Blessed Are Those who are Invited to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb

19: 6-10

   DIG: Where does the wedding feast take place? Who is the bride? Who is the groom? What is different about the great prostitute (17:1-6a, 15 and 18), and the bride in 19:7-9 here. How is the testimony of Jesus the essence of prophecy?

   REFLECT: When you think of this day, is it real to you? What do you think your relationship will be with the Lord at that time? Will it be different than it is now or will it be different? Why? How does this affect how you live your life today?

    In order to understand what will happen at that time, it is first necessary to understand the Jewish wedding system that was common in Jesus’ day and was still used among Jews until the beginning of the twentieth century. The Ultra-Orthodox Jews, and Jews who remain in some eastern nations, continue to use this system today.

    The Jewish marriage system had four distinct stages, all of which are to be found in the relationship of the Church as the Bride of Christ. In the first stage, the father of the groom made the arrangement for the bride and paid the bride price. This first stage might happen when the children were very young, or at the very least, one year prior to the marriage. Thus, a long period of waiting could take place between the first and second stages. The minimum was one year. Often the bride and groom did not meet each other until the wedding day.

    Eventually the second stage would come, and it was known as the fetching of the bride. In this stage, the groom would go to the home of the bride in order to fetch her and bring her to his home. This was often done in accompaniment with a wedding procession. However, the father of the groom determined when the fetching would occur. Furthermore, it had to wait until the groom had a place prepared for her.

    Then came the third stage, which was the marriage ceremony, and only a few were invited. This was preceded by a ritual immersion for cleansing.

    Finally came the fourth stage, the marriage feast, which would last for as long as seven days. Many others not invited to the ceremony were invited to the feast.

    All four stages of the Jewish wedding system are to be found in the relationship between Christ and the Church. First, God the Father made the arrangement for the Bride, or the Church, and paid the bride price. In this case the bride price was the blood of the Messiah (Ephesians 5:25-27). While the first stage has already been concluded, the other three stages are still future.

    The second stage will be the fetching of the Bride. Even as a long period of time could transpire between the first and second stages in the Jewish system, so it has been with the Church. About two thousand years has passed since the first stage was accomplished. Some day the second stage will take place and Yeshua will come in order to fetch His Bride to His home. This fetching of the Bride is referred to as the Rapture of the Church and is described in First Thessalonians 4:13-18. Therefore, the second stage will be completed some time before the beginning of the Great Tribulation. God the Father will determine the timing of the Rapture. For no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Matthew 24:36). In addition, it will only come after Jesus has the place already prepared. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am (John 14:2-3).

    The third stage, or the marriage ceremony itself, will take place in heaven just before the Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation. The wedding announcement will be made: Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters (Ezekiel 1:24; 43:2) and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: Hallelujah! ADONAI, God of heaven’s angelic armies, has begun His reign (19:6 CJB). The Hebrew Scriptures had long prophesied about His future reign (Psalm 93:1, 97:1). Then the Bride will be prepared: Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding [feast] of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready (19:7).

    This is the first time the true universal Church, or the Bride of Christ, is mentioned since the letter to the church at Philadelphia in 3:13.

    The reason the Bride will be made fully ready for the marriage ceremony is because fine linen, bright and clean will be the bridle gown of the Church. It will be given her to wear because fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints (19:8). This teaches us two things. First, it shows that the process of sanctification, or being conformed into the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29), will be completed; and secondly, it shows that the marriage ceremony will take place after the judgment seat of Christ (Second Corinthians 5:10). All the wood, hay and straw will be burned up, and only the gold, silver and costly stones of righteousness will remain (First Corinthians 3:10-15). This corresponds to the ritual cleansing of the Jewish wedding system.

    After the wedding ceremony will come the fourth stage, the wedding feast. Again John was told by an angel to write. He said: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb because they will experience everlasting celebration (19:9a)! This is the fourth of seven blessings in the book of Revelation (1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, 22:7, 22:14). According to the Bible, Old Covenant believers are not resurrected with the Church before the Great Tribulation, but after it is over (see Fd – The Resurrection of the Righteous of the TANAKH). John the Baptist, who was the last of the Old Covenant prophets, called himself a friend of the bridegroom, and did not consider himself to be a member of the Bride, or the Church (John 3:27-30). Thus, the many who will be invited to attend the marriage feast on the earth will be all the Old Covenant believers (Matthew 8:11) and the Tribulation martyrs resurrected after the Second Coming. While the wedding ceremony will take place in heaven just before the Second Coming, the wedding feast will take place on earth after the Second Coming. Therefore, the wedding feast will start the Messianic Kingdom (Matthew 22:1-14, 25:1-13). With it, all four stages will be complete.

    While the distinction between Israel and the Church will be carried into the Messianic Kingdom where there will be two separate branches of government (see Fi – The Government of the Messianic Kingdom), the wedding feast of the Lamb, however, will consist of both believing Jews and Gentiles from all the ages (Ephesians 2:14).

    Just in case some may find these things difficult to swallow, the angel reassured John: These are the true words of God (19:9b). To the beleaguered and aged apostle in exile on the cruel, lonely island of Patmos, it must have seemed almost impossible that the Kingdom of God would eventually achieve victory. In his day, the believers were persecuted from without and attacked by heresies from within. The revelation that God’s words are true in the face of all experience, I am sure, brought great relief, comfort and joy to John and the same should be true of us.

    And finally, is the declaration of the essence of prophecy, which is the testimony of Jesus. He is the essence of all prophecy, and all prophecy moves toward a fulfillment by Him and a view toward His glory. So overwhelming was that scene and so powerful were those words of reassurance, that John instinctively fell down confused at his feet to worship him. However, this is strictly forbidden in the Bible (Colossians 2:18; Matthew 4:10). Calling him back to his senses, the angel said to him: Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Yeshua. The angel reminds John that he is to worship God only! Why? Because the testimony of Jesus is the essence of prophecy. All prophecy is fulfilled and glorified by Him alone (19:10). To this angel, the most amazing of all revelations was that the Creator of the universe had become the man Yeshua, to save His people from their sins.433

    My friend, the King is coming! But He will not come until after the Church has been raptured and after the earth has undergone the Great Tribulation. Now when He comes, His Bride will be with Him and their wedding feast will be here on the earth. Oh, my friend, what a glorious day is ahead of us! If we could only get our eyes off the muck and mire of this world and onto that which is eternal.434

 

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