The Wedding Garment
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“Then the angel said to me, Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ And he added, These are the true words of God.” Revelation 19:9, NIV

Who doesn’t love a wedding? Not long ago, the entire world watched enthralled as Prince William and Kate Middleton were joined in a royal wedding at Westminster Abbey. Some referred to it as the “perfect wedding.” Soon all who have chosen to have a relationship with Jesus will be invited to their own perfect wedding. Those who attend that wedding will truly live “happily ever after.”

Why does the Bible use the symbolism of marriage to represent our relationship to Jesus? If we go back to the Bible’s first book, we find God saying “…Let us make man in our image…” Genesis 1:26, NIV The next verse goes on to say “…male and female he created them…” Clearly the image of God is found in the union of the two and not from either alone. In the next chapter we read “The LORD God said, It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18, NIV Something about the union of a man and a woman expresses more fully the image of God in mankind. As man and woman “…become one flesh…” (See verse 24) they illustrate in their union the union that exists in the relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus referred to this union when He said, “I and the Father are one. John 10:30, NIV In the beginning, man and woman were united to each other and both were united to God.

Eventually, the union was fractured. Those who had been so loved and cherished by God, chose a relationship to another.  They chose the lies of Satan over the loving connection they had to God. This not only damaged the relationship they had with God, but it also fractured the relationship they had with one another. The woman who had enjoyed equality with man would now find him ruling over her. The millennia since have been filled with the cruelty and oppression that has arisen from that. Man himself has found that his pleasant existence has been replaced with a life of hard toil to provide for himself and his family. Pleasant tasks that had been a blessing in the Garden of Eden, now became onerous and difficult. As man had been created to portray the image of God, now he would portray the image of the one who had led him astray.

Soon, Adam and Eve saw the results of that new relationship when their eldest boy murdered his brother in a fit of jealous rage.  He was faithfully representing the image of Satan. Jesus said of the Devil, “…He was a murderer from the beginning…” John 8:44, NIV Through the centuries, that tarnished image led to such evil that God brought a flood to stem the tide of depravity and violence. Even that could not halt the downward progression of mankind. Mankind had not only severed the relationship with God who loved him, but even stooped so low as to murder on a cross, Jesus, who had come as God’s love in the flesh to restore the relationship.

In spite of the downward trend, though, there were some who wanted to have the broken relationship restored. Individuals like Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and others have been like points of lights in an otherwise dark universe. Struggling against what seemed at times like horrendous odds, they persevered. The book of Hebrews, in the 11th chapter, tells of how men of faith grasped in hope for that relationship when all around them told them not to.  In verse 38, we are told “…the world was not worthy of them…” Everywhere around they could see in men the image of the fallen one, but in their hearts burned a fire of a better image. That fire led them to strive to share that image with the world.

The book of Hosea in the Old Testament, tells of events in Hosea’s life that were an allegory for the broken relationship between God and man. Hosea’s wife had left him for relationships with other men. Anyone who has ever felt the pain of a betrayed relationship could probably understand the pain this must have caused Hosea. It is also a small idea of the pain that God must have suffered when mankind left the heavenly relationship. Hosea went after his wife and reclaimed her. Even though she had rejected him, he sought to restore their bond.

Today, we would probably question his wisdom. But this is exactly what God is seeking to do with us. He wants to restore the relationship we once had. He is seeking out those who desire something more than the Devil offers.  He goes to the darkest holes, and most depraved dens seeking those who will come to His love. He knows that those who are the deepest in sin know how little it offers. They are more ready to come to him than those who are satisfied with life in their self sufficiency.  The first know that nothing they are doing without God is working. The latter do not even know they are in need of anything.

Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast spoke of these two classes of people. Those in the first class were not only not interested in coming to the wedding feast, they persecuted those who were proclaiming the feast. They were actively opposing the King and His servants. As a result, they lost all chance to come to the feast.  Instead the King extended his invitation to the second class, while some might be considered less desirable than those in the first class, they were willing to come to the feast, and they enjoyed the blessing missed by the others.

Unfortunately, even among these was found someone who came for the feast but did not desire a loving relationship with the King. However, without the wedding there can be no wedding feast. Without the relationship, he could not receive the blessing that might otherwise be his.

