Marriage Supper of the Lamb Bible Study Guide

Revelation 19:6-9

The Book of Revelations
Bible texts from an old British Victorian printing of the traditional King James Bible. iStock / Getty Images Plus

In the book of Revelation, the apostle John hears (rather than sees) the conclusion of history and compares it to the sound of a great wedding feast—the marriage supper of the Lamb. This imagery of a wedding celebration depicts the believer’s intimate and everlasting fellowship with Jesus Christ, which begins at the end of the ages in the re-created paradise of the New Jerusalem.

Key Verses - Revelation 19:6-9

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.

"Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (ESV

What Is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?

The marriage supper of the Lamb is a symbolic representation of the joyful, intimate, and eternal fellowship that takes place between Jesus Christ (the Lamb of God) and his bride (the Church). This future picture of a great wedding feast is drawn from both Old Testament and New Testament imagery.

Old Testament Imagery

Old Testament writers often used weddings, betrothals, brides, bridegrooms, and marriage unions as powerful illustrative resources. The nation of Israel was frequently likened to the wife of God by the prophets. Over and over, when Israel broke her covenant vows with God, she was compared to a wayward, unfaithful wife who had broken her marriage vows (Hosea 1–2; Jeremiah 2–3; Isaiah 50; Ezekiel 16; 23).

The development of the Lamb of God as imagery for the Messiah also began in the Old Testament with frequent animal sacrifices. In the story of Abraham and Isaac, the Lord provides the sacrificial lamb, foreshadowing God's sacrifice of his only son, Jesus Christ, on the cross at Calvary, for the sins of the world. The book of Isaiah describes the Suffering Servant as a “lamb led to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7).

New Testament Imagery

The picture of Jesus Christ as the sacrificial Lamb of God reaches fulfillment in the New Testament. When John the Baptist first sees Jesus, he declares, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, 36). The earliest Christians believed Jesus was the Suffering Servant of Isaiah (Acts 8:32). The apostle Paul describes Jesus as the Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). The apostle Peter explains that believers are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1 Peter 1:19, ESV)

Likewise, marriage and wedding imagery expands and is made complete in the New Testament with the coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ first miracle takes place at the wedding feast in Cana (John 2:1–11). John the Baptist calls Jesus the Bridegroom (John 3:27–30). And Jesus himself often speaks of the Kingdom of God in terms of a joyous wedding feast (Matthew 8:11; 22:1–14; 25:1–13; 26:29; Luke 13:28–29; 14:15–24).

Paul introduces the metaphor of the Church as the bride of Christ. In Ephesians 5:25–27, he explains that the relationship between husbands and wives is like the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church.

Historical and Cultural Context

To fully understand the imagery of the marriage supper of the Lamb, it’s essential to consider the historical context of weddings in the culture at the time of Christ. For a Jewish couple to enter into matrimony, they had to go through a multi-phase process.

The initial step involved the signing of the marriage contract, or Ketubah, which was executed by the parents of both the bride and the groom. The groom’s family would pay a dowry to the bride’s family, sealing the betrothal. As such, the official engagement period would begin. The betrothal was bound by the terms of the marriage contract. During this period the couple did not live together or have sexual relations with each other.

Typically, one year after the initial betrothal, a nuptial procession took place from the house of the bride to the bridegroom’s home (as seen in the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1–13). For this celebration, the bride would make herself ready to receive her groom. The final phase of the wedding ceremony culminated in a great feast, the marriage supper, which could last for several days.

Imagery in the Book of Revelation

The imagery reaches its final, climactic stage in the book of Revelation. The marriage supper of the Lamb marks the end of the long engagement period between Jesus Christ and the Church and the beginning of an eternal, unbroken fellowship of love.

John refers to Christ as the Lamb who was slain (Revelation 5:6, 9, 12; 13:8), who shed his blood (Rev 5:9; 7:14; 12:11), and who overcame death and the devil (Revelation 12:10-11; Romans 8:36–37). Jesus is the victorious Lamb of God who conquers through self-sacrifice.

Jesus Christ, the Lamb, is the Bridegroom and the Church is his bride. The marriage supper of the Lamb, a great and joyous celebration, comes to this glorious climax near the end of the book of Revelation:

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
…One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
(Revelation 21:2–11, see also 19:6–10; 22:17)

The closing passages of Scripture vividly present the crowning moments of human history. This picture of a marriage feast between Christ and his Church illustrates God’s plan of salvation—a grand and celebrated romance between the Creator and his creation. The metaphor of the marriage supper of the Lamb produces a captivating portrait of the deeply loving, personal, and everlasting relationship that Jesus Christ enjoys with his Church.

Questions for Reflection

Believers can experience close and eternal fellowship with God right now, from the moment of salvation. But when the Bridegroom returns to take his bride into the new heavens and the new earth—when the betrothal is consummated—that relationship will far exceed anything we can presently experience. Have you accepted Christ’s marriage proposal? Are you preparing as a bride who readies herself for her groom?