Referring to the marriage ceremony of the Lamb and the church, more often referred to as the rapture, when will it occur?
ESV - 7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready.
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The marriage feast of the Lamb [Jesus] is described in detail by Jesus in Matthew 22:1-14 as the Parable of the Wedding Banquet. The wedding does not happen until the New Jerusalem (the bride) comes down from heaven to the New Earth that Jesus has prepared (See Revelation 21:1-10). The wedding banquet cannot take place until all believers are present in the banquet hall. Revelation 20:4-6 is clear that martyrs for Jesus will be resurrected to life at the close of the great tribulation when Jesus returns to defeat the anti-Christ. These believers must take their place in the wedding banquet also. I don’t agree with the position that this marriage feast of the lamb is the equivalent to the rapture of the church. All believers in Jesus have an invitation to the wedding and a seat in the banquet hall. This includes Old Testament Saints, Tribulation Saints and the Church. Some people will try to get in without an invitation, but they are not wearing the wedding clothes that Jesus provides; so they will be seized, bound and thrown outside into the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 22:11-13).
At some point during the break between Christ's subsequent coming and the start of the millennial realm, the brilliant marriage dinner of the Lamb will occur (see Daniel 12:11; cf. With Matthew 22:1-14; 25:1-13).
In my humble opinion and being somewhat direct, it will occur pre-tribulation or before the first 42 months of the 7 year cycle of the tribulation. The tribulation will be undoubtedly the worst bombardment of tragedy, agony, suffering, fear, and death that this world has ever experienced. Each of us as Christians are encouraged to read and study the Word of God, and by doing so, as with all things, we will glean different meanings and opinions, all being different in some way, depending on the individual’s point of view. Personally, I believe that is how God meant for us to be in the pursuit of prophetic growth through scripture. That being said, I will go a bit deeper into the pre-tribulation catching up of the church and why, albeit my own interpretation of scripture, there will be a rapture, and it will most definitely happen before the onset of the tribulation. There are two events that are often confused prior to the tribulation, and those are the rapture and the second coming of Christ. The second coming will not occur until after the tribulation has ended. This is when Christ will leave the right hand of God and descend to earth, and every eye shall see him. (Revelation 1:17) Revelation 19:11-16 gives a momentous glimpse of that moment. When things look hopeless for the Jewish people, Christ appears in the clouds, riding a white horse accompanied by great armies of saints and angels to vanquish Satan and his followers. He will be victorious and touch down on the Mt. of Olives to proclaim that He is truly the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The rapture or catching up of the church is a topic that has been debated for many centuries by Christians and non-Christians alike, and there are way too many scriptural reference to give a play by play, so I will do my best with the broad strokes. The rapture or catching up of the church can be found in many books and both Old and New Testament scripture, but the most important thing is to understand is that the rapture and second coming are completely different. The rapture will be God’s next occurrence on God’s calendar. (Acts 1:9-11) He will return as He left. Luke 24:39 tells us how He left in a body that could be seen, touched, and fed, but He will not return to the earth. He will return in the heavens. All believers alive and dead will be taken to meet him in the clouds, we will all be changed, losing this mortal coil, transformed to be like Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:51-54, Psalm 17:15, 1John 3:2) This all happens in the twinkling of an eye. This event is the ending of the church age and the ushering in of the tribulation period. The rapture of the church will take all believers from the earth (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8) All shall gather together with the Lord at the Feast of the Lamb and the church in heaven while the tribulation is happening on earth. (1 Thessalonians 4, Matthew 24:29-3) This will be a great and terrible day for all humanity left to endure the trials of the tribulation, but I hope for now I have given at least a portion of the answer to your question.
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