46 Comments

  1. YITLOG

    Number 2 biblioblogger??? Not so! Not so at all…
    You are the best of the best…The creme de la creme 😉 Numero uno… I must print this and read the scriptures tonight at work (on break of course)…

    Reply

  2. Interesting perspective, Polycarp. I think at present I land somewhere between “hard” and “soft” prophecy, meaning I think there are prophecies that are such in the foretelling sense and also in the fulfilling sense that you nicely articulated here. And I would say that Jesus’ being the Passover Lamb would rank as the pinnacle of them all.

    Per the conversation you refer to, I’m afraid it got off on the wrong foot, so I’m not sure if or when I’ll post there again. I’m really not interested in a dissection of the OT on this topic, as my interests lie primarily with the NT, but since I was invited I thought I should show up. :-)

    Reply

  3. Joel,
    Very nice, you have hit the “key” simply…He, Christ is the fulfillment and completion of the Hebrew Prophets and Prophecy!
    “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Rev. 22:12-13, ESV)
    Fr. R.

    Reply

  4. Joel,
    Yes, this is the whole point and reality to the “time” when Jesus did come into the world. And I am not sure myself, that J the B did not feel that Jesus was not the Lamb of God, etc. But his faith did perhaps waver some, as he was put to the test, etc. I am not that liberal minded myself Mr. Reid.
    Fr. R.

    Reply

  5. Wow. Fr. Robert,
    Is it really “liberal” to think that John the Baptist didn’t fully grasp who Jesus was? He was certainly led by the spirit to proclaim something about him. Something that seemed to imply he was the Messiah. But is it liberal to think John’s categorical understanding of what it meant to be “messiah” didn’t incorporate dying as a sacrifice for the sins of the world? Perhaps he thought Jesus would throw back Roman oppression and set up the kingdom…you know like Peter and the “Sons of Thunder” did?

    Reply

  6. Rob, I did not go that far, but I might have to agree with Paula here also. There seems to be a very real insight in John the Baptist. Somehow related to Jesus?
    Fr. R.

    Reply

  7. Indeed, it is always best to work our way backward with the Text. Looking for the textual evidence first. Historical theological ideas can and does change sometimes. I can remember when scholars thought that Matthew had a written Hebrew text behind the Greek one. And then came the priority of Mark first. The q stuff, etc. But what does it matter to the Christological reality? Now has come the Second Temple ideas. Perhaps? But again, does it really change the Christology? I think not, and thank God!
    Fr. R.

    Reply

  8. Number only in numbers…I am about ready to declare myself king of all bibliobloggers.

    Reply

  9. I can understand that, Paul, about the conversation – yet, I hope that at least on your blog, you make a few points. I am a bit conservative, biblically, and always interested in hearing more from others, liberal and conservative.

    Reply

  10. Paula,
    When you say “I would say that Jesus’ being the Passover Lamb would rank as the pinnacle of them all.” What do you mean? What passage are you looking at? At best, Jesus was typologically the passover lamb. Where is there a “prophecy” about a Passover Lamb? Are you suggesting that Second Temple Jews in the time of Jesus were aware of the expectation that a messiah would come and die for the sins of the world? Or were they awaiting the coming of a “passover lamb” par exellence?

    You will note, I continue to lodge the discussion in the realm of “when” the expectation arose. This is no small matter either. Once that comes into play, the issue of “direct prophetic” fulfillment has to be reoriented to the actual historical revelation as it unfolds. This is allowing a God who inspires texts and reveals things progressively to actually do that….reveal it progressively.

    Reply

  11. Polycarp,
    Nice job. Of course, I disagree with some things, but I really appreciate you putting your thoughts out there. Wish I had more time to comment. Will respond to you on my blog in a moment.

    Reply

  12. Thank you, Fr. Robert. I was not sure how well everything would go over.

    Reply

  13. Rob,

    What do you think John the Baptist meant when he said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”? (John 1:29) And why would he expect those within his hearing to have any clue what he was talking about?

