” Whether man’s hour or heaven’s hour we are not told, but we will see later that New Jerusalem is measured with man’s standard measurements. One hour, whatever else it may imply, must denote a very brief, complete period of time. Babylon, the world that is in rebellion against God, complete with its religious systems, political systems, and commercial systems, will fall “in one hour” never to rise again.

Why, you may wonder, is this message clothed in such mysterious language? I thought you would never ask! Seriously, we must remember that Jesus is giving this revelation to the His beloved disciple, the aged John, on the Isle of Patmos at the end of the first century A.D. My sister Linda e-mailed me after reading an earlier sermon from Revelation to tell me she has been on Patmos with her husband and a group of her gifted students who excel as “future problem solvers.” Now, we are seeing how the most critical future problems will be solved!

The church is being persecuted by Rome in an effort to destroy Christianity. Christians are being persecuted and slaughtered for the cause of Christ. It is going to get worse. Peter wrote that we are blessed when we suffer for Christ, not when we build the biggest house in the neighborhood. The Revelation was given to enlighten believers of all ages, but it was also given to encourage those believers who were going through a period of tribulation. Some think the Revelation deals with the tribulations through which those saints were going in the first century. Others see no historical application at all. The fact is that there is an historical application. Large numbers were being slain in the Roman arenas for the entertainment of the emperor and the citizens of Rome. Believe me, those sports fans were not the least bit squeamish about a little blood. Christians needed to hear a word from the Lord. To the initial readers, this message was just for them. As a matter of fact, it is so written that all believers of all ages should find an application for them and for their age. It may well be that we are living in the last stages before Jesus returns to rapture his church, and allow the Great Tribulation to begin, seven years of intense tribulation like the world has never known before. As a matter of fact, I would be more surprised if we are not living in the last days! As I have stated before, I think we may do well to consider all of this in the anticipatory tense.

The “after this” in verse one looks back on the seven years of tribulation, the pouring out of the seven bowls of final judgments, and the fall of Babylon. Those words introduce us to the celebration in heaven by the four and twenty elders, the four living ones, and the entire hosts of heaven in anticipation of the things to come. Those things include the marriage feast of the Lamb of God and His bride, the final judgment of the wicked, unrepentant sinners, and the glory of Almighty God and the wonders of heaven.

John “heard something like the loud voice of a vast multitude in heaven, saying: Hallelujah! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God.” The only wonder would be if we do not join in that praise, as we are invited to: “ Praise our God, all you His servants, you who fear Him, both small and great!” “After this” not only looks back, it looks ahead to what is coming next:


“Then I heard something like the voice of a vast multitude, like the sound of cascading waters, and like the rumbling of loud thunder, saying: Hallelujah—because our Lord God, the Almighty, has begun to reign!”

A. John Heard the Voice of a Vast Multitude.

1) The voice he heard was like the voice of a vast multitude. There are many symbols in Revelation that are interpreted in various ways by students of the Word. To me, one of the saddest and most unfortunate things is not that we hold different positions with regards to end-time events and the ultimate return of Jesus Christ to earth. The saddest thing is when someone develops a decidedly unchristian attitude toward those who disagree with him. Think about it! You find someone whose interpretation of a symbol, metaphor, or prophecy from Revelation is different from yours and you zealously defend your position. You are not able to convince him and in time you begin to label him as a heretic, a liberal, a fundamentalist, or a lost person. Pastors may spend their time fighting other pastors, churches may fight other churches, and denominations may spend so much time fighting other denominations that we forget who the real enemy is.

Here is something on which we should be able to agree: repetition in the Book of Revelation is not without purpose. Think how many times John tells us that he heard a loud voice, a voice like thunder, a voice like cascading waters. Here, the voice he heard was like the voice of a vast multitude. And what a multitude it is! All those in heaven will be rejoicing and singing the praises of the One who sits on heaven’s throne.

