Who is Daniel’s son of man?

Who is the “one like a son of man” who comes with the clouds of heaven to be presented before the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:13? Collins calls it “perhaps the most celebrated question in all the apocalyptic literature”.

As far as modern scholarship goes, three interpretations are generally considered: 1) a symbolic figure standing for righteous Jews or for Israel; 2) an angel, probably Michael; and 3) an individual human such as the messiah, or even, if we keep the historical context in view, Judas Maccabeus. It has sometimes been claimed that the “one like a son of man” is a hypostatized manifestation of God like Wisdom in Proverbs 8 or equivalent to the “likeness with a human appearance” in Ezekiel 1:26. But the narrative does not easily allow an identification of the inferior son of man figure, who receives dominion, with the Ancient of Days, who judges empires.

Hurtado’s critique of Wright’s account of Paul’s christology

Larry Hurtado has uploaded a pre-publication version of his contribution to a response to N.T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God. As the fashion goes these days (How Jesus Became God / How God Became Jesus) the new book is cleverly called God and the Faithfulness of Paul: A Critical Examination of the Pauline Theology of N. T. Wright, and is edited by Christoph Heilig, J. Thomas Hewitt and Michael F. Bird. You can get it on Amazon for £134 ($194), which is twice the price and half the number of words of Wright’s original book, so if any other contributors feel inclined to make pre-publication copies available, it would be much appreciated.

Hurtado’s chapter is entitled “YHWH’s Return to Zion: A New Catalyst for Earliest High Christology?” He summarises Wright’s argument about the development of Paul’s christology and puts forward two main lines of criticism. I haven’t looked closely at what Wright says, but on the evidence of the summary, I’d say Hurtado has a strong case. Where it leaves us in terms of an Early High Christology, is another matter. I’ll throw in some thoughts at the end.

Double Post-Tribulational Pre-Amillennialism

A question about the relation of my narrative-historical reading of New Testament eschatology to postmillennialism led me to the Wikipedia article (along with other fine resources), which has a simple diagram illustrating the four main species of millennialism. I’ve reproduced the diagram here with some small modifications and added a fifth (admittedly tongue-in-cheek) definition of my own. The white triangle gives a rough idea of where we are today in the timeline. The diagrams are not to scale and should not be used as a basis for investment decisions or the purchase of life insurance.

16 reasons to think that the “age to come” is now and in history

My reply to a question from Ian Paul (see his excellent Psephizo blog) got out of hand, so I’ve posted it separately here. Ian thinks that my argument about the “age to come” being now and in history smacks of a discredited postmillennialism and wants to know what support the New Testament offers for the view:

I agree with your first four diagrams. But are you seriously arguing that ‘the age to come’ is now, and in history? This is in effect post millennialism…and there were good reasons why that was abandoned! What support from the NT can you offer for this?

N.T. Wright and Paul’s eschatology (with coloured beads)

In Paul and the Faithfulness of God N.T. Wright locates Paul’s eschatology firmly in a Jewish hope, rooted in scripture, “not just for an individual future after death, but for a restoration and renewal of the whole nation, and perhaps even for the entire created order” (1043). It gives me the opportunity to illustrate some basic distinctions using coloured beads, which can be slid along a thin rod.

Is suffering part of God’s plan for us?

A couple of recent tweets from The Gospel Coalition raise the question of the place of suffering both in the New Testament narrative and in Christian experience. The first is an unattributed quotation, though I’m betting it’s John Piper: “Suffering is actually part of God’s plan (and so necessary) in order to bring about these shining riches of praise and glory and honor.” I presume it was from the recent TGC Women’s Conference, which was called “Resurrection life in a world of suffering”.

Some observations about divine Sonship in Hebrews 1

What is primarily said about Jesus in Hebrews 1 is that he is the Son whom God has “appointed the heir of all things”. After making purification for Israel’s sins—not the sins of the world—he “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high”, which of course invokes Psalm 110:1-2 and the assurance that YHWH’s king will rule in the midst of his enemies. He has inherited a “name” superior to that of the angels—presumably the name “Lord” (cf. Phil. 2:9-11). He is the Son “begotten” today, in the language of Psalm 2:7, which means that he has inherited the nations. It has nothing to do with being “eternally begotten” of the Father, which is a totally different ball game. Jesus is the king to whom YHWH says, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son” (cf. 2 Sam. 7:14), whose throne will last throughout the ages (Heb. 1:8-9). This is the dominant story about Jesus in the New Testament.

Is the “eternal generation of the Son” a biblical idea? Part 1

As much out of morbid curiosity as anything, I have been following the intra-Reformed debate over the eternal subordination of the Son rather closely. Posts, counter-posts and counter-counter-posts from some hard-hitting theologians have been proliferating at a great rate. For no very good reason—this is not a topic I would normally have much time for—I have been keeping a list of contributions here. The tally is currently 23, but it certainly is not exhaustive and may well go up. I get the impression that the non-subordinationists are coming out on top, but that may be because I am relying too heavily on Scot McKnight’s updates.

Trinity, subordination and narrative in Hebrews 1:1-2

Following on from yesterday’s piece on “The subordination of the Son, and why it has nothing to do with gender”….

In response to accusations that his subordinationist Trinitarianism is a departure from orthodoxy Bruce Ware, who is Professor of Christian Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, has published a defence, firmly repudiating the charges. Fair enough. My interest is not in the theological dispute per se but in how it mangles scripture.

The subordination of the Son, and why it has nothing to do with gender

There has been a furious flurry of posts (see below) from various directions this week laying into the argument of some neo-Calvinists (Wayne Grudem prominent among them) that the eternal subordination of the woman to the man is directly underpinned by the eternal subordination of the Son to the Father. I don’t want to get into the Trinitarian debate here, though I might mention a piece I wrote a couple of years back on subordination, Trinity and gender, if anyone’s interested. But I would venture to suggest that the theological subordinationists are on firmer biblical ground than the theological egalitarians. Up to a point.


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