What is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?
The Church is the Bride of Christ
“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.’ And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, ‘See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.'” Revelation 19:9-10
In this verse, as in verses 7 and 8, the wife of the Lamb is distinguished from the attendants at the wedding, the wife apparently being the church, and the attendants at the wedding, being the saints of past and future ages (THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST, John F. Walvoord, p. 273).
In the book, EXPOSITION OF THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST, by Walter Scott, the following is given concerning the marriage supper on pages 382 and 383: “The bride and guests are clearly distinguished. The former is, of course, in more immediate relation to the Lamb. The bride is wed; the guests sup…. ‘Blessed’ are those called to the supper. This is not said of the bride. Her blessing, which is that of the highest order and character, is expressed in the simple words, bride and wife…. But they are pronounced blessed. Who are they? We answer, the friends of the Bridegroom…. John the Baptist expressly tells us that he is a friend of the Bridegroom (John 3:29)…. Old Testament saints constitute the large company of called guests, each one being a friend of the Bridegroom, and rejoicing in His presence and voice. The apocalyptic martyrs are not raised till after the marriage, hence cannot be numbered amongst the guests. Angels may be spectators of the scene, but guests they cannot be.”
Perhaps the classic work on the study of biblical eschatology is THINGS TO COME by James Dwight Pentecost. In this book, on page 227, we find the following comments concerning the participants in the marriage of the Lamb and the marriage supper: “The marriage of the Lamb is an event which evidently involves only Christ and the church. …The resurrection of Israel and the Old Testament saints will not take place until the second advent of Christ. Revelation 20:4-6 makes it equally clear that tribulation saints will not be resurrected until that time also. …In this connection it sees necessary to distinguish between the marriage of the Lamb and the marriage supper. The marriage of the Lamb is an event that has particular reference to the church and takes place in Heaven. The marriage supper is an event that involves Israel and takes place on the earth.’
In Matthew 22:1-14, Luke 14:16-24, and Matthew 25:1-13, where Israel is awaiting the return of the Bridegroom and the bride, the wedding feast or supper is located on the earth and has particular reference to Israel. The wedding supper, then, becomes the parabolic picture of the entire millennial age, to which Israel will be invited during the tribulation period, which invitation many will reject and so they will be cast out, and many will accept and they will be received in. Because of the rejection the invitation will likewise go to the Gentiles so that many of them will be included. Israel, at the second advent, will be waiting for the Bridegroom to come from the wedding ceremony, and invite them to that supper, at which the Bridegroom will introduce His bride to His friends (Matthew 25:1-13).”
Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, in his book, SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, Volume IV, page 396, gives the following comments concerning the marriage supper of the Lamb: “Like an interlude between the record of the judgments that are recounted in Revelation chapters 17 and 18 and the description of the glorious coming of Christ set forth in chapter 19, is the statement that the marriage of the Lamb has come, which event is accompanied by the marriage supper (Revelation 19:7-9). There is a chronological order being observed, since the marriage and the supper occur in Heaven before the King returns. …Distinction is called for at this point between the marriage supper which is in Heaven and celebrated before Christ returns, and the marriage feast (Matthew 24:10; Luke 12:37) which is on the earth after His return.”
D.R. Pentecost commenting on the two marriage suppers (the supper and feast), as noted by Dr. Chafer, gives this explanation: “…The marriage of the Lamb as that event in the heavens in which the church is eternally united to Christ and the marriage feast or supper constitutes the millennium, to which Jews and Gentiles will be invited, which takes place on the earth, during which time the Bridegroom is honored through the display of the bride to all His friends who are assembled there” (THINGS TO COME, p. 228).
Dr. H. L. Willmington, in his book, THE KING IS COMING, p. 39, gives the following comments concerning the guests of the marriage: “A group which would include all believing Gentiles who were converted prior to Pentecost or after the Rapture. In particular, a group which would include all saved Israelites everywhere…”