• Jesus invites us all. We are all beggars for God’s grace and mercy | Photo credit: Creative Commons CCO from PXHere

The Book of Revelation – Beatitude Number Four

Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer - 23 October 2019

“Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” Revelation 19:9

John has to write this down especially. It is so wonderful to be invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb that it has to be put on paper. The invitation does have to be accepted, however. Jesus tells a parable about this. A man prepared a banquet and he invited all the important guests, a long time in advance, so that they could all set time aside for this event. They were invited a second time on the day itself, when the kitchen had made extensive preparations for the banquet: “Come, for everything is now ready.” In some denominations these words are spoken at the invitation to come and participate in Holy Communion, in the Lord’s Supper. They all excused themselves, however. One of them had purchased a field, another had bought five yoke of oxen, and a third had married a wife. They preferred to attend to their personal affairs though these were not urgent enough to justify their absence from the banquet. Those invited simply did not want to come. These were just poor excuses.

“We are all beggars for God’s grace and mercy.”

Then in the parable, the master told his servants to go to the roads and country lanes to compel them, to force them to come in so that his house would be full. Similarly, the Lord Jesus invited in His days all the ordinary people in Israel—the beggars, deformed, lame and blind. Such people were unclean and unfit for the priesthood and Levitical service according to the Law. The ordinary people, the masses went out to listen to Him and to be with Him. Thousands of them. Today, He is inviting us, too, us poor sinners – those deformed physically and psychologically, the blind, physically and spiritually and the lame, those who can’t walk or are paralysed into inaction by fear and anxiety. Jesus invites us all. We are all beggars for God’s grace and mercy.

In the parable, the man who prepared a banquet instructed his servants to invite those they would meet on the roads, the paths, the highways and byways, outside town. For us, Jesus’ instruction is to go into the world of the unbelievers and urge them to come in. Maybe they are embarrassed or they just don’t dare. Or maybe they have been given all kinds of theological objections during their upbringing in their parents’ home. Urge them! Compel them to enter in. Carry them if necessary, just like the Good Shepherd carries the lost sheep Himself and brings it home in His arms. However those self-righteous citizens, those pious, Law-abiding people, who looked down upon the ‘mob that knows nothing of the Law’ (John 7:49) will not taste Jesus’ banquet. Only the despised tax collector will come in! Luke 18:13: ”But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to Heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb.

Those who are invited are the bride, the wife, the wedding guests, the friends and acquaintances. The wedding supper is attended by many people, although not all of them are the bride/wife, but many of their guests. It will be a full house!  Among those who are ‘invited’ are most probably to be Old Testament saints as well, such as Abel, Seth, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the faithful remnant of Israel, Moses, David, Job, Ruth, Esther, Rahab, the prophets and John the Baptist, who calls himself a ‘friend’ of the Bridegroom, as well as the ‘hundred and forty-four thousand’ who are sealed from the tribes of Israel. And also God-fearing people from before the Coming of Jesus in the flesh on earth. Even God-fearing people from the nations before and after the Flood, from the line of Seth who was born after his brother Abel was murdered. Also those around the world who never heard of a Bible or of Christ but who acknowledged and worshipped God ‘seeing’ Him the works of His Creation and served God on the basis of their God-given conscience. Many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That will be at the beginning of the Messianic reign. He will then drink the fruit of the vine with His disciples once again. This will usher in the Messianic and theocratic Kingdom of a thousand years.

But hey, you just read this! You just read it ‘in black and white’, that you are also invited. ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb.’ You are blessed! I really would like to ‘compel’ you to personally accept the invitation! Christians feel an urge of compelling love for other people, so that they may as well experience themselves how wonderful it is to know that you are loved by God and Christ! They truly want to share that love with people around them! So that you will be blessed!

Scripture keeps silent about the actual consummation of the marriage by the bride and Bridegroom. It probably is the moment when you discovered for the first time that He loves you, and that you love Him! The Bible talks about the ‘wedding feast’, the dinner, the marriage supper of the Lamb. This is what the guests have been invited to attend and they will sit at the places allotted them by the Bridegroom. He determines who sits where. Anyone not wearing a wedding garment is not allowed in.

We must be cautious with all these pictures and comparisons, however. We should not overstress the meaning of ‘bride’, ‘wife’, ’wedding-guests’, and other pictures. Sometimes you hear a debate like: Is Israel the wife of God and the Church the bride of Christ? The comparison with using a word like ‘bride’ or ‘wife’ simply means that God and Christ love their ‘chosen people’ with an everlasting love, and that He married His wife/bride so that she can be sure that He pledged His vows and that He will be faithful to her forever.

There is maybe a difference between the bride and the wedding guests. There is maybe a difference between the believers from Israel before and after the coming of Jesus. There is maybe a difference between Messianic Jews, Jewish Christians, and pious, faithful, orthodox Jews who have been slaughtered during the past two thousand years trusting in the Name as they went into the concentration camps and gas-chambers quoting and trusting the ‘Shema Israel’ from Deuteronomy 6:4. Because they were not yet given the revelation about Jesus. There is maybe a difference between believers in God from the nations and truly believing people in the One and Only God, the Creator in other religions, and hardened, strongly convinced unbelievers from those nations. There is maybe a difference between mankind before and after the Flood, before and after the giving of the Law on Sinai, before and after the Coming of Christ in Glory. How are things different? God alone knows.

“Don’t you feel blessed that you are invited as well?”

What love He has for us. Not only does He want to save people who are lost, and to give them eternal life, He wants to be one with them. His love dates from before the foundation of the world and He accepts nothing less than to celebrate the wedding feast with all of them. Don’t you feel blessed that you are invited as well?


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