Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Marriage of The Lamb

Revelation 19

If we study the scriptures it is amazing to find the way the Holy Spirit has displayed for us the Bridal relationship between the church and the Lord. In the Old Testament we have the wonderful example of Isaac and Rebekah. In this story we are told how that the father, Abraham, sends his servant to find a bride for the son Isaac. The servant goes out and searches until he finds Rebekah. Once she is found the servant woos her and brings her back with him. This is a perfect picture of God sending the Holy Spirit to find a bride for Christ. The Holy Spirit finds us; we don’t go out looking for Him. The Holy Spirit woos us with the goodness of God, and eventually brings us back to be with our bridegroom.

We also have the Song of Solomon. Many have questioned why this small book is in the scriptures. It seems at first glance to simply be a love story between Solomon and his bride, but further study reveals that it is a picture of the relationship Christ has with His church. In this book we are given a great picture of the love relationship between the Lord and His bride the church.

This subject of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb was a subject that the Lord Jesus liked to dwell upon while He was upon the earth. We are told of the parable of the “ten virgins” who go out to meet the bridegroom, and again He speaks of the marriage of the king’s son in Matthew 22.

Seeing how important this event is I would like to mention a few things that are important to consider.

Notice first that this is called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, not the Marriage Supper of the Bride. Usually a wedding is the consummation of the hopes of the bride. It is the female who dreams of this day from her youth. I have two little girls at home, and they will say things like “when I get married I want a dress like that.” We have to watch shows at my home like “Say Yes to the Dress”. I would never have watched a show like that when I was a young boy. A wedding is not something that a male plans for, talks about or dreams of.

This wedding however is different. This wedding will be the consummation of the plan of God for His Son. This wedding has been planned since before the foundations of the world according to Ephesians 1:4.

This wedding will be the joy of Christ as a man, for this wedding would not be possible if Christ had not come to be born in the flesh. This wedding is why Jesus took His human nature back with Him to Glory, for today in heaven sits the “Man Christ Jesus.”  (I Tim. 2:5)

While the bride was chosen for Him before the foundation of the world the espousal could not take place until after Christ assumed humanity. So it is after Christ’s incarnation that we read:

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”  2 Corinthians 11:2

When you think about a wedding there is usually a time of espousal. Some will be engaged for a year or maybe two, but the Lord has been engaged to His bride for a much longer space of time. In fact this is the longest engagement the world has ever known. The Lord has been engaged to His bride for over 2,000 years now, but I do not believe He will have to wait much longer.

Let us ask and try to answer some questions about this wedding. Many of these things may seem simple, but you would be amazed how little some people know about this great event.

1.  Where and when shall this marriage take place?
This marriage will take place in heaven after the judgment seat of Christ, and before the appearing of Christ with His saints at the Revelation. While the earth is undergoing seven years of tribulation, in heaven a wedding will be taking place.

The minister of the ceremony (though doubtless will be God the Father), and the vows the bridegroom and bride will take are not disclosed to us in the scriptures.

I spoke to the children the other night about us being married to Christ. As you can imagine they had a look of confusion on their faces. I explained that a marriage in the bible was a little different than we think of it today. In the bible a marriage was two people becoming one.

In the Garden of Eden God took Adam and Eve and joined them together in marriage. Although neither of them had a mother or father God said “for this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” When we are married to Christ it simply means that we are joined to Him for all eternity.

One thing we know for sure is that no one will give away the bride, for the Bible tells us that Christ will present the church to Himself according to Ephesians 5:25-27.

2. Who is the Bride?
There is actually a group of people who claim the bride in this chapter is Israel because she is referred to as a wife in verse 7. The reason they say this is because God refers to Himself as the husband of Israel in Isaiah 54:5. They claim that “wife” is the earthly name for Israel and the “bride” is the heavenly name for her. This simply is not true.

In the Old Testament the wife of God is Israel, but in the New Testament it is the Church that is the bride of Christ. If you study the Old Testament you will see that Israel, the wife of God, was called a Whore, and she was caught in whoredome. Because of this she was cast off by God, but promised that He would receive her back when she quit her whoredom. The Lambs wife however is a virgin. What is said about Israel has never been said about the church. Therefore the wife of the Old Testament, Israel, cannot be the bride of the Lamb.

Further proof is seen when we consider that the wife of God, Israel, resides in the earthly Jerusalem during the Millennium. The Bride, the Lamb's wife, will reside in the New Jerusalem during this period of time. Therefore we can conclude with certainty that this bride is the church, not Israel.

This Bride is from a disowned and outcast race, but the bridegroom saw her and loved her. To redeem this bride the bridegroom had to leave His home country and come to this sin cursed earth, the home of the bride. When He came He was rejected by her family and eventually killed by them. But instead of them taking His life He willfully laid it down thus demonstrating His love.

When He left her home country He went back to His and began preparing a house for her. And one day soon He will come and get her taking her to His home.

4. What is meant by her making herself ready?
In these verses we see that the bride is arraigned in fine linen. This fine linen is not called the righteousness of Christ, but the righteousness of the saints. This makes it clear that it is not imputed righteousness in this verse. This is our righteousness.

So how does the bride make herself ready? Peter tells us how.

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”    I Peter 1:7

The righteousness then of the saints will be their works and fiery test that have come through judgment and reward. When we stand before God in judgment those  fault and failures we are so prone to will be removed by fire, while our true works will remain pure as gold. These works of righteousness will adorn the bride.

5. What is the Marriage Supper?
This is not the wedding itself. The marriage feast follows the wedding. There is one thing that we know for sure; it will be an honor to receive an invitation to this wedding. In fact it is such an honor, that the angel told John to write that those who are called are “blessed.”

6. Who are the Guests?
It is clear that the guests are not the bride. The bride would not be called or invited to her own wedding, without her there; there would not even be a wedding.

But there will be called guests. All those who have trusted in Christ from Pentecost down to the rapture belong to the church. The guests then will be the Old Testament saints such as David, Moses and Abraham. Even John the Baptist is in this category for he even called himself a friend of the bridegroom.

There will also be present a blood washed multitude that has come out of the tribulation.

The angels will be spectators of the scene, but they cannot be guests for that honor is reserved for only those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

7. What happens after the Marriage Supper?
What happens after every wedding? Sometimes there is music, dancing and food, but after this the bride and bridegroom will load up and go away together. Often it is a trip overseas or to a distant land. Sometimes it is a visit to an old hometown.

So after the marriage and marriage supper, the bridegroom and bride will load up and go on a trip back to the bride’s old home country. What a fitting place, for this is where they meet. It is where He demonstrated His love for her. When He comes back He will prove to her old family that He was no impostor, but that He was what He claimed to be, the Son of God.

He will then set up His earthly kingdom, where He will be given the throne of His father David and they will reign together for 1,000 years.

After the long honeymoon is over the bridegroom and the bride will go back to His father's house. After the earth has been baptized by fire they will return with the Holy City and abide in this city forever.

All this so overwhelms John that he falls at the feet of the angel to worship, but is told not to do that for the angel was nothing more than a fellow saint. Like John, I don’t think we can truly fathom how wonderful this event will be. Have you accepted your invitation?

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