April 29, 2011 was the day the entire planet earth celebrated the ”mother of all weddings.” There has never been anything like the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton since the world started having church weddings millennial ago. Not even the wedding in 1981 of William’s parents – Prince Charles and the late Diana Spencer, came anywhere near that of Catherine and William in terms of the number of people that turned out to watch the wedding both in the street of London and on television sets around the world.
In 1981 more than 750 million people watched the wedding on television of Charles and Diana but the wedding of William and Kate attracted a global viewership of some 2 billion people – nearly one-third of mankind scattered in different parts of the world. Setting aside pride and prejudice about the British culture in general and the royal family in particular viewers in over 196 nations of the world watched from their television screens as Kate slide down the aisle of the ancient but magnificent Westminster Abbey in London and indeed all the other proceedings of that historic wedding whose cost was offset by none other but the 85-year-old Queen Elizabeth II.
In the United States of America – a close ally of the United Kingdom for almost a century now, millions of people had risen up early on the wedding day to watch the ceremony on a number of different television channels. In Kenya, hundreds of thousands of Kenyans were also fixated to their television screens to share in the joy of what journalists Ron Fraser and Brad MacDonald of the Philadelphia Trumpet would later on term in the July, 2011 issue as “a seemingly magic, even fairy-tale moment – the marriage of a real royal prince to his bride.”
Kenya, ironically, have had historical connections with the royal family that sits on a dynasty that will soon be celebrating its tercentenary – 300 years on the British throne. History actually testifies to the fact that it is indeed in this country that Elizabeth – the grandmother of Prince William, learned in 1953 that she had become the Queen of England after her father’s death. After attaining its independence from Britain in 1963, Kenya went on to become a member of Commonwealth nations whose leader is the Queen herself. The organization comprises of 54 countries around the world. It’s ironically also the place where Prince William proposed to his future bride.
Back in Britain, the wedding of William and Kate attracted large groups of people in different parts of the country. Reports actually said there were 5,400 street parties across the country celebrating the wedding – with only four anti-monarchy street parties in the whole country. Hundreds of thousands of people waited long enough on the roads in order to catch a glimpse of the newly-married couple at key points along the processional route from London to Birmingham palace – home of the Royal Family whose most visible leader has been Queen Elizabeth.
While the Queen had paid a vast amount of her income to meet the total costs of the wedding, the British government itself had paid for security – “quite an expense, but easily offset by all the millions that were spent by tourists,” – to use the words of The Good News magazine writer Melvin Rhodes in the July-August 2011 issue.
Present to watch the wedding of the first-born son of the late lady Diana and Charles in the revered halls of the Abbey, was the Dean of Westminster himself, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Queen Elizabeth II herself and of course the British Prime Minister David Cameron. The wedding was also graced by popular celebrities like David Beckham, Elton John and Guy Richie. James Middleton – the brother of the bride was also there to offer a word of advice to the young couple. In all, there were in that wedding 1900 invited guests.
Multitudes of people ironically joined their voices to that of a special choir in singing a song written 3,000 years ago by King David – one of the greatest song writers in the history of the bible. As Kate walked down the aisle, the words of the song resonated in the air: ”Jerusalem is builded as a city: that is unity in itself. O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls: and plenteous within thy palaces.” The song is canonized in the 122nd chapter of the bible book of Psalms.
Once the bride had found her place beside Prince William, the halls once again resonated with the sound of the invited guests as they joined the choir in a hymn written by Welsh preacher William Williams: ”Guide me, O thou great Redeemer, Pilgrim through this barren land; I am weak but thou art mighty,… Open now the crystal fountain whence the healing stream doth flow; let the fiery cloudy pillar lead me all my journey through; Strong Deliverer, be thou still my strength and shield.”
It is at this juncture following the hymn that the Dean of Westminster began the ceremony by telling the world that it was witnessing two people embrace an institution created by God himself. Said he in a loud voice: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God… to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony; which is an honorable estate, instituted by God himself, signifying unto us the mystical union that is between Christ and his church….”
After the singing of another hymn by the masses of people in the fully-packed hall, the Archbishop of Canterbury presided over the exchange of wedding vows. His baritone voice echoed soberly: ”William Arthur Philip Louis, will thou have this woman to be thy wedded wife, to live together according to God’s law in holy estate of matrimony?” Soon after the session the Archbishop had to pray for the couple as they knelt before him: ”O Eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, giver of all spiritual grace, the author of everlasting life, send thy blessing upon thy servants….”
