What Happened to the Wedding?
Rev. 18:23 and the light of a lamp
will shine in you no more;
and the voice of bridegroom and bride
will be heard in you no more;
for your merchants were the magnates of the earth,
and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.
In the end Babylon the great was to see her destruction. All the activities of that city were to suddenly be silenced and couched within the list we discover that the “voice of the bridegroom and the bride will be heard in you no more.” This signifies the spiritual state of the people of Babylon. From the opening of the Scriptures until the marriage supper of the lamb the Bible is filled with wedding imagery. God’s people are invited into a such a deeply intimate relationship with him that we are called the Bride and he is the Bridegroom. When the voice of the Bride and the Bridegroom can no longer be heard then the community has fallen into complete apostasy. This is the fate of Babylon and I think it begs the question, have the voices of the Bride and Bridegroom fallen silent because of the unfaithfulness of her people, or has the unfaithfulness of her people led to the silence?
There is incredible joy in hearing and/or reading the testimony of those who have recently given their lives to Jesus Christ. These are the ones who are just learning what it means to fall in love with the Bridegroom. Their voices bring joy to our own hearts as their words resonate with us and again bring back that joy of first knowing him. Check out this article regarding Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers who calls herself a “Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower.” In her story and others like it we hear again the love story that is being written between the bridegroom and the bride.
Sadly, many of us aren’t hearing these voices these days and in some churches it has become rare to ever hear the joy of the bride and bridegroom. We think of vile cities like Babylon and her secular flirtations; surely she has to suffer at her own fate! And it may be true that in the Babylons of this world there are no more weddings. There are no more followers of Jesus Christ and so the joy of the wedding has been silenced. But could it be that this same silence has crept into the church as she has flirted with Babylon? Throughout history there have been periods of times when the voice of the Bride and Bridegroom have been heard loud and clear. The joy of salvation has been experienced within the community of faith and all have joined into the wedding celebration. Sadly, far too many churches these days have grown silent and it’s been a long time since the joy of the wedding has been celebrated.
What has happened to us? We read the book of Revelation and we try to imagine where Babylon may be located today — which nation does it refer to — and is the Antichrist leading her? What if Babylon is a slow creep into our lives, one that leads to a love affair with the world, excluding the true Bridegroom? When was the last time you shared your love of the Bridegroom with someone? Is the joy of the wedding heard in your midst? What has happened to the wedding?
Earlier in Revelation we read the condemnation of Ephesus. She had lost her first love. Just as we live in a world that seems to be willing to dispose of earthly marriage and relationships rather easily, I’m afraid that the Church may be willing to do the same. When we don’t like what we’re experiencing, we simply choose to walk away. The commitment to the wedding and to the marriage is fading. The book of Revelation was to serve as a warning to the churches of her day, but to us as well. We must be recommitted to the Bridegroom and share him to those in need. Then again the wedding will return to our midst and with it the joy of our salvation.
Lord, may we hear the voices of the bridegroom and the bride in our midst. Amen.