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THE MESSIANIC BANQUET AND THE ESCHATOLOGY OF MATTHEW’S GOSPEL

by

Daniel S. Steffen

Adjunct Professor of New Testament

Central American Theological Seminary, Guatemala

Introduction

This paper is a portion of the author’s Ph.D. dissertation with the title, “The Messianic Banquet as a Paradigm for Israel of interest in the dissertation is what the Gospel of Matthew teaches its Jewish Christian readers about the salvation and inclusion of Gentile Christians into the people of God. Its major focus is the ecclesiology of Matthew. However, as Bornkamm has shown long ago, it is impossible to divorce Matthew’s eschatology from his ecclesiology. [i]Today there is revised interest in Matthew’s use of Jewish apocalyptic imagery as it relates to both eschatology and ecclesiology. [ii] An important, but often overlooked, apocalyptic theme in Matthew is the Messianic Banquet. Matthew’s use of the Messianic Banquet theme is a key component of Matthew’s theology concerning the nature of the church, Israel , and the future of the true people of God. The dissertation has been done to fill in the gap of the lack of studies done on Matthew ’s use of this theme.

Here we will assume that it is highly probable that the author and his audience were primarily Jewish Christians. As Jewish Christians it is likely that they would have had a pre-understanding of the theme of the Messianic Banquet which Matthew employs in his apocalyptic eschatology. That pre-understanding is studied with a look at Old Testament prophetic literature, especially Isaiah and Ezekiel. The Jewish expectations of the eschatological Messianic Banquet found in the prophetic literature is then traced through the Jewish apocalyptic literature, Qumran, and rabbinical materials. What emerges is not a single unified set of expectations, but a number of possible options that a particular group of first century Jews might have. Defining those possibilities will allow for some new approaches of reading Matthew as a first century Jew might have done given the possible expectations surfaced in the literature.

A number of key passages in Matthew make use of the Messianic Banquet theme. In this paper, we will discuss only the story of the Centurion’s servant (Matt 8:5-13). The dissertation’s detailed exegesis of other significant passages must be omitted here. They include the parallel passage concerning the faith of the Canaanite Woman (Matt 15:21-28). Also significant are the three eschatological parables that utilize the Messianic Banquet theme, the Vineyard (Matt 21:33-46), the Great Supper (Matt 22:1-14), and the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matt 25:1-13).

In short, this paper is looking for a fresh approach to the question of the relationship between the church and Israel that is neither traditional dispensationalism nor covenantalism. It will be argued that reading Matthew from the background of the Jewish pre-understanding of the Messianic Banquet predisposes his audience to see an eschatological messianic age in which there is unity for the people of God as one people saved from all the nations along with the continuation of national distinctions. Thus, Israel maintains its national distinction as an ethnic nation while individuals from among that nation form the true people of God united with Gentiles from other nations. That unity within the Matthean community must be understood as the Church which becomes the true remnant which will inherit all the blessings of the final eschatological kingdom eternally.

Traditional dispensationalism has held that only during the current age of the Church is it possible to have only one true people of God united together from all the nations.[iii] However, the nature of that unity must change with the second advent.[iv] This paper is distinct from traditional dispensationalism in the argument that the current unity has no end. The one Church made up of individuals from many nations while maintaining national distinctions has no end in the Jewish expectations of the messianic age. If the future of Matthew’s messianic kingdom has already begun with the first advent, and it is similar to the Jewish expectations of that same kingdom, then the future make-up of the people of God will be equivalent to today’s Church. Just as today there is one people of God united together but with national ethnic distinctions, there will continue forever one people of God united together with national ethnic distinctions after the return of the Lord Jesus at the consummation of his kingdom.

The Jewish Pre-Understanding of the Messianic Banquet

On the assumption that Matthew wrote largely to a Jewish-Christian community, it is important for this thesis to ask how that community would have understood the Messianic Banquet prior to or contemporary to the use of this theme in the Gospel. For the purpose of this paper, the Messianic Banquet refers to either an “apocalyptic banquet” or an “eschatological banquet” to which the Messiah is somehow directly related.

The Messianic Banquet in the Old Testament

The Messianic Banquet in Isaiah

The banquet motif in Isaiah is related to Yahweh’s covenant with Israel (Deut 28:1-14; 30:1-20). In Deuteronomy 28-30, the nation is promised prosperity in the land if they obey Yahweh’s commandments, but cursing if there is disobedience. The nation will suffer exile as a result of their disobedience, but later be restored and brought back from captivity (Deut 30:3). The restored nation will prosper even more than the former one (Deut 30:5). In Isaiah, the nation is promised bountiful provisions in their land as blessings that will follow repentance and obedience (Isa 1:19; 9:3; 27:2-6, 12, 13; 29:17-24; 30:19-29; 32:1-8; 49:6-13; 51:3; 55:1, 2). This bountiful future is directly related to the coming of the Messiah (Isa 9:6-7; 24:23; 11:1-5; 42:1-9; 49:6-13) and the gathering of dispersed Israel back into the land (Isa 24:23; 26:1-4, 15-19; 27:6, 13; 35:1-10; 43:5-7; 45:20; 49:8-13; 22-23; 51:11-14; 54:7; 60:4-14). Israel is protected and fed as the Messiah leads them back into the land of promised blessings (Isa 49:10). These messianic blessings are not exclusive to Israel, but include blessings upon all the nations (Isa 2:1-4; 9:1; 11:10-12; 18:7; 19:18-25; 25:6-8; 42:6, 7; 49:6, 7; 49:22, 23; 56:3; 61:7; 66:21). The nations have a participatory role in the return of Israel (Isa 2:1-4; 49:22-23; 56:3-8; 60:10, 11; 66:21).

The clearest passage of an eschatological meal and the most influential for later Jewish expectations is Isa 25:6-8.

And the almighty[v] Yahweh will prepare for all the nations[vi] on this mountain a banquet[vii] of rich foods,[viii] a banquet of preserved (wines), of spread out rich foods, (and) preserved refined (wines). And on this mountain he will swallow up the covering[ix] that is over all peoples, even the covering woven[x] on all the nations.[xi] He will swallow up death forever. And the Lord Yahweh will wipe clean the tears from upon all faces. And the shame of his people he will remove from upon all the earth. For Yahweh has spoken.[xii]

Chapters 23-27 of Isaiah concern the fall of Tyre (Isa 23:1) in contrast to the future restoration of Israel as the center of God’s rule on the earth. It is significant that the future destruction of Tyre is considered gain and food for the benefit of the people of God (Isa 23:18). The wealth of the enemies of Israel becomes her wealth. The destruction of Tyre (Isa 23:1-18) is expanded into a judgment of the earth (Isa 24:1-23). A curse is upon the earth because of humanity’s disobedience to God’s laws and covenant (Isa 24:5, 6). As a result of the curse, the productivity of the earth is destroyed (Isa 24:7-9) and war, treachery, and disasters will prevail (Isa 24:10-22). At the end of judgment, Yahweh will reign over the earth from Jerusalem (Isa 24:23).