    Reply

  14. Rob, I’ll venture my own answer concerning the expectation. It was organic, and not fully realized until the Maccabean Era. This is not to remove the Original Plan, but I do not believe that Adam looked for one, David, Isaiah, etc… It was not until the ‘modern world’ of the Romans that the Jews began to look for a Figure who would liberate them.

    Reply

  15. Disagree…with me? Rob, but I’m never wrong.

    I look forward to your response.

    Reply

  16. Paula,

    Good question. Frankly, there are nine common views on the matter, some which prefigure atonement and some which do not. However, I would argue that likely what is evoked is a militaristic concept–conquering images of the messiah. One would do well to pay intimate attention to Second Temple Jewish apocalyptic literature, which more often than not assists greatly in decoding images that we only see in the context of our own preconceived theological grid. I commend to your attention a very well written article outlining these views are arguing for the one I presently hold:

    Christopher W. Skinner, “Another Look at ‘the Lamb of God'” Bibliotheca Sacra 161 (Jan-Mar 2004): 89-104.

    Skinner grants that the “Lamb of God” may implicitly suggest the Jesus as ultimate Passover Lamb, but I think you would be hard pressed to assume that John, who later sent his disciples to query as to whether Jesus was the one to come or another, actually had any idea there would be an ultimate Passover Lamb. Isn’t that something that can only be seen subsequent to God’s revelation of Christ, his death, and his resurrection? That is a post-Easter reflection, certainly not one John or his immediate hearers had any access to.

    Reply

  17. Well then, we are in agreement. :) I believe messianisms (key point—plural!) emerged in the Second Temple period in light of the failure of Israel to achieve independence (i.e. the theological notion of “end of exile”). The point, NT Wright makes well is that in some sense the exile never ended. Israel was perpetually subjugated and the Davidic dynasty was never reactualized, which in my view spured the apocalyptic imagination during the period, setting the stage as it were for Jesus to emerge.

    Reply

  18. John’s later question about Jesus came while he was in prison, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he, like anyone else, might get discouraged or lose hope. So I don’t see this as having any bearing on his earlier statement, which in its context seems pretty straightforward. And can we completely dismiss his being called of God to “prepare the way” for Jesus? Can John not utter statements from God? 1 Peter 1:10-11 tells us that the prophets of old were given messages about this and only did not know the timing of their fulfillment. So also John could very well have known what was yet to come, by revelation.

    Reply

  19. Rob, I would agree with the idea of multiple ‘messianisms’ which is why I included Wisdom. We find a strong (pre-)idea of the Messianic figure in the first few chapters of Wisdom (which I believe can easily be used to explain Luke’s use of δίκαιος in Luke 23.47) which is why I noted that connection between the passages in Matthew and Wisdom.

    We note that Israel had a progressive revelation of God, God’s expectation, and his Justice which for them came to include a Messianic idea/figure/age

    Reply

  20. I would like to point out first the Testament of Joseph:

    Do you therefore, my children, observe the commandments of the Lord, and honor Levi and Judah; for from them will arise to you [the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world] one who saves [all the nations and] Israel. (19:11 OPE)

    It is also found in Benjamin, and considering the late development of this work, as I note, it had to come directly from John’s community. We know that his disciples did continue to exist, and while some found their way to Christianity, many did not (I note the Mandeans.) While we may assume that John the Baptizer was an Essene of some sort, he used it, and finding it no where else except the later messianic documents, I would say that he saw the Messiah as a sacrificial figure – although I am not sure in the same way which was shown and understood by Paul.

    However, their is the Aramaic considerations as well. As a DSS scholar has noted, Lamb of God could be a local colloquialism for Son/Child of God.

    Reply

  21. I think that consideration should be given the 1st century context of the Jewish thought of ‘world.’ We know that Luke used the Greek terms for people (3, I believe and each distinct) with the term applied to solely to the Jews begin to mix with the Gentiles slowly, and finally found in Revelation as a plural for both Jews and Gentiles.

    Reply

  22. And in case anyone thinks otherwise, I affirm the sufficient inspiration of the Scriptures and the Deity of Christ.

    Reply

Leave a Reply, Please!