he will send forth his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.”—Matt. 24:30, 31.
17, 18. (a) The completion of that gathering work would be the time for determining what with regard to the garmentless class? (b) How does Jesus’ illustration show what will be done then to that class?
17 The completion of this gathering of the “chosen ones” would take place shortly before the “great tribulation” that Jesus compared with the deluge of Noah’s day begins. (Matt. 24:21, 22, 37-41) So, at that time of inspection made by the heavenly King, would the class pictured by the man without the marriage garment be taken along as one of the “chosen” ones? Or would this class be left to share with “all the tribes of the earth” who beat themselves in lamentation because of the coming destruction? The class that makes up Christendom has no excuse to offer to the King for trying to be at the “marriage feast” without the symbolic garment. That class can offer no reason for being allowed to enjoy the “wedding ceremonies” and “feast.” At the time of the final inspection, that class is found “speechless.” How will the King treat that class? Jesus’ illustration shows:
18 “Then the king said to his servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the darkness outside. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.’”—Matt. 22:13.
19. Into what will that class be thrown out, and what will it fail to enjoy?
19 So this class is bound beyond all ability to offer resistance. It is cast thus into the “darkness outside,” outside where the darkness is not alleviated by such things as street lamps. There, with no enlightenment of any kind from God, that class will weep and gnash its teeth, in the “great tribulation” in which religious Babylon the Great and all the rest of this system of things will be destroyed. (Rev. 17:14-18) That class will be cut off from the “kingdom of the heavens” and will have no part in the “evening meal of the Lamb’s marriage” in the heavens above.—Rev. 19:9.
MANY INVITED, FEW CHOSEN
20. With what statement did Jesus round off his illustration, and did this refer to the garmentless man?
20 In order to round off the illustration and to show the point of it, Jesus said: “For there are many invited, but few chosen.” (Matt. 22:14) Jesus was not saying those words with reference to the ejected man without the required marriage garment.* This man was not the main feature of the illustration. Certainly the man did not picture what was left of the “many” invited ones after the “few” chosen ones had been taken out. Correspondingly, the “guests” who wear the marriage garment and who are not thrown out of the “room for the wedding ceremonies” do not picture the “few” that had been chosen from the Jewish nation after the vast majority of all the “invited” Jews had excused themselves. Whom, then, did Jesus mean by the “many” that had been invited, and whom by the “few” chosen?
21. Who, then, were the few that were chosen, and did they make up all the “guests” that recline at the “marriage feast”?
21 The “many” invited were the Jewish nation that was in the Law covenant, which offered help to the Jews to become a “kingdom of priests” to God. The “few” chosen as worthy of the “kingdom of the heavens” were the “remnant” of natural Jews who acted on the notification from the heavenly King. Such Jews left worldly concerns behind, came to the “room for the wedding ceremonies” and accepted the “marriage garment” from the King, put it on and then reclined at the “table.” Because, by the year 36 C.E., merely a “few” (Jews) acted on notification from God the King, he found it necessary to send his “slaves” out beyond the Jewish “city” or community with orders to bring in replacements from the uncircumcised Gentiles. Eventually a roomful of guests results. So the “few” that made up the Jewish remnant were only part of the “guests” at the feast.
22. (a) How did God the King show his choosing of the garmented “guests”? (b) What was Jesus’ illustration meant to show regarding the King’s having a marriage feast?
22 Hence, all the “guests” clothed with the marriage garment picture more than just the “remnant” of Jews who became spiritual Israelites. The “guests” include also all the faithful Gentile replacements. God duly indicated his choosing of all these garmented “guests” by anointing them with his holy spirit through his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus’ illustration nowhere pictures, and was not meant to picture, that an unknown number of anointed Christians would turn unfaithful and prove unworthy of the “kingdom of the heavens.” Jesus’ illustration was meant to show that the heavenly King would succeed in having a fully attended “marriage feast” in spite of difficulties. He would have a successful “marriage feast” in fulfillment of his gracious purpose.
23. Did the King Jehovah have his “slaves” bring in an overload of prospective “guests,” or in what way did he proceed?
23 All along the King Jehovah knew how many reclining places he would have at the feasting “table.” So he would not have his “slaves” bring in an overload of prospective “guests.” He would have his slaves bring in only as many as were needed to fill all the places available. In his due time he had his “slaves” bring in a remnant from the originally invited Jews. After that he called for all the needed replacements from all uncircumcised Gentile nations. Gradually all places would be “filled.”
