p.ost

Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth…

Twelve important things to keep in mind about the Christmas stories

1. Let’s be blunt. Christmas has nothing to do with God coming to earth as a helpless babe to save humanity from sin, etc. That is another matter, it’s not what’s being said, it’s not the burden of the stories in Matthew and Luke. These narrate the birth of a king who will deliver first century Israel from a national crisis. When the angel says to Joseph that Mary’s son will “save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21), he means that Jesus will save Israel from the concrete social-political-religious transgressions that have brought the nation to the brink of catastrophe.

2. The key question to ask about the virgin conception of Jesus is not “Did it happen?” but “What did it mean?” Neither Matthew nor Luke understood it as the metaphysical process by which God became man. Rather it makes Jesus’ birth an outstanding prophetic “sign” of things to come.

3. A sign of what? It’s in the name “Immanuel”. During the Syro-Ephraimite war in the 8th century BC, Isaiah told a nervous king Ahaz that a boy would be born to a young woman in the royal court who would be given the name Immanuel, which means “God with us”. The mere existence of this significantly named child would be a “sign” to Ahaz that the alliance between Rezin and Pekah would fail and that YHWH would preserve Jerusalem from the Assyrians (Is. 7:10-17; 8:5-10). The birth of the boy, therefore, was a sign that God is with his people at a time of great political crisis. Same for the boy Jesus, who is not given the name Immanuel but a name meaning “YHWH is salvation” (Matt. 1:21).

4. Luke puts a different prophetic spin on the miraculous conception of Jesus. The child being born will be called not Immanuel or even Jesus but “holy, Son of God”. By this he means not that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity or God incarnate, true though that may in some sense be, but that he is the Davidic king who will bring peace to a people under Roman occupation and will rule over the house of Jacob for ever (Lk. 1:32-33, 35; 2:1, 11, 14).

Given the poor reputation of the church and of the God of the church in the West today, I feel that we are in need of another such act of wonder-engendering redemption.

5. I wonder if Luke is not also pointing his readers to Isaiah’s description of a restored Jerusalem when he says that the Spirit will come upon and overshadow (episkiasei) Mary, and that the child will be called “holy”: on that day, what is left behind in Jerusalem “will be called holy, all who have been recorded for life”, because the Lord will wash away the filth of his people; then he will come, and as a cloud will “overshadow” (skiasei) the city (Is. 4:2-6 LXX).

6. Mary expects God to keep his promise to Abraham and help Israel at this time of grave crisis by scattering the proud, bringing down the powerful from their thrones, raising up the wretched and low-born, filling the hungry with good things, and sending the rich away empty-handed (Lk. 1:51-55). Simeon says that “this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed…” (Lk. 2:34). This was inflammatory, revolutionary talk.

7. People like Zechariah and Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna, need salvation not on account of their own sins but because of the sins of the nation. These are righteous folk, but they are suffering the consequences of the wilful disobedience of a people that is on a broad road leading to destruction.

8. For the priest Zechariah the redemption of Israel simply means that he can go about the business of serving God in the temple without fearing for his life (Lk. 1:68-75). But he knows that redemption will begin with a devastating judgment against a corrupt priesthood (Lk. 1:76; cf. Mal. 3:1). The prophetess Anna expects no less and no more than the “redemption of Jerusalem” (Lk. 2:38).

9. Whereas the story of the coming of the magi is told against Herod, the angelic announcement to the shepherds has a ring of anti-imperial propaganda to it (Lk. 2:8-14). The Priene calendar inscription, celebrating the birth of the god Augustus, is now quite well known:

Whereas Providence, which has regulated our whole existence… has brought our life to the climax of perfection in giving to us Augustus, whom it filled with strength for the welfare of men, and who being sent to us and our descendants as Saviour, has put an end to war and has set all things in order; and having become [god] manifest, Caesar has fulfilled all the hopes of earlier times… in surpassing all the benefactors who preceded him…, and whereas, finally, the birthday of the god [Augustus] has been for the whole world the beginning of good news (euangeliōn) concerning him….

10. The infant Jesus is hailed as the Davidic king who will at the very least overthrow an unrighteous régime, deliver his people from oppression, bring peace and justice to Israel, and restore the international reputation of the nation—so that kings and magi and peoples would come to pay tribute. This was the good news.

11. Joseph and Mary presumably stay with family in Bethlehem. The guest room (katalumati) being already occupied or too small, Jesus is born in the animal stalls beneath the main living area and is laid in the feeding trough. This will be a sign to the shepherds (Lk. 2:12). Why? Perhaps because Isaiah says that “the donkey knows its master’s manger”, but Israel has not known the Lord (Is. 1:3 LXX); or because Jeremiah says that when Jerusalem is restored, there “shall again be in this place that is waste and in all its cities, lodgings (katalumata) of shepherds resting sheep” (Jer. 40:12 LXX). Again, a revolutionary message.

12. Simeon says that he has seen the salvation that YHWH has prepared “in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel” (Lk. 2:31–32). What he means is that the coming judgment and restoration of Israel will reveal the power and character of Israel’s God to the nations and that this will bring glory and renown to Israel. This is clear not least from the allusion to Isaiah 52:10: “The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” When God redeems his people from captivity in Babylon and brings them back to the land, the nations will see and wonder at this extraordinary act of salvation.

Given the poor reputation of the church and of the God of the church in the West today, I feel that we are in need of another such act of wonder-engendering redemption.

Comments

Andrew, the Lukan nativity songs seem to express what might have been if Israel and its leadership had accepted rather than killed their Messiah. As such there is nothing about a child born to die for Israel’s sins.

So do you think that when Jesus first started announcing the kingdom of God in Galilee he had any intention to die/die for sin? If not, when and why did Jesus’ plans change? Or was it the post-resurrection disciples who reimagined the Messiah’s mission?

Deep questions!

The angel says to Mary that YHWH will give to Jesus the throne of his father David and that he will “reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk. 1:32-33). Presumably that carries the implication that Jesus’ flesh would not see corruption (in contrast to David), and that he would therefore reign in the immortality of resurrection life at the right hand of God in heaven (Acts 2:22-36). Apart from that, I think, the stories are quite narrowly focused on the birth of a king for restored Israel.

