The Parable of the Wedding Banquet in Matthew 22:1-14 has a lot in common with the one in Luke 14:15-23. Both tell the story of a group invited to the banquet (presumably Jesus' opponents) who do not come, and instead others are invited. It's a classic inversion story. However Matthew adds an additional scene at the end where the king evicts a man without wedding clothes:

But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, "How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?" The man was speechless.

Then the king told the attendants, "Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

What is the meaning of this man? Who/what is he supposed to represent in the parable? Or what is he meant to warn against?

  • It seems odd to me that the bridegroom would have addressed this man as "friend" when it then becomes evident that there is no "friendship" here at all. Would "impostor" have been more appropriate?
    – moron
    Commented May 15 at 0:39
  • Kind of like, you return home after your vacation and find a squatter has taken over your home and you say "Friend, how did you get in here?"
    – moron
    Commented May 15 at 0:42
  • Since the man had no wedding clothes then how did he get inside in the first place if wedding clothes are an obvious requirement? Did they just look like wedding clothes that would have fooled everbody but the bridegroom?
    – moron
    Commented May 15 at 0:46

15 Answers 15


The marriage was of the Son of God (the Messiah / Christ) to His assembly (church) of His saints (Rev. 21:2). He is the husband of the church (Eph. 5:25). All of the guests at the wedding feast in the parable of Matt. 22 that are clothed in the proper wedding garments are clothed in Christ.

Isa. 61:10,

"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." (KJV)

Rev. 3:4,

"Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy." (KJV)

Rev. 19:7-9,

"7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (KJV)

Jer. 23:5-6,

"5 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness." (KJV)

The symbolism in Matt. 22:11-13 of the one who was not clothed with the proper wedding garments is of one who is not clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

We have to be in Christ (Rom. 8:1l 12:5), covered by His blood (Rom. 4:7; 5:9; Eph. 1:7; 2:13; Heb. 13:12).

Gal. 3:27,

" For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (KJV)

The man in the parable of the wedding feast was not clothed in Christ. It means that those who are not clothed with Christ are not in Christ, and will be judged unworthy just as the man was in the parable of the wedding feast, and will be cast out into eternal punishment, and experience the second death.


It is a complex metaphor, for how a man in dirty and inadequate clothes was at all allowed to be present there initially in the first place?

This must mean that he had a certain feature that allowed him to be present there, in difference from those who did not have this feature, that is to say those who rejected the calling to the wedding feast, that signifies the same as the mystical wedding feast of the Lamb - Jesus the Son of God - in Apocalypse 19:6-9.

Now, that feature that allowed them to be present is their faith, for it is by faith that they abandoned their houses and came to the wedding. But faith alone is dead without deeds (James 2:14-26), the deeds of love and mercy, which is the necessary oil for us that lanterns of our souls be lit so that we may enter the Kingdom, for even the faith and chastity did not help the virgins who were cast out from the Kingdom due to their being foolish (Matt 25:1-13), "foolish" in the sense that they did not understand that the faith and ascetic accomplishments all must serve to the love, mercy and charity and without them are of no avail, for they will be abolished, but love never fails and lasts eternally (1 Cor. 13:8), or rather, the very eternity is sustained by love which gives a meaning to it.

In this way, yes, Christ suffers and forbears, for the time being, even those Christians who follow Him out of something else than that which He wants, and He wants "mercy, not sacrifice" (Matt 9:13), whereas they follow Him out of their desire for power of acting miracles being glad by this fact, but forgetting about mercy (Luke 10:20), or by a desire of becoming popular in virtue of Him (John 7:3-4), or for many other naughty reasons, for which also Paul laments (Phil. 1:15).

Thus, Jesus lets them to be in the wedding feast for the time being, doing everything that they, the fruitless trees may bear fruits (Luke 13:8); He forbears them, for the actor of miracles will not immediately speak evil of Him (Mark 9:38-39), however, without dressing in the wedding clothing of love no miracles will do any good for a miracle-worker, for true wedding is impossible without love. Thus, Jesus will eventually cast out such unrepenting miracle-workers and great-deed-accomplishers, saying that He not only does not know them, but even never knew them (Matt. 7:23), for the only way for Jesus to know and recognize us as rejoicers in His wedding, is for us to dress ourselves in the white garment of mercifulness (Rev. 3:4).


