A Marriage That Benefits Millions Now Living
“Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king. . . . Let us give him the glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has arrived and his wife has prepared herself.”—REVELATION 19:6, 7.
1. When will the prophetic song of Revelation 19:6-8 start to be sung, and why?
THESE thrilling words form part of a prophetic song of victory. When will it start to be sung? After the destruction of the age-old enemy of Jehovah’s worship—“Babylon the Great,” the symbolic “great harlot” who represents all forms of false religion. Judgment must be executed upon her because of the way she has misrepresented God. How she has misled mankind by her involvement in politics, her materialistic greed, and her murderous hatred of Jehovah’s true worshipers!—Revelation 17:1-6; 18:23, 24; 19:1, 2; James 4:4.
2. (a) How will Jehovah bring about the destruction of Babylon the Great? (b) Instead of praising Jehovah, what will the destroyers of false religion do?
2 Soon, Jehovah God will put it into the hearts of the world’s political leaders to destroy her. (Revelation 17:12, 16, 17) But the destroyers of false religion will not join in singing the grand victory song. Instead, under the influence of Satan, alias Gog, they will attack the practicers of true religion, who live at peace and keep themselves separate from the badness of this world.—Isaiah 2:2-4; Ezekiel 38:2, 8-12; John 17:14; James 1:27.
3. For what reasons will Jehovah’s human servants join in the heavenly song?
3 This God-defying attack by the political rulers will result in the battle of Armageddon, which will bring a complete end to the antireligious nations. Next, the wicked influence of Satan and his demons will be removed from the earth. (Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:11-21; 20:1, 2) With hearts filled with gratitude, all surviving humans will join the heavenly chorus: “Praise Jah, you people, because Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king.” (Revelation 19:6) Indeed, such world-shaking events will signal the start of a new epoch. Jehovah will have vindicated his sovereignty and removed from the earth all who challenge his rulership. At last the time will have come for the heavenly marriage. As the prophetic song continues: “Let us rejoice and be overjoyed, and let us give [Jehovah] the glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has arrived and his wife has prepared herself.”—Revelation 19:7, 8.
4. (a) Who are pictured by the Lamb and his “wife”? (b) What questions are here asked, and how can we get the answers?
4 The Lamb is none other than the glorified Jesus Christ, and his “wife” is the complete number of his 144,000 faithful anointed followers now united with him in heaven. Together these heavenly marriage partners make up the full membership of God’s Kingdom, which will uplift mankind, including the resurrected dead, to human perfection. (Revelation 5:8-10; 14:1-4; 20:4, 12, 13; 21:3-5, 9, 10; 22:1-3) Will the events leading up to that blessed marriage turn out successful? How may you benefit from that marriage? To find the answers to those questions, let us examine events surrounding Isaac’s marriage, as recorded at Genesis chapter 24.
A Divinely Selected Bride for Isaac
5, 6. Why was Abraham insistent that Isaac not marry a Canaanite, and for whom is this fine guidance today? (1 Corinthians 7:39)
5 The account begins with Abraham’s giving instructions to his household manager, evidently Eliezer. (Genesis 15:2; 24:2) “I must have you swear by Jehovah,” said Abraham, “that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites in among whom I am dwelling, but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and you will certainly take a wife for my son, for Isaac.”—Genesis 24:3, 4.
6 Why was Abraham so insistent that his son should not marry a Canaanite? Because the Canaanites were descendants of Canaan, who was cursed by Noah. (Genesis 9:25) Moreover, the Canaanites were known for their depraved practices, and most important, they did not worship Jehovah. (Genesis 13:13; Leviticus 18:3, 17-28) Understandably, Abraham wanted his son to marry someone from his own family, descendants of Shem, who had received Noah’s inspired blessing. (Genesis 9:26) What fine guidance this is for Christians who choose to marry today!—Deuteronomy 7:3, 4.
7. How did Abraham prepare Eliezer for his assignment?
7 So Eliezer set out on a journey of more than 500 miles [800 km] to Mesopotamia. He went well-prepared, with ten camels loaded with gifts. (Genesis 24:10) In addition, he could ponder over these faith-strengthening words of his master: “Jehovah the God of the heavens . . . will send his angel ahead of you, and you will certainly take a wife for my son from there.”—Genesis 24:7.
8, 9. (a) What happened when Eliezer reached the city of Nahor? (b) By what test would a suitable bride be selected?
8 Eventually, he reached the city of Nahor in northern Mesopotamia. Eliezer let the tired camels kneel for a rest at a well outside the city. It was the time of day when women fetched water—a fine opportunity, indeed, for Eliezer to look for a potential bride! But what kind of woman should she be? The prettiest? No. Eliezer was primarily interested in a woman with a godly personality. This was revealed by the humble prayer of faith that he now uttered: “Jehovah the God of my master Abraham, cause it to happen, please, before me this day and perform loving-kindness with my master Abraham. Here I am stationed at a fountain of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. What must occur is that the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Let your water jar down, please, that I may take a drink,’ and who will indeed say, ‘Take a drink, and I shall also water your camels,’ this is the one you must assign to your servant, to Isaac; and by this let me know that you have performed loyal love with my master.”—Genesis 24:11-14.