From Jerusalem, Yahweh will call all the nations to a great banquet (Isa 25:6-8). It is likely that the idea of a great banquet at the coronation of Yahweh (Isa 24:23) was suggested by such feasts at the coronation of Israel ’s kings (1 Sam 11:15; 1 Kgs 1:9, 19, 25).[xiii] The call to the “mountain” is previously established in Isa 2:1-4. It is a call from the Temple Mount from which Yahweh will teach all the nations his law and lead them toward unending peace. In the description of the banquet, it is clear that the vision (Isa 22:1; 23:1) is not intended as a literal event, but as a representation of the blessings of the final days after the judgment of evil humanity (Isa 25:2-5, 10-12) and the end of death (Isa 25:8).

Although the banquet is metaphorical, it does represent actual physical blessings in the final days for all people.[xiv] The banquet of wine and fatty food implies a sustained abundant harvest of grapes and multiplied well-fed livestock. The promise to end war (Isa 2:4) is now put in terms of ending the effect of war, that is death. Yahweh will “swallow up” ([L:Bi) death in a reversal of how personified “sheol” (lAav...) is said to swallow up its victims (Isa 5:14; Exod 15:12; Num 16:30, 32, 34; 26:10; Deut 11:6; Ps 106:17; Prov 1:12; Hab 2:5). The covering is the mourner’s covering that is removed as Yahweh’s rule brings an end to war and to the death that came from war.[xv] Although some argue that the covering is the death shroud placed over the dead body,[xvi] the veil is more likely that worn by those who are in mourning (2 Sam 15:30; Jer 14:1-12; Esth 6:12).[xvii] Death is swallowed up in a reversal of the curse of death that lies upon the whole land because of humanity’s disobedience and opposition to Yahweh (Isa 24:6).[xviii] Although some argue otherwise,[xix] it is probable that Isaiah’s vision includes a future resurrection of the dead.[xx] This is more clearly stated at Isa 26:19.

There is a unique blessing upon Israel distinct from the other nations, in that they are no longer the object of any special reproach (Isa 25:8). Rather than being the object of scorn, Israel will now be established as the center of Yahweh’s rule over all the nations (Isa 54:3; 60:11, 16; 61:5-7).

As a result of the future deliverance, Israel will rejoice (Isa 25:9) and sing of God’s protection from her enemies (Isa 26:1-21). In the song, the banquet is related to a joyful celebration of Yahweh’s victory over the enemies of Israel . This joyful celebration continues into chapter 27, where at Isa 27:1 the destruction of the enemies of Israel is depicted as the slaying of Leviathan.[xxi] The great sea monster Leviathan is metaphorical for Tyre because of its geographical location as a great seaport (Isa 23:2, 4, 11).[xxii] Rather than a passage that predicts an eschatological destruction of the great serpent (understood as Satan or as moral evil as in Rev 12),[xxiii] the use of Leviathan is metaphorical for the destruction of Tyre within this context. Tyre is further representative of all the political enemies of Israel since the author himself extends Yahweh’s judgment beyond Tyre in chapter 23 to all humanity in chapter 24. It is the enemies of Israel , those who are disobedient to Yahweh, who are singled out for destruction (Isa 24:5, 6; 26:11). Placing Isa 26:20 through 27:1 together reveals that Israel must wait upon Yahweh ’s destruction of her enemies pictured as Leviathan and then they will be restored in prosperity like a renewed vineyard of wine (Isa 27:2-6).

The argument that the banquet motif extends throughout the messianic age in Isaiah is further substantiated in Isa 55. The universal invitation to come and buy provisions without money (Isa 55:1, 2) is possible because of a messianic covenant (Isa 55:3-5) which requires repentance (Isa 55:6-9). The ingathering of those who accept the invitation will be accompanied by the physical blessings of the messianic age (Isa 55:13).

Chapter 65 is also significant because it makes a contrast between the sinning majority of Israel and the blessings due to the righteous remnant during the future messianic age. The remnant shall inherit the land blessed with flocks, herds, food, and drink. However, those who forsake Yahweh will be slaughtered, be hungry, be thirsty, and be put to shame.

The contribution of Isaiah to Jewish expectations of the Messianic Banquet would have been much broader than a single future eschatological event. The Banquet would have been understood from Isaiah to be metaphorical of a description of the entire future messianic age. It would include the following elements: Yahweh’s faithfulness to his covenant with Israel; bountiful provisions and blessings in the land of Israel; repentance, obedience and the restoration of the remnant of Israel; the reign of the Messiah on earth; a gathering of the dispersed Israelites back to their homeland; the inclusion of all nations within the blessings offered at Jerusalem; the resurrection of the righteous dead; the end of death; the end of war; and the judgment of the enemies of Yahweh and of Israel. While the righteous remnant will enjoy the bountiful provisions of the messianic age, the enemies of Israel will be destroyed. The inclusion of other nations give a strong universal emphasis to the eschatological hopes in Isaiah. Other nations are invited to participate in the blessings of the messianic age, however they maintain their national identities just as Israel retains hers.

The Messianic Banquet in Ezekiel

In Ezekiel is found a clear example of the use of the messianic banquet theme as a warning of judgment and destruction of the enemies of Yahweh. The prophet envisions a time well after the restoration of Israel (Ezek 38:8) under messianic rule (Ezek 37:22, 24-28) when Israel will come under attack by the forces of Gog. They will be destroyed by God and their bodies will become a great feast for predators (Ezek 39:4). The feast is called a sacrifice at Yahweh’s table (Ezek 39:17-20). A previous feast is mentioned of the destruction of Egypt by Babylon (Ezek 32:1-16). In that passage, the Pharaoh is compared to a sea monster captured by God and set out to be fed upon by predators (Ezek 32:2-5; Tg. Onq. Ps 74:12-17). In Ezek 32, the banquet motif in relation to the destruction of Egypt is not eschatological but describes eminent political events (compare Ezek 12:21-28). Likewise, the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in Ezek 24:1-14 is compared to a boiling pot of stew in which unfaithful Israelites are destroyed. However, the banquet motif is used eschatologically when it describes the far off future destruction of Gog.

Ezekiel repeats similar themes to those that were found in Isaiah. The Jew of the first century reading Ezekiel would discover the following expectations when reading about the banquet motif. Israel ’s external enemies will be destroyed and fed to predators. The unrighteous within Israel will be destroyed (Ezek 34:2-10) and the righteous remnant will return to the land of Israel where they will be abundantly fed and blessed by the Messiah himself (Ezek 34:17-30). These blessings, as in Isaiah, will extend to the righteous worshipers of Yahweh from other nations (Ezek 47:22, 23).

