At the conclusion of the seven plagues that punish the inhabitants of the world for their universal sin against God, John said, “I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand” (Revelation 19:1-2). This remarkable conclusion to the judgment of the world leads to the announcement of a marriage ceremony that is about to take place. John heard the voice of a great multitude saying, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints” (Revelation 19:7-8).
“The imagery of a wedding to express the intimate relationship between God and His people has its roots in the prophetic literature of the Old Testament…The fact that this marriage takes place in heaven implies that the church has been raptured previously” (note on Revelation 19:7). Immediately following the announcement of the Lamb’s wedding, the scene shifts and the bride and groom’s departure is depicted. John said, “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses” (Revelation 19:11-14, NKJV).
John’s reference to the armies in heaven following Christ as he goes into battle suggests that there might be a dual purpose to the Lamb’s marriage. It might represent both the unification of the body of Christ with Jesus, its head, and the restoration of fellowship between God and mankind. “Their robes of white indicate that the armies of heaven are the redeemed church — the bride of Christ — returning in triumph with her heavenly bridegroom” (note on Revelation 19:14). Apparently, the marriage supper takes place on Earth because John said, “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great” (Revelation 19:17-18).
Jesus’ parable of the marriage dinner indicated that the guests that were invited to the wedding wouldn’t come (Matthew 22:2-3). Therefore, Jesus said, “when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests” (Matthew 22:7-10, NKJV). Afterward, the king discovered a man that wasn’t wearing a wedding garment and he asked him, “‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:12-14, NKJV).
Jesus’ parable of the marriage dinner seems to indicate that the marriage of the Lamb is related to the millennial reign of Christ. The wedding guests might be the people that are left on the Earth at the end of the Great Tribulation and the marriage ceremony what actually takes place during that thousand year time period. At the conclusion of the Great Tribulation, just before Christ’s millennial reign starts, John stated, “And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh” (Revelation 19:19-21, NKJV).