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Sunday: The Wedding Supper of the Lamb — 22 Comments

  1. Only one week of study of the book of Revelation left. The time has passed quickly and this week it will be good to reflect on the effect that its study has had on us.

    For me personally, it has been a journey, revisiting old themes and seeing how they fit together. The really big challenge for me has been trying to relate these themes to what I see currently happening in the world around us. It has also meant a lot of Bible study, looking at the historical sections of the Bible.

    The Sabbath School class that I attend each week has likewise been challenging and illuminating. Here is a little example of what I mean. Our teacher summarised the prominent symbolism thus:

    * The plagues of Egypt.
    * The Cross event.
    * The Daniel imagery: beasts, images.
    * The temple service.
    * Stories of Israel's idolatry.

    That last symbolism, Israel's idolatry challenged me a bit and has raised a challenge for me to explore further.

    Out teacher this week (who is a scientist I might add) also summarised the dominant themes of Revelation and listed them and actually measured the column centimeters devoted to each theme:

    *the greatness, grandeur, power and authority of God (30cm)
    *the difficult times God's church can expect from apparently thriving evil religious/civil powers (60cm).
    * the ultimate and final victory of God's (persecuted) people through Christ's sacrifice (70cm)
    *The final judgment and total destruction of unrepentant false worshipers and their supporting systems (200cm)
    *The creation of a triumphant and permanent new heaven and new earth (70cm)
    (note quite a bit of Revelation does not fit these dominant themes so don't expect that the numbers add up to the total length of the book)

    The challenge for us, of course, is to study Revelation for ourselves. We can accept Church interpretation, or even the interpretation of Uriah Smith, Ellen White, or George McCready Price but that does not take the place of personal study. In the true spirit of the pioneers we need to study these things for ourselves.

    • This was really an informative experience, and this week we travel towards an end, but let it not be the end in our hearts, let us replay these events and this experience in our hearts over and over, to ensure that we never forget. There is a scary thought in my mind as I think of this. That the *harlot* was not originally so but was a *virgin* so pure; in the wilderness in her refuge she lost her innocence. What I am thinking is that just like the five of the ten virgins, once we forget to rekindle the fire that allowed God to break us, crush us and remold us then we spiral into a journey of hardening (knowing it all, unreachable and allowing guile) that then invites a state that begins from the spirit in the church of *Ephesus*, that spawns the feelings in the church of *Pergamum* and *Thyattira*, and before long we get to *Sardis*. Then our *virginity* gets lost and we don ornaments, perfume and jewellery to seduce the world into our defiled spirit, without knowing we find ourselves riding the beast with a wine glass in our hand.

      The Bible has many answers on how we could rekindle our fire; all through keeping God's commandments and also loving one another. We know this answer but do we apply? Remember this?

      *So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”* - Luke 10:27-28

      It's also time to read, learn and act.

      *Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.* - Revelation 1:3

      Rekindle the fire by focusing on God alone.

      *The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.* - Revelation 22:17.


      • Very good thoughts, thoughts we would do well to take to heart. Your thoughts, I do believe, go along with the message that we are born innocent into a world of sin. As we become of age, our power of choice comes into play, we chose to be a ‘harlot’, or be born again, a ‘virgin’, if you will(a sinner who has accepted Christ, thus putting on the ‘wedding garment’, with good works as fruitful evidence that we are in the way of life, that Christ is our way, and that we are treading the true path that leads to heaven, getting accustomed to forever depending on Christ).

        “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”
        ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭16:15‬

  2. Our marriage to Christ was pre-arranged by God the Father. He arranged us to be married to Christ before we were born. All of us who ever arrive at this Marriage Supper of the Lamb,we are Blessed& Made happy! “Let us rejoice and be glad and give thanks to the almighty God!

    What emotions do you experience when you consider our future marriage to Christ?

  3. Who doesn't like weddings

    It is a powerful symbol to employ as representative of the love Jesus has for the people of God. And as all brides are, they are not a bride in an instant. Years have gone into development for that moment. From little girl to adulthood, the woman has grown, has accumulated experience and physical maturity fitting for a life given to another in mutual love.

    And so it is with the Church. The millennia that have come and gone since the Fall down the entire course of human history is now coming to a fruition. especially, The maturity of God's plan in and through and for His people has come to its apex. Sin stole innocence and the process of healing a separation between God and man has taken a long history to complete.