In the Synoptic narratives Jesus begins to teach that the Son of Man would suffer many things and be killed when they were in the region of Caesarea Philippi. Since his identification with Daniel’s “one like a son of man” is so integral to his self-understanding, I don’t myself see good reason not to view this as historical.

Did that mean his plans changed? I don’t know. Is it significant that even the owner of the vineyard thought that perhaps the wicked tenants would respect his son and not treat him as they had done the servants?

Point #1 is incorrect. Matthew’s account describes the Lord Jesus as being “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Matthew would immediately reveal to us that this is to be understood in its fullest extent in that the Lord Jesus was worshiped (Matthew 2:11; cf. v. 2) - and this worship is to be to “the Lord your God” (Matthew 4:10).

Furthermore, as “God with us” (YHWH - Psalm 37:7), people can come to Him and find rest for their souls (Matthew 11:28-29). As being the omnipresent “God with us” He is always with the believer (Matthew 18:20; 28:20).

I do find it interesting that there are phrases used by Luke in reference to the Father which are found in the first two chapters of his gospel are later applied unto the Lord Jesus.

a. In the sight of the Lord (Luke 1:15; cf. 2 Corinthians 8:21).

b. Magnify the Lord (Luke 1:46; cf. Acts 19:17).

c. The glory of the Lord (Luke 2:9; cf. 2 Corinthians 8:19).

Thanks for this, Marc.

Isaiah describes the boy born in the court of Ahaz as being “God with us”. Indeed, unlike Jesus, this boy is actually given the name Immanuel. But he was not God incarnate. His birth would be a sign. So too Jesus’ birth.

There’s no point getting into an argument about the use of proskyneō again. The magi didn’t think they were looking for God born in Judea, they were looking for a special king to whom they would do obeisance, as was the custom (cf. 2 Sam. 24:20 LXX). Herod didn’t conclude that this child must be God incarnate when he heard that they wanted to worship him. He was told only that a rival king had been born, and only on that understanding did he offer to go himself to “worship” him (Matt. 2:8). In Matthew 4:10 Jesus identifies himself with obedient Israel when he tells Satan that he is under obligation to worship God alone. In effect, Jesus says to Satan, “I worship the God of Israel, not Satan.”

Your “interesting” observation about phrases later used with reference to Jesus falls flat on its face (pun intended). These expressions are commonly used in biblical Greek with reference to people.

“He will be great before (enōpion) the Lord…” cf. ‘And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before (enōpion) men”’ (Lk. 16:15). And notice that even in the verse you cite “in the sight of” is used with reference both to the Lord Jesus and to “men” (2 Cor. 8:21).

“My soul magnifies the Lord…” cf. “And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great (megalynō, and you shall be one blessed” (Gen. 12:2 LXX).

“The glory of the Lord…” cf. Simeon’s statement about a salvation prepared that will bring “glory to your people Israel” (Lk. 2:31-32); and obviously the risen Lord Jesus was glorified.

Only Christ being God could He be with every believer at all times (Matthew 28:20). This holds true also for prayer (Matthew 18:20). Although others can be referred to as “Immanuel,” Christ is truely with us as God.

Steven Tsoukalas: This declaration of Christ in Matthew 28:20 is in the style of deity, for only Yahweh can declare His presence with His people (Knowing Christ in the Challenge of Heresy, page 58).

It is ineteresting how close Matthew puts the worship of Christ (Matthew 2:11) with the command to worship God alone (Matthew 4:10). As used in the NT proskyneō is the worship for God alone - not for the devil (Revelation 13:4), not for false gods (Acts 7:43; Revelation 9:20), not for apostles (Acts 10:25) and not for angels (Revelation 22:8). This worship is “for God” (Revelation 22:9). In fact, the absolute holiness of God (who alone is holy) forms the foundation of this worship ascribed unto Him (Revelation 15:4). To assert that others can properly receive this worship is to denigrate God’s holiness.

Don’t forget also that according to Matthew 28:18 Christ is omnipotent (= God).

In terms of my observations concenrng the phrases of Luke falling flat on their face, none of your examples refutes what I have asserted. Those in Luke 16:5 are not referred to as “Lord” - the same hold true for Genesis 12:2 and Luke 2:31-32.

Here they are again:

a. In the sight of the Lord (Luke 1:15; cf. 2 Corinthians 8:21).

b. Magnify the Lord (Luke 1:46; cf. Acts 19:17).

c. The glory of the Lord (Luke 2:9; cf. 2 Corinthians 8:19).

Don’t forget also that according to Matthew 28:18 Christ is omnipotent (= God).

This is not what the verse says. Jesus declares that “all authority” has been given to him. He didn’t have it before, and he has it now only because God has given it to him. I take this as an allusion to Daniel 7:13-14: he is the Son of Man who suffered and has been vindicated before the throne of God. He will reign as Lord and king at the right hand of God because God has given him the authority to do so. He will exercise YHWH’s rule over the nations on YHWH’s behalf, because YHWH has delegated that authority to him. I take your point about the Lucan phrases, but it is on the basis of this delegation that the attributes of lordship have been carried over to Jesus.

TDNT: Elsewhere, however, it is said of the Redeemer during His earthly life that He has laid aside His power and appeared in lowliness and humility, Mt. 11:29; 12:18-21; 2 C. 8:9; Phil. 2:5-8…cf. the temptation of Jesus, Mt. 4:8 f. par. Lk. 4:5 f. Thus, when the full power of Jesus is occasionally mentioned during the time of His humiliation, it is merely a proleptic fact. A new situation is brought into being with the crucifixion and resurrection. The Chosen One seizes the full power which He had from the beginning of the world, Mt. 28:18 “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (5:895, All, B. Reicke).