Beyond Isaiah, Ezekiel specifically states that the destruction of the future enemies of Israel is a great sacrifice to Yahweh and food for predators. Thus, two aspects of an eschatological messianic meal emerge. First, the future righteous remnant can expect to receive great prosperity in the messianic kingdom. Yahweh will feed his people. Second, the enemies of Israel are destroyed in a sacrifice to Yahweh. He will feed his enemies to predators. This message is a consolation to Israel because Yahweh himself will take vengeance upon those who have brutally conquered them. These two aspects of an eschatological messianic meal are distinct but related in that Yahweh takes vengeance upon his enemies while blessing his faithful remnant.

Summary of the Messianic Banquet in the Old Testament

This overview of the use of the Messianic Banquet theme in the Old Testament Prophets reveals that banqueting as part of prophecies concerning the future of Israel is used metaphorically. There are two distinct meals. One is the sacrificial meal of Yahweh’s enemies in which they become food for predators. The other is the feasting of the righteous remnant within Israel along with the righteous of other nations. The banquet of these righteous ones represents the promised future prosperity of the messianic reign after Yahweh defeats the enemies of Israel . This future time of prosperity is extended to the righteous followers of Yahweh from all the nations who are invited to participate alongside restored Israel in these blessings. There is no single event, but the banquet describes an entire age beginning with the judgment of Israel ’s enemies, the coming of the Messiah, and the restoration of the righteous remnant back to their homeland. It is significant that this future age is highly universal as Israel becomes a source of blessing to all the nations when Yahweh rules them directly from Jerusalem and all the nations come to worship him together at Jerusalem. National distinctions remain even while there are universal blessings upon all nations with future restored Israel at the center of the messianic reign.

It is also important to observe that these hopes for future prosperity in the coming messianic age are terrestrial rather than heavenly. The context of the reversal of fortunes within which the two aspects of the messianic banquet theme occurs takes place on the earth. The nations who have oppressed Israel are punished and the righteous within Israel are blessed in their land. The righteous from among the other nations are called to worship Yahweh in Jerusalem which is the center of his earthly rule. This terrestrial location for eschatological hopes concerning a future messianic banquet will not always be so placed in later Jewish literature.

The Messianic Banquet in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature

The major Jewish Apocalyptic passages that make use of the Messianic Banquet must only be summarized here. They include the Sibylline Oracles, Book 3; 1 Enoch 60; 4 Ezra 6; and the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch 29. The Jewish apocalyptic literature continues to express the eschatological hopes of the OT for a future time of prosperity for the nation of Israel (Sib. Or. 3:580-83, 616-23, 657-60). There will be a reversal in which Israel ’s enemies will be destroyed becoming a meal for predators while the righteous inhabitants of the future kingdom will be filled with great prosperity (Sib. Or. 3:697). The future literal prosperity of the messianic age is usually extended to the righteous from other nations (Sib. Or. 3:740, 772-75). All nations maintain their national distinctions in the future messianic age (Sib. Or. 3:573, 597-99), with restored Israel becoming the center of God’s direct rule on the earth (Sib. Or. 3:756, 767-76).

The previous mythopoetic tradition about Leviathan evidenced in the OT becomes more concrete within first century Judaism. Rather than a mythological creature that could metaphorically represent the enemies of God, the creature is actually preserved for an eschatological meal. This meal is a distinct part of the overall blessings in the world to come for the righteous. The two major aspects of the Messianic Banquet found in the OT are combined so that God’s ultimate enemy among beasts, Leviathan, is destroyed and its corpse becomes food for the righteous ones in the age to come. With this reduction of the Messianic Banquet into a final eschatological event, the banquet no longer represents the overall future prosperity of the entire messianic age. It is only one of many blessings. The literal future banquet upon the flesh of the monsters is only one example among the many other physical ways in which God will bless the righteous in the future (1 Enoch 62:14; 4 Ezra 6:52; 2 Apoc. Bar. 29:4). This is obvious in 2 Apoc. Bar. 29:5-8, where the author strings together a series of distinct traditions about the blessings of the future messianic age: the feeding upon the monsters, aromatic fragrances, dew, and manna. The banquet is only one of many other eschatological blessings.

The context of these passages does not suggest that Gentiles will automatically participate in the future banquet. In a seeming reversal of Isa 2:1-4 and 25:6-8, the author of 1 Enoch describes the arrival of foreign kings to bow down in repentance before the Messiah only to be punished for their oppression of the Jews (1 Enoch 62). Such ungodly people will become food for the mythological monsters (1 Enoch 60). The blessings of the future age are limited to the righteous and elect ones of Israel . The author of 4 Ezra also limits the banquet to only Israel . Leviathan and Behemoth, as well as the entire universe, were created for Israel . Other nations are of little importance to God (4 Ezra 6:56). The Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch is an exception, since the blessings of the future messianic age are extended to some nations. All the nations who have ruled over and trodden down Israel will die, but the others will be spared especially if they have been subjected to Israel (2 Apoc. Bar. 72:2-6). Israel is distinguished from other nations as the only true people of God (2 Apoc. Bar. 72:5). However others can participate with Israel in the future messianic blessings depending upon how they treated Israel in the past.

Also, references to the destruction of Leviathan and Behemoth as a source of food for the righteous are not equivocal in terms of the location of that future banquet. Having become a single eschatological event rather than metaphorical for the entire age, allows for the belief that the event will be heavenly rather than terrestrial. In part of this tradition, the monsters are served the unrighteous as food on the earth (1 Enoch 60:23, 24), but the righteous are blessed in Paradise (1 Enoch 61:12). Other authors place the literal banqueting of the righteous upon the flesh of the monsters on the earth after a great tribulation (2 Apoc. Bar. 29:3-7).

Thus, the future participation of other nations outside of Israel in the prosperity of the messianic age is not assured. In 1 Enoch 60-62 and 4 Ezra 6:56 the banquet and the general prosperity of the future age would be limited to Israel . However, the universalism of the OT is maintained in the Sibylline Oracles 3 and the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch. In these examples, God ’s future judgment of destruction will fall only upon the unrighteous enemies of Israel . Like in Isaiah, other nations can and will repent in order to participate in the prosperity of the future messianic age. All nations maintain their national identity and distinction, including Israel that becomes the center of God's rule in the age to come.

The Messianic Banquet in the Dead Sea Scrolls

The passage most referred to as reflecting belief at Qumran in the Messianic Banquet is The Rule of the Congregation (1QSa). In actuality it has been found not to contain the major features of the Messianic Banquet previously discovered in Jewish literature. The scroll is unique because it reveals that the Qumran community expected the future Messiahs to join their already existing community rules in terms of their council and communal cultic meals. This messianic participation adds nothing new to the already ongoing practice of the community. This implies that the community already was living according to rules and norms they expected to be carrying out during the future messianic age in terms of actual current practice. Little change is needed in this practice for the Messiahs to fit into their already prepared roles in the community.