    Part of the maturation requirement has to do with the years that developed a necessary increased knowledge, and the fact that human beings are designed to make independent choices, often thwarting purposes of God. This passage of Revelation is sharing the time in which this work of preparation has reached its conclusion. It is time to take the bride into with wedding chambers of complete intimacy. The breech sin placed so deep and wide is now collapsed and closed up.

    And heaven erupts in jubilation not heard since the creation when all the sons of God shouted for joy.

  4. ...If guests, they cannot be represented also as the bride...

    I would suggest that this conclusion only applies under a literal interpretation.

    Metaphors typically are trying to describe/convey a reality/phenomenon that is beyond our current awareness. And because it is beyond our current awareness, there is rarely (if at all) a single 'thing' that we are familiar with that is capable of describing/conveying 100% accurately the reality/phenomena of salvation, sin, the 'Kingdom' of God, the 'kingdom' of darkness, and so on.

    Consequently, the best that can be done is to try and describe/convey various aspects of the reality/phenomenon bit-by-bit using 'things' that we are familiar with. Notice Jesus explicitly using this approach in Matt 13 where He says repeatedly "the kingdom of heaven is like..." and then uses various metaphors, each adding a little more to the development of a growing understanding of its aspects. You would think that if there was a single literal equivalent known to us that accurately described/conveyed the reality of God's kingdom and how it operates, then Jesus would certainly have been qualified to identify and use it.

    Like much of the rest of the symbols/metaphors used throughout Revelation and beyond, the metaphor of a marriage supper is trying to convey aspects of the wider reality that will happen. So, under metaphor, it is entirely possible that in some ways our participation in this wider reality is like a bride, while in other ways our participation is like a guest. Complex realities require complex metaphors to help us to progressively build our understanding - and while God enables us to start here and now, He will also continue to enlarge our understanding for eternity.

    I would suggest that a lot of difficulties in Bible interpretation could be reduced if we were to keep in mind that the Bible is using metaphors to help us progressively build our view/understanding of complex heavenly realities - the metaphors are not the realities themselves. As Paul noted, they are only a shadow of those realities (Col 2:17).

    • Phil, This goes back to your comment a couple of weeks ago regarding the Judgement, “The Judgement of Him”. I just wanted to say, that was the most interesting interpretation I have ever heard. I think your exegesis was well done. Presenting it to someone in this context changes the focus completely from talking about their own individual Judgement to the Judgement of God’s Government. Thank you.

      • Thank you Jim.

        If a person is open to the notion of the necessity for - and hence predominance of - the Bible's use of metaphors, concepts become dramatically expanded to reveal a much 'fuller' (multidimensional) and more cohesive and consistent picture of God and everything and everyone else concerned.

        Having seen (and continuing to see) these pictures (or dimensions of pictures) 'unfold' as I study to unpack the metaphors, I can relate to Rev 19:2 where the vast multitude also exclaim "Hallelujah" (ie, praise Yahweh) in response to seeing ever increasing revelations of the Awesomeness of God.

  5. Interesting - I need to study up some more - I have discovered that the church or the kingdom or the Holy City is called Jesus' bride/wife, however I have discovered that His people as individuals are called servants, friends, sons and daughters of God, guests but so far not "bride/wife" - why the difference.
    I agree with Phil i.r.o. metaphors and progressive revelation, but think it will be a good exercise to investigate this issue some more.

    • The Bride has always been viewed as the people corporate all through the Scripture. As Babylon is the city, a system of human corporation in fallenness, the city of God, the Bride, is a human corporation in righteousness. This back and forth between bride and individuals is scattered through the Scripture.

    • We might think of Revelation 21:2, the Holy City, the New Jerusalem as filled with inhabitants of those who have overcome. Thus extrapolating the conditional promise of: Jeremiah 33:11.

  6. Matthew 22:10 indicates that the reception hall was filled with both "Good" and "Bad." But only the one not wearing the wedding garment is cast out. Revelation 19:8 the word "saint" there the original Greek Word was not a PLURAL form. Therefore the wording there should be read that the fine linen is the "Righteousness of the HOLY ONE."

    • I use Englishman's interlinear concordance and it has "saints" as hagion rather than hagios, with the preceding article "of the" (ton) also being plural. Hagion is Adjective - Genitive Masculine Plural.

      What was the Greek word you were referring to in the singular?

      The idea you raised that all are invited, but that something more than merely accepting the invitation is necessary is an interesting point.

