When Jesus taught in parables, He was specifically addressing the Church and the Church Age. Also, the parables about a wedding prepared by a King for His Son pertains to the call of the Church and the taking out of the Gentiles a bride for Jesus Christ. Therefore, Israel is not the ones bidden to the wedding in verse 3. The setting aside of Israel is taught in the Parable of The Vineyard.
There were three primary stages to a wedding at the time of Jesus just as there are today. There is first the betrothal or engagement of the couple to be married. Then there is the actual marriage ceremony where the vows are said and the marriage takes place. The final stage of the wedding is the marriage supper where all the festivities take place. This parable pertains to all three stages of the wedding, so it addresses the entire Church Age and the two stages of the seven year tribulation period.
We will now look closely at each verse in this parable.
(Mat 22:1 KJV) And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
In this verse Jesus speaks again and teaches another parable. The previous parable in Matthew 21:33-46 addressed the setting aside of Israel and the calling of the Church into the kingdom of heaven. The following verse in the previous parable summarizes the teaching in that parable:
(Mat 21:43 KJV) Therefore say I unto you (i.e., Israel), The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation (i.e., the Church) bringing forth the fruits thereof.
This parable is addressing the Church and its calling to be the bride of Christ. Israel is not portrayed in this parable.
(Mat 22:2 KJV) The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
As stated in verse 43 above, the kingdom of God was taken away from the Jews and offered to a nation that would bring forth fruit. That nation is the Church and this verse depicts the entire process of the betrothal, the wedding and the marriage feast. The Greek word for “made” means the process over time and includes the entire Church Age and the seven year tribulation period.
(Mat 22:3 KJV) And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
This verse addresses those who were betrothed to Christ in the calling out of the Church. “Them that were bidden to the wedding” is addressing every Christian during the entire Church Age. The whole Church was betrothed to Christ, but the majority of the Church refuse to come to the marriage. The majority of the Church are unfaithful to Christ during the Church Age, and play the harlot with the world. This is seen in the teaching of the Seven Churches in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation.
The “servants” in this verse are the “faithful and wise” servants who have devoted their lives as bond slaves to the Lord Jesus Christ. They are few in number, and they are represented in Revelation as the small and poor Philadelphia church.
The Greek word for “bidden” means those who have “received the name of”. Christians are those who have received the name of Christ, but the Church as a whole has been unfaithful to the name of Christ, and will be put away at the Firstfruits Rapture.
(Mat 22:4 KJV) Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
This verse pertains to the first half of the tribulation period, and it is the calling of the Jews and Gentiles to the marriage feast during the first half of the tribulation period. These “other servants” are the main body of the Church that was left behind at the Firstfruits Rapture. The “wise and faithful” are no longer on the earth as they are the few that remained faithful during the betrothal.
It is important to note that “oxen and my fatlings” are mentioned here, as the call is now pertaining to the marriage feast and not the actual marriage, which has already taken place in heaven.
“Them which are bidden” in this verse represent all those who are called to salvation during the first half of the tribulation period. These are not members of the Church, but they are spiritually saved, even though the following verse shows that they are neglectful of their salvation during the remainder of the first half of the tribulation period.
(Mat 22:5 KJV) But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
“They” in this verse are those who were saved spiritually in the previous verse, but “made light of it” means that they were neglectful of this salvation, even as the Jews and the Church were previously neglectful of their salvation. The Greek word for “farm” has reference to the land or the earth, and the Greek word for “merchandise” refers to worldly wealth.
(Mat 22:6 KJV) And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
The “remnant” in this verse means those that remain from the ones being considered. We have seen in the two previous verses that those being considered are the “bidden” or those who were called to salvation. Therefore, the “remnant” in this verse represents the unsaved upon the earth during the first half of the tribulation period. The remnant in this verse includes Antichrist and all of his followers. They are the ones that literally seize the servants or bond slaves in the Church, and persecute and slay them.
This verse portrays the persecution and martyrdom of the main body of the Church during the first half of the tribulation period. The Greek word for “took” means to literally lay hold on or seize, and “entreated them spitefully” means to treat shamefully. Those in the Church who become bond slaves to the Lord during the tribulation will be seized by the followers of Antichrist and will be tortured and slain. The Book of Habakkuk describes this persecution and slaying of “righteous Gentiles” during the first half of the tribulation period.
(Mat 22:7 KJV) But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
This verse depicts the wrath of God that will take place on the earth during the last half of the tribulation period. The sending forth of the armies, the destruction of the murderers, and the burning up of the city portrays the judgments of God during the last half of the tribulation period.
(Mat 22:8 KJV) Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
At the time that the judgments of God are being sent forth on the earth, God’s servants—the 144,000 Jewish firstfruits—preach the gospel of the kingdom during the last half of the tribulation period.
(Mat 22:9 KJV) Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
This verse depicts the cast net in the last half of the tribulation period where the Gentiles are invited without limit to the marriage supper of the lamb, which will take place on the earth. Both good and evil are invited to the marriage supper.
(Mat 22:10 KJV) So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
There will be millions of Gentiles who will answer to the preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom by the 144,000 Jewish Firstfruits during the last half of the tribulation period. This is not the marriage that they are invited to but the marriage supper that will take place on the earth.
(Mat 22:11 KJV) And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
The wedding garment is the set of righteous works that a Christian must perform in order to be invited to the wedding feast. Those that have only accomplished a few or no good works will be easily identified by King Jesus; their garments will be soiled by participating in sinful and self-centered behavoir. The wedding garments of the faithful will be white, because they will have accomplished most of the good works that God gave them to do during their lifetime. Their garments will also be white, because they are daily confessing their sins to God (I John 1:9) and allowing the "washing by the word" (Eph 5:26) to cleanse them daily.
(Mat 22:12 KJV) And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
When Jesus has His angels prepare the wonderful food, drink and deserts, all believers, will want to participate in and enjoy the wedding feast with Jesus. However, Jesus only allows those believers that have been faithful to Him to enjoy this wonderful time with Him. Jesus tells the man that the criteria is to have performed righteous works for Him during their time on earth. Jesus is arrayed in glory and honor and is breathtaking in appearance. The unfaithful will recognize that they have not done the good works God gave them to do and will look down in shame and be very embarassed. They will have no evidence of good works to present to King Jesus.
(Mat 22:13 KJV) Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The outer darkness mentioned here is to be relegated to the space just outside the wedding feast area. The unfaithful will know of the fellowship that is being experienced by Jesus and His faithful followers, but will share no food nor conversation with Him. They will be weeping and anguish because they know in their hearts that they failed Jesus in their walk with Him while they were on the earth; this discomfort will last for the Millineum Kingdom. After that, God will wipe all tears away and they will be able to fellowship with Him.
(Mat 22:14 KJV) For many are called, but few are chosen.
All believers are expected to accomplish good works for God, but unfortunately most Christians do not allow the Holy Spirit to direct their lives and thus they live sinful and self-centered lives. Only those believers that are faithful in living their lives for God and not for themselves will be chosen by Christ to attend His wedding feast.