Wedding Supper of the Lamb

WEDDING SUPPER OF THE LAMBand his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:7b-10)

The Wedding – Bible scholars have long debated whether the wedding will take place in Heaven or on earth. While the difference may not seem that important (the focus is the event itself, not necessarily the location), the interpretive problem might be resolved by comparing the wedding described here to weddings in the first century. A wedding normally included three stages:

Payment of Dowry – The legal consummation of the marriage by the parents of the bride and of the groom, with the payment of the dowry. In this case, Christ paid the bride price at Calvary.

Arrival of the Bridegroom – The bridegroom comes to claim his bride (as illustrated in Matthew 25:1–13 in the familiar Parable of the 10 Virgins) and take her into his house. Many see this as the Rapture of the Church, others the Parousia.

The Celebration – The wedding supper, as illustrated in John 2:1–11, was a several-day feast following the previous two stages of the wedding, and corresponds to Revelation 19:9.

Under the pre-tribulation or mid-tribulation views, Christ is currently completing stage one in the Church Age as individuals are saved. Stage two occurs with the Rapture of the church, when Christ takes His bride to heaven, His Father’s house (John 14:1–3). The beginning of the Millennium completes the final stage with the wedding supper. This suggests that the wedding feast will be an earthly feast at the beginning of the Millennium, which also corresponds to the illustrations of weddings in the Bible (Matthew 22:1–14; 25:1–13).(1)

The Groom – In the Old Testament God is the Bridegroom of Israel (Hosea 2:16; Isaiah 54:6; Ezekiel 16:7). In the New Testament Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church, as seen by the writers of the Gospels (Mark 2:19; Matthew 9:15; Luke 5:34; John 3:29), by Paul (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25), and by John (Revelation 3:20; 19:7, 9; 21:2, 9; 22:17).(2)

The Bride – In contrast to the Harlot, who was outfitted in purple, scarlet, gold and jewels the Bride is arrayed in snow-white shining linen, representing the righteous acts of the saints. As the bride arrives in Heaven at the Judgment Seat of Christ, she may not be at all that beautiful. In fact, Paul implies that she may be covered with spots, wrinkles, and blemishes (see Ephesians 5:27). But she becomes radiant in her glory, as collectively the saints(3) shall “become like Him.” She has “made herself ready” for the public ceremony.(4) This cleansing takes place at the Judgment Seat of Christ, where all the “spots and wrinkles” are taken away (Ephesians 5:25–27).

The Bride is admitted to heaven by the virtue of God’s grace, not by her own virtue or good works. But once in heaven, individual believers will be judged at Christ’s judgment seat for their faithfulness in life and in service. Revelation 19:8 states that the Bride will wear “the righteousness of the saints”; that is, “the righteous deeds of the saints.” Christ will reward us according to our faithfulness, and the rewards we receive will make up the wedding gown. As one commentator has observed “… at the marriage of the Bride to the Lamb, each of us will be wearing the wedding garment of our own making.” For some, this can be a sobering thought,(5) which should prompt all us to take as much care in selecting (preparing) our wedding garment as earthly brides do.

The Guests – Revelation 19:9 contains the fourth of the seven beatitudes (“Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”) found in the book of Revelation. A bride (the Church) is not invited to her own wedding, suggesting that this invitation must go out to others. They are not specifically identified. They could be Old Testament believers (before the cross) and Tribulation (post rapture) saints. During the eternal state (after the Millennium), no distinctions will be made among the people of God. However, in the promised Kingdom Age (the Millennium), differences may still exist as the Church reigns with Christ (over who?) and as Israel enjoys the promised messianic blessings.(6) Of course, the blessing could be to saints of all ages and dispensations as we all must accept the invitation that God extends for us to be united with Christ.

Up Next – The Parousia.

_______________________

References

  1. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 975). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  2. Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Re 19:7). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
  3. Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moore, E., Craven, E. R., & Woods, J. H. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Revelation (p. 332). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  4. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 617). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  5. Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 850). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  6. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 617). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

 

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