Christian Churches of God
(Edition 3.0 19950925-19970830-20070913)
This paper deals with the two aspects of the Feast of Trumpets, the first being the return of Messiah. This phase goes on through the development of the Church to the Advent and millennial reign of Christ and the gathering of Israel. The second aspect is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Here the Gospel accounts are examined in detail and the sequence surrounding the marriage of Christ to the Church is discussed. The major factor of the nature of the wedding garment of the elect is of importance to all Christians.
Part 1: Return of the Messiah
Christ was sent into the world to save mankind by taking away the sin of the world (Mat. 1:21; Mat. 9:6; Mk. 3:28) as the lamb (Rev. 5:6-8). Christ came into the world to bear witness to the truth (Jn. 18:37). He was slain from the foundation of the world as an exercise of God's divine prescience (Rev. 13:8). His Kingdom is yet to come to the Earth. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of times for our sake (1Pet. 1:20).
Unless humanity believes that Christ is Messiah they will die in their sins (Jn. 8:24). Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures and he was buried and raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1Cor. 15:3-4), appearing to more than five hundred brethren (1Cor. 15:5-6). Christ was crucified and is risen (Mk. 16:6). On his resurrection he ascended to his Father and our Father and his God and our God (Jn. 20:17). He sits on God's right hand with angels, authorities and powers subject to him (1Pet. 3:22).
Christ was absent for a long period so that the full number of the elect could be brought out (Rev. 7:3). The Church developed over the period of the two thousand years to fulfil the Plan of Salvation. That plan was mirrored in the sequence of the candlesticks of the Temple of King Solomon (2Chr. 4:7ff.). There were ten candlesticks each with seven candles. These ten candlesticks represented the ten phases of the establishment of the Temple of God. The first of the candlesticks represented Messiah. The next seven represented the seven Churches under the angels of the seven Churches. The last two candlesticks represented the Two Witnesses who have power conferred on them directly from God.
The period prior to the return of the Messiah is marked by tribulation and apostasy. Christ gave the sequence in the Olivet prophecy. The sequence of the restoration is mirrored by the sequence of the Holy Days of Tishri. The 1st of Tishri is the Feast of Trumpets. This Feast heralds the arrival of Messiah. The period is then spread over some time, which is portrayed by the span of days in Tishri. This sequence was mirrored by the period of mourning for Moses prior to entering the Promised Land (Deut. 34:8). Moses’ life represented the three periods of two thousand years or 120 Jubilees. The period of thirty days at the end shows the time required for the establishment of the Millennium. Thus the phase from the Advent to the Reconciliation is symbolised by the period of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement.
The period from the Reconciliation to the establishment of the millennial system is symbolised by the period from Atonement to the first Holy Day of Tabernacles. The planet is prepared for this activity and that fact is symbolised by the collection which is to take place on the evening of the first Holy Day and which cannot be left until the morning (Ex. 23:19). Christ gave the sequence in Matthew 24:3-51, producing a general scenario within which God was to later give Revelation.
Matthew 24:3-8 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. (KJV)
This sequence commences the false religious structure of the first seal, which follows into the other seals of war, famine/pestilence and death. This aspect in Revelation 6:1-17 is developed in the series of papers on Tabernacles. Revelation 6:9-11 is dealt with in the next comment from Matthew 24:9ff.
Matthew 24:9-14 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (KJV)
Thus, the tribulation of the fifth seal is extended over a long period of time. It precedes the prophecy in Daniel referred to in verse 15ff. and goes on to cover the preaching of the Gospel in all the world.
Matthew 24:15-28 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. 23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. (KJV)
There is thus a long persecution and then a tribulation caused by war. The elect are persecuted, and then there arises under this last system a false religious structure such that it would deceive, if it were possible, the very elect. The next phase is that of the heavenly signs of the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-17. Matthew 24:29ff. says:
Matthew 24:29-51 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36 But of that day 37 and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, 48 That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 49 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come 51 in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (KJV)
The comment that “this generation would not pass away until these things were fulfilled” has a dual interpretation. Only one thing is sure, and that is that Christ was not referring to the generation of his day. If he were, then he is a false prophet and, hence, not the Messiah. The explanation has an extended and a specific meaning. A generation is forty years. Moses lived three generations or 120 years. This can equate to 120 Jubilees on a Jubilee-for-a-year basis (120 Jubilees covers six thousand years). The last phase of the life of Moses represented forty Jubilees or the last phase of the 6,000-year Plan of Salvation. Thus, Christ was saying that the last phase would see the Messiah at its close, and that the people alive at its close would not pass away. The third section itself would not pass away.