Conversely, even as the Church of England tried to give divine blessings to the wedding of the young couple – now possessing the royal status of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, observers across the world were wondering whether the marriage would succeed in a country with a record number of marital breakdowns. In England and Wales where William and Kate respectively come from, marriages are not known to last for long. In 2004 the total number of divorces in the two regions was reported to have reached a whopping 153,490. This past year the divorce rate in the entire country – including Scotland in the north has been at an all time high.
Hopefully, both Kate and William are wise enough to make a lasting marital union. Success or failure in their marriage not withstanding, the mother of all weddings is yet future. It will be an event that neither the British society nor other communities in the world has ever seen or witnessed. The regal splendor on display during that historic wedding will never have been witnessed since the world since the beginning of human history some 6,000 years ago. No royalty in all the world civilizations – including the proud communities of the Western World and the relaxed cultures in the Third World, would have been able to put an extravaganza the kind of which will be on display during that wedding where a privileged view in this life will be allowed to participate because of recognition of their work on earth throughout the period of human rule beginning with Adam and Eve.
Of the events that will transpire on that day and of the heavenly beings that will take place during the wedding, this is what the first century apostle John was inspired to write to fellow Christians and the generations of Christians to follow after them: “After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Load our God!
For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her!’
Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!’
And the twenty four-elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the thrown saying, ‘Amen! Alleluia!’
Then a voice came from the throne saying, ‘Praise our God, all you His servants and all those who fear Him, both small and great!’
And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!
‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Then he said to me, ‘write, “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” And he said to me, “These are the true saying of God” (Revelation 19:1-9 New King James Version throughout).
Of course, the Lamb mentioned in this Bible passage is none other but Jesus Christ (John 1:29,36 and Revelation 5:6). What is significant though is the fact that during His wedding to His bride and for all eternity thereafter, He will be unlike an ordinary groom and husband. He will not only have a supernatural form but also supernatural powers that human beings can never hope to possess unless they will underwent a miraculous transformation from being mortal to being spiritual at His coming not too long from now. As the aged apostle John saw him in his vision nearly 2,000 years ago, at the time of the wedding Christ will be riding a white horse upon which He will also be followed by the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, and riding equally white horses. More than that however He will have eyes that will be more or less like a frame of fire and on His head will be many crowns. The apostle also tells us that out of His mouth goes a sharp sword that with it He should strike the nations (Revelation 19:11-15).
Concerning the bride during that wedding – which ironically and interestingly will be the end of all other weddings for mortal beings, Scriptures tells us that this is a collective group of Christians that have all along remained true to the teachings of Christ and the commandments of God while on earth (Revelation 14:12 and Revelation 12:17). Though in their hundreds of thousands or hundreds of millions, they will be the group that will be invited to take part in the wedding – their own wedding so to speak. If anything they will be so unlike the 1,900 guests that graced the wedding of William and Kate but went home to face spouses unresponsive to their needs or who they personally did not like for one reason or other. In his powerfully-written book Why Marriage! Soon Obsolete?, the late Herbert W. Armstrong of the Worldwide Church of God, had stated concerning the future of the true Christians: “And when they – these ‘brethren’, these Christians who now form, spiritually, the true Israel of the New Testament – having been perfected (Eph. 4:12-13), are resurrected at the time of Christ’s return in glory and divine power – and thus also born of God – and are presented to Him without ‘spot or wrinkle,’ they shall be marrying Him!” In that booklet published in Pasadena, California, USA, in 1974, Mr. Armstrong further explained that Christ “will present the church to Himself . . . when it has been glorified – changed from matter to spirit – from human to divine.”
As for the millions and even billions of spectators in that wedding – certainly who will not be allowed to come anywhere near the venue of the wedding between Christ and His bride- the true church, things will be tough for them once both the ceremony and the feast will be over. Unlike the wedding of Kate and William when the spectators who jammed the streets of London or watched the event from their television screens from around the country and the world at large and soon after went on with their failed or failing marriages in particular and life in general, life will never be the same again. No sooner will Christ – as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and His royal subjects that will have been married to Him rise to rule these people with no prospect for their democratic right for self rule as had been the case for the entire history of human civilization when governments were led by earthly hosts (Daniel 2:44 and Revelation 5:9-10). For a period of 1,000 years Christ will rule this world – together with His saints that once lived on the planet “with a rod of Iron” ( Revelation 2:26,27) and Revelation 20:4-6).
Now, we need not belabor anymore the point that the mother of all weddings is coming at a time in the not-too-distant future. Suffice to say that that wedding will be a blessing to some and a curse to others. Significant, however, is the fact that it will revolutionize the way this world is being governed and how the resources are being used or abused. Particularly hard will life be for those individuals who have done things in their lives that are not Holy Spirit-inspired, Christ-focused and God-centered.