You have reached the portion of our website explaining the apostasy of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). Start here if you do NOT have a WCG background.
- “Anoint Your Eyes” – Christ’s Warning to His People
- The True Church – One Organization, or Many?
- The Government of God – Understanding Offices and Duties
- The Work of God – Its Final Chapter!
- Why The Restored Church of God? – Should You Join?
- I Will Send Elijah to Restore All Things
- Should Accusers Be Answered?
- Is “That Prophet” Alive Today? – The Rise of False Prophets
- There Came a Falling Away
- Surviving “Perilous Times”
Founder and Pastor General of The Restored Church of God, Editor-in-Chief of The Real Truth magazine, and voice of The World to Come program, David C. Pack has reached many millions around the globe with the most powerful truths of the Bible—unknown to almost all. He has authored 80 books and booklets, personally established over 50 congregations, and appeared as a guest on The History Channel. Mr. Pack attended Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, entered the Worldwide Church of God ministry in 1971, and was personally trained by its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong.Learn more
The Wedding Supper Is NOT in Heaven!
If you read this entire article, you will never again believe the marriage to Christ and the wedding supper are in heaven. You will also wonder how anyone could believe they will be—never mind that “evangelists” could have fallen for it. But these are the same “evangelists” who recently got sucked into the Protestant view of the “falling away” of II Thessalonians 2:3 being a future worldwide rebellion against God led by the man of sin. They are the same “evangelists” who also copied and now subscribe to the popular evangelical Protestant belief in a seven-year agreement, beginning with a three-and-a-half-year covenant/treaty signed between the Beast and the modern Mid-east nation of Israel—incredibly, these “evangelists” can no longer discern in Daniel 9:27 the difference between Jesus Christ and the anti-christ. They are the same “evangelists” who have also slipped into the widely accepted Protestant position taught to them by the Tkaches (not Mr. Armstrong or the Bible) that the Body of Christ, headed by an undivided Jesus Christ, is today made up of many disagreeing “branch” organizations—and that it is no longer one unified organization. They are the same “evangelists” who have forced their “Jesus” into their gospel. But then again, they are the same “evangelists” who have REJECTED Mr. Armstrong as the end-time Elijah, along with MANY of the other “less attractive” doctrines he taught and proved straight from the Bible.
Coming Wedding Supper
The Bible foretells the “marriage of the Lamb,” followed by “the wedding supper,” after the saints in the First Resurrection are born into the kingdom of God as Spirit members of the God Family. That these plainly prophesied events occur, and right after the First Resurrection, is not subject to debate, since the Bible explicitly mentions them. What is debated among people of wrong thinking has come to be their exact time and location.
Herbert W. Armstrong spent little if any time emphasizing when and where the wedding supper would take place because God’s Word does not make these questions important. (It is plain, however, when and where it will be.) He clearly understood that what is most important for God’s people is to live in a way that will ensure our presence at this event—yielding to God and building His holy, righteous character, and holding to all of His truths. Neglecting to live God’s Way and letting His truth slip away eliminates any need for concern about details of a marriage and supper ONE WILL NOT ATTEND! Again, THAT IS IMPORTANT. But knowing every detail of its location or exact timing is less important. Whether you reject the facts—the truth of God’s Word on this subject as you see it—also becomes important.
Grasp this! Getting caught up in any false doctrine, including absurd theories on the marriage/wedding supper, directly affects whether you will be there! You need not be deceived. Careful study of the Bible completely eliminates heaven as a possibility of the wedding supper location.
Birth of a Theory
The idea for a heavenly wedding supper was born around Pentecost 1981, and began with a pastor, Harold Smith, then in East St. Louis, Illinois (now in Washington state). This man leads a prophecy-oriented tape ministry. I personally told Ministerial Services at Headquarters (and Mr. Armstrong was made aware) that he had preached this theory without permission.
As an historical aside, I became involved in this matter in Buffalo, New York, in about 1982 when one of this man’s “disciples” preached this idea there while on vacation in Buffalo visiting his parents. I called Ministerial Services and was assured that the author of the idea would be reprimanded, and the visiting minister sent a written apology that I read from the pulpit. Note that Harold Smith is the same man who first preached Dr. Herman Hoeh’s private belief that the final Elijah was not Mr. Armstrong, but rather one of the Two Witnesses. Dr. Hoeh and Harold Smith played no small role in seducing Rod Meredith into rejecting Mr. Armstrong as the final Elijah. It is not surprising that Rod Meredith and Dick Ames have leapt deeper into Harold Smith’s arms on the matter of the wedding supper. (To understand the significance surrounding this great, end-time prophetic role and who fulfilled it, read my book I Will Send Elijah to Restore All Things.)
False Doctrine Develops
Like so many other false ideas lying dormant in minds that had been told to put them away, with Mr. Armstrong now gone, the wedding-supper-in-heaven concept began growing in momentum shortly after his death. Although the apostate leaders were not the first to introduce the idea, they did not restrain its return, but subtly capitalized on it to help condition Worldwide Church of God (WCG) members to accept “going to heaven” theology. It meshed perfectly with their doctrinal agenda.
The pattern of the apostates, with the spirit of the devil guiding them, was, throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, to use this kind of subtlety for importing bigger carefully crafted Protestant doctrines into the WCG. Their ideas were introduced in staged increments—until most brethren bought into their concepts and allowed themselves to be led back completely into this world’s false Christianity.
After the apostates presented the full-blown theology of “people going to heaven when they die,” there was no more use for this transitional doctrine of “the wedding supper being in heaven” in the WCG, but the issue continued looming larger for some who remembered the excitement generated when it first appeared.
The idea resurfaced in the splinters around 1995-96, again from Harold Smith, who at that time became a Global Church of God (GCG) minister. Global’s leader, Rod Meredith, tried hard to rein him in before the group split in late 1998, but failed. The heresy spread. Ever greater numbers began to sign on to this false concept beyond the 1990s.
More recently, the Living Church of God (LCG), Meredith’s corporate continuation of Global, has now adopted this idea as an official teaching. Incredibly, Rod Meredith has now collapsed into the very heresy of which he once sought to rid Global. That other LCG ministers are said to have “vetted it” is its own sad statement about how far they have fallen with their leaders. May some of them wake up before it is too late.
I sat in the GCG Council of Elder meetings—every one of them—where this (with other related Smith ideas) was discussed and rejected. Rod Meredith (and the whole Council) once stood firmly against it, well aware that it was wrong—and long understood to be so. Yet today an article by Richard F. Ames titled “The Saints Will Stand Before God’s Throne in Heaven,” in the Sept-Oct 2012 Living Church News, presents this doctrine, repackaged with several supposed “proofs.”
A Proper Focus
Before this speculation took hold, emphasis had rightly been on qualifying to be part of the First Resurrection. Mr. Armstrong wisely avoided much speculation on what the saints would be doing immediately after being changed to spirit.
