“And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude and as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.’ And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. And he said to me, ‘Write,’Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ ‘ And he said to me, ‘These are true words of God.'” ~Revelation 19:6-9
If I understand it correctly, a traditional Jewish wedding in Jesus’ time had four important steps that were followed. It is fascinating to realize how these steps apply to the Bride of Christ, the Church.
First was the legal consummation. The groom’s father would choose the bride, and the dowry was then decided based on the worth of the bride, the ability of the groom’s father to pay, and what work the groom was willing to do.
Next, the bridegroom would go to claim his bride and take her to his father’s house. This was unannounced and a surprise. The bride never knew for sure when he was coming, so she was always ready, just in case.
Third was the physical consummation of the wedding. During this seven day period, the bride was not seen by anyone else.
Finally, there was a wedding supper, a celebration that lasted seven days, with the bride and groom together with their guests.
Here, in Revelation 19, we see them preparing for the marriage supper of the Lamb. The first three steps have already taken place by now.
First, God the Father chose us and decided how much we were worth, how much He was willing to pay for us, and how much His Son, Jesus, the Bridegroom, was willing to work for us. Wow! God chose us and decided He would pay the ultimate dowry for us, the sacrifice of His Son. This depended upon the Son being willing to die for His bride, and He was. We really were bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6:20, 7:23)
The next step is Jesus coming to take His Bride to His Father’s house, which hasn’t yet happened- the Rapture of the Church. We who are followers of Jesus right now, and those all the way back to the day of Pentecost, right up to the day Jesus snatches us out of and away from the earth, are called the Church, the Bride of Christ. We don’t know when the Bridegroom will come for us, so we need to be watching and ready!
The third step is after we are snatched out of and away from this earth, we will spend the seven years of the Tribulation period in heaven with our Bridegroom and His Father, and we will not be seen by anyone else on earth.
And finally, the celebration of the marriage of the Lamb, when the Bride and Groom appear together for all to see and rejoice with. We are clothed in bright, clean, fine linen, “the righteous acts of the saints.” The Bible tells us that our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), but we are wrapped in the righteousness of Jesus when we accept Him as our Saviour, so the righteousness we are clothed in here is really given to us by Jesus, our Groom.
The second coming of Jesus to earth for the final battle of the end times is the next thing recorded in this chapter, and we, the Church, will be with Him, “clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (vs. 14). The earth will once again see the Bride, this time standing with her Groom.
Oh, come quickly, Lord Jesus! 🙂