The third phase covers the period of two thousand years from the Jubilee in which Christ was born and the Jubilee in which he commenced his ministry and judged Judah under the Sign of Jonah (see the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13)). Christ was probably born between September 6 BCE and January 4 BCE (see the paper Christ’s Age at Baptism and the Duration of His Ministry (No. 19)). He could not have been born later than January 4 BCE in view of Herod’s death in March 4 BCE. He was thus born one complete time-cycle or nineteen years from the commencement of that Jubilee, that is, in about September 5 BCE. The year 1995, at Trumpets, thus commenced the phase which is two thousand years from the conception of John the Baptist and Messiah. Atonement of 1996, being also one time-cycle from the Jubilee of 1977/8, commemorated the fortieth Jubilee from the birth of Christ. The year 1996 also commemorated the 3,000th anniversary of David’s entry to Jerusalem. The period is thus charged with symbolism and prophetic significance.
Messiah commenced his ministry in 28 CE which was the year of return after the Jubilee of 27 CE, which, being the fifteenth year of the emperor Tiberius, saw John the Baptist commence his ministry. Christ did not commence his ministry until John had been put in prison after the Passover of 28 CE. The ministry of Messiah thus marked the new age from the commencement of the Jubilee. The forty-Jubilee period or two thousand years ends in 2027/8. The year 2028/9 commences the seventh millennium, which anciently was termed as the Period of Just Rule. The period from 1996 to 2025/6 is the thirty-year phase we associate with the life of Messiah. This period will see the Advent of Messiah and the subjugation of the planet. The Jubilee system requires a treble-harvest year prior to the seventh Sabbath of 2026/7 and the Jubilee year of 2027/8. The final period of the wars of the end and the Advent of Messiah thus commences from 1996 and continues to 2025/6. Messiah will have commenced to rule from Jerusalem from that date for the Millennium. The battles concerning the false prophet and the Beast, centred on Jerusalem, will likewise commence from 1996 onwards.
The last aspect of the last phase in this process – before the Earth is allowed to be harmed – is the judgment of the elect. The sequence was prophesied in Ezekiel 34. In the Last Days, the shepherds take care of themselves and not the sheep (Ezek. 34:4-5). The shepherds are then removed. Christ will judge the sheep by how they treat one another (Ezek. 34:17ff.). This can only be done properly by removing the shepherds. The removal and the judgment are referred to in Zechariah 11. Zechariah 11:3ff. notes the wail of the shepherds.
Zechariah 11:3-13 Hark, the wail of the shepherds, for their glory is despoiled! Hark, the roar of the lions, for the jungle of the Jordan is laid waste! 4 Thus said the LORD my God: "Become shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter. 5 Those who buy them slay them and go unpunished; and those who sell them say, 'Blessed be the LORD, I have become rich'; and their own shepherds have no pity on them. 6 For I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of this land, says the LORD. Lo, I will cause men to fall each into the hand of his shepherd, and each into the hand of his king; and they shall crush the earth, and I will deliver none from their hand." 7 So I became the shepherd of the flock doomed to be slain for those who trafficked in the sheep. And I took two staffs; one I named Grace, the other I named Union. And I tended the sheep. 8 In one month I destroyed the three shepherds. But I became impatient with them, and they also detested me. 9 So I said, "I will not be your shepherd. What is to die, let it die; what is to be destroyed let it be destroyed; and let those that are left devour the flesh of one another." 10 And I took my staff Grace and I broke it, annulling the covenant which I had made with all the peoples. 11 So it was annulled on that day, and the traffickers in the sheep, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the LORD. 12 Then I said to them, "If it seems right to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them." And they weighed out as my wages thirty shekels of silver. 13 Then the LORD said to me, "Cast it into the treasury" -- the lordly price at which I was paid off by them. So I took the thirty shekels of silver and cast them into the treasury in the house of the LORD. (RSV)
This text in Zechariah 11:3-13 is the prophecy concerning the destruction of the theocracy of Israel and the failure of the priestly system. The staff of grace was the covenant with Israel. Messiah was the Messiah of Aaron who would take the grace given to Israel and extend it to the Gentiles. Here the prophecy shows that the priesthood would destroy him and pay his betrayers thirty pieces of silver, and that the amount would be cast into the treasury. However, the money had to be removed because it was blood money. The thirty pieces of silver was seen contemptuously as the price of a slave (see Soncino, cf. Ex. 21:32), but it was also weighed out as one piece per entity of the Council of God. Also, the problems of the destruction of the three shepherds in one month is held by the Soncino to possibly refer to the three classes of rulers in Israel – namely, kings, priests and prophets (see the paper Measuring the Temple (No. 137)).