The "wedding garment" signifies the state of justification.

In the first place, this 'new undefiled garment' is language used else wherein Scripture; it's use in the New Testament isn't something novel:

Zechariah 3:3-4 (DRB) And [Joshua] was clothed with filthy garments: and he stood before the face of the angel. 4 Who answered, and said to them that stood before him, saying: Take away the filthy garments from him. And he said to him: Behold I have taken away thy iniquity, and have clothed thee with change of garments.

That it the can be forfeited (or the clean 'made filthy,' in terms of clothing) we see in such passages as Revelation 3:4:

Revelation 3:3-4 (DRB) Have in mind therefore in what manner thou hast received and heard: and observe, and [repent]. If then thou shalt not watch, I will come to thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know at what hour I will come to thee. But thou hast a few names in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments: and they shall walk with me in white, because they are worthy.

That it pertains to justification (i.e. as opposed to some 'better reward') may be deduced from an interesting consistency of context in which Jesus uses the language of "thief coming unexpectly (Jesus coming to Judge everyone)" with "cast into [hell]."

Matthew 24:42-51 (DRB)

Watch ye therefore, because ye know not what hour your Lord will come. 43 But know this ye, that if the goodman of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly watch, and would not suffer his house to be broken open. 44 Wherefore be you also ready, because at what hour you know not the Son of man will come. 45 Who, thinkest thou, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath appointed over his family, to give them meat in season. 46 Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord shall come he shall find so doing. 47 Amen I say to you, he shall place him over all his goods. 48 But if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My lord is long a coming: 49 And shall begin to strike his fellow servants, and shall eat and drink with drunkards: 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day that he hopeth not, and at an hour that he knoweth not: 51 And shall separate him, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The same language used in Revelation 3 with regard to the garments as well:

Revelation 3:3-4 (DRB) Have in mind therefore in what manner thou hast received and heard: and observe, and [repent]. If then thou shalt not watch, I will come to thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know at what hour I will come to thee. But thou hast a few names in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments: and they shall walk with me in white, because they are worthy.

Here 'defiling your garments' and being the 'unfaithful' kind of servant is equated of course.

But it isn't only bad works of defiling. A mere verse prior He says:

Revelation 3:2 (DRB) Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die. For I find not thy works full before my God.

This appears to be a reference to 'the duty of the servant:'

Matthew 25:14-30 (DRB)

For even as a man going into a far country, called his servants, and delivered to them his goods; 15 And to one he gave five talents, and to another two, and to another one, to every one according to his proper ability: and immediately he took his journey. 16 And he that had received the five talents, went his way, and traded with the same, and gained other five. 17 And in like manner he that had received the two, gained other two. 18 But he that had received the one, going his way digged into the earth, and hid his lord's money. 19 But after a long time the lord of those servants came, and reckoned with them. 20 And he that had received the five talents coming, brought other five talents, saying: Lord, thou didst deliver to me five talents, behold I have gained other five over and above. 21 His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 And he also that had received the two talents came and said: Lord, thou deliveredst two talents to me: behold I have gained other two. 23 His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 But he that had received the one talent, came and said: Lord, I know that thou art a hard man; thou reapest where thou hast not sown, and gatherest where thou hast not strewed. 25 And being afraid I went and hid thy talent in the earth: behold here thou hast that which is thine. 26 And his lord answering, said to him: Wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sow not, and gather where I have not strewed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have committed my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received my own with usury. 28 Take ye away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him that hath ten talents. 29 For to every one that hath shall be given, and he shall abound: but from him that hath not, that also which he seemeth to have shall be taken away. 30 And the unprofitable servant cast ye out into the exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The picture is clear in this parable. God gives grace; you must yield or you cannot be saved. Idleness is not tolerated. 'Hiding' here means the grace is dormant, and when Jesus returns, He find it just as He gave it: it producing not fruit (in monetary terms here, 'interest')

Cf. Revelation 16:15; 2 Peter 3:10-11.