To claim that since the Lord Jesus was “given” this authority/power it proves that He is not God actually destroys monotheism. Since the Lord Jesus has universal power (which means He is Omnipotent/Almighty), that would mean that God the Father created another Omnipotent being. There are not two Beings who are “Almighty.” The Bible teaches there is only one Almighty God. Those who believe the Lord Jesus is God can account for the fact that He was “given” all power in that before His resurrection He simply refused to always employ His omnipotence, but those who deny the Lord Jesus is God are unable to satisfactorily explain that the Lord Jesus possesses (right now) all power - He is omnipotent/Almighty.

To claim that since the Lord Jesus was “given” this authority/power it proves that He is not God actually destroys monotheism. Since the Lord Jesus has universal power (which means He is OmnipotentAlmighty), that would mean that God the Father created another Omnipotent being.

Not at all. The delegation of YHWH’s authority to rule over the nations is entirely in keeping with Old Testament thought about kingship. That’s why Psalm 110 proved so important both for Jesus and for the early church:

The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies! (Ps. 110:1–2)

God did not create another omnipotent being. He gave the authority to rule (for the sake of his body, the church: Eph. 1:22-23) to the “son” whom he raised from the dead and seated at his right hand. That hardly destroys monotheism.

I can understand why later theologians felt the need to roll this apocalyptic narrative into the smooth ball of a Trinitarian definition of the godhead, but exegesis has to run that process backwards.

The rule of Jesus is not limited to simply all nations. It is that and so much more - the entire universe.

Murray Harris: When believers sing or recite the confession ‘Jesus is Lord’, we are affirming his absolute supremacy, not only over the physical and moral universe (Matt. 28:18; 1 Pet. 3:22), and not only over human history (Rom. 9:5), not only over all human beings (Acts 10:36; Rom. 10:12), whether living or dead (Rom. 14:9), not only over the church (Eph. 1:22), but also over our own lives as his willing slaves (Slave of Christ: A New Testament Metaphor for Total Devotion to Christ, page 90).

This demonstrates He is Omnipotent/Almighty. Not surprisingly Christ is worshiped in praise of His “power” (Revelation 5:12), because just like the Father (cf. Revelation 4:11) it is an attribute they each possess. If Christ was not the Almighty then He would not be praised for possessing this attribute.

TDNT: In 5:12f. the angelic choirs extol the omnipotence of the Lamb in a seven-membered doxology (8:178, timē, J. Schneider).

“To claim that since the Lord Jesus was “given” this authority/power it proves that He is not God actually destroys monotheism. Since the Lord Jesus has universal power (which means He is Omnipotent/Almighty), that would mean that God the Father created another Omnipotent being.”

u never have jesus say in the entire new testament that he has access to the same authoritative and commanding powers like the father, thats why the son never gives anything to the father, neither can he take away knowledge from him. you make up the words “universal power”

how can u have two persons who are different yet have the same powers and not be two gods ?

You asserted: u never have jesus say in the entire new testament that he has access to the same authoritative and commanding powers like the father

The Lord Jesus did in Matthew 28:18. “Universal” means applicable everywhere. On this passage the BDAG (3rd Edition) reads: Of Jesus’ total authority (exousia, page 353, the underlined is mine).

In answer to your question: Because God is Triune.

“The Lord Jesus did in Matthew 28:18. “Universal” means applicable everywhere. On this passage the BDAG (3rd Edition) reads: Of Jesus’ total authority (exousia, page 353, the underlined is mine).”

“all authority” means that the son has the same/IDENTICAL commading authority as the father, meaning that the son has FULL access to the commanding powers that the father has?

let me tell you that if x has full access to a COMMANDING power, he does not need another to receive it, since the power is already in reach.

what does authority mean?

having authority over something does not mean having the power which gives you the power to command for something to be, to exist.

you are dangerously falling into polytheism and imagining things which the nt writers did not even image.

There is nothing in the Bible that teaches Jesus can not be God simply because He refused to employ the use of some of His power.

You assertion concerning authority conveniently left out the import word “all” - there is no limitation anywhere of the authority of Christ - “heaven and earth”.

“You assertion concerning authority conveniently left out the import word “all” - there is no limitation anywhere of the authority of Christ - “heaven and earth”.”

the bible clearly teaches that the “primary” commanding power and authority belonging to the father is greater than the composite (fully son and fully god) which you worship.

“the father is greater than i”

“i by my ownself cannot do anything”

the father is NEVER said to NEED the son to do anything, he seems to be the “daddy” or “driver” behind everything.

this is why i said that the “commanding authority” which seem to be an INTERNAL power which brings into existence, which informs and COMMANDS jesus (i am COMMANDED what to say…) is the daddy here.

You asserted: the bible clearly teaches that the “primary” commanding power and authority belonging to the father is greater than the composite (fully son and fully god) which you worship.

Functional subjection does not necessitate ontological inferiority. It would be helpful if you cited the book, chapter and passage. You mentioned “worship” in your post. There is not one example from the Bible when we compare the worship properly rendered unto the Father and the worship properly rendered unto the Lord Jesus that the worship the Lord Jesus receives is subordinate to the Father.

A created being would never come close to the Father in this area. This demonstrates that the Lord Jesus is God.

“You asserted: the bible clearly teaches that the “primary” commanding power and authority belonging to the father is greater than the composite (fully son and fully god) which you worship.

Functional subjection does not necessitate ontological inferiority. “

how is an absolute, unchanging being which have inherent qualities get “functionally subjected” ?

how does he get “functionally subjected” to his own commands lol ? where is “functionally subjected ” in the nt ?

where do you find in the nt that the father and the son share the same commanding powers inherent in both of them, while the son gets subjected to what is inherent in him?

“It would be helpful if you cited the book, chapter and passage. You mentioned “worship” in your post. There is not one example from the Bible when we compare the worship properly rendered unto the Father and the worship properly rendered unto the Lord Jesus that the worship the Lord Jesus receives is subordinate to the Father.”

which part of my argument were you addressing ?

“A created being would never come close to the Father in this area. This demonstrates that the Lord Jesus is God.”

so what is the “fully man” part doing while he is currently existing with “fully son” part in trinity ? which argument were you addressing ? can you quote my words

/////

Boring uses the expression “all authority” and does not use the expression “all power”. He understands this passage to be talking about Jesus becoming a “king” and a “ruler” and that Jesus has “assumed his throne and begun to reign.” But all of this language speaks of AUTHORITY not of POWER. In this passage, Jesus claims to have been given great AUTHORITY, not unlimited POWER.

