Monday, July 11, 2011
The Revelation of the Marriage Supper
THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB
When you think about your life, do any memorable meals come to mind (first date, birthday party, family reunion, wedding reception, etc.)? Revelation 19 tells us about the most amazing meal: the marriage supper of the lamb.
“Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready” (v. 7).
The church is the bride of Christ. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:2).
Three Jewish marriage customs: (1) the betrothal (Matthew 1:18; Luke 2:5). When a man and woman were betrothed to one another, they were already considered husband and wife, though they did not yet live together. The church is betrothed to Christ, and He is preparing a place for her in heaven. (2) The procession (Matthew 25:1-13). The bride knew (thought she didn’t know exactly when) that the bridegroom would come to take her to his house. The church is waiting for Christ to come to earth for her. Jesus said, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 24:44; cf. 25:13). (3) The feast (John 2:1-2).
“Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (v. 9).
In verse 7, the church is described as the bride. In verse 9, the church is described as invited guests.
Two amazing meals with Jesus: The first amazing meal is the Last Supper. After Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, He said to His disciples, “I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). When would that day be? He was probably referring to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
The second amazing meal is the marriage supper. In Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-30), Lazarus ate the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. When the two men died, the rich man went to Hades (a place of punishment), and Lazarus went to “Abraham’s side [bosom, KJV].” Some Christians believe “Abraham’s bosom” refers to an intermediate state that OT saints went to until Christ’s resurrection. Personally, I believe that “Abraham’s side/bosom” refers to the fellowship of heaven. Jesus once said, “I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11). In those days, people did not sit on chairs when they ate. (Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper is historically inaccurate.) Instead, they reclined on cushions around a low table. John refers to himself in the Gospel of John as “the one who had been reclining at table close to [Jesus]” (21:20). At the marriage supper of the Lamb, we will not only recline around the table with great saints of the past like Abraham, Moses, and David; we will sit with Jesus. We can only imagine what that will be like.
Have you accepted the invitation to heaven’s celebration?