Old Testament Israel – New Testament Salvation, #4- Part Three- Final Thoughts on the Messianic Banquet
We closed our last installment with the following observations:
//Any attempt to divorce the concept of the Messianic Banquet of Isaiah 25:6 (and Isaiah 65) from the resurrection, the kingdom, the New Creation, The Messianic Wedding and salvation, clearly lies outside the bounds of scholarship – not to mention scripture. For those who so commonly appeal to “church history” and the early church writers, this should be significant.
The indisputable fact is that historically, the subject of the Messianic Banquet is eschatological to the core. The Messianic Banquet is the Wedding Banquet. It is the Resurrection Banquet. It is the Kingdom Banquet. It is the New Creation Banquet. With this in mind, that leads us to look closer at Matthew 8:11-12.//
Here again is the text:
And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:11-12).
So, we have here the promise that Abraham and the faithful Worthies would sit at the Messianic Banquet. They would do so with those “from the east and the west.” In the context of the acceptance and the blessing of a Gentile Roman centurion, this is almost certainly a promise of the in-gathering of the Gentiles, to join with Israel in the New Creation. When would that take place? Well, Abraham
and the Worthies would sit at the Messianic Banquet, but, “the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness.” In other words, the resurrection of Abraham and the Worthies, to sit at the Banquet, would be when Old Covenant Israel would be cast out. This is dramatically confirmed in the parallel text of Luke 23:28: “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.”
Notice the emphatic, personal nature of what Jesus said. He told that living audience, “you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom.” He was not speaking of some far distance time. That living audience would see this. And please notice that Jesus told them “when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God,” they would likewise see, “you yourselves thrust out.” Thus, the Resurrection Banquet and the casting out of Israel are synchronous events, just as in Isaiah 25:1-6, the Resurrection Banquet would be established on Mt. Zion, when the city was destroyed and the temple turned over to foreigners. Likewise, in Isaiah 65, the Lord’s servants would enjoy the New Creation Banquet, when the wicked were destroyed “the Lord God shall slay you.”
Something that must be noticed is that since the Banquet is the Resurrection Banquet, then if, as most commentators today accept, the Banquet is now a reality, that means that the resurrection is fulfilled! But, if the promise of the Resurrection Banquet, with Abraham and the Worthies sitting at that Table is fulfilled, it should be more than obvious that the resurrection does not- did not – entail the raising of decayed human corpses out of the ground! Yet the promise is clear. Abraham and the Worthies would sit at the Resurrection Banquet. If they sit there now, then the Resurrection is a fulfilled reality. There is something else to be found and expressed here. This definitively answers point #2 from our earlier articles, which is the question of the nature of the resurrection.
If it is true, as the great majority of scholars agree, Matthew 8:11 is drawing on Isaiah 25:6-8, here is what we have:
Abraham and the Worthies sitting at the Banquet is a depiction of the fulfillment of Isaiah 25:6f, the Messianic Banquet at the time of the resurrection.
The Banquet at the time of the resurrection prophecy of Isaiah 25:6-8 is one of the sources for Paul’s resurrection doctrine in 1 Corinthians 15:55-56.
But the prophecy of the Banquet and the resurrection of Isaiah 25:6-8 would be fulfilled – according to Jesus – when “the sons of the kingdom are cast out” (Matthew 8:11-12).
Therefore, the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 would be fulfilled when “the sons of the kingdom are (were) cast out” – which was in A. D. 70.
The indisputable fact is that Paul’s resurrection doctrine was based on Isaiah 25 (along with other OT prophecies such as Ezekiel 37 and Daniel 12:2). This establishes our premise that all NT prophecy was based on and taken from God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel. This demands that the Old Law could not pass away until the fulfillment of the resurrection. It demands that until the resurrection is fulfilled Israel remains (remained) God’s covenant people.
Remember, Isaiah 25:9-10 clearly posits the resurrection as the time of Israel’s salvation.
Look now at Matthew 22:1-10:
And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, “Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
We have here reference to the coming Wedding Banquet. This is the time foretold by the OT prophets when the Lord would “remarry” Israel (Hosea 2:18-23 / Isaiah 62). He had divorced her for her spiritual adultery but promised that in the last days He would betroth her to Himself again (Hosea 2). That remarriage – Israel’s “restoration” – would also be the resurrection (Hosea 5:15-6:1-6/ Ezekiel 37- See my in-depth discussion of Hosea and the Resurrection in a 30 part MP3 study available on my website). This is therefore the Banquet of Isaiah 25:6.
And when would this Wedding Banquet take place? It would take place at the destruction of the city and its “citizens” that rejected the invitation and killed the servants who had been sent to them, reminding them of their invitation: “But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.”