2) The voice was like the sound of cascading waters. I well remember my second trip to Ridgecrest Conference Center at Ridgecrest, NC. I had been there once before when a godly English teacher took three of her students with her to youth week following my Junior year in high school. At the beginning of our Junior year Miss Hicks welcomed us to her class and told us about her summer, the highlight of which was her week at Ridgecrest for youth week. The theme had been, “God has a plan, a place, and a purpose for every life.” I have never known anyone to come up with a better theme for a youth emphasis. Miss Hicks talked with us about the impact of a week at Ridgecrest on her life. Of course, this was before the ACLU revealed it’s true anti-Christian colors, so we did not know how much damage Miss Hicks was doing to us.

My second trip to Ridgecrest was when John was a toddler. Roads had been improved and the Interstate highway made the trip both safer and quicker. I did manage to find a side road or two where I could pull over and stop, especially along the Cumberland Gap. I walked down to creek beds where John spend his time looking for rocks for his Uncle Mike. I discovered something that day - the sound of cascading waters, waters tumbling down the side of the mountain - not a water fall but water running over rocks with a rumbling, splashing sound. I carried away from that scene the desire to go back there someday and sit down by one of those streams and listen to the cascading waters for at least an hour. Actually, I thought about how nice it would be to go to sleep listening to that sound in the remote part of the Smoky Mountains.

A couple of years ago, I was attending a meeting of the board of trustees for LifeWay Christian Resources at Glorieta, NM. I was very much aware of the fact that two years earlier, I had been at Glorieta on 9/11/01, the other date that will live in infamy. I had asked a lady who was preparing rooms for guests about a place I could drive and enjoy the beauty of the mountains. I am an amateur photographer and I wanted to get some good shots of mountain scenes. The Interstate from Albuquerque to Sante Fe provides a photographer with many scenes but few opportunities to photograph them. The lady told me to drive over to Pecos and turn left and drive up the Pecos Canyon, on a road that followed the Pecos River. I kept looking for a river - remember, I grew up only a few miles from the Mississippi River. It finally dawned on me that the little stream that I thought of as a small creek actually was the Pecos River! I was by myself, just enjoying the beauty of the Rockies. I pulled over where people could park on the shoulder of the road and go down to the river to fish. I walked down to the river and just watched the water tumble over the rocks, listening the calming, satisfying sound of cascading waters.

I can only imagine what those cascading waters sounded like to John, the beloved apostle. There were may voices - and they were pleasant voices, voices that brought rest, comfort, assurance.

3) The voice was like the rumbling of loud thunder. Abigail’s Beaux is my four year old Border Collie, and he is a joy. Abigail is my granddaughter and, well, how else would you spell Bo in Louisiana? He is our second Border Collie, the first one, Dixie, was very intelligent, but I lacked the wisdom to train her. She trained herself, herding Mark’s black lab, chasing birds, running patterns in the back yard, and inventing games that would help burn up some of that energy that comes with Border Collies. We have been able to train Beaux to do certain things that entertain out little Abigail. Border Collies are amazing dogs. Their speed and agility match their intelligence. I once watched, on TV, a world-wide competition in which dogs were really put through the tests. Of the top twenty dogs in the world - in that one competition - 18 were Border Collies, and one was half Border Collie.

I could share a number of amazing traits about Border Collies: loyalty, affection, intelligence, tenacity, speed. But there is one quality I did not know about before we bought the first one. Some thirty minutes before you hear the first sound of thunder, they go crazy. Dixie would head to a spot in my shop and hide at the end of a shelf, in a space I thought was too small for a cat. Beaux came along and we were hoping he would not have this abnormal fear of thunder. By the time he was two years old, that abnormal fear surfaced. Beaux will dig under the fence, force his body through a space that defies belief, and hide in the darkest corner of the carport, close to the door. If the hole he finds in the fence is not big enough he will work on it until he breaks some wire and squeeze through it. He wants you to let him inside the house, but when he was young he ran through knocking things over. Now, he simply hides when he senses a thunder storm coming.

