Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Revelation 19:7–8—NKJV)

Much goes into the preparation for a wedding. No matter whether it is the wedding of “royals,” relatives, or just good friends, it is fitting that much effort be expended—for weddings are a celebration of a couple’s commitment in a covenant of love. Ceremony, decorations, invitations, food, arrangements all receive their due, but the thing which seems to capture the most attention is the wedding dress!

It is not surprising that the Lord uses the marriage institution He established so long ago in the Garden of Eden to enlighten our hearts about His future plans for all church age saints. On the Bible’s prophetic clock, the Rapture (catching away) of the New Testament saints is next (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18). The church age has existed from the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was sent to inaugurate it, and it will end with the rapture of the saints both alive and dead. On the earth there follows the seven year Tribulation where God once again turns back to His chosen people Israel and redeems them. But what will the raptured church be doing?

A search of the New Testament reveals that there will be the “Bema” review of all church age believers where Jesus Christ bestows awards for serving Him during life. Romans 14:10–12 states, “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ…so then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:9–10 reads, “We make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ (Bema), that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 1 Corinthians 3:11–15 and 4:4–5 shed further light on Christ’s reviewing you and rewarding that which was done in His Name.

Whether this will take the entire seven year period of time is not addressed in the Scriptures, but what follows is the presentation of the bride of Christ, the church. Our text from Revelation reveals that just before the Lord returns to conquer the earth and inaugurate His Kingdom, His bride is made ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who sacrificed Himself on the cross of Calvary in order to purchase His own for Himself. He is the resurrected Savior and the Head of the church.

Every woman knows that of chief concern in a wedding is the bridal gown. The Bible reveals that the church will be arrayed in “fine linen, clean and bright,” being the righteous acts of the saints. Paul speaks to the church he founded in Corinth similarly in 2 Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” To the Ephesian church he says in 4:24–27, “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”

Revelation 19:9ff reveals that the bride of Christ (the church saints) will leave heaven and arrive on the earth at the inauguration of the one thousand year Kingdom where the marriage supper of the Lamb will take place. Guests invited to the celebration appear to be the new believers having freshly survived the tribulation and Old Testament luminaries such as resurrected Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David (Matthew 8:11, Luke 13:28). It is this future time the Lord referred to as He instituted the ordinance of Communion (Luke 22:16, 29–30).

Are you included in the number of the church age saints through faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ? How are your preparations of righteousness progressing for the marriage supper of the Lamb? Trust and obey.