THE WEDDING SUPPER OF THE LAMB – Al Manigsaca – Nov 14, 2021
Jewish weddings in the first century …
1. The Betrothal Period (the engagement period, which could last for a year or more)
2. The Processional (at the end of the engagement period, the groom and his friends parades through the streets to the house of the bride)
3. The Ceremony (wedding feast/supper, ceremony, and consummation)
Jesus describes himself as the bridegroom or the GROOM – at one point when the Pharisees criticized Jesus’ disciples for not fasting, Jesus responded
“As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast” Mark 2:19.
Scripture describes the church – all those who confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior, believers in Christ from every nation, tribe, and tongue – as the BRIDE of Christ (Eph 5).
The church is not on earth during the tribulation
The church is not mentioned in any of the tribulation period chapters (Rev 6-18), so where then is the church during the tribulation period? It was already in heaven before the tribulation. Christ promised to the Church in Philadelphia is evidence of rapture prior to the tribulation – “Since you have kept My command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” Rev 3:10.
So what is the church (what are you?) doing in heaven – right after the rapture and before Christ’s return to earth.
1. We’ll meet Jesus face to face in our glorified state
2. We’ll receive immortal bodies (in twinkling/instant – we shall all be changed – 1 Cor 15:52)
3. We’ll face the Judgment Seat of Christ
The Judgment Seat – is not whether we’ll go to hell or heaven (that is already determined here on earth – people who reject Jesus are already condemned to hell) – so what is the judgment seat for believers – its judgment for the works and service done on earth for Christ and God’s glory (whether what we’ve done for Christ has the quality of gold or silver, or wood, stone, hay)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. – 2 Cor 5:10
4. We’ll be presented before God before all creation – For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons (children) of God Rom 8:19
5. We’ll be at the marriage supper of the lamb, not as a guest, but as the bride
the marriage supper is at the last part of a Jewish Wedding – in fact later towards the end of Revelation, the church will not be described as the “Wife of the Lamb” “Wife of Christ”
Revelation 21:9 – Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
Revelation 19:7-9 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) 9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
We’ll definitely be busy in heaven after the rapture, the presence of the church at this point in Revelation is also evidence for the rapture of the church. But there is another evidence for the rapture. You see, God’s plan of salvation closely follows the Jewish wedding custom during NT times and it is reasonable that God would do this since the church is the bride of Christ. We’ll have a better understanding of God’s plan of salvation and the marriage supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19 when we understand the 1st-century Jewish wedding.
1 – BETROTHAL (Engagement Period)
During this period, parents are contracting the marriage of their children, this process can begin even before children reach marriageable age and even without the knowledge or the involvement of the children themselves. Like in many cultures around the world, marriage is viewed as not just a union of two individuals but a union of two families. Parents, therefore involved, even initiate, selecting and oversee the marriage. We find this in the accounts of the patriarchs – it was Abraham who sent a servant to find a wife for his son Isaac.
The betrothal or engagement period is binding (good as married), only to be broken by divorce – even when the wedding itself is yet to happen in the future. Groom and bride don’t live together at this point and have no intimate relationship. (kept a virgin until the wedding night, else it will be a scandal, adultery)
A dowry is a significant part of the betrothal period – a purchase price for the bride. This practice seems strange, even offensive to western culture. But this is practiced in ancient times and in many cultures today – kind of a transfer of ownership of the bride – from the parents to the groom. We see a hint of this practice in our weddings here – when the parents hand the bride over to the groom at the beginning of the wedding ceremony.
The Betrothal period can be a year or more before the wedding itself, this gives the groom some time to work, build wealth to support his future family, build and prepare a home or place for his bride.
An example of a betrothal period in the Gospels is Mary and Joseph’s relationship. Mary was betrothed to Joseph – Now the birth of Jesus Christ[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. – Matthew 1:18
That’s why Joseph was about to divorce her when she was found to be pregnant. Their move to Bethlehem probably help save Mary’s life, knowing that Mary was already pregnant during the betrothal period – adultery is punishable by stoning.
