Who is the Bridegroom? The question has but one answer. The Bridegroom can only be “the king’s son” of the Parable, the Lord Jesus Himself. In John 3:29, long after John the Baptist had introduced Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”, John was asked to identify himself. He made it clear that he was not the Christ, he referred to Christ as “the bridegroom,” and to himself as: “the friend who attends the bridegroom [and who] waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice.” Clearly Christ is here referred to as the Bridegroom as well at the Lamb. Thus, Christ is the Bridegroom at the marriage of the Lamb.
Who is the Bride? A verse of importance is found in Ephesians 5:32. The Apostle Paul, speaking to husbands and wives of their relationship together, likens the husband to Christ and the wife to the Church. He sums it up (in verse 32) by saying, “This is a profound mystery: but I am talking about Christ and the church”, clearly indicating that the perfect picture of the relationship between the Lord Jesus and His Church is that of a bride and a bridegroom. Therefore, when a person accepts Jesus Christ, he or she becomes a member of the Church, the true invisible Church, and is automatically espoused or engaged to Christ. This engagement will be finalized at the marriage of the Lamb.
Where and When Will This Marriage Take Place? The marriage of the Lamb must take place in heaven, for in Revelation 19:11, after the marriage of the Lamb and the marriage supper of the Lamb, we find the Lord Jesus coming in what we call “the Glorious Appearing” to set up His kingdom. For this reason, we must conclude that the marriage and the supper have occurred in heaven. Their location in Revelation chapter 19, shows these events to have taken place at the end of the Tribulation, just before the millennial reign of Christ on the earth. Ephesians 5:27 indicates the manner in which the Bride will be presented to Christ: “a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” This condition will exist only after the judgment of Christ when believers have been completely cleansed and the Church is made whole. For that reason, I believe that the Judgment Seat of Christ, which will take place during the Tribulation, will precede the marriage supper of the Lamb, and immediately after the judgment of reward has been presented to believers, the marriage of the Lamb will take place. All Christians who have trusted in Christ during the age of grace, from the day of Pentecost to the Rapture of the Church, will make up His Bride.
The Identity of the Guests: Some invited to the wedding ceremony are guests and not the Bride. Obviously, a bride is never invited to a wedding supper, nor is a bridegroom. Those who are invited are the friends of the bride and groom. Who are these friends or guests? It cannot be the Church because the Church is the Bride. John the Baptist, one of the last Old Testament saints, indicated that he was a friend of the Bridegroom (John 3:29). These Old Testament saints will be in heaven and will have their rewards, but they are not the Church, not the Bride of the Christ. They are the friends of the Bride and Bridegroom, who at this point, can be seen as the ones invited as guests to the feast. So then, all the believing dead from Adam until the resurrection of Christ will be guests at this feast. In addition to them will appear those who have received the Savior during the Tribulation, both Jew and Gentile, many of who will have been martyred for the testimony of Christ. What happens after the wedding? Join me next week…