The Great Banquet – Isaiah 25

Feasts are meant for joyful celebration.  The Lord has promised a great one for all believers when Jesus Christ returns to reign on His eternal throne on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. 

And in this mountain
The Lord of hosts will make for all people
A feast of choice pieces,
A feast of wines on the lees,
Of fat things full of marrow,
Of well-refined wines on the lees.
And He will destroy on this mountain
The surface of the covering cast over all people,
And the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken.  Isaiah 25:6-8 NKJV

The prophet Isaiah might have been living in a faithless land, but God gave him this uplifting vision of the future to share with his contemporaries as well as with us today.  A great feast will happen when the Kingdom of God finally arrives, spreading over the whole earth at Christ’s return.  The veil of suffering that covers many people will be destroyed, bringing a lightness and gaiety to all who are there.  Tears will be wiped away, and the scourge of death will be removed once and for all.  What a great time that will be!  Even Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be at the feast, Jesus tells us.

Yet, many will choose to skip this great banquet, rejecting their invitation.  Jesus speaks of this in multiple parables, of people being invited to the great supper, yet giving flimsy excuses for not attending.

In Luke 14, the excuses Jesus shares for rejecting His invitation border on the comedic.  One person talks of having just purchased a piece of property and needing to go see it.  Usually that is done prior to the purchase!  Another person says they bought five yoke of oxen, and need to go test them.  Again, not the usual procedure to use when purchasing something – the testing usually comes before the purchase.  A third person sent regrets because he had just married.  Why could he not bring his wife along to such an important event?   She is invited, too.

Like anyone who has made a great sacrifice to offer a gift of love, God hurts when His generous offer is rejected.  But He is a gentleman and will not force anyone to attend who does not wish to be there.  We all have complete freedom of choice to reject His offer, no matter how foolish or flimsy our excuse may be.

For those who choose to attend, this great banquet celebrating Christ’s return and global reign will be an unworldly experience.  The tears, suffering and losses of this life will be long forgotten.  A new day will have come, and we will be enwrapped in the holiness and love of Christ Himself.

The Book of Revelation refers to this kingdom banquet as symbolic of a marriage between Christ, the Holy Lamb of God, and His pure bride, the Church.  We are pure because we have been thoroughly cleansed by His blood on the cross, and have been joined to Him.

Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’  Revelation 19:9a NKJV

We are all invited by God to attend this great supper.  The only question is, will we choose to be there?  

Reflection

The pall of suffering and death has touched all of us at one time or another.  This is not the life that God ever wants for us.  Christ came the first time to restore to us a holy relationship with God and the abundant life that gives.   He will come the second time to fulfill His promise of a world without tears and injustice, an eternally joyful kingdom that begins with a great and wonderful banquet.  Be there!

Lord, thank You for inviting me to the great banquet celebrating Your kingdom coming upon the whole earth.  I want to be there, and joyfully accept Your invitation offered to me through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Thank You!  In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

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