Thus the leadership of Israel is removed in one month. This period of one month is referred to in Hosea 5:7. This is the New Moon of the destruction.
Hosea 5:5-7 The pride of Israel testifies to his face; Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt; Judah also shall stumble with them. 6 With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the LORD, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them. 7 They have dealt faithlessly with the LORD; for they have borne alien children. Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields. (RSV)
The Soncino develops the commentaries which make various attempts to show who the three shepherds were. In the Talmud they were said to be Moses, Aaron and Miriam.
The advocates of a pre-exilic date identify them with the last kings of Israel: Zechariah, Shallum, and Menahem; or with the last three kings of Judah: Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah (rabbi Kimchi). The advocates of a Maccabean date think of certain high priests of the period: Jason, Lysimachus and Menelaus; or of Judas Maccabeus and his brothers Jonathan and Simon (rabbi Arbarbanel), who ruled the people for one month of years (i.e. thirty years). Driver remarks cautiously: “The allusion seems to be to some incident of the time, now unknown to us”. In one month is probably a formal term meaning a short time (cf. Hos. 5:7). The link to the time-frame of thirty years on a year-for-a day-basis is firmly fixed in the minds of the commentators. This is probably the basis of the identification of Moses, Aaron and Miriam as the three because of the first period of thirty days’ mourning. The year-for-a-day principle is identified with this prophecy. Thus we appear to be dealing with a period of thirty years when the shepherds are removed from the sheep and the sheep are given charge of themselves. This coincides with the tribulation and the period of the Advent.
This staff of grace would act as protection until the Time of the Gentiles was completed. Thus the wars of the end would take up from the completion of the prophecies concerning the times of the Gentiles. This was broken, removing the protection of Israel (see also Soncino).
Zechariah 11:14 Then I broke my second staff Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. (RSV)
Here the union between Israel and Judah is broken. The two aspects of the rulership are shown to be separated. We know that the Kingdom of God was taken from Judah and given to a nation showing the fruits of the Kingdom. Therefore, the breaking of the staff of Union required the ordination of the Seventy [plus two] (Lk. 10:1,17) as the new Sanhedrin and the new priesthood. This priesthood was to continue for many years until the final days. Then the Last Days would see the raising up of an idol shepherd (KJV).
Zechariah 11:15-17 Then the LORD said to me, "Take once more the implements of a worthless shepherd. 16 For lo, I am raising up in the land a shepherd who does not care for the perishing, or seek the wandering, or heal the maimed, or nourish the sound, but devours the flesh of the fat ones, tearing off even their hoofs. 17 Woe to my worthless [idol] shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword smite his arm and his right eye! Let his arm be wholly withered, his right eye utterly blinded!" (RSV)
The destruction of the sheep is seen as being a serious problem. The second part of this prophecy is found in Zechariah 13:7-9.
Zechariah 13:7-9 "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me," says the LORD of hosts. "Strike the shepherd, that the sheep may be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones. 8 In the whole land, says the LORD, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. 9 And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people'; and they will say, 'The LORD is my God."' (RSV)
This speaks of the Last Days. The sheep are scattered. Two thirds are to be cut off and one third left alive. The remaining third will be tried in the fire of tribulation. They will buy of the Lord gold that is refined in the fire. This is the period immediately prior to the coming of the Messiah. This final aspect of the fifth, sixth and seventh seals takes some thirty years to complete. During this period the entire nation of Israel, both physical and spiritual, is dealt with, having its leadership of princes, priests and prophets removed and its people killed. The remainder of that nation will be as young lions among the nations. This process is explained in the paper Measuring the Temple (No. 137). Over that thirty-year period Messiah will remove the world’s government and religious systems entirely – the kings, the priests and the false prophets.
