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Bible Study Subject — Revelation 19:5-9

by Mike Sanders

Revelation 19:5-9

    5And a voice came from the throne, saying, “Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” 6Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. 7“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.” 8It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

    9 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.”[1]

Bible Study Questions

(Question number: 05 is verse 5, 01 is the first question for verse 5.)

  1. Who has cause to “Give praise to our God?” Why?
  2. Define bondservant.
  3. Are we/you included? Explain.
  4. Define the term “Hallelujah.”
  5. What is the occasion prompting what John heard?
  6. What is the marriage of the Lamb?
  7. The Lamb will be married to whom? When? Where?
  8. What has His bride done to prepare?
  9. She is “ready.” Why, now?
  10. “It was granted to her . . .” is passive. Who is the Grantor?
  11. What was granted? Why?
  12. What do you know of her gown? Significance?
  13. Note similarities and an additional detail (19:14). What? Why?
  14. What are “righteous acts?” Who is capable of such? (John 15:1-6; Eph 2:10;

Phil 1:6; 2 Tim 2:21; Titus 2:14)

  1. What is this event? How is it different?
  2. To whom are invitations sent? Consider commentary and cross references below.
  3. *How might an understanding of 1st century Jewish wedding customs be helpful?

*This website provides some helpful detail, some not so helpful. Read critically, as a benevolent skeptic. Honor the Berean tradition. (cf. Acts 17:10-12) http://messianicfellowship.50webs.com/wedding.html.

BKC

One of the false interpretations that has plagued the church is the concept that God treats all saints exactly alike. Instead, a literal interpretation of the Bible distinguishes different groups of saints, and here the bride is distinguished from those who are invited to the wedding supper. Instead of treating all alike, God indeed has a program for Israel as a nation and also for those in Israel who are saved. He also has a program for Gentiles in the Old Testament who come to faith in God. And in the New Testament He has a program for the church as still a different group of saints. Again, in the Book of Revelation the Tribulation saints are distinguished from other previous groups. It is not so much a question of difference in blessings as it is that God has a program designed for each group of saints, which corresponds to their particular relationship to His overall program. Here the church, described as a bride, will be attended by angels and by saints who are distinct from the bride.

Expositors have debated whether the wedding will be in heaven or on earth. While the difference is not that important, the interpretive problem can be resolved by comparing the wedding described here to weddings in the first century. A wedding normally included these stages: (1) the legal consummation of the marriage by the parents of the bride and of the groom, with the payment of the dowry; (2) the bridegroom coming to claim his bride (as illustrated in Matt. 25:1–13 in the familiar Parable of the 10 Virgins); (3) the wedding supper (as illustrated in John 2:1–11) which was a several-day feast following the previous phase of the wedding.

In Revelation 19:9 “the wedding supper” is phase 3. And the announcement coincides with the second coming of Christ. It would seem, therefore, that the wedding supper has not yet been observed. In fulfilling the symbol, Christ is completing phase 1 in the Church Age as individuals are saved. Phase 2 will be accomplished at the Rapture of the church, when Christ takes His bride to heaven, the Father’s house (John 14:1–3). Accordingly, it would seem that the beginning of the Millennium itself will fulfill the symbolism of the wedding supper (gamos). It is also significant that the use of the word “bride” in 19:7 (gynē, lit., “wife,”) implies that phase 2 of the wedding will have been completed and that all that remains is the feast itself. (The word commonly used for “bride” is nymphē; cf. John 3:29; Rev. 18:23; 21:2, 9; 22:17.)

All this suggests that the wedding feast is an earthly feast, which also corresponds to the illustrations of weddings in the Bible (Matt. 22:1–14; 25:1–13), and thus will take place on earth at the beginning of the Millennium. The importance of the announcement and invitation to the wedding supper, repeated in Revelation 22:17, is seen in the angel’s remarks, these are the true words of God.[2]

  1. Vernon McGee:

       Let us rejoice and be exceeding glad, and let us give the glory unto him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, bright and pure; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

     This will be the most thrilling experience that believers will ever have. The church—that is, the body of believers all the way from Pentecost to the Rapture—will be presented now to Christ as a bride for a marriage. The marriage takes place in heaven, and this is a heavenly scene throughout.

