THE BRIDAL CHAMBER
How is our seven years in heaven with the Lord (while the Tribulation Period takes place on earth) like a honeymoon? Actually, what the Lord has prepared for us is called by a rather fearsome name in the Scriptures:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the thing done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (II Cor. 5:10).
We are going to appear before our Lord to review the things each of us did in his earthly service. This judgment concerns our works, of course, and not our sins, which were paid for in advance. Paul is very clear on what will happen in the judgment seat of Christ. He points out that the only reasonable foundation one can lay in this life is that of Christ, and then he goes on to give the particulars of how our works are judged:
For other foundations can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
Every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is (Cor. 3: 11-13).
The Lord will put a torch to our works. Those that are of the precious metals will not be harmed, but the wood, hay and stubble will be burned away. We will be duly rewarded for our good works:
If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward (v. 14).
And we will suffer losses of our rewards for the works that are burned up:
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire (v.15).
Note he last two phases in the above verse. Even if we have a great many bad works and therefore few rewards, we still shall be saved. We shall survive this fire of judgment. God has fire that does not consume, such as in the lake of fire or in the burning bush seen by Moses. God's purpose in this judgment seat of Christ is not to burn us up, but merely the works unworthy of the bride of Christ. We ourselves will be saved.
How is this like a honeymoon? Well, a honeymoon is where the bridegroom removes his bride's veils and knows all of her secrets. We will be spiritual creatures when we meet Christ, since "we shall all be changed", and so our Bridegroom will examine our spiritual secrets. Some honeymoons indeed are not as joyful as we might have expected, married people can tell you, but we're there with someone we love and when all is said and done, we become marriage partners through the experience.
Now that peculiar moment when the bridegroom tells his friend that the wedding is consummated is also in the Gospel. It has to do with that great friend of Jesus, John the Baptist. It seems the Pharisees were approaching him time and again and asking if he were the Messiah. From the passages, we can gather that they wished he were the Messiah - they could get along better with a Messiah who lived by the Dead Sea and ate locusts and honey than with the Carpenter of Galilee, who did so many miracles. If John were the Messiah, then they could muddle through. It was that mild - mannered young preacher from rustic Nazareth they could not seem to abide. In one of their dialogues, John, seeming to almost lose patience with them, uses this very special moment in the wedding ceremony to illustrate his point. He told them:
Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled (John 3: 28-29).
Perhaps John, an Old Testament saint killed before the cross, and a dear friend of our Bridegroom's Father, will serve this function in our wedding in heaven.