The Book of Revelation gives many wondrous glimpses into the future. It is full of images that chill and terrify, as well as uplift and give great hope to those who put their faith in Jesus Christ.
The Apostle John wrote down everything shown to him through visions while he lived in exile on the island of Patmos. One of those visions was of the greatest wedding feast to ever occur, known as the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. In attendance are countless multitudes from every corner of the world, and the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus. After being shown this prophecy, John was told what it was.
“And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God’” (Revelation 19:9). This feast will take place when all of the church, often compared to a bride, has been taken up to Heaven, with everyone united with their Savior, the bridegroom.
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What Is the Wedding Supper of the Lamb?
Like many verses, images, and chapters dealing with prophecy, the future, and the events to take place when this world ends, understanding the significance of the marriage supper can be difficult. Sometimes it requires studying and cross-referencing other books of the Bible.
In the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and severed the relationship between humanity and God. The sin meant unholy individuals could not stand before their holy God without atoning for their sins. By faith, many through the centuries came to have a relationship with their Lord, and after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, man had direct access to God and no longer needed to sacrifice to atone for their sins, just sincere repentance. Those who love the Lord want to be reunited with Him.
The wedding supper, or marriage supper depending on the translation, is the celebration that will occur sometime during the end of days, when those who will spend eternity in Heaven celebrate being united with Jesus forever. The believers are symbolized by the bride and Jesus is the bridegroom. After centuries, all of heaven will celebrate Jesus and everyone He died to save being together and His rightful reign over all the earth. It is a moment of excitement, one that even the Lord Jesus is looking forward to, as many religious scholars believe that it is this event referred to when Jesus said, “I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom” (Matthew 26:29).
The Lord’s Supper is believed to serve the dual purpose of remembering Jesus’ sacrifice, as well as looking toward this event.
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What Is the Context of Revelation 19?
The description of the great wedding feast comes towards the end of a series of visions given to the Apostle John about the Last Days.
The evil city of Babylon rose to prominence during the Tribulation period, as documented in previous chapters, and in chapter 18, it finally succumbs to rightful judgment while everyone who loved, profited from, and worshipped Babylon mourns. An angel declares, “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence and will be found no more...and all nations were deceived by your sorcery. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on earth” (Revelation 18:21b, 23b-24).
Chapter 19 picks up with the reaction in heaven, rejoicing and praising God because of His goodness, righteousness, and the collapse of evil. The next vision is that of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
John sees, all the saints, the souls residing in Heaven saying:
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” (Revelation 19:6b-8a).
Following the invitation of the saints to the marriage supper, John moves onto the next vision, of Jesus Christ - the bridegroom - riding on a white horse coming to assert his dominion, finally defeat his enemies the beast and the false prophet, and begin what is known as the millennial reign. This period of time covers a thousand years, where Jesus will reign as king on earth for 1000 years, while the devil is bound and unable to deceive; it is discussed in chapter 20.
Though theologians debate when the marriage supper will take place in the timeline of events, they generally agree of its significance as one of the key moments in God’s plan. It is a celebration of faith made sight, reunions, and fulfilled promises.
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Why a Wedding Feast?
Throughout the New Testament, the joy of the believer being united with their Savior forever is compared to the joy of a bride and bridegroom celebrating starting their new life together. It is a lasting union meant to be a source of joy as those in the relationship grow closer to one another.
The Jewish tradition of betrothal and marriage, as well as the modern one, foreshadows this future feast. Historically, a young man became betrothed through contract to a young lady, which today is similar to an engagement period. When individuals get saved, they join the church, and are metaphorically betrothed to Christ. A year after the betrothal, the bridegroom returned for the official ceremony and took his bride into his home, like today’s wedding ceremony.
One day Jesus will return for his church, call them to him, and take them to His home. Just like today there is a reception party. Jewish custom had a large celebration, which will be fulfilled at this prophesied feast. After the Marriage Supper, the church will have an eternity with God.
The primary verses that use the illustration of the bride and bridegroom are:
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-57).
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3).
The parable of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25:1-13).
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Why Is This Important for Us Today?
There are many details about the last days that are a mystery, hidden from view. God provided the general outline so sinners can repent before it is too late, and believers have a glimpse of their future with Him. When times are tough for believers, knowing that God will keep His promises and some of the wondrous events to come can be encouraging. The further away from the resurrection in time it is, the closer to the fulfillment of the prophecies of Revelation humanity is.
For those who do not know if they are invited to attend the marriage supper, there is time to go to Jesus, repent, and have faith, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Hebrew 11:1-3). God wants everyone at that celebration, and is calling those who do not know Him yet to take that step and accept His invitation.
Couch, Mal. A Bible Handbook to Revelation. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2001.
Jeremiah, David. When Christ Appears An Inspiration Experience Through Revelation. Worthy Publishing, 2018.
Walvoord, John F. The Millennial Kingdom. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1959.
Wilmington, H.L. Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1981.
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Bethany Verrett is a freelance writer and editor. She maintains a faith and lifestyle blog graceandgrowing.com, where she muses about the Lord, life, culture, and ministry.