This parable is undeniably parallel to the previous parable told by the Lord about the wicked husbandmen who persecuted the servants sent by the Vineyard owner, and then killed his son. Those wicked Vineyard workers would be slain at the coming of the Lord of the Vineyard. Pay careful attention to what Jesus asked and the answers given to him, and then his response:
Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes”? “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.
It cannot be overlooked that Jesus posited the judgment of the wicked workers at the coming of the Master (from elthe, a cognate of erchomai, – cf. Matthew 24:30 – the word commonly used of the parousia of Christ). In addition, at that coming the martyred servants are vindicated and the wicked worker destroyed. Finally, the kingdom would be taken from the persecutors and given to another nation.
So, we have in Matthew 21-22, some powerful eschatological tenets. We have the vindication of the martyrs at the coming of the Lord. We have the judgment of the persecutors and the destruction of their city, and as Donald Hagner commented on Matthew 22:7:
It is virtually impossible for post-70 readers of the Gospel not to see the destruction of Jerusalem alluded to in these words” (Donald Hagner, Word Biblical Commentary, Matthew, Vol. 33b (Dallas; Word Publishers, 1995), 630).
And then we have Wedding (which is clearly tied to the Second Coming of Christ in Matthew 25), and in the Tanakh. Similarly, in Revelation, the Wedding of the Groom takes place at the coming of the Lord in the judgment of the persecuting Harlot City, Babylon. At that destruction and judgment, the victory song is sung:
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 Lord 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 throne, saying, “Amen! Alleluia!” Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and 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 as 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 fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Revelation 19:1-8).
We have here the coming of the Lord, the arrival of salvation, the time of the judgment of Babylon, and the Wedding of the Lamb. Are we to assume that this Wedding is anything different from that parabolically depicted in Matthew 22, which was to take place at the destruction of the city of the persecutors of the King’s servants? Is this a different Wedding from that promised in Hosea and Isaiah? Is this Wedding – which would demand a Wedding Banquet – a different thing from the great resurrection Banquet of Isaiah 25:6?
Of course, the consistent linkage between the Wedding (and thus the Banquet) and the time of the judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem is mostly overlooked in the literature.
✦ Isaiah 25:1-10 – The Banquet is set and the resurrection occurs at the time of the judgment of the fortified city when the Temple is turned over to foreigners. That is the time of Israel’s salvation (v. 9-10).
✦ Isaiah 65:13-19 – the Banquet is set for the remnant, when those who refused to answer the call of the Lord (which, don’t forget, Paul quoted verbatim in Romans 10:20-22 and applied it to Israel of the first century). Flowing from that judgment of rebellious Israel, we have the New Creation.
✦ Matthew 8:11-2 / Luke 13 – Abraham and the faithful Worthies would sit at the Resurrection Banquet when the sons of the kingdom would be cast out.
✦ Matthew 22:1-10 – The Wedding takes place in spite of the persecution of the King’s servants, when He would come and destroy the city of the persecutors.
✦ Matthew 25:1-13 – The Wedding is patently the same Wedding depicted to occur at the coming of the Bridegroom.
✦ Revelation 19 – The Wedding takes place at the coming of the Lamb, in the Great Day of Wrath, against the persecuting city of Babylon, “which is where the Lord was slain” (Revelation 11:8).
There is therefore a consistent pattern in regard to the OT prophecy of the Banquet, a pattern that cannot be denied. That pattern fully confirms the inseparable connection between the eschatological consummation and the judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem. That pattern therefore verifies our premise and thesis that all NT eschatology is based on and taken from God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel. The NT doctrine of the Banquet, the Wedding the Resurrection the New Creation, is the reiteration of the Old Testament promises. They are not “new” revelations of previously unknown doctrines. (I have recently encountered some who claim that the doctrine of the Millennium is not an OT doctrine, but is a “new” revelation given to John. This is patently false since the OT foretold the destruction of Satan -an OT promise. It foretold the judgment of the wicked. It foretold the coming of the New Creation – and end of the Millennium doctrine).
Thus, there is no “New Testament Eschatology” unrelated to, divorced from, or different from the Eschatological promises made to Israel in the Old Testament. What should be a doctrine universally accepted is, lamentably, overlooked, or even denied, as I have shared earlier. But when the foundation and the spring from which NT eschatology is drawn is ignored or denied, that virtually guarantees that the NT doctrine of eschatology is wrong. For more proof that all NT eschatology is drawn from the OT and that all OT prophecies of the end times are timed to the destruction of Jerusalem and Israel, see my newly published (June 2023) book, These Are the Days When All Things Must Be Fulfilled. For the rest of July 2023, I am offering a special introductory price. Check out the link or on the banner at the top of the page on this website and take advantage of our great introductory price!