You may have received a Save the Date card from friends who were planning to be getting married within a year. Traditionally, wedding invitations are sent 6 to 8 weeks in advance of the wedding, and generally, those invited would live nearby. These days, however, people are more mobile, and many friends and family must travel from a distance, requiring travel time and perhaps even hotel stays. Also, people's calendars fill up quickly, especially during summer months when many weddings take place. In these instances, they need advance notice to make their plans.

The solution is to notify them with a Save the Date card informing them of the date, so they can mark their calendars. A formal wedding invitation with the time, venue, and RSVP return card is sent later at the appropriate time before the wedding. It is not an actual invitation, but everyone who receives a Save the Date card can expect a formal invitation to follow. More and more couples are doing this, and some also post a Save the Date placard on social media.

When these are sent out, the actual venue and even the times for the wedding and the reception may not be solidified, so this information is not included. It is meant to give people a heads up, so they can make any necessary plans in advance to attend the wedding that will be held on that date.

You Are Invited

The greatest wedding reception that will ever take place in the history of mankind is described in the Bible—The Marriage Supper of the Lamb: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7-9).

This invitation is to whosoever will receive it. The Bride of Christ is all the saints who will reside in the heavenly city of God, the New Jerusalem. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be allowed to enter the gates of the city: “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband…. And there came unto me one of the seven angels, and talked with me, saying Come, hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God…. And there shall in no wise enter into it any that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:2, 9-10, 27).

If you are born again, then you have not only already received your invitation, but have also RSVP’d that you will be attending. Only those who RSVP will have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. God will not be sending out any Save the Date cards. In fact, even the invitation does not include the date! When He was on earth, Jesus said that He didn't even know the date! Only the Father knows the wedding date, because it can only occur after the Bride is safely in Heaven. And only the Father knows when He will send His Son to get His Bride!

Once you have RSVP’d that you will be attending, you have to stay ready at all times, because He could come any time. Apostle Paul said: “For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Christians are not citizens of this world trying to make it to Heaven—we are citizens of Heaven trying to make it through this world! And when we leave, we are going to a wedding!

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). Jesus came the first time to sacrifice Himself on the cross to save us from sin. But when He comes the next time, He is not coming to save us, but as our Bridegroom, to take us to our wedding reception in the New Jerusalem.: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1Thessalonians 4:16-17).

This will happen so fast, those who are left behind will not know what happened! This is how the Bible describes it: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52). In the nanosecond that it takes the signal from your brain to tell your eyelid to blink, we will be gone! And by the time we are transported from Earth to Heaven, we will have brand new bodies that are incorruptible and immortal: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (vs.53).

There will be no warning. The only pre-signs are those that Jesus gave in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. Most of these are already in advanced stages. This is why Jesus said: “Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come…. Therefore…. Be ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:42, 44). “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for you know not when the time is” (Mark 13:32-33).

If you are expecting a Save the Date card, there won't be any. But it's not too late to accept the Father’s invitation to the eternally blessed wedding and reception for His Son! You have to personally respond by personally receiving His free gift of salvation. Having your name on a church membership roll is not good enough. You may even be a choir member, or a minister, but if you have not received forgiveness of your sins by the cleansing blood of the Savior, Jesus Christ, your name is not written in His Book of Life. Absolutely nothing you could ever do in this life will gain you entrance into that city if your name is not in this book!

I Will Come Back For You

In John 3:29, John the Baptist referred to himself as the best man and Jesus as the bridegroom. In chapter 14:2-3, Jesus said: “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

This is a clear reference to His return to receive His bride, those who have died in faith and those who are living in faith, and take us to Heaven. This is clearly understood by the Jewish wedding customs of that time. When a young Jewish man saw the girl he wanted to marry, or the girl his father selected for him, he would journey from his father’s house and go to the home of the girl’s family with a marriage contract. The most important consideration in the contract was the price the bridegroom was willing to pay to marry this girl, and it was costly. He would then pay the bride price, and the betrothal would begin; also called an espousal, as Mary and Joseph were (Luke 1:27). Apostle Paul said of believers: “For I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:2).

Then the bridegroom-to-be would return to his father's house to build a bridal chamber. Normally, he would build a separate building onto his father's house. It had to be beautiful and stocked with the necessary provisions they would need to remain inside for their seven-day honeymoon. This construction project would ordinarily take over a year, and it was the father of the groom who would judge when it was properly finished and ready for the bride. He would inspect the chamber from time to time to see if it was ready.

Meanwhile, the bride would wait. After he returned to his father’s house, the bridegroom would send her a gift, which was in addition to the bride price, to help her prepare and beautify herself for her wedding day. During this time she was referred to as being consecrated, set apart, bought with a price. She would keep herself pure and always wear a veil whenever she stepped out of her house so that other young men would realize she was spoken for. As the year went on, she would assemble her sisters and friends who were to be her bridesmaids and would go with her to the wedding when the bridegroom came for her. They would each have an oil lamp and oil to keep their lamps ready at all times, because they did not know if he would come at night.

When his father said the chamber was finally ready, the bridegroom would assemble his friends to accompany him to claim his bride. They usually would set out in the night, trying to keep it a surprise. In fairness to the bride, one of the groomsmen would go ahead to shout: “Behold, the bridegroom comes!” When the bride heard this, she knew his coming was momentary, and she and her bridesmaids would quickly trim their lamps and grab her honeymoon clothes. The bridegroom would charge in, grab his bride, and take off with her to his father's house where the marriage ceremony and wedding reception would take place. The bridegroom stole her away like a thief in the night. The sleeping townspeople didn’t know he had come.

In His darkest day, Jesus prayed in Gethsemane before His death on the cross: “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” (John 17:24). He was looking beyond His agony of that moment and the sufferings He would endure in the coming hours, to the resurrection and the restoration of His glory—and to His wedding reception when His faithful people will be with Him.

We do not know the day. We do not know the hour of His return, but Jesus said, “I will come again and receive you unto myself.

For me, I can say, “It’s a date!”