Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” – Revelation 19:9
Jesus is coming back! Anyone that has any respect for the Bible believes that truth. There may be some differences of opinion on when Jesus will return, but if you believe the Bible, you believe Jesus is coming back. The Bible has been attacked for millennia and still stands strong. Whether or not Jesus will come back, well, the proof will be in His actual return. You doubters will just have to wait and see. Me, I KNOW Jesus is coming back. He has fulfilled 300+ prophesies relating to Himself. He’s been born of a virgin, born in a specific place, at a specific time, performed miracles, etc. etc. He’s died on the cross and risen from the dead. Why wouldn’t He come back just as He said He would? Yes, Jesus is coming back! Just as He promised.
When Jesus does return, it will be a climactic world event. The Bible promises, “every eye will see Him,” when He returns (Revelation 1:7). Not only will the return of Jesus be climactic, it will be a grand culmination of God’s prophetic plans. And the Second Coming of Jesus will be a time of consummation for His bride the Church. The Second Coming of Jesus will be a grand culmination of a beautiful marriage process.
The book of Revelation describes the Second Coming of Jesus with the following words:
Revelation 19:5-9 – “Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!”6 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!7 “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.”8 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.9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”
When Jesus returns at the Second Coming His “servants” will praise Him. What a privilege it is to serve and proclaim “the Lord God omnipotent reigns!” Even Handel’s Messiah will pale in comparison to what that day will be like. What a contrast are these “servants” to those who have proudly rebelled against this omnipotent God. Truly those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted on the Day of His return.
The Second Coming of Jesus will be a kind climactic culminating grand wedding day. The Second Coming is a presentation of the Church as bride with Christ as groom. In the Old Testament Israel is presented as the unfaithful wife of God (see Hosea). In the New Testament the Church is presented as the chaste virgin bride of Christ. How have God’s people gone from unfaithful wife to virgin bride? That is a big part of the message of the Bible. That is what we will look at in this study.
I want to say from the start that I do not believe the Church replaces Israel in God’s prophetic plans. I do not hold to Replacement Theology, or Supersessionism, or any other doctrine which transfers God’s promises from Israel to the Church. Israel will again one day be a big part of God’s prophetic plans. There will be pain involved in Israel’s future. But there will also be fulfillment of God’s promise. But for this study I want to focus on the bride of Christ, His Church.
The Bible describes the Church with imagery of being the bride of Jesus. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2; cf. also Ephesians 5:22-32). To fully grasp the significance of the imagery of the Church as the bride of Christ, its necessary to consider the traditional Jewish process of marriage.
It’s important to understand that the Bible is to a great extent a very Jewish book. “The giving of the law” came through the Israelites. The Bible of the New Testament believer was and is an Old Testament Jewish Bible. Those who were used by God to provide the New Testament were also Jewish (though there are many who hold that Luke was a Gentile). The point to be recognized here is that this Jewish book should not be interpreted out of it’s Jewish cultural context.
There are many insights to be gleaned from the Jewish culture in which the Bible was received. Without an appropriate appreciation of Jewish culture, misinterpretations are more likely and a complete understanding is less likely. With this in mind, the traditional Kiddushan marriage tradition is very important to understanding various important intricacies of Jesus interaction with His Bride the Church. This Kiddushan marriage was a three-stage event. Let’s look at them.
STAGE ONE – THE ENGAGEMENT
A boy and girl could be engaged to each other before birth or by the age of three by the fathers of the children. Children did not choose their spouses but parents did according to family standing, friendships, etc. The common practice of “dating” that we have today, does not find its origin in the Bible. In Biblical times, (and in many cultures up to the present day) children were viewed as too immature to make such an important decision. In light of the breakup of so many marriages in our day, it is clear that there is some truth to this old custom.
In the Old Testament the instances where parents were bypassed in the process of choosing spouses resulted in hardship and heartache. Esau married outside his faith and caused his parents grief by not including them in the finding of a bride (Genesis 26:34-35). Jacob found a wife without involving Abraham and Sarah and his marital history is filled with difficulty (Genesis 29). Samson is another example of going against his parent’s wishes in choosing a wife and the result was great heartache (Judges 14).
This engagement stage of the Kiddushan can be applied to the Church. We see this in the letter to the Ephesians:
- Ephesians 1:3-4 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,”
As a Divine Parent, God has chosen the Church (i.e. all true believers regardless of denominational distinctive) for marriage to His Son. He did this “before the foundation of the world.” God “chose us in Him” shows that those who are a part of this bride the Church, are those who have entered into a personal saving relationship with God “in Him,” that is in Jesus. God’s purpose in doing this was “that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” The purpose of the first stage of engagement was to assure holy matrimony. God chose us to be holy.