In Ephesians 5 the apostle Paul speaks about the husband and wife relationship when both are believers. By the way, he is speaking of those who are filled with the Spirit and of the relationships that flow from it. You cannot have a Christian home without a Spirit–filled husband and a Spirit–filled wife. In fact, I do not believe you can know what real love is until both marriage partners are believers. Notice Paul’s instructions: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:25–27). This is the picture of the relationship of Christ and the church.

We are living in a day of “new” morality. Our contemporary society is drenched with sex. This generation knows a great deal about sex. I watched a young couple in Palm Springs one day, and I felt sorry for the boy and the girl. They were necking like nobody’s business, right in public. I thought to myself. What do they really know about love? Why, they know nothing about what it means for a man to love a woman and a woman to love a man. I am afraid there are many Christians who don’t know much about love either. Husbands, do you remember the first time you looked at your wife? Do you remember when you were joined in marriage and she became yours? Wasn’t that a thrilling moment for you? Wives, do you remember when you first looked at that ugly old boy you married and thought he was so handsome? When he put his arms around you, wasn’t that a thrilling moment? Well, Ephesians 5:25–27 is a picture of that day when Christ is going to draw us to Himself, cleansed and purified. Young lady and young man, that is the reason in this day of “new” morality that you should bring purity to your marriage. God have mercy on some of you fellows who are married to second–hand girls. Don’t get them at the second–hand store; get them brand new. It is much better that way.

“The marriage of the Lamb is come.” Marriage is a marvelous picture of the joining together of Christ and the church. Notice that the Old Testament saints are not included—only the believers during the church age are included. Even John the Baptist designated himself as only a friend of the Bridegroom. He said, “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom …” (John 3:29). The bride occupies a unique relationship with Christ. You see, Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Remember what He said in His High Priestly Prayer: “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:23–26).

The thing that is so wonderful is that we are going to know Christ—really know Him—for the first time.

“The fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” The wedding gown of the church is the righteous acts of the saints. This is a difficult concept to accept, because it is impossible for us to stand before Christ in our own righteousness. Paul wrote of this: “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:9). You see, by faith we can trust Christ—not only for the forgiveness of sins but for the impartation to us of His own righteousness. Then why does John say that the wedding garment is the righteous acts of the saints? Well, the wedding gown will be used only once, but we will be clothed in the righteousness of Christ throughout eternity. We as believers will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, not to be judged for our sins in reference to salvation, but for rewards. Through the ages believers have been performing righteous acts, which have been accumulating to adorn the wedding gown. By the way, what are you doing to adorn that wedding gown? What are you doing for the Lord today?

Again, let me quote Paul: “Now if any man build upon this foundation [which is Christ] gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any of man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward” (1 Cor. 3:12–14). Gold, silver, and precious stones will survive the fire; wood, hay, and stubble will go up in smoke. Therefore, the good works are the wedding garment of the church. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

After the wedding, the wedding dress is laid aside. We have already seen that the elders placed their crowns at the feet of the Lamb, proclaiming that He alone is worthy. The church will reveal His glory: “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). We will be on display—sinners saved from hell, if you please, in heaven now. We have no right to heaven and would not go there except for the righteousness of Christ and the fact that we belong to Him. The relationship of Christ and the church is intimate, it is different, and it is delightful. No other creatures will enjoy such sweetness.

And he saith unto me, Write, blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.     

And he saith unto me, these are the true sayings of God.

And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, see thou do it not: I am thy fellow–servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy [Rev. 19:9–10].

And he saith unto me, Write, blessed are they that are bidden (invited) to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, these are the true words of God. And I fell down before his feet to worship him. And he saith unto me, see thou do it not; I am a fellow servant with thee and with thy brethren that hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God; for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Hear me carefully now: the marriage of the Lamb will take place in heaven, but the marriage supper will take place upon the earth. The picture of this is in Matthew 25:1–13, which is the parable of the ten virgins. You see, the virgins were not the bride. Christ has only one bride, and that is the church. The Bridegroom will return to the earth for the marriage supper. He will return not only to judge the earth but to have the marriage supper, which the ten virgins are expecting to attend.