However, the aspects previously surfaced in terms of the Messianic Banquet in Jewish literature are also found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. A few examples were found where the suffering community will be vindicated upon the arrival of the Messiah by means of the punishment of its enemies and the reversal of fortunes for the future messianic age. In an expansion of Isaiah 61, the Messiah will not only release the captives and comfort the afflicted of the community (11Q13 ii 4), but he will also give sight to the blind, heal the wounded, resurrect the dead, and feed the hungry (4Q521 2 ii 5-13).

It must be observed that the Messianic Banquet in the Dead Sea Scrolls is limited only to the true remnant of Israel who align themselves with the Qumran community. All others will not survive the future vengeance of God against the enemies of the community. There is no universalism.

Also, the eschatological hopes of the community are highly terrestrial. They alone will enjoy the messianic age of great prosperity upon the land that they will inherit.

The Messianic Banquet in the Rabbinical Period

There is a range of beliefs surrounding the messianic banquet during the rabbinical period. What is clear is that the banquet is a future reward for the righteous based upon how the person currently lives. Even with later additional speculation about Leviathan, Behemoth, and the Ziz bird, the underlying point remains that the future feast is a reward for current obedience to the dietary laws of the Torah. It is a reward that is contrasted with the judgment that the oppressors of Israel deserve. Sometimes the banquet is used metaphorically to represent the entire future world to come. At other times, the banquet is a single eschatological event such as the literal eating of the flesh of Leviathan and Behemoth.

The Messianic Banquet is sometimes thought to include the righteous persons from other nations. The Emperor Antoninus will eat the flesh of Leviathan because he was kind to the Jews and was circumcised (y. Sanh. 10:5; y. Meg. 1:11; 3:2). At other times, the participation in the Messianic Banquet is limited to only Jews or even to only the higher ranks of Jewish rabbis (b. B. Bat. 75). The later speculation concerning Leviathan, Behemoth, and the Ziz bird highlights the view that Yahweh’s creation was intended for the Jews (Gen. Rab. 19:4; Lev. Rab. 22:10; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 6:8). They have been deprived of the full enjoyment of this created world, but Yahweh has preserved the largest beasts of all of his creation for the future banquet. Thus, the rabbis over-exaggerated the size of the creatures to emphasize the concept of reversal that was inherent in the earlier tradition. The size of the beasts was more important than the duration of the feasting upon their meat. The limitation of the future banquet to only the most faithful or righteous of Jews seems to be the tendency over time in the rabbinical literature.

This is also true about the location of the future Messianic Banquet. The tendency over time is for the rabbis to emphasize the future feasting in the Garden of Eden (Paradise) rather than the terrestrial blessings of the messianic age (Pesiq. Rab Kah. 6:8). The exception is the earlier discussion about the future prosperity of the land of Israel as a sign of the coming of the Messiah (b. Sanh. 96-99). In that discussion, the older tradition of the terrestrial blessings of the messianic age in the literal land of Israel is stressed. The wars of the sea monsters and of Gog and Magog are also part of this terrestrial eschatological preparation for the coming of the Messiah (b. Sanh. 97b). Judgment thus falls upon the enemies of Israel and they will no longer be dominated by the Gentiles. They will enjoy and eat their fill in the future because the world was originally created for their Messiah. The later speculation about the wine preserved since the time of Creation highlights this earlier tradition that the Jews deserve to enjoy what Yahweh originally created for them (b. Sanh. 99a; Num. Rab. 13:2).

Conclusions about the Jewish Pre-Understanding of the Messianic Banquet

What becomes clear from the previous discussion is that there is no single set of beliefs surrounding the use of the Messianic Banquet theme in first century Judaism. Rather than make futile attempts to harmonize several different viewpoints or look for common denominators among them, it seems wiser to place into various categories the range of possible beliefs among Jews in the first century concerning their expectations of the eschatological Messianic Banquet. Two major aspects are consistently present in almost all of the literature surveyed: eschatological blessings for the righteous ones and a corresponding judgment upon their enemies. While the nature of these blessings and judgments vary greatly in the literature, there is a pervading interest in the reversal of fortunes. Israel suffers now, but God will judge her enemies and eventually bless the righteous remnant. The following are these various possibilities based upon the previous passages.

A Metaphorical Universal Terrestrial Banquet.

It was argued from the OT that there are two distinct meals. One is the sacrificial meal of Yahweh’s enemies in which they become food for predators. The other is the feasting of the righteous remnant within Israel along with the righteous of other nations. The banquet of these righteous ones represents the promised future prosperity of the messianic reign after Yahweh defeats the enemies of Israel . This future time of prosperity is extended to the righteous follower of Yahweh from all the nations who is invited to participate alongside restored Israel in these blessings. There is no single event, but the banquet describes an entire age beginning with the judgment of Israel ’s enemies, the coming of the Messiah, and the restoration of the righteous remnant back to their homeland. These hopes for future prosperity in the coming messianic age are terrestrial rather than heavenly. This view of the future Messianic Banquet is not limited to the OT, but is found in the Jewish apocalyptic and rabbinical literature as well. The literature from the Qumran differs in how it restricts the future participants in the blessings of the messianic age.

A Metaphorical Restricted Terrestrial Banquet.

This view is well represented in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Qumran community believed that the Messiahs would reverse their fortunes by judging their enemies and blessing them greatly in the future age. Their beliefs differ from those of the OT in that the blessings of the future age are restricted only to the righteous remnant of Israel who become members of the community. The viewpoint is not limited to Qumran, but can be found in other literature throughout the same period.

The Banquet as a Single Event at the Inception of the Messianic Age.

It was argued that the mythological use of Leviathan and Behemoth as a source for the future Messianic Banquet limited the feast to a single event at the inception of the messianic age. This banquet then does not represent the general prosperity of the entire messianic age, but simply is one exemplary event of God’s judgment of evil and of the prosperity of his righteous ones. The literature that mentions the feasting upon the flesh of the monsters is not equivocal as to the identity of the participants or as to the location of the future banquet. At times the participants are limited to only the righteous remnant among Israel and at other times the feast is extended to the future righteous of other nations. At times the banquet upon the beasts is terrestrial and at other times it is heavenly.

The Banquet as Metaphorical for Heavenly Bliss.

Mention of future blessings related to banqueting in the Garden of Eden, Paradise, or Heaven can be found early in Jewish apocalyptic literature. However, references to the Garden of Eden as the location for the future Messianic Banquet tend to increase and become the dominant view over time within the rabbinical period.