The voice John hears was like the voice of thunder, rolling thunder which announces a coming storm, complete with lightening, wind, rain, and sometimes, hail. We have all head distant thunder when we stopped to listen to be sure we had actually heard thunder. There are other times when the thunder vibrates the house, thunder that is accompanied by lightening, heavy winds, and rain. Now, we know that it is lightening that is the threat, not the thunder, but the thunder gets our attention and at times it is so loud that you cannot ignore it. This is what the voices sounded like to John.

B. The Reason for the Celebration is Given.

Now we come to the final Hallelujah. Those voices which are loud, clear, and unmistakable, declare, “Hallelujah—because our Lord God, the Almighty, has begun to reign!” What John heard was the voices of all the hosts of heaven, celebrating the fact that our Lord God, the Almighty, has begun to reign. “Hallelujah”, here anticipates the Second Coming of Christ. The basis of the praise is introduced with the word, “because” - “because our Lord God, the Almighty, has begun to reign!” Our Lord God is called the Almighty some nine times in the Revelation, reinforcing the emphasis made in the first verse of the Bible where we read, “In the beginning, God Created....” The word there for God is the world Elohim, the title which emphasizes His omnipotence. He is the One Who had the power to create all things. He is the One Who has the power to bring all things to His Own culmination and completion.

Our Lord God, the Almighty “has begun to reign.” We know that He has always reigned. He has always sat on the throne of heaven. Then, why do the saints and angels say that He has begun to reign? Is it possible that it means that He has begun to assert His sovereignty in a new and fresh way? Does this mean that He has now begun to exercise his sovereignty over these end-time events, the destruction of the notorious prostitute, the fall of Babylon the great, the defeat of Satan, and the reign of His Son? Does it point to His millennial reign? The answer may be a combination of all these things.


“Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself. She was permitted to wear fine linen, bright and pure. For the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints.”

A. Guests Celebrate the Marriage of the Lamb and His Bride, 19:7.

In the Bible, marriage is often used as a metaphor to describe the relationship between God and His saints. In the Old Testament Israel is often portrayed pictured the unfaithful wife of Yahweh who is destined to be restored in the future kingdom. This is forcefully and dramatically illustrated in Hosea. In the New Testament, marriage is also used to describe the relationship between Christ and the church, which is regarded as a virgin bride waiting the coming of her heavenly Bridegroom (2 Cor. 11:2). Now, the Bridegroom has come for His bride. The bride has prepared herself for the Bridegroom. The time has come for the celebration of the marriage. The marriage union between God and His people will be consummated at the time of the wedding feast (19:9).

We must not overlook the added note that “His wife has prepared herself.” Now, I don’t know about you but my first thought was that while the earthly bride must prepare herself, only the Lamb of God can prepare His bride. There seems to be a little more to it than that, as one commentary explains:

“This statement anticipates 21:2, where we see the new Jerusalem “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” The process of preparation takes a lifetime for each believer and thousands of years for the entire bride. Evidently, the bride is still not ready—or Christ, the bridegroom, would have come for her. Jesus’ parables on the entrance into the wedding feast (Matt. 22:2-14); the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-13), and Paul’s portrayal of Christ and the church as husband and wife (Eph. 5:25-32) all speak of the process of preparation” [New Commentary on the Whole Bible].

B. The Bride Wears Fine Linen, 19:8.

Here we have an explanation of the statement that the bride has prepared herself for her Bridegroom:
“She was permitted to wear fine linen, bright and pure. For the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints.” Is it not insignificant that the Scripture says, “She was permitted to wear fine Linen”? That she was permitted reminds us that the Bridegroom is the one in charge. He is the One Who decides, He is the One who qualifies her to wear fine linen. “Fine linen, bright and pure” represents the righteous acts of the saints. In the Old Testament, the high priest’s clothing included linen: Ex. 28:42; Lev. 6:10; 16:4, 23, 32).