Another picture of this same scene is given in Psalm 45. In this psalm Christ is seen coming as king. We are not told who she is, but the queen is there: “Kings’ daughters were among thy honorable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir” (Ps. 45:9). I believe this is a symbol or a type of the church.

Guests are present: “And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall entreat thy favor” (Ps. 45:12). The marriage supper will take place on earth. Both Israelites and Gentiles who enter the Millennium are the invited guests. The marriage supper is evidently the Millennium. You talk about a long supper—this is going to be a long one! At the end of the Millennium the church is still seen as the bride. Imagine a honeymoon which lasts one thousand years! Yet that is only the beginning. What joy! What ecstasy! The angel puts God’s seal on this scene: “These are the true words of God.”

After acting as a scribe for this scene, John feels compelled to worship the angelic messenger. However, he is restrained from doing so. The angel is but a creature. Only God is to be worshiped. What a rebuke to Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet who wanted to be worshiped. And there are many folks in our day who have that same desire.

After the marriage of the Lamb in heaven, the next great event is the return of Christ to the earth. 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 to the earth, His bride will be with Him, and their marriage supper will be here upon the earth, as we have seen. 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 earth and onto that which is eternal![3]

Thomas Ice Collection

“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.” And 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. And 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

Recently at a prophecy conference I was ask if there was a difference in the Bible between the marriage of the bride (the church) to the Lamb and the marriage supper of the Lamb. I answered that I believe that Scripture indicates that there is a difference in these things and that they are two events that will take place at two different times in history. Let me show you why I think this way.

     The Marriage of the Lamb

According to Revelation 19:7, the bride, (which is made up of the corporate and collected members throughout the church age taken to heaven at the rapture), makes herself ready for an impending event. How is the bride or the church made ready? She is made ready by clothing ” herself in the fine linen bright and clean,” which is said to be ” the righteous acts of the saints.” This statement means that by this point in history (right before the second coming), the sum total of the bride, the body of Christ, is in heaven and has already gone through the bema judgment where church age believers are to be evaluated for their faithfulness to Christ during this present age (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10). The result of going through the judgment seat of Christ results in the bride being given fine linen that Revelation 19:8 says, ” is the righteous acts of the saints.” This is how ” His bride has made herself ready.” Ready for what? She has made herself ready for the marriage of the Lamb. Thus, within the framework of the symbolism being used in this passage, it means that the marriage (marriage ceremony) takes place right before the second coming.

Later, Revelation 19:14 says, ” And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.” Thus, having been newly married to the Lamb, the bride begins her role in history of reigning at the right hand of Christ (Rev. 3:21) by accompanying her new husband in the heavenly accent from heaven on white horses in order to participate in the judgment of Armageddon at the second advent. Arnold Fruchtenbaum further explains as follows:

The wedding announcement will be made (v. 6) and the Bride will finally be made ready (v. 7). The reason the Bride will now be fully ready for the marriage ceremony is because she will have her entire bridal gown on (v. 8). This also show that the marriage ceremony takes place after the Judgment Seat of the Messiah, when the saints are rewarded for their deeds on earth (1 Cor. 3:10- 15). This corresponds to the ritual cleansing of the Jewish wedding system. The ones present at the marriage ceremony are the ” few,” that is, only those in Heaven at that time. [1]

     The Marriage Supper

It is at this point that many Christians today often confuse the marriage of the Lamb with the marriage supper of the Lamb. But they are two separate events that occur at two different times in history. Revelation 19:9 says, ” Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” This passage clearly has a forward look anticipating a future time. It cannot refer to anyone in heaven since the church (the bride) is the only redeemed entity in heaven. However, after the second coming when believers from other ages will be resurrected (Dan. 12:2) along with tribulation saints, both mortal and resurrected ones (Rev. 20:4), these will be the invited guest who will be guests at this celebration supper. I believe that the marriage supper will be during the first part of the millennial reign of Christ. Fruchtenbaum says:

Hence, the ” many” who are bidden to attend the marriage feast on earth are all the Old Testament saints and the Tribulation saints resurrected after the Second Coming. While the marriage ceremony will take place in Heaven just before the Second Coming, the marriage feast will take place on earth after the Second Coming. In fact, it would seem that the marriage feast is what begins the Millennium or the Messianic Kingdom; the Church’ s co-reigning with the Messiah will start with a tremendous marriage feast. [2]

There are some New Testament passages that speak of Christ eating and banqueting in the kingdom are in my opinion references to the celebration related to the marriage supper of the Lamb. What are some of these passages, which strongly imply that the celebration of the marriage supper commences in the millennial kingdom?

Matthew 8:11

This passage says, ” And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” Here is a picture of the redeemed of the ages (from Adam to John the Baptist) sitting down with Christ in the kingdom and enjoying a meal together. These are likely the invited guest that we see spoken of in Revelation 19:9, since they are redeemed human beings from the ages who are not part of the church, the Bride of Christ. In this way, there will be guests at the marriage supper of the Lamb who will be able to celebrate the marriage of the second person of the Trinity to His bride-the church.

Luke 13:28- 29

The statements made by Jesus in this passage have some parallels to the things He said in Matthew 8:11, but there are also some differences. It says, ” There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth there when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being cast out. And they will come from east and west, and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God.” This is in the context of Christ rebuking the Jewish leaders of His day who were advocating rejection of the Messiahship of Jesus to the nation. The leaders of Israel at this time thought that they were in league with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets, when in reality they were opposed their message by not recognizing Jesus as their long-promised Messiah. Therefore, others will come from the four-corners of the world and experience the fellowship of the kingdom. This dining with the Messiah will likely commence with the celebration that will take place at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Like in Matthew 8:11, these others are the invited guests mentioned in Revelation 19:9.

Luke 22:16-18, 29-30

This is an important passage in relation to the marriage supper of the Lamb. We read in Luke 22:16-18 the following: ” for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, ” Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” This is called the Lord’s Supper, which Jesus inaugurated for the soon to be born church to practice until His return to get His bride. Christ’ s promise not to not eat or drink again until He does it when the kingdom comes, means that He will not be celebrating His marriage supper in heaven before He descends at His second coming with His bride. Here He says the next time he eats and drinks will be at the coming of the kingdom, which will start at the beginning of the thousand years of His reign upon earth.

The above stated idea is reinforced at the end of the Luke 22 passage when Christ says the following in verses 29 and 30: ” and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Once again, Jesus speaks of eating and drinking during the kingdom. This is the time when we will commence personal fellowship with our Savior. Thus, it follows that this will be the time when the marriage supper of the Lamb, celebrating with the various redeemed of the ages Christ’ s taking of a bride.

When the two parts of Luke 22 are combined it supports the notion that the marriage supper of the Lamb, mentioned specifically in Revelation 19:9 will take place during the millennial kingdom time frame. Matthew 26:29 is a parallel passage to Luke 22 and says, ” But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’ s kingdom.”

 

Parable of The Wedding Feast

Matthew 22:1-14 does not teach about a supper or feast in the kingdom, but this parable does picture a wedding feast (verse 4) similar to what most likely will take place at the beginning of the millennial kingdom when the Father’ s Son celebrates the marriage supper of the Lamb. Thomas Figart explains the purpose how this parable pictures the marriage supper of the Lamb when he says:

At first glance, it may seem inappropriate to refer to the ” kingdom of heaven” as a marriage feast for the son (Christ) of the king (the Father) since the Church had not even begun. Indeed, how could Christ be presented to Israel in this royal fashion before His death? But when the parable is take as a whole, it can be seen as including the rejection of the Son, the destruction of Jerusalem and the judgment of unbelievers at the return of Christ to the earth. The fact is the Jews had already rejected Him by the time this parable was given, and it is His way of showing some of the events which pertain to the succeeding years, even up to and including His return to earth. [3]