Christ came first as the sacrifice for the redemption of sin. He did not come first as King Messiah, and this fact was misunderstood by the Jews of his day. They expected a conquering king (Mat. 27:11,29,37; Lk. 23:2-3,37-38; Jn. 19:14-16). Nevertheless, he was acknowledged by some through the Holy Spirit as the King of Israel (Jn. 1:49; 12:13-15), thus fulfilling prophecy (Zech. 9:9).
The restoration of the Bible system through the Advent of Messiah is found in Zechariah 14:4. Christ said by parable that he had to go away and then return (Lk. 19:12). Jesus will come again in power, accompanied by the Host of Heaven (Mat. 25:31) as King Messiah (Rev. 17:14). His coming will be clearly visible as lightning in the heavens (Mat. 24:27). He will reign in power with the resurrected saints (Rev. 20:4).
The Messiah will come to the Mount of Olives. With his elect he will establish his government. He will rebuild the Temple (Acts 15:16). He will reintroduce the biblical system including the annual Holy Day periods. All nations will be required to send their emissaries to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles or they will receive no rain in due season (Zech. 14:16-19). He will destroy the “man of sin” at his coming (2Thes. 2:8) and, subsequently, the world powers. The man of sin will come to power through the activity of Satan, with power and pretended signs and wonders (2Thes. 2:9). This apostasy is sent upon the Temple of God because they did not love the truth and so be saved. Therefore, God sends upon them a strong delusion to make them believe what is false, because they do not hold fast to the truth in the first place (2Thes. 2:10-12). The Lord will destroy this apostate system with the breath of his mouth and the appearance of his coming (2Thes. 2:8). This apostasy occurs among the elect so that if it were possible it would deceive even the very elect (Mat. 24:11,24).
The millennial reign of the Messiah is specifically mentioned in Revelation 20:2-7. The thousand-year period is referred to as a Millennium or Chiliad. Christ will establish a reign on this planet for a thousand years with the resurrected saints (Rev. 20:3-4). Satan will be bound for a thousand years and sealed in the bottomless pit or tartaros, the place of the fallen angels (2Pet. 2:4).
The saints – those beheaded for the Testimony of Jesus and the word of God, and those who had not worshipped the Beast and its image or received its mark on their foreheads or hands – will be resurrected and will reign with Christ for the thousand years (Rev. 20:4). This is the First Resurrection (Rev. 20:5). The rest of the dead do not come to life until the thousand years are ended (Rev. 20:5). This is the Second (or general) Resurrection.
During this thousand-year period, Christ will re-establish the Kingdom according to the biblical Laws he gave at Sinai. This will occur from the day that he stands on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4,6ff.). The nations will wage war against Jerusalem and will be destroyed (Zech. 14:12). Every one that survives of the nations shall go up every year to worship the Lord of Hosts and keep the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles (Zech. 14:16). The Sabbath and Holy Days will be mandatory and the Law will issue from Jerusalem.
At the end of the Millennium, Satan will be released again to deceive the nations over all the Earth (Rev. 20:7-8). They will again be gathered for battle, but will be destroyed by fire (Rev. 20:9); and then Satan will be destroyed. The general resurrection and the judgment will then occur (Rev. 20:13-15).
The coming will be with great signs and wonders, in power and great glory (Mat. 24:27,30; Rev. 1:7). Christ’s return will be obvious and accompanied by heavenly signs (Rev. 6:12). The powers will be shaken. The sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light (Mat. 24:29; Acts 2:20). He will be seated on the right hand of power and will come on the clouds of Heaven. God thus gives Christ power (Mat. 26:64; Mk. 14:62; Lk. 21:27; Acts 1:11).
Christ will come with the shout of the Archangel Michael and at the last trumpet blast (1Thes. 4:16-17; Rev. 11:15). When the Son of man comes with his angels in all his glory, to be glorified in his saints (2Thes 1:10), he will separate people and deal with them (Mat. 25:31-46).
