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Article



The Marriage Supper of the Lamb


NOTE: This article was originally given as a Communion sermon.
The content has been edited for publishing.


Opening Scriptures


Matthew 26:16, 22-26

16 Now when the evening was come, he sat down with the twelve…
...skipping down to verse 22...
22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and brake it, and blessed it, and gave to his disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is in remembrance of my body which I give a ransom for you.
23 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it.
24 For this is in remembrance of my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for as many as shall believe on my name, for the remission of their sins.
25 And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall observe to do the things which ye have seen me do, and bear record of me even unto the end.
26 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall come and drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.


A while ago, as I was studying, it struck me as odd that there was a difference between the way the Lord administered the sacrament to his disciples and the way that we have been commanded to observe it. When He instituted it, they sat and ate together as a meal, and it is my understanding that in the first centuries this is how the Communion was observed, seated together at a table, with the bread and wine blessed and served while eating. However, in the restoration of the church, the commandment has been given from…


Doctrine and Covenants 17:22a-c

22a It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord Jesus;
22b and the elder or priest shall administer it; and after this manner shall he administer it:
22c He shall kneel with the church and call upon the Father in solemn prayer, saying, …

We are called to kneel before the table, rather than sit together at the table and eat of the bread and wine, and I have pondered for a while why this is the case. This hour I ask you to ponder this question during the message…


Sermon


When I last spoke, it was on the language the scriptures and Jesus used which paralleled the betrothal portion of the ancient Hebrew model of marriage. Briefly, the Lord throughout the scriptures compares the relationship between himself and Israel to becoming married to them.


An example of this language is in:

Isaiah 62:5

5 For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy God marry thee; and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

Some of the actions the Lord has taken which compare to betrothal are:


It is important to note that, in effect, upon the acceptance of the cup of offering, they were fully married. The bride was consecrated, or set aside, for him. She took a ritual bath, called a Mikvah, which compares to baptism. Her new groom gave her a new gown and a veil, which veil she wore publicly to show she was betrothed. This marriage could only be dissolved by a writing of divorce and that done only if she had been found unfaithful to her groom while he was away.


A Child's Question


A few months ago a child ask a question: Where did Jesus go after he died? I thought about it and came up with three scriptures which answered it as simply as possible.


The first verse was Psalm 110:1

1 The Lord said unto my lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

The second verse was John 14:1-4

1 Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And when I go, I will prepare a place for you, and come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, ye may be also.

And the third verse was 1st Thessalonians 4:15-17

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that they who are alive at the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them who remain unto the coming of the Lord, who are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first;
17 Then they who are alive, shall be caught up together into the clouds with them who remain, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we be ever with the Lord.

With these three verses I explained that Jesus has gone into heaven to sit at the right hand of the God to take his place, that while he is there, he is preparing a place for us to go to and live and that one day he will return to the earth and bring us into his Kingdom.

That’s the short answer. That’s the good news. That’s the gospel of the Kingdom…


The Ancient Hebrew Wedding Ceremony


I have briefly summarized the betrothal portion of the Hebrew marriage ceremony. Today I continue with the groom coming to carry his bride away to the house of his father, to consummate their union, and celebrate their marriage. An understanding of the process of the Hebrew marriage ceremony gives insight into the order in which events will occur when Jesus returns.

During the time that the groom was away, the bride was not left to just wait for his return. She was expected to prepare herself for him at his return. The bride had been given a copy of the Ketubah, that which set the expectations, and warrantied the promises of the groom.


The Young Ruler


In Matthew 19:16-19, Mark 10:15-17 and Luke 18:18-20 a young ruler approached Jesus.


And reading in
Mark 10:15-17

15 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeling to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
16 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? None is good but one, that is God.
17 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery; Do not kill; Do not steal; Do not bear false witness; Defraud not; Honor thy father and mother.

Jesus first answer was to affirm the commandments, then he elucidates five of the ten commandments that had been given at mount Sinai. As noted before, in a national sense, this is where the Lord God had given his Ketubah, his listing of expectations of, and promises to, the whole Hebrew nation. This gave the basic outline of the behavior the Lord God would expect from his bride when he came to take a bride from out of the nation to himself. But these were the basic expectations of any bride, she would have been taught and practiced them from her youth, and indeed, this is how the young ruler answered


Continuing in
Mark 10:18-20

18 And the man answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
19 Then Jesus beholding him, loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest;
20 Go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

A betrothed woman who is to become a wife needs to learn the ways of being a good wife from her parents. She needs to learn that which she lacks, and develop the necessary skills to become an help-meet, someone suited to the particular needs of her future husband.