Thus, this parable is a picture of the wedding feast or supper that will take place in the kingdom, but many of those who thought they would be there (non-elect Israel) will be absent. Likewise, many who were thought to have not even been invited will show up as legitimate guests at this important event in history. This is why it says in Revelation 19:9, ” Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

Conclusion

Though the marriage of the Lamb to His bride (the church) and the marriage supper of the Lamb are closely related, they are separate events, just as the wedding ceremony and the wedding reception of our day are separate events. In fact, these two events are often held at two different locations, just as the marriage of the Lamb will be in heaven right before the second coming (Rev. 19), while the marriage supper of the Lamb will commence with the beginning of the millennium. Perhaps some are confused and fail to make these distinctions because the word marriage is used to refer to both events. By comparing Scripture with Scripture and distinguishing the things that differ, it appears clear that they are two separate events. The most important thing for anyone to consider is whether he will be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. I hear there are going to be some interesting guests there. Make sure you are one of them by trusting Christ’ s gift of salvation through simple faith in Him and His gracious work on the cross that paid for the sins of all those who believe. Maranatha!

Endnotes

[1] Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events, Revised Edition (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), p. 597.

[2] Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps, p. 597.

[3] Thomas O. Figart, The King of The Kingdom of Heaven: A Verse by Verse Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Lancaster, PA: Eden Press, 1999), p. 402.

Renald Showers [NOTE: Showers differs from the prior entries. Consider and decide your own. MTS]

     Where will the Church be during the 70th week of Daniel 9 (the last seven years prior to the Second Coming of Christ, which has been popularly called the Tribulation period)? Several things presented in the Book of the Revelation indicate that the Church will be in Heaven with Christ during that time period. One of those things is the marriage and marriage supper of the Lamb.

The Reference to the Marriage and Marriage Supper of the Lamb

In Revelation 19:7 John recorded part of the loud proclamation of a great multitude in Heaven (vv. 1, 6): “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” Concerning the wife of the Lamb, John continued to write, “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, blessed are they who are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (vv. 8-9).

A study of Revelation 5-7; 12-15; 17; 19; 21-22 clearly indicates that the Lamb is Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords who shed His blood to cleanse sinners. Romans 7:4, 2 Corinthians 11:2; and Ephesians 5:22-23 indicates that the wife of the Lamb is the Church. In light of these identifications, it is evident that Revelation 19:7-9 is referring to the marriage of Jesus Christ to the Church and the subsequent marriage supper.

Questions and Views Related to the Marriage and Marriage Supper of the Lamb

Revelation 19:7-9 prompts two major questions: When and where will the marriage and marriage supper of the Lamb take place? At least three answers to these questions have been proposed. First, the marriage will occur when the Church is raptured to meet Christ in the air at His Second Coming, and the marriage supper will take place on earth during the Millennium. Second, the marriage will occur in Heaven when the Church is raptured before the 70th week (Tribulation period), and the marriage supper will take place on earth during the Millennium. Third, the marriage will occur in Heaven when the Church is raptured before the 70th week (Tribulation period), and the marriage supper will take place in Heaven during the seven years of the 70th week.

The Relationship of Revelation 19:7-9 to Jewish Marriage Customs

There are good reasons for being convinced of the third view; but before those reasons are examined, two things should be noted. First, the terms “marriage” and “marriage supper” in Revelation 19 are related to Jewish marriage customs in Bible times.

Second, Jewish marriage customs in Bible times involved three major steps.

The first step was betrothal, the establishment of the marriage covenant that bound the man and woman together as husband and wife (Mal. 2:14; Mt. 1:18-19).

The second step was the taking of the bride or wife by the groom from her house to his father’s house (Mt. 25:1-8). “The essence of the marriage ceremony or festivities was the taking of the bride from her father’s house and bringing her to the house of the bridegroom or his father.” This taking of the bride was usually done at night approximately one year after the betrothal. It involved the consummation of the marriage through physical union of the bride and groom on the first night at the groom’s father’s house. Since this second step was the essence of the marriage ceremony, it was regarded as the wedding or marriage (Mt. 22:2-13; 25:10). Thus, it is this second step that corresponds to the expression “marriage of the Lamb” in Revelation 19:7.