The elect, the 144,000 and those of the Kingdom of God – those given the Holy Spirit through repentance and adult baptism, and keeping the Commandments – will be resurrected at Christ's coming. This is the First Resurrection. The rest of the dead will not live until the end of the Millennium. This is the Second Resurrection (Rev. 20:4ff.). The elect are the hope and reason for the coming of the Messiah (1Thes. 2:19; Rev. 22:20). The elect are to be established blameless in holiness ready for the coming of Christ and the Host (1Thes. 3:13; 1Thes. 5:23). The love of the truth is essential to be saved (2Thes. 2:10). The Lord will slay the wicked one at his return and at his appearing with the breath of his mouth (2Thes. 2:8). The Church is admonished to stay awake and not sleep because it does not know the hour the Lord comes (Mk. 13:35-37; Rev. 3:3,11). Christ returns in righteous judgment and makes war with all those who refuse to keep God's Commandments (Ps. 96:13; Rev. 19:11). Christ will return and deal with mankind for all its activities (Rev. 22:12).
Messiah will return to save the planet, not to destroy it. From the beginning of sorrows the persecution shall take place. The planet will destroy itself. Messiah will save the elect.
Matthew 24:9-22 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. (KJV)
Messiah will not destroy the world; he will come to prevent the process.
On the return of the Messiah, the elect and the survivors of physical Israel – some of whom will be used as priests – will be gathered to Jerusalem from the four corners of the Earth (Isa. 11:12; 66:19-21).
Isaiah 66:15-24 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many. 17 They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD. 18 For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. 19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. 20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. 21 And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD. 22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. 24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. (KJV)
This phase will see the re-establishment of the biblical religious system based on the ancient lunar calendar. Messiah will re-establish the Sabbaths, the New Moons and the Feasts as part of the restoration of the Law. This will be done by might and power through the armies of God.
Then we will go into the greatest phase of our history. The unbaptised survivors will be under total divine protection and they will grow up and develop Israel and the new world structure of the Millennium. These people will find it easy to enter into judgment in the Second Resurrection. The elect will become spirit beings over the process we now examine. This process is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Part 2: The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
1Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; 17 then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. (RSV)
The command of the Archangel (Michael) is the commencement of the intervention of the celestial Host in the affairs of mankind. It symbolises the end of the six thousand years under the fallen Host. This command precedes the First Resurrection of the dead; those of the elect who are termed dead in Christ. These people are the elect who are termed as fallen asleep (1Cor. 15:6,18; 1Thes. 4:13-15; 2Pet. 3:4). Together with those of the Church who are still alive at the coming of Messiah, they will go to be with Messiah at Jerusalem at his return.
This event is the long awaited reunion with the Messiah. In the Gospels it is termed the marriage supper. The marriage supper parables have much to say about the types of people who are involved in the Church and who constitute the elect.
The first analogy is that of the invited guests. The concept of the invited guests at the Day of the Lord is not a New Testament concept. It continues a prophecy in Zephaniah 1:7ff.
Zephaniah 1:7-18 Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is at hand; the LORD has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated his guests. 8 And on the day of the LORD'S sacrifice -- "I will punish the officials and the king's sons and all who array themselves in foreign attire. 9 On that day I will punish every one who leaps over the threshold, and those who fill their master's house with violence and fraud." 10 "On that day," says the LORD, "a cry will be heard from the Fish Gate, a wail from the Second Quarter, a loud crash from the hills. 11 Wail, O inhabitants of the Mortar! For all the traders are no more; all who weigh out silver are cut off. 12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are thickening upon their lees, those who say in their hearts, `The LORD will not do good, nor will he do ill.' 13 Their goods shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them." 14 The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter, the mighty man cries aloud there. 15 A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, 16 a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. 17 I will bring distress on men, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the LORD. In the fire of his jealous wrath, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full, yea, sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth. (RSV)
Thus, the guests are prepared for the Day of the Lord. The full and sudden end of the Earth, however, is preceded by the occupation of Jerusalem.
Luke 21:24-27 they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25 "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (RSV)
These heavenly signs are mentioned in the Old Testament in Isaiah and Joel.
Isaiah 13:10 For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising and the moon will not shed its light. (RSV)
Joel 2:10 The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. (RSV)
The signs in the heavens fall into a set sequence in the Book of Revelation termed the sixth seal.
Revelation 6:12-17 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale; 14 the sky vanished like a scroll that is rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the generals and the rich and the strong, and every one, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand before it?" (RSV)
The sixth seal of the heavenly signs signals that the persecution of the brethren is at an end. That persecution is shown from the fifth seal as being in two stages.
Revelation 6:9-11 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; 10 they cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?" 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (RSV)
Thus, the brethren in one persecution were told to wait for the sequence of the systematic slaying of their brethren in subsequent persecution or persecutions.
