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

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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).