According to the book of Genesis, God put human beings in charge of the Earth:

Genesis 1:26 (NRSV)
26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

When God put humans in charge of the Earth, he gave humans AUTHORITY over the Earth, according to Genesis. But that does not mean that God gave humans unlimited POWER over the Earth. Animals sometimes injure or kill humans. Fires, floods, storms, volcanoes, and earthquakes sometimes injure or kill humans. Humans do not control the weather. Humans do not control geological forces. So, God giving authority over the Earth to humans does NOT imply that God made humans omnipotent or all-powerful, or even that God gave humans unlimited power over the forces of nature on the Earth. AUTHORITY over X is not the same as unlimited POWER over X. Thus, the claim that God gave Jesus AUTHORITY in “heaven and on earth” does NOT imply that God gave Jesus unlimited POWER over what happens in “heaven and on earth”.

Second, Jesus states that this power or authority “has been given to me” which implies that at some previous point in time he did NOT have “all authority in heaven and on earth”. In order to be God one must be eternally omnipotent, not just omnipotent for one day or one month or one year or one century.

In Matthew 28:18, Jesus only claims to have a great deal of authority (not power), which was (allegedly) given to him by God at some point in time. So, in that verse Jesus does NOT claim to be an all-powerful person, and Jesus does NOT claim to have been all-powerful from eternity. In fact, if one prefers the translation using the word “power”, then Jesus implied that he was for a period of time NOT all-powerful, and thus Jesus implied that he was NOT God, based on the translation of Matthew 28:18 that uses the word “power”.

Another passage from the Gospel of Matthew might be used as evidence for the view that Jesus implied his own omnipotence:

Matthew 11:27 (NRSV)
27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

There are at least three problems with interpreting this verse as a claim to the divine attribute of eternal omnipotence.

First, whatever it is that Jesus is talking about, it had “been handed over to me by my Father”. As with Matthew 28:18, this implies that there was a previous point in time when it was not yet the case that Jesus possessed this attribute. Thus, if we interpret “all things” to mean “all power”, then Jesus is implying that he did not always have such power, and thus Jesus is implying that he was NOT eternally omnipotent, and thus that he was NOT God.

Second, this verse sounds rather similar to Matthew 28:18, which is probably about AUTHORITY rather than about POWER, so that gives us reason to doubt that Matthew 11:27 is about power. The author of Matthew might have intended for verse 11:27 to be read and interpreted in relation to the similar sounding verse Matthew 28:18.

Third, the context of this statement is clearly focused on KNOWLEDGE rather than on POWER. Immediately after the sentence speaking about “all things” having been “handed over to” Jesus by God, Jesus speaks about how only God “knows the Son” and how only the Son “knows the Father”. Furthermore, if we look at the verses immediately preceding verse 27, we see that those verses also are focused on KNOWLEDGE rather than POWER:

Matthew 11:25-27 (NRSV)
25 At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants;
26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Note that in verse 25 Jesus refers to important bits of wisdom that God has revealed to some people as “these things”. Thus, when Jesus speaks of “All things” in verse 27, this appears to be a reference back to the bits of wisdom that God has revealed to some people. The most likely meaning of the expression “All things” is thus, “all of the important spiritual, theological, and moral truths and principles that God wants to reveal to (some) human beings”. It is unlikely that this expression was intended to refer to “complete power and control over everything that exists”.

All authority in heaven and earth (universal authority).

Authority - the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine (Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, page 100, NY: Gramercy Books, c. 1996).

Power - one who or that which possesses or exercises authority or influence (Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, page 1127, NY: Gramercy Books, c. 1996).

That Christ has universal authority encompasses the fact that He has universal power (= omnipotence).

To be omniponet means to be the Almighty.

“There is nothing in the Bible that teaches Jesus can not be God simply because He refused to employ the use of some of His power.”

sorry, but a god experiencing being a fully CREATED human being is not “refused to employ the USE of SOME of….,” this is a BEING which is EXISTING as something OTHER than what it EXISTED as prior to “incarnation”

you literally have a pagan and changed person within the god you worship.

you made “the son” into something like a man with supernatural powers and at same time “switching” experiences . this is very pagan like beliefs.

BUT, there is nothing in the bible which teaches that “the son” has POWERS which BELONGED to him begininglessly and can be easily accessible.

“You assertion concerning authority conveniently left out the import word “all” - there is no limitation anywhere of the authority of Christ - “heaven and earth”.”

what don’t you get? the fathers COMMANDING authority is an INHERENT quality which exist in the person of the father. in the entire bible, the son NEVER says that he HAS access to this INHERENT power. “all AUTHORITY” does not mean HAVING access to a commanding power which is inherent in the father. plus, what is worse for you is that the son receives , no where does it say he RECEIVES the COMMANDING ability FROM the nature of the father.

what you are doing is conflating inherent quality which belong to the father with “all authority” which is given.

two different things.

If the Son were not God then He would not be praised in worship for His attribute of “power” (Revelation 5:12) just like the Father (Revelation 4:11).

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT): In 5:12f. the angelic choirs extol the omnipotence of the Lamb in a seven-membered doxology (8:178, timē, J. Schneider, the underlined is mine).

“If the Son were not God then He would not be praised in worship for His attribute of “power” (Revelation 5:12) just like the Father (Revelation 4:11).”

you assume that the authors would imagine god like you imagine him today. you assume that the author would have had a problem with worshipping a being which did not have inherent in him that commanding power which was inherent in the father . the guy is saying that the power is not inherent, the primary “daddy” is the father, he has the quality in him.

none of this is evidence that the son has the same commanding attribute/quality as the father in heaven.

///

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT): In 5:12f. the angelic choirs extol the omnipotence of the Lamb in a seven-membered doxology (8:178, timē, J. Schneider, the underlined is mine).

///

there is no omnipotence. he clearly is dependant on another. you are just imaging like a pagan that the son has an INHERENT quality when even the pagan writers of the new testament didn’t imagine such.