The Son of man is given the Kingdom, from Daniel 7:13-14.
Daniel 7:13-14 I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. (RSV)
Thus, the Son of man was presented to the Ancient of Days and to him was given the Kingdom of God. This is the sequence and position of Christ that cannot be understood in Trinitarianism.
The Kingdom is given to Christ and is seized in power and is accompanied by the destruction of the Earth systems. We saw this process in the paper The Fall of Egypt: the Prophecy of Pharaoh's Broken Arms (No. 36) from Ezekiel 32:1-8.
Ezekiel 32:1-8 In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, raise a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say to him: "You consider yourself a lion among the nations, but you are like a dragon in the seas; you burst forth in your rivers, trouble the waters with your feet, and foul their rivers. 3 Thus says the Lord GOD: I will throw my net over you with a host of many peoples; and I will haul you up in my dragnet. 4 And I will cast you on the ground, on the open field I will fling you, and will cause all the birds of the air to settle on you, and I will gorge the beasts of the whole earth with you. 5 I will strew your flesh upon the mountains, and fill the valleys with your carcass. 6 I will drench the land even to the mountains with your flowing blood; and the watercourses will be full of you. 7 When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens, and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. 8 All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you, and put darkness upon your land, says the Lord GOD. (RSV)
Thus there is a tribulation which precedes the heavenly signs and which involves the persecution of the elect.
Matthew 24:29-31 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; 30 then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; 31 and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (RSV)
The tribulation referred to in Matthew 24:29-31 is not the tribulation of the vials of the wrath of God noted in the seventh trumpet. This sequence is dealt with in the papers The Seven Seals (No. 140) and The Seven Trumpets (No. 141). The language of the Gospels somewhat disguises this sequence of tribulation. The parables of the guests will now be examined.
Matthew 22:1-14 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, `Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.' 5 But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, `The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.' 10 And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 "But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; 12 and he said to him, `Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, `Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.' 14 For many are called, but few are chosen." (RSV)
The invited guests were those of the holy people who did not accept the Messiah. The servants who sent the invitations were the prophets who were killed by the religious establishment of the day. The Pharisees understood that Christ spoke in relation to them and sought to trap him (Mat. 22:15) in order to kill him – as they have killed the prophets over the ages.
The Jews were thus kept from the exclusive privilege of the priesthood, and the Kingdom of God was extended to the Gentiles. The elect were thus composed of all nations, and they were also of both good and bad. The Body of the Church was not comprised of faultless people; they were not to stand in judgment of one another as they were called and as to how they were called.
The transition of the judgment passes from Levi to Dan at the Advent of Messiah. When Messiah establishes his rule in the Kingdom of God from Jerusalem, then the judgment will be established under the priesthood. Levi takes its part as one of the tribes of Israel within the 144,000. Dan is joined here with Ephraim as part of Joseph. However, the thirteenth element is passed from Levi to Dan in the Millennium and the judgment then vests in Dan in accordance with their birthright promises found in Genesis 49:16. Dan has to wait for Messiah to inherit this birthright, as we see from Genesis 49:18.
Genesis 49:16-18 Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. 17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. 18 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD. (KJV)
Dan becomes the thirteenth element as Levi was when Judah ruled. This changes with Messiah, as we see from Genesis 49:8-12.
Genesis 49:8-12 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. 9 Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. 11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: 12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. (KJV)
Thus, the gathering of the people shall be to Shiloh or Messiah. The rulership shall pass to Messiah and the judgment to Dan. Simeon and Levi had been dispersed among the tribes of Israel because of their cruelty. Nevertheless, they have their inheritance in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, being allotted 12,000 each of the 144,000. Likewise, Reuben was given his inheritance because of his clemency to Joseph in respect of his father Jacob’s love for Joseph. Reuben, whilst losing the birthright to Joseph, nevertheless protected him (Gen. 37:21-22,29-30).
The one categorical requirement with each of the guests is that there must be a wedding garment. This garment is also noted as a white robe of martyrdom, from Revelation 6:11 and also from Revelation 7:9-14.
