“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son …the wedding feast was filled with guests. But when the king came in to view the guests, he looked intently at a man there who had no wedding garment. And he said, Friend, how did you come in here without putting on the [appropriate] wedding garment? And he was speechless (muzzled, gagged). Then the king said to the attendants, Tie him hand and foot, and throw him into the darkness outside; there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. For many are called (invited and summoned), but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:1, 10-13 AMP).
The first thing that I would like to point out is that the wedding guest, who was thrown out of the wedding banquet, was called “friend” by the king. When I search the Bible, I see that only believers are called friends:
“He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice” (John 3:29 NKJV).
According to these Scriptures, this friend of God believed Him and rejoiced greatly at the Jesus’ voice. It can be likened to a person receiving God’s invitation by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ; and they also probably RSVPed to the wedding invitation by rejoicing at the bridegroom’s voice saying, “Come Lord Jesus! Come!” But they were not prepared. (See “Here Comes the Bride – Part 2” http://wp.me/p158HG-tp .) They did not make themselves ready. They were not appropriately clad in wedding clothes.
We can have faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We can have hope in His coming, but unless we demonstrate our love for God and one another, the Bible says that it profits us nothing (1 Cor. 13:2). “But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:10, 12-13 NKJV). Faith and hope are necessary components to our Christian walk, but they only get us two-thirds of the way down our bridal path. The final, and most challenging, leg of our bridal journey leads us unto perfection. The manifestation of perfection is love:
“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself ” (Matthew 22:36-39).
“Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of peace” (Colossians 3:14 NASB).
“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:1-6 NASB).
“This is My commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:12-15 NKJV).
The friends, who do whatever the Lord commands, are being clothed with fine, clean, bright linen so they can attend the marriage and banquet of the Lamb. Remember it’s the righteous acts of the saints, which creates the fine linen that attires the bride and the wedding guests. These are not good deeds we initiate showing the Lord how much we love him.
We have all been there, done that, even bought the T-shirt when it comes to acting as an immature believer. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Cor. 13:11 NKJV). By the way, bridal attire is worn by those who choose to move unto perfection (i.e. maturity) manifesting His endless, unfailing love.
Let me re-iterate: “the righteous acts of the saints” are not acts, deeds, or works we have decided on our own to do. The Lord initiates them and they coincide with His Word. That means if the Bible says, “love your neighbor as yourself,” live your life abiding by that standard. We are to live our lives by the principles expressed in the Word of God, but we are also supposed to ask Him if any particular action is of Him and should we do it.
Once a person consistently makes submitting to the Lord of Love a habit, maturing believers begin to just flow in His will and His way without the need of constantly asking Him. Communication is still necessary. It’s like when a married couple knows one another so well that not only do they finish one another’s sentences, they also know what actions will please or not please each other. The two have become one.
Yes, we are to cloth the naked, feed the hungry, look after widows and orphans; but we are finite and we can only be in one place at a time. If we are spending our time trying to please Him without asking the Lord what will actually please him at that exact moment in time, we will probably miss the perfect mark of doing what He did. “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19).
Many words can describe bridal character, but there seems to be one word, which is unusually fit or qualified to describe it. That word is yieldedness. When we yield to Love, it means we surrender and submit ourselves to another (i.e. our Beloved). We relinquish possession of ourselves. We give the Lord whatever He requires as rightfully owed, rendering it as is fitting to our good and benevolent King of Kings. We are willing to give up our lives’ breath. We literally hand over control to Him so we can bear eternal fruit as a natural product of abiding in Him. Our yieldedness to the Lord of Love will actually determine the amount, quality, and return of our produce.
The inappropriately dressed friend of the king in Matthew 22:12 is a believer, who has hope that the Messiah will come again. This friend probably heard what the Father is doing, because this sentiment coincides with Scripture, which says the Lord calls those who believe and hear Him His friend. But the king’s friend did not obey His instructions. This friend of the bridegroom heard, but did not do what the Lord commanded.
Don’t forget that Jesus called Judas Iscariot “friend” at His betrayal (Matt. 26:49-50). Judas believed that Yeshua was the Messiah. He believed in His coming kingdom. But Judas leaned on his own understanding and tried to force the issue of Jesus becoming Israel’s conquering king before His time. No one would argue that Judas didn’t do things God’s way.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (Jam.1:22 NKJV). Please note that hearing comes before doing. Our relationship with the Lord comes before our responsibility, but equally our relationship does not negate our responsibilities. (If you don’t know how to hear God’s voice yet, take time to learn. He is faithful and will teach you. All you need to do is set your heart to the task of hearing the Lord’s voice, spend time in His presence, and let Him guide you. I know I simplified the whole process of hearing God’s voice. Whole books have been written to help you do just that. I know that hearing God’s voice is a lot easier said than done, but the rewards are out-of-this world!)
Let us remember that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; but it does not stop there. In the end, love will remain. Another way to say this is: living and active faith results in righteous acts. Deeds and actions are the true measure of anyone’s substance.
“… their words and deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence” (Isaiah 3:8 NIV).
“Even a child is known for his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right” (Proverbs 22:11 NIV).