9 That was indeed a good test. According to The New Encyclopædia Britannica, an extremely thirsty camel can drink ‘25 gallons [95 L] of water in 10 minutes.’ It may be that Abraham’s camels were not that thirsty, but the women of that time undoubtedly knew the animal’s capacity for water. Certainly, it would take a very kind, unselfish, industrious woman to volunteer to fetch water for ten tired camels belonging to a stranger.
10, 11. (a) In what remarkable way was Eliezer’s prayer answered? (b) How did Rebekah show desirable qualities? (c) How did Eliezer react?
10 Even before Eliezer had completed his prayer, it was answered, as the account states: “Here coming out was Rebekah . . . Now the young woman was very attractive in appearance, a virgin, and no man had had sexual intercourse with her; and she made her way down to the fountain and began to fill her water jar and then came up. At once the servant ran to meet her and said: ‘Give me, please, a little sip of water from your jar.’ In turn she said: ‘Drink, my lord.’ With that she quickly lowered her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. When she was finished giving him a drink, then she said: ‘For your camels too I shall draw water until they are done drinking.’ So she quickly emptied her jar into the drinking trough and ran yet again and again to the well to draw water, and kept drawing for all his camels.”—Genesis 24:15-20.
11 Eliezer ‘gazed in wonder’ as he observed this miraculous answer to his prayer. When the praiseworthy virgin had finished, he rewarded her with a gold nose ring and two gold bracelets and asked: “Whose daughter are you?” On finding out that she was Abraham’s grandniece, Eliezer bowed down to Jehovah in reverential worship, saying: “Blessed be Jehovah the God of my master Abraham, who has not left his loving-kindness and his trustworthiness toward my master. I being on the way, Jehovah has led me to the house of the brothers of my master.”—Genesis 24:21-27.
12. How was the matter consummated at Rebekah’s home?
12 Rebekah excitedly ran home to tell her family. Later, when Rebekah’s father and brother heard from Eliezer’s own mouth the purpose of his journey and how Jehovah had answered his prayer, they agreed without hesitation that Rebekah should become Isaac’s wife. “And it came about that when Abraham’s servant had heard their words, he at once prostrated himself on the earth before Jehovah. And the servant began to bring out articles of silver and articles of gold and garments and to give them to Rebekah; and he gave choice things to her brother and to her mother.”—Genesis 24:52, 53.
The Response of the Bride and Her Attendants
13. How was Jehovah’s choice confirmed as being the right one?
13 How did Rebekah view the privilege of being divinely selected as Isaac’s bride? The next day something happened to reveal her true inward feelings. Having accomplished the purpose of his journey, Eliezer desired to return to his master without delay. But Rebekah’s family wanted the bride to stay with them at least ten days. So it was put to Rebekah to decide if she was prepared to leave immediately. “I am willing to go,” she said. Agreeing to leave her family immediately and to journey to a distant country in order to marry a man she had never seen was an outstanding demonstration of faith in Jehovah’s direction. It confirmed that she was the right choice.—Genesis 24:54-58.
14. (a) By whom was Rebekah accompanied? (b) What kind of journey did they face?
14 Rebekah had company on her journey. As the account explains: “Rebekah and her lady attendants rose and they went riding on the camels.” (Genesis 24:61) So the camel train set out on a dangerous journey of more than 500 miles [800 km] through foreign territory. “The average speed of laden camels,” states the book The Living World of Animals, “is about 2.5 m[iles] p[er] h[our] [4 km/hr].” If Abraham’s camels went at that speed for eight hours a day, it would have taken over 25 days to reach their destination in the Negeb.
15. (a) What fine example do we see in Eliezer, Rebekah, and her attendants? (b) What does the account foreshadow?
15 Eliezer, Rebekah, and her lady attendants trusted fully in Jehovah’s direction, a fine example for Christians today! (Proverbs 3:5, 6) In addition, the account is a faith-strengthening prophetic drama. As we have seen, Abraham typifies Jehovah God, who offered up his beloved Son, the Greater Isaac, so that sinful men might gain everlasting life. (John 3:16) The preparation for Isaac’s marriage came some time after he had been spared from death on the altar of sacrifice. It was prophetic of the preparation for the heavenly marriage, which preparation began in earnest after Jesus’ resurrection.
The Marriage of the Greater Isaac
16. (a) How, fittingly, does Abraham’s servant picture God’s holy spirit? (b) What question may be asked respecting the spirit and the bride?
