WHAT IS THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB?
Prophecy Series ❧ Part 6
Revelation 7:9-10 ❧ February 21, 2021
This morning we’re going to look at a future event called the marriage supper of the Lamb. Not much is written on it by way of prophecy experts. For many it is something of a perplexing prophecy. It reminds me of a father trying to explain the concept of a honeymoon to his four-year-old son. “Andrew,” said the father, “when you grow up, if you get married, your honeymoon will be one of the most delightful times of your life.” Little Andrew responded, “Oh, you mean I get to take my dinosaurs along?” “Uh…no…you probably won’t want to. But you’ll have a fantastic time!” “Well then, can Jeffery from next door come along on my honeymoon?” “No, sorry, Jeffery can’t come.” “Then I don’t want to go on a honeymoon, Daddy. It doesn’t sound like much fun to me.”
When the Bible talks about the future, I find we’re not unlike little Andrew. It is so far removed from our understanding we can’t relate to it. There are many things God talks about in His Word I don’t fully understand or even relate. But I have come to learn we can fully trust God’s Word whether we understand it all or not.
God tells us one day there is going to be a wedding in heaven that is going to be absolutely breath-taking. It is the next event for the Church after the Judgment Seat of Christ. It will be a time when God’s Bride, the Church, will celebrate her formal union with Christ. Until this time, they will have been separated, Christ in Heaven and the Church on earth. It will be the wedding of all weddings filled with great rejoicing and gladness. Revelation 19 describes it this way: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ ” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” (Revelation 19:7-9, NAS). I want you to notice the last six words: These are the true words of God. God always tells the truth. I believe what He says is true.
I know for some the topic of marriage is painful. You’ve been hurt. Marriage has left you disappointed and disillusioned. We may be like little Andrew right now. But one day, we’ll understand and be filled with overwhelming joy! This marriage will the ultimate fulfillment of the saying: A marriage made in heaven. What God says is true.
The picture of marriage in the Bible is a portrait of God’s consummate love, joy, and commitment to His Bride, the Church. Marriage was the first institution God created after creating our first parents Adam and Eve. God talks a lot about weddings in His Word. There are twenty-one mentioned in the Bible. Some were good, others not. God has given us the picture of marriage to help us understand His plan for those who’ve placed their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
I’m going to unpack the wedding of all weddings in three parts: 1) The Place, The Participants, and 3) The Phases.
I. The place of the heavenly marriage. The other day my wife and I were driving by a beautiful pastoral setting in the woods. All the trees are perfectly spaced apart; each one looked like a carefully sculpted work of art. Everything looked ideal. As we drove by, my wife commented that is where our youngest daughter wants to have her wedding. I could see why. It looks like the perfect setting for wedding. The marriage supper of the Lamb is going to take place in the most beautiful place imaginable, Heaven. Jesus said, Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:1-3).
II. The participants of the heavenly marriage. Most weddings involve a number of important people: the pastor, the bride and her maids of honor, the bridegroom and his groomsmen, the families, and the guests. There will be several very important participants in this marriage made in heaven as well.
A. The Father. God is the Host in this lavish wedding of weddings. He is the Father of the Son to married. He is the One who selected the Bride, the Church for His Son. He is the one who makes all the plans and preparations, sends out the invitations. He is the One who flips the bill so to speak. The Bible says God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Ps. 50:10). He’s not going to spare any
expense. The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son (Matthew 22:2).
B. The Son. The Lord Jesus Christ is the bridegroom. Jesus said to them, “You cannot make the attendants of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? “But the days will come; and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days (Luke 5:34-34). He is the One who loved the Church so much He gave Himself up for her (Eph. 5:25). He rose from the grave on the third day triumphing over death and sin. He is the One who forgives our guilt and makes us able to stand before God in glory cleansed without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless.
C. The Bride. Believers are the Bride. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27).
D. The Guests. ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb’ (Revelation 19:9). Who are the guests? These are the Old Testament Saints and the Tribulation Saints who’ve died. They will be raised at Christ’s second coming.
This is going to be a marriage made in heaven! It is going to take place right after the judgment seat of Christ. John tells us in Revelation Bride will be dressed in fine linen, bright and clean…the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints (Rev.19:8). What are the righteous acts of the saints? I believe he’s talking about rewards given at the judgement seat of Christ. Much like the medals won by athletes or military insignia worn on uniforms of soldiers reflecting their achievements so I think the fine linen is that Revelation talks about. This will be a wedding of unrivaled joy.
III. The phases of the heavenly marriage. There were four phases in ancient Israel’s weddings. The Bible points out each one of these aspects has a spiritual application to our lives.