STAGE TWO – THE BETROTHAL
The betrothal of a young girl took place during her 12th to 15th birthday. (This means that Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph was likely 12 to 15 years old at the time of Jesus birth – Matthew 1:18.) The betrothal stage confirmed that the father had made the selection of a groom for his daughter. It was during this stage that the bride and groom met for the first time.
It was the custom of the betrothal stage for the father of groom to go with groom and meet with the father of the bride. The two fathers would negotiate the price to be paid by the groom’s father for the bride to be. There were some very practical reasons for paying a price for the bride. In ancient times there was no government social service system. Instead, through traditions as well as God’s law, provisions were made to protect the bride (e.g. Deuteronomy 25:5-10; cf. also the book of Ruth; Leviticus 18-20).
The mohar is the price to be paid for the bride. Three things determined it:
1.) THE FATHER’S WEALTH –
Marriages were often arranged based on social and economic status of the families involved. The father of a bride would want to have his daughter marry into a family either equal to or greater in status and wealth. I’m sure there were a lot of relational dynamics and personal political maneuverings in such arrangements. The desire for socio economic stability was for the benefit of the family as a whole. This doesn’t sound too romantic does it? But love has a way of weaving its way into the lives of two people even in such a process. Love never fails.
A wealthy father of the groom would not want to appear cheap and so would offer a mohar commensurate with his economic standing. Therefore, they would provide as impressive a mohar as possible. The size of the mohar given was an not only an indication of the groom’s father to have his son wed the bride, but it was also often an indication of the groom’s desire to wed the bride.
This provides us with a beautiful picture of the wealth of God. What could God offer commensurate with His wealth? He owns the universe and everything in it! That is why He sent the one thing, the one Person, Who is priceless, Jesus:
- John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
- Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God provided the Man Jesus as a mohar for the bride the Church.
2.) THE BRIDE’S WORTH –
Not all brides were valued the same. Some brides were seen as worth two chickens, others, two chickens and a cow. In the Arab culture a story is told to convey the importance of the mohar in this regard. A father had a daughter who was unattractive and undesirable. One day a suitor came to ask for her hand in marriage. The father thought, “I’ll gladly accept a salamander for my daughter!” But low and behold when the suitor offered his mohar he offered SIX COWS! This was unheard of. Why, the previous record for a mohar was 3 cows. After the marriage was completed the bride returned to her town and as the town folk saw her, they could not believe their eyes. She was transformed into the most beautiful bride they had ever seen. When they asked her, what had happened to her she merely exclaimed, “I’M A SIX COW BRIDE!”
The enemy is always trying to get us to take our eyes off of Jesus and put them on ourselves and all our limitations. Sin and our fallenness can make us look pretty ugly. We are weak and racked by sin. This inherent human ugliness has caused many to seek to rectify it with a push for “self-esteem.” But self-esteem is not the answer. What we need is Christ-esteem!
When we remember that we have been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus, it should cause us to see our worth in light of the cost God paid for us. We are valuable not because of what we do, but because of who we are in Christ!
The Bible speaks of our being purchased by Christ. It speaks of the precious payment made by Jesus. We are, “bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And that price is “the precious blood of Christ”:
- 1 Peter 1:18-19 – “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
What God in Christ was willing to pay for us to be His bride should have a transformative impact on how we view ourselves.
3.) THE GROOM’S WORK –
The mohar would often also entail a designated amount of work to be performed by the groom. Jacob worked for his bride (Genesis 29). Shechem worked for his bride (Genesis 34). Othniel worked for his bride (Joshua 15:16-19). Similarly, Jesus performed the work that secured our betrothal.
Jesus went to the cross and worked for His bride until He could say, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Jesus worked not only for our redemption, He worked as part of the process of making a way for us to be His bride (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14-21; Philippians 2:5-11).
The mattan was the part of the mohar which was divided up. Part was given to the bride for a dowry in case the bride was widowed. Part was given to the father of the bride to compensate for the loss of his daughter. This was a kind of down-payment. We see this related to the church as the Bible speaks of the “seal” of the Spirit. This is a “guarantee” or down payment that God will deliver on the rest of His promises regarding salvation.
- 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God,22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
- Ephesians 1:13 – “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,”
- Ephesians 4:30 – “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
This should speak to us about the need to be regenerated and born again of the Spirit. Without the Spirit, we do not belong to Jesus as His bride (e.g. Romans 8:9-11).