Once again, we find something especially interesting and informative. Our first thought here might well be that the saints are justified by faith, not works. However, the plural - “the righteous acts” seems to refer to the righteous deeds wrought by the saints through the grace of God. “Though all this has been made possible by the grace of God, the emphasis here seems to be on the works of the bride rather than on her standing as one who has been justified by faith” [The Bible Knowledge Commentary]. We are saved by grace, through faith, unto good works (Eph. 2:8-10).

We have seen numerous expressions of praise in the Revelation. In fact, they are spread throughout the Book (4:8, 11; 5:9-10, 12-13; 7:10, 12; 11:16-18; 15:3-4; 16:5-7; 19:1-4, 6-8). This is the last of 14 outbursts of praise to God in the Book of Revelation by saints, angels, the 24 elders, and/or the 4 living creations. I use creations rather than creatures because the emphasis is upon the fact that they are living ones, not creatures in the same mold as the beasts of Chapter 13.


“Then he said to me, ‘Write: Blessed are those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb!’ He also said to me, ‘“These words of God are true.’ Then I fell at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘Don’t do that! I am a fellow slave with you and your brothers who have the testimony about Jesus. Worship God, because the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

A. John Was Told to What to Write About the Marriage of the Lamb, 19:9a.

John is now instructed to write about the marriage of the Lamb. Does this imply that he may have forgotten it? How could he have forgotten anything like this revelation? The point is, every thing he writes is what he is told to write. More to the point, how would John’s knowledge of this help us, if it has been given only for his benefit? He was told to write it down for the benefit and edification of the suffering saints of his day and for the saints down through the centuries - until the consummation of the marriage between the Lamb and His bride, the church.

Those who accept God’s calling are the true believers (see Matt. 9:13; Rom. 8:30; 1 Cor. 1:9).

“In ancient times, “the wedding supper began toward evening of the wedding day and lasted many days, and was a time of great jubilation. Here in Revelation, the wedding is the beginning of the earthly kingdom of God. The celebration and jubilation of this wedding will usher the saints into the millennial kingdom (20:6)” [New Commentary on the Whole Bible].

B. He Was Told to Write, “These Words of God Are True”, 19:9b.

I have never ceased to be amazed at some of the speculations I have heard from sincere students of the Revelation, from those who have made Eschatology, the study of last things, a lifelong commitment. Some of those things have been enlightening; some - just interesting. Let’s face it, some have been rather bazaar. Just imagine what it would be like if the Lord had not given John this revelation and told him to write it down for us. Not only was he told to write down what he had seen, he was to add the note that “These words of God are true.”

In the front of my all time favorite preaching Bible are the words I jotted down while listening to some long-forgotten preacher at some long forgotten conference or convention. Listen to what the Holy Spirit led that man to say: “It is not enough to say that God said it because it is true. It is true because God said it.” Wow! Or, in the word of this chapter, Hallelujah!

A retired Bible professor writes a column from time to time which appears in the Monroe, LA daily newspaper. Recently, this man took to task those who hold a pre-millennial view of end-time events. He is entitled to his opinion, and I would not try to persuade him to change his mind. Not many of us change our minds after we reach retirement age. However, one of my very favorite mentors, the late Dr. E. R. Pinson, told me by phone that at age 92, he stood before a Sunday School class and announced for the first time that he was a pre-millennialist. That was as amazing to me then as it would have been shocking to some of his contemporaries.

A few weeks after our local retired Bible professor set area pastors straight and pointed out the error of their ways, he wrote another column for the Faith and Values section - you know the section that explains Islam to us; introduces us to the finer points of Buddhism; enlightens us about meditation techniques; and informs us about the benefits to gained from sweat boxes - not the sauna at the local health club, but Indian shamanism. Well, in the professor’s latest column, he explains that he believes the Bible is authoritative, but not infallible. He seems to be one of those people who believe that the Bible is inspired in spots and they are inspired to pick the spots.

Let me ask you a simple question: Would the Bible not be more authoritative if it is infallible than if it is not? If it is not inerrant, how can it be totally authoritative? To me it comes down to this: If God could not have given us a perfect Book, why do we call Him God? And if He could have done it but would not do it, what kind of God is He? Until the Lord tells me other wise, I am going to continue to believe, teach, and preach that the Bible is true, inspired, infallible, inerrant. Inerrancy does not stand or fall on this one reference, but it is totally consistent with the doctrine.