16 Eliezer’s name means “My God Is Helper.” In name and deed, he fittingly pictures the holy spirit of the Greater Abraham, Jehovah God, which He sent to this distant land, our earth, to select a suitable bride for the Greater Isaac, Jesus Christ. (John 14:26; 15:26) The bride class is “the congregation,” made up of disciples of Jesus who have been begotten by holy spirit as spiritual sons of God. (Ephesians 5:25-27; Romans 8:15-17) Just as Rebekah received expensive gifts, so the initial members of the Christian congregation on the day of Pentecost 33 C.E. received miraculous gifts in proof of their divine calling. (Acts 2:1-4) Like Rebekah, they have willingly forsaken all worldly and fleshly relationships in order eventually to be united with their heavenly Bridegroom. From the time individual members of the bride class are called until their death, they must guard their spiritual virginity while journeying through Satan’s dangerous, seductive world. (John 15:18, 19; 2 Corinthians 11:3; James 4:4) Filled with holy spirit, the bride class faithfully invites others to partake of Jehovah’s provisions for salvation. (Revelation 22:17) Do you follow her example by also responding to the spirit’s direction?
17. (a) What do the ten camels picture? (b) What should be our attitude toward the Bible and toward Bible-based publications prepared by the bride class? (Acts 17:11)
17 The bride class highly values what is pictured by the ten camels. The number ten is used in the Bible to denote perfection or completeness as related to things on earth. The ten camels may be compared to the complete and perfect Word of God, by means of which the bride class receives spiritual sustenance and spiritual gifts. (John 17:17; Ephesians 1:13, 14; 1 John 2:5) Commenting on Rebekah’s watering of the camels, The Watchtower of November 1, 1948, made this application to the bride class: “They lovingly consider the Word of God which bears much of his spirit to them. They take an interest in his written Word, serving it and freshening it up by attending upon it and displaying a sincere concern for its message and purpose, seeking to believe it.” As an example of this, the remnant of the bride class has lovingly made available to millions the fresh, up-to-date New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. Whether this fine translation is available in your language or not, do you show appreciation by regularly examining the Bible along with study aids provided by the bride class?—2 Timothy 3:16.
The Lamb’s Marriage Draws Near
18. Why do Rebekah’s attendants fittingly picture companions of the bride today?
18 In these last days of Satan’s world, the remnant of the bride class has been joined by “a great crowd,” comparable to Rebekah’s “lady attendants.” As in the case of Rebekah, these far outnumber the numerically complete bride class of 144,000. They are the “great crowd” of Jesus Christ’s “other sheep.” (Revelation 7:4, 9; John 10:16) As loyal attendants of the bride, they must also keep free from contamination by Satan’s wicked world. They too must respond to the leadings of Jehovah’s spirit and his Word as it is explained to them by the bride class. But their reward is different. If they endure in loyal support of Christ’s bride, they will survive the end of Satan’s world and have the wonderful opportunity of living forever in an earthly paradise.—Revelation 21:3, 4.
19. What happened when Rebekah and her attendants reached journey’s end?
19 Did Rebekah and her “lady attendants” successfully reach their goal? Yes. As the Bible reports: “And Isaac was out walking in order to meditate in the field at about the falling of evening. When he raised his eyes and looked, why, there camels were coming! When Rebekah raised her eyes, she caught sight of Isaac and she swung herself down from off the camel.” After Eliezer had explained his successful mission, Isaac accepted Rebekah as his wife and “fell in love with her.”—Genesis 24:63-67.
20. What occasion for rejoicing is foreshadowed by Isaac’s marriage?
20 Likewise, Jehovah’s purpose respecting the bride of Christ cannot fail. (Isaiah 55:11) Soon, with Babylon the Great judged and destroyed, the last ones of the bridal remnant will complete their journey. The time will have come for them to be separated from their companion attendants and united in marriage to the Greater Isaac in heaven. What a grand occasion of universal rejoicing that will be!—Revelation 19:6-8.
21. As the climax of the heavenly marriage draws near, what should all of us be doing?
21 Meanwhile, millions are blessing themselves by responding to the ministry of the dwindling bridal remnant. Before all of them finish their earthly course in death, the devastating of the harlotlike world empire of false religion will mark the start of “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning.” The time left is short. If you want to survive, how important it is to share in carrying out the divine commands! (Matthew 24:14, 21; Mark 13:10; Luke 21:15; John 13:34) Such commands have special application in our critical times. So, whether of the bridal remnant or of her “great crowd” of attendants, continue to obey Jehovah to his glory and your own everlasting happiness. How grand it will be for the great crowd, already counted as friends of God, to keep on living as Jehovah ‘makes all things new’ and lasting benefits flow to millions in a paradise earth!—Revelation 21:5; 22:1, 2, 17.
Do You Recall?
□ What thrilling events must shortly take place?
□ What guarantees that the heavenly marriage will be a complete success?
□ To what may Eliezer and the ten camels be compared?
□ Who today parallel Rebekah and her lady attendants?
□ What do we learn from events leading up to Isaac’s marriage?