Perhaps even better is Revelation 19 which contains what amounts to a direct exegesis of Matthew 22:

Revelation 19:7-9 (DRB)

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give glory to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath prepared herself. 8 And it is granted to her that she should clothe herself with fine linen, glittering and white. For the fine linen are the [righteous deeds] of saints. 9 And he said to me: Write: Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith to me: These words of God are true.

Matthew 22:1-14 (DRB)

And Jesus answering, spoke again in parables to them, saying: 2 The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. 3 And he sent his servants, to call them that were invited to the marriage; and they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my beeves and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the marriage. 5 But they neglected, and went their ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise. 6 And the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death. 7 But when the king had heard of it, he was angry, and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city. 8 Then he saith to his servants: The marriage indeed is ready; but they that were invited were not worthy.1 9 Go ye therefore into the highways; and as many as you shall find, call to the marriage. 10 And his servants going forth into the ways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and good: and the marriage was filled with guests. 11 And the king went in to see the guests: and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment. 12 And he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither not having on a wedding garment? But he was silent. 13 Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.


1 Cf. Revelation 3:4b


Isn't it enough to just come as you are?

Judging by the amount of hits on this question, people must understand the importance of it. Jesus said in the summary to his parable that “many are called, but few are chosen.” The king looked over those who had been called to make the final selection of the chosen. He noticed a man who did not meet the criteria to enter into the kingdom of heaven. He did not have wedding clothes on. That was serious enough for him to be cast out into darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, which seems to be a description of hell.

The question is what did this man do or not do to merit such an awful punishment? Fortunately, the Bible from beginning to end makes it very clear.


When Adam and Eve sinned, God himself made clothes for them so that they would be acceptable in his sight. The clothes they made for themselves were not sufficient. The man who wanted to enter the kingdom and join in the feast, did not have the proper attire.


Ecc 9:8 Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking on your head. NASB

White robes represent righteousness and oil the joy of doing good deeds The Aramaic Targum provides this elaboration:

8 At all times let your garments be white without all stain of sin and acquire a good name which is compared to anointing oil so that blessing may come upon your head and your goodness will not be lacking.

The prophets

The prophet Isaiah described the clothing of salvation, which is righteousness.

61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Zechariah described the change from inappropriate clothing to wedding attire.

And he responded and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your guilt away from you and will clothe you with festive robes.”


Jesus described in the beatitudes the kind of people who would see God.

6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

He later describes some of the activities that those who are chosen to enter the kingdom had been engaged in.

34“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’


Paul explains what it means to be clothed with the Lord Jesus – resisting the evil lusts of the flesh.

Romans 13:14 Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh. BSB

NT Apocalypse

The clothing frequently mentioned in Revelation is white robes. Jesus warned the church in Sardis:

3 2‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. 4‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

And the Laodiceans:

18I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Do we see? Are we listening?

Who are the people in white robes in Revelation 7?

13Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” 14I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

They wanted salvation badly enough that they were willing to resist all temptation to conform to the demands of the world and even die for it. They were determined to endure to the end.

Finally, Chapter 19 clearly describes the necessary attire for the marriage feast of the Son.

7“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” 8It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Raising your hand and saying, “Pick me!” is not enough to get you into heaven. Saying you believe in Jesus is not enough, because even the demons believe and tremble. Please! We need to stop telling people that all they need to do to be saved is just show up in their skinny jeans and Jesus will be overjoyed. Yes, come as you are, but don't plan to stay that way. We must consistently live a life that is pleasing to God by doing righteous acts and avoiding unrighteous ones. That is the only way we can avoid the risk of a terrible shock and instead hear the words which will flood us with unspeakable joy,

“Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”


'Many are called, but few chosen' is Jesus' conclusion to the parable.