C. John Was Told to Worship God, Not the Messenger, 19:10.

Have you ever read something about one of the better known characters in the Bible and wondered, How could he do that? We may be forgetting some of the advantages we have over some of the early saints, especially those in the Old Testament. We may also be forgetting all the blunders of which we have been guilty. What John does here may shock you, but can you imagine yourself in his place? John writes, “Then I fell at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘Don’t do that! I am a fellow slave with you and your brothers who have the testimony about Jesus. Worship God, because the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

First, John, overwhelmed by all he had witnessed, fell down at the feet of the angel to worship him. Immediately, the angel stopped him: “Don’t do that!” There is an urgency about this. This would never do. America’s preoccupation with angels over the past quarter of a century may have been sparked to some degree by the television program, Touched By an Angel. We loved it because it was clean, but it often portrayed New Age angels, not biblical angels. It portrayed angels that hold an appeal even to many lost people. I wonder how many times true angels have witnessed modern man’s fascination with the angels of their own creation and thought, “Don’t do that!”

This angel declared, “I am a fellow slave with you and your brothers who have the testimony about Jesus.” You may be shocked to see the word slave here. Why would those who translated the Holman Christian Standard Bible use the word slave rather than servant. We are comfortable with the word servant, but cringe when we here the word slave. We are comfortable saying I am a voluntary servant. Well, I sat at a table with Dr. Ed Bloom, General Editor of the HCSB, and listen to him explain that. The HCSB is a word for word translation and they used the word slave because that is what the original demands. If you are a born-again believer, you are a slave of God - you are bought with a price. You belong to Him! He did not save you and then ask you to volunteer for His service. The choice is His, not yours. You are either his slave or you are living in rebellion against Him. True believers are bought with a price. This angel understood that clearly, and so did the 24 elders and the 4 living ones. You and I need to understand that concept as well.

The angel said, “Worship God, because the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” If the angels worship God, and the 24 elders worship God, and the 4 living creations worship God, and if the beloved disciple worshiped God, shouldn’t you and I worship Him? No, I don’t mean just going to church, I mean really worship God.


If you know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord you are a part of the bride of Christ. What does that mean for me today? It means that you are His slave, bought with the greatest price ever paid for anything - the blood of the Lamb of God. If you are a born again believer in Jesus Christ, He expects you to walk in righteousness, and to produce works of righteousness in and through the Holy Spirit. He is coming again for His bride. The bride should be preparing even now for the marriage feast and the consummation of the marriage. Jesus is coming again for His bride and He wants a bride that is without spot or blemish. His bride should be wearing fine linen - living in righteousness, a righteousness no individual can produce, but a righteousness God wants to produce in and through us.

Until He come, He wants you to live for Him, witness for Him, and worship Him. If you do not know Him personally as Savior and Lord, you can do neither. The good news is that He came and suffered and bled and died for you. He offers His great salvation to you and if you will simply trust Him He will give you everlasting life right now, and you will have something to celebrate - now and for all eternity.

If this sounds overly simplistic to you, let me assure you that children have understood it for two thousand years. In fact, Jesus says that unless we come to Him as little children we cannot know Him. He also said, “Permit the little children to come to Me.” What capacity does a child, say a child of ten, have that adults may lack? Trust. They have the capacity to believe. Believe in yourself and you perish. Believe in your government and you perish. Believe in science and you perish. Believe in Jesus Christ and you will have everlasting life.

From the time our little Abigail was six months old until she discovered that she is a “big girl” she would be in the arms of one adult and look to another and decide she wanted to go to that person - often a family member who had just come into her presence. What did she do? She turned and with both arms out stretched, dive into their arms. It never occurred to her, one, that she could possibly be dropped; and two, that the other person would not want her. In faith, you can throw yourself into the arms of Jesus. He wants you and He will never drop you.

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