Proponents of these errors actually believe that God’s Word is not explicit on where the saints go immediately after the First Resurrection. It is true that a very tiny bit of time elapses between the First Resurrection and “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14-16; Zech. 14:1-2), when Christ and His saints vanquish the armies gathered to oppose His Return. These are just two of MANY SPECIFIC EVENTS that occur in rapid-fire fashion in the climactic 24-hour period known as “that great day” (Rev. 16:14). You will soon learn more of the truly fascinating details of this.
However, every detail of the immediate duties of these newly born Spirit beings is not revealed. The Bible simply does not contain every element of “who, what, where, when, why and how” that the new members of God’s Family carry out when they arrive into that Family! The apostle Paul recorded, “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (I Cor. 13:12).
But the Bible does say more about the first day of our salvation than most have realized. Again, you will see this.
Let’s understand a little more. There are certain things—some are details—that God has chosen not to reveal: “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). We are held accountable to act on knowledge and understanding God has revealed to us. To excessively speculate about what He has not revealed is an exercise in futility—a waste of time!
Many among God’s people of the seventh era have become confused on a host of prophetic events, as well as the sequence in which they fall. The speed, sequence, timing and magnitude of oncoming prophetic events are being/have been lost to thousands. Many just cannot any longer recall—keep straight—within prophecy what happens when, as well as where and to whom—and why. The wedding-supper-in-heaven theory is but the tip of the “prophecy confusion iceberg.” But it has played its own role in causing people to become even more prophetically disoriented—while focusing them on “gnats” when they are surrounded by a herd of prophetic “camels” they can no longer see clearly. While falsely claiming to be following the admonition to “grow in grace, and…knowledge” (II Pet. 3:18), as was done with the new LCG “falling away” heresy, the seducers leading LCG have their members kneeling in the sand, bent over, examining a prophetic “gnat”—fictional at that—when an on-rushing stampede of prophetic “camels” is about to TRAMPLE AND CRUSH THEM TO DEATH!
This article clears up confusion and exposes the many false teachings surrounding the subject.
Convoluted Thinking and Teaching
Keep in mind that the reasoning employed by these deceivers is terribly convoluted. In order to uphold their position, they must twist, spin and butcher numerous prophetic details and other passages. In a sense, the reader will find they build a house of cards that folds under scrutiny. Countering their errors requires us to first present their faulty ideas, before proceeding to debunk them using plain scriptures.
Throughout this article, keep Isaiah 28:9-13 in mind. This passage admonishes that the truth of any scripture is usually revealed by other scriptures, because the Bible is written “precept upon precept…line upon line…here a little, and there a little,” so that those whose minds are not opened to understanding will stumble in their quest for solutions. Those who are “weaned,” or spiritually mature (I Cor. 3:1-2), are to seek the truth by following this passage, allowing the Bible to interpret itself.
Because the maze of individual false teachings that constitute this overall heresy is so complex, a lengthy and detailed rebuttal has to follow. Believe me, I would rather not put in the work of writing nearly 14,000 words. But to help God’s people it is worth it. This means first covering the subject as it developed over 30 years ago to see how it “grew legs”—and to understand all that LCG seemed to not know about (but could have) when they fell into their conclusion. What LCG asserts today forms the last section of the article, largely useless without the foundation of the first sections. To be fully inoculated against the theory, the reader must take the time to read the whole article!
Dick Ames’ article did not attempt a lengthy, sophisticated approach to LCG’s heresy. Rather he threw out a few shallow thoughts, and jumped to the end-game—declaring almost by simple assertion, “The wedding supper is in heaven.” To really take apart and reject the falseness of this idea requires a more thorough approach, one that helps the reader see from every perspective how truly wrong is the idea. It also makes clear why more is at stake in getting this teaching right than first meets the eye. There is a duty to bring this thorough approach.
Finally, again understand. This article covers a difficult subject—one made much more difficult than it ever needed to be because of the many convolutions of thought invented to propel it. If the first half of the article seems difficult to understand, be encouraged, recognizing we are trying to simplify something made unnecessarily complex. Be patient with the manner in which the topic is addressed. The fog lifts most in the article’s second half. (Two reads may be necessary.)
One Direct Reference—Two Parables
The wedding supper, which follows the marriage of Christ to His Church, only appears in Revelation 19: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has 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 saints. And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said unto me, These are the true sayings of God” (vs. 7-9).
This passage constitutes the one—the only—direct reference to this glorious upcoming event!
Let’s now review passages related to the wedding supper, and how these scriptures are interpreted by some in the splinters. The wedding supper appears in two parables. While God’s Church has always understood that the purpose of parables is not to make a doctrine more clear, but rather to hide the meaning from those not called at this time (Matt. 13:10-17), there is some meaning in these parables.
Consider Luke 14:16-24. This parable speaks of a great supper, and seems obviously to reference the wedding supper. It is hard to see Luke 14 in any other context. The focus there is that, because many failed to comprehend the tremendous honor offered them, the invitees dismissed the invitation to this awesome occasion. They fell into excuse-making for declining to attend. The master of the house was justifiably angry, and sought substitute guests to fill the empty seats. Those originally invited were banned from ever being involved. There is powerful meaning today for those who think it “no big deal” to slip into this, that or the other false doctrine or doctrines, and still hope to attend.
Do not miss the point. Do any think that even one true Christian would overtly state to God, “I do not want to come to Your wedding supper. I do not want to marry Jesus Christ”? Of course not! It is other things that seduce them—subtly confuse them—into declining what they thought they had continued to accept. GET THIS! As with Deuteronomy 30:19—where God sets “life and death” and “blessing and cursing” before His people—everyone thinks they are choosing life. No one thinks they are choosing death. It is how people live and what they believe that ultimately “chooses” LIFE—or “chooses” DEATH!
Luke 14 primarily pictures the Christian calling. The wedding supper almost certainly merges into its meaning, since being called and chosen eventually leads to that event. The parable has special meaning to those called in this present age—the firstfruits. Sadly, most fail to recognize the parable’s profound meaning, and the seriousness of their calling.
The Second Parable
Luke 14 is often considered a summary of Christ’s more extensive parable in Matthew 22:1-14. This parable certainly does not state, or even remotely imply, that the wedding supper occurs in heaven. The main emphasis is that many people are called to be in God’s kingdom, but few in the end respond to their calling. Few will commit to developing righteous, godly character (symbolized by wedding garments), thus few are deemed worthy by God to join the supper.
As in Luke 14, many guests took their invitation lightly, making excuses for their absence. But Matthew 22 includes another element—guests who conspire to kill some of the king’s servants. This is a sobering thought: some initially called (invited as guests) could resort to murdering the king’s (God’s) faithful (true) servants! Hate(ful attack) is also murder.
After alternate guests were called to replace those who declined, yet another element is introduced: One replacement guest lacked a “wedding garment,” and had to be cast out. If this parable references a wedding in heaven, no human being could “crash it.” Only those who had qualified and become spirit could ascend to be present. Those who misinterpret the parable in this way miss the point.
Some try to explain the presence of the man without a wedding garment by saying he must have been a demon—one with access to heaven (Job 1:6; I Kgs. 22:20-23). Were this true, God would be calling a wicked spirit “friend.” And, you will learn later that, by this point, Satan and his demons will have already been bound, anyway.