The parables in Matthew relating to the kingdom (which liken the kingdom to one thing or another) all liken the kingdom to something that is not as great as its outward appearance. What is apparently the kingdom is not actually the kingdom.

The kingdom is, in essence, something that is apparently lesser but is actually more valuable. The proof of this covers all twelve parables (one of which is reality and not a parable) and is too lengthy to be reproduced here.

Now, in time, certain conditions prevail. The kingdom is being established, many are being called and drawn in and preparations are being made for a state that shall be eternal. But the kingdom is - not yet - fully, in essence, what it shall be.

Thus is the broad context of this, particular, parable.

Here, a guest has responded to an invitation. He is one of many. But more is here than is apparent. The man's final condition is an eternal one. But all he was doing was responding to a wedding invitation !

This is what the kingdom of heaven is like, verse 1. It is like this wedding and it is like this eternal consequence.

They which had, first, been bidden were not worthy, verse 8. I take that to mean Israel. Thence, the Gentiles are called - from the highways, gathered, both good and bad; anybody, lots of them.

So was this man; gathered in, to be a participator in a wedding.

No garment ? No respect for the purpose of the gathering ? Had he no clue as to what was really going on ?

He just didn't realise the momentous occasion, the importance of the event. Just being there was not enough. He was supposed to participate. The gathering was to be for ever. The wedding was a finality to all things. Had he not realised ?

It is so common for persons to respond to the call of the gospel but for ulterior motive. Or without much motive at all - just blundering in, not really understanding what is really going on. Not seeing the eternal consequences; having no thought for Christ and his eternal union with the Bride whom he loves.

The gospel is about the Father and his provision of a Bride for his Son. Just to attend, unthinkingly, makes one worthy of a truly appalling eternal consequence.

Garments are clearly indicative of a matter of righteousness - throughout scripture. Instances are numerous and profound in their application and this one is such. Repentance unto justification is alluded to in the matter of the garment. Righteousness is a requirement for union.

Did this man think to attend the union of the Bridegroom and the Bride, but without the proper preparation of his own person ? What kind of wedding did he think it was ? Did he really think it would not be noticed that he was not in an appropriate state to engage in this event ?

And he was speechless. Without excuse. He had just not thought about what he was doing. It was completely illogical. And profoundly insulting.

Yet there is no animosity shown to him. 'Friend' is he called. And he had been freely invited. But the consequence is inevitable. It is a matter of righteousness. It has to be done. No other consequence is possible.

There is so much here. It is a profound statement, a parable worthy of consideration for a lifetime.

  • 1
    Nigel, thank you so much for this answer. I came across this parable in my daily Bible reading and searched it up on BHSE because I was also confused by the meaning of the parable. Your answer was very clear and convicting. In our day of “free, prosperity gospel” we forget that the way of Christ is not something we can blunder into; it’s not something we can be a spectator of without being a participant. Thanks for taking the time to answer the question! Commented Aug 6, 2020 at 17:54
  • @Gremosa You are most welcome. Glad to be of some service to you. Thank you for your comment. It is encouraging to know that something I wrote almost three years ago is of some use today. I know someone else from this site who is in Kerala, India, with whom I correspond. My thoughts are with you in the present covid crisis in your country. Kind Regards.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Aug 6, 2020 at 18:07
  • What then, ultimately, is the distiction between those many who were originally invited but did not come, and this one man who did come but was judged as unworthy to have come? Is he now worse off than the many who simply refused to come in the first place? Or are they all equally toast?
    – moron
    Commented May 15 at 0:31
  • @moron If you would care to re-phrase your comment (without the offensive last word) I shall be pleased to respond.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 15 at 11:04
  • Or are they all headed for the lake of fire?
    – moron
    Commented May 16 at 15:27

It was a custom of the time for the groom to actually provide wedding garments to the guest. So a guest had no excuse to be there without a wedding garment - even those who were brought in from the highways who otherwise could not have afforded them.