The Holy Spirit, the Gift, the Line of Communication


As he departed from his bride, the groom would leave gifts, something for the bride to remember him by as he left to prepare their future home. These include the gown, the veil and, as the were married and he was now responsible for her, resources to provide for her while he was away. And we find that, after his resurrection, Jesus gave gifts when he went to sit at the right hand of God.


And we find in
1st Corinthians 12:4, 7-11

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
...and skipping down to verse 7…
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues;
11 But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

A waiting bride was not just abandoned and left without a line of communication between herself and her groom. The groomsman would carry messages between the two. Through these communications she could learn more of her future husband while he was away. Similarly, before Jesus departed, he left a means of communication.


Acts 1:4-11

4 And, being with them when they were assembled together, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
10
And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.


And in fulfillment of that promise, we see in:
Acts 2:1-3

1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it rested upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

As the groom had left gifts, Jesus gave the gifts of the Spirit; and as the groomsman carried messages between the bride and groom, the Holy Ghost, through prayer, is the means of communication between us and God, and it will lead us beyond the basic expectations of the law, toward a greater understanding of his needs, into a closer reflection of himself, and into a more intimate relationship with him.


Reading from:
2nd Corinthians 6:16 - 7:1
beginning in the middle of the verse...

16 ...for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
2nd Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

And again from:
1st John 3:1-3

1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

The time the bride had was to be used to prepare herself for him, as the groom was preparing a place for her. Traditionally, the time he was away was about a year. As the time for his return was nearing, the groomsman would communicate this to the bride, so she would know when to expect his return, and could make the final preparations in expectation of being carried away to the groom’s house for the nuptials.


The Expected Time


Jesus was questioned about the time of his return before he departed, in the testimonies of Matthew 24:4; Mark 13:7 and Luke 21:7...


and reading from
Matthew 24:4

4 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be which thou hast said concerning the destruction of the temple, and the Jews; and what is the sign of thy coming; and of the end of the world?...

Jesus relayed a series of events that would precede his coming that thereby his disciples could know when his coming was near.


Reading the abbreviated version from
Luke 21:25

25 And he answered them, and said, In the generation in which the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity, like the sea and the waves roaring. The earth also shall be troubled, and the waters of the great deep;

Jesus expects his disciples to know the time of his coming is drawing near as shown in Matthew 24:41-42; Mark 13:45-46 and Luke 21:29-30


And reading from:
Mark 13:45-46

45 Now learn a parable of the fig tree. When his branches are yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh at hand.
46 So likewise, mine elect, when they shall see all these things, they shall know that he is near, even at the doors.


The Coming of the Groom


As that time approached, the bride and her bridesmaids, and she was allowed to have up to ten, began to make final preparations for his coming. They needed to have all of the items necessary to make the journey to the groom’s home ready. They would be dressed for the marriage, they would have lamps to light their way, have oil in them and more with them to maintain light throughout the night. If the groom was delayed, they needed to have enough oil in reserve. The groom would usually come around midnight, but not knowing the night he was coming, much less the exact time, she and her bridesmaids had to be on standby, expectantly waiting the signal of his coming...


This should sound pretty familiar to you…
Reading from
Matthew 25:1-4

1 And then, at the day, before the Son of Man comes, the kingdom of heaven shall be likened unto ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five of them were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them; but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
4 While the bridegroom tarried they all slumbered and slept.


The Preparation of the Groom


Now, as for the groom, he had himself been very busy. He was expected to build a room onto his father’s house for the new couple to begin their new life. The room would include all of the necessities for staying a full week so that he could take the time to get to know his new bride without any distractions. This room would be their apartment during the celebration. He also had to have built up the resources to allow him to be with his wife an entire year without working. In fact, this was the law as seen in


Deuteronomy 24:5

5 When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business; but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.

So in those days, the wives got the undivided attention of their new husband for the entire first year so they could grow to love him. As I have spoken of previously, he was guided by the counsel of his father about how to properly make provision for the new life with his bride and he was not allowed to go and get his bride until his father was satisfied that every... last... detail... was perfectamundo!
(That's a bit of spanish lingo for "perfect world")

A marriage is a joyous occasion, and in Hebrew society it was not considered to be just the joining of the bride and groom into a new family, but the joining of two whole families into one. The family of the groom would make the preparations for a feast for all of the invited guests. For families of great means, these feasts could last up to a week. All of the food, the wine and even the garments for the guests would be provided. Marriages were generally held in the fall, just after the harvests, when food was plenteous. All of this added up to a great deal of preparations, and it was not until everything was ready that the groom was given permission by the father to go and get his bride.