Also, Revelation 12:7-13 shows that Satan and his demons will have been “cast out into the earth” at a point some years before the Church is even taken to a Place of Safety—well before Christ’s Return. Demons are not allowed back into heaven after this event: “neither was there place found [for them] any more in heaven” (Rev. 12:8).
Predictably, when hemmed in with logic and scripture, the proponents of the wedding-in-heaven theory retreat to additional theorizing. In this case, they like to respond, “This is a parable. It can’t parallel what will take place in every respect.” They must say this because otherwise the parable disproves their position.
Certain spiritual principles of the Christian calling, which lead to being part of the First Resurrection and this great feast, are evident in the parable. Appreciating our calling and never making light of it, as well as supporting (rather than attacking or opposing) God’s servants and representatives, is crucial. Intense preparation and having a “clean wedding garment” is also crucial. Qualifying involves making oneself “ready” (Matt. 24:44; Luke 12:40)—worthy of that honor.
These are the lessons to take from these parables. They do not show the marriage or wedding supper to be in heaven.
At the Seventh Trumpet
To fully appreciate the context of the wedding supper, let’s ask: “When will the First Resurrection take place?” First notice I Corinthians 15: “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (vs. 51-52). Our change to incorruptible spirit occurs at the last trumpet. This is basic.
Now I Thessalonians 4: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (vs. 15-17).
Both passages plainly show the resurrection occurs at the last trump, at Christ’s Return. This is impossible to miss.
Matthew 24 reveals more: “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. 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” (vs. 30-31). Here, Christ appears in the clouds and sends His angels to “gather” the elect—both the saints in the grave and those surviving at the Place of Safety. This again ties the resurrection to the last trump.
The Trumpets Summarized
To establish when the seventh trumpet sounds, we need an overview to appreciate the order of events.
In Revelation 6, the first four seals (often called the “four horsemen of the apocalypse”) are introduced, followed by the fifth seal (the Great Tribulation and martyrdom of the final era of God’s people) and the sixth seal (the heavenly signs, accompanied by a great earthquake).
The seventh seal appears in Revelation 8: “When He [Christ] had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets” (vs. 1-2).
The seventh and final seal consists of the seven trumpets or trumpet plagues. The first six of the trumpets are discussed in chapters 8 and 9, summarized here as Mr. Armstrong and the Church have always understood them:
(1) A third part of trees and vegetation is burned up
(2) A third part of the sea becomes blood
(3) A third part of the rivers and freshwater becomes poisoned
(4) A third part of the light from the sun, moon and stars is diminished
(5) The First woe: Revived Roman Empire attacks former Communist bloc of Russia and China
(6) The Second woe: Former Communist bloc nations and others counterattack the revived Roman Empire
The seventh trumpet occurs next. This is first mentioned in Revelation 11:15: “The seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.”
Remember I Thessalonians 4:16: “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” What the angel appears to shout is recorded in Revelation 11:15.
Grasp this key point: The seventh trumpet includes the seven last plagues, collectively known as the third woe. Again, the seventh trumpet (“the last trump”) is the time of the First Resurrection.
By covering the verses preceding Revelation 11:15, we can see how these events come together.
We pick up the account of the Two Witnesses in verses 11-14: “And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up here. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe comes quickly.”
(A leading proponent of the wedding supper in heaven asserts that the archangel’s voice in I Thessalonians 4:16 is the instruction, “Come up here” [Rev. 11:12]. This is absurd, as these words are obviously directed “unto them”—the two witnesses just raised back to physical life. This is not spoken to all nations, nor even just to all the saints.)
Note that the Two Witnesses are resurrected before the seventh trumpet sounds (announcing the First Resurrection). Theirs is a physical resurrection: “…the spirit [Greek: pneuma, which can also be translated “breath”] of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet” (Rev. 11:11). The “spirit of life” is equivalent to the “breath of life,” spoken of in Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul [Hebrew nephesh or ‘breathing creature’].” This is not new, but rather something the Church has always known.
Their resurrection contrasts to this one: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (I Cor. 15:52-53).
After the voice directs the Two Witnesses to “come up here,” Revelation 11:12 shows that “they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” Just as Enoch and Elijah were taken away to another location for protection, the Two Witnesses must be taken away in the same fashion so they will not be killed again. They likely briefly join the living saints awaiting the First Resurrection soon to follow. Otherwise, the Bible does not specify where they go. But the time between their physical return to life and the seventh trumpet appears to be very short. Verse 14 announces that “the third woe [which is the seventh trumpet] comes quickly.”
Thus, the First Resurrection at the seventh trumpet occurs after the Two Witnesses’ resurrection.
The Seven Last Plagues or Vials of Wrath
Recall that the seventh trumpet begins the seven last plagues. Now we examine these. Revelation 15 introduces seven angels in heaven preparing to pour out the seven last plagues upon Earth. Chapter 16 continues the sequence of events: “I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth” (vs. 1). Here is a summary of the seven last plagues:
(1) Grievous sores upon those who have the Mark of the Beast and worship its/his image (Rev. 16:2)
(2) The seas become blood (vs. 3)
(3) The rivers and fresh waters become blood (vs. 4)
(4) Heat from the sun scorches the earth (vs. 8)
(5) Plague of darkness over the Beast power (vs. 10)
(6) Armies gather at Megiddo to battle against Christ (vs. 12-16)
(7) Final plague, great earthquake and hail—completes wrath of God: “It is done” (vs. 17)
All of the last plagues are catastrophic upheavals, as the full wrath of God is poured out. Revelation 14:10: “…the wrath of God…is poured out without mixture” (Greek: undiluted). Moffatt translates Revelation 15:1 this way: “the last plagues…complete the wrath of God.”
Notice distinct difference in these plagues from the trumpet plagues, which primarily reflect God’s measured wrath occurring in thirds—one-third portions. The seven last plagues are God’s full measure of wrath on those continuing in rebellion.
The sixth of the last plagues shows the armies gathering for battle, but the battle itself is not mentioned here. Special attention to the sixth plague is brought by examining Revelation 16:12-16. Armies of the kings of the east cross the dried-up Euphrates in verse 12. (This is an entirely different event, at a different time, than is recorded earlier in Rev. 9:13-16.)
The passage continues by describing demonic powers summoning the kings from all nations to mobilize their armies and modern military weaponry against the arrival of Christ and His armies, to prepare for the Battle of that Great Day of God Almighty. Verse 15 is an inset, Christ’s general warning for God’s people to be prepared and urgently watching for His Return. Verse 16 shows the location where the armies gather, in the Jezreel Valley near the hill of Megiddo. (This battle is falsely called the Battle of Armageddon. To correctly understand it, you may read my article What Is Armageddon?)
Take note. Those teaching that the wedding supper is in heaven assert that the seventh and final last plague occurs before the Battle of That Great Day of God Almighty. Since Revelation 16 does not specifically mention the battle, they turn to other passages describing it to prove the battle takes place after the seven last plagues. (We will review some of these passages later.)
