The Marriage Supper of the Lamb and the Judgment Seat of Christ

As you are heading up into the clouds to join Jesus and all the resurrected saved, you might be wondering "What next?" Well, my friends, it is time to party, and you are going to be one of the guests of honor. You are cordially invited to your wedding party. Welcome to the great "Marriage Supper of the Lamb," where you, one of Jesus' brides and part of His Church, the elect, the ekklesia, the called-out ones, finally get to celebrate your marriage with Jesus. You became part of His Bride the minute you accepted Him into your heart, and now you finally get to have the wedding supper, and it is going to be the party to end all parties—well, at least up until this point.

John described it like this:

Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!" And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'"—Revelation 19:5–9

From that point on, the Bible is silent as to what the celebrations consist of, but we can rest assured that if Jesus is planning the party, it is going to be totally out of this world.

There is another event that will apparently take place at this time, referred to in Scripture as the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is when the saved will come individually before Jesus Christ to receive their rewards. Paul writes: "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Then each of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14:10,12). Also, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Jesus said, "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work" (Revelation 22:12). And, "The Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works" (Matthew 16:27). And also, "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10). The apostle Paul, at the end of his ministry, shortly before his death, said, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:7–8). This crown is your reward.

A lot of Christians get confused by the Bible verses on rewards and crowns, and apply them to salvation as something that must be earned. Salvation cannot be worked for and thus earned; it is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 3:5). But you can work for rewards and you can earn praise and commendation from the Lord! A special, "Well done, good and faithful servant. … Enter into the joy of your Lord!" (Matthew 25:21). Although the good that you do in this life isn't going to help to get you into Heaven, it will have a great deal to do with your reward and your position once you're there.

When a heavenly messenger was speaking to Daniel, he said: "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever" (Daniel 12:2–3). Those who have been wise by living a life dedicated to being what God wants them to be, and to turning others to righteousness, will shine as the stars; but those who haven't done much for the Lord will be pretty dull and some held in shame and even contempt.

So those who have done more will receive more rewards. But it also has to be understood that "the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). He knows what you are capable of and what you desire to do, and if for some reason your circumstances hold you back from being as much of a force for good on Earth as you would like to be, then those circumstances will be taken into consideration. Jesus is called the Righteous Judge, and your reward will be a righteous one. Nevertheless, it is important that we do our best to be and do all that God expects of us.

Paul wrote, "Now if anyone builds on this foundation [salvation] with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward" (1 Corinthians 3:12–14). Having received Jesus, if you live for Him and do what you can to be a living sample of His love for others, when you stand before Him at this great Judgment Seat, these works will endure the test, even as gold and silver endure and come through the fire. They will endure and you will receive a glorious reward. "That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ!" (1 Peter 1:7).

But, the Scripture passage in Corinthians continues, "If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire" (1 Corinthians 3:15). Those who have received Jesus, but yet did nothing for Jesus in thanksgiving, who lived their lives selfishly and did not live by the golden rule of "whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them" (Matthew 7:12), will find their works burned as wood, hay, and straw, and will not receive much of a reward, if any. They'll still be saved, but they'll suffer such a sad loss! So if nothing else, this should be strong motivation to do our best to live the way God wants us to live and do the things He wants us to do on Earth, so that we can receive His reward and commendation in Heaven!

Meanwhile, as we are rejoicing at the Marriage Supper and receiving our rewards, the angels of the Lord are taking care of unfinished business on the earth.

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