“Functional subjection does not necessitate ontological inferiority.”

this makes no sense. u r arguing that each person has IDENTICAL powers. if one of them gets subjected to the other, then one of them has more authority than the other. how do you get “functionally subordinated” when the power in each is inherent in each ? unless the son does not take it off and lock it away (CHANGE in nature) , how do you functionally subordinate?

if x shares identical powers with y , y “functionally subordinates” using the same powers ? what ? you are saying the same powers are being used to command and subornicate, how does that work?

father

“i through my power, command u”

son

“i through the same power am subjected to the command which is from the same identical power”

My wife is functionally subject to me (Ephesians 5:24), but she is no less of a human being than I am.

i am waiting to see that the new testament thinks that the son ALWAYS /BEGININGLESSLY had the same commanding powers as the primary god which had full power and control over the son. the son never says that he has the same inherent powers the father has. don’t tell me about creating since nt thinks that things other than yhwh could create by yhwhs will and power. the primary/dominant is the father, the son is subjected, controlled , commanded. your theological beliefs cannot be found in nt.

You asserted: There’s no point getting into an argument about the use of proskyneō again. The magi didn’t think they were looking for God born in Judea, they were looking for a special king to whom they would do obeisance, as was the custom (cf. 2 Sam. 24:20 LXX).

Concerning the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, the altar where YHWH was worshiped is said to consist of gold all around (Exodus 30:3). And notice as well that the very first mention of myrrh and frankincense in the Bible are also associated with this worship (Exodus 30:23, 34).[*1] Furthermore, these men were worshiping Jesus when they presented/offered these gifts to Him because it is “always in a religious sense of offerings to God. Beyond doubt, therefore, we are to understand the presentation of these gifts by the Magi as a religious offering”[*2] (cf. Matthew 5:23-24; 8:4; Hebrews 5:1; 8:3-4; 9:9).

[*1] Peter Pett: These were the greatest portable treasures that the world could afford, and all three were involved in Israel’s worship. http://tinyurl.com/u88wsy3

[*2] See Matthew 2:11 in the Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged by Robert Jamieson, Andrew Robert Fausset and David Brown. http://tinyurl.com/v2nd9s4

A fresh slant on the 12 Days of Christmas perhaps? As the 12 Days were meant in the church calendar, if not in the song, to lead to Epiphany, maybe the something similar could be said about your post?

Yet I found on reading your post that I was taking your points, or many of them, in the exact opposite sense to your intention.

“Concrete social, political and religious transgressions” do bring the nation Israel to actual disaster, don’t they? Whatever king was being born, it rapidly became apparent that Israel was not simply on the brink of disaster, but was about to be overwhelmed by it in the sight of all the nations.

The virgin conception of Jesus might strike some as more than a prophetic sign. As to its meaning, the name Immanuel (which is never mentioned again, despite the instruction that he should be named thus) leads to a puzzle. By my reading of Isaiah 7 the naming of the boy in Isaiah seems to be a sign against Judah, since the associated warning about Assyria was of disaster for Judah as well as Israel. Judah became a vassal state of Assyria under Ahaz when he made an alliance with Assyria. The river which swept Israel away overflowed up to Judah’s neck. Matthew was doing what he did with four of the other five prophecies in the birth narrative: taking a verse from an OT context and giving it an entirely different meaning in the new context.

Luke’s king does not bring peace to a people under Roman occupation, but the opposite, as he later goes on to predict.

There is no restored Jerusalem for Luke to predict, again the very opposite which he himself goes on to predict.

I do agree though that Mary’s song was “inflammatory, revolutionary talk”, though the revolution was not about to be brought about in Israel through the violent actions of its king in the time honoured fashion of Israel.

According to the Jew Paul, the death of Jesus exposed sin which went deeper than the national apostacy of Israel (Romans 7). Paul wasn’t talking about corporate sins alone here, but his own sin, in the first person, which traced it’s origin to Adam and his primal sin.

I haven’t been able to see where you get the idea of a devastating judgment on a corrupt priesthood from Zechariah (the priest). The confirmatory verse from Malachi doesn’t seem to connect with Luke 1:76.

I agree with point 9, though. Like Mary’s song, the angelic announcement of good news to the shepherds points to a kingly birth, and hence programme, which was very different from that of Caesar Augustus, or any kind of idealised Davidic warrior king (Point 10).

At least we’re agreed that Jesus was (probably) born in a family home, where there was no room in the guest room (so the birth was probably in the main living area, above the animals). But the connection with Isaiah 1:3 is a 13th century invention, when the current “born in a stable” tradition really began. The connection of kataluma with the Jeremiah passage seems untenably far fetched.

If Simeon means what you say he means, then he was wrong. The nations saw the destruction of Israel, which was in plain sight, and also predicted by Luke later in his gospel - as something that Jesus himself predicted. It’s likely that Simeon meant something quite different, or at least that his words lent themselves to a very different meaning from what even he may have been thinking.

Maybe we should stick to the 12 Days of Christmas? Anyway, in the spirit of the season, a very happy Christmas to you and all the followers of this blog , and a prosperous exegetical New Year!

Thank you for this, Peter.

Whatever king was being born, it rapidly became apparent that Israel was not simply on the brink of disaster, but was about to be overwhelmed by it in the sight of all the nations.

How is that the “exact opposite” of my intention? Doesn’t “on the brink of disaster” mean the same as “about to be overwhelmed by it”? Are you sure you’re not just disagreeing for the sake of it?

The virgin conception of Jesus might strike some as more than a prophetic sign.

Yes, but only because tradition has taught us to see it as such.

Matthew was doing what he did with four of the other five prophecies in the birth narrative: taking a verse from an OT context and giving it an entirely different meaning in the new context.

I disagree. The point of the Immanuel prophecy in Isaiah, I think, is that when Jerusalem is threatened with being captured by the Assyrians, perhaps because of Ahaz’s lack of faith, God will nevertheless be with his people and Jerusalem will be preserved. The boy is a sign both of peril and of deliverance, which fits Matthew’s narrative pretty well. Matthew was not stupid. He would not have given the Jewish scriptures an “entirely” different meaning.