Some may wonder why the battle is not explicitly mentioned in Revelation 16. One reason is that the topic of this passage describing the seven last plagues (vials of wrath) is confined to summarizing each plague. To explain the battle in detail would require a disproportionate amount of space, thus the battle is covered in detail in later scriptures.
To presume the battle would follow the seventh and final last plague is utterly illogical. Consider what takes place during it: “The seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great” (vs. 17-21).
After such a colossal earthquake, which will cause the cities worldwide to collapse and islands and mountains to disappear, the conglomeration of armies would hardly be able to pick up their equipment, much less fight a battle! If this were not enough, a great hail, with hailstones weighing as much as 120 pounds each, would not help matters either. Perhaps some of the heavily armored tanks and half-tracks might withstand the hailstones, but the remainder of the army would not fare so well. Rocket launchers, missile launchers, laser weapons and other modern high-tech equipment could not weather a barrage of massive hailstones and still be operative. This final burst of God’s wrath is so decisive that it is ludicrous to think that a fighting force could withstand such an onslaught and still be able to join ranks and fight a battle. In fact, the voices that come out of heaven as this final plague begins sum up the matter with the words, “IT IS DONE.” The last vestiges of man’s resistance to God are squashed with this plague. This also ends the Day of the Lord.
It is impossible that a battle could immediately follow this plague!
More basic logic: If the seven vials represent God’s fullness—completion—of wrath against all human resistance, why would a final battle that truly is the culmination of God’s wrath take place after the seven last plagues? In other words, after these seven events, such a battle would be unnecessary. More foundation has now been laid.
When Does Christ Stand on the Mount of Olives?
Let’s continue building the backdrop of events surrounding Christ’s Return. As mentioned, in chapter 16 of Revelation, we read of the mobilization of the armies to fight Christ, but a description of the actual warfare is not included there. Zechariah 14:1-5 provides more detail of the battle and helps clarify the order in which these events occur.
Verse 1 mentions the Day of the Lord coming, which is the context of the time we are discussing. Then in verse 2, we read of the gathering of the armies of all nations near Jerusalem for battle, just as we read in Rev. 16:12-14. Zechariah 14:2 also shows Jerusalem under attack by these armies. In verse 3, we read of the Lord (the Eternal, who is Christ) going forth and fighting against these armies “as in the day of battle.” And in verse 3 the battle is in progress. Verse 4 shows that Christ’s feet stand in that day on the Mount of Olives. In the same one-day timeframe, therefore, the earthquake takes place.
In summary, Zechariah 14 reveals that the Battle of That Great Day of God Almighty has been concluded by the completion of the seventh plague.
How Some Twist the Sequence of Zechariah 14:1-5
In Zechariah 14:3, we read, “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.” Some take the phrase “as when He fought in the day of battle” and apply it specifically to Joshua’s long day in Joshua 10:12-14. The miracles that occurred during that 48-hour day were incredible. Here is verse 14: “There was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.” The reason the revisionists refer to Joshua’s long day is that large hailstones fell at that time and are also prophesied to fall during the seventh last plague. By asserting a parallel with Zechariah 14:3, the seventh last plague is then made to sound as if it had already occurred before Christ engaged those gathered to resist His Return.
This is an attempt to make a connection between two entirely separate events that have no bearing whatsoever on one another! The sequence of the battle in Joshua simply does not parallel the events of the seventh trumpet. Though hailstones fell before the battle during Joshua’s long day, this does not mean the hailstones of the seventh last plague must occur before the Battle of That Great Day of God Almighty.
This reinterpretation of Zechariah 14:3 requires fancy theological footwork and irrational leaps in logic to change the basic chronology of events.
Verse 4 shows that Jesus Christ shall stand on the Mount of Olives on the same day of the battle. The Mount will split in two during the great earthquake, which occurs after His arrival. Noted above, this earthquake is the greatest in all history.
Another vital point to show Christ will stand on the Mount of Olives close to the time of the seventh of the last plagues is found in Revelation 14:9-10: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels [who return with Christ—Matthew 25:31], and in the presence of the Lamb [also including the saints].”
This shows that not only are these individuals to be consumed by fire, but anyone bearing the mark of the beast shall drink of God’s wrath “in the presence of the Lamb.” Christ will indeed be present on Earth as the final plague fulfills the wrath of God—HE WILL NOT BE IN HEAVEN, OR AT THE WEDDING SUPPER! If He did not stand on the Mount of Olives until after the seventh plague was fulfilled, then the verses above would be inaccurate.
When all relevant verses are assembled, comparison with Joshua’s long day is exposed as a smokescreen to alter the correct sequence of events. Accept the plain meaning of Scripture to avoid being deceived by subtle maneuvering.
Are the Saints Present in Heaven During a Daniel 7 “Coronation Ceremony”?
The details of Daniel 7 are often misunderstood as representing the saints appearing before the Father in heaven to receive positions of authority alongside Christ. Let’s more closely examine what this chapter truly reveals regarding the saints receiving their reward.
Wedding-supper-in-heaven theorists correctly observe that Christ comes to the Father’s throne to receive dominion over Earth. However, mirroring Protestant theology, they then conclude that the saints must also come to heaven to receive their reward in what they term “The Coronation Ceremony.”
The next verses explicitly show that Christ was brought directly into the presence of the Father to receive His dominion. Christ’s coronation is in Daniel 7:13-14: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man [Christ] came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days [the Father], and they brought Him [Christ] near before Him [the Father]. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
The word “came” in verse 13, where Christ comes to the Ancient of Days (the Father), derives from the Chaldee term metah and implies “being found present”; it also means “to come” or “to reach.”
Verses 21-22 show that “the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints.” In this case, the word “came” derived from the Chaldee term athah. Here, it means “to arrive” or “to bring.” The context of verses 21-22 shows that the Ancient of Days (in this case, Jesus Christ) “arrived,” in the sense of intervening from heaven on behalf of the saints who were being prevailed against, or subdued, by the symbolic horn.
Since the “horn,” representing the papacy, was prevailing against the saints (collectively all of them over a 2,000-year period) until the Ancient of Days “arrived” to give judgment to them, they were obviously on Earth—the saints could not possibly be subject to the horn’s oppression if they were IN HEAVEN!
To conclude that the saints receive dominion from the Father in the same manner as does Christ requires another extreme leap in logic. This series of verses does not remotely imply that the saints were ever brought before the Father’s presence, before or after they are given dominion (their reward). The misguided “teachers” of the wedding supper theories believe that “The Coronation Ceremony” is then immediately followed by the wedding supper in heaven. False.
The truth of when and where the saints receive their reward comes clear in another of Christ’s parables, beginning in Luke 19:11: “And as they heard these things, He added and spoke a parable, because He was near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.”
Then, in verse 12, Jesus began explaining His own role: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” This verse parallels His appearing before the Father to receive His dominion—a coronation that precedes Christ’s Return to Earth.
