If you have ever been to a large reception that celebrated the marriage of two very mature, serious, and committed people, then you’ve been blessed. The deeper the love and commitment, the more free and genuine the celebration. The world has seen some pretty amazing wedding receptions, but there is one coming that will make them look amateurish by comparison: the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb is mentioned by that name in only one passage of Scripture, Revelation 19:7-9. But in spite of only one mention, it is not hard to understand everything we need to know about the most wonderful wedding reception ever planned. From studies of Jewish biblical culture, we know there were three stages to a Jewish wedding.
The Legal Marriage. Marriages were most often arranged by the parents of the bride and groom before the man and woman had even met. The best biblical illustration of this practice is when Abraham sent his servant, Eleazar, back to Abraham’s people to find a bride for Isaac (Genesis 24). Eleazar acted as a diplomat for Abraham, and “negotiated” the marriage with the parents of Rebekah, with a dowry. Up to a year could elapse after this event, known as the betrothal period (Luke 2:5). It roughly parallels our modern engagement period, except that the bride and groom in biblical times were considered legally married.
Taking the Bride Home. When the bride and groom lived in the same locale, after the marriage was legally constituted, the groom would go to the bride’s home in a procession with his friends (his “groomsmen”) and claim his bride for himself, taking her back to his home. In the case of Isaac and Rebekah, Rebekah left her homeland and family and went back to Canaan to join her husband, Isaac, in his home.
The Wedding Reception. Following the union of the bride and groom, a lengthy and elaborate wedding celebration began. In Judges 14:12, 17 we have reference to a wedding feast lasting for a week.
It’s easy to draw spiritual parallels to each stage of the Jewish wedding. We legally became part of the Bride of Christ at our spiritual conversion (Ephesians 5:22-33). At present, Christ is in heaven preparing a place to receive His Bride when it is time for us to be joined with Him (John 14:1-4). At the Rapture of the Church, Christ “will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16) and call His Church to Himself, returning with His Bride to heaven to the place He has prepared for her.
Finally, the great celebration, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9) will take place. The Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10) will take place immediately following the Rapture, before the Marriage Supper. We know this because when the Bride of Christ (the Church) appears at the Marriage Supper she is “arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:8). All unrighteousness has been burned away at the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Church appears as “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).
In ancient wedding celebrations, the focus was on the groom. When Solomon was married, he was crowned king of his wedding festival (Song of Songs 3:11), and the same will happen when Christ returns to earth with His Bride: He will be crowned king in Jerusalem where He will reign for a thousand years with His Bride (Revelation 19:11-20:6). Christ is the centerpiece at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!
There will be no counterfeit guests at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Only those who have been made righteous by the blood of the Lamb will be invited to the great celebration of the union of Christ with His Bride. And what an eternal celebration it will be: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9). If you want to be on the guest list for the greatest celebration in history, you must act now: “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Revelation 21:27).
David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God,
and serves as Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.