The tanain was the agreed upon price for the bride. A contract was written out and laid on a table before all the parties of the two families to be joined. This was a way of “putting your money where your mouth is.” The contract was signed, partial payment was made and the bride was pledged to the groom. In the same way, when Jesus died on the cross the certificate of payment was nailed to the cross as a testimony of payment and He will later redeem what He has paid for at the rapture (cf. Colossians 2:13-15). That Jesus nailed to the cross the document showing requirements for our purchase is an indication we are His and that He is coming back for us His bride.
To seal the agreement the bride and groom would each drink wine from a single cup. This signified they were legally married although they did not yet live together. Drinking this cup together was a mutual consent to be married. Drinking the cup was a kind of “I love you” between the two who were to be married. When we go to the Lord’s Table in Communion, it should be a kind of reminder of our love for Him and His love for us.
Now betrothed, if a groom died at this point the bride would be considered widowed. To break up, the two would have to get a divorce. This was a commitment. This was a substantial agreement between the two parties.
This period of the betrothal lasted approximately one year. The bride and groom would not drink together again until the wedding. In the same way Jesus said he would not drink again with the disciples until He drinks it new in the Father’s kingdom:
- Matthew 26:29 – “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
Are you ready to drink from the cup with Jesus when He returns?
During the time of the betrothal the bride to be would wear a veil when out in public. This was to prevent anyone from looking desirously upon her. The veil covered her face and blurred her vision but it was a necessary part of the betrothal to assure purity. In the great love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13, Paul makes mention of looking through a glass dimly now, but soon we see Jesus clearly when we saw Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). When would this occur? AT THE WEDDING OF THE CHURCH AS THE BRIDE WITH CHRIST!
If we look at a subsequent statement by Paul in regards to the veil worn by Moses and the veil removed by the Spirit perhaps we can receive further understanding of Christ’s provision for us.
- 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 – “Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away.14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
The Old Testament cannot take away the veil. Only Christ of the New Covenant can do that as He comes for His bride. What a glorious picture God has given us! I can’t wait to see Him face to face!
During the year of betrothal, the bride and groom enter into labors of love. The bride works on her wedding garment. At times the groom would supply the bride with the materials for the wedding garment. Jesus provides His bride the robe of righteousness. “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10).
This was a time of preparation as well as a time of great expectation for the bride and groom. They had signed the contract and the proper costs had been paid, their marriage was sure. Now they only had to wait and progress through the preparations until the time was right.
In the New Testament we are called to put on Christ as our garment:
- Romans 13:14 – “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
No better wedding garment could be found than that of Jesus Christ Himself!
Also, during this year of betrothal the groom returned to his father’s house and began construction on what was customarily known as the little mansion. This was the groom’s labor of love. This was an add-on section to his father’s house where he and his bride would consummate their marriage and live together. Jesus told the disciples that he had gone to prepare a place for them in the Father’s house:
- John 14:1-3 – “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.2 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
If Jesus created the world in six days, can you imagine what He can do in thousands of years? Can’t wait!
To this day in parts of the Middle East you can see homes that have floor levels added to them. Each successive generation builds on top of the previous generation. It’s a beautiful tradition where the family remains together. Today, when children marry, oftentimes they move away and the family becomes distant. At other times those who marry remain in the household due to economic reasons until they can get on their feet financially. But I like the Middle Eastern tradition of the family staying together. It leads to stability and strength. Soon we will be joined to Jesus and never be apart from Him again.
BETROTHAL WORK WATCHING
While the groom is working on the little mansion, the father of the groom is watching the progress. ONLY THE FATHER OF THE GROOM HAS THE AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE WHEN THE WORK IS COMPLETE AND THAT THE TIME IS RIGHT FOR THE GROOM TO GO AND GET HIS BRIDE. Similarly, Jesus said only the Father knows the day and the hour of His coming:
- Matthew 24:36 – “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”
While the groom works on the little mansion, rumors spread back to the bride about how far along he is in his work. The bride waits alertly and savors with bright anticipation every word about her groom’s progress. In the same way, Jesus exhorted His disciples to WATCH for His coming. He said:
- Matthew 24:42 – “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.”
Jesus even used this wedding tradition as the backdrop to describe our watchfulness for His return:
- Matthew 25:1-13 – “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.2 “Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.3 “Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,4 “but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.5 “But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’7 “Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.8 “And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’9 “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.’10 “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.11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’12 “But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”
Often the bride would gather her troop of attendants together on Wednesdays because this was the day grooms were often sent out by their father. The reason for this was that the court was opened on Thursdays. A wedding consummated on Wednesday, if it was shown the bride was not a virgin, could be divorced in court the next day. Wednesday had the potential of being a judgement day in more ways than one.
