In Revelation 19:7-10, John saw and heard the multitudes in heaven praising the Lord God at the wedding feast of the Lamb. The wedding feast of the Lamb is the marriage supper which was about to begin. To understand what the marriage supper of the Lamb is, let’s consider the three significant wedding customs in the time of Christ.
Three Major Parts of a Wedding Feast
A Marriage Contract
Wedding customs in the time of Christ were signed by the parents of the bride and the bridegroom. Additionally, this contract was signed by the parents of the bridegroom, and the bridegroom himself would pay a dowry (down payment) to the bride or her parents. Such a process began the betrothal period, which today would be called the engagement. One example of this was the one Joseph and Mary were in when Mary was found to be with baby Jesus in the womb (Matthew 1:18; Luke 2:5)
A Torchlight Parade Through the Streets
The bridegroom accompanied by his male friends went to the house of the bride at midnight, creating a torchlight parade through the streets. Such a parade would not be a surprise to the bride as she knew well in advance such an event was taking place so she would be ready with her maidens. They would then all join the parade and end up at the bridegroom's home. Such a custom is the basis of the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13.
The Marriage Supper Itself
During the time of Jesus, the marriage supper itself would go on for days as illustrated by the wedding at Cana in John 2:1-2.
The events described by Jesus in Revelation 19:7-10 describe the third phase of the wedding feast the marriage supper of the Lamb. John isn’t meaning to skip the first two phases of the wedding feast customs but is communicating they already have happened. The first phase was completed on earth when each individual Christian placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ. The dowry, in this case, was paid by the bridegroom's parent (God the Father) because of the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the Bride’s behalf.
The Church is betrothed to Christ much the same way as the wise virgin in the parable. All Christians should be watching and waiting for the appearance of the Bridegroom the Lord Jesus (2 Timothy 4:8). The second phase picture, when Christ comes to blame His bride and take the Church to the Father’s house. The Marriage Supper follows as the third and final step and is a glorious celebration of all who are in Christ Jesus.
Delight in the Lord and the Final Day
The Christian will one day find their ultimate delight at the time when He consummates all things (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). Revelation 19 describes the day where we will become like Jesus. On that day, we will wear the most beautiful wedding gown made up of our righteous deeds (Revelation 19:6-8). As glorified Christians, the people of God will finally fulfill the purpose for which we’ve been created, which is complete, unbroken fellowship with God. Such joy we will experience on that day is beyond description as we will see Christ face-to-face (Revelation 19:9). Every born again, Christian will experience this day because they have been declared righteous in the Lord’s courtroom.
The Lord’s Supper and the Wedding Feast
The Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day is a foretaste of such a day as the Wedding Feast. Every time we eat of the Lord’s Supper, we should long all the more for the day when the feast will never end. Whether or not you are partaking of the Lord’s Supper this Lord’s Day, focus your heart on the great wedding feast with the Lord Jesus.
The Parable of the Wedding Feast
The Lord Jesus often tells Parables to get people’s attention. In the third parable in Matthew 21:33-46, Jesus repeats themes he tells in the parable of the Tenants. According to God’s plan (Matthew 13:10-17), unrepentant sinners harden their hearts further as they listen to the story of the wedding feast (Matthew 22:1-10). Those who have open ears and hearts hear once again the grace of God revealed in the Lord Jesus teaching about the expansion of the Kingdom of God.
Similar to the Parable of the Tenants, the parable of the Wedding Feast describes an authority figure who sends representatives to certain people (Matthew 21:33-34; 36; 22:13). These representatives are sadly rejected, mistreated, and even killed (Matthew 21:35-39; Matthew 22:5-6). Judgment is the result of rejecting these representatives on both the tenant and the one who rejects the invitation. Judgment today is upon all those who are unprepared for the Kingdom depicted in their lack of fruit and improper dress (Matthew 21:43-44; 22:11-14).
Similarities Between the Parable of the Tenants and the Wedding Feast
The Parable of the Tenants and Wedding Feast have almost identical interpretations. God the King sends the servants of God the Prophets to call the people of God to call His people to come to a feast for His Son (Matthew 22:2-3). The servants go first to choose those who once told the king they would be at the party.
Two invitations went forth for parties in the ancient Near East. The first one did not list the time and place of the event but demanded a response of, “Yes, I am coming” or “I can’t make it.” A second invitation for the event finalized the day and hour of the event. At Sinai, the Almighty invited the Israelites to His banquet, which was the first invite. They then accepted without knowing when the banquet would be (Exodus 24:1-11). When God sent the Prophets to announce the Day of the Lord and the messianic feast, which was the second invitation, many Israelites turned down the party invitation (Luke 19:41-44).
The Parable of the Tenants helps Christians to be ready for the Kingdom of God and not be ill-prepared (Matthew 22:4-8). The Lord calls on those who are outside of Christ to receive the invitation to be a part of His covenant family. These foreigners to the family of God join the ranks of the people of God who believe upon Christ and who follow Him and will be at the Lord’s marriage feast (Revelation 19:6-10).
In Luke 12:48, Jesus says, “everyone to whom much was given, of him, much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” It seems counterintuitive at first, but the more we have been blessed with, the worse off it will be for rejecting our God’s gracious invitation to come to Christ. Even for Christians, we need to ensure, and we are not squandering the good gifts He has given by ensuring our time and talents are put to work for the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus.
Dave Jenkins is the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and the Host of the Equipping You in Grace Podcast. He received his MAR and M.Div. through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter at @davejjenkins, find him on Facebook at Dave Jenkins SOG, Instagram, or read more of his writing at Servants of Grace, or sign up for his email newsletter. When Dave isn’t busy with ministry, he loves spending time with his wife, Sarah, reading the latest from Christian publishers, the Reformers, and the Puritans, playing golf, watching movies, sports, and spending time with his family.