Luke’s king does not bring peace to a people under Roman occupation, but the opposite, as he later goes on to predict.

My point here is only that the Christmas story is limited in scope to the accession of a king to the throne of David. It is not about God becoming incarnate to save humanity. Quite how this accession would come about is another matter. There is a clue, I assume, in the statement that he will rule over the house of Jacob (not over a multinational church) for ever.

Paul wasn’t talking about corporate sins alone here, but his own sin, in the first person, which traced it’s [sic] origin to Adam and his primal sin.

That, of course, is debatable. But in any case, the post is not about Paul.

I haven’t been able to see where you get the idea of a devastating judgment on a corrupt priesthood from Zechariah (the priest).

Malachi is largely a denunciation of the priesthood (Mal. 1:6-2:9). Luke 1:76 alludes to Malachi 3:1. Zechariah’s son will be the messenger sent to prepare the way of the Lord before the day of YHWH’s coming to “purify the sons of Levi” (Mal. 3:1-3). Jesus’ action the temple is in line with this.

If Simeon means what you say he means, then he was wrong.

No, he was right. I think you have misread me again: “What he means is that the coming judgment and restoration of Israel will reveal the power and character of Israel’s God to the nations and that this will bring glory and renown to Israel.” The God of Israel brought both destruction and restoration upon his people—as was the case with the exile, hence the relevance of Isaiah 52:10. The nations would see the power of God to save in both aspects. Destruction was judgment on Israel’s persistent sin—the punishment of the unrighteous tenants. Salvation took the form of the renewal of the “descendants” of Abraham through the death and resurrection of Jesus and the faithfulness of his followers. The nations (beginning with the centurion at the cross) saw this whole drama being acted out on the stage of history and glorified the God of Israel (cf. Rom. 15:8-11).

You bring Israel to the brink of disaster, implying that the disaster wasn’t total. I meant total disaster did actually happen - which was what all the nations saw.

I think a virgin conception (of a male child) would strike anyone as more remarkable than simply a prophetic sign (i.e. it was in some way symbolic, or a metaphor).

Jerusalem was not preserved under Ahaz, but it was thoroughly compromised. Matthew was far from stupid. He was engaging in 2nd temple exegesis, in which entirely new meanings were given to passages of scripture by applying them to a different context. The ‘cleverness’ of the application was applauded by appreciative audiences, as we see with Jesus and Paul..A new meaning was given which could not possibly have been understood in the original context. Matthew does this with other OT prophecy/texts.

The post is not about Paul, but Paul helps us understand how righteous people in Israel might come to see themselves as sinful in the light of Paul’s autobiography and awareness.

I still can’t see how Luke 1:76 reflects Malachi.

Simeon’s words were right, but there was no restoration of Israel. It never happened. Salvation must have meant something else of a very different order.

Always a pleasure to have these discussions Andrew.

brink: “a point at which something, typically something unwelcome, is about to happen; the verge: the country was on the brink of a constitutional crisis | the club has come close to the brink, surviving winding-up orders.” (ODE)

I think a virgin conception (of a male child) would strike anyone as more remarkable than simply a prophetic sign (i.e. it was in some way symbolic, or a metaphor).

Odd, then, that no one in the whole of the New Testament thought to make that point. Certainly, neither Matthew nor Luke interprets it as the “incarnation” of the one true God.

Jerusalem was not preserved under Ahaz, but it was thoroughly compromised.

Jerusalem was preserved under Ahaz. In any case, the point of the name Immanuel was that the schemes of the nations against Judah would not succeed:

Be broken, you peoples, and be shattered; give ear, all you far countries; strap on your armour and be shattered; strap on your armour and be shattered. Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us. (Is. 8:9–10)

So Matthew’s point is that the birth of another boy at a critical moment in Israel’s history is a sign that God is with his people and that there is hope of deliverance. If the original Old Testament meaning, transferred into a new context, makes excellence sense, it has to be preferred, surely, over any supposed “entirely” different meaning.

Simeon’s words were right, but there was no restoration of Israel. It never happened.

So what does Jesus mean when he says, “in the restoration, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging (krinontes) the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28)? Josephus uses palingennesia for the “restoration” of Israel (Ant. 11:66). According to Psalms of Solomon 17:26 the Messiah will “gather together a holy people, whom he will lead in righteousness. And he will judge the tribes of the people that has been sanctified by the Lord his God.”

For Luke this is the fulfilment of expectations regarding the kingdom of God: “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Lk. 22:28–30). So Acts begins with a question about the timing of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6).

It seems pretty clear to me that Jesus believed that Israel would be restored, only under a different régime, and he wasn’t sure when it would happen.

The difference between us is that you say Israel was restored, and I do not. It certainly does not make sense to say that OT prophecy about a restoration of Israel in the sight of the nations of the ancient world took place. Plainly the nations saw the destruction of Israel, its capital, temple, land, government - in fact everything that constituted a nation at that time. The persecution and growth of the church was not a grounds for the nations to think that Israel was restored and continued, and nowhere in the New Testament is the church presented as such. We therefore have to ask in what sense can Jesus’s words about his followers “judging” the 12 tribes of Israel be understood? And what did Jesus mean by saying it was not for the disciples to know the times or seasons? Since there is not a single further reference to a restoration of Israel in the NT, we clearly have to take a different view of his meaning from a literal restoration - unless he was mistaken.

I take the view that the nativity stories were probably a later addition to the gospels, and the NT as a whole, hence no development of the incarnation. There seems to have been no awareness of the birth or early life of Jesus elsewhere in the NT. But anyway, the incarnation isn’t really part of what I was commenting on in your piece. I just thought the virgin conception was rather more than a prophetic sign. If a sign, a sign of what?