Suddenly the father would say to the groom, “You’re done, go!” The groom would put on his marriage crown and gather his attendant men together. He would especially take his shoshben or best man with him as he went off for his bride.
The groom would ALWAYS GO AT NIGHT. The groom would go with a procession of people, TRUMPETS BLARING, shouting, “The groom is coming! The groom is coming!” The apostle Paul associated the coming of Christ for His Church with the sound of trumpets:
- 1 Corinthians 15:52 – “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16 – “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”
The groom would take a round-about route and as he approached within earshot of the bride, her father would pronounce a short blessing on his daughter and then release her to RUN OUT TO MEET HER GROOM. In the same way we will meet Jesus “IN THE AIR”, He will not set foot on the earth at the rapture:
- 1 Thessalonians 4:17 – “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
From outside the bride’s home the two will go to the hupa, a structure in the village that has a canopy held up by four posts. At the hupa, no vows will be said (vows are a Roman and Greek tradition). The contract will simply be read and accepted.
STAGE THREE – THE WEDDING
From the hupa the procession goes to the little mansion. At the little mansion the bride and groom go inside to consummate the marriage. The shoshben, or best man waits outside the bedroom door for word from the groom on whether or not there is proof that the bride is indeed a virgin. The proof would be a blood-stained sheet from the wedding bed. When the consummation is complete, the groom will say to the shoshben either “Okay!” or “No way!”
John the Baptist saw himself in a similar role as best man to Jesus (John 3:29-36). The proof of virginity for the bride was a bed sheet marked with blood. Now just think of a situation where a bride had indeed been unfaithful but had been able to keep her sin hidden until the consummation night of her wedding. Think of the shame to her and her family and the sorrow of the groom when her sin was discovered. Think of all the pressure that comes with all the planning and preparations and how it would all be forfeited, wasted, lost. It’s very likely the unfaithful bride would then be stoned as a result of her sin. It’s a tragic scene of regret and loss.
When you “lose” your virginity, the stark reality is, you can’t get it back! It’s one of the most precious gifts God gives. You can only lose it once. It’s not something that should be “lost.” It’s something that should be given. Once you give it away, if you have been careless or impulsive, the loss of your virginity could be the source of great shame, sorrow and regret. We have all sinned and lost our virginity. We, those who desire to be Christ’s bride, have all been unfaithful. On our own, in light of our unfaithfulness and sin, the return of our Groom Jesus, could become a source of great sorrow, a sense of loss, even despair. But wait! The blood of Jesus can cleanse away all our sin! Jesus is able to restore our virginity! Jesus is able to restore that which had been lost. That’s what Paul means when he is inspired to write, “that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2).
In the Old Testament the LORD provides a beautiful picture of such restoration through the prophet Ezekiel stating:
- Ezekiel 16:9-14 – “Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil.10 “I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk.11 “I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck.12 “And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.13 “Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty.14 “Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,” says the Lord God.”
The blood of Jesus is able to wash away all of our bloody sin! (1 John 1:7 and 9). For the Church, the bride of Christ, we are washed in the blood of the Lamb. Jesus is our Groom, “who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Revelation 1:5). The Bible tells us we are redeemed, forgiven, “through His blood, . . . according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). The Bible tells us further that we are saved from wrath through His blood (Romans 5:9). We don’t have to worry about being stoned or punished. We, His bride, have been, “purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).
Jesus not only died for His bride the Church, He provides a restored holiness to us as well. That which was lost, is regained in Jesus! The precious, precious, precious blood of Jesus. Wonderful! There need not be any regrets when we meet our coming Groom and King Jesus. Are you cleansed by His blood? Have you been restored? Are you ready for the consummation of His Second Coming?
SEVEN DAYS OF CELEBRATION
If the groom says, “Okay!” then all the guests will lift their voices in a cheer and begin a 7 DAY CELEBRATION. (If “No way!” the guests will go home and the bride may be stoned.) For seven days the guests celebrate this couple’s marriage. To the couple this is the best time of their lives. For this couple their wedding marks the only time they will be able to relax from their labors. There were no vacations in those days and this wedding was as close to a honeymoon in Hawaii as it got!
