Where will the marriage supper between Christ and His Church be held?
Revelation 19:7-9 states the following about the marriage between Christ and His Church: “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb [Jesus Christ, compare Revelation 5:1-14] has come, and His wife [the Church, compare Ephesians 5:31-32] 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!”‘…”
Please note that this Scripture does not say where the marriage supper will take place. Other Scriptures strongly imply that it will take place here on earth, after Christ’s return.
Christ gave a parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22, presupposing that the wedding feast or marriage supper will take place here on earth. We read in verse 11: “But when the king [who had arranged the marriage for his son, verse 2] came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.” In the parable, “the king” represents God the Father, and “the son” represents Jesus Christ. If the marriage supper were to take place in heaven, the guest without a wedding garment could not have been there — neither as a physical being nor as a fallen spirit being. He could not have been a disqualified saint, as there are no physical beings in heaven and as the disqualified saint would not have been changed to spirit. Nor could he have been a “fallen” spirit being, i.e., Satan or a demon, as by that time, Satan and his angels will have no more access to God’s throne in heaven. Revelation 12:8 speaks of a time, before the marriage supper, stating, “…nor was a place found for them [Satan and his demons, verse 7] in heaven any longer.”
Christ tells another parable in Matthew 25, comparing the Church with five wise and five foolish virgins, “who went out to meet their bridegroom” (verse 1). While the five foolish virgins tried to buy oil for their lamps, the bridegroom (Jesus Christ) came, “and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut” (verse 10). We then read that “afterwards the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!'” Christ, though, refused them entrance to the wedding supper. Where did the five foolish virgins go? Obviously, as physical humans, they could not go to heaven to try to get entrance there. Christ’s parable of the five wise and the five foolish virgins clearly presupposes and implies that the events take place here on earth.
Nevertheless, some have suggested that the wedding supper will take place in heaven before Christ returns to the earth to establish the Kingdom of God. It has been suggested that Christ will come back to take His saints to heaven, have the marriage supper in heaven with them, and then return with His saints to establish the Kingdom of God.
However, the Bible does not teach that Christ will return “twice.” The Bible is consistent that Christ comes back a second time to reward His saints and, at the same time, to punish the wicked that are still alive (Matthew 24:27-39; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10). God’s saints will be resurrected and changed to immortality at the time of Christ’s return and at the sound of the seventh and last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). However, at the same time, that is, at the sound of the last trumpet, Christ will also begin His reign over the world (Revelation 11:15-18). There can only be ONE seventh and last trumpet. There cannot be a sound of the seventh trumpet to signal the resurrection of the saints and their “going to heaven with Christ” for the marriage supper, and ANOTHER seventh or last trumpet to signal the subsequent return of Christ with His saints from heaven to set up the Kingdom of God.
Rather, we read that Christ will return; that at that time, the saints will be resurrected and changed and meet Christ in the air; and that Christ and His saints will descend immediately together on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). That particular day is a twenty-four-hour-day, as Zechariah 14:6-7, 9 reveals.
Some have suggested that Revelation 14 speaks of a marriage supper in heaven. However, Revelation 14 does not mention a marriage supper. It states that the Lamb and 144,000 of those “who were redeemed from the earth” stand on Mount Zion (verse 1), and that they are “without fault before the throne of God” (verse 5). Although “Mount Zion” can refer to a spiritual mountain in heaven (compare Hebrews 12:22), it can also refer, of course, to the physical mountain here on earth. The saints might be standing, on Mount Zion, before God’s transportable throne, which was on earth before (compare Ezekiel 1). Or, verse 5 might just express the thought that they are without fault “in the sight of” God. The Greek word for “before,” i.e., “enopion,” literally means, “in the sight of” or “in the face of.” (Compare, Luke 1:15; 16:15; Acts 4:19). Even today, we appear daily “before” God’s throne in heaven, through prayer.
Another Scripture that has been used to suggest that the marriage supper will be in heaven, is Revelation 15:2. Again, this passage does not even remotely suggest a marriage supper. The passage states that saints are “standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.” This is another vision (verse 1), which, simply judging by its wording alone, without consideration of other Scriptures, does not have to take place in heaven. The sea of glass could very well be a reference to a sea of glass before Christ’s throne which will be here on this earth. In addition, we find in Ezekiel 1:22, 26, that Christ’s transportable throne has a firmament or crystal, in other words, a sea of glass. Note, for instance, that we read in Exodus 24:9-10: “Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity.” In addition, the saints in Revelation 15:2 are portrayed as standing on a sea of glass, singing the victory song of Moses. This reminds us, of course, of God’s victory over the Egyptians, when they drowned in the Red Sea. Therefore, this vision might very well picture the saints’ symbolic victory over the beast power (compare verse 2), as ancient Israel was victorious over Egypt. This is especially true in light of the fact that Exodus 15:18 conveys a future victory of God and His people over God’s enemies: “The LORD SHALL reign forever and ever.” One must be careful not to deduce an entire teaching from a symbolic phrase.
A third Scripture quoted to support the speculation that the marriage supper takes place in heaven is Revelation 7:9-17. Again, nothing is mentioned in this Scripture referring to a marriage supper. We are told that a great multitude of all nations stands before the throne and before the Lamb. This is clearly another vision — such as the vision of dead souls under God’s altar that cry out with a loud voice (Revelation 6:9-11). Still, even when analyzing carefully the text of the vision in Revelation 7, we find that the described event does not occur in heaven. Revelation 7:14 says that the saints “washed their robes and made them white.” Verse 15 says, “Therefore they ARE before the throne of God, and SERVE Him day and night in His temple.” This cannot be happening in heaven, as the last part of the verse says that God “WILL dwell among them.” If this passage described a situation in heaven, God would ALREADY dwell among them.
The passage conveys, however, that those of the great multitude, who had to go through the Great Tribulation to become spiritually clean, will from that time on serve God daily in His temple — the Church, a spiritual organism, the bride of Christ. We are today the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:17; Ephesians 2:21). But we are not in heaven.
The idea that the marriage supper will be held in heaven is nowhere taught in the Bible. All Biblical passages strongly imply that it will occur here on earth, after Christ’s return to this earth.