Matthew’s Use of the Messianic Banquet

Given that Matthew is primarily a first century Jewish book, the Gospel’s use of the Messianic Banquet theme would be expected to be along the same lines as previously discovered in other Jewish literature. Given the option that the Messianic Banquet is either metaphorical or an actual event, the evidence in Matthew favors the continuation of the Jewish belief that it is metaphorical for the entire Messianic kingdom. The evidence for this is found in the diverse ways in which the theme of the Messianic Banquet is used by Matthew. At Matt 8:12, the Gentiles sit at table with the Patriarchs in the future consummated kingdom. However, at the miraculous feedings (Matt 14:13-21; 15:32-38) the Messianic Banquet is actualized into the present aspect of the kingdom as proof that Jesus is the truly the Messiah. The inclusion of the Canaanite woman as a participant of the children’s table (Matt 15:21-28) also actualizes the Messianic Banquet with Gentile participation in the current age. We would also argue that the image of the Messianic Banquet in the Parable of the Marriage Feast (Matt 22:1-14) is best understood as the present kingdom age in which many are sitting down enjoying the Lord’s blessings in the Church awaiting a final entrance of the King for judgment. Thus Matthew uses the Jewish expectations of the Messianic Banquet to affirm that its kingdom blessings have already come and will extend into the future consummation of the kingdom after judgment. The Messianic Banquet becomes a metaphor for the reversal of fortunes and blessings of the entire kingdom age in both its present and future aspects.

Given the further option that the Messianic Banquet is either terrestrial or heavenly, the evidence in Matthew favors the Jewish belief that it is terrestrial. The true disciples of Jesus, which includes Gentiles at the time of the written Matthew, will inherit the earth (Matt 5:5). At that future time they will also rule over a future restored Israel and receive abundant physical blessings (houses, family, and farms) (Matt 19:27-29).

The following discussion is limited to the story of the Centurion’s servant in Matthew 8:5-13.

And when he had entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him, in order to entreat him and say, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, tormented greatly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy for you to come under my roof, but just if you command it by a word,[xxiv] and my servant will be healed. For I, too, am a man under authority, and have soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled, and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith from anyone in Israel . And I say to you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go. Just as you believed, may it come to pass for you.” And his servant was healed at that hour.[xxv]

This is the most important passage in which Matthew uses the theme of the Messianic Banquet. In the story, there is a strong contrast between the faith of the centurion and “ Israel ” (Matt 8:10). Here “ Israel ” relates to an unbelieving entity (“the sons of the kingdom”) in contrast to those who will “recline” with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom (Matt 8:11, 12). The centurion is an example of a Gentile believer in Jesus who will partake in the Messianic Banquet.

Although several argue that Jesus heals the centurion’s “son,”[xxvi] it is best to take the word pai/j as “servant.”[xxvii] “Son” would be the first option only in classical Greek.[xxviii] However, in the LXX, pai/j very rarely translates !Be (“son”) (only at Prov 4:1; 20:7), but rather most often translates db,[, (“servant”). The word pai/j was commonly used for slaves in the Koine period, which does not require a close familial relationship.[xxix] Outside of christological titles, the NT is divided between the two options. In a completely different context where it is clear that there is a familial relationship, Matthew uses pai/j for “son” (Matt 17:18). However, the same contextual clues are not present here in Matthew chapter eight.

Thus, the centurion begs Jesus to heal his servant expressing faith in Jesus' power to control spiritual forces only by means of his words.[xxx] Jesus marvels not just because the centurion believes but because the content of his faith included Jesus' power to divinely control all natural and spiritual forces.

Jesus speaks clearly about a future kingdom in which many that are not of Israel, like the centurion, will sit together with the patriarchs of Israel in the Messianic Banquet (Isa 25:6-9; 65:13-14); while many who presently consider themselves part of the present kingdom will be thrown into Hell. These “sons of the kingdom” (Matt 8:12) are Jews who think they are “sons of Abraham” (Matt 3:9, 10). They think that they will participate in the future kingdom because of their race. Not all those who participate in some way in the present kingdom will enter into the future consummated kingdom (Matt 7:13-23). Gentile Christians will not replace Israel but participate along with Israel in the future kingdom (Isa 2:2-3; 45:6; 59:19; 60:3-4; Mic 4:1-2; Zech 8:20-23; Mal 1:11). In Matthew, this co-participation of Jewish and Gentile Christians form the true remnant that will inherit the kingdom to come. The Church is thus this remnant that is made up of believing Israel and Gentile Christians united together as the true people of God. In the future kingdom, the Church will be further united with the OT saints forming the final eschatological people in the consummated kingdom. Matthew previews that time in two passages (Matt 16:28-17:13; 27:52, 53).[xxxi]

Matthew’s insertion of the Messianic Banquet (Luke 13:28, 29) at Matt 8:11, 12 is highly unique. Very few argue that the Messianic Banquet originated within the Centurion story.[xxxii] Most argue that the insertion is a Matthean redaction.[xxxiii] The Q saying about the Messianic Banquet is expanded universally by Luke to include all four directions. In Luke, the saying of Jesus is directed to the Jews who were following him to Jerusalem in response to a question about how many will be saved. Jesus answers with the parable about the narrow door. Once the door is shut, then there will be weeping in Hell while many will come from all directions to enjoy the Messianic Banquet with the OT patriarchs and prophets. Matthew previously used the parable about the narrow door in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 7:13-23), but preserves the saying about the Messianic Banquet until the miracle story of the healing of the Centurion’s servant. Thus, while Luke makes the Messianic Banquet universal through the addition of directions, Matthew makes it universal by use of the prophecy that Gentile believers in Jesus will come to participate in the Banquet with the OT patriarchs.

Davies and Allison challenge the popular view that the “many” who come from the east and the west refer to Gentiles. Rather, it is a reference to diaspora Jews.[xxxiv] They are much more interested in the original saying of Jesus preserved in the Q tradition prior to Matthew, rather than Matthew’s use of the saying within the context of the great faith of the Gentile believer in Jesus. However, it is simply wrong to argue that the original Jewish understanding of the saying required the return of only diaspora Jews back to Israel . Given Isaiah ’s universalism that is shared by the three synoptic authors and by the early church, it can hardly be argued that Q preserved a saying of Jesus about the eschatological kingdom restricted to only diaspora Jews. Given the prevalent use of Isaiah in the teachings attributed to Jesus, it is more likely that he historically affirmed the universal participation of the nations along with Israel in the future kingdom.

Carson argues that there are three distinct sets of OT passages that are possibly reflected in Matt 8:11 and 12.[xxxv] There are passages that describe the return of Israelite exiles back to the land (Ps 107:3; Isa 43:5, 6; 49:12). There is a distinct set of passages that describe the worship of God by Gentiles in all parts of the earth (Isa 45:6; 59:19; Mal 1:11). Thirdly, there are passages that predict that Gentiles will come to Jerusalem (Isa 2:2, 3; 60:3, 4; Mic 4:1, 2; Zech 8:20-23). He argues further that Matt 8:11 and 12 more closely parallel the first group.[xxxvi] However, such distinctions ignore the wealth of Jewish literature concerning the Messianic Banquet and divides up the theology of Isaiah into distinctive theologies ignoring the most crucial passage in Isaiah 25. First century AD Jews read Isaiah as a unit. Therefore, as a background to first century Jewish thought, it is much better to read and understand Isaiah as a unit.[xxxvii] In Isaiah, the Messianic Banquet is used metaphorically for the entire Messianic Age to come, rather than simply a single event at the beginning of that age.

