The Religious A priori
First Century Jewish
Expectations of Messiah
II. Messianic Exeptations: Divine Son of God.
Many sceptics, especially Jewish anti-missionaries assume that because they have not viewed the Messiah as "Son of God" since the first century, that they never did and that the early chruch made this up based upon pagan sources. On the other hand, they are not familiar with the expectations of Jews in Jesus' day.
A. Messiah Devine.
The Rabbinical and popular undestanding of Messiah in Jesus' day was that of a Divine being. This is not to say that they had anything like the notion of the Trinity, and in fact their notion of the Messiah's divinity was more or less similar to the Arian Chrisitians view, that of a barrowed or honorary betwal of sonship. Nevertheless, they did view the Messiah as basically divine. More importantly, the rabbinical works are after the time of Christ, and strangely enough magnify the notion of a divine Messiah, perhaps, Edersheim argues, as a reflection of notions popular among the masses at an earlier time. But he also quotes the syboline Oracles which were pre-Chrsitain or contemporary. Still, the evidene from Qumran pre-dates Christ.
In the Book of Enoch (130 BC) The Messiah is designated with such names "the son of God" (it speaks of I and My Son) and "the just" "the elect" "son of man." He is presented as seated by the side of the Ancient of Days, face like a man but as lovely as an Angles, he is the 'son of man' and he has and with him dwells all rightousness. (Edersheim,The Life and Times of Jesus The Messiah,173).
In The Sybilline Oracles (170BC) Messiah is "the King sent from Heaven" and "King Messiah." In the Psalms of Solomon (150 BC) "The King who reigns is of the house of David" He is actaully refered to in the Greek Kristos Kurios, Christ the Lord! (Ibid). (Edersheim, 174)
John Allegro states: "We appear then to have in Qumran thought already the idea of the lay Messiah as the 'son of God,' 'begotten of the father,' a savior in Israel. At the same time, however, we nowhere approach the Chrsitology of Paul...[no] doctrine of a Trinitarian Godhead..." (170) but that has already been acknolweged.
Eisenman and Wise document the Son of God Material at Qumran in many places. "a Key Phrase in the Text of course, the reference to calling the coming kingly Messianic figure 'whose rule will be an eternal rule' the 'Son of God,' or 'Son of the Most High...' " (68).(4Q246) "'Son of Man coming on the clouds of Heaven (Dan 7:13). This imagery is strong in the War Scroll where it is used to interprit the Star Prophecy...there can be no denying the realation of allusions of this kind to the Luckan prefiguration of Jesus 'he will be great and will be called son of the Most High ' (1:32-35). " (Ibid)
"That the concepts incorporated into words of this kind have gone directly into Chrsitian presentations of its Messiah and his activities is hardly to be doubted." (Ibid, 69).
The Book of Enoch and Syboline Oracles are heterodox works, as are the works of the sectaries at Qumran. But in the Scritpures it says:Proverbs 30:4 "Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the wind in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name and the name of his son?." To this Jewish apologists respond that Solomon is using a poetic metaphor and refering to himself as the son. But there is no indication in the text that this is the case.(Edersheim, 175)
Midrash on Psalm 21:3 'God would set his crown on his head' clothe him with his honor and majesty, "it is only consistant that the same Midrash should assing to the Messiah the divine designations: 'Jehovah is a Man of war,' and 'Jahova our righteousness.'" (Edersheim, 177). (Mid. Tellil.ed. Warh. 30).
Tragum on Is. 9:6 and Mich. 2. Yalkut on Is. 9 light of the Messiah created before the world.
Additional Documentation on Messiah As Divine Son of God in Intertestamental Times.
* Jewish Apocrypha [NWNTI:18]
* 2 Esdr 7.26-30:
"For indeed the time will come, when the signs that I have foretold to you will come to pass, that the city that now is not seen shall appear, and the land that now is hidden shall be disclosed. Everyone who has been delivered from the evils that I have foretold shall see my wonders. For my son the Messiah shall be revealed with those who are with him, and those who remain shall rejoice four hundred years. After those years my son the Messiah shall die, and all who draw human breath. Then the world shall be turned back to primeval silence for seven days, as it was at the first beginnings, so that no one shall be left."