The parable uses the symbolism of a wedding garment to make the point. If you are there for the wedding, you dress for the wedding. If you are not, you don’t.  His dress condemned him and when confronted, he was speechless. What could he say? His image was not in harmony with that of his King, but with another. The King could only return him to the relationship he preferred, even though that relationship promised only “…weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 22:13, NIV

 

Friends, we are invited to a wedding feast, and Christ himself is providing us a wedding garment that truly reflects His image. It is woven of the righteousness that He offers us through His death on the cross. He died for the love He had for us. He so much desired that we reunite with Him that he crossed time and space to a small hill outside of Jerusalem in order to make it happen. He suffered the pain and anguish that was ours to give us the love and peace that are His.

I want to return to a love like that. I want to have the image that we were created in.  I want to trade the emptiness and despair that the Devil offers for a real relationship with the One who created me.  I want Jesus to come into my heart and restore His image in me. Wouldn’t you like that, too?  Just ask Him.

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The Wedding Garment — 14 Comments

  1. The king knows who is following for bread! He has no problem identifying those on the 50/50 plan: half in half out, believe some doctrines, come to church sometimes, but live a half worldly life. In for interest on a bid for eternity.
    So "half in" there has to be a coming out, an obvious detachement, a mild conspicuous rebellion. And before the physical presence of the king! The king who desires total allegiance!
    Was this fellow naive or had he lost his senses? Speechless, he was!

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    • "A mild conspicuous rebellion." What an interesting phrase. ;) The man doubtless thought his rebellion was mild, but it certainly was conspicuous!

      It seems to me that the man without the King's wedding garment thought his fine clothes were quite good enough.

      I wonder if that could even describe you and me. You know what Jesus said of His last church: She feels "rich and increased with goods," dressed very well, thank you very much. But Jesus sees the church as "miserable, blind and naked," definitely needing to be clothed by Him.

      I think that long as we feel we are "pretty good," we might very well be like the guest without the wedding garment.

      What do you think?

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  2. In the parable of the wedding, the wedding garment represent the righteousness of Christ. Everyone who was invited was provided a wedding garment by the king.

    One thing a lot of people, especially women, think about when attending a wedding is "what should I wear?" What you wear can be a real fashion statement and some folks really like to strut around in their duds. By providing a wedding garment, the king not only dispensed with the fashion show, but he made it possible for the poorest one there to be dressed as well as the richest millionaire.

    The guy who showed up without the provided for wedding garment on, represents those who think they can come to the marriage feast of the Lamb dressed in their own righteousness. Our righteousness is likened to filthy rags.
    Notice the king even addressed him as "friend" when he inquired as to why the guy hadn't put on the wedding garment. The guy was without excuse, so was therefore speechless. This parable really cuts to the quick the plight of those who want to attend the wedding for their own benefit, but have no desire to honor the king. Naturally he was tossed out into utter darkness, as will those who think they can gain salvation any other way than clothed in the robe of Christ's righteousness.

    The best one has to offer is not enough if it is contrary to what God has directed. Cain found that out when God rejected his sacrifice. But that is for another discussion.

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  3. God's faithfull mercy invites every one who will hear his word
    & be willing to come to him.he is able to clean us from all
    Our filthy rags & make us counted for the heavenly kingdom.
    But again this invitation has its limit when we delay to answer to its
    Call

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  4. Hello.
    Thanks for the comment on the wedding garment. But anytime I read this story in the Bible, I am confronted with the issue of the possibility of people reporting to the wedding without a proper garment. We all know that there will be no wrong people at Jesus’ wedding in heaven; only those who have gone successfully through the investigative judgment will make it to heaven, or in other words only those who have successfully met the necessary requirements to be eligible for the wedding. To me the wearing/passing out of the garment may be compared to the investigative judgment, where cases are reviewed and names are sealed. But see, this man without the proper garment was cast out AT the wedding, not before, and this is what raises my questions which are “is Jesus the King of the wedding going to cast out people from his wedding in heaven?” Or “Is this wedding still the investigative judgment?”

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    • I think we run into trouble when we try to find significance in every detail of a parable. Parables are generally meant to make one point. And this one makes the point that the heavenly Bridegroom has made every provision for us to be eligible for the wedding feast: He provides the proper garment, so that none need to feel left out.

      Of course, it also makes the point that we cannot attend the feast in our own clothing (own righteousness), no matter how fine we think our clothes are. We must give up our own clothes to accept those offered by the Bridegroom.