The third step was the marriage supper or feast to which guests had already been called and assembled. Once the marriage had been consummated by the bride and groom, the wedding guests would feast and make merry for seven days. Thus, the marriage supper lasted for one week (Gen. 29:21-23, 27-28; Jud. 14:1-2, 10-12, 17), and it corresponds to the expression “marriage supper of the Lamb” in Revelation 19:9.

In light of what has been seen, the following conclusions can be drawn concerning the relationship of the three steps of Jewish marriage customs to the marriage of Christ and the Church.

First, the betrothal of Christ and the Church is taking place during the present Church age as people trust Jesus Christ to be their Savior (2 Cor. 11:2).

Second, in the future Christ will take His bride, the Church, from this world to His Father’s house in Heaven when He comes to rapture it (Jn. 14:2-3; 1 Th. 4:13-18). This will be the “marriage of the Lamb.”

Third, after the Rapture of the Church, the “marriage supper of the Lamb” will take place with the wedding guests who will have already been called and assembled.

Evidences for the Third View

Earlier it was stated that there are good reasons for believing that the marriage of the Lamb will occur in Heaven when the Church is raptured before the 70th week (Tribulation period) and that the marriage supper of the Lamb will take place in Heaven during the seven years of the 70th week. Those reasons will now be  examined.

First, normally the wedding or marriage (the second step) did not take place at the home of the bride. “One must remember that the established custom was to hold the wedding in the house of the bridegroom or his parents. The bridegroom fetches the bride and brings her to his house, where the bridal table and chamber are ready. In harmony with this custom, Christ indicated that after preparing living accommodations for His bride in His Father’s house in Heaven, He would come from there again and receive His bride unto Himself so that His bride could be where He is (in His Father’s house in Heaven) [Jn. 14:2-3]. Christ did not say that He would come and join His bride so that He could be where she is (on the earth). This established marriage custom and Christ’s teaching in harmony with it indicate that the Rapture of the Church and marriage of the Lamb will not take place at the Second Coming of Christ, because at His Second Coming Christ will not return to His Father’s house in Heaven. Instead, He will come to the earth. Thus, the Rapture of the Church and marriage of the Lamb must take place sometime before the Second Coming of Christ, and the Rapture of the Church and marriage of the Lamb must be separate events from the Second Coming.

Second, in Bible times the marriage was a joyous, festive occasion. The taking of the bride by the groom was characterized by mirth and gladness (Jer. 7:34; 16:9; 25:10; 33:11). Jesus indicated the same thing when He emphasized that it is impossible to mix the joy of a wedding with the mourning of a funeral (Mt.9:15; Mk. 2:19; Lk. 5:34).

It should be noted that the mood at the Second Coming will be just the opposite of the joyous, festive mood of the marriage. The description of the Second Coming in Revelation 19 portrays Christ, not as a happy groom coming with joyful companions to take His bride to His Father’s house, but as a terrifying warrior-king coming with armies from Heaven to administer judgment and death upon rebellious humanity. The marriage customs of Bible times provided a festive marriage supper for wedding guests, but the Second Coming will provide a radically different kind of supper-a funeral supper of dead flesh for the fowl of the earth (Rev. 19:17-18, 21).

Since Jesus taught that it is impossible to mix the joy of a wedding with the mourning of a funeral, and since the Second Coming will produce death for a great mass of humanity, it must be concluded that the marriage of the Lamb will not occur at the Second Coming of Christ. The Rapture of the Church and marriage of the Lamb must take place sometime before the Second Coming and must be events separate from the Second Coming.