Some Church Fathers have interpreted v.11-14 as relating to the virtues. Gregory the Great (590-604) wrote:

What then must we understand by the wedding garment but love? That person enters the marriage feast, but without wearing a wedding garment, who is present in the holy church. He may have faith, but he does not have love. We are correct when we say that love is the wedding garment because this is what our Creator himself possessed when he came to the marriage feast to join the church to himself.1

The later Byzantine commentator Theophylact (1055-1107) summarized the patristic consensus on the verses:

The entry of the wedding takes place without distinction of persons, for by grace alone we have all been called, good and bad alike, but the life thereafter of those who enter shall not be without examination, for indeed the king makes an exceedingly careful examination of those found to be sullied after entering into the faith. Let us tremble, then, when we understand that if one does not lead a pure life, faith alone benefits him not at all. For not only is he cast out of the wedding feast, but he is sent away into the fire. Who is he that is wearing filthy garments? It is he who is not clothed with compassion, goodness, and brotherly love. For there are many who deceive themselves with vain hopes, thinking that they shall attain the kingdom of heaven, and they include themselves among the assembly of the dinner guests, thinking great things of themselves.2

1. Forty Gospel Homilies (tr. from the Latin; Cistercian Publications, 1990), p.349ff
2. Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew (tr. from the Greek; Chrysostom Press, 1992), pp.188-189


This is a Greek to English translation I found on the internet of what Origen has to say about the man without the "wedding garment". We can all be thankful for the translators valiant effort. Some of this ancient Greek (IMHO) is nearly impossible to translate.

Here is the translation....

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Jesus has been speaking against the religious teachers, and of how prostitutes and tax collectors would enter into heaven before them. (Matt 21:31)

The man who is dressed in worldly clothing is one who does not respect the dignity of the King, or recognize the greatness of the occasion. They are present in body but not in spirit. They come to the King but they are not humbled by the occasion.

They are like the Pharisees that seem to be present in the kingdom of God, but in reality they do not recognize the king's son, and nor do they honor him, or keep the king's laws. They are law breakers. And Jesus is warning them that even though they appear to have religious clothing on, they are really wearing filthy rags and they will be thrown into Hell.


In the parable Jesus is The "King" to be married to his Bride (the Bride of Christ, his faithful followers, his congregation) but some one is not fit to be there (someone not a faithful follower) so he/she is rejected:-

[] Added

NWT Revelation 21:9 "Come, and I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”

NWT 2 Corinthians 11:2 "For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, for I personally promised you in marriage to one husband that I might present you as a chaste virgin to the Christ."

Jesus then show he is talking about the "Chosen" ones or the Elect:-

Matthew 22:14 New International Version (NIV)

14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”



A marriage is a joyful event....one that requires an outward joyous attendance.

The marriage supper of the Lamb is the “true sayings of God” (Revelation 19:9)….the Scriptures that are opened up to our hearing ears as the Lord interprets them via the Spirit of Truth. We are to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. How we hear the opening up of the Scriptures and respond to the hearing of His voice speaking through the Spirit of Truth determines our Judgment.

It is the Scripture of Truth….the true sayings of God… as opposed to the private interpretation of the Scriptures by the word of men. Many peddle the Word for their own unjust gain as they do not speak it sincerely in Christ nor were they sent in His authority but come in their own. (2 Corinthians 2:17).

1 Thessalonians 2:13 KJV (13) For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Some will make “light of it” as they will hear and quickly excuse themselves from going any farther with the hearing of the Word of Truth.

They will continue to embrace their own church denomination’s teachings (the word of man) and commandments and reject what they hear. Many are "married" to their "church" and will not come.

They will go back to their own ways…..back to making merchandise of the Scriptures and making merchandise of their congregations (the “farm”) that they lead astray. They will think the old word of man is better and immediately go back to it.

Matthew 22:4-5 KJV (4) 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. (5) But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

Others will speak evil (in their unbelief of what they hear) of those sent by Him to speak the true Sayings of God which they hear the Spirit saying. They will “kill the messengers” of His Word of Truth by slandering and speaking evil of them….mistreating them. They will show hatred toward those brothers sent out by Him to speak His words to their ears. Those who hate their brothers are “murderers” and do not have eternal life abiding in them.