I believe that Christians in America need to become more balance between our having faith in Jesus and obeying His commandments (Rev.14:12). It’s obvious to the most casual observer that our pendulum needs to be corrected on the “doing” side. Please understand that legalistic behavior is not what I am promoting here. The “Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there – so that they will go and fall backward, be injured and snared and captured” (Isa. 28:13). No! I repeat. I am promoting living our lives in love towards God and our fellow man.
I have been taught that all believers will be at the wedding feast of the Lamb. That may be true. All believers are part of God’s family; but I don’t want to be simply invited. I want to be a precious component of the bridal company that will ultimately be married to the King of Kings. Wouldn’t you rather be in the thick of the festivities? It’s going to be a whole lot of fun!
I believe that the Matthew 22 passage may refute the idea of total inclusiveness for wedding participants: the bride and guests, which may be one and the same (who knows). All believers need to re-examine the Scriptures and seek the Spirit of Truth to see what God is saying. The one thing that I do know is that the Bridegroom and the King will have the last say on who attends the marriage supper of the Lamb, and I don’t want to be left out! The only way I know of to be sure of being at the wedding banquet is to sell out completely. To love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength; and my neighbor as myself.
Due to this lack of inclusiveness idea for the marriage feast being different than the church’s previous paradigm, plus the possibility of controversy, I’d like to bring some additional scriptural evidence to the table. The famous Christian apologist, Josh McDowell, calls his supporting facts “evidence that demands a verdict.”
First and foremost is the classic bridal passage of Matthew 25:1-13. Ten virgins are waiting for the Bridegroom, but only the five wise virgins with oil in their lamps went into the wedding banquet with the Bridegroom. “The virgins who were ready went in with Him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut” (Matt. 25:10). Tragically, those five foolish bridal candidates (i.e. believers) never got into the wedding supper of the Lamb.
SANCTIFICATION – CLEAN HANDS & PURE HEARTS
First Corinthians 10:11 tells us: “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” What things? Passing through the Red Sea, eating manna, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It’s what happened to the Israelites in the wilderness after they left Egypt, which is spoken of throughout the Old Testament, especially the first five books of the Bible. Jesus and His disciples taught from the Old Testament and so did Paul. If it’s good enough for Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul, it’s good enough for Jesus’ followers too.
Notice that the wedding guest with an inappropriate wedding garment in Matthew 22:13 was tied hand and foot. This is our clue that leads us to the portable tabernacle in the wilderness. The priests washed their hands and feet in the temple laver before they entered the tent where they met God. “You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it.” (Exo.30:18 NASB).
Many Christian Bibles call the temple laver the brazen laver. This is a misnomer for it was actually made of copper. The copper laver was an open circular basin that was set upon a copper base. The Hebrew Sage Rashi said it had two spouts at the bottom through which the water would flow keeping it from becoming stagnant. In the Hebrew language the term “for washing” carries the idea that the laver was “for sanctification;” therefore the actual purpose for the priests washing their hands and feet was for holiness and sanctity rather than cleanliness (Ex. 30:17-21).
The hands and feet represent the upper and lower extremities of the human body. By sanctifying their appendages, it was symbolic of the servants of the Lord’s total devotion to the service they were engaged in. It set apart their acts as righteous. A most literal picture of this is presented to us in Exodus 30:19. The Hebrew Sage Or HaChaim said that the conjunction in the phrase “their hands together with their feet” (Ex. 30:19) indicated that the hands and feet must be washed at the same time. Consequently, the right hand was placed on the priest’s right foot and washed together at the same time, followed by his left hand together with his left foot. Concentration and balance were key to accomplishing this hand-foot sanctification feat. Try it some time in your bathtub. I had the kids in my Children’s Church class try to do this by simply standing next to their chairs. It was a lot more difficult than they thought and funny too. It’s quite the image of proper service to God requires all of a body’s faculties, and those faculties must be directed toward the same goal.
The laver was not made of copper from the regular contributions. The laver was made exclusively from the brightly polished sheets of copper that women used as mirrors in Egypt (Ex. 38:8). When the call went out for freewill contributions, devout women, who used to come to Moses’ tent to sit at his feet like Mary did with Jesus, came with their copper mirrors and piled them up at Moses’ dwelling, which was the God’s dwelling place prior to the tent of meeting being built (Ex. 33:7).
Moses was said to be reluctant to accept such gifts for the tabernacle due to his initial thinking that the mirrors had been used to incite lust. The story goes that God told Moses that he was wrong, because these very mirrors had been instrumental in saving the nation. In Egypt, when the men came home exhausted every night from heavy labors, their wives used these mirrors to get all dolled up to entice their husbands to continue normal martial relations. Thanks to these brightly, polished copper mirrors, legions of Jewish children were born.
God not only told Moses to accept these precious mirrors, but they were to be used exclusively to fabricate the laver. The Bible doesn’t give the specific size of the laver due to that fact that every single mirror had to go into fashioning it — no matter how big it would become.Of note, these devout women could no longer gaze upon themselves with any vanity, because they had to fix their eyes upon the laver to see themselves. The laver represents bridal lovers fixing their eyes upon the Author and Perfecter of their faith (Heb. 12:2).
