What a wonderful picture of the worship of God. The voice of the great multitude in 19:6 sounded like the roar of many waters and peals of thunder, and their refrain was simple: â€œHallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pureâ€. The Bride has clothed herself with â€œrighteous deedsâ€ as the verse indicates.
This picture is quite inspiring. God has chosen his Bride, and has redeemed her, but has not yet taken her to the wedding ceremony. Our role as Christians are to make ourselves ready for that day and to clothe and adorn ourselves with the beauty of godly character.
John, the apostle, would certainly have had the proper theology to know that one worships God alone. And yet here, we find him bowing down to a glorious creature in worship. Although I have not yet read The Weight of Glory by C. S. Lewis (I intend to today), I understand he uses an analogy of our glorified bodies in the new creation are to be so wonderful and glorious that were we to see them now we would be tempted to bow down and worship ourselves.
This is a wonderful thing to long for and anticipate that someday we will be made like Christâ€™s glorious body. Romans 8 says that the creation â€œwaits with eager longingâ€ for that day when our bodies are resurrected in glory. The pain we experience now and the heartaches that we experience â€“ these â€œsufferingsâ€ â€“ Paul says that these sufferings â€œof this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.â€ To think about these thinks is exciting and I canâ€™t wait for it. I want to have a deeper longing for eternity and the appearing of Christ where my earthly dwelling is made to resemble his glorious body.
The ugly underbelly of the prosperity that western Christians now experience is that we have so many comforts and so many of our pains have been taken away that we cannot very well relate to texts like these. Romans 8 and Revelation were written at a time when Christians were a heavily persecuted minority and the vision of the glorified and resurrected Christ coming in power at the end of all things was an awesome and hopeful sight. Now, we tend to see this world as really not all the bad, and the new creation will be a nice long vacation. But a theology of pain is a reminder that this world is not our home.
We have lost our ability to connect with the idea of real pain and suffering in a very real sense and thus our longing for the new creation is lessened. Our outward nature is wasting away but our inner nature is being renewed day by day. So now, in our current state, the â€œwhole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.â€ Lord, I long for that day! Help me to think of that day and to be making myself ready now as a bride adorns herself to make herself ready for her wedding day. Amen.