24. (a) What does Jesus’ illustration not show as respects the man thrown out? (b) In the fulfillment, why is there no need to bring in replacements for that garmentless class?
24 One thing Jesus’ illustration does not show. What? That, after the man without the marriage garment was thrown out, the king would send out a slave to bring in a replacement for that man. Certainly the king would not send out a slave into the night, “into the darkness outside,” to hunt up a replacement for the man thrown out. What person would be on “the roads” outside the city at that hour of the night? The king approves of the garmented wedding guests (reclining ones), and the feast now goes forward with all these and without the garmentless man who was thrown outside. In the fulfillment of the final part of Jesus’ illustration today, there is no need to bring in a replacement for Christendom and her religious crowd. They merely tried to get in to the feasting table without meeting the divine requirements. Their pretense at being there does not work.
25. (a) So, who does the calling or inviting, and how? (b) How is the choosing indicated, and what is required of those chosen?
25 Jehovah the King does the calling or inviting. As in the case of Cornelius, the first Gentile convert to Christianity, God first reads the heart of the person to whom he gives attention. Then, because of the promising attitude of the heart, God sends the needed aid to the responsive one. This one thus gets the Bible instruction concerning the hope of the heavenly kingdom. Consequently, not all the hundreds of millions who are having “this good news of the kingdom” preached to them are thereby having God’s invitation extended to them to attend the spiritual “marriage feast.” (Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20) The majority are merely receiving a “witness” concerning the Kingdom. The ones really “invited,” who meet God’s requirements, are then “chosen” by his anointing of them with holy spirit to be joint heirs of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 1:21; 1 John 2:20, 27) Now that they have been thus chosen, they must prove faithful to the end.—Rev. 17:14; 2:10.
26. What are the chosen “guests” yet on earth enjoying now, and what will the faithful ones enjoy after the “great tribulation”?
26 Today the whole world of mankind is in trouble, in this “time of the end” of the system of things. But the faithful chosen “guests” in the brilliantly lighted “room for the wedding ceremonies” are experiencing the joys and blessings of the King’s approval. After they hold fast to their Christian integrity clear through the approaching “great tribulation” that brings the end of the worldly system of things, they will be admitted to the “evening meal of the Lamb’s marriage” in the heavens above. (Rev. 19:7, 9) Since they will make up the “bride” of Christ, this is doubtless why the bride of the king’s son is not mentioned and is not introduced into Jesus’ illustration.* All the 144,000 chosen and faithful members of the Bridal congregation will there enjoy the meal with their Bridegroom.
27. With whom is the remnant of the Bridal congregation now associating on earth, and how do these honor the King and his Bridegroom Son?
27 A marriage and wedding festivities suggest bridesmaids. Well, Psalm 45:13-15 indicated prophetically that there would be some in attendance. Today, when the Bridal congregation of Christ is nearing completion, they are associating with the “remnant” of that congregation. Of course, these figurative bridesmaids do not expect to go to heaven with the “remnant,” but they honor the heavenly King and his Bridegroom Son, and show due respect for the remnant of the Bridal congregation. Revelation 7:9-17 portrays that there would be a numberless “great crowd” of these companions.
28. Whom are those of this “great crowd” now helping, and what will be their reward through the Eternal Father?
28 They rejoice in the outworking of this beautiful feature of God’s purpose, and render loving help to the remnant of the Bride class. They reverently join in the worship and service of the heavenly King at his spiritual temple palace. From Him they will receive lasting life benefits through his Bridegroom Son as their Eternal Father. (Isa. 9:6, 7) Endless blessings will be theirs on a paradisaic earth under the kingdom of God’s wedded Son.
More Bibles and Study Aids
● The Bible is now available, the whole or in part, in 1,526 languages, according to the United Bible Societies. It appeared in twenty-six more languages for the first time last year. The Bible textbook The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and released in 1968, has now been printed to the total of 74 million copies in 91 languages. Another such Bible study aid, True Peace and Security—From What Source? (1973), is now in 14 languages; over 16 million copies have been printed.