The Wedding Banquet
Matthew 22:1–14 (compare Luke 14:15–24)
And Jesus answering, again said to them in parables, saying, The kingdom of the heavens is likened to a man, a king, who made a wedding for his son, and sent forth his servants to call those who were called to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, “Say to those who were called, ‘Behold, I have prepared my dinner. My oxen and fatlings4 are slaughtered, and all things are prepared; come to the wedding.’” But they, neglecting it, went away, indeed, one to his own field, and the other to his merchandise; and the rest, taking hold of his servants, insulted them, and killed them. And when the king heard, he was angry; and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
Then he says to his servants, “The wedding is indeed prepared, but they who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the exits of the ways, and whomever, as many as you find, call to the wedding.” And those servants, going out into the roads, gathered together all, as many as they found, both wicked and good; and the wedding was filled with guests. And the king, coming in to observe the guests, saw there a man who had not put on a wedding garment. And he says to him, “Fellow, how didst thou come in here not having a wedding garment?” And he was silenced. Then the king said to the ministers, “Having bound him feet and hands, take him up, and cast him out into the outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few chosen.”
A wedding for the Son
AR 812:2. When [the people of the Church] acknowledge the Lord’s Human to be Divine, a full marriage of the Lord and the church takes place. For ...the church is a church from the marriage of the Lord with her, for the Lord is called ...the Bridegroom and Husband, and the church is called the Bride and Wife....
That there is then a full marriage of the Lord and the church, when His Human is acknowledged to be Divine, is clear; for then God the Father and He are acknowledged to be one, as the soul and the body. When this is acknowledged... the Lord Himself is approached... because the Father is in Him, as the soul is in the body... Moreover, three husbands cannot be given to one wife, nor three souls to one body; and therefore, unless one God is acknowledged, in whom is the Trinity, and that that God is the Lord, there is no marriage.
A man who had not put on a wedding garment
TCR 380:4. Of all who honor the Lord as the Redeemer and Savior only with the mouth and lips, while in heart and spirit they regard Him as a mere man, it may be said, when they are speaking of these things and teaching them, that their cheeks are like a bag of honey, and their heart like a bag of gall. Their words are like cakes of sugar, while their thoughts are like emulsions of aconite [or poison]. They are also like rolls of pastry containing snakes. If such persons are priests, they are like pirates on the sea who hoist the flag of a peaceful nation, but when a ship sailing near hails them as friends, they raise a piratical flag in place of the other, seize the ship, and carry away those on board into captivity.
They are also like serpents of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that approach like angels of light, carrying in their hands apples from that tree painted with golden colors, as if plucked from the tree of life; and they offer them, saying:
God knows that in the day you eat of them, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5).
And when these have eaten, they follow the serpent into the lower world, and there they dwell together....
Such as these are meant also by the man who came to the marriage without a wedding garment and was cast into outer darkness (Matt. 22:11–13), “the wedding garment” meaning faith in the Lord as the Son of God, the God of heaven and earth, and one with the Father.
Those who honor the Lord with the mouth and lips only, but in heart and spirit regard Him as a mere man, if they declare their thoughts and persuade others, are spiritual murderers, and the worst of them are spiritual cannibals. For a man’s life is from love to the Lord and faith in Him, and if this essential element of faith and love, that the Lord is God-Man and Man-God, is taken away, man’s life becomes death. Thus in this way man is killed and devoured as a kid by a wolf.
4 Literally, “wheat-fed”
Questions and Comments
- Have you ever had a sense of being called to be New Church by virtue of having grown up with it and being surrounded by New Church people, but feeling a resistance to coming to “the wedding feast”?
- Why is there no marriage between us and God unless we acknowledge the Lord as God? What about good Christians who are confused, or good people of other faiths?
- Where might we encounter spiritual murderers and cannibals, or guests without a wedding garment? How can we be sure to put on a wedding garment ourselves?