- The exalted state of Christ after His ascension
When Christ came into this world, He came in the humblest way thinkable; born in a stable and laid down in a manger. When we see Him next, it will be in His exalted state as Judge of the redeemed and as heavenly Prince and Bridegroom. First the cross, then the crown.
Let’s rejoice and be exceedingly glad, and let’s give the glory to him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready.” It was given to her that she would array herself in bright, pure, fine linen: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. He said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” He said to me, “These are true words of God.” (Rev 19:7-9)
- The “guests”
Let us first deal with the second portion which reads, “Blessed are those who are invited.” These are not the guests, but the millions of saints making up the Bride. This picture does not quite fit that of an earthly wedding, in which case the invitation to the wedding is not extended to the bride, but to friends and family.
In interpreting Scripture, we should compare it with similar portions elsewhere recorded. Such we find in two parables told by the Lord Jesus.
The first is recorded in Matt 22:1-14 and concerns the guests invited to a marriage feast. Many had poor excuses not to attend while one of them entered without putting on the cloak provided by the host. The second is found in Matt 25:1-13 and is the story of 10 virgins waiting for the bridegroom. Five of them ran out of oil and missed their opportunity to enter the feast.
The main lesson contained in both parables is to make sure that u are admitted to the feast. All the aspects of a wedding of that time cannot be spiritualized and applied to a person’s coming to Jesus to be saved. In short: whosoever comes to Jesus, becomes His Bride, becomes a child of the Father, becomes a citizen of the Kingdom of God.
Therefore, those that are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb, are the redeemed, not guests. While waiting to be fetched for the wedding, they might have gone through dark times as did the ten virgins (Matt 25:1-13) but they kept their lamps burning by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and were ready when the call came to meet the Bridegroom in the sky. Now they realized how extremely blessed they were to have been invited, to have accepted and to have persevered in waiting for the Feast.
While the unsaved masses down below were groaning under satan’s tyranny in the tribulation, those above were singing praises at the Feast, or in expectation of the coming Feast.
- An open occasion
Secondly, just as a marriage feast is a public occasion, the marriage feast of the Lamb will be an open, joyful occasion. In the Garden of Eden, the devil seduced His Bride, but He won her back on Calvary when He bruised the head of satan. Now the devil will have to admit that he was the loser!
- The Bride’s gown
Thirdly: let us look at the Bride’s gown. It consisted of bright, pure, fine linen, the fine linen being the righteous deeds of the saints, that means of the Bride herself.
Linen, in days of old was worth so much that, in Egypt, it was used as currency. The flax had to be grown, harvested, spun into thread, woven into fabric and only then could the lady proceed to make a dress (robe) of it. To sum up, it was very costly, both in time and monetary value. So, a robe made of “bright, pure, fine linen” was not something you bought at the shop around the corner.
This heavenly robe speaks of quality, purity and lustre. Her dress will be so bright that a human being in the flesh will not be able to look at it – he will go blind.
Down here, righteous deeds are often scoffed at, but up yonder they are seen as extremely precious . Let us also consider the following verse:
So then, my beloved, even as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure. (Php 2:12,13).
God works the righteous attitude, thoughts, words and deeds into us by His Spirit, but we have to accept it and work it out. That is, we must produce the visible evidence of our salvation, make it become a reality in our lives. This applies both to the losing of our old selves and the acquiring of our new Christlike self.
Now here is a surprising feature of the heavenly gown: only the Bride can make it! On earth a bride can get her mother to help her, or a friend or buy a gown or borrow one or hire one, but her heavenly gown she must make entirely on her own.
She must consult the Word wherein it is described in detail, then sit down and work it out, thread by thread and then stitch by stitch. This is going to take a lifetime. Sometimes she may mess up and a Christian friend will point it out. Then she will have to remove the bad patches or stitches and do portions of it all over again. Her robe will be mirroring herself – her righteous deeds, her sacrificing of herself, her serving of others.
My brothers, we too are the Bride of Christ and will have to get going on our wedding gowns whether we can sow or not! And we sometimes find it harder to do so because of our manly pride.
Dear brothers and sisters how are we getting on with our wedding gowns; the coming of our Bridegroom may be nearer than we think?
- The Bridegroom depicted as a Lamb
Fourthly, the Lord Jesus is here depicted as a Lamb. In the Book of Revelation, the word “Lamb,” as referring to Jesus, appears 27 times, more than in any other Bible Book. This puts His sacrificial death central. Had He not sacrificed His life on the cross, there would have been no Bride and no marriage. His Lamb image makes Him to be the Hero, the central figure of the day.
- When and where?
The last question is: when will the marriage feast be; immediately after the Bema judgment or at a later stage? That is not disclosed to us; we are just warned to be ready:
Mat 24:44 Therefore also be ready, for in an hour that you don’t expect, the Son of Man will come.
How and when the Feast will be, is in our Bridegroom’s hands. He organizes it.
Personally, I would say that it will wait until the very last member of the Bride, from the Old Testament, New Testament, tribulation, Israel and the Millennium are all in.
The podium ceremony and handing out of rewards of an acclaimed race like the Comrades does not take place until the last competitor is over the winning line and can sit down and enjoy it equally with the winner who came in three hours earlier.