Preparing for the big day

Celebrating love: that is what the Chief Apostle did with the members in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He made use of the image of engaged couples and weddings to talk about the great marriage feast in heaven.

Together with the congregation in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider opened up a special wedding album containing images of engaged couples and a great wedding. The divine service on 17 March was captioned by a Bible passage from Revelation 19: 9: “Then he [the angel] said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.’”

The image of the bridal couple

“It is a familiar image in Holy Scripture,” said the Chief Apostle. “God is described as the husband or the bridegroom. And His own are described as the wife, or the bride.” The bride is being prepared for the marriage feast, and this work is being done by the Apostles. “And then they will be together in His kingdom. And that will be the great feast of marriage.”

A marriage of love

“The relationship between God and man is based on love,” explained the Chief Apostle. Jesus renounced His glory in heaven in order to come down to earth to live with us human beings. “Because He loves us, He wants us to be with Him where He is in His kingdom, in eternity.” Jesus could also have entered this kingdom as a Man: “He has overcome sin and is thus able to enter into the kingdom of God because He is perfect. We cannot do this, but out of love, our bridegroom will return in order to take us unto Himself.”

This love is based on reciprocation. “We love him because He loves us,” said the Chief Apostle. “When we go to church, it is not because we expect some kind of salary, some sort of reward or help. First and foremost, it is because we want to be with Him.” And it is out of love that the bride takes action: “And we give up the old nature, the old Adam, to come closer to God.”

The image of the marriage feast

“Then the Lord will come and take His bride to Himself,” said the Chief Apostle. “This image of the marriage feast is found throughout the gospel and in Revelation. It is a sign of a great joy and a great feast.” And then the Chief Apostle listed some of the reasons for celebrating:

  • “Just imagine how grateful we will be. Being delivered from the earth, from the evil one, from all the suffering
  • “We will have great joy because we will all be with the One whom we love.”
  • “We will also have great joy because we will have been made perfect. All of us are aware that we are anything but perfect.—But when we are with the Lord in His kingdom, we will be perfect, transformed into the image of Christ. All the bad aspects of our person will be erased. They will disappear, and the good things will be sanctified.”
  • “The living and the dead will be together.”
  • “We will be perfectly one in Christ. All the things that divide us today will be eliminated.”

The celebration is already starting

“It says here: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb,’” said the Chief Apostle, citing the Bible text. “Already now,” he emphasised. It already gives us peace and joy today

  • “to be grateful that we have been elected by God.”
  • “to know that we are loved—for no reason—by the One who is absolutely perfect and holy.”
  • “that He has given us the certainty that He will come to take us to Himself. That is not just a probability, something that may happen—maybe it will happen, but maybe not. We can be absolutely certain that Jesus Christ will come to lead us into His kingdom.”
  • “to be aware that nothing and nobody can prevent us from entering the kingdom of God. Our salvation depends solely on us.”
  • “that there is only one condition: if you want to do the will of God, that is to say, if you want to observe, to respect the commandment to love God and love your neighbour, you will be safe.”

“In every divine service, when we celebrate Holy Communion, we have a foretaste of this marriage in heaven,” said the Chief Apostle. “Every time we celebrate Holy Communion,

  • we thank God for having sent His Son, and we thank God for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
  • Jesus is in our midst. He is present—and He tells us: ‘I love you. I am faithful.’
  • we also receive the strength we need to do the will of God.
  • it becomes obvious that we are one in Christ.—we have the same faith, we have the same goal, we love the same Lord, and we are cleansed. God has forgiven us our sins.”

To summarise, the Chief Apostle emphasised that the believers are called to be part of the bride of Christ. “Jesus will come back to take us to Himself. That is not a probability—it is a certainty. And because we are called by Christ, we can today already have peace and joy in our hears. And let us celebrate Holy Communion as a true preparation and anticipation of the marriage of the Lamb in heaven.”

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Katrin Löwen
Thailand, Chief Apostle, Divine service