As a side note, there were two marriage announcements made by the groom’s family. The first announcement was for the betrothal of the bride and groom which would include an invitation to the wedding feast and required an R.S.V.P., a response of willingness to attend. Without an active response from the invited guest, it was assumed they would not be attending, no preparations would made for them, and if they tried to crash the party, they would be most unwelcome. The second announcement was to inform the guests when and where the wedding feast would begin. We see this second invitation being given in a parable of the marriage supper.


Matthew 22:2-3

2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, who made a marriage for his son.
3 And when the marriage was ready, he sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding;...


The Coming of the Groom


When all the preparations were complete by the groom’s family, and the father had given his approval, the son was sent to go and bring his bride home. The groom would take two groomsmen, his wedding party and, dressed in kingly garb, complete with a crown, he would be carried in an Emperion, a carriage borne by poles on the shoulders of four men, to the house of his bride in a nighttime parade. They would make a great show of going to her house. As they went the groomsmen would go ahead of the parade, blowing the Shofar, a trumpet made of a ram’s horn, and the they would shout, announcing the groom’s coming.


We see this described in the parable of the ten virgins.
Matthew 25:5-6

5 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
6 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

The bride, dressed in her queenly gown, was crowned and lifted into the Emperion with the groom. Then the bridesmaids, the groomsmen and the rest of the wedding party would make great fanfare and carry them away to the his father’s house where the wedding ceremony would take place. Remember that last verse I read to the child? This is where we see the fulfillment of Jesus coming to get his bride...


Again reading from:
1st Thessalonians 4:16-17

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first;
17 Then they who are alive, shall be caught up together into the clouds with them who remain, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we be ever with the Lord.


The Wedding Ceremony


The bride and the groom would alight from the Emperion, go into the father’s house, and when the whole wedding party was in the house, the doors would be locked so there would be no wedding crashers. This was, after all, an exclusive, invitation only event.


We see the likeness of this in the parable of the ten virgins
Matthew 25:9-12

9 And while they went to buy, (speaking of the foolish virgins) the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut.

The bride and groom would have the wedding under a Hoopa, an arbor or gazebo like structure which covered the bride and groom during the ceremony. This is it’s own likeness, but that is for another time.

Remember the promise the groom had given to the bride before he left, the same promise Jesus gave to his disciples at the last supper?


Matthew 26:26

26 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall come and drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

During the wedding, the couple would exchange their vows and finally, they would drink again from a shared cup of wine. After the wedding ceremony, the new couple would go into the bridal chamber and consummate their union. The door of the chamber would be locked and the bridegroom would stand guard outside. It was his responsibility to see they were not disturbed and to receive the proof of virginity. The groom and his wife would then become intimately acquainted in the room he had prepared.


We see Paul’s allusion to this in...
1st Corinthians 13:12

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

While the groom and his wife got to know each other, the family would finish preparations for the marriage feast. The invitations had been sent out and the guests were gathered together. After the bride had become his wife, then the groom would come out of the wedding chamber, call his wife up before the invited guests, and the wedding celebration could commence.


We see the likeness of this in
Revelation 19:5-9

5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his saints, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7 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.
8 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.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are thy which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Why we Kneel


I began by asking you to consider why we are required to kneel for the sacrament. Let me read the again from my opening scripture:


Matthew 26:22-26


22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and brake it, and blessed it, and gave to his disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is in remembrance of my body which I give a ransom for you.
23 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it.
24 For this is in remembrance of my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for as many as shall believe on my name, for the remission of their sins.
25 And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall observe to do the things which ye have seen me do, and bear record of me even unto the end.
26 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall come and drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.


The commandments to eat bread and drink wine in remembrance are immediately followed by he promise that he will “drink it new with you in my Fathers’ kingdom.” The commandments to eat and drink mean that, to kneel before this table and partake, is to look back and remember his sacrifice. The promise he gave, that takes the wine and makes it look forward to his return.