* 2 Esdr 12.31-34:
"as for the lion whom you saw rousing up out of the forest and roaring and speaking up to the eagle and reproving him for his unrighteousness, and as for all his words that you have heard, this is the Messiah whom the Most High has kept until the end of days, who will arise from the offspring of David, and will come and speak with them. He will denounce them for their ungodliness and for their wickedness, and will display before them their contemptuous dealings. For first he will bring them alive before his judgment seat, and when he has reproved them, then he will destroy them. But in mercy he will set free the remnant of my people, those who have been saved..."
* 2 Esdr 13.3:
the vision--"As I kept looking the wind made something like the figure of a man come up out of the heart of the sea. And I saw that this man flew with the clouds of heaven" with the explanation in 13.25--"This is the interpretation of the vision: As for your seeing a man come up from the heart of the sea, this is he whom the Most High has been keeping for many ages, who will himself deliver his creation;" and in 13.32: "When these things take place and the signs occur that I showed you before, then my Son will be revealed, whom you saw as a man coming up from the sea."
* 2 Esdr 13.36-37:
"But he shall stand on the top of Mount Zion. And Zion shall come and be made manifest to all people, prepared and built, as you saw the mountain carved out without hands. Then he, my Son, will reprove the assembled nations for their ungodliness..."
*2 Esdr 13.52:
"He said to me, 'Just as no one can explore or know what is in the depths of the sea, so no one on earth can see my Son or those who are with him, except in the time of his day."
* 2 Esdr 14.9: "for you shall be taken up from among humankind, and henceforth you shall live with my Son and with those who are like you, until the times are ended."
* [Note: 2 Esdr 3-14, from which the above passages are taken, is also known in the literature as 4 Ezra, and strictly speaking, is part of the Pseudepigrapha (NWNTI:22). It dates 1st century AD.]
* From the introduction in CASA: "The messianic figure in chs 11-12 is described as of Davidic origin, pre-existent, Son of Man (in the Dan 7 tradition), the Elect One (as in 1 Enoch), and a Second Moses." (CASA: xxxi).
The author of 1 Maccabees is familiar with Dan 7, and also narrates some apocalyptic scenes, such as the resurrection. That the Davidic line is NOT mentioned in connection with these events seem odd, given that others writing in the period (1 Enoch, PssSol) make it clear that the connection was commonly held. It is to be remembered, as Goldstein points out in JTM:92-95, n.34, 93, that the author of 1 Maccabees was a pro-Hasmonean propagandist, who at least hints that the dynasty of David was not 'for ever' (2.57) but only until the time of the Maccabees! (Hence the complaint in PssSol that the Hasmoneans had usurped the rights of David--PssSol 17.4-6.)]
* I Enoch 46.1ff:
"At that place, I saw the One to whom belongs the time before time. And his head was white like wool, and there was with him another individual, whose face was like that of a human being. His countenance was full of grace like that of one among the holy angels...'Who is this?'...And he answered me and said, 'This is the Son of Man, to whom belongs righteousness, and with whom righteousness dwells.... this Son of Man whom you have seen is the One who would remove the kings and the mighty ones from their comfortable seats and the strong ones from their thrones..."
* I Enoch 48.2-10:
"At that hour, that Son of Man was given a name, in the presence of the Lord of the Spirits, the Before-Time; even before the creation of the sun and the moon, before the creation of the stars, he was given a name in the presence of the Lord of the Spirits. He will become a staff for the righteous ones in order that they may lean on him and not fall. He is the light of the gentiles and he will become the hope of those who are sick in their hearts. All those who dwell upon the earth shall fall and worship before him; they shall glorify, bless, and sing the name of the Lord of the Spirits. For this purpose he became the Chosen One; he was concealed in the presence of (the Lord of the Spirits) prior to the creation of the world, and for eternity. And he has revealed the wisdom of the Lord of the Spirits to the righteous and holy ones, for he has preserved the portion of the righteous because they have hated and despised this world of oppression (together with) all its ways of life and its habits and it is his good pleasure that they have life. ...For they (the wicked kings and landowners) have denied the Lord of the Spirits and his Messiah."
