The Consummation - The Wedding Banquet
" ‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.' And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: "Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!" And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.' And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.' "-Revelation 19:7-10, emphasis added
Look at verse seven above. The result of the elements we have looked at is this: we should be glad and rejoice and give Him glory because the marriage of the Lamb has come! His wife has made herself ready. You cannot get ready for heaven in heaven. We are talking about your time on earth-choices you have made and are going to make. If you are the wife-to-be of Jesus Christ, at that moment you are going to be shown for what you did to get ready.
We can learn how to get ready for that great day by understanding how royal weddings were celebrated in the ancient Near East. In that culture, a wedding feast was inseparable from the wedding which involved a weeklong series of meals and festivities, and was the highlight of all social life. For a royal wedding such as the one Jesus mentions here, the celebration often lasted for several weeks. Guests were invited to stay at the house of the groom's parents for the entire occasion, and the father would make as elaborate provisions as he could afford. A royal wedding, of course, would be held in the palace, and a king would be able to afford whatever he desired.
A wedding feast that a king prepared for his son would be a feast of all feasts, and Jesus was therefore picturing the most elaborate celebration imaginable. The fact that it was a wedding celebration was incidental to the purpose of the parable in Matthew 22 the only mention of the groom being that of identifying him as the king's son. No mention at all is made of the bride or of any other aspect of a wedding. The point is that because the feast represents the greatest festivity imaginable, given by the greatest Monarch imaginable, for the most-honored guests imaginable, a royal wedding feast was chosen as the illustration of the ultimate celebration.
Salvation--knowing God and being a child of God--is the highest relationship we can know on this planet. God said, "I want you to have the closest human relationship with Me that you will ever know on this planet, only more glorious." But because of Israel's continued unfaithfulness, God divorced them: "I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce" (Jeremiah 3:8).
In the New Testament we have the symbolism of the church as Christ's bride: "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son [and] the wedding hall was filled with guests" (Matthew 22: 2,10). In Matthew 25:1, Jesus told the parable of the virgins who took their lamps and "went out to meet the bridegroom" (Matthew 25:1). In Mark 2:19, He said, " ‘Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them?" In John 3:29, Jesus said that the friend of "the bridegroom" rejoices when hearing "the bridegroom's voice." In 2 Corinthians 11:2 we see His godly jealousy when He says, "I have betrothed you to one husband." And in Ephesians 5:23, Paul states that "the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church" (Ephesians 5:23).
As a godly marriage grows in its love, so a relationship with Jesus grows in its love. As the intimate relationship of a husband and wife is meant to be the closest and deepest sharing known on earth, so the relationship we have with the Lord is to be the deepest, closest, and most intimate-and that begins now, while we are still here on earth. As a loving marriage is meant to bring our truest joys, so is a genuine relationship with Jesus. Marriage demands loyalty and faithfulness, so we must offer absolute loyalty to our Lord Jesus.
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