*Matthew 22:6-8 KJV (6) *And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. (7) But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city

All of those who were bidden to His supper to hear and partake of the meat of the Word of Truth and behave in such ways will be found not worthy and will not enter in to understand.

They are “outside” as all “murderers” (those who will hate those brothers sent out by Him) , liars (who say they love God but do not His commandments), the covetous (who go back to making merchandise of those they deceive), etc will not have any part of it.

(8) Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

Now the third category shows us a man who got in without a wedding garment. The wedding garment in this case signifies the rejoicing and praising of God for His Word of Truth that he will hear. Rejoicing and praising God in thanksgiving is a major part of receiving the Word of Truth…the true Sayings of God…the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Matthew 22:11-14 KJV (11*) And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: (12) And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless*.

Those who will hear and not be found rejoicing in God…praising Him for what they hear…will also not be able to understand the Word of Truth as they will be cast out into the “outer darkness” (along with the other wicked as the wicked shall not understand).

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth as the wicked will respond in rage towards what they hear and their own tongue will bring upon their own heads torment for every idle word spoken in the Day of Judgment.

(13) 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. (14) For many are called, but few are chosen.

His servants shall hear and rejoice in what they hear while the wicked shall hear and be enraged (gnashing their teeth).

His servants will eat of His Sayings but the wicked shall go “hungry”. His servants shall drink while those who are found disesteeming His words shall be “thirsty”.

His servants shall rejoice while they shall be ashamed. His servants shall sing for joy of heart towards the hearing of His Word of Truth while those who reject it shall cry for sorrow of heart.

Isaiah 65:12-16 KJV (12) Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not. (13) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: (14) Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit. (15) And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name: (16) That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.

The command in Revelation 19 is for His servants to praise God….rejoicing....

Revelation 19:5-10 KJV (5) And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. (6) And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Let us be glad and rejoice and give glory to Him for the marriage of the Lamb is come….

(7) Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (8) And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

“Blessed”…that is, HAPPY…are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. This is the "wedding garment"...to be found glad and rejoicing and praising God for His Word...the meat..the supper.

The man without the wedding garment was found not happy nor praising God nor thankful for what he heard and was cast out into “outer darkness” as what little he heard was removed from his understanding.

(9) And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. (10) And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Take heed therefore on how we hear His revealed Word as whosoever has not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemed to have...being cast out into "outer darkness".

Luke 8:18 KJV (18) Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

As John the Baptist said: the friend of the Bridegroom stands and hears His voice (His testimony) as He opens up the Scriptures to our hearing ears….and the friend “REJOICES GREATLY’ because of the hearing of the Bridegroom’s voice.

John 3:29-36 KJV (29) 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.

He must increase, but we must increase as we are to humble ourselves at the hearing of His voice. The meek shall inherit the earth. We must become like a child in order to enter in to understand the Scriptures at the hearing of His testimony as we are taught by Him.

(30) He must increase, but I must decrease. (31) He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

He testifies and no man receives His testimony...no earthly-acting man will receive it as those who "dwell on the earth" will not deaden their envy, strife, contentions, hatred, wrath, etc (the earthly wisdom). They will respond to the hearing of His testimony in their earthliness and will not receive His voice. He that is of the earth is earthly and will respond in the earthly wisdom.

Only those who will seek those things that are above (love, peace, joy, gentleness, kindness, patience, joy, etc) will be able to receive His testimony in this coming time as they seek only the wisdom from above.

(32) And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. (33) He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.

His testimony in the marriage supper of the Lamb is the “true sayings of God” as He speaks the words of God in the Spirit of Truth without measure. The “friend” will stand by and rejoice in what he hears the Bridegroom speaking.

(34) For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. (35) The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

The person that believes on the Son (His testimony)has everlasting life…..

