[Note: This author is a pre-Tribulation rapture and Young Earth Creationist (YEC) believer, and this article reflects these views.]
This study is focused on the Marriage Supper of The Lamb of God and who will be invited.
We know the bride of Christ will be there, but who are the guests and where do they come from? How does their resurrections fit into this feast? And, are there any other resurrections of saints we should consider?
These, and other questions, we hope to answer in this examination of the Scriptures regarding this awe-inspiring event and the resurrections surrounding it.
“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Revelation 19:6-7).
This much-anticipated Marriage will, undoubtedly, take place at the very end of the Tribulation, just before the Lord comes back to Jerusalem to save his Holy City and His beloved remnant of both Jew and Gentile believers.
We, the bride, will have, by the grace of God, “made [ourselves] ready” by the finished work of Jesus Christ following the rapture of the church that had happened at least seven plus to 12 years earlier (depending on how long the gap between the rapture and the seven-year Tribulation is).
“And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 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” (Revelation 19:8-9).
The church, you and me and every believer in Jesus Christ for the past 2,000 years, will have put on the “fine linen, clean and white… the righteousness of the saints,” which is truly the righteousness of our Lord that He has bestowed upon us.
Now the question arises: Who are they that are “blessed… which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb?” They can’t be the bride as she has already made herself ready.
Jesus gives us a clue, given as a parable, in the gospel of Luke:
“A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things.
“Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper” (Luke 14:16b-24).
The parallel account, found in Matthew 22:1-14, says that this “supper” is a “marriage.”
With the admonition to “bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind,” I can honestly think of no better description of the multitudes of Jews and Gentiles that will come to Christ following the rapture of the church. They will be the outcasts of society and will have endured incomprehensible suffering for their faith and witness to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Of course, we know that “those men which were bidden,” who made their excuses and shall not “taste of the [Lord’s] supper,” will be Israelis who have rejected their Messiah from the earthly reign of Christ through the Tribulation period, as well as the Gentiles who have spurned the free gift of salvation through the centuries.
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Revelation 6:9-11).
When the fifth seal is opened, we find souls under the altar in heaven asking the Lord, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”
It has been noted by Bill Salus, and others, that these individuals would not be asking this question if they had been killed during the seven-year Tribulation (as they would know how much time they have left), which highly suggests that these saints were killed during the gap of time between the rapture of the church and the beginning of the Tribulation.
They are told to “rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” This would most certainly include those who are to be killed in like manner during the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation.
We aren’t told when these saints will be resurrected, but the response seems obvious that they will be resurrected in the middle of the Tribulation in conjunction with the Antichrist’s Abomination of Desolation when he will begin his implementation of the Mark of The Beast system, so they too may attend the Marriage Supper of The Lamb.
We also have another group of saints to consider:
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6).
This class of saints, that are “beheaded” in the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation by the Antichrist for rejecting the Mark of The Beast and their “witness of Jesus and for the Word of God,” will not be resurrected until just before Christ’s Millennial Kingdom when they will “live and reign with Christ a thousand years.”
Note also the phrase: “This is the first resurrection.” Once these saints are resurrected, this will complete the resurrection of the saved.
We see their resurrection in a fast-forward vision that John saw:
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:9-17).
When Are the Old Testament Saints Resurrected?
We know that when Jesus emptied Sheol, the Lord ushered the Old Testament saints into heaven in what we believe to be spiritual bodies where they have been awaiting their bodily resurrection for the past 2,000 years.
Job, even in ancient times (approximately 500 years after the flood, or 4,000 years ago), knew that he would be resurrected:
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27).
Job notes that his Redeemer, Jesus Christ, “shall stand at the latter day upon the earth,” when Messiah will set up His Millennial Kingdom. He also says that He will “see God” in his resurrected, glorified “flesh.” This will take place, of course, in heaven when this resurrection takes place before the Marriage Supper of The Lamb.
The following Scripture gives us additional insight:
“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid” (Jeremiah 30:7-10).
Note that after the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (the Tribulation), Israel will “serve the LORD their God, and David their king,” and this will be during the Lord’s Millennial Kingdom.
Some believe that the Old Testament saints will be raised after the Second Coming of Christ to earth, but I have a different view. I postulate that David will be resurrected bodily, along with the other Old Testament saints, toward the middle of the Tribulation, so that they too may be among the distinguished guests of the Bridegroom at the Marriage Supper of The Lamb. This will most likely be at the same time the Tribulation saints (other than those who are beheaded in the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation) are resurrected.