Third, it was customary for the marriage supper to be held at the home of the groom or his parents, not at the home of the bride. One writer declares, “The bridegroom escorted the whole wedding party, now including the bride and her companions (Ps. 45:14b), to his own or his father’s house for the ‘marriage supper’ (Rev. 19:9) . . . The wedding feast was normally given by the father of the groom.” Matthew 22:1- 4 indicates the same thing. Concerning the location of the marriage supper, another writer states, “The older tradition points to the house of the groom’s parents as the proper place.” In harmony with this custom, the marriage supper of the Lamb should take place at Christ’s Father’s house in Heaven, not at His bride’s dwelling place on earth. This militates against an earthly marriage supper of the Lamb.

Fourth, the marriage supper began on the same night that the groom took his bride to his father’s house and consummated their marriage through physical union. After the marriage was consummated, the groom announced the consummation to his friend standing outside the bridal chamber (Ps. 19:5; Jn. 3:29), and the announcement was then delivered to the wedding guests who had already assembled at the groom’s father’s house. Upon receiving this news, the guests began to feast and make merry. Thus, the marriage supper began very shortly after the groom brought his bride to his father’s house. In harmony with this custom, the marriage supper of the Lamb must begin very shortly after Christ takes His bride, the Church, to His Father’s house in Heaven at the time of the Rapture.

Since, as noted earlier, the Rapture of the Church and the marriage of the Lamb will take place sometime before the Second Coming, and since the Millennium will begin after the Second Coming (Rev. 19-20), it appears that the Millennium will not begin very shortly after Christ takes His bride, the Church, to His Father’s house in Heaven at the time of the Rapture, and the marriage supper of the Lamb will not, therefore, take place during the Millennium.

Fifth, the Old Testament teaches that during the Millennium there will be another marriage supper, different from the marriage supper of the Lamb. This millennial marriage supper will be associated with the second marriage of God and the nation of Israel. At the beginning of Isaiah 25:6ff, a passage describing the blessings of the future Millennium, Isaiah declared, “And in this mountain, shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees.” The word for “feast” in verse 6 is the same as that used for the wedding feast in Judges 14:10, 12, 17. Isaiah’s statement indicates that the wedding guests at this millennial marriage supper for God and Israel will be all the other people living in the world at that time. “Isaiah was speaking of a future time when (after God’s worldwide judgment) His people in Israel and other nations will feast together in peace and prosperity. This is the 1,000-year reign of Christ.” The background behind this millennial marriage feast is as follows: The Old Testament teaches that God betrothed Israel (bound the nation to Himself as His wife) through the Mosaic Covenant at Mount Sinai (Jer. 2:2; Ezek. 16:8), but Israel repeatedly broke the covenant through spiritual adultery (Jer. 3:1-3, 6-9, 20; Ezek. 16:32, 59; Hos. 1:2; 2:2, 5; 3:1; 4:12, 18; 5:3-4; 6:7, 10; 7:4; 8:1; 9:1). God divorced Israel, but not permanently (Isa. 50:1; 54:7-8; Jer. 3:12). He did not regard the divorce as a termination of His marriage with the nation (Jer. 3:14; cp. v. 8).

God has been judging the nation for its adultery (Ezek. 16:38). Through this judgment He will stop Israel’s unfaithfulness, calm His fury, and lose His jealousy and anger (Ezek. 16:41-42). When Israel repents in the future at the Second Coming of Christ (Hos. 3:5; 5:15-6:1; Zech. 12:10-14), God will cleanse the nation (Zech. 13:1), love it freely (Hos. 14:1-4), and betroth it to Himself forever (Hos. 2:19- 20) through the establishment of an everlasting covenant (Isa. 55:3; 61:8; Jer. 32:40; 50:4-5; Ezek. 16:60- 62; 37:21-28). Israel will be adorned like a bride (Isa. 61:10); God will delight in and rejoice over Jerusalem as a groom rejoices over his bride; and the land of Israel will be married to God (Isa. 62:1-5). Thus, at the Second Coming, God and Israel will go through betrothal and marriage a second time, and then their marriage supper will take place during the Millennium after the Second Coming.

The following quotation relates the rabbinical view of this Old Testament teaching.