Next, before Jesus left them, He gave His servants assignments: “He called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come” (vs. 13).
In verse 15, Christ returns: “And it came to pass, that when he was RETURNED, having received [past tense] the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.” The sequence of events here is IMPOSSIBLE TO MISUNDERSTAND! Honesty is the only thing necessary to see the truth.
Verses 16-17 describe Christ rewarding His servants according to their works: “Then came the first, saying, Lord, your pound has gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, you good servant: because you have been faithful in a very little, have you authority over ten cities.” This parable plainly shows Christ brings each man’s reward with Him at His Return.
IT DOES NOT OCCUR IN HEAVEN! Just read Revelation 22:12: “Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
Another verse confirms this: “Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him” (Isa. 40:10). The whole Church once knew this spoke of Christ, Who returns to appoint rulership according to how much His servants have applied themselves and grown—and, it should be added, avoided all forms of heresy!
Referring to related scriptures often clarifies uncertainty with a particular verse. Those who neglect to do this, and instead choose reckless speculation, become entwined in confusion.
The Triumphant Return of Christ
Christ’s Second Coming, the most critical point in all history, is too important to cover in Revelation 16 as a mere sub-point of the seven last plagues. Thus, John was inspired to record a separate, detailed description.
Revelation 19:11-16 describes the triumphal entry of Christ: “I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns [being brought to the saints]; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Before continuing, recognize that Scripture does not document every aspect of what happens to the saints immediately after the First Resurrection. However, it is obvious they meet Christ in the air (I Thes. 4:17), and since they will at that point be God Beings, they will certainly have the ability to go anywhere in the universe, including the third heaven. Also, Scripture reveals that all aspects of the Seventh Trumpet—all of the seven last plagues—occur in one day. More detail on this comes later. But since there is the mistaken belief that nine days elapse between the First Resurrection and when Christ sets His feet on the Mount of Olives, some conclude that the resurrected saints go to the third heaven immediately and to the wedding supper. (The saints could—in theory—go to the third heaven after being changed, or anywhere else, if that were God’s Plan, because they will be able to travel anywhere in the universe instantaneously. But the wedding supper occurring at this time is not possible, as we will continue to prove.)
Those who teach that the wedding supper is in heaven believe that it occurs during the seven last plagues. Revelation 15:8 is used to support this thinking. They claim that the statement “no man was able to enter the temple, till the seven plagues…were fulfilled,” means that the coronation, the marriage and the wedding supper are taking place during this time.
This makes no sense for several reasons.
First, the scripture simply does not state the saints and Christ, and the Father, are closeted in the temple during this time. This is just not there. Would the Bible be silent on such a GIANT EVENT if they were? Of course not!
Second, we already read Revelation 14:10, which explains that the wrath of God is “poured out…in the presence of the Lamb.” This could not be true if Christ is in the heavenly temple.
Third, we saw the Battle of That Great Day of God Almighty takes place during the conclusion of these plagues. How could Christ and the saints be in the temple, while at the same time fighting those who oppose His Return?
Fourth, could anyone honestly believe this wonderful, joyous celebration takes place at the very time God is completing—fulfilling—“without mixture”—His wrath upon rebellious humanity? Reread this question.
Now consider the most urgent issue pressing upon Christ and the saints between the resurrection and the battle, which, again, occurs in the same day.
In Jude 14, it reveals the saints constitute part of the armies (with the angels, Matthew 24:31) returning with Christ: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints.” Psalms 149:5-9 speaks of the warfare the saints help carry out: “Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all His saints.”
Since the saints are to some degree to take part in this great climactic battle (Rev. 17:14 shows them to be present during war with the Beast and False Prophet), some preparation may be necessary before joining such an event. Being changed to a Spirit being will be a quantum leap in understanding and capability, so a degree of preparation might still be required for this duty. Malachi 4:2 shows Spirit beings are capable of growing and learning—obviously true of the Father and Christ.
Christ and His saints have to be concerned with Satan using this great battle as an opportunity to bring about as much destruction on Earth as possible. Measures must be taken to restrain them, as the enemy is subdued. God “destroys them which destroy the earth” (Rev. 11:18).
The upcoming battle would take precedence over the marriage and wedding supper, which would naturally occur after the final victory is secured. Even dispensing of rewards to individual saints might be delayed until after the battle. Nowhere in the Bible do we find a celebration occurs in advance of achieving victory. THIS WOULD MAKE NO SENSE!
Think about the implications of the wedding supper occurring while Satan is still influencing humanity and ravaging the earth. Similar to the fourth point above, ask: Would Christ and His saints be in heaven celebrating while Satan is still wreaking havoc on Earth?
The Marriage of the Lamb: Within the Context of Revelation 19
Let’s continue examining false “logic.” We saw Revelation 15:8 is used to assert that the saints and Christ are cloistered away in the temple. Yet they ignore Revelation 16, which describes the seven last plagues. The humanly revised sequence of events jumps to the beginning of Revelation 19. Again, some twist the timing, teaching that the wedding and the following supper take place before the battle described in the second half of the chapter.
The theorists observe that Revelation 19:7-9 references the marriage and wedding supper before the account of Christ’s Return and the final battle, in verses 11 to 21. First verse 6: “I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns.”
At the time of this praise in heaven, Christ is already reigning on Earth. The term used for “reign” (or “reigns”) is the Greek basileuo, which means to rule as a sovereign or king. An imperfect verb tense (denoting something impending in the course of time) is not implied. When the angelic beings praise Christ, he is already reigning!
This “voice of many waters” continues in verses 7-9: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has 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 saints. And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”
Let’s analyze “for the marriage of the Lamb is come…” Does this mean the marriage ceremony is already in process at that time—or, does it mean that it is an impending certainty yet to occur?
Here, the Greek verb for “come” can, and often does, apply to the imperfect tense, which can denote a continuous event or something that will happen in the future.
The intended meaning of the word “come (or comes)” is revealed by comparing it with Rev. 11:14: “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe comes quickly.” “Comes” is identical to the word “come” found in Rev. 19:7. In both cases the Greek term is erchomai, and pictures an impending event—one that has not yet occurred! At the time this is voiced in heaven, the marriage has almost arrived, but is not yet in process.
Having already established that, at this point, God (Christ) was already reigning (vs. 6) and that the marriage was an event to take place in the immediate future (vs. 7), it is not possible that the marriage of the Lamb and the following wedding supper could have preceded the beginning of Christ’s reign on the earth!
Even though the exact hour of the wedding supper is not explicitly disclosed, when it does occur, Christ will already be reigning on Earth.
Does Christ Return at Pentecost?
An inset: Many proponents of the wedding supper in heaven theory believe Christ returns on Pentecost, not Trumpets or at any other time. (Understand that LCG does not appear to yet go this far. But what we are about to cover is all part of the foundation they chose to stand on without understanding how faulty was every brick within it.)
Since Revelation is not specific as to what happens to the saints as soon as they are resurrected, these advocates assert that this is made clear in Leviticus 23—claiming this is “the key” to understanding the subject. It is not.
