Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7 NIV)
Throughout the scriptures, the triumphal return of The Son of Man has been compared to that of a Jewish wedding of antiquity and is referred to as “The Wedding of the Lamb.”
In this article, we are going to examine the scriptures to determine the details surrounding The Son of Man’s second coming and to identify the individuals that are invited to witness His return.
A JEWISH WEDDING TODAY
Today, a Jewish wedding is steeped in tradition and can be divided into two stages. The kiddushin and the nissu’in.
The kiddushin is the first stage of the wedding process mandated by the Torah. It is a betrothal period which begins when the bridegroom (the chatan) signs the ketubah in front of two witnesses.
However, the couple don’t live together until the nissu’in ceremony. The kiddushin and the nissu’in can be a year apart, but is usually performed on the same day.
The participants of a Jewish wedding are comprised of:
- The bridegroom (the chatan)
- The bride (the kallah)
- The parents of the bride and bridegroom
- Two witnesses (halakhically valid)
- The bridesmaids (the bride’s girlfriends)
- The guest
These participants can be categorized into one of two groups.
GROUP 1 – THE WEDDING PARTY
For discussion purposes “the wedding party” is made up of the family members that sponsor and organize this festive event. These individuals are:
- The parents of the bride and groom
- The bridegroom
- The bride
“The wedding party” is also responsible for inviting “friends and acquaintances” to the wedding and its festivities.
GROUP 2 – THE INVITED ATTENDANTS
Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast. (Matthew 22:4 NASB)
For discussion purposes, “The invited attendants” are the “friends and acquaintances” that are invited by “the wedding party.” These “attendants” are:
- The two witnesses
- The bridesmaids
- The guest
To help us visually identify these different individuals, we are going to examine a painting by M. Strayamsky, which depicts a 19th century Jewish wedding in Eastern Europe.
We begin by identifying “the wedding party.”
Toward the center of the picture we see the bridegroom.
At the left center we see the bride.
To the brides right is her mother.
Directly in front of and confronting the bridegroom is the brides male parent.
Standing to his right and accompanying the bridegroom is his male parent.
Together, these are the family members that are responsible for organizing this event.
Next we will identify “the invited attendants.”
The bridesmaids are those which surround the bride.
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, Elohim with us. (Matthew 1:23 KJVm)
Note: The girl friends of a bride living in Israel during the first century weren’t called bridesmaids, rather (because of the strict oversight to maintain a young girls chastity) they were identified as virgins.
The two witnesses share the chuppah and are directly behind the bridegroom.
The rest of the people in this picture are the invited guest.
Likewise, the participants that will be involved in “the wedding of the Lamb” can also be categorized into the same six groups. We begin by addressing “the wedding party.” which are those responsible for inviting those the attendants and guest.
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. (Matthew 22:2 NASB)
“Our Father in heaven” is The Male Parent of “the Bridegroom.”
The Son of Man answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?……. (Matthew 9:15 NIV)
The Son of Man is “the Bridegroom.”
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from Elohim. (Revelation 21:9-10 KJVm)
According to John, The New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven is “the bride” of The Lamb.
The following verses are the invitations by “the wedding party”:
- THE FATHER – Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ (Matthew 22:9 NASB)
- THE BRIDEGROOM -But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ (Matthew 25:6 NASB)
- THE BRIDE – The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. (Revelation 22:17 NASB)
Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb”… Revelation 19:9 NASB)
Next we are going to identify “the invited attendants” to “the wedding of the Lamb.”
Note: It is important to understand that “the wedding of the Lamb” will take place at the time of the Son of Man’s “second coming.” And at that time believers will be classified in one of two ways:
Blessed and holy is he that is in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of Elohim and of The Lamb, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6 KJVm)
- Those that have died in their faith and will be in the first resurrection.
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36 KJV)
2. Those that are found worthy to escape the apocalypse and will be found alive “standing” with the Lamb at His return.
Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” The-Son-of-Man answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?… (Matthew 9:14-15 NIV)
According to scripture, the disciples are the invited “guests” of the bridegroom.
Blessed and set-apart is the one having part in the first resurrection. The second death possesses no authority over these, but they shall be priests of Elohim and of Messiah, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6 TS2009)
We know that the disciples have died and are awaiting the first resurrection. Therefore we can assume that “the guest” list includes all believers that await the first resurrection.
THE TWO WITNESSES
And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” (Revelation 11:3 NASB)
“The two witnesses” described in Revelation 11 will be the two witnesses in “the Wedding of the Lamb.”
When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. (Revelation 11:7 NASB)
Note: “The Two Witnesses” are killed at the end of the Great Tribulation.
And after three days and an half the spirit of life from Elohim entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. (Revelation 11:11 KJVm)
Three and a half days later “the Two” are raised from the dead during “the first resurrection.”
THE (VIRGIN) BRIDESMAIDS
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. (Matthew 25:10 NIV)
From the book of Matthew we see a group of virgins (in the role of ten bridesmaids) that are found waiting for the arrival of the Son of Man as “the Bridegroom.”
And while they (the foolish virgins) went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready (the five wise virgins) went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. (Matthew 25: 10 KJVm)
According to the parable, only five wise virgins are prepared to enter the marriage banquet.
THE 144,000 VIRGINS
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. (Revelation 14:1,4 KJVm)
The role of these five wise virgins is fulfilled by the 144,000, which are identified as “virgins.”
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1 KJVm)
These 144,000 are the only male believers found “standing” (on Mount Zion) with “the Lamb” at His return…
And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. (Revelation 14:3 KJV)
…which will be those “redeemed from the earth.”
The second coming of HaMoshiach has been compared to a Jewish wedding ceremony of antiquity and is referred to as “the wedding of the Lamb.”
The wedding party is made up of:
- The Father
- The Son – The Son of Man
- The Bride – The New Jerusalem
The invited attendees are:
- The Guest – Those in the first resurrection
- The Two Witnesses – Which are also in the first resurrection
- The Virgins – The 144,000 and the Daughters of Zion what those that will be alive to greet the Son of Man at His return