Our betrothal period as the bride of Christ – began before the foundation of the world. We were not yet born (without our knowledge or involvement) when God the Father betrothed us to his son. That’s why our salvation is by God’s grace and favor, by his choosing. even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love – Eph 1:4. Our names are written in lamb’s book of life. Christ is a betrothed king – his bride – chosen and given to him by his father – are those who trust and put their faith in him – people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. (it is the Parent – the Father who gave us to Christ)
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. – John 6:37-39
The dowry, the purchase price for the church – is not with gold or silver – Christ purchased us with His own blood! The exchange happened on the cross, His life for your life. Jesus, the Son of God, our groom, did not remain in the grave – rose back to life after 3 days, is now in heaven.
During this betrothal period – Jesus is preparing of home for us – “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. – John 14:1-3
Our responsibility – the bride’s responsibility – is to prepare for his return. This leads us to the next step in the Jewish Wedding
2 – PROCESSIONAL
This step occurs a year or more after the beginning of the betrothal period. There will be a time of festivities that could last for a week. At the end of those festivities – the bridegroom, coming from his Father’s house will parade, make a procession to the bride’s house – accompanied by his male friends (groom’s men). This is done at night, even midnight, carrying torch lights and lamps – a kind of a light parade.
To take the bride and her bride’s maids from the bride’s house. The bride and her maids will join the procession back to the groom’s home. The bride, though she has a general idea around when the groom will arrive and that she knows he will arrive – she does not know when the groom will exactly arrive. So, she needs to be always ready along with her bride’s maids.
This step in the Jewish wedding is portrayed in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25). The ten virgins are the bride’s maids waiting for the groom’s arrival — the foolish ones did not bring oil for their lamps, they had to go out and buy oil – as a result – missed the arrival of the bridegroom – while the wise virgins who had oil – was able to join the procession. They were not allowed to enter the groom’s home
The church / the bride of Christ – we are still in the betrothal step. Jesus has returned to his Father’s house – but this is his promise
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;a believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?b And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. – John 14:1-3
1. He promises to come back and take us with him.
2. The procession of the church begins – with Jesus’ return to take his bride with him
3. Bring his bride to his house / his place of residence / that is heaven – this is the RAPTURE
We know what happens next – in heaven – this leads us to the last step in the Jewish wedding
3 – CEREMONY
The wedding proper itself includes the wedding ceremony, the exchange of vows. The wedding feast or supper. The consummation – where the groom and the bride will become one flesh.
The Wedding in Cana is an example of this last step in a Jewish Wedding – the wedding feast. – John 2
Revelation 19:7-9 – describes the wedding ceremony itself of Christ and his church
7. “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; 8. it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”— everyone is dressed in fine linen, bright and pure. For the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Today – we’re at the betrothal stage in the wedding of the ages – the wedding of Christ the King of kings and his bride, the church, that you and me and all believers in Christ, past present future from every nation, tribe and tongue. We are waiting for the return of our bridegroom, phase in this wedding (the procession)
What do we do while waiting – his Bride has made herself ready; – we are to prepare our bridal gown – the bridal gown we’ll wear – are the good deeds and works and service we do for Christ and the glory of God
The bride prepares herself – by being faithful to Christ – living a holy, God-pleasing, and God-honoring life, keeping our lives pure and holy, our fellowship holy. Let us not use our fellowship for selfish reasons, financial gain, for gossip, for backbiting for unholy criticisms – for unforgiveness – keep our fellowship pure and holy.
The bride prepares – by obeying Christ commands – loving God, loving his people, serving others, committed to the great commission of preaching the gospel and making disciples, doing works ministry with every opportunity, making every moment and every effort count for the glory of Christ (with a pure and holy heart and motive) – your clothing in heaven will be glories – if you motive in relating and serving others is impure, only for selfish gain – you work will burn on the day of the judgment seat fo Christ) –
Prepare by persevering under trial, not giving up.