A woman’s beauty is unsurpassed on her wedding day. Likewise, the church will be beautiful beyond description at her marriage supper.
By Don Ruhl
The Wedding Is a Special Moment for the Groom
Friends try to joke with him, but he does not laugh as he normally does. He might not even hear what they say. His focus is on this special event and on the special one who is also preparing herself.
Oddly a group approaches the groom and his bride, ignoring the bride, they attempt to position themselves between the groom and the bride. They start to put down the bride. They announce that they came only to see the groom, believing that it is not necessary to associate with the bride. All the friendship they need, they claim, they get from the groom. They attempt to make future plans with the groom, but do not want the bride present. However, what God has joined together, let no man separate!
There Is a Great Marriage Supper Coming
Do not attempt to exclude the bride. If you want the bride excluded, the groom will exclude you, because He adores His Beautiful Bride. He even sacrificed greatly for her.
The Fourth of Seven Beatitudes in the Book of Revelation
John wrote in the Book of Revelation,
And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” (Re. 19:6).
How does the voice of a great multitude sound? The sound was like many waters. Obviously not still waters, but rushing, moving or falling waters. It was loud. The sound was like mighty thunderings. You know how thunder can sound. In this case, there is more than one boom or crack, but many. This is an awesome sound, almost frightening. What is all the commotion about?
The multitude announced, “Praise the Lord,” which is what alleluia means. Why should we praise the Lord? The Lord God Almighty reigns! This multitude had another announcement,
“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” (Re. 19:7).
It is time for celebrating, for rejoicing and for giving God glory. Two additional reasons are given for this celebration.
- The marriage of the Lamb had come.
- His wife had made herself ready.
How has she made herself ready? Verse 8 answers that question, “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” (Re. 19:8).
Like any woman on her wedding day, she wore the finest garment. Much care went into what she wore. These things were granted to her, implying that Someone else paid the bill. If you have ever paid for a wedding, you know the significance of this! By the way, does it not seem that the Father of the groom is paying for what we see in Revelation 19? Some of the other passages later in this article show the same thing!
John said in Revelation 19:8 that the Bride’s garment was clean and bright. Has any bride arrayed herself in dirty linen? Not only was the linen clean, it was bright or white, showing the purity of her life. What was the material of this linen? Silk? Satin? It was the righteous acts of the saints. The linen was not the saints, but what they did and what they did is beautiful.
Think of it this way. Are you not impressed with a congregation that is filled with good works? Matthew 5 shows that is the response. Have you not seen congregations that are sound in teaching, but dead in righteous acts? What did you think? Have you not seen congregations that are sound in teaching and filled with righteous acts? What did you think? Jesus said in Matthew 5, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (v. 16).
This is similar to what is happening in Revelation 19. To be the Bride of Christ, to be at this wedding, to have part in the fine linen, to be in heaven, one must be a saint. Some Christians say, “Well, I’m no saint.” Oh, yes you are. You better hope that you are. We have allowed the Catholic Church to color the biblical definition of a saint.
Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!…’” (Re. 19:9a).
I think that I can say with all confidence that we have never been to a wedding reception like this. I performed the wedding for the daughter of a well-known businessman. Her dress I am sure was at least $2,000. For the reception, hundreds of people were invited. Everyone enjoyed an expensive meal while a band played. It had the most elaborate wedding cake I have ever seen.
However, I am fully convinced that wedding and reception were nothing compared to the one John shows us.
Christians are blessed to have part in the marriage supper of the Lamb because:
- Jesus and His bride are never divorcing.
- There is no end to the celebration.
- The guests are innumerable, including the saints you have read about in the Bible and people we have known.
Think of who is putting on this wedding: God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and all heavenly beings. What kind of a reception can they put on? And do you not want to see this Beautiful Bride? So what do you think the marriage and the supper will be like?
…And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God” (Rev. 19:6–9).
Is this a fanciful promise that God cannot fulfill? He who created the heavens and the earth can surely put on a marriage supper for His Son and His Son’s Bride that is beyond human imagination.
There is always that special time when the bride presents herself, so it will be an exceedingly special time when the Bride of Jesus Christ is seen in all her splendor. I know of no other text in the New Testament that shows Jesus enjoying Himself with someone other than His Bride. That is why no one should say, “Give me Jesus, not the church.”
In Matthew 22, Jesus used a wedding to illustrate the Kingdom of Heaven, and remember the Kingdom first exists as the church,
And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city (Mt. 22:1–7).
Those who knew the father and the son did not think the wedding was important. That is hard for me to understand, because when my daughter married, we were overwhelmed by the attendance. The building in Klamath Falls, Oregon where I was preaching at the time holds 110, but my wife and daughter counted 200 in the guestbook.
However, there was one significant person who did not come. It broke my wife’s heart. Likewise, there are people who make light of the Bride of Christ, as shown in this parable, not knowing her majestic splendor and the joys that are await her. Not only did some make light of it, but also many went their own ways, tending to their personal matters, businesses, projects, etc. Others persecuted the messengers of the father. The king did not take this matter lightly. The way the invitees treated the messengers was a reflection upon the king.
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests” (Mt. 22:8–10).
When the wedding has an open invitation, the king expects everyone to attend. If not, he is personally offended. It is not a good idea to offend this king. You can offend the kings of this earth; you can offend our president, but do not offend the king in this parable.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’” (Mt. 22:11–13).
Some people want to do things their own way. That is fine with personal matters. When it comes to matters greater than ourselves, especially the Kingdom of Heaven, it is a different story. He knows just how He wants His Bride to beautify Herself. Who are we to tell the Lord that we have better ways of beautifying the Bride? Beware of those who seek to change the Bride’s attire. The King is the One putting on this eternal wedding.
Therefore, He can require that the guests present themselves in a certain way. If they do not, they are thrown out. How should they present themselves? Revelation 19 showed us that it was by righteous acts. Jesus continued in Matthew 22, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (v. 14).
Receiving an invitation is no guarantee that you will get inside. This refutes the common idea that practically everyone dies and goes to heaven.
The Father wants everyone to come to the wedding. He wants everyone to be part of the Bride, preparing him or herself in the way that He and His Son desire.
In Matthew 25, Jesus again used a wedding to illustrate the Kingdom,
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept” (Mt. 25:1–5).
Truly, heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.
“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves’” (Mt. 25:6–9).
It was their personal responsibility. Yet they expected to get in on someone else’s preparation.
“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you’” (Mt. 25:10–12).
They procrastinated, neglecting to prepare themselves, but they wanted an exception. The time of grace and mercy is now, not then.
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Mt. 25:13).
We know the wedding is coming, but we have not been told the time. He has decided to keep the time to Himself. The only proper thing to do is to be prepared, arraying yourself now with righteous deeds. You will be more beautiful than any earthly bride. Ezekiel’s wife was called the delight of his eyes, so shall we be in the eyes of the Lord.
Jesus will do anything for His Bride.
Will His Bride do anything for Him?
Don Ruhl preaches with the Savage Street Church of Christ in Grants Pass, Oregon and edits The Bible Meditator. 220 NE Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon, 97526, 541-476-3100, Rdruhl@aol.com