The fact that the firstfruits in God’s Plan were symbolized by the two wave loaves and presented to God at the time of Pentecost leads promoters of the doctrine to conclude that the time of the firstfruit harvest, and hence the First Resurrection, occurs on Pentecost.
Let’s read in Leviticus 23:9-11 about the wave sheaf offering: “The Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When you come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.”
Verse 17 commands the offering of the two wave loaves of bread, made with leavening. These represent the firstfruits in God’s Plan of salvation. One loaf is correctly understood to represent the Old Testament patriarchs, servants and prophets who constitute the Old Testament Church. The second represents the New Testament Church. Both loaves were baked with leavening, symbolizing that all God’s servants were not free of sin, although they were seeking to overcome it.
The word “wave” relating to the wave sheaf offering comes from the Hebrew term nuwph, meaning “to vibrate up and down” or “rock to and fro.” This term can also mean “to lift up, to move, sift, strike or wave.” Promoters of the theory stress that the term “wave” means to “lift up” and dismiss the other possible definitions. The Strong’s definition clearly supports that “wave” simply means “wave.” The theorists tie the idea of the wave loaves being “elevated” with their assumption that the saints are elevated to God’s throne at the resurrection. The creative suppositions drawn from the wave sheaf ceremony are based on translations of terms that are, at best, ambiguous.
I should have warned that some of the thinking we would encounter was awfully silly.
Advocates of these new theories do not emphasize the Law of God being given at Sinai at Pentecost, or the Holy Spirit being given on this day for the New Testament Church. Rather, they stress their idea that the harvest of the firstfruits—which they equate with the First Resurrection—together with the marriage to Christ and the wedding supper (in heaven), must all occur on Pentecost. This represents an entirely new twist to the meaning of the Holy Days—one NEVER taught in God’s Church when it was on track under Mr. Armstrong and during the Philadelphian age. Not only do they reinterpret the timing of prophetic fulfillments, they also relegate all these events to the wrong day!
To reach their conclusions, revisionists dismiss many other aspects of prophecy—as they do with the meaning of other Holy Days.
Holy Days and the Day of the Lord
The Day of the Lord begins at the first trumpet, possibly or even likely to occur on the Feast of Trumpets. Forgetting the duration of the Day of the Lord, they teach that it ends about eight months later, at Pentecost.
God’s Church has long understood that the Day of the Lord lasts for one full year, using the day-for-a-year principle of Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34. Also notice: “For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the YEAR of recompenses for the controversy of Zion” (Isa. 34:8—see also Isa. 61:2; 63:4).
It has also long been understood that, unlike the spring Holy Days (including Pentecost), the fall Holy Days represent prophetic events that are yet to occur. The Feast of Trumpets is a celebration of triumph in the future event that it pictures—the Return of Christ at the sound of the seventh trumpet, probably coinciding with the First Resurrection.
Since the fall Holy Days represent future events, it is logical that the Feast of Trumpets would be directly related to the sounding of the trumpets and the fulfillment of the trumpet plagues. Since the Day of the Lord was understood to last one full year, naturally, not all seven of the trumpet plagues would occur on the Feast of Trumpets. However, it is understood that the first and the seventh trumpet perhaps will likely occur on that Holy Day—one year apart.
If the Day of the Lord begins at the sounding of the First Trumpet on the Feast of Trumpets, it would finalize at that time as well—that is, the Seventh Trumpet would sound on the Feast of Trumpets precisely one year later.
To promote their heretical ideas, those who advocate a Pentecost date for the wedding supper, in effect, strip the Feast of Trumpets of its intended meaning, reducing it to a “Feast of Plagues,” thus removing the pivotal element of the Return of Christ.
Now ask: If the advocates of the wedding supper theory are in error on so many peripheral issues, on what basis could one hope that they are remotely correct on their central idea?
“That Great Day”
The Living Church of God’s newer version of the wedding supper heresy asserts that nine days elapse between the sounding of the seventh trumpet and when Christ returns to fight “the Battle of That Great Day of God Almighty.” They propose that the seven last plagues occur in this period, after which Christ arrives to fight gathered armies “on or just prior to the Day of Atonement”—after the wedding supper had taken place away from an Earth still deceived by Satan and under destruction by God.
This idea fails the test of Scripture! Let’s now examine in more detail how all seven LAST plagues occur on the very same day that Christ returns. Let’s start with the Old Testament, looking for a key phrase:
“In that day, says the LORD, will I assemble her that halts, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; and I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even forever” (Mic. 4:6-7).
“The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day …And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isa. 2:11, 17).
Jeremiah 25:29-33, 46:10 and 50:29-32 all reference the same day as do Micah and Isaiah. This is the day to focus on in this context. It is described in Revelation 16:14: “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world [think of verses we just read] to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Note the phrase “THAT Great Day.” (While this is the only place God names this battle, the same day is mentioned throughout the Bible, but usually with the phrase “in that day” or “in the day.” These all identify this final climatic LITERAL DAY, and ALL that it represents!
The Bible reveals that 21 EVENTS occur on this SINGLE DAY—“in that day.” Events we have been discussing are not stretched over nine days, as LCG asserts (or four months from Pentecost to Trumpets). Now comes the most fascinating part of this long article! Here are 21 EVENTS that ALL occur on that great day, some almost simultaneously. Again, they all happen on ONE DAY! May God help you understand this awesome truth, and how these events relate to YOU. Exact order is not always clear, but close:
(1) Jesus Christ leaves heaven with His army—the saints are not with him, as they are not resurrected yet (Rev. 19:11-14)
(2) Angels gather the dead saints to where the living ones are, at the Place of Safety (Matt. 24:30-31)
(3) The seventh trumpet sounds (Rev. 11:15-19)
(4) Heaven and God’s Temple are exposed, accompanied by an earthquake and great hail (Rev. 11:19)
(6) Babylon receives special plagues (Rev. 18:8-24)
(9) Persecuted local Jews in Jerusalem join in the battle (Zech. 14:14). Most simply never notice this.
(12) One year of wrath ends (Job 14:13)
(13) Christ’s feet stand on the Mount of Olives in that day (Zech. 14:3-4; Micah 1:3-4; Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:30 – not one, two or nine days later! Also, recall that Christ ascended from this same place – Acts 1:11-12)
(14) The Mount of Olives splits (Zech. 14:4)
(15) Jewish inhabitants flee to the mountains through this new valley (vs. 5)
(16) The healing river appears (vs. 8)
(17) The devil is bound (Rev. 20:1-3)
(19) The saints receive their reward (Rev. 11:17-18; 20:4)—it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when reward is given in relation to other events, but this does occur at some point on this day, perhaps at the marriage and supper
(20) Christ marries the Church (Rev. 19:7-8)
(21) The marriage supper (Rev. 19:9 – Again, would the marriage supper precede the battle, with the saints enjoying a joyous occasion while armies gather? Supper is typically eaten at or near the end of a biblical day (sunset-to-sunset)—especially in the land of Israel, where sunset times do not vary nearly as much as in places further from the equator.)