My main point about Ahaz and Isaiah 7 was that in context, the “sign” of Immanuel (the boy) was spoken against Ahaz, not for him, for not trusting or obeying the prophet’s words. It was a sign in a historical context. It was not a sign of a Messiah who would come several hundred years later. Matthew is taking the prophecy out of context and applying it to a new context which Isaiah had certainly not intended. We would call that a misreading of prophetic fulfilment. In his day, Matthew was engaging in 2nd temple exegesis, which was a way of interpreting scripture which his audience, Jews especially, would have understood and applauded. I don’t think it has anything to do with a supposed parallel between Assyria and Rome - which wasn’t borne out by events anyway.

The only way your understanding of a restoration of Israel makes sense is if it is yet to happen, since plainly it has not happened. Everything that constituted Israel as a nation state in the ancient world finished in AD 70. Even the Jews who survived and were scattered no longer called themselves Israel (in any literal sense). It would have been a contradiction in terms. From the church’s point of view, it never called itself Israel, because it wasn’t, and just as Jesus brought something entirely new and unforeseen as a way of fulfilling the OT and its prophecy, so the church continued to bring something entirely new and unforeseen as a way of fulfilling the OT and prophecy. To say otherwise is to be blind to reality and the most outstanding characteristics of Jesus himself, his followers, and the church.

A few quick thoughts…

  • Arguably in Romans 9-11 for Paul a remnant of believing Jews constitutes the true Israel.
  • The phrase “Israel of God” is difficult (Gal. 6:16), but it’s certainly an option to maintain that Paul thought of the churches as restored Israel, now combining Jews and Gentiles under the sort of new covenant prophesied for Israel in the Old Testament.
  • Gentiles are included in the “commonwealth of Israel”, which keeps “Israel” foundational for the identity of the movement (Eph. 2:12).
  • The writer to the Hebrews highlights the fact that the new covenant would be made “with the house of Israel” (Heb. 8:8-12).
  • The new Jerusalem is said to have a “great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed” (Rev. 21:12).

I don’t think Jesus foresaw the inclusion of large numbers of Gentiles in new covenant Israel, but it seems to me reasonable to say that his vision of restored Israel essentially runs through the whole New Testament. With time, of course, the defeat of Israel by Rome in the period AD 66-135, the breakdown of relations between Christians and Jews in the 80s and 90s, the shift of the centre of gravity to the Greek-Roman world, and the overwhelming preponderance of Gentile believers put an end to the vision of Israel restored. But I think that largely belongs to the post-NT period.

I don’t think any of these verses are conclusive Andrew. In particular:

Ephesians doesn’t say that Gentiles are included in the commonwealth of Israel. It says that once they were excluded (under the law) from the commonwealth of Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise … But now “they have been brought near” (no mention of commonwealth or covenant).

The Hebrews verses are quoting Jeremiah 31, primarily to Jewish recipients of the letter. It would be especially relevant to remind them of their inclusion in the new covenant.

Otherwise I think the verses you quote don’t seem particularly to reinforce your case. I don’t see the relevance of Romans 9-11, Galatians is ambiguous at best, and the names and gates of the New Jerusalem, whilst declaring a fulfilment for Israel, aren’t saying that only restored Israel may enter.

All these verses would be true of a fulfilment in which Israel as a nation was destroyed. They don’t speak of a continuing restored Israel.

I don’t see this vision of a restored Israel being declared by Jesus - rather warnings of the opposite, repeatedly.

Where else is there a vision of restored Israel, which you say “essentially runs through the whole New Testament”?

Paul says that the Gentiles were 1) separated from Christ, 2) alienated (apēllotriōmenoi)) from the commonwealth of Israel, 3) strangers (xenoi) to the covenants, and 4) having no hope and without God (Eph. 2:12). His point, surely, is that all of those have now been overcome. It is fundamental to Paul’s theology that Gentiles have become heirs of the covenant promises by faith (Rom. 4; Gal. 3). He also says that they are no longer strangers (xenoi)—that is, strangers to the covenants of promise—and foreigners (paroikoi) but are “fellow citizens (sympolitai) with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19), all of which is an explicit reversal of the exclusion described in verse 12).

What has changed is that Jesus’ death has removed the dividing partition of the Law which required male Gentiles to become circumcised Jews if they wished to be part of the commonwealth of Israel. If the point wasn’t inclusion in a renewed Israel, the abolition of the Law would be irrelevant. The argument elsewhere with Judaizers was that Gentiles were already members of Israel-undergoing-renewal by virtue of the Spirit, therefore Law-observance was unnecessary.

This is what I mean when I say that the underlying assumption in the New Testament is that Gentiles were becoming part of a restored Israel—under a crucified king and in the power of the Spirit of the new covenant that was promised to Israel by the prophets (cf. Eph. 2:20-22). Much of the time it simply goes unstated because it was the obvious premise: the Jewish apostles were proclaiming a Jewish Lord and Messiah, a Jewish king to rival Caesar.

As Paul says in Romans 15:8-12, Jesus became a servant to the circumcised in order to confirm the promises to the patriarchs so that in the long run the “root of Jesse” (ie., Israel’s king) would rule over the nations. The restoration of Israel leads to a new Jewish empire.

Ephesians 2:15 also speaks of the abolition of the law with its commandments and regulations, which were central to the identity of Israel the nation, and included temple, land and Jerusalem based monarchy. In its place, Christ’s purpose was “to create in himself one new man out of the two”. This was not a restored Israel, as envisaged by OT prophecy, for instance (or any OT expectation for Israel’s future).

From Ephesians 2:19 onwards, the household and temple are built not on restored Israel, but “the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone’.

Paul is not dismissing his Jewish heritage, but the new is not a restoration or continuation of the old. The promises to Abraham, to which the gentiles are now heirs, went beyond the borders of Israel, and beyond anything envisaged by OT prophecy. That’s why Paul describes it as a “mystery” in Ephesians 3, made known to Paul by revelation, but hidden from previous generations. It’s fair to say that previous generations were expecting what you say they now received: a restored Israel. I say that Israel was definitely not restored. The new was just that, not a reworking of the old.

The abolition of the law was necessary because it divided the world into Jews and Gentiles. Of course it had to be abolished so that gentiles could be fully included - not in a new Israel (which is mentioned nowhere, not even in the texts you have quoted), but in “the new man” of Ephesians 2.