For the seven-day celebration the bride and groom would be treated like Queen and King. During this seven-day period the BRIDE WOULD NOT BE SEEN BY ANYONE OTHER THAN HER GROOM. Think of how wonderful a time that was. It was a time where they could just enjoy each other without distraction. Similarly, when Jesus raptures us out of this world, while God pours out His righteous wrath on this Christ-rejecting world in the seven-year Tribulation, we will be provided with a time of total devotion with Jesus.
During this week of devotion, if the bride needed something, the groom would get it for her. He lavished his love on his bride for this seven-day period. Jesus spoke of such a scenario to the disciples:
- Luke 12:35-40 – “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning;36 “and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately.37 “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.38 “And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.39 “But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.40 “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
After seven days, the groom would bring the bride out and present her to the community as his wife. It’s at this point, upon the presentation of the bride to the community that the MARRIAGE SUPPER takes place. When we come back with Jesus at His Second Coming, He will present us as His bride to the world and one of the first things we will do is celebrate with the marriage supper of the Lamb. Oh, what a wonderful time this will be! It will be a time of total victory as Jesus vanquishes His enemies. And it will be an incredible time of vindication, and celebration of that victory at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
Are you ready? Have you got your wedding garment on? One of Jesus’ greatest parables involved a wedding. He stated:
Matthew 22:1–14 (NKJV) – And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, 3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. 4 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.” ’ 5 But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6 And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. 7 But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ 10 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. 11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 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.’ 14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Are you ready to attend the wedding of Jesus and His bride? Are you willing to come? Those who turn down the Father’s invitation will suffer His wrath. Those who attend, must be properly attired. Have you “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”? (Romans 13:14). Are you ready? Are you willing? Many are called by God and invited. But few choose Jesus and are fit to be chosen. Get ready! Be a part of the bride! Jesus is coming soon!
Do You Know the Groom Jesus?
A marriage speaks of intimacy. Two people get married and build a relationship with each other. The ceremony means nothing if the two being married have no relationship. This is why Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). The word “know” is translated from the Greek term ginosko. The idea of this word “know” in the original language meant to become aware, perceive (as in “seeing is believing”), to understand, to be conscious of, to see something or someone as it/they truly are (not merely opinion or speculation).
When this word is used in the sense of knowing someone it means:
- To know someone personally
- To be personally acquainted with someone
- To trust someone
- To have a friendship with someone
- To have an intimate personal relationship with someone
It is possible to know personally the only true God and His Son Jesus Christ. In light of this the question arises, do you know Jesus?
The Good News is that we can have a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Entering into such a relationship is as simple as ABC: Admit/Ask, Believe/Receive, and Confess/Call.
First Admit your sin and ask God’s forgiveness for them. Our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). And we all have sinned and fall short of what it takes to enter heaven (Romans 3). We need to admit this truth before God. Once we admit our sin before God we need to ask God’s forgiveness for our sins. This implies turning from our sins to God (i.e. repentance). This is humbling but necessary. We come to Him on His terms not our terms. We come humbly before God who is Awesome and Holy.
Second, believe in Jesus and His atoning work. Jesus and Jesus atoning work on the cross alone, not our efforts or works, is the basis for God’s forgiveness of our sins. The wages or consequences of our sin is death. Jesus died on the cross in our place, paying our punishment for sin. God offers us salvation from our sins freely as a gift of His grace through Jesus’ death on the cross (Romans 6:23). We are saved from our sins because of His work not our work. To believe, trust, or put our faith in Jesus as Savior is not a “work,” it is God’s grace working in us (Ephesians 2:8-9). Once we believe in Jesus and His atoning work, we believe and receive forgiveness for our sins based on Jesus and His work. God has a just basis to forgive our sins because of Jesus justifying work on the cross on our behalf. Jesus paid our death penalty on the cross for us. He’s the only One qualified to do that. Jesus took our sins on Himself on the cross and when we trust in Him and His work, He offers us His righteousness to be put to our account (cf. Isaiah 53; 2 Corinthians 5:21). God did this for us in Christ because He loves us. God is Love with a capitol “L” (e.g. John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:8 and 16).
Lastly, Confess and call. We confess our sins to God and receive His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). But we also confess Jesus to those around us; we tell others about Jesus; we call others to follow Jesus too. These are not a works that lead to salvation. This is a fruit or evidence that salvation has genuinely taken place in us. The Bible states, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
To be ready for Jesus’ return is to know Him. If you don’t know Jesus personally as Savior, you aren’t ready for His return. I encourage you to receive Him as your Savior. Make Him Your Groom and Lord. Get ready for His return be getting to know Him through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray, in Jesus’ name, that you experience all the restoring glory connected with the consummation of His Second Coming.