There are seven celebrations associated with the major events in the development of the new covenant from the time it was instituted in the Garden of Eden to the complete restoration of the Kingdom of Glory after the millennium. They occurred or will occur as follows:
- At the institution of the new covenant at the fall of man
- At the birth of Christ
- At the ascension of Jesus to open the sanctuary of the new covenant
- At the wedding of the Lamb
- At the second coming and the wedding banquet
- At the final coronation of Christ
- At the restoration of the kingdom of glory
The people of God do not attend any of the first four celebrations but they do attend the last three.
An article on the first four celebrations appeared in LandMarks (August 2014) entitled “Heavenly Celebrations.”
The Fifth Celebration – The literal wedding banquet
The fifth celebration is the literal wedding banquet and not the spiritual banquet. The wedding of the lamb takes place in heaven while we are here on earth, but a little later we will attend the wedding banquet in heaven.
The fifth celebration, the literal wedding banquet, follows soon after the wedding of the Lamb, but there are some things that take place between these two events.
- the death decree
- the time of Jacob’s trouble
- the date set to kill God’s people
- the deliverance of God’s people
- the beginning of plagues 5, 6 and 7
- the wonderful display of the 10 commandments in the sky
- the announcement of the day and hour of the coming of Christ
All of these things take place between the wedding of the Lamb in heaven and the time when the saints go to the wedding banquet.
In Matthew 8:11, Jesus says, “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” Then again in Luke 22:30 Jesus says, “That you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Here it says that the wedding banquet takes place in heaven.
“Having received the kingdom [at the wedding], He [Jesus] will come in His glory, as King of kings, and Lord of lords, for the redemption of His people, who are to ‘sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,’ at His table in His kingdom (Matthew 8:11; Luke 22:30), to partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb.” The Great Controversy, 427. This also states the order in which these take place. The wedding takes place in which Jesus receives the title, King of Kings, then comes the second coming and the marriage supper.
It says in Revelation 19:7: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.” This is all explained in The Great Controversy, 426. The wedding is the reception of Christ of His kingdom and the bride is the holy city.
In Revelation 19:9, it says, “Then the angel said to me, ‘Write this: “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” ’ ” Those invited to the wedding supper are the faithful saints and those raised in the first resurrection.
Here are some details that lead up to the great celebration of the wedding banquet which we need to understand so that we can be prepared for what is happening.
In The Great Controversy, 640, it says, “The voice of God is heard from heaven, declaring the day and hour of Jesus’ coming, and delivering the everlasting covenant to His people. Like peals of loudest thunder His words roll through the earth. The Israel of God stand listening, with their eyes fixed upward. …
“Soon there appears in the east a small black cloud, about half the size of a man’s hand. It is the cloud which surrounds the Saviour and which seems in the distance to be shrouded in darkness.”
In Revelation 19:11, 14, we are told that this cloud is made up of Christ and the angels. “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and makes war. … The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” The Great Controversy, 641, says, “Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror.” Jesus is coming to fight the battle of Armageddon and to deliver the saints from the control of Satan.
“With anthems of celestial melody the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng, attend Him on His way. The firmament seems filled with radiant forms—‘ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.’ … ‘His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. And His brightness was as the light’ (Habakkuk 3:3, 4). As the living cloud comes still nearer, every eye beholds the Prince of life. … a diadem of glory rests on His holy brow. His countenance outshines the dazzling brightness of the noonday sun.”
Christ’s countenance will be brighter than the sun which we cannot look upon now but at that time Jesus will somehow change our eyes so we can look upon Him. This is why the wicked are going to want to hide from His face.
Ellen G. White continues, “ ‘And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords’ (Revelation 19:16).” Ibid.
Christ, (the KING of kings), the Ancient of Days, and the whole universe come to gather the saints to take them to the wedding banquet with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
“Amid the reeling of the earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the voice of the Son of God calls forth the sleeping saints. He looks upon the graves of the righteous, then, raising His hands to heaven, He cries: ‘Awake, awake, awake, ye that sleep in the dust, and arise!’ Throughout the length and breadth of the earth the dead shall hear that voice, and they that hear shall live. … And the living righteous and the risen saints unite their voices in a long, glad shout of victory.” Ibid., 644.
May we all be faithful so we can have a part in that “long, glad shout of victory.”
