“Let us rejoice and be overjoyed, and let us give him the glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has arrived and his wife has prepared herself.
13. What preparation for the marriage of the Lamb has taken place down through the centuries?
13 Down through the centuries, Jesus has made loving preparation for this celestial marriage. (Matthew 28:20; 2 Corinthians 11:2) He has been cleansing the 144,000 of spiritual Israel so that “he might present the congregation to himself in its splendor, not having a spot or a wrinkle or any of such things, but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27) With a view to attaining to “the prize of the upward call of God,” each anointed Christian has had to strip off the old personality with its practices, put on the new Christian personality, and perform righteous acts “whole-souled as to Jehovah.”—Philippians 3:8, 13, 14; Colossians 3:9, 10, 23.
14. How has Satan tried to contaminate the prospective members of the Lamb’s wife?
14 From Pentecost 33 C.E. on, Satan used Babylon the Great as his tool in trying to contaminate the prospective members of the Lamb’s wife. By the end of the first century, he had sown seeds of Babylonish religion in the congregation. (1 Corinthians 15:12; 2 Timothy 2:18; Revelation 2:6, 14, 20) The apostle Paul describes those who were subverting the faith in these words: “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:13, 14) In succeeding centuries, apostate Christendom, like the rest of Babylon the Great, dressed herself in the clothing of wealth and privilege, “purple and scarlet, . . . gold and precious stone and pearls.” (Revelation 17:4) Her clergy and popes consorted with bloodthirsty emperors, such as Constantine and Charlemagne. She was never arrayed in “the righteous acts of the holy ones.” As a counterfeit bride, she was truly a masterpiece of satanic deception. At last, she is gone forever!
The Lamb’s Wife Has Prepared Herself
15. How does the sealing take place, and what is required of an anointed Christian?
15 So now, after almost 2,000 years, all 144,000 of the bride class have made themselves ready. But at what point of time may it be said that ‘the Lamb’s wife has prepared herself’? Progressively, from Pentecost 33 C.E. on, believing anointed ones “were sealed with the promised holy spirit,” this in view of a coming “day of releasing by ransom.” As the apostle Paul expressed it, God “has also put his seal upon us and has given us the token of what is to come, that is, the spirit, in our hearts.” (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:22) Each anointed Christian is “called and chosen,” and he has proved himself “faithful.”—Revelation 17:14.
16. (a) When was the apostle Paul’s sealing complete, and how do we know? (b) When will the Lamb’s wife have “prepared herself” fully?
16 After decades of testing, Paul himself could declare: “I have fought the fine fight, I have run the course to the finish, I have observed the faith. From this time on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me as a reward in that day, yet not only to me, but also to all those who have loved his manifestation.” (2 Timothy 4:7, 8) The apostle’s sealing appears to have been complete, even though he was still in the flesh and would yet face martyrdom. Similarly, the time must come when all remaining ones on earth of the 144,000 will have been sealed individually as belonging to Jehovah. (2 Timothy 2:19) This will be when the Lamb’s wife will have fully prepared herself—the great majority of the 144,000 having already received their heavenly reward and those still on earth having been finally approved and sealed as faithful ones.
17. When can the marriage of the Lamb take place?
17 At this point in Jehovah’s timetable, when the sealing of the 144,000 has reached completion, the angels release the four winds of the great tribulation. (Revelation 7:1-3) First, judgment is executed on harlotlike Babylon the Great. The victorious Christ next moves on quickly to Armageddon to destroy the rest of Satan’s organization on earth and, finally, to abyss Satan and his demons. (Revelation 19:11–20:3) If any anointed ones still survive on earth, they will doubtless enter into their heavenly reward soon after Christ completes his conquest and will join their fellow members of the bride class. Then, at God’s due time, the marriage of the Lamb can take place!
18. How does Psalm 45 confirm the sequence of events with regard to the marriage of the Lamb?
18 The prophetic account in Psalm 45 describes the order of events. First the enthroned King rides forth to the conquest of his enemies. (Verses 1-7) Then the marriage is performed, the heavenly bride being attended on earth by her virgin companions, the great crowd. (Verses 8-15) Next the marriage becomes fruitful, with resurrected mankind being raised to perfection under oversight of “princes in all the earth.” (Verses 16, 17) What glorious blessings accompany the marriage of the Lamb!