Rather than direct the saying to the Jews, as in Luke, Jesus is speaking directly to the centurion. The saying is modified to fit the setting, however very few details are lost or added. Two details are significant. Jesus calls the Jews, who will be thrown into Hell, “the sons of the kingdom” (Matt 8:12). This is highly peculiar to call an adversary such a title, however it is suggested by the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 7:13-23) and the Parables of the Kingdom (Matt 13). In Matthew, it is possible to participate in the present kingdom of Jesus without entering into the final consummation of the kingdom. Only true disciples enter the final kingdom and those true disciples can be equally Jews or Gentiles. The false disciples (Matt 7:15-23; 10:33; 13:38-43, 47-50; 25:1-13), here called “sons of the kingdom” (also Matt 13:38 for true disciples), are Jews who think they are “sons of Abraham” (Matt 3:9, 10).

Matthew further adds the destination of the “sons of the kingdom” as the “outer darkness.” This is a common Jewish description of Hell (Jdt 16:17; 4 Ezra 7:93; 1 Enoch 63:10; 108:3; Pss. Sol. 14:9; 15:10; Wis 17:21)[xxxviii] used by Matthew elsewhere (Matt 5:29; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30). Thus Matthew uses extremely strong language to distinguish between the true remnant that will inherit the future kingdom, which is the Church made up of Gentile and Jewish believers in Jesus, and the false unbelieving Israel which will be thrown into Hell.

Matthew’s list of the participants in the Messianic Banquet as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is likely to be more original with Q than Luke’s additional phrase, “and all the prophets.”[xxxix] The Jewish expectations about the Messianic Banquet included a great deal about the OT patriarchs, but little about the participation of the prophets (b. Pesah. 119b).

Conclusions from The Messianic Banquet in the Centurion Story

Matthew’s insertion of the Messianic Banquet saying of Jesus into the Centurion story is highly significant. The saying reflects well the dual aspects present in the OT use of the Messianic Banquet theme. The Messianic Banquet is a future reward for the righteous and a judgment of the enemies of God. Jesus pronounced judgment upon those who considered themselves the rightful heirs of the future kingdom. They will be thrown into Hell because they have become enemies of the King and his true disciples. The fortune of the true remnant that is currently suffering persecution will be reversed. The true disciples of Jesus are a persecuted community of believers in his miraculous power. They are both Gentiles, like the centurion, and Jews. They will participate fully in the consummation of the kingdom along with the OT saints while their persecutors will be punished.

It is wrong to argue that this use of the Messianic Banquet excludes Israel categorically.[xl] At the very least, Israel is clearly represented by the Patriarchs.[xli] At the most, it is represented by believing Jews. Matthew’s list of Patriarchs is significant, although it is likely that the list is original with Q. The participation of the Patriarchs in the Messianic Banquet is very Jewish, but it also highlights the theological perspective of Matthew about the nature of the Church. As the true remnant, the Church will be united with the fathers of Israel while those who claim salvation due to their lineage will be separated. The true remnant will include those true Gentile disciples who have the faith of the centurion.

The participation of Gentiles in the Messianic Banquet does not require that Israel be replaced by the Church. This Gentile participation was prophesied by Isaiah and maintained in the Jewish literature for centuries after Christ. It is wrong to argue that the Messianic Banquet, prior to Matthew, was “strictly a Jewish affair.” [xlii] However, what is unique with the Church is that it becomes the true remnant. Israel is not replaced, but it participates fully alongside the Gentiles in the blessing of the future Messianic age. The equal participation in the same kingdom of believing Israel and believing Gentile forms one united Church participating fully together. Only by believing in Jesus and thus becoming a member of his Church, can Israelites lay claim to their natural heritage and be reunited with the fathers of their nation.

The saying of Jesus about the Messianic Banquet also implies the eternality of the Church. The Church cannot end with the consummation of the future kingdom, it must remain forever the true people of God, or the remnant that inherits the kingdom. It is only the Church that is promised that they will sit down at table with the OT saints rather than the unbelieving portion of the nation of Israel . If the Church had no future and believing Israel had a distinct future, there would be no united kingdom at which true believing disciples of Jesus participated together.

 


[i] Günther Bornkamm, “End-Expectation and Church in Matthew,” in Günther Bornkamm, Gerhard Barth, and Heinz Joachim Held, Tradition and Interpretation in Matthew, trans. Percy Scott (London: SCM, 1963) 15-24.

[ii] O. Lamar Cope, “‘To the Close of the Age’: The Role of Apocalyptic Thought in the Gospel of Matthew,” in Apocalyptic and the New Testament: Essays in Honour of J. Louis Martyn, eds. Joel Marcus and Marion L. Soards, JSNTSS, vol. 24 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1989) 113-24; Donald A. Hagner, “Apocalyptic Motifs in the Gospel of Matthew: Continuity and Discontinuity,” HBT 7 (1985) 53-82; D. Marguerat, Le Jugement dans l’évangile de Matthieu, Le Monde de la Bible (Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1981); David C. Sim, Apocalyptic Eschatology in the Gospel of Matthew (Cambridge: University Press, 1996); Robin Scroggs, “Eschatological Existence in Matthew and Paul: Coincidentia Oppositorum,” in Apocalyptic and the New Testament: Essays in Honour of J. Louis Martyn, eds. Joel Marcus and Marion L. Soards, JSNTSS, vol. 24 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1989) 125-46; Graham N. Stanton, A Gospel for a New People (Louisville, KY: Westminster, 1992) 146-68; and Kathleen Weber, “The Events of the End of the Age in Matthew,” (Ph.D. diss., The Catholic University of America, 1994).

[iii] Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism, Revised and Expanded (Chicago: Moody, 1995) 125-29.

[iv] Some progressive dispensationalist still maintain that the consummated Kingdom requires an end to the unity of the people of God, i.e. that future saved ethnic Israel (Rom 11:26) will be distinct from the Church rather than be added to the Church. Progressive dispensationalist speak of a future “equality” in which both the Church and future saved Israel will share in the future Messianic millennial age, but not as one united people of God (J. Lanier Burns, “Israel and the Church of a Progressive Dispensationalist,” in Herbert W. Bateman, IV, ed. Three Central Issues in Contemporary Dispensationalism: A Comparison of Traditional and Progressive Views (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1999) 290).