On page 645, it says, “The living righteous are changed ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye’ (I Corinthians 15:52). At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. …
“On each side of the cloudy chariot are wings, and beneath it are living wheels; and as the chariot rolls upward, the wheels cry, ‘Holy’ and the wings, as they move, cry, ‘Holy’ and the retinue of angels (the armies of heaven) cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty’ And the redeemed shout, ‘Alleluia!’ as the chariot moves onward toward the New Jerusalem [to the wedding banquet].
“Before entering the City of God, the Saviour bestows upon His followers the emblems of victory and invests them with the insignia of their royal state [as kings and priests]. … Throughout the unnumbered host of the redeemed every glance is fixed upon Him, every eye beholds His glory whose ‘visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men’ (Isaiah 52:14). Upon the heads of the overcomers, Jesus with His own right hand places the crown of glory. For each there is a crown, bearing his own ‘new name’ (Revelation 2:17), and the inscription, ‘Holiness to the Lord.’ [Their sins have been confessed and repented of and have been blotted out.] In every hand are placed the victor’s palm and the shining harp.”
Notice what happens next when all receive their harp:
“Then, as the commanding angels strike the note, every hand sweeps the harp strings with skillful touch, awaking sweet music in rich, melodious strains. Rapture unutterable thrills every heart, and each voice is raised in grateful praise: ‘Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever’ (Revelation 1:5, 6).” Ibid., 645, 646.
The following is a message that can be shared with everyone. This is what all can enjoy if they will separate from sin now.
Notice the timing in the following statement in Early Writings, 19, 20: “Soon we heard His lovely voice again, saying, ‘Come, My people, you have come out of great tribulation, and done My will; suffered for Me; come in to supper, for I will gird Myself, and serve you.’ We shouted, ‘Alleluia! glory!’ and entered into the city. And I saw a table of pure silver; it was many miles in length, yet our eyes could extend over it. I saw the fruit of the tree of life, the manna, almonds, figs, pomegranates, grapes, and many other kinds of fruit.” [Emphasis added.]
Such is the celebration connected with the coming of Christ “in His glory, as King of kings and Lord of lords, for the redemption of His people, who are to ‘sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob’ (Matthew 8:11), at His table in His kingdom to partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb.” The Great Controversy, 427.
We do not want to miss this celebration because it is the only one that takes place in heaven that we attend. The next two are attended on earth.
The Sixth Celebration – The Final Coronation of Christ
After the wedding banquet is finished, the work of the sentencing phase of the judgment begins. Revelation 20:4 says, “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. … They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Verse 6 says, “Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”
“During the thousand years between the first and the second resurrection the judgment of the wicked takes place. … At this time the righteous reign as kings and priests unto God. John in the Revelation says: ‘I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.’ ‘They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years’ (Revelation 20:4, 6). It is at this time that, as foretold by Paul, ‘the saints shall judge the world’ (I Corinthians 6:2). In union with Christ they judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion which the wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works; and it is recorded against their names in the book of death.” The Great Controversy, 660, 661.
“Satan also and evil angels are judged by Christ and His people. Says Paul: ‘Know ye not that we shall judge angels’ (I Corinthians 6:3)? And Jude declares that ‘the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day’ (Jude 6).” Ibid., 661.
Revelation 20:7–9, first part, says, “When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth … to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city He loves.”
This is the second resurrection. In this resurrection are all whose names are NOT found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life – men, women, and children. Satan and the fallen angels are with this group. They are fully prepared for the attack, just waiting for the order from Satan to begin. But the order is never given.
Suddenly a great white throne appears high above the Holy City. John describes it in Revelation 20:11: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from His presence, and there was no place for them.”
The glory and grandeur of the scene is beyond description.
“Now Christ again appears to the view of His enemies. Far above the city, upon a foundation of burnished gold, is a throne, high and lifted up. Upon this throne sits the Son of God, and around Him are the subjects of His kingdom. The power and majesty of Christ no language can describe, no pen portray. The glory of the Eternal Father is enshrouding His Son. The brightness of His presence fills the City of God, and flows out beyond the gates, flooding the whole earth with its radiance.
“Nearest the throne are those who were once zealous in the cause of Satan, but who, plucked as brands from the burning, have followed their Savior with deep, intense devotion. Next are those who perfected Christian characters in the midst of falsehood and infidelity, those who honored the law of God when the Christian world declared it void, and the millions, of all ages, who were martyred for their faith. And beyond is the ‘great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, … before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands’ (Revelation 7:9). Their warfare is ended, their victory won. They have run the race and reached the prize. The palm branch in their hands is a symbol of their triumph, the white robe an emblem of the spotless righteousness of Christ which now is theirs.” The Great Controversy, 665.