Revelation 7:9-14 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!" 11 And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen." 13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, "Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?" 14 I said to him, "Sir, you know." And he said to me, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (RSV)
Thus, these came out of the great tribulation. They were perfected through tribulation and the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
The requirement to be at the wedding is also to be invited by God, as we note from the comment that many are called but few are chosen. This is covered in the paper Repentance and Baptism (No. 52). The parable of the wise and foolish virgins also demonstrates the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 25:1-13 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, `Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' 7 Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9 But the wise replied, `Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, `Lord, lord, open to us.' 12 But he replied, `Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. (RSV)
Betrothal is a quasi-marriage and certainly was in the Middle East at the time Christ spoke this parable. The betrothal to Christ is arranged by God, who gives the elect to Christ in marriage.
They are then required to prepare for their wedding. The oil lamps are the lamps of the Spirit. The oil is required to be charged. Those who took no oil with them are those who were not prepared through the baptism of the Holy Spirit on repentance. The vast majority of nominal Christians on this planet are not baptised. They have been deceived by the false religious teachers of the day. The action of the wise virgins was not selfish here, as the example is used to denote that salvation is an individual thing. Those who were ready went in to the marriage feast, and those who were not were shut out. The foolish virgins went to him and said, “Lord, Lord, open to us”. Christ said he did not know them. This is a specific charge on the elect to know Christ and the One True God who sent him (Jn. 17:3). That is the requirement for eternal life. If we do not know that Christ is not the One True God, we do not know Christ and he does not know us. We will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, even though we were given the first-fruits of the Kingdom of God on our betrothal. These foolish virgins were thus called but not chosen for the First Resurrection. They enter into their relationship in the Second Resurrection along with most of mainstream Christianity.
Christ said at Luke 6:46:
Luke 6:46-49 "Why do you call me `Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you? 47 Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great." (RSV)
Here we understand that the foundation of the calling rests on the word of God as given by Messiah. The Commandments are thus mandatory to one's position in the Kingdom under Messiah as Lord. It is not sufficient to merely call upon him as Lord.
Matthew 7:21-23 "Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.' (RSV)
Thus, the ability to prophesy and cast out demons is not enough. These things can be manifested also by Satan. The test is the execution of the Commandments and the Law.
The passage in Matthew 25:1-13 is explained by the subsequent text in Matthew 25:14-30.
Matthew 25:14-30 "For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. 17 So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, `Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' 21 His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, `Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' 23 His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, `Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' 26 But his master answered him, `You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.' (RSV)
The requirement is to discharge the duties placed upon us in the most efficient manner possible. It is not enough to simply be there. We must work. The use of the talents is as being given gold by Messiah. The Laodicean Church thinks that it is rich, but in fact it is not. Revelation 3:14-22 shows the condition of that church.
Revelation 3:14-22 "And to the angel of the church in Laodice'a write: `The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation. 15 "`I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'" (RSV)
This church is self-righteous. It thinks that it has all the wealth of the Kingdom and, in fact, it is spewed out of God's mouth. This church, except for some individuals, has to obtain wedding garments under trial.
Of all the churches, this last church is the weakest. Sardis of course is dead and thus its weakness is manifest. Materially powerful, Laodicea is crippled spiritually. When examined against the prophecies in Ezekiel 34 and Malachi 2:1ff., the church is obviously rejected by God. Thus the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is a source of great distress for this church. The white garments here seem to be bought by the fire of tribulation. They are enjoined to be zealous and repent. Repentance is the key deficiency of this church. The self-righteousness of its leadership blinds it. If this is the last era then it is in for another series of trials. The leadership of the last church era has the great apostasy present amongst its ministry.
There are four Church eras extant at the return of Messiah. From Revelation chapters 2 and 3, we can see that they are the remnant of the Thyatiran era, the remnant of the Sardis, the remnant of the Laodicean and the remnant of the Philadelphian Church. Both Sardis and Laodicea are either dead or spewed out of God’s mouth. In other words, both are rejected and only small numbers of their adherents are able to enter the Kingdom of God. Thus, individuals from these groups make the First Resurrection but their ministry and theology are unacceptable to God.
At the coming of Messiah, it is necessary for him to slay the man of sin. The man of sin is depicted as being in the Temple of God. Thus, at the very least, he is a senior Christian figure. The elect do not accept that mainstream Christianity is the Temple of God. The false religious system is the whore. Thus, it becomes apparent that a church of the Last Days must contain the figure we understand as the man of sin. The sheep, however, are scattered and a messenger is appointed in the Last Days to tear the sheep out of the hands of the shepherds and give them to govern each other so that they might be judged. This process is termed the Measurement of the Temple. This is examined in the paper Measuring the Temple (No. 137).