[v] “Yahweh of Hosts” is used 62 times in Isaiah. The description is likely an intensive abstract plural meaning “Yahweh the Almighty,” or “Yahweh, God Omnipotent” (Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, HALOT, rev., Walter Baumgartner and Johann Jakob Stamm, tr. M. E. J. Richardson (New York: Brill, 1994) 3.995-97).

[vi] “Nations” implies a kinship among the members of distinct groups of people, rather than merely all people regardless of their national distinctions. The people are distinguished by national or kinship ties (HALOT 2.838).

[vii] “Banquet” is a special festive occasion with wine. The noun derives from the verb “to drink” and thus it is an occasion-to-drink (HALOT 2.653).

[viii] "Fat" or "fatness." The banquet will serve the best fatty foods (Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, The New Brown—Driver—Briggs— Gesenius Hebrew and English Lexicon with an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic (Reprinted from the 1907 ed.; Peabody, MA: Hendrikson Publishers, 1979) 1032).

[ix] It is unnecessary to translate as “the mask on the face,” as does Hans Wildberger (Isaiah 13-27: A Continental Commentary, tr. Thomas H. Trapp (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1997) 532). Nor does it necessarily mean “shroud,” as taken by John D. W. Watts (Isaiah 1-33, vol. 24, WBC, ed. David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1985), 328). It simply means a covering over the head (HALOT 3.940).

[x] “Entwine, plait, weave” (HALOT 2.703).

[xi] Because of the Hebrew parallelism, the two expressions are equivalent in this context.

[xii] Translation is the author’s.

[xiii] Bernard Wodecki argues that it is a sacrificial banquet (“The Religious Universalism of the Pericope Is 25:6-9,” in Golden Äpfel in silbernen Schalen: Collected Communications to the XIIIth Congress of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament, Leuven 1989, ed. Klaus-Dietrich Schunck and Matthias Augustin, Beiträge zur Erforschung des Alten Testaments und des antiken Judentums, ed. Matthias Augustin and Michael Mach, vol. 20 (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1992) 42).

[xiv] This position is against such comments as the following: “As Zion here is to be taken in a figurative sense, referring to the Church of God, so also is the banquet to be understood figuratively, as signifying the spiritual blessings that God brings to mankind through His kingdom” (Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah: The English Text, with Introduction, Exposition, and Notes, NICOT, ed. R. K. Harrison (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969) 2.192). Such a comment reads back into the text a certain NT interpretation much too late for the author or his audience to have ever understood.

[xv] Paul’s use of Moses’ veil (2 Cor 3:12-18; Exod 34:33-35) should not influence the interpretation of this text as a veil of ignorance or shame. There are several who argue for an end of spiritual ignorance (Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah, tr. James Martin, Clark’s Foreign Theological Library, 4th series, vol. 14 (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1877; reprint, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949) 1.439, 440; and Wodecki, “The Religious Universalism of the Pericope Is 25:6-9,” 42).

[xvi] John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1-39, NICOT, ed. R. K. Harrison (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1986) 457; and Watts, Isaiah 1-33, 24.328. Meredith G. Kline states that the shroud is figurative for the grave itself opened at the resurrection of the previously dead body (“Death, Leviathan, and the Martyrs: Isaiah 24:1—27:1,” in A Tribute to Gleason Archer, ed. Walter C. Kaiser and Ronald F. Youngblood (Chicago, Moody Press, 1986) 230, 231).

[xvii] George Buchanan Gray, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Isaiah 1-27, ICC, ed. Samuel Rolles Driver, Alfred Plummer, and Charles Augustus Briggs (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1912) 1. 430; Otto Kaiser, Isaiah 13-39: A Commentary, tr. R. A. Wilson, OTL, ed. G. Ernest Wright, John Bright, James Barr, and Peter Ackroyd (Philadelphia: PA: Westminster Press, 1974) 200, 201; Wildberger, Isaiah 13-27, 532; and Young, The Book of Isaiah, 2.194.

[xviii] Watts, Isaiah 1-33, 24.331.

[xix] The argument that there is no resurrection comes from a comparison with Isa 2:1-4. Thus, the end of death is not life eternal or a resurrection of those who have already died, but is an end of death as the effect of war. The ceasing of war during the future messianic age will remove only the suffering of death. This belief that the messianic age will be void of the death that comes from war, is later expanded into a belief in eternal life and resurrection (Dan 12:2; 1 Cor 15:54). Isa 25:19 is a praise for the future restoration of the people of Israel as a corporate unity in a future generation rather than the resurrection of individual departed members (Wildberger, Isaiah 13-27, 532-34, 567-70). However, the argument that the Hebrew root can have a semantic range broader than the English word death cannot be substantiated. Wildberger argues that the prophecy declares that Yahweh will remove all disasters that may possibly limit his subjects’ ability to live life to its fullest, rather than simply to remove the actual occurrence of physical death. Thus, there is still death, but without mourning (Isaiah 13-27, 533). The semantic argument cannot be substantiated since the Hebrew uses of the word all refer in some way to an actual physical death (H.-J. Fabry and K.-J. Illman, in TDOT, ed. G. Johannes Botterweck, Helmer Ringgren, and Heinz-Josef Fabry, tr. Douglas W. Stott (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997) 8.185-209). Thus, contrary to Wildberger, the English word “death” has a broader semantic range than the Hebrew expression.

[xx] Many argue that Isaiah describes a literal resurrection of those previously in Sheol (Geoffrey W. Grogan, “Isaiah,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein and Richard P. Polcyn (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986) 6.160; Kline, “Death, Leviathan, and the Martyrs: Isaiah 24:1—27:1,” 229-49; Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah, 464; Watts, Isaiah 1-33, 24.342; and Young, The Book of Isaiah, 2.195-98). Kaiser argues that a later redactor included the idea of resurrection (Isaiah 13-39, 201). Wodecki argues that all of Isa 24-27 was a post-exilic insertion added to first Isaiah (“The Religious Universalism of the Pericope Is 25:6-9,” 36).

