What is the Marriage of the Lamb Mentioned in Revelation 19:7-9?

Manfred E. Kober, Th.D.

This event in Revelation 19 involves Christ and believers just prior to the second advent of Christ. The event is introduced with the exhortation, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready” (V. 7).

1. The Identity of the Bride.

The encouragement to rejoice involves the fact that God the Father has prepared a bride for His Son. The Lamb is undoubtedly the Lord Jesus Christ, who frequently refers to Himself as a bridegroom (Mt. 9:15: 22:2-14: Lk. 5:34-35 et al.). The bride of the Lamb is evidently the church (v. 9: 3:20: 21:2, 9:22:17) which was joined to Christ at the time of the rapture, prior to the tribulation period. It is true that in the Old Testament God refers to Himself as Israel’s husband (Is.54:6; 62:5; Ez. 16:7-14 et al.). However, Israel is almost always pictured as the unfaithful wife of Jehovah rather than a chaste bride.

2. The Stages of a Jewish Wedding.

The time and place of the marriage can be clarified by comparing the ceremony with marriage customs in ancient Israel. Its ceremony involved three major events.

First, the parents chose a bride for the groom. This takes place during the church age, as the Holy Spirit selects believers through redemption who comprise the bride of Christ.

Second, when the time for marriage had come, the groom, joined by his friends, would go to the home of the bride and escort her to his home. This event will occur when Christ comes to take His bride to heaven at the time of the rapture. He is presently preparing the brides eternal home.

Third, the groom prepared a feast for his bride and his friends lasting for one week.

3. The Time of the Wedding.

When will this wedding feast take place?

Students of the Bible have suggested a variety of times. It will take place in heaven prior to the Second Advent or on earth soon after the return of the Lord, or throughout the millennium, or beginning with the millennium and continuing throughout eternity. Dr. Walvoord seems to express the majority view when he observes that “the normal presumption would be that the supper would take place on earth in connection with the second coming to earth itself” (The Revelation of Jesus Christ, 270). The friends of the bridegroom (John 3:29) would include the redeemed of all the ages: Old Testament saints, tribulation martyrs and the redeemed of the tribulation survived this period alive.

It has been suggested that the feast, lasting 45 days, will begin after the judgments at the Second Advent, lasting 30 days, mentioned by Daniel in 12:11-12. Apparently 75 days after the Second Advent the millennial kingdom will begin to function (see Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, notes in loc.).

4. Celebrations in the Millennium.

Even if the marriage feast takes place in heaven, there will be another festive meal on earth, promised by the Savior to His disciples, when He said that He would drink of the fruit of the vine with them again in the kingdom (Mt. 26:29; Lk. 22:18). A third feast is predicted, involving the whole world, set in Israel, in connection with the enthronement of Jesus the Messiah on the throne of David (Isa. 25:6).

5. The Significance of the Celebration.

In Revelation 19:7 stage two of the wedding ceremony is mentioned or the wedding proper. Whatever that official ceremony might involve, it is clear that the church as the bride of Christ is officially and eternally joined to the bridegroom. From that time point on, where Christ is, the bride will be; what Christ is doing, His bride will be doing.

6. The Adornment of the Bride.

Verses 7-8 indicate that the bride has prepared herself for stage three, the wedding feast. When the believer is in the presence of God, the perfecting process is complete, so that He can present her as “a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:2). The glorious truth is that the bride, despite her earthly failings and frailty, will be presented to Christ “without spot, wrinkle, or blemish” (Eph. 5:27).

In Revelation 19:8 John sees the bride as adorned in “clean and white” fine linen. The “clean” suggest purity, while the “white” or “bright” refers to divine glory. The fine linen garments represent the righteous deeds of the saints, rather than their positional standing before God. These good works, made possible by God’s grace as part of salvation (Eph. 2:20) and lowing from a righteous character, survived the judgment seat of Christ (Rev. 14:13). The bride’s appropriate apparel contrasts with the harlot’s gaudy garments (17:4; 18:16).

7. The Focus at the Wedding.

While on earth there is a time a tribulation, the saints in heaven will enjoy a time of celebration. The bride has just received rewards for her faithfulness at the bema. The words of commendation spoken to her by her bridegroom are still ringing in her ears (1 Cor. 4:5). Resplendent in God’s reflected glory she joins the Bridegroom. However, he, not she, is the cynosure of the ceremony. It is the marriage of the Lamb. Dr. Ryrie correctly observes, “If there were a musical processional in this wedding it would not “Here Comes the Bride,” but “Here Comes the Bridegroom!” (Revelation, New Edition, 128).

In fact, when the Apostle John witnesses this extraordinary scene and the magnificence of Christ, he falls at Christ’s feet to worship Him (19:10). He alone is worthy and thus the beloved song will prove undoubtedly true, “The Bride eyes not her garment, but her dear Bridegroom’s face.”

© Manfred E Kober

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