The Marriage of the Lamb
Many Bible believers have difficulties in understanding the 'Mystery of the Marriage of the Lamb' when they study three particular passages in the Bible regarding the subject.
The most common passage is Revelation 19:9. This verse has been interpreted by some theologians as an invitation which is extended to a group of guests who are not members of the Bride. They state that the Son of God and His Bride will only marry upon their return to earth after the Great Tribulation and that this group of guests will be invited to feast at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
They would use Matthew 22:1-14 and 25:1-13, which are the parables of the marriage feast and the ten virgins respectively, to support their interpretation. They would point to the king's son, the bride (implied in the parable) and the guests in the former parable. They also believe that the ten virgins, who are maids in attendance to the bride, are yet another group of people in the wedding.
The error arises from their wrong interpretation of the texts. Read Revelation 19:6-9 carefully and note that John the Beloved, who was caught up in the spirit, saw many wonderful visions. Among other things, he also heard a great voice thundering forth, saying,
Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Then, after that announcement, the angel who accompanied John admonished him to record the following invitation:
Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.
The two announcements must be treated separately and viewed in their proper contexts. Those who are called to the marriage supper are blessed people. They are the same group (the Gentiles) who accepted the invitation to the marriage feast after the original group (the Jews who were first bidden) rejected it, according to Matthew 22:1-14. And we know that Matthew 22:1-14 is a parable. A Biblical parable is a narrative used to present a certain truth. To understand it correctly, it must be interpreted within the framework of its specific theme. Hence, in reading the parable of Matthew 22:1-14, we notice that the theme is about THE KING who prepared a marriage feast for his son. It is not about his son or the bride. Just as the saints of God are allegorically described as 'lively stones' or as 'different members of a body', they are likewise described as the 'guests' in this parable.
When we recognize the use of allegories throughout the Scriptures, we can then understand that the saints, who collectively form the One True Church, are called the Bride of Christ. And when we describe the saints as the Bride of Christ, they are no longer the Guests. Why? The reason is obvious. The Bride relates to the Bride-groom, whereas the Guests relate to the Marriage Feast.
By now, we should realize that, prophetically, the invitation of Revelation 19:9 is extended to a certain group of blessed guests at the Grand Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Notice that (in the parable of Matthew 22:1-14) a certain man at the Marriage Feast is thrown out into outer darkness because he does not have the proper Wedding Garment on. He is certainly not a blessed 'guest'.
Now, Revelation 19:6b-8 is an announcement that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will soon take place. Some may wonder why I use the term MARRIAGE SUPPER of the Lamb instead of MARRIAGE of the Lamb as printed in the KJV Bible. The Greek word is gamos. This word can be translated as 'a marriage, wedding or wedding feast'. [In certain Bible versions, it is translated as 'Marriage Supper' or 'Marriage Feast'.] However, the word wife (Grk: gune) points to the accomplished fact that the Beloved Bride (Grk: Numphe) has truly become the Lamb's wife (cf. Rev.21:2,9). There are two other statements which support this fact His Wife HATH MADE HERSELF READY and to her WAS GRANTED THAT SHE SHOULD BE ARRAYED IN FINE LINEN In ancient oriental wedding, the bride was presented as wife and queen only at the grand marriage supper and never before that. When a woman is betrothed to a man, she is only potentially his wife. She becomes his wife in fact only after the ceremony of the nuptial chamber.
The Ten Virgins in the parable of Matthew 25:1-13 are maids in attendance to the bride. They are called 'virgins' in the parable because, in the oriental wedding, the maidens in attendance were supposed to be unmarried and younger than the bride. They were usually chosen by the bride herself to be her companions during the wedding. At an appointed time, these maidens would go forth to greet and receive the bridegroom during his procession to the bride's home. They would guide the company of people to the place where the marriage and the feast were conducted. (In this parable, the marriage feast was spread by the bride's parents.) As it was usually conducted in the evening, lights were needed. Oil lamps were used in this parable although burning torches were more common.
Our Lord used this Virgin Maids to represent Spirit-born children of God. This parable shows their yearning to meet the Bridegroom and to usher Him to the Marriage where they will have a part at the banqueting table. They are 'pure' in their faith of Christ. They are the 'wheat' group in the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:24-30. According to the parable, there were five wise and five foolish virgins who went forth to meet the bridegroom. When the bridegroom was somehow delayed, they all fell into a slumber and slept (within church-ism) until a cry (the voice of the Seventh Church Age Messenger) woke them up at midnight (about the year 1956). Then they all began to trim the wicks of their lamps (their understanding or revelation of the Word). However, only the wise virgins, who had extra oil (Spirit) in their vessels, were able to meet the bridegroom and enter the banqueting hall where the marriage ceremony was conducted. Hence, the true saints of God are portrayed in the parable as Virgins in relation to their Saviour, the Virgin Word.