The extreme reach of the body of Christ should be set apart for a sacred purpose. The farthest boundary of the One New Man in Christ should be free from sin due to our special tie (i.e. connected relationship) with Jesus. The word “tie” is from the Greek verb deo, which means“to bind.” It has many nuances. We can think of the concept of being restrained by authority, influence, agreement, or obligation. We can also think of a special tie that binds people together romantically. A marital tie binds two people together physically, mentally, and spiritually. If our lives yield to the Lord of Love and His sacred purposes, then we will not be tied hand and foot to be thrown out of the wedding feast. I sought the Lord about what it means that one of his friends would be cast outside for not having the proper clothing, and I believe that He told me: Once the friend saw the glory of the wedding feast, “outside” the feast would appear as darkness for he or she would weep at glimpsing, yet not being able to partake of the marriage feast. It is noteworthy that this place outside the wedding feast is also assigned to hypocrites – where people’s actions don’t line up with their words (Matt. 24:51).
A friend told me about a confirmation of this revelation. It’s in Rick Joyner’s book – The Final Quest: “This great multitude are those whom the Lord called ‘foolish virgins.’ We knew the Lord, and trusted in His cross for salvation but we did not really live for Him, but for ourselves. … The grief that we experienced when we understood how we had so wasted our lives was beyond any grief possible on earth. … Such darkness is magnified when it is revealed next to the glory of the One we failed. … There is no greater folly than to know the great salvation of God, but to then go on living for yourself.” Please don’t forget that we are talking about unrepentant or willful sin. The Lord’s awesome mercy, incredible grace, and humbling forgiveness is available to all of us, but one day, perhaps even today, each one of us will meet His Maker and we will be giving an account.
Psalms 24:3-4 tells us that only people with clean hands and a pure heart, who do not lift up their soul to an idol, can ascend to where God dwells. “These are the ones who are allowed to stand before the Lord and worship the God of Jacob” (Ps. 24:6 NLB). The Bible re-iterates time and again that divine love is expressed through self-sacrificial service. All of God’s people are called to show they really love God by loving our neighbors. If a person’s hands and feet are immobilized being tied together, it signifies the antithesis of being united in marriage devotedly loving and serving your spouse.
For Yeshua’s attendants (i.e. ones who performed pleasing service on the Lord’s behalf) to be directed by Him to tie up the hands and feet of the friend with the unsuitable wedding clothing that person had to have not served the Lord in an acceptable manner.
“Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. …Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matt. 25:34-36, 40 NKJV).
Copyright Dec. 31, 2012 – Author: Robin Main.
The information in this article and more details can be found in Chapter 10 “Here Comes the Bride” in my book: SANTA-TIZING: What’s wrong with Christmas and how to clean it up (available on amazon http://www.amazon.com/SANTA-TIZING-Whats-wrong-Christmas-clean/dp/1607911159/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353692179&sr=1-1&keywords=SANTA_TIZING).
 I am just affirming the validity of the Old Testament for it is as much the Word of God as the New Testament. Some Christians have sought to minimize or invalidate its value, which is in actuality slicing and dicing (i.e. taking away from) the Word of God.
 Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, c. 1040-1105).
 Scherman, The Chumash, 486.
 Harris, Harris, Archer, and Waltke; Theological Word book of the Old Testament: “2150 רָחַץ (rāḥaṣ) wash. With Times New Roman the transliteration might be more like: rachats. Derivatives 2150a רַחַץ (raḥaṣ) washing (Ps 60:10; 108:10). 2150b רַחצָה (raḥṣâ) washing (Song 4:2; 6:6). The initial occurrence is Gen 18:4, with over forty-eight occurrences in the Pentateuch, twenty-six in Lev. Among the parts of the body ritually rinsed were: the face (Gen 43:31); the hands (Ex 30:19, 21); the body (Lev 17:16); the feet (Gen 18:4ff). In the Levitical rituals the flesh of sacrificial animals was washed (Lev 1:9 et al.). This washing would normally take a great deal of water and perhaps suggests that Solomon’s great brazen sea was used as a reservoir for such water as well as for other rituals. Several interesting uses of the term appear in Song of Solomon giving details on Israelite cosmetology. The root rāḥaṣ describes the ritual foot washing (5:3) and an eye washing with milk (5:12). A similar usage of washing for romantic appeal appears in Ruth 3:3. But the much more serious use of the root is reserved for the notion of its representing the cleansing from sin (Isa 1:16; 4:4). It is this meaning which is carried throughout Ezek. (16:4, 9; 23:40) and on into the nt in the baptism of John and of Jesus. The nt has a number of references to the ot practices (Jon 2:6; Mt 15:2; Heb 9:10 etc.)”
 Scherman, The Chumash, 487: “Together with their feet. The conjunction ta,indicates that the hands and feet must be washed at the same time (Or HaChaim). Consequently, the Kohen places his right hand on his right foot and washes them, and then follows the same procedure with his left hand and foot (Rashi from Zevachim 19b). ”
 Ibid., 527
 They prayed there and listened to the teachings of God.
 Joyner, The Final Quest, 89