The Warning


The parables that have been quoted from, which you should recall the rest of, are all cautionary tales. In the parable of the Ten Virgins, the unwise virgins were unable to enter because they they did not have enough oil for their lamps, were consequently late, and were locked out. In the parables of the Great Supper, various guests were either unwilling to attend the feast, giving rather poor excuses for the other things they had to do, or attended, but were found without the wedding garment and unceremoniously tossed out. These were all expected to know the time of the marriage feast and be prepared for it, because they had accepted the first invitation.

Of the ones who refused, remember, it was a king who made the invitation. It was a king who offered the gift of a wedding garment. One does not wisely refuse the invitation, or the gift, of a king, lest he displease him and suffer his wrath.


And of these Paul said in...

Romans 14:10-12
beginning in the middle of verse 10

10...for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11 For I live, saith the Lord, as it is written. And every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall swear to God.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Paul is actually paraphrasing the prophecy of
Isaiah 45:23-24

23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
24 Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength; even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

But as we see from the parables, even those who are able to enter into the marriage supper are tested, for one was found not wearing the wedding garment, which was offered to him freely, and he was thrown into outer darkness. Some of the virgins, who were to be in the bridal party, when the time came, were not prepared, and not allowed to enter.


Let me read again from Revelation, speaking of those who did enter into the marriage supper, focusing on the last three verses:


Revelation 19:7-9

7 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.
8 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.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.


Notice a difference? They all were honored in being called to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb, but there is a separation. The wife is arrayed in righteousness, and while the guests are called blessed, they do not have the righteousness of the bride. It may seem a fine distinction, but I think it is an important one to point out. Understanding the traditions of Hebrew marriage we see there are more differences between the bride and the guests:



So what separated the bride from the guests? She was the one who had...



But even then, when it came time to be with her husband, she had to pass the test of virginity…


The Testing of Virginity


In ancient Hebrew society, a daughter was a valuable member of the family who submitted her will to the will of her father. In return, she was provided for and jealously protected. When she became a wife, she moved her submission from her father to her husband, taking his name and choosing to submit her will to his, and in this model of marriage, doing it without really knowing who he is. Her will became to fulfill his will. Her husband chooses her, and in his ardor for her, willingly assumes the responsibility to provide for her and jealously protect her as his, so that he may become one with her.


As we see in

Genesis 2:29-30

29 And Adam said, This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.
30 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.

Part of that bargain is the assurance that she has not “become one” with anyone else. The waiting for a year while he was away was the test of whether she could endure temptation. Her virginity is invaluable because it is the token of having faithfully kept her chastity and not having stepped out from under her father’s will to do her own. It is for this reason in Genesis 34, when Dinah is defiled by prince Shechem, her brothers deceive and slaughter the whole town. Her virginity, her honor, was that valuable to them.

Women are the rich treasure of men, who teach by example what submission looks like because it is a part of their nature and calling. It is we men who need to learn, from their example, the lesson of submission to God’s will, as they submit to our will. Virginity is the sign of faithful devotion, and if a bride did not pass it, she could be taken out of the bridal chamber and stoned to death.

In Exodus 20:5 The Lord God says in as many words “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God:” and in verse 7 he says “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” With these two statements God expects us to show that sign of faithful devotion to him only, no matter what circumstances are presented that we may think justify coming out from under his will, and thereby his protection, and do our own will against his commandments

This principle is first shown in Genesis 3:11-31, in the garden of Eden when Adam chose, for his love of Eve, to exercise his own will in express disobedience of Gods commandment and partake of the fruit. His love did not justify his disobedience, and consequently, they were summarily tossed out of the garden.

However it is fair to point out that living within God’s will in a world ruled by Satan is living between a rock and a hard place. Those throughout history who have understood the principle of staying within the will of the Lord God have been, at times, horribly persecuted as we see in the 11th chapter of Romans, the hall of great faith


Beginning at verse 36
Romans 11:36 – Romans 12:4

36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment;
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 Of whom the world was not worthy; they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promises;
40 God having provided some better things for them through their sufferings, for without sufferings they could not be made perfect.
Romans 12:1 Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

This “resisting unto blood” is not shedding the blood of others, it is a willingness to follow the will of the Lord even if it necessitates having your own blood shed. We are called to a life of self-sacrifice. We may never be required to have our blood shed, but in our devotion, we must be willing to. Do this and the Lord promises to recompense for whatever hardship we have suffered.


Zechariah 9:12

12 Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee;

A bride has endured unto the end, She is rewarded with becoming one with her husband. The guests are invited, and are valuable and honored in their invitation. Theirs is to joy in the celebration, and all of the necessities to enjoy that celebration are given to them. But after the celebration, they have to go home and provide for themselves. They have not endured the testing necessary to become the wife. Her part is to be provided for, by him, forever.