(36) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him

Those brothers who have the testimony of Jesus within them are the “bride” and those who will receive His voice with joy are able to receive that testimony of the Lord (the Bridegroom) in the “marriage supper of the Lamb”.

Revelation 19:9-10 KJV (9) And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. (10) And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy

When the Lord opens His mouth to teach us (His testimony…His revealing of the Scripture of Truth….the speaking of the true Sayings of God), then “blessed” (HAPPY) are those who will respond to His voice in the following ways (the Beatitudes).

Matthew 5:1-10 KJV (1) And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: (2) And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Happy (blessed) are the poor in “spirit”…that is, poor in breath. They will use few words towards the hearing of His testimony. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven as they will enter in to understand the mysteries of the kingdom.

He must increase and we must decrease. We must be found quick to hear and slow to speak (poor in breath) and slow to wrath about what we hear Him saying from Heaven.

(3) Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Happy are they that mourn as they will be comforted...invited to the supper. He must increase, but we must decrease. James 4: Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

(4) Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (5) Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Happy are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness (His righteousness) as they shall be filled. They will hear His testimony as He opens His mouth to speak and will respond with righteousness and they will be satisfied (filled) with what they hear Him saying. They will be able to receive His words in faith and their joy shall be complete.

(6) Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (7) Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (8) Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Happy are the peacemakers. They will seek peace when they hear His testimony as He opens up His mouth to teach us. They shall be called the sons of God….the “children of God”.

(9) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Happy are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Our very own church people will persecute us for receiving His testimony in this coming time but we are not to render evil to their evil but suffer while doing righteousness.

(10) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Some will seek to prevent His teaching…His testimony…the “meat” of the Truth….from being received by others which is to be received with thanksgiving to God. They will forsake the assembly in the hearing of His testimony and seek to keep others from hearing and receiving it (marrying it).

1 Timothy 4:1-3 KJV (1) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (3) Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

  • All of this answer is predicated upon the unsubstantiated claim that True Words of God = Marriage Supper of Lamb; whereas. the actual true words of God in the quoted text are: "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.". So the true words are not the supper itself but are, instead, the pronouncement of blessing upon those who are invited. Commented Aug 2, 2020 at 13:17

Like Judas who was one at the table with the Lords guests. Judus was sent out by the Lord where he, the betrayer ultimately was destroyed. Let us not be found as Judus only in it for what we could gain of this world at others expense.

  • Hello and welcome to the site, Tess. That's a nice little point you make, though the Q is looking for more in-depth insights into the text. Could you explore the meaning of wedding clothes (being clothed in the righteousness of God, perhaps?) or how the nation of Israel got 'first refusal' with their invitation and so how the Gentiles then got the invite? I think the Asker is hoping for examination of the verses in question, so if you could add more, that might be useful.
    – Anne
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 12:55

WHAT IF ... (Let us not forget that this is the marriage supper of the sacrificial Lamb and that the kingdom of heaven is outside of time). The man didn’t “get in without a wedding garment” because he was already there, in the hall/heaven. The king didn’t recognize his son because the son had taken off his glory/garment and laid it down to pay for all the wedding garments the guests wore. He was the one to pay the price for all the wedding garments. He laid down his glory to be cast out of heaven so that we could go in. He was speechless and uttered not a word because he was our sacrificial lamb being lead to the slaughter? He was bound hand and foot. The king said, “Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside (outside of heaven) into the darkness (separation from God/king), where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." The groom (our resurrected Christ Jesus) was already in the hall waiting for His bride to come in. The Bride = the guests in wedding garments The Groom = the one man who had no garment and was speechless like a Lamb being led to the slaughter: Our sacrificed Lord Who took off His priestly garment to pay for the guests’ wedding garments. “And he was speechless.” “I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain ... And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll     and to open its seals, because you were slain,     and with your blood you purchased for God     persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,     and they will reign[b] on the earth.” Revelation 5:4-10 (NIV)

  • Please do not present a 'wall of text'. People will just not bother to read it. You need to split it up into paragraphs which highlight your argument, point by point.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 9:45
  • 1
    There is no indication in the parable that this man has any hope of regaining entrance and yet we see the Lamb with His own throne and present in the consummation of all things. Commented Aug 2, 2020 at 13:09

I always felt what was required by the man without the right clothes is this: a missing heart of gratitude in response to the magnitude of God's love portrayed here was a wedding feast. More here.