But the final renewal of the covenant between God and the people, intimated by the prophet, was expected by the Rabbis in the days of the Messiah. Thus, we often find the view that in these days there will take place the true marriage feast. In this connection,,, the present age is that of engagement, the seven years of Gog will be the period immediately prior to the marriage, the marriage itself will dawn with the resurrection and the great marriage feast will be eaten in the future world.

This future marriage of God and the marriage of the Lamb have two different brides. The marriage of God has the nation of Israel as its bride. As noted earlier, the marriage of the Lamb has the Church as its bride. It appears that these marriages also have two different grooms. As noted earlier, the marriage of the Lamb has Christ (the Messiah) as its groom. By contrast, one scholar asserts, “But nowhere in the OT is the Messiah presented as a bridegroom.” This means, then, that the future marriage of God to Israel presented in the Old Testament has God the Father, not the Messiah, as its groom.

Since these marriages have two different brides and grooms, it must be concluded that the future marriage of God to Israel and the marriage of the Lamb are two different marriages. Since these marriages are different, the marriage suppers associated with them must also be different, and it is very probable that these different suppers will take place at different times. Thus, since the marriage supper associated with the future marriage of God to Israel will take place during the Millennium, the marriage supper of the Lamb probably will not occur during the Millennium.

Sixth, as noted earlier, it was customary for the wedding supper of Bible times to last for one week, or seven days. It is the conviction of this writer that, in relationship to the marriage supper of the Lamb, the seven years of the 70th week of Daniel 9 will correlate to that time period. According to this view, then, the Rapture of the Church and marriage of the Lamb will occur before the 70th week (Tribulation period), and the marriage supper of the Lamb will take place in Heaven during the 70th week.

Concluding Considerations

The conclusion drawn from all that has been seen concerning the marriage and marriage supper of the Lamb is that the Church will be in Heaven with Christ, not on the earth, throughout the entire 70th week.

If the marriage and marriage supper of the Lamb are not to take place at the Second Coming and during the Millennium, why are they mentioned in Revelation 19 between the judgment of the great whore and the Second Coming of Christ? Two possible reasons are as follows: First, to draw a contrast between the great whore, with all her impure unions, and the bride of Christ, with her pure union with Christ; and second, to draw a contrast between the blessing of those called to the marriage supper of the Lamb and the judgment of rebels at the Second Coming of Christ.

One side issue should be noted. According to Revelation 19:9, wedding guests will be called to the marriage supper of the Lamb, and those who are called will be blessed. Since wedding guests are not the bride, it must be concluded that the guests at the marriage supper of the Lamb will not be part of Christ’s bride, the Church. But since the guests at the marriage supper of the Lamb will be blessed and will be in Heaven (since that is where the marriage supper of the Lamb will take place), they must be believers (cp. Rev. 20:6). The fact that the guests will be believers, but not part of the Church, forces one to conclude that not all believers of all ages of history belong to the Church. God has groups of believers distinct from the Church. The souls of Old Testament saints will already be assembled in Heaven when the Church arrives there at the time of the Rapture and marriage of the Lamb. Those Old Testament saints will be guests at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

This article first appeared in June/July 1991, Israel My Glory. Used with permission.

Dr. Showers presently is on the staff of the Church Ministries Division of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., and teaches in the Institute of Biblical Studies of that ministry.

 

              Mike Sanders is a member of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, and he teaches a men’s class there..        

               He is a former Church of Christ minister and retired UPS pilot.

 

[2] John F. Walvoord, “Revelation,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck; vol. 2; Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 2975.

[3] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: The Prophecy (Revelation 14-22) (vol. 60, electronic ed.; Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 126–130.




One Response to “Bible Study Subject — Revelation 19:5-9”

  1. David wilcox says:

    What a well wrote article! Easy to follow along. Thanks Bro Mike. I certainly would be interested in other bible studies that you might be teaching along those lines.Not many Christians embrace that thought today but certainly is enough scriptures that would bear that out.If you have anyother subjects along that line please feel free to send them to me. My email is acts2216.dw@gmail.com



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