The Bible describes this scene in Revelation 7:9–17. It is the description of the saints on the great golden platform above the city after the millennium.
Following is a description from The Great Controversy, 665, of the celebration that takes place at this time:
“The redeemed raise a song of praise that echoes and re-echoes through the vaults of heaven: ‘Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb’ (Revelation 7:10). And angel and seraph unite their voices in adoration. … In all that shining throng there are none to ascribe salvation to themselves, as if they had prevailed by their own power and goodness. Nothing is said of what they have done or suffered; but the burden of every song, the keynote of every anthem, is: Salvation to our God and unto the Lamb.”
Never in the whole history of the great controversy has there been a celebration like this. It is the first time, the last time, and the only time, that every being that was ever created will be together in the same place at the same time.
Above the city, with the Father and the Son, are the redeemed and all of the heavenly host. Below them, surrounding the city, are Satan, the fallen angels and the host of the wicked awaiting their sentences to be handed down by the King of kings. At this event the final coronation of Christ takes place.
“In the presence of the assembled inhabitants of earth and heaven the final coronation of the Son of God takes place.” The Great Controversy, 666.
The first official act in His new position is to pronounce sentence upon the rebels. These were the sentences decided during the thousand years between the two resurrections.
“And now, invested with supreme majesty and power, the King of kings pronounces sentence upon the rebels against His government and executes justice upon those who have transgressed His law and oppressed His people.” Ibid.
This same scene is described by the disciple John in Revelation 20:11, 12 KJV. “I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged (sentenced) out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
Now the sentences are executed. Revelation 20:9, last part, 14, 15, say: “But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. … Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”
The investigative judgment is going on in heaven and now is the time to make sure our names are retained in the book of life.
Verse 10 says, “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
The Great Controversy, 672, 673 says, “ ‘Upon the wicked He shall rain quick burning coals, fire and brimstone and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup’ (Isaiah 9:5; 34:2; Psalm 11:6, margin). Fire comes down from God out of heaven. The earth is broken up. The weapons concealed in its depths are drawn forth. Devouring flames burst from every yawning chasm. The very rocks are on fire. The day has come that shall burn as an oven. The elements melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein are burned up. Malachi 4:1; II Peter 3:10. The earth’s surface seems one molten mass—a vast, seething lake of fire. It is the time of the judgment and perdition of ungodly men—‘the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion’ (Isaiah 34:8).”
Such is the sixth celebration in the plan of salvation and the final coronation of Christ and the eradication of sin under the new covenant. The wicked that were surrounding the city are gone, they are no more.
The Seventh Celebration—The Kingdom of Glory Restored
The object of the whole plan of salvation is to restore the moral image of God in man that we may be restored to the Kingdom of glory. This is what we need to share with others, the goal of the plan of salvation and why Christ died on the cross. This is the final event of the new covenant.
In Revelation 21:1–5, John says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ ”
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” Revelation 22:1, 2.
What a wonderful privilege it will be to eat from that tree and never die. What a glorious message we have to share.
“No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.” Verses 3, 4.
Today, nobody can look upon the Father, or else they would be instantly destroyed. But in the new paradise, we are friends, and because we will be immortal we will be able to talk to God the Father. What a wonderful change God makes in us to be able to see His face and abide in His presence forever.
“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” Verse 5.
We do not now understand how to think in terms of “never ending,” but in the new earth it will be a reality and we will then understand.
“And the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character. As Jesus opens before them the riches of redemption and the amazing achievements in the great controversy with Satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion, and with more rapturous joy they sweep the harps of gold; and ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise.” The Great Controversy, 678.
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:13 KJV.
At every celebration, Christ is the center of attention—the center of the new covenant. It is Christ and God the Father that receive all the glory and honor from all creation. As the years of eternity roll, They continue to receive praise, honor and glory for executing the plan of redemption through Christ and His ministry in the sanctuary of the new covenant.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New International Version.)
Maurice Hoppe is Director of the Steps to Life training programs and a member of the Steps to Life Board. The Training Program for Ministers and Church Leaders is a correspondence course that prepares individuals to serve as pastors or Bible workers. Preparing for the Final Conflict is a correspondence course for the laity. Both of these courses teach present truth that will be an anchor for the soul during the storm of opposition and persecution just ahead. He and his wife also have a correspondence course offered through Revelation Ministry. He can be contacted at: email@example.com.