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In the Jewish wedding system, what is the traditional role of “the friends of the bridegroom”?

The marriage ceremony and the marriage feast are two separate elements of a Jewish wedding. Only a few guests are invited to attend the marriage ceremony, and these are generally the relatives and close friends of the bride and groom. Then there is a wider invitation for many others to attend the wedding feast, which will last for seven days. This is where “the friends of the bridegroom” come in. These friends include a wider circle of people—sometimes more distant relatives and sometimes a wider circle of friends and also those involved in several facets of the wedding feast.  All these may be classed as “the friends of the bridegroom.”

By way of application to eschatology, these would include the resurrected Old Testament saints (Is. 26:19; Dan. 12:2), and the resurrected tribulation saints (Rev. 20:4–6) who will participate in the wedding feast of the Lamb. John the Baptist considered himself as the friend of the bridegroom. A third group will be Israel. Those who survive the Tribulation will enter into the Messianic Kingdom, and also will be invited guests of the wedding feast with which the Kingdom begins (Isaiah 25:6).

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