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The Parable of the Wedding Feast
A Latter-day Interpretation
To the Pharisees, who were chiefly responsible for corrupting Judaism, Jesus spoke a parable, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, who made a marriage for his son.”1 When “the marriage was ready” there was an initial invitation that went out and “he sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding.”2 Despite his call and the sacrifice required to deliver it, however, they who were bidden “would not come.”3 So the king decided to increase the appeal of his offer: “Again he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them that are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my oxen, and my fatlings have been killed, and my dinner is ready, and all things are prepared; therefore, come unto the marriage.”4 Considering what was proposed and presented, you would think this would be enough to entice anyone to attend this marriage ceremony. However, once again, those invited “made light of the servants and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise.”5 Too caught up in their day-to-day concerns they were indifferent to all that was offered. Some were even offended by the invitation, and “took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.”6
With two invitations offered—the second greater than the first—both rejected, and the servants carrying the greater invitation killed, the king “was wroth.” He therefore “sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.”7 He then turns to his remaining servants, saying: “The wedding is ready; but they who were bidden were not worthy.”8 The king thus moves on to those not previously selected for the guest list and sends his servants to now gather anyone: “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 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.”9
After the wedding ceremony began, the king noticed there was a man without the proper attire who “had not a wedding garment.”10 To him the king asks “Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?” The guest “was speechless.”11 Even though he had been invited to the celebration, he chose to attend on his own terms rather than the king’s and was thus not allowed to stay. The king said to his servants: “Bind him hand and foot, and take and cast him away into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”12
Jesus is the greatest prophet to have lived on this earth, and He demonstrated all the gifts of the same. He thus possessed the spirit of prophecy.13 This fact should influence the way we approach His words, enabling us to interpret His prophecies according to the classic Hebrew pattern: a fulfillment during His own time, and another during the last days.
While this parable of the wedding feast is often applied—and rightly so—to the gospel being rejected by the Jews and offered to the Gentiles; it can be applied in the same manner to the fulfillment of the Lord’s words that “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last” when the gospel is taken from the latter-day Gentiles in the end-time and again offered to the Jews and the rest of the House of Israel.14 The parable can be likened in the following way. . .
The marriage ceremony for the son represents experiencing salvation “through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” who is Jesus Christ.15
The initial call to the wedding that was sent out represents The Book of Mormon. Despite what it took to get this invitation out, those invited have largely rejected this opportunity. The Latter-day application of this aspect of Jesus’ parable can be readily observed in His own words regarding our taking lightly The Book of Mormon, and the condemnation we are thus under:
“And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.”16
The Book of Mormon’s invitation to literally come unto Christ by entering His presence has been taken lightly and this condemnation still rests upon us today.
The greater and more appealing invitation sent out later wherein it was described that the oxen were prepared, the fatlings killed, the dinner ready, and all things prepared represents the future coming forth of the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. This enticing, and richer invitation to come unto Christ is filled with deeper truths and mysteries than the first. It contains things such as: (1) “the more part of the things which [Jesus] taught the people” including when He expounded “all things, even from the beginning until the time that he should come in his glory”; (2) the “greater things…which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared” that Moroni was commanded to seal up until the day that the Gentiles “shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord”; (3) the great and marvelous prophecies of Ether that Moroni was forbidden to write.17
The guests making light of the greater offer and rejecting it, going their separate ways to their farms and merchandise represents the Gentiles rejecting the greater portion of the word—even the coming forth of the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. Caught up in their “fine sanctuaries,” “fine clothing,” and pride, they have been lulled “into carnal security” and thus prioritize—just as those in the parable—their things of the world over the greater things of God.18 Their rejection of this new record is further evidenced by Nephi’s warning: “Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!”19
The slaying of the servants who delivered this greater invitation represents the marring beyond human recognition of the Lord’s servant who brings forth the sealed portion in the end-time.20 This marring occurs at the hands of those to whom the record is first brought and offered to—the latter-day Gentiles, i.e. the Latter-day Saints and their leaders.
The armies sent forth by the king to destroy the murderers and their city represent the Native Americans, the Lord’s “people who are a remnant of Jacob” in the land of promise, marshaling for war and going forth “among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.”21
The king’s statement concerning those who were bidden but were not found worthy represents the latter-day Gentiles being “cut off from among my people who are of the covenant” and the fulness of the gospel being taken from them and given to the House of Israel.22 This can be plainly seen in Jesus’ words here:
“At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them. And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.”23
Clearly this prophecy is directed toward us Latter-day Saints as Gentiles, for how could the fullness of the gospel be taken “from among” a group of people that it had never been given to in the first place?
The subsequent commissioning of the servants to go out into the highways and gather as many as could be found, both good and bad, represents the literal gathering of Israel and the restoration of the Ten Tribes.24 This takes place as the 144,000, the Kings and Queens of the Gentiles referred to by Isaiah who have repented and risen to perform their birthright Ephraimite role, are sent forth to save and bring in the scattered remnants of Israel on the “highway [which] shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep.”25
The wedding being furnished with guests represents the establishment of Zion—The New Jerusalem upon the American continent, and the completion of the Father’s marvelous work of gathering and uniting the House of Israel.26
Lastly, the man without the proper attire at the wedding feast who had no garment represents the leaders of Ephraim who—through their covenant with death—try and receive salvation on terms other than those outlined by the king.27 The fact that this man in the parable actually got into the wedding demonstrates that for a time it will seem as though these men who preside will have experienced peace in their false refuge. Their supposed covenant proves void, however, and they cannot hide from the king who will promptly have them cast away into outer darkness. Like the man in the parable, they were initially invited, however they attempted to enter through deceit rather than by faith and righteous works like everyone else. They thought they were somehow an exception to the rule and no wedding garment would be required for them. Unwilling to pay the price of righteousness for the garment, they pay the price of suffering with “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”28
Much of the content for this post was taken from a section in the book Upon My House Shall It Begin.
Also worth mentioning that if those He reveals Himself to possess the spirit of prophecy; and if understanding the words of those to whom He has shown all things requires the spirit of prophecy such as Isaiah; then it would follow that He Himself possesses the spirit of prophecy.
Matthew 20:16; Luke 13:30'; 1 Nephi 13:42
2 Nephi 2:8
3 Nephi 26:7, 3; Ether 4:4-6, 13:13
2 Nephi 28:13, 21
2 Nephi 28:29
Isaiah 52:14; 3 Nephi 20:44; 3 Nephi 21:10
3 Nephi 21:12
3 Nephi 21:11
3 Nephi 16:10-11
Article of Faith #10
Isaiah 49:22-23; D&C 133:27
3 Nephi 21:24; Ether 13:5-10; Genesis 7:70 JST