* I Enoch 51.3: the "Elect One will sit on [God's] throne"
* I Enoch 52.4: "And he said to me, 'All these things which you have seen happen by the authority of his Messiah so that he may give orders and be praised upon the earth'"
* I Enoch 62.5: "...and pain shall seize them when they see that Son of Man sitting on the throne of his glory"
* I Enoch 62.7: "For the Son of Man was concealed from the beginning, and the Most High One preserved him in the presence of his power; then he revealed him to the holy and elect ones."
* I Enoch 62.14: "The Lord of the Spirits will abide over them; they shall eat and rest and rise with that Son of Man forever and ever..."
* I Enoch 69.29: "Thenceforth nothing that is corruptible shall be found; for that Son of Man has appeared and has seated himself upon the throne of his glory; and all evil shall disappear from before his face; he shall go and tell to that Son of Man, and he shall be strong before the Lord of the Spirits."
*I Enoch 70.1: "And it happened after this that his living name was raised up before that Son of Man and to the Lord from among those who dwell upon the earth..."
*I Enoch 105.2: " Until I (the Lord of v.1) and my son are united with them forever in the upright paths in their lifetime..."
[Note: from the introduction to I Enoch in OTP: vol 1, 9: "The Messiah in 1 Enoch, called the Righteous One, and the Son of Man, is depicted as a pre-existent heavenly being who is resplendent and majestic, possesses all dominion, and sits on his throne of glory passing judgment upon all mortal and spiritual beings"--a human political leader, eh?!]
* [Note: The citations from Sibyl--book 3 above CAN be understood to refer to simple earthly kings like Cyrus OR can be seen as typological in scope. The refs in chapter 5, on the other hand, are purely of a heavenly savior figure--Collins, OTP: vol 1.392.]
*Psalms of Solomon 17.21-18.9: (Both chapters 17 and 18 of this document draw quite a detailed portrait of a coming Davidic messiah. Since the entire text is almost 60 verses long, I cannot reproduce it in its entirety. What I will do instead, is simply quote fragments of these two chapters and hope the reader will investigate further in OTP if desired:)
*"See, Lord (the misery of 17.1-20), and raise up for them their king, the son of David, to rule over your servant Israel..." (17.21)
*"And he will be a righteous king over them, taught by God. There will be no unrighteousness among them in his days, for all shall be holy, and their king shall be the Lord Messiah." (17.32)
*"And he will not weaken in his days, (relying) upon his God, for God made him powerful in the holy spirit and wise in the counsel of understanding, with strength and righteousness." (17.37)
*"This is the beauty of the king of Israel which God knew, to raise him over the house of Israel to discipline it" (17.42)
*"May God cleanse Israel for the day of mercy in blessing, for the appointed day when his Messiah will reign. Blessed are those born in those days, to see the good things of the Lord which he will do for the coming generation; (which will be) under the rod of discipline of the Lord Messiah..." (18.5-7)
* 2 Baruch (Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch) 29.3f: "And it will happen that when all that which should come to pass in these parts has been accomplished, the Anointed One will begin to be revealed."
* 2 Baruch (Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch) 30.1: "And it will happen after these things when the time of the appearance of the Anointed One has been fulfilled and he returns with glory, that then all who sleep in hope of him will rise." [Klijn, in OTP in loc., understands this as referring to the pre-existence of the Anointed One.]
*2 Baruch(Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch) 39:7: "And it will happen when the time of its fulfillment is approaching in which it will fall, that at that time the dominion of my Anointed One which is like the fountain and the vine, will be revealed..."
* 2 Baruch (Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch) 40.1f: "And they will carry him (the last wicked king) on Mount Zion, and my Anointed One will convict him of all his wicked deeds and will assemble and set before him all the works of his hosts. And after these things he will kill him and protect the rest of my people who will be found in the place that I have chosen. And his dominion will last forever until the world of corruption has ended and until the times which have been mentioned before have been fulfilled."