[xxi] There are a great many studies on Leviathan (Ronald Barclay Allen, “The Leviathan—Rahab—Dragon motif in the Old Testament” (Th.M. thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1968); A. Caquot, “Le Léviathan de Job 40, 25-41, 26,” RB 99 (1992) 40-69; J. A. Emerton, “Leviathan and LTN: The Vocalization of the Ugaritic Word for the Dragon,” VT 32 (1982) 327-31; Michael Fishbane, “Rabbinic Mythmaking and Tradition: The Great Dragon Drama in b. Baba Batra 74b-75a,” in Tehillah le-Moshe: Biblical and Judaic Studies in Honor of Moshe Greenberg, ed. Mordechai Cogan, Barry L. Eichler, and Jeffrey H. Tigay (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1997) 273-83; John C. L. Gibson, “On Evil in the Book of Job,” in Ascribe to the Lord: Biblical & other Studies in Memory of Peter C. Craigie, ed. Lyle Eslinger and Glen Taylor, JSOTSup, ed. David J. A. Clines and Philip R. Davies, vol. 67 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1988) 399-419; idem, “A New Look at Job 41.1-4 (English 41.9-12),” in Text as Pretext: Essays in Honour of Robert Davidson, ed. Robert P. Carroll, JSOTSup, ed. David J. A. Clines and Philip R. Davies, vol. 138 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1992) 129-39; Cyrus H. Gordon, “Leviathan: Symbol of Evil,” in Biblical Motifs: Origins and Transformations, ed. Alexander Altmann, Studies and Texts, ed. Alexander Altmann, vol. 3 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966) 1-9; Otto Kaiser, Die mythische Bedeutung des Meeres in Ägypten, Ugarit und Israel, Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, ed. Georg Fohrer, vol. 78 (Berlin: Alfred Töpelmann, 1962); Henry Rowold, “Leviathan and Job in Job 41:2-3,” JBL 105 (1986) 104-9; Kenneth William Whitney, Jr., “Two Strange Beasts: A Study of Traditions concerning Leviathan and Behemoth in Second Temple and Early Rabbinic Judaism” (Th.D. diss., Harvard University, 1992); J. V. Kinnier Wilson, “A Return to the Problems of Behemoth and Leviathan,” VT 25 (1975) 1-14; and David Wolfers, “The Lord’s Second Speech in the Book of Job,” VT 40 (1990) 474-99).

[xxii] Watts, Isaiah 1-33, 24.349.

[xxiii] Oswalt attributes Leviathan to all moral evil (The Book of Isaiah, 491).

[xxiv] The imperative is conditional and the dative is instrumental (compare Matt 8:16) (Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996) 162, 490).

[xxv] Translation is the author’s.

[xxvi] Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 1-13, WBC, eds. David A. Hubbard and Glen W. Barker, vol. 33a (Dallas: Word Books, 1993), 204; David Hill, The Gospel of Matthew, NCBC, ed. Ronald E. Clements and Matthew Black (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), 158; and Ralph P. Martin, “The Pericope of the Healing of the ‘Centurion,s’ Servant/Son (Matt 8:5-13 par. Luke 7:1-10): Some Exegetical Notes,” in Unity and Diversity in New Testament Theology: Essays in Honor of George E. Ladd, ed. Robert A. Guelich (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978) 15.

[xxvii] W. F. Albright and C. S. Mann, Matthew, AB, eds. William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday, 1971) 93; Frederick Dale Bruner, The Christbook: Matthew 1-12, vol. 1 of Matthew (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1987) 303; D. A. Carson, “Matthew,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein and J. D. Douglas (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984) 8.200, 201; W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison, The Gospel according to Saint Matthew, ICC, ed. J. A. Emerton, C. E. B. Cranfield, and G. N. Stanton (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1991) 2.21; R. T. France, “Exegesis in Practice: Two Samples,” in New Testament Interpretation: Essays on Principles and Methods, ed. I. Howard Marshall (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977) 256; Robert H. Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on His Handbook for a Mixed Church under Persecution, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994) 142; Craig S. Keener, Matthew, The Inter Varsity Press New Testament Commentary Series, eds. Grant R. Osborne, D. Stuart Briscoe, and Haddon Robinson (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997) 172; and J. Andrew Overman, Church and Community in Crisis, (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1996) 114.

[xxviii] Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, rev. Henry Stuart Jones and Robert McKenzie (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968) 1289.

[xxix] James Hope Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament: Illustrated from the Papyri and other Non-Literary Sources (n.p., 1930; reprint Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982) 475.

[xxx] Cf. the instrumental dative (Matt 8:8).

[xxxi] Raymond E. Brown, “Eschatological Events Accompanying the Death of Jesus, Especially the Raising of the Holy Ones from Their Tombs (Matt 27:51-53),” Faith and the Future: Studies in Christian Eschatology, ed. John P. Galvin (New York: Paulist Press, 1994) 43-73.

[xxxii] Carson, “Matthew,” 8.202; and Eduard Schweizer, The Good News According to Matthew, tr. David E. Green (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975) 213.

[xxxiii] Hagner states: “The story is thus primarily a miracle narrative but is transformed by Matthew into a pronouncement story, where the main point becomes the teaching of vv 10-12” (Matthew 1-13, 33a.202). See also Davies and Allison, Matthew, 2.25; and S. Schulz, Q: Die Spruchquelle der Evangelistein (Zurich: Theologischer, 1972) 243.

[xxxiv] Dale C. Allison, “Who will Come from East and West? Observations on Matt. 8:11-12—Luke 13:28-29,” IBS 11 (1989) 158-70; and Davies and Allison, Matthew, 2.27-29. See also Werner Grimm, “Zum Hintergrund von Mt 8, 11f / Lk 13, 28f,” BZ 16 (1972) 255-56; and Dieter Zeller, “Das Logion Mt 8, 11f / Lk 13, 28 f und das Motiv der ‘Völkerwallfart,’” BZ 15 (1971) 222-37 and 16 (1972): 84-93.

[xxxv] Carson, “Matthew,” 8.203.

[xxxvi] Following Robert H. Gundry, The Use of the Old Testament in St. Matthew’s Gospel: With Special Reference to the Messianic Hope, NovTSup, ed. W. C. van Unnik, vol. 18 (Leiden: Brill, 1967) 76.

[xxxvii] So Brevard S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979) 338.

[xxxviii] 1 Enoch 108:3 is an example: “. . . for the names of (the sinners) shall be blotted out from the Book of Life and the books of the Holy One; their seeds shall be destroyed forever and their spirits shall perish and die; they shall cry and lament in a place that is an invisible wilderness and burn in the fire -- for there exists ground there (as upon the earth).” Translated by E. Isaac, “1 (Ethiopic Apocalypse of) Enoch: A New Translation and Introduction,” in OTP, ed. James H. Charlesworth (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983) 1.88.

[xxxix] Gundry argues that Matthew inserts the patriarchs and omits the original “and all the prophets” (Matthew, 145). In citing Gundry, we do not in any way endorse his use of form-critical methodology in his Matthew Commentary or elsewhere.

[xl] So Schweizer, The Good News, 213, 215; and Wolfgang Trilling, Das Wahre Israel : Studien zur Theologie des Matthäusevangeliums, Erfurter Theologische Studien, ed. Erich Kleineidam and Heinz Schürmann, vol. 7 (Leipzig: St. Benno—Verlag, 1962).

[xli] R. T. France states correctly that the Messianic Banquet continues to be Israel ’s Banquet (Matthew: Evangelist and Teacher (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989) 233).

[xlii] Hagner, Matthew 1-13, 33a.205. Also see France , “Exegesis in Practice,” 261; and Zeller, “Das Logion Mt 8, 11f / Lk 13, 28.”