Read John 14:1-4
Q: How is this related to our reading in Revelation 19?
A: The marriage supper of the Lamb is the ending—the fulfillment of what was originally begun—established here. The disciples to whom Jesus was originally speaking and the 1st century Jewish believers who first read John’s Gospel would have all understood that Jesus was clearly speaking as the Bridegroom to His Bride.
Q: How did a Jewish marriage take place at this time?
A: In three distinct stages: (1) The betrothal (engagement), (2) the marriage feast/nuptials, and (3) the consummation.
Q: How did this marriage process begin?
A: With a contract. From this point on they were legally considered as married even though it would still require completion of all three stages.
Q: During the first stage of betrothal, after the contract was established, what did the bridegroom do?
A: He went away to his father’s house. Property was handed down in each family through the sons, so the bridegroom would go and prepare an addition to his father’s property for his wife and family to live.
Q: How long was the bridegroom away?
A: Until his father gave his approval that the work was complete. (Hint: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” – Mt. 24:36) The bride did not know the exact day or hour the bridegroom would return but only knew the general time as it drew near. (Hint: “…so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.” – Mt. 24:33)
Q: When did the bridegroom usually make his surprise return?
A: In the night because when living in desert conditions, it is much more desirable to travel during the night than the day. Scripture repeatedly speaks of the Bridegroom coming at night as in the Song of Solomon, the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Mt. 25:1-13), or simply that He will come “as a thief in the night”. (Mt. 24:43; 1 Th. 5:2; 2 Pe. 3:10; Rev. 16:15)
Q: What happens when the Bridegroom returns?
A: Very quickly the invitations go out for the wedding feast, the second stage of the process.
Point: Jesus’ promise in John 14:1-4 works in exactly this way:
- We are already under contract with Him, what we call the “New Covenant”.
- He has gone to prepare a place for us in His Father’s house and He will return when the Father determines.
- We will not know the day or the hour, but as Jesus said we will recognize the time is near so that we can not only anticipate it but be ready for it.
Q: What does the bride do in the mean time until the bridegroom returns?
A: She remains faithful to him, doing the necessary things in preparation for his return. (Hint: “…His bride has made herself ready” and to clothed “in fine linen” which are “the righteous acts of the saints”. –Rev. 19:7-9)
Application: The marriage supper of the Lamb is the fulfillment in heaven of what began with our relationship with Christ first initiated on earth.
- Stage One: The betrothal
- Stage Two: The marriage feast
- Stage Three: The consummation