Early in the book of Revelation, it was made clear to us that Jesus has already won the victory over sin, death, and Satan and has inaugurated the eternal blessed kingdom of God (1:4–8). Moreover, at various points since then, Revelation has declared the victory of Christ over all His enemies (5:1–5; 12:1–10). The enemy has been defeated in principle, and the final glory of Christ’s reign and the ultimate security of His people are a certainty, even if we are awaiting the consummation of His kingdom.
So, when heaven worships the Lord for reigning in today’s passage (19:6), connecting that reign to the fall of Rome in Revelation 18:1–19:5, the significance is not that Jesus began to rule with the end of Rome or even that there was a delay between His ascension and His coming into His kingdom. The fall of Rome as a threat to God’s people, rather, represents a signal manifestation of the reality of His reign. Moreover, the end of this notable enemy of the Lord and His church inspires a return to scenes of what will happen at the end of history when the final enemies of God are destroyed. The fall of a chief foe of Jesus brings further reflection on the ultimate end of all who oppose Him.
First, however, we get a look at the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (19:9). The vision of this supper harks back to texts such as Isaiah 25, where God’s promise to swallow up death forever accompanies a promise of a rich banquet for all peoples of the earth. In turn, Isaiah 25 informed extrabiblical Jewish depictions of the messianic age as an age of feasting. Nothing can be more worthy of celebration than the overthrow of every force raised against the Lord, so the image of a celebratory banquet is strikingly appropriate.
The banquet that consummates the kingdom, however, celebrates not only the final defeat of the enemies of Christ but also the marriage of the Lamb to a bride whom He has made worthy of her husband. Adorned in fine white linen, the church is united to Christ in a glorious celebration (Rev. 19:7–8). She is the exact opposite of the gaudily dressed prostitute Babylon, who opposed everything good and holy (ch. 17). The church’s clothes represent not immorality and idolatry but rather good works of service to her Lord and husband (19:8). Of course, she has not made herself worthy by her deeds, for Christ gives these deeds to her (Eph. 2:8–10). Matthew Henry comments, “Her nuptial ornaments she did not purchase by any price of her own, but received them as the gift and grant of her blessed Lord.”