  • Hello and welcome to the site! Please edit this to summarise what the linked page says.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Oct 11, 2020 at 23:35
  • This is only a link and NOT an answer.
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 1:33

The parable of the wedding banquet end with the statement;

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14 NIV)

Many answers are correctly identified that the dress of salvation is a white robe, however, the white robe is given, as read in Revelation 6:11 NIV

Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.

Whoever is given the white robe is the chosen one. Therefore the parable is not about who is being chosen, and it is not possible for that man wear a white robe to attend the wedding feast, similar to others, they are just invited. Then 'What is signified by the man without wedding clothes?'

The answer is 'The wedding clothes represent Preparedness', a parable similar to the parable of the faithful servant (Matthew 24:45-51) and the parable of the Bags of Gold (Matthew 25:14-30). Note there is a parallel quote;

“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 22:13 NIV - the parable of the Wedding Banquet)

He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:51 NIV - the parable of the Faithful Servant)

And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:30 NIV - the parable of the Bags of Gold)


Jesus is alluding to [Isaiah 61:8-11][1] which concerns the elect Jews of the 1st century with whom God made the new covenant. IE: The "wedding garment" is the forgiveness of sins promised in the new covenant which was ratified when Jesus died.

Heb 8:8-12 KJV - 8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Notice the phrases about "my people" and "before the nations" etc. and the promise of the new covenant:

Isa 61:1-11 CSB - 1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of our God's vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, 3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the LORD to glorify him. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins; they will restore the former devastations; they will renew the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. 5 Strangers will stand and feed your flocks, and foreigners will be your plowmen and vinedressers. 6 But you will be called the LORD's priests; they will speak of you as ministers of our God; you will eat the wealth of the nations, and you will boast in their riches. 7 In place of your shame, you will have a double portion; in place of disgrace, they will rejoice over their share. So they will possess double in their land, and eternal joy will be theirs. 8 For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and injustice; I will faithfully reward my people and make a permanent covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations, and their posterity among the peoples. All who see them will recognize that they are a people the LORD has blessed. 10 I rejoice greatly in the LORD, I exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness, as a groom wears a turban and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth produces its growth, and as a garden enables what is sown to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

This destiny of the Jews and Israel was being fulfilled by a new covenant because the old one (the Torah) was soon to be obviated by the divine destruction of the temple and the expulsion from the land:

Heb 8:13 KJV - 13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Rom 16:20 KJV - 20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

So while Jerusalem was shortly to be judged, simultaneously God is filling the land with the knowledge of the LORD "as the waters cover the sea". Signs, wonders (authenticating the apostles), teaching daily in the temple, house to house, etc...

So Jesus was set for the fall and rising of many. Those under the OT were to be judged while the new covenant Jews were the glorious city on a hill.

Those with no garment were those non-elect Jews who were blinded to their messiah, rejected him and many were destroyed in the war and the fallout of the war with Rome from circa 65-73AD, just as Jesus had promised.

The elect Jews are the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation. They were all gathered home when Jesus returned in roughly 70ad, raised the dead and swallowed up death in victory. "Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on":

Rev 14:3-5 KJV - 3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Having said that, the gentile believer is likewise a participant in Christ but not on the basis of covenant but rather completely by faith.

Rev 14:6-7 KJV - 6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

The image of a "bride" being "clothed in righteousness" is also seen in Revelation 19:

Rev 19:7-9 KJV - 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

The new covenant likewise ended at 70ad.

So the bride refers to the new covenant Jews, the robe to the forgiveness of sins based on the new covenant. Those who are bidden to eat at the wedding feast appear to be the gentiles and post-covenant Jews.

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