This list holds several implications related to the wedding supper. Here are three:
- The armies leaving heaven are angels, not saints, since the saints are not yet resurrected at that point. Angels also wear clean, white linen (Rev. 15:6; also see Ezek. 9, 10).
- All events occur in one 24-hour period, which does not allow Christ to come for His people, make an immediate U-turn, and then have a multi-day wedding feast while plagues unfold on Earth below!
- A wedding supper cannot be squeezed between the saints being given eternal life at the last trump and Christ’s feet landing on the Mount of Olives—again, in the same day!
We might ask, why would the seven last plagues be so brief, all fitting within one day, when previous plagues could last as long as five months? The reason: the cumulative effect of these disasters would erase plant, animal and human life from the earth if they continued for very long. Remember, this is the FULL MEASURE of God’s wrath—but He limits the duration of these severe plagues to preserve the lives of the perhaps 10 percent of humanity that survives into the Millennium. These plagues serve a crucial purpose in bringing satanic, unyielding and unrepentant human holdouts to their end, to be resurrected later during a very different time period 1,000 years after.
(For much more detail of all that occurs after the seventh trumpet, serious readers will want to listen to my sermon “Revelation—Part Two: That Great Day.” It will astonish you.)
From all indications, survivors of “that great day” will gather to keep the Feast of Tabernacles soon to follow, as seen in Zechariah 14:16. The remnant of humanity would still be numb from the Day of the Lord and the trauma of wars, earthquakes and other disasters. The logistics of arranging the Feast of Tabernacles would ordinarily be impossible, but now in the hands of Christ and the saints, it can quickly become a reality. Remember, this Feast was originally held in dwellings made of tree boughs. A feast on the heels of such traumatic times might necessitate similar temporary dwellings.
Notice how Christ tenderly deals with these weary survivors at this time: “Comfort you, comfort you My people, says your God…He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young…He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isa. 40:1, 11, 29-31).
The point is that the marriage and wedding supper will occur very soon after Christ’s Return—but not before He subdues human rebellion and puts in order certain issues in the list above, as modern revisionists would have us believe.
The Time of the Marriage Covenant with Ancient Israel
Another brief inset. Some claim the wedding supper will occur on Pentecost based on the assumption that Christ married ancient Israel on Pentecost. This needs clarification. Some points are helpful to consider regarding the original marriage covenant between Christ and ancient Israel, which did take place about the time of Pentecost around 1443 B.C.
Three days before the Law was given at Mount Sinai, this account took place: “Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; you have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself. Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: and you shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord has spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord” (Exod. 19:3-8).
Three days later, God thundered the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai—the basis of the covenant Israel was to keep. However, it was not until one or more days after the Law was given on Pentecost that the covenant was confirmed. This is plainly shown by the account in Exodus 24:3-8: “And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord has said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord has said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you concerning all these words.”
The confirmation of the Old Covenant occurred after Pentecost—not on that day. Therefore, this cannot be used to prove the wedding will be (or start) on Pentecost.
Wearing “White Linen”
Certain others, now including the Living Church of God’s leaders, proclaim that the armies of Revelation 19:14 are saints returning from the wedding supper. Since the armies are arrayed in “fine linen, white and clean,” the assumption is that these white garments are their wedding garments. They are not.
These deceivers fail to realize that angels also wear clean white linen, as alluded to earlier in the chapter. Revelation 15:6 shows that the angels who pour out the last seven plagues are wearing pure white linen. The angel who appeared to Daniel in Daniel 10:5 wore linen, as well. In Ezekiel, the angel who set a mark upon the forehead of those who sighed and cried also wore this same linen attire (9:2, 3, 11; 10:2, 6, 7). The 24 elders at the Throne of God in heaven are also clothed in white raiment (Rev. 4:4). Even the garment worn by God the Father (Ancient of Days) is defined as “white as snow” (Dan. 7:9). It should be clear that white linen attire is not exclusive to the wedding feast.
Recall from the explanation of “that great day” that it is impossible for the saints to be part of this army as it leaves heaven since they have not yet been resurrected. It may appear the event of verse 14 occurs after the resurrection—if one reads Revelation in the order it was written. But the book is not written in exact sequence. (MANY examples could be cited. Think of them yourself.) Reading it in that manner leads to a host of errors. The wedding supper heresy is but one.
Assuming the saints had just come from the wedding supper, would the armies, the saints included, casually approach the battle still attired in wedding clothes? Of course not! To use this as proof of their having somehow already been to a wedding feast implies they would be dressed differently the rest of the time. The Bible does not state, or even imply, that this fine linen is only worn at the wedding feast.
Here is the significance of fine white linen: “…the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints” (Rev. 19:8). Revelation 3:4-5 states this in relation to the meaning of white raiment: “You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment…” In these verses, the white garments represent being undefiled, being worthy and having overcome.
Don’t forget what so many have: The Bible always interprets itself—for those who are willing to allow it.
Proponents insist that the wedding supper must be in heaven because the most inspiring and immaculate surroundings are found there. But they forget the miracle God performed at Mount Sinai, recorded in Exodus 24:9-11: “Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: and they saw the God of Israel: and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not His hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.”
Here we see that the marriage and wedding supper could occur on the sea of glass (see Rev. 4:6) without having to be in heaven. The glory of God’s surroundings can, to a degree, be brought to Earth when necessary. The glorified Christ (with legions of angels) will be here and will be fully capable of providing what is necessary at the time of His marriage.
The Living Church of God’s “Stand Before God’s Throne” article adds to the false theory, teaching that the reference to “before the throne” in Revelation 14:3, 5 indicates the saints are in heaven partaking of the wedding supper. Verse 3 does describe the 144,000 standing before the “throne,” “four beasts” and “elders.” Where careless readers go wrong is assuming that these verses are sequential in the story flow of Revelation—after the seventh trumpet mentioned in 11:15 and before Christ comes from heaven in 19:14. Some read this as indication of time sequence, and as a result conclude that this scene must happen at that moment in the unfolding of events. But remember that Revelation is not written in precise time sequence—it includes a number of “inset” passages and chapters, and Chapter 14 is one of them!
Since the resurrected saints will not be constrained to Earth for the 1,100 years that precede the Father setting up His throne here, they will have free access to heaven all during that time and forever after. The scene of the 144,000 standing before the throne in heaven, though, can only happen sometime after all the events occur on “that great day,” when the saints are born of the Spirit—and after the wedding supper has already occurred on Earth. Also—get this!—the 144,000 are described as singing before God’s throne. Nothing else is said other than the description of who they are.
LCG also teaches that the Father will “officiate the wedding,” and since He will not come to Earth until the new heavens and new earth are established, this must then mean that the wedding and following supper will be in heaven. On the surface this seems plausible. The problem? SCRIPTURE NOWHERE INDICATES OR EVEN SUGGESTS THE FATHER OFFICIATES THE WEDDING. Rather, men with no scriptural authority to bring doctrine—“evangelists”—promote this idea, attempting to add entirely unproven, unscriptural “credence” to their false “heavenly supper” idea.