A. You are chosen by the Father. In Jesus’ time the father was the one who chose the
bride for his son. Though, I’m sure the wife and the son had plenty to say about it as well! God tells us in His Word that He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). It has been said that a good marriage is to be completely known and still be loved. God completely knew you before time was created. He knew all about your sins before you ever committed one. That’s what makes the His grace so amazing. He knew in advance we would fail. He knew in advance we would look at our broken lives and feel like hopeless failures. God wants you to know He chose you knowing everything about you in advance. There is nothing God does not know about you. You can’t hide your past, your shame, your guilt from God. He knows all about you and wants you to know He loves you with an eternal unconditional love in His Son. He could have chosen anyone He wanted, but He chose you all the while knowing you completely. Second. . .
B. You are engaged to the Son. When the father chose a future wife for his son, he
would make arrangements with the father of the bride. The two families would enter into a legally binding contract of engagement that could only be broken by either death or divorce. This is why when the Bible says Joseph learned Mary was pregnant before they were married, he was going to quietly divorce her (Matt. 1:19). The Bible says the Church is engaged to the Son. For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin (2 Corinthians 11:2).
In addition, when the father made arrangements for his son’s future wife, betrothal gifts were given. The bridegroom gave a gift to his future father-in-law. The bride’s father gave his daughter a dowry for her marriage. It could have been servants, possessions, or land. Another gift was given from the bridegroom to his future bride. Genesis 24:53 is a picture of this when Abraham’s servant gave gold and jewelry to Rebeka, Isaac’s future wife as well as other expensive presents to her family (Gen. 24:53).
The parallels of marriage are intentional. Our Bridegroom is Jesus. He gave us the gift of purchasing our forgiveness through His death on the cross. Not only are we forgiven, but God has given every believer an incredible dowry – the Holy Spirit! (Eph. 1:13-14). He will be with us forever and is the promissory gift of sure salvation. Our Bridegroom will never renege in His engagement to His Bride and the Father will never take back His dowry the Holy Spirit!
C. You will be joined to the Son. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again
and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:3). Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ (Matthew 25:6). After engagements were made, the future groom would return to his father’s house and prepare the wedding chamber for his wife. Once it was ready, there was only one thing holding him back from returning for his wife – his father’s okay. The son had to wait for the father’s words: It’s time son. Get your bride and bring her home! It is said to add to the excitement of the event, this would be done at night. The son would leave his home with a torch-lit parade of friends and others to celebrate the event. Once they arrived at the bride’s home, the bride’s father would place her hand in the bridegroom’s presenting her to him.
Right now, we as the Church, the Bride of Christ, are waiting for that moment when He will come and take the Church to be with Him to the place He has prepared for us in heaven. It must be quite a place since He’s been preparing it for more than two-thousand years now!
Jesus returning for His Church is the rapture. Like the bridesmaid waiting for her future husband, we don’t know exactly when He will return to receive us to Himself. 1 Thessalonians 5 tells us for the world Jesus’ return will be like a thief in the night. It will catch the world completely off guard. But it says we are not in the dark about these things (V.4). We know He is returning. We’re to be ready. Are you?
D. You will celebrate with the Son. Once we meet Christ in the clouds, we will be
ushered into heaven by a great heavenly procession. The first order of events will be the judgment seat of Christ. This is the final judgment for Christians. It is not a judgment concerning sin. We will stand before God completely forgiven, justified, and cleansed of all sin. This will be a time of receiving rewards and getting ready for the wedding. Then Revelation 19:7 will take place: Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready (Revelation 19:7).
After this is the wedding itself. The marriage ceremony was mainly about the taking of the bride back to the father’s home where the son had prepared the marriage chamber. He and his bride would remain in the chamber for seven days. When the emerged, a great wedding feast would be celebrated. It was a marriage feast like this when Jesus made wine out of water. There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding (John 2:1-2).
Some believe the seven days pictured in the Jewish wedding prophetically points to the seven years of the Tribulation. The structure of the book of Revelation implies this as well. The first three chapters focus on the Church (Rev. 1-3). Chapter 4 begins with the door of Heaven opening and John being raptured from the Isle of Patmos to the throne of God in Heaven. The Church is not mentioned again until the marriage supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19:7-9. The next time the Church is mentioned is five verses later (Rev. 19:14) where the door of Heaven opens again, and Jesus emerges riding a white horse on His way to earth, followed by His Church. This points to a pretribulation rapture. The marriage supper of the Lamb takes place before Jesus’s second coming which means the Church is already in heaven during the Tribulation.
So, we’ve covered the place, the participants, and the phases of the marriages supper of the Lamb. We know Jesus is going to return for His Bride the Church. We don’t know when, but we know He is going to return. Are you ready?