      Even in the parable, though, the investigation of the guests happens just before the feast.

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      • Thanks. I brought this matter to the knowledge of the people at my local church this Sabbath and they interestingly gave me similar answer. I am now clearer on this detail that the main focus should be the wearing of the garment, not the time the man is cast out. May God help us so we may have the opportunity to wear this garment, and make it to heaven where all the questions that are yet to be asked will be clarified. Thank you for letting the Holy Spirit use you!!!

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      • The invitation came first, God always makes the lst move. In the garden, God made the lst move toward reconciliation.

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    • Hi, Kossi. The judgment has two phases, the investigative phase and the executive phase. The investigative phase is prior to Jesus' return. The executive phase is at His return. (See Revelation 22:12) Perhaps the investigative judgment was when the wedding garments were handed out. This was certainly a test to see who would and who would not wear one. When the King arrived (came in, NIV) the investigative record was written in what each was wearing. There was nothing left but the executive judgment. It was too late to present his case, so the man was speechless.

      Here is another interesting thought, Kossi, notice that the parable says that those who came into the wedding hall were both good and bad. Yet, the King did not reject people on the basis of whether they were good or bad, but on the basis of whether or not they had a wedding garment. What do you think of that?

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      • In verse 10, all are bidden to the feast, both good and evil, and really although we may appear good or evil outwardly, none of us is good without being guided by the Spirit and being obedient to His leadership in our lives. This corresponds to hearing the Gospel.
        The guests after being bidden to the feast are offered the wedding garment, the spotless rightousness of Christ, in which " there is not one thread of human devising." By His stripes we are healed, and by beholding we become changed into His likeness.

        "Thou your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, and though they be red like scarlet, they shall be as white as wool. "
        "Take away the filthy garments from him, and clothe him with change of raiment," All our rightousness is as filthy rags, and there is none rightous, no, not one, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. So both sinner and the outwardly righteous need the garment.
        But not all accept the garment. That is why the guest is cast out, he has rejected the rightousness of Christ, without which none may enter the marriage supper.

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      • Hello, I appreciate the point of view of the different judgements, however I will deal the wedding garment a little more.
        The wedding garment is interior. Christ offers us His righteousness and character. We take it from there and should bear fruits as opposed to the leafy barren fig tree. Are there some identifiable souls?
        Matt.7:16 says,You will know them by their fruit. Grapes aren't gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles, are they? So what are these fruits? Gal.5:22 shows,

        1-Love
        2-Joy
        3-Peace
        4-Longsuffering
        5-Kindness
        6-Goodness
        7-Faithfulness
        8-Gentleness
        9-Self-control
        What are the mechanics, how does it happen in us? The says,Ezek.37:14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live.
        But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Jn.14:26
        So who are the good and bad? Here's Luke's account:
        14:21
        it is no longer of the question of the first invited.
        The owner of the house ordered his servant to go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the POOR, the CRIPPLED, the BLIND and the LAME. Notice only ONE person didn't have the garment of all who came. Surprisingly the king called him "FRIEND". What does this signify?
        In analogy the wise and foolish virgins were all together at the right place and ALL had LAMPS but at a point in time there was differentiation. And 50°/° were not really ready but were 100°/° waiting.
        It is not our duty or essential for us to distinguish who is good or bad but make sure there is enough oil in our lamps. We do not know how long we will have to wait OR NOT WAIT. Amos 6:1 Woe to them that are at ease in Zion.
        May our Creator help us who are watching and waiting to be also clothed in righteousness and ready.

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  5. thank u Tom Iknew that part that a wedding garment of the King Himself is provided His rightousness alone and not our own is needed. Hmm if You were to be invited to a earthly wedding and proper attire was given to you before the wedding would you choose to wear your own at this time? . I am afraid all too many of us including me at times do not fully realize all this entails and the seriousness of thinking we ourselves are good enough just as we are without Christ Changing our character.
    Their Is a work to be done in us still to prepare us for this marvelous wedding

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  6. Udochiamaka, perhaps we can find the answer in 1 John 1:9. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." NIV. Maybe the question is not "Can we be sure we are saved," but "Can we be sure we have repented?" This verse assures us that if we have, God will forgive and cleanse. In Paul's letter to Titus in chapter 1, verse 2, we are assured that God does not lie. Therefore, we can have confidence in His promise.

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