Phillip J. Long argues that Jesus combined the tradition of an eschatological banquet with a marriage metaphor in order to describe the end of the Exile as a wedding banquet. When Jesus says in Mark 2:19 that the wedding guests should not fast “while the bridegroom is with them,” he is claiming to be a bridegroom by intentionally alluding to a rich tradition from the Hebrew Bible. By eating and drinking with “tax collectors and other sinners,” Jesus was inviting people to join him in celebrating the eschatological banquet. While there is no single text in the Hebrew Bible or the literature of the Second Temple Period which states the “messiah is like a bridegroom,” the elements for such a claim are present in several texts in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Hosea. By claiming that his ministry was an ongoing wedding celebration, he signaled the end of the Exile and the restoration of Israel to her position as the Lord’s beloved wife.
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Delve more into eschatology with the Wipf & Stock Eschatology Collection (2 vols.).
This is a careful defense for the view that Jesus himself drew up this agenda for his mission, no matter how the New Testament crafted his actual words. . . . The book serves as a good resource for the Gospel passages dealing with these three themes.
—Mark Whitters, senior lecturer of Jewish studies, Eastern Michigan University
Long does both Old and New Testament scholarship a great service with the publication of his work on the interpretation and application of the eschatological banquet. . . . In my archaeological work at Qumran, I have seen the importance of the banquet motif to the eschatology of Second Temple Judaism, and this new study demonstrates how this carried over in Jewish-Christianity, and combined with the wedding metaphor, gave the understanding and expectation of Jesus as the Bridegroom. What a wonderful work!
—Randall Price, distinguished research professor, Liberty University
Phillip Long’s Jesus the Bridegroom is a fine contribution to the burgeoning field of intertextual studies. . . . Long’s work is characterized throughout by judicious analysis and application of both primary and secondary sources. I warmly commend this book to anyone interested in Jesus of Nazareth and his program for the renewal of Israel.
—Joe Hellerman, professor of New Testament language and literature, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, California
Phillip J. Long is professor of biblical studies and chair of the biblical studies division at Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has a PhD from Andrews University.