* 2 Baruch (Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch) 72.2: "After the signs have come of which I have spoken to you before, when the nations are moved and the time of my Anointed One comes, he will call all nations, and some of them he will spare, and others he will kill..."
* [Note: Charlesworth, in OTP, in loc., notes that the tradition of TWO messiahs--one king, one priest--show up in many places in the Testaments and in Qumran.]
* Testament of Judah 24: "And after this there shall arise for you a Star from Jacob in peace: And a man shall arise from my posterity like the Sun of Righteousness, walking with the sons of men in gentleness and righteousness, and in him will be found no sin. And the heavens will be opened upon him to pour out the spirit as a blessing of the Holy Father. And he will pour the spirit of grace on you. And you shall be sons in truth, and you will walk in his first and final decrees. This is the Shoot of God Most High; this is fountain for the life of all humanity. Then he will illumine the scepter of my kingdom, and from your root shall arise the Shoot, and through it will arise the rod of righteousness for the nations, to judge and to save all that call on the Lord."(!)
* [Note: Charlesworth, OTP, in loc., calls this a 'mosaic of eschatological expectations' involving Num 24.17, Mal 4.2, Ps 45.4 (LXX), Is 53.9, Is 11.2, Is 61.11, Joel 3.1, and all the 'branch' passages--Is 11.1; Jer 23.5; 33.15; Zech 3.8; 6.12!]
* Testament of Benjamin 9:2: "The twelve tribes shall be gathered there and all the nations, until such time as the Most High shall send forth his salvation through the ministration of the unique prophet." (In addition to eschat-priests and eschat-kings, we have an eschat-prophet! Charlesworth notes in loc. that this prophet figures prominently in Qumran and shows up in PssJosh 5-8.)
*Dead Sea Scrolls
* 4QAramaic Apocalypse (4Q246), col. II: "He will be called the Son of God, and they will call him the son of the Most High...His kingdom will be an eternal kingdom...The earth will be in truth and all will make peace. The sword will cease in the earth, and all the cities will pay him homage. He is a great god among the gods... His kingdom will be an eternal kingdom..."
* CD (Damascus Document), col XII, 23: "Those who walk in them, in the time of wickedness until there arises the messiah of Aaron" and col XX, 1: "of the unique Teacher until there arises the messiah of Aaron and Israel".
* CD (Damascus Document), col XIV, 19: "until there arises the messiah of Aaron and Israel. He shall atone for their sins..."
* 1QS (The Rule of the Community), col 9, vs 9b-11: "They should not depart from any counsel of the law in order to walk in complete stubbornness of their heart, but instead shall be ruled by the first directives which the men of the Community began to be taught until the prophet comes, and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel"
* 4QFlor (Florilegium, 4Q174) frags 1-3, col I, v10ff: And [2 Sam 7.12-14 cited] 'YHWH declares to you that he will build you a house. I will raise up your seed after you and establish the throne of this kingdom for ever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me'... This refers to the branch of David who will arise with the Interpreter of the law who will rise up in Zion in the last days, as it is written [Amos 9.11 cited here] 'I will raise up the hut of David which has fallen'...This refers to the 'hut of David which has fallen' who will arise to save Israel..."
* 4Q252 frag 1, col5): [on Gen 49.10]: "A sovereign shall not be removed from the tribe of Judah. While Israel has the dominion, there will not lack someone who sits on the throne of David. For the staff is the covenant of royalty, the thousands of Israel are the feet. Until the messiah of justice comes, the branch of David. For to him and to his descendants has been given the covenant of royalty over his people for all everlasting generations..."
* VanderKam, in DSST:117:"At the end of history, for which the covenanters were preparing by obeying God's revealed and hidden demands, the almighty Lord will intervene. He will then send the great leaders of the future--a prophet and the Davidic and priestly messiahs--who, along with the hosts of the sons of light, will take part in the ultimate divine victory over evil...The Qumran belief about two messiahs has received much attention, and the evidence for this article of expectation has increased in recent years"
* Collins, in SS:77: "There is, then, impressive evidence that the Dead Sea sect expected two messiahs, one royal and one priestly."
The Religious A priori