The marriage of the millennium

We tend to spend a lot of time interpreting Revelation 20 and trying to understand the 1,000 year reign of Christ with the saints. In our linear Western mindset, we mainly read the text as a narrative in which Event C follows Event B, which followed Event A. I have my doubts that this is how the text *should* be read, but I’m going to run with it for a moment to entertain a speculative thought that I recently had.

First, consider Revelation 19.5-9:

Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!” Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”

Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'”

Bookend that with Revelation 21.1-2:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

In the first passage we have the announcement of the wedding of the Lamb and invitation to the “reception”, in the second we have the entrance of the bride. As far as my understanding of Jewish wedding traditions goes, in the time between the engagement/announcement and the actual ceremony, the groom would go away to prepare the new home for his wife (cf. John 14.2-4).

So we have the destruction of Babylon in Revelation 17-18, followed by the wedding proclamation above. Then there’s this mysterious interlude from Rev 19:11-20:15 filled with wars, an interstitial reign, ultimate triumph and final judgement, followed by the entrance of the Bride in Revelation 21. If we line up tradition with scripture, then this interlude presumably takes place as the groom is busy preparing a home for his bride.

And how is Christ preparing a home for his bride? According to Paul, he is destroying “all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-26) Sounds like the ultimate home construction project! And rather like the events of Revelation 19-20…

What else is happening during this interlude? Perhaps the wedding guests are being assembled (Matthew 22:2-14):

The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. Then he sent some more servants and said, “Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.” But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them.

The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.”

So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. “Friend,” he asked, “how did you get in here without wedding clothes?” The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, “Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are invited, but few are chosen.

The original guests, Israel, refused to come to the wedding and their replacements, the Gentiles — good, bad and ugly, were gathered in their place.

Or should I say, the Gentiles are being gathered from every street corner on Earth — and we ought to make sure that we accept the new invitation and have our wedding clothes on, lest we too are rejected and thrown out into the darkness.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted April 8, 2011 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    So not hype about William and Kate, then? I suppose some might say that is going to be the marriage of the millennium so far (I would disagree!), but this one will totally eclipse it!

    • Posted April 9, 2011 at 7:09 AM | Permalink

      Thanks for the mention, Peter. Charles and Diana were married on my birthday, so I’m familiar with being eclipsed by a marriage!

  2. Posted April 11, 2011 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    The new look is great.

  3. Caroline
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 12:37 AM | Permalink

    In regards to the sermon-net title “Beyond the sanitized page: …”, this is amazing that I came across this by mistake, I went to church this Saturday at Emerald City Community SDA in Seattle 4-30-2011, Our preacher gave a similar sermon on the same subject in the book of Revelation. It’s so much the same theme and matches exactly to yours! Keep up the studies and sharing. I am astonished on finding this on the same day (although your date of this sermon on here is 4-9-2011) that I heard our Pastor’s Sermon that relates to yours. Thank you and God bless until Jesus Christ returns. Our alter call hymn song was “I surrender all” .

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