But why is Jesus pictured as a Lamb? Because He was the Lamb of God, that is to say, He was the Lamb God provided. Because He was sacrificed like a lamb to make atonement for the sins of men. Because the memory of His sacrifice on the cross will be perpetuated forever and He will forever be glorified for what He did to save mankind.
Two glorious events come before us now that we move into chapter 19. First is our topic for today: the wedding of the Lamb. Second is the battle of Armageddon.
A wedding was ground zero for His miraculous career when He famously turned water into wine (John 2:1-12). Now, another wedding is going to be at the beginning of His Kingly career over the earth – His own wedding.
My strategy today is to move past the first 5 verses. The theme of God’s righteous judgment has been thoroughly expounded. One could make an argument that these five verses ought to be the last verses of chapter 18 rather than the first verses of chapter 19. But, I think these verses distinctly move us from the witness of Babylon’s destruction to the post-destruction celebration. They also move the timeline along into the next event: the wedding of the Lamb. The wedding can’t occur until the enemies have been destroyed.
Let’s preach through this text by asking and answering some questions. 1) Who is the Lamb? 2) Who is the Bride? 3) When will the Marriage occur? 4) Who are the Guests?
Who is the Lamb?
Who is the Lamb? Verse 7 says, “the wedding of the Lamb has come”. Well we know that it is Jesus Christ. John the Baptist knew and declared “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” John the Apostle sobbed uncontrollably in Revelation 5 because no one was found worthy to come and take the scroll from God’s hand. But then an angel pointed him to look at Jesus at the center of the throne in heaven and John says “I saw a Lamb” (v6). Upon seeing Jesus take the scroll from God’s hand the sea of angels, the four living creatures and the 24 elders erupted in praise singing, “Worthy is the Lamb” (5:12)
But why is Jesus pictured as a Lamb? Because He was the Lamb of God, that is to say, He was the Lamb God provided. Because He was sacrificed like a lamb to make atonement for the sins of men. Because the memory of His sacrifice on the cross will be perpetuated forever and He will forever be glorified for what He did to save mankind. Because unless He became a sacrificial Lamb we would not be in heaven to praise God’s glory.
Who is the Bride?
Who is the Bride? Verse 7 says, “His Bride has made herself ready.” The Bride is the Church of Jesus Christ.
The Church’s relationship with Jesus is described in several ways: He is our Head and we are His Body; He is the Cornerstone and we are Living Stones; He is the Shepherd and we are His Sheep; He is the Vine and we are the Branches. All of these impress us with the union we have with Jesus. One picture may help us see Him for His faithful care and guidance (Shepherd, Vine) while another helps us sense His strength or purpose for us (Head, Cornerstone). Perhaps none though shows us how loved we are and delighted in than that of Bridegroom and Bride.
In Ephesians 5 the Church is described as the Bride of the Lord Jesus Christ, “Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself….This is a profound mystery but I am talking about Christ and the Church.”
Now essential in that love for us is His self-sacrificing act for us. Jesus Christ died on the cross for us to remove our guilt and pardon us from the sentence of death. That sacrifice of Himself is the way in which we are cleansed of the stain of sin. Through His love-driven sacrifice we are able to be presented holy, blameless and radiant, without spot, wrinkle or stain to Him. By Him. Because of Him.
When the Corinthians were being seduced by false teachers, teaching a false Jesus, Paul passionately rebuked them saying, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him.” (2 Cor. 11:2). John the Baptist, the famous forerunner of Jesus on earth explained why he was glad that Jesus was becoming more popular than himself, “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for Him and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”
Question: Who is the Church? Good question. The answer is everyone since the day of Pentecost who has personally received Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith in Him. Since Jesus ascended back to heaven after His resurrection from the dead God has set the nation of israel aside and He has been forming a new group of people on earth called the Church. Jesus said He was personally going to build His Church in Matthew 16:18. The people of God in the OT were an ethnic group called the Jews, but the Church transcends ethnicity. People from all over the world from every nation are being called by God into this group called the Church (Matthew 28:19-20; Rev. 5:9-10). In the OT, you were physically born into Israel making you part of that group. Now, to join the Church, you must be born-again – meaning you must become alive spiritually. For that to happen you must hear the Gospel that Jesus died for your sins and you must personally believe it with your heart. Doing that you will instantly become part of this new group: the Church. From that moment on you will be part of the community known to Jesus as His Bride.
When will the Marriage occur?
When will the Marriage occur? Verse 7 says, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him [the Lord God Almighty] glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come”.