False doctrines are often spawned when men try to force Scripture to state something it does not. As an atheist once correctly observed, “No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.” Men start with a preconceived idea, and then go in pursuit of scriptures to support it, rather than simply allowing the Bible to both speak and interpret itself (the greatest rule of Bible study).
The Bible is silent on who officiates the wedding, if anyone?!—as such, so should be God’s Church! To invent an idea, and then force it into heaven to prove a preconceived assertion, is deceit—pure, unadulterated DECEIT!
“Straw Man Argument”
The same article states this: “Since heaven is not the reward of the saved, must we assume that the resurrected saints—born into the Family of God as His full children—will be ‘barred’ from any access to God’s throne in heaven?..we can see clearly that—just as Christ has access to the Father instantaneously at all times—the saints will be with the Lamb, even before the Father’s throne…If we are one in the Father and in Christ, we will certainly have immediate access to our Father in heaven.”
Referenced earlier, this is a classic “straw man argument.” By setting up a straw man—a fictional and silly line of reasoning that can be discounted—then knocking it down, the author believes he can use this hollow victory as supposed proof of some particular point.
Think. LCG says in effect: “If you do not accept the wedding supper as being in heaven, you must also believe the saints will have no access to the Father until His throne is established on Earth.” How silly—how false—how CUNNING!
As full members of the God Family, of course the saints will have access to the Father! Consider that many angels—on a lesser plane than God Beings—are present in God’s throne, and even Satan has had access (see Job chapters 1 and 2). Would God exclude his own Family? Of course not! And it has nothing to do with the whether the wedding supper is on Earth! Recall Revelation 3:12, which describes the reward of Philadelphians: “Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out…” Will the Philadelphians be part of the Temple, but somehow have no access to the God who dwells there? Of course not!
That the saints will have free access to the third heaven in no way automatically leads to the conclusion that the wedding supper must be held there. Crafty deceivers always tip their “hand” (Eph. 4:14) if you watch them closely enough. But you must watch.
Does “One” Mean “Always in the Same Place”?
Elsewhere, LCG’s article presents another truly bizarre argument. Let’s see it: “Notice also that Jesus’ prayer to the Father reveals that Christ’s disciples will be one with Him and the Father! ‘I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me’ (John 17:20-23). If we are one in the Father and in Christ, we will certainly have immediate access to our Father in heaven.”
The leaps in logic here are just profound. God’s people were correctly taught for many years that “one” here means that the Father and Son are unified in mind, purpose and actions. But does this mean that to be “one,” you must be in the same location? Consider that when Jesus said to His Father in this prayer, “We are one”—He was on earth, and had not been with the Father for over three decades! This thinking is only a few shades away from the trinitarian argument that “one” means wrapped together in a three-in-one godhead. Finally, remember that this argument only comes into play if a person believes that without a wedding supper in heaven no saint can ever go there.
This passage in fact makes clear that God’s people are to be “one”—unified—here and now. Jesus’ real point is that the people of God are to be one spiritually (I Cor. 1:10), and in the same place, believing the same things and doing the same Work, under the same government of God, led by the one Jesus Christ—all in one organization. To believe otherwise is to reduce Christ’s prayer to a short-sighted exercise in futility, the very thing that most in the splinters do today when they teach the monstrous lie that the Body of Christ is today scattered into many groups. These same leaders are the ones actually empowering and fueling the scattering. Matthew 12:30 tells you what Christ thinks of them, and verses 31-32 tells you why many of these men (no one can know or judge how many) are headed for the lake of fire!
All those with God’s Spirit will eventually have to leave these men and return to God’s ONE Church, or lose His Spirit. Read John 10:3-5. Jesus said His sheep will not follow the voice of strangers when He “calls” their “name” and leads them to safety, away from these thieves and robbers. Romans 8:9, and particularly verse 14, make perfectly clear that God’s Spirit—the Spirit of Christ in them (vs. 9)—will lead them away from the thieving, murderous destroyers (John 10:10) they are following when their name is called.
What About Luke 12:36?
Finally, for the record, we should briefly consider Luke 12:36, which could be misused to justify the idea that the wedding supper precedes Christ’s Return. It reads: “And you yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he comes and knocks, they may open unto him immediately.”
This parable cannot be a reference to the wedding supper, as it would not make sense. Here is why: Verse 36 states that the “lord” returns from a wedding and then his servants receive him—after he returns. Understand. If this were speaking of Christ returning from the wedding supper, why tell His people to “open unto Him immediately” after having already married His bride (these very men and women)? This is entirely illogical! For Jesus to marry the Church, and then tell them to be ready for Him, simply does not make sense. Once the First Resurrection and wedding supper are finished, there is no need to watch for Christ’s Return and be ready to “open unto Him immediately.” The sequence of events in such a scenario simply does not work.
This parable has nothing to do with where and when the saints will partake of the wedding supper. It is simply making the crucial point that when Christ comes for His people, they need to be ready to receive Him immediately. Verses 37 through 40 make this clear. Jesus is telling His “flock” (vs. 32) to remain vigilant and “watch” for His coming—and all that implies—and thus making themselves ready to take part in the wedding supper.
God’s people have long struggled to harmonize various accounts and parables that describe (1) Jesus Christ being “revealed,” (2) His Second Coming, (3) His people being gathered around the world (“taken”) to a place of protection and then (4) later rising to meet Him, among other end-time events. All of this is covered in my eight-part sermon series “The 1,335 Days of the Son of Man.” You are “warned.” If you start the series, you will find yourself unable to stop until completion. But it will give you a complete foundation on which to place correct understanding of the marriage supper.
The Right Focus
The Bible declares, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3-4). Paul was speaking of our time.
Those who have been seduced by false doctrines—fables!—regarding the wedding supper have lost sight of this warning: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Cor. 11:3).
The established pattern of faulty reasoning, misguided speculation and butchering of plain scriptures provides ample evidence of the “spirit of error” (I John 4:6) leading LCG.
Careful Bible study shows that today’s wedding supper in heaven idea is easily refuted. You have seen this.
Convoluted, confused, murky doctrine built on shallow, poorly conceived ideas does not come from Jesus Christ! Whether examining the wedding supper or any other prophecy (or any doctrine), we must make every effort to focus on the things that God’s Word clearly states, rather than speculating about events where His Word is not explicit. The serious student of prophecy will want to read my thorough book The Bible’s Greatest Prophecies Unlocked! – A Voice Cries Out
Also, my extensive books “Anoint Your Eyes” – Christ’s Warning to His People and The True Church – One Organization, or Many? explain in detail what is at stake for Christians in this age who lose sight of true doctrine. For more about the widespread and ever-growing doctrinal confusion in the Living Church of God, read our article “Is the Falling Away (II Thes. 2:3) a Future Worldwide Rebellion Led by the Man of Sin?”
Other articles debunking more of the silly false doctrines LCG’s leaders have swallowed may follow. In the meantime, if you want to hear the truth of God presented with clarity, truth and authority, watch The World to Come program, now airing on ION television.