Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Wedding Feast

“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”      Revelation 19:7-9  NKJV

Like many of you, I have had the opportunity to attend a few weddings in my time as well as seeing two of my daughters walk down the aisle.  It follows then that over the years I have formed an opinion or two about what constitutes a good wedding.  While I have watched the inordinate amount of planning and angst that surrounds the efforts to present the perfect wedding ceremony, it occurs to me that my thoughts on the most important part of the whole day would probably not be shared by many or even most brides involved with the planning.  Why is that?  Well, in all honesty my favorite part of a wedding is not the ceremony but rather the food waiting in the reception hall.

Now it isn’t that I don’t appreciate the importance of the wedding vows, and making a public commitment before witnesses to love, honor, and forsake all others until death do you part.  In fact, as we all know the Bible holds marriage to be one of the most sacred and important commitments an individual can make.  Yet one thing I noticed when I began to study the elements of a Jewish Wedding many years ago was that even though the steps might be a little different than those we are familiar with, they do save the best for last just as we do with something they like to call the Wedding Feast. 

If you are not familiar with a Jewish Wedding, let me give you just a brief summary of the steps involved.  First of all the father pays for the bride and establishes the marriage covenant.  Second the son returns to his father’s house and prepares the bridal chamber.  Third at a time determined by the father, the groom fetches the bride to bring her to his father’s house.  Because the bride does not know when this might occur, the groom’s arrival was preceded by a shout, which forewarned the bride to be prepared for his arrival.  The bride then undergoes ritual cleansing prior to the wedding ceremony, the private wedding ceremony is held, and then in the privacy of the bridal chamber the bride and groom consummate the marriage.  It is after this time that the Wedding Feast is held where all who have been invited can join in celebration with the bride and groom.

By looking at this outline, it isn’t very hard to see the steps of a Jewish wedding are the same as those spelled out for the Church, the bride of Christ, and our covenant with Jesus.  Why is this important?  One reason takes us back to what we talked about last week concerning the Fourth Cup of Passover.  We know from what Jesus said that we will drink of this cup along with Him at some future time, but is it possible for us to know when exactly that might be?  Although most of us understand that it is virtually impossible to get everyone to agree, the majority of scholars I have studied believe this event will take place at the Wedding Feast that follows the ceremony of Christ taking His Church as His Bride.

I thought I would share the thoughts of just three of those individuals with you this morning who believe this is the proper interpretation of the scriptures.  Dr. John Walvoord, who served as president of Dallas Theological Seminary for many years said this about Jesus’ words at the Last Supper;

The new ceremony, instead of relating to the lamb slain in Egypt, now was referring to Christ as the new Passover Lamb, the one who would be slain on the cross. Although it was a new ceremony, it was also their last meal together, and He concluded the introduction of the Lord’s Supper with the words of verse 29, “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Here He was referring to the millennial kingdom, when Christ will return to the earth with His resurrected disciples and participate once again in the earthly scene.

Dr. Thomas Ice, the executive director of the Pre-Trib Research Center at Liberty University writes;

We read in Luke 22:16-18 the following: "for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes." This is called the Lord's Supper, which Jesus inaugurated for the soon to be born church to practice until His return to get His bride. Christ's promise not to not eat or drink again until He does it when the kingdom comes, means that He will not be celebrating His marriage supper in heaven before He descends at His second coming with His bride. Here He says the next time he eats and drinks will be at the coming of the kingdom, which will start at the beginning of the thousand years of His reign upon earth.

Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, founder and Director of Ariel Ministries also agrees saying;

The resurrection of the Old Testament saints will take place following the Second Coming in preparation for the Messianic Kingdom. …the Old Testament saints are to be the friends of the bridegroom at the marriage feast, but the marriage feast will take place on earth as an inauguration of the Messianic Kingdom. It is the wedding ceremony that takes place in Heaven before the Second Coming, but the wedding feast itself will take place on earth and will kick off the Messianic Kingdom.

Weddings have always been the most happy of celebrations and a big part of that day is the opportunity to share a feast with the bride and groom as they begin their new life together.  Who can forget that Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding feast when they ran out of wine?  It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realize that the Wedding Feast we are going to attend as the bride of Christ will be one we will never forget.  Especially when you consider we will finally get to drink the cup of acceptance, the fourth cup of Passover, with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.                                1 Corinthians 11:23-26  NKJV

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