There is a special and long-awaited event called the Marriage Supper (or Marriage Banquet) of the Lamb, that will take place in heaven after the rapture. It will be the celebration of the Lord Jesus and His bride, the saints.
In the study of ancient Jewish wedding customs, we find many similarities to the coming of Jesus Christ, for His bride, the church.
Selection of the Bride: She is chosen (John 15:16).
Wedding Agreement (Ketubah): The bride is offered a cup of wine for her acceptance from the groom and his father (Matthew 26:27-28, Luke 22:20).
Bride has the Right of Refusal: She does not have to accept the offer of the wine and the marriage offer would be off.
Bride Price: The groom offers the best price he can, and it must be in keeping with the father's stature. The bride of Christ has been bought with the most expensive price possible (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 1 Peter 1:18-19).
Staying Faithful: As his bride, she honors the covenant and the price he paid. Both the groom and bride are in a covenant relationship, stay faithful to one another and the groom provides provision for his betrothed (1 Corinthians 11:25-26).
The Groom: He must prepare a new home for their future. This home must meet the approval of the father. It must be up to the standard of his name and honor (John 14:2-3).
Marriage “Mikvah” or Baptism: The bride is immersed as a symbol of the covenant (Mark 15:15-16, 1 Corinthians 12:13).
The Call for the Wedding: When all criteria is met to his standards, the father of the groom decides when the wedding will be. As he sets the preparation in motion, people know the wedding is close. When the father gives the word, the son goes and gets his bride.
The Wedding: It is more of a celebration. There is a short ceremony, the consummation of the marriage and a banquet is given.
The Marriage Supper: The groom and bride have the 2nd cup of wine together. It is called the “simcha” (Matthew 26:29). Everyone gathers for a time of joy, feasting and celebration.
There are many other details and aspects about ancient Jewish weddings; not all are type and shadow of the relationship of Christ and His bride, the church. But certainly, much of what is listed above, seems to have a strong resemblance.
Let's look at some of the Scripture that refer or allude to the church or God's people as a bride or the bride of Christ.
Isaiah 54:5 “For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.”
Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 62:5b “And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”
Jeremiah 2:1-2 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, 'Thus says the Lord: "I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.”
Ezekiel 16:8 “When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine," says the Lord God.
Hosea 2:16 "And it shall be, in that day," says the Lord, "That you will call Me 'my Husband,' and no longer call Me 'my Master’”
Hosea 2:19-20 "I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.”
Matthew 25:1-13 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”
Mark 2:19-20 And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” (also Matthew 9:15, Luke 5:34).
John 3:29 “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.”
2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
Ephesians 5:27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Revelation 19:7-8 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.
Revelation 21:2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Revelation 21:9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife."
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Additionally, in each of the entire books of Ruth, Esther, Song of Solomon and Hosea are found types and shadows of betrothal, failure of betrothal, redemption with tremendous symbolism of the love and mercy of God in the sense of marital relationship.
Even in the sense that Adam and Eve were the first parents in the natural, Jesus is the “2nd Adam" (1 Corinthians 15:45-49). And the church is like unto His wife, which through her, He is given more “children” (born-again Christians) who then become more family.
We see the bride arriving in heaven, after the rapture, in the following verses.
Revelation 19:5-9a Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!" And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 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!"
The bride is the church! And because of her faithfulness (righteous acts) to the Lord, she will be “arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright.” The saints will arrive in heaven full of overwhelming joy, giving God glory and there will be a time of huge praise and celebration.
Revelation 7:9-14 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen." Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?" And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
In God's timing, sometime after the Lord's glorious return with His people to heaven, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will happen. By Scripture and even simple logic, the banquet must happen between the rapture and the Battle of Armageddon.
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb is not just a banquet. It is the heavenly equivalent to a Jewish wedding banquet. The Lord told us when He left, that He would come again for us so that wherever He will be, we will be with Him also.
John 14:2-3 "In My Father’s house are many dwelling places: and if it were not so, would I tell you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I would go, then I shall prepare a place for you. I am coming again and I shall take you along with Me, so that where I am you would also be."
And when the Father says the time is right, He will send His Son to go get His bride.
Mark 14:24-25 And He said to them “This is My blood of the covenant which is being poured out on behalf of many. Truly I say to you that never again am I drinking from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.”
One day, we will share the wine with Jesus, at His banquet table in the Kingdom of God in heaven! Jesus, the Lamb of God, will have the fruit of His labors come into fruition. Because of His great love, we are actually His reward. “We” are what He gave it all for! Oh how blessed we are, as John was told to write in Revelation 19:9b,
“'Blessed are those who are called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!'" Revelation 19:9b
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6
While we do believe in a mid tribulation rapture, we are not saying we know the day or the hour. The Lord makes it very clear that no one but the Father knows that. While we do believe it is at or near the middle of the last 7 years of this age, the Lord says that He has to cut the time short for the elect's sake in Matthew 24:22 and who knows the amount of time that will be?