Daniel also speaks of, and confirms, this bodily resurrection in association with the Tribulation:
“… there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:1b-3).
Daniel is told that his “people” will be delivered “at that time” of “trouble,” which is the Tribulation. Additionally, in this time of trouble, “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.”
The following Scriptures seem to be a unity passage describing both the rapture of the church, as well as the resurrection of Old Testament and Tribulation saints. Remember, these two resurrections – the rapture of the church and the resurrection of Old Testament and Tribulation saints – will only be separated by approximately 7 plus to 12 years (depending on how long of a gap will exist between the rapture and the start of the seven-year Tribulation).
The key seems to be the resurrection of the 144,000 Israeli evangelists (Revelation 14:1-5) and the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-12). When they are resurrected, then too will the Old Testament and first-half Tribulation saints rise in their glorified, resurrected bodies.
“Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain” (Isaiah 26:19-21).
It is my belief that, when the Marriage Supper of The Lamb is about to commence towards the end of the Tribulation, the Lord will bodily resurrect all of the Tribulation and Old Testament saints (excluding those who are being beheaded by Antichrist, who will be resurrected at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom), so they may attend as distinguished guests of the Bridegroom at His Marriage Supper with His bride.
To reiterate: I believe the Old Testament and Tribulation saints (excluding those saints beheaded by Antichrist during the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation) are resurrected in the middle of the Tribulation to be prepared for the Marriage Supper of The Lamb.
The reason the saints who have been beheaded by Antichrist in the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation are not present at the Marriage Supper of The Lamb, is because this supper takes place before the Lord’s Second Coming and the number of their martyrs will have not been completed yet.
So, what we have here, I believe, is a trifecta resurrection from a triune God. The first resurrection is the rapture of the church. The second is the resurrection of the Old Testament and Tribulation saints at the midway point of the seven-year Tribulation. And finally, third, is the resurrection of the Tribulation saints who have been beheaded by Antichrist in the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation right after the Second Coming.
Those believers who have not taken the Mark of The Beast that are left alive on the earth at the Second Coming of Christ will be those who enter the Millennial Kingdom in their natural bodies to replenish the earth.
Tying Up Loose End #1
After Christ’s death on the cross, a strange event occurred which we should consider:
“And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many” (Matthew 27:52-53).
A possibility on this event is that these resurrected saints were not in glorified, resurrected bodies. They were most definitely recognizable, but I would suggest they were in a temporary spiritual-type body that all Christians for the last 2,000 years have been given in heaven at death, when they are absent from the body and present with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8).
This event would seem to be for witnessing purposes only. I postulate that after their appearing as witnesses of a future resurrection to their loved ones and friends, they would have returned to Sheol to wait for the Lord to escort them to heaven when He led captivity captive:
“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)” (Ephesians 4:8-10).
I would be remiss if I neglected in pointing out another possibility; that these resurrected saints were, in fact, in their eternal resurrected bodies and were a part of Christ being a firstfruit offering to the Lord.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming” (1 Corinthians 15:22-23).
If this second possibility is correct, then these saints would have to have been those that had died during Christ’s earthly ministry, as they would have had to put their faith and trust in Him; an opportunity no Old Testament saint had the luxury of doing until Jesus descended to Sheol to proclaim His sacrifice for sins to the God-fearing dead in Abraham’s bosom, or paradise (Luke 16:19-31).
Only the Lord knows for sure, but I would be surprised if it was anything other than these two possibilities that I have suggested.
Tying Up Loose End #2
What about a resurrection of those who don’t rebel against Christ after the Millennial Kingdom? (Revelation 20:7-10)
The short answer is: We aren’t told.
But I would like to give you something to consider:
“And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it” (Revelation 21:24).
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:1-5).
Notice that the tree of life is present in the Eternal Kingdom “for the healing of the nations” and that “His servants shall serve Him… and they shall reign for ever and ever.”
Who or what are the servants of God reigning over, and why will the nations need healing? Could it be that all mankind who didn’t rebel against Christ after the Millennial Kingdom will enter into the Eternal Kingdom with perfect human bodies? That if they take of the tree of life, they will have everlasting life in their human bodies as Adam and Eve did when they were created?
Again, we aren’t told. But it is interesting to think about. There is so much the Lord hasn’t revealed to us, but we do know there will be amazing things prepared for those who love God!
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Now that is something to look forward to!
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!