    • Which original are you referring to, Pete? The Greek lexicons etc. I have access to all point to this entire phrase as in the plural. The righteous acts of the saints would be the precise meaning in the Greek grammar.

    • As Phil mentioned, your comment highlights that not all who apparently "accept" the invitation are allowed to celebrate the marriage feast. This parable seems to represent a type of "judgment" before the actual feast. In this case, it is a matter of judging whether or not the guests accepted the garment of righteousness offered by Christ. (That is the *only* issue in the "investigative judgment.") It is not the guests' own righteousness that qualifies them to be guests at the wedding, but the righteousness of Christ.
      Perhaps this is a good time to distinguish between justification and sanctification. Justification is our "title" to heaven - it is the covering of the righteousness of Christ upon our acceptance of it. (Acceptance of the robe.) Sanctification is our "fitness" for heaven; it makes us "fit" to relate to other holy beings. Sanctification is the process by which we become more and more like Jesus as we allow Him to reproduce His righteousness *in* us. But it is fairly obvious that even the most committed Christians may die before they fully reflect the character of Christ in their own lives. They are on a journey, but they haven't "arrived" before they die. This parable demonstrates that the righteousness of Christ covers them, in spite of their imperfections. (On the other hand, even a single cherished sin will never be covered.) After the resurrection, there will be no more enticement to sin, and the journey of becoming more and more like Christ will continue as they daily look to Him and worship only Him.

  7. Shirley, I had much the same thought as I studied the lesson. If we collectively are God's church, but as individuals are called to the marriage supper of the lamb, who then is the Bride of Christ?

  8. Many people are disappointed when marriage does not fulfill or complete them. What they don't realize is, marriage was never intended to fulfill or complete anyone. The purpose of marriage is to point them to the wedding of the Lamb who fulfills and completes them.

  9. Which 'bride' is wedded to Christ at His second coming? "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." Rev. 21:2.

    The lesson is clear on the same point, that we shall indeed be guests '...If guests, they cannot be represented also as the bride...'.

    But what is 'marriage'? Our Representative, Jesus Christ shall be 'given' a kingdom over which to reign - the new earth, being eternally joined with us, as our Representative in the heavenly council, and as our Brother (near kinsman) forever, with its headquarters in New Jerusalem.

    That enthronement, inauguration of His leadership is described as marriage to the New Jerusalem.

    • William, do you think Jesus is "married" to an empty city? Let's review Rev 19:7-9:

      7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

      8 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.

      In these verses, the "wife" is clearly the church, adorned with the "righteousness of the saints." An empty city has no power to "make herself ready" - not to mention that the feminine pronoun refers to a woman (symbol of the church), not an empty city.

      As others have pointed out, the parable of the wedding feast focuses on *individuals* who accepted the invitation. Then the king comes in to examine whether or not all guests are "fit" for the wedding feast - whether they have accepted the special clothes that were provided (the righteousness of Christ), and any that do not wear the provided clothes are cast out. (This represents the "investigative judgment" that must happen before Christ comes to bring his "reward" with him. Matt 16:27)

      On the other hand, the "bride" is a corporate image referring to the body of Christ on this earth. (Much of the Bible is addressed to the church corporately, rather than to individuals.)

      Thus *individuals* are guests at the wedding, but the church, the body of Christ, is represented as the bride. Consider that believers are considered to be citizens of heaven. (See, for instance, Eph 2:6, Phil 3:20, Heb 12:22-23)

      Thus, it seems to me that the "holy city" to which Christ is married represents His church - that is, a city full of His people, rather than a city of empty buildings.

      Since both "bride" and "city" are metaphors or symbols, it also helps to remember that the same metaphors may be used to represent different realities in different contexts.

      • Amen, indeed the city is populated with the saved, a city, which Christ is married to, is populated with the saved.

  10. Am from tanzania,i have failed to understand clearly the concepts of bride and guests,as here in our swahili lessons,it has been written that we are the bride that jesus will come to take,but in english lesson "the city/new jerusalem" is said to be the bride i fail to understand?

    • Mark, Christ is not married to a group of buildings, is He? The New Jerusalem is filled with His people, and the marriage is between Him and the body of His people who inhabit the New Jerusalem.
      The wedding guest parable is a completely different scenario. It deals with professed followers of Christ as *indiviuals,* not the *body* of believers.
      Does that help a little?


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