Well from this text, broadly speaking, its going to happen at the end of the age around the time Jesus comes back to the earth. That means at the end of the Tribulation period. Perhaps it will be an event that will transition history into – or launch the beginning of -His Kingdom on earth. Either way, it has not happened yet. Here is where we get to explore the timeline of events in the future.
The next event to happen is the Rapture of the Church – the Bride of Jesus Christ. After that the seven year Tribulation will occur. During that time, in heaven, the Church will stand before Christ to be judged. Each Christian life will be scrutinized by the Lord to determine the amount of honor and rewards each life merited. This is not a judgment to determine who goes to heaven or hell. Hell has been taken off the table by faith in Jesus Christ and each person who believes is going to be there to receive their reward for their degree of faithfulness. At the end of the seven years Christ will return to the earth in power and glory to destroy Antichrist, judge the nations, raise the dead saints from the OT and those martyred in the Tribulation, and launch His 1,000 year global kingdom.
The wedding of the Lamb takes place in heaven. The wedding supper is debated as to whether it happens in heaven during the Tribulation or at the outset of the 1,000 year kingdom.
It might be helpful for us to explore the events of a Jewish marriage and the parallel phases with the marriage of the Lamb to the Church. A Jewish marriage began with the selection of a bride. The bridegrooms parents were the ones who found a wife for him, and, it was even customary to have a friend of the bridegroom involved as well. Think of John the Baptist describing himself as the friend to the Bridegroom – Christ. Their job would be to find a bride, to arrange the giving of gifts and to formally betrothe the boy and the girl.
Next would be the year long betrothal period, sort of similar to an engagement we see today. But it was different in that first they would not see each other for a year, both of them would remain living in their father’s house. Yet during that betrothal time they were considered legally married and only a certificate of divorce could end their relationship.
At the end of the betrothal period is when it gets interesting. The husband would get dressed up in beautiful wedding clothes and put on his best cologne; he would get a bunch of his friends together in the middle of the night; From his father’s house the party would make its way to the bride’s father’s house with great jollification. Songs would be sung by a band of singers and musicians, and the streets would be lit up by the bright lamps everyone carried. Anxiously waiting with her companions, keeping her lamp burning, not knowing exactly when he would come, the bride would suddenly hear her Love coming for her. She and her companions would be retrieved and the whole party would turn around to go back to the groom’s father’s house. On the way back there would be young girls known by both the bride and bridegroom with lamps waiting to join the procession as it came by. People would be crowding the sidewalks to see all the gaiety. When they arrived a a wedding feast would begin that lasted 7 days. The guests would be given wedding clothes to wear and the best food and wine and entertainment would be enjoyed for the whole time.
At the end of that feast the bride and groom would consummate the marriage.
As we study Scripture we can see many elements of the Jewish Marriage found in the Lamb’s marriage. First His bride is selected. He has friends who are out searching for His bride by preaching the Gospel. Do you remember that Jesus called the Apostles His friends (John 15:13-16)? We are in the Betrothal period where we don’t get to see the Lord and we are waiting for the day He comes for us. When He does come, it will be suddenly, like a thief, the day we won’t know. He will take us from our old father’s house (Satan’s/ the world) to be with Him at His Father’s house (John 14:2-3).
Now, we believe the Rapture of the Church will happen before the Tribulation. The reason is because its the only way there can be time for us to go and be at the Father’s house in heaven with Jesus. Remember, at the end of the Tribulation Jesus will return to the earth and then be on the earth as the King over the whole earth. So, to go and be with Jesus in heaven would have to be before all that during the Tribulation period. What this means is that the Church will be removed from the earth before the Tribulation period. And while we’re in heaven our CHristian lives will be judged and our rewards and radiant clothing will be given to us so we are ready to come back to the earth with Jesus.
Who are the Guests?
Who are the guests to the wedding? Verse 8, “….”
Well, the resurrected saints from all the different ages other than the Church Age. The people of faith from the OT including the Hall of Faith greats from Hebrews 11. The people martyred during the Tribulation. They will all be resurrected when Jesus comes back and they will all be guests at the wedding supper of the Lamb. This may be an indication of the timing of the wedding supper. If the guests need to be resurrected in order to attend the supper, and the resurrection doesn’t happen until CHrist returns to the earth at the end of the Tribulation, then, the timing of the supper must be at the beginning of the 1,000 year kingdom. This also indicates that the feast’s venue is not in heaven, but, on earth.
Conclusion: Get Engaged today!
Where will you be when the Lamb’s Wedding arrives? Will you be part of His Bride? Will you be one of those who love Him and have trusted in Him?