GOD’S WEDDING FEAST FOR JESUS
Matt. 22:1-14, 25:1-13
Jesus’ marriage to His bride the church will take place in heaven (Rev. 19:7-9).
Right after the end of the great Tribulation featuring Jesus’ Second Coming to the earth, God begins a wedding feast for Jesus and his bride. Jesus described this feast in a parable plus a wedding-feast/party comparison with the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 22:1-14 for the parable, 25:1-13 for the comparison).
Jesus’ parable and comparison reveal several interesting things. The following analysis will unwrap Jesus’ revelations of the details surrounding the feast and the wedding party.
A Jewish Marriage
The Jewish marriage custom is comprised of four stages (Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. The Footsteps of the Messiah, rev. ed. Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2004, 587). The stages are:
- the arrangement for the bride-to-be made by the bridegroom’s father with her family;
- the bridegroom’s fetching of his bride;
- the marriage ceremony; and,
- the marriage supper or feast.
The bridegroom’s father is God. The bridegroom is Jesus. The bride-to-be is the church. The family was Israel. The bride was later expanded to include gentiles. The fetching of the bride will be the Rapture. The marriage will take place in heaven. The marriage supper, aka the wedding feast, will take place in Israel, perhaps in Jerusalem.
The Beginning of the Feast for Jesus
For Jesus, the marriage supper will start on earth by the arrival of five virgins who will probably fill the role of bridesmaids for His bride (Matt. 25:1-13). Another five virgins are disqualified because they had to leave the premises to buy more oil for their lamps.
As mentioned, Jesus and His bride will be married in heaven (Rev. 19:7-9).
The five acceptable virgins likely represented young Jewish women who lived during Daniel’s 70th week—sometimes known as the Tribulation (cf. Dan. 9:27 for the 70th week). As virgins, they had been living on earth under the recently enacted New Covenant for Israel (cf. Ezek. 36:22-27 for the New Covenant’s features including sanctification by the Holy Spirit).
Their virginity might have been physical, or “virginity” may be figurative to highlight their earthly lives which had remained spiritually undefiled by a Jewish generation still living life under the obsolete covenant, aka the Old Covenant (cf. Jas. 1:27 for undefiled and Heb. 8:15 for the obsolete covenant).
The virgins had joined the ranks of to-be-glorified humans; however, they had not become members of Jesus’ bride, the church. Jesus’ bride—comprised of His people from AD 33 up to (and including) the Rapture—was a completed entity in heaven preceding the five virgins’ activity during Daniel’s 70th week.
The virgins’ earthly role will be attendants or bridesmaids to the bride (after the bride’s heavenly marriage) and eventually to be followed by God’s earthly supper/feast for his Son Jesus.
Five virgins had oil-filled lamps and flasks. The oil may have symbolized the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the virgins’ lives as the source of spiritual power, light, and sanctification (Unger, Merrill, F. Unger’s Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1966, 805-806).
Insufficient oil by the other five virgins suggests a quenching of the Spirit resulting in what might be termed ‘works sanctification’ rather than sanctification by faith in Jesus. Works sanctification would result in the subsequent loss of an inheritance (Acts 26:18; 1 Thess. 5:19).
Evidently, those five virgins had become indifferent, apathetic, self-indulgent, and lukewarm to Jesus’ presence in their lives resulting in a separation of their fellowship with Him (cf. Rev. 3:14-16 wherein the lukewarm local Laodicean church during the apostle John’s ministry is a type for a Jewish dominated mixed-gender congregation during Daniel’s 70th week).
God’s Actions Leading to The Wedding Feast
God first prepared food for the wedding feast. He then sent out His slaves to those who were invited to attend the feast. The response was twofold: an overwhelming preoccupation with personal matters, or the killing of God’s slaves.
God was enraged by the killing so He sent His armies to destroy the murderers and destroy their city. At the time, Palestinian lands were likely contagious with Israeli territory so the murderers may be Palestinians. And a possible Palestinian city could be Gaza.
God then sent slaves again to invite potential attendees to the feast. The invitees were both good and evil. The evil were likely self-absorbed individuals. God’s wedding hall was packed with dinner quests. However, there was one exception. A man entered the hall without appropriate wedding attire.
Possibly, this man was a homeless person who could not resist the offer of a free meal!
God’s reaction was to have the man bound by His servants, and then have His servants throw the man into the darkness outside the hall. The tears and gnashing of teeth in the darkness likely described the reactions of the five virgins without oil and the wrongly-attired man.
The virgin’s lamps and sleepiness at midnight and just prior to the wedding feast indicate the feast time was at night.
God’s crisp comment: “many are called but few are chosen.” Probably the appropriate-clothed attendees were not only called, but also chosen.
The Called and Chosen
The called were all those people that God’s slaves invited to the feast on the two separate occasions. All those called have the option of sanctification.
The chosen were those attendees at the feast wearing the appropriate wedding attire because they had exercised the option of sanctification.
This explains how the called greatly outnumbered the chosen.
| Combining Jesus’ parable and His comparison in Matthew’s Gospel provide a great deal of detailed understanding about God’s wedding feast for Jesus. This information might not otherwise be available if the two portions in Matthew were not combined. The timing of the event, the wedding party itself, the invited guests and attendees to the feast, and the consequences for being self-absorbed are quite evident for both genders.
The spiritual application of the parable is that with respect to salvation, God calls many but only a few of the many are chosen. The eternal life of those called but not chosen may prove to be unpleasant.
And the spiritual application of the comparison featuring the ten virgins with the two choices of an oil supply (the oil illustrating the Holy Spirit) is do not quench the Spirit.