I simply don’t see “the underlying assumption in the New Testament … that Gentiles were becoming part of a restored Israel”. I do see however that “Christ became a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the gentiles may glorify God for his mercy” - not to join a restored Israel, but to fulfil the various texts then quoted, including the reign of Jesus “the root of Jesse” whose rejection by Israel the nation proved to be the means by which God’s mercy came to the gentiles outside the nation - not in a restored version of it. There is no “new Jewish empire”, but “members together of one body”, which is now the metaphor Paul uses, replacing Israel the nation.

This is significant, because you have replaced faith in Christ as the basis for universal justification, with faith in what God has done for Israel, which depends on the visibility of a restoration of Israel the nation. I argue that what was visible was the destruction of Israel the nation. In its place was something entirely unforeseen: small groups of Jesus believers scattered across the Roman empire, who subverted the empire from within. Nobody looked at them and saw a restored Israel. Jesus did not foresee a restored Israel, neither did the apostles. The new might employ imagery from the old (temple, the whole building, dwelling place of God), but it wasn’t the old, and one image is notable by its absence, namely a restored Israel.

This was not a restored Israel, as envisaged by OT prophecy, for instance (or any OT expectation for Israel’s future).

So what does Paul mean when he says that the Gentiles have become part of a structure that is built on the foundation of the prophets? Either this was a restored Israel as envisaged by OT prophecy (ie. Israel at the centre of a transformed empire) or it is meaningless.

(Actually, I’m inclined to think that the reference is to New Testament prophets.)

The promises to Abraham, to which the gentiles are now heirs, went beyond the borders of Israel, and beyond anything envisaged by OT prophecy.

The promise to Abraham was only that those nations which blessed Abraham’s descendants would be blessed (Gen. 12:3). This assumes the independent existence of Israel apart from the nations. There is no Old Testament vision of a supra-Jewish or post-Jewish people of God, nothing that goes beyond the borders of Israel. The vision is always of an intact Israel in the midst of separate nations, and when God acts to save his people, etc., the nations respond with worship and tribute.

I’ve been skimming through Markus Barth’s excellent analysis of the text. He says:

Through his incorporation into Israel a Gentile finds communion with God. God himself, and not an indigenous quality or superiority, is the mystery of Israel. That man is under God’s protection who submits to Israel’s king and becomes a citizen of Israel. He is not only a citizen of an earthly city or state but a “member of God’s household.” (M. Barth, Ephesians 1–3, (1974), 270.

Needs more careful reading, though.

Of course it had to be abolished so that gentiles could be fully included - not in a new Israel (which is mentioned nowhere, not even in the texts you have quoted), but in “the new man” of Ephesians 2.

But when you put it like this, the abolition of the Law lets Jews out rather than Gentiles in. If the new man is not Israel, there is no need to abolish the Law in order for Gentiles to become part of this new third people.

The prophets in Ephesians 2:20 were those mentioned in 4:11, not Old Testament prophets. Also 1 Cor. 12:28. Ministry gifts for building the church. I agree with your bracketed comment.

The promise to Abraham of blessing to the nations was not solely conditional on those nations blessing Israel. 12:3 adds that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you”. This unconditional promise is repeated in 22:18 where there is no mention of a conditional promise. As far as a New Testament understanding of the promise goes, we have Paul’s 2nd temple exegesis of “the seed” in Galatians 3, which completely bypasses the need to be part of a restored Israel, and jumps from Abraham to his seed as all who belong to Christ - Jew/Greek, slave/free, male/female. There is no supra-Jewish identity. Clearly, Markus Barth was mistaken.

The “new man” comprised of course Jew and Gentile. The law needed to be abolished to let Gentiles in as well as letting Jews out. If Jews had not been let out, they would still be under the curse of the law.

I should slightly qualify my last comment. I used “supra Jewish identity” in the sense of an overarching Jewish identity which would have come from any restored Israel. This is different from the way you were using it. My argument is that there is no restored Israel, no “Jewish empire”, no “supra Jewish identity”.

Also, the law prevented Gentiles from “getting in” to the privileges which came with being part of the Jewish nation and God’s people (covenant, law, temple). This is summed up with the word “access”. Because of the law, Gentiles did not have access to, or were kept at a distance from, the closer proximity to God enjoyed by Jews through their status in the covenant, or in the temple, for instance. Paul uses the word to describe how Jesus removed the “dividing wall” by providing in himself “access” to grace, to the father by one spirit, to God. To “enter” (the presence and privileges of God), gentiles needed only faith in Jesus (Romans 5:2, Ephesians 2:18, Ephesians 3:12). Membership of a restored Israel was neither a precondition nor a consequence of this access, and is not mentioned as such.

Membership of a restored Israel was neither a precondition nor a consequence of this access, and is not mentioned as such.

Yes, both the Jew and the Gentile now has access in one Spirit to the Father. But Paul continues:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…. (Eph. 2:19)

Because they have access to the same God in the same manner, they are not xenoi and paroikoi, both terms which presuppose alienation from Israel, but are “citizens-together” with the saints and oikeioi of God.

It still seems to me that if Paul says that they were once far from Christ, citizenship (politeias) of Israel, and the “covenants of promise”, and then says that they have now been “brought near” to these things by the blood of Christ, he must mean that they have been included in what they were previously excluded from—ie., Israel., the covenant people, from whom the promises and the Christ, etc.

It is not just proximity to God from which they were previously excluded, it is the status of being a citizen of Israel and participation in the covenants of promise (plural, so covenants from Abraham to Jeremiah?). I think this is explicitly stated.

The Ephesian believers were now “fellow citizens” not with Israel but “the saints”, who are always and only in Paul believers in Jesus, not Israelites. They are “members of the household of God” which is now the non racial body of believers, “neither Jew nor Greek”, not members of Israel or adherents to temple worship in Jerusalem.

They participate in the covenants of promise given to Abraham before (and after) he was circumcised, and it’s fairly obvious from the NT that the new covenant described by Jeremiah was fulfilled in a new people “one new man” which comprised Jew and Greek, but whose prior identity was in neither.

Galatians 6:16