Closing


A bride is someone who has chosen to sacrifice herself for her husband. To be called a wife requires a greater level of dedication, humility and sacrifice. She is entrusted with the heart of her husband, of providing that which he needs, of seeing those needs and whole-heartedly fulfilling them of her own will. She is called to do many good works. In return she is protected and provided for. In that she finds the security which frees her to feel safe in whatever she does within his will. Our Lord wants to do the same for us in the Kingdom. In return for our obedience and wholehearted faithfulness, our Lord has great things prepared for us as we read from one of Paul’s letters in…


1st Corinthians 2:9

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.


Which, again, is a paraphrase of

Isaiah 64:4-5

4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, besides thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
5 Thou meetest him that worketh righteousness, and rejoiceth him that remembereth thee in thy ways; in righteousness there is continuance, and such shall be saved.


In order to gain these things, we need to be prepared to be entrusted with great responsibilities. To do that, we need to overcome, we need to become perfect, even as he is perfect. We need to become a better bride.

And, no, the irony of standing here as a man, speaking of becoming a better bride, has not been lost on me.

And no, I am not in the least abridging the fact that we have “all sinned and come short of the glory of God” and require his grace to gain entrance into the Kingdom. But I’m not talking about being able to enter into the Kingdom. I’m talking about our reward if we, through his grace, are able to enter in.


The First Question


I have not forgotten the first question. We have partaken of the bread, which is a representation of the sacrifice of his body our Lord has given for us, The invaluable bride price he paid, of his own life, to show his love for his bride, that he might win her love, remit all of her debts, clothe her in righteousness, and bring her to himself to live in intimacy, knowing each other as they are known, face to face.

We drank of the wine, which is a representation of the blood he spilled from seven places for us, the cup of remembrance, by which we remember his sacrifice, and the cup of acceptance, from which we partook to accept the offer to be married to him. By partaking of that cup we have agreed to be consecrated to him, to be set apart from the world, and to keep ourselves set apart and prepared to be with him until that glorious day when he returns, to catch up his bride to himself, and gather his honorable, invited guests to the great marriage supper of the lamb.

Our Lord, our God, our Savior, to whom all glory and honour belong, is returning to Earth, and in that great and fearful day, as we have read from Romans 14 and Isaiah 45, all will bow, and when his great majesty is shown, they will come to themselves and realize the fearful situation they have chosen to be in. They will bow and weep in sorrow, wail in mourning, and grind their teeth in disappointment of the position they find themselves in, having exercised their own will, and thereby reaping the curses that come from it, when they could have been of doing his will and receiving the blessings that flow from it. But we will not be forced to bow because we have seen the truth, we have accepted our place as his creation and the necessity of doing his will above our own, and will kneel before him of our own free will.

On the other hand, we are not as Jesus disciples, whom Jesus personally chose, mentored and called friends, who thought it not unusual to sit and break bread with their Master. Who served their entire lives and died giving testimony of him. They were faithful, they were overcomers. They were promised to sit on twelve thrones and judge the tribes of Israel. We are… in between…


In Finale'


First, let’s get a couple of things straight...

We do not kneel to the bread and wine, for that would be idolatry.

We do not kneel to the speaker, for he kneels also.

We kneel in expectation of that day when it will not be a priest or elder saying “O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy son Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify…,” but it will be Jesus Christ himself before us, at the head table, blessing and sanctifying the bread and wine.

We kneel in faith that we, according to his gracious promises, having kept his commandments, will be called to life in the first resurrection, to be gathered to him as honorable guests, to sit at His banquet and see him eating of the bread, and drinking of the cup anew, with us, at His marriage, in His Kingdom.

We kneel in hope that, as we have, sacrificed our lives as he did, loving him with our whole heart, might, mind and strength and enduring to the end of our lives, will be like him... face to face... knowing him as we are known of him... sharing the cup with him… counted as his wife.

And Oh, what joy and celebration will there be on that day, when he will have established Zion... caught up His bride... vanquished His enemies... rescued Jerusalem... given honor to His guests... and called forth his bride to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.


Originally given November 1, 2020



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Disclaimer: The basis for word definitions come from the King James Version of the Bible and Strong's Concordance. There are many differences between the King James Version and the Inspired Version. Because much of the work of linking is done automatically, there may be words that have been defined which cannot be compared to the King James. As work continues, these errors will be corrected.