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peter wilkinson | Tue, 04/04/2017 - 23:21 | Permalink

Just a couple of questions really. How does the death of Jesus anticipate the crucifixion of thousands of Jews a generation later by the armies of Vespasian and Titus? Crucifixion was the punishment for insurrectionists before and after Jesus. His death was not unique in that sense. The twist is that he wasn’t an insurrectionist, and was innocent, so shouldn’t be regarded as anticipating anything.

In what way, according to you, was the death of Jesus substitutionary (and penal)? You seem to confuse this with opening up “a narrow path leading to life”, which, as I understand you, was to be by not opposing Rome with force. Unfortunately, this did not work well for Jesus, if you read the story that way. It was a narrow path that led to his death, and also the deaths of most, if not all, of the apostles.

You cite “gave his life as a ransom for many”, and then associate its meaning with substitutionary penal atonement. That is a leap too far. At least provide some evidence for interpreting the verse in that way.

You cite the parables as providing evidence for a God who judges with violence, and associate their meaning with OT prophecy. Yet the two genres are very distinct. Anything read in the parables has to be understood according to their genre, and not confused with direct literal historical prediction.

None of the verses you have cited concerning the temple destruction or destruction of Jerusalem in Matthew and Luke explicitly mentions judgment as violent punishment. The meaning of “visitation” requires further treatment and discussion. Only in Luke 21:22, which you do not mention, is the word ekdikēsis variously translated “vengeance” (AV), or “punishment” (NIV). But what does the word (and the phrase “days/time of vengeance/punishment”) actually mean? Was it God’s vengeance/punishment or Rome’s? If God’s, was God really meting out direct retribution on Jerusalem by the crucifixion of Jews? Are we really to believe that mass crucifixion was God’s way of exercising justice, or even that God does literally take vengeance in that way?

I’m not sure you have demonstrated your assertions quite as conclusively as you think. Certainly, it would be odd if Jesus was so intimately associated with God, as in one way or another we both believe he was, that he should weep over the catastrophe coming on Jerusalem when that catastrophe was inflicted by the God he represented. If God’s justice means anything, Jesus should have affirmed the destruction in some way. That he didn’t suggests it wasn’t, doesn’t it?

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