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Thanks for your response. I’m honoured that you have provided responses at such length. I confess to an uneasiness about creating such a lengthy comment in the first place, in total breach of internet etiquette. Nevertheless, I continue to fly in the face of decorum with further responses. I rather frequently think you have missed the point I was making, a solecism which I have also frequently been accused of.

1. If the birth narratives mean only what you say, then whose child was Jesus, since he wasn’t Joseph’s child? This has little to do with whether you are pro or anti Trinitarian, it’s just reading the texts. The verses cited provide what is obviously the answer: Matthew 1:18, 1:20, 1:23 (in the last of which, whatever Isaiah may have meant, Matthew clearly differentiates his meaning, ie ‘virgin’ rather than ‘young woman’, and is therefore justified in also differentiating his meaning from Isaiah over the name of the child, ie here was “God with us” - literally).

2. Most people who read the gospels are struck by the intimate relationship Jesus had with God, which is described in terms of a Father-Son relationship. To say this simply describes the God-King or God-Israel relationship is extremely limited.

3. A careful reading of the texts does suggest that because Jesus was like no other person, and exercised an authority, not least over Satan, which had been granted to no other person, then God incarnate is a reading which makes sense of the whole.

4. Whether or not Jesus fulfilled people’s expectations of God’s anointed servant has a huge bearing on the present question, since your whole argument rests on the supposed ‘reading forward’ of OT-based expectations. Many of these expectations Jesus spectacularly exploded, not least in this incident in Luke 4. The whole passage only makes sense if emarturoun means “testified against”, rather than “all spoke well of him” (as ESV, NRSV, NIV wrongly, in my view, have it). Jesus did not satisfy his hearers’ desire for divine vengeance (against their enemies), and especially enraged them by applying the Jubilee Year favour to the Gentiles, not Jews.

5. I didn’t say Jesus relinquished divine authority, neither here nor in #8, #10, #15 or #16.

6. Mark and Luke say Who can forgive sins except God alone? Jesus forgives sins. It seems clear, especially in the light of the gospels as retrospectively interpreted accounts, which is what the gospel authors, who believed in Jesus as God incarnate, were providing.

7. I hope the harp sounds angelic. The question from Daniel 7 is, who was vindicated? Jesus takes the singular identity of son of man, and it was he, not Israel or the Jews, who was vindicated. The next question is, who benefited? Not Israel, and few Jews, but overwhelmingly in the NT the Gentiles. In other words, the OT narrative is substantially changed. We are not provided with a continuous OT narrative line. Jesus changed the terms of the story, how it turned out, and who he was. There are clues to the divinity of the son of man in Daniel 7, when you compare the terms that are applied to ‘the son of man’ in 7:13 with the same terms applied to ‘the Most High’ in 7:27.

8. See #5.

9. “No one gives the “other answer”.” — But that’s exactly what I said. Read the rest of the comment.

10. See #5.

11. Misses the point — the whole point, in fact, that I am making, which you seem determined to miss. 

12. John is clear eg John 8:58-59 — Jesus was identifying himself with God, and not merely saying he was the fulfilled wisdom figure and that he had a God-given right to claim divine authority which had previously belonged to YHWH alone. John also develops Jesus’s intimate relationship with God even more fully than the synoptic gospels.

15. Again, misses the point, which I set out in my introduction to this response.

16. See #5.

18. But your answer simply begs the question (ie assumes the answer without proving or demonstrating it). If Jesus was placed at God’s right hand, what did that mean in terms of how it was prefigured in the gospel narratives, and how a heavenly status after his death and resurrection, in which all susbequent attention is on him not YHWH, reconfigures the Psalm 110:1-2 metaphor (which is, of course, what Psalm 110:1-2 is — ie metaphor. We’re not talking literal language here!). When Jesus took Psalm 110:1-2 to refute the Pharisees in Matthew 22:41-45, he was firstly playing fast and loose with the Psalm (by interpreting it as David speaking, rather than being about David — ‘A psalm of David’); and secondly raising the much larger question of the identity of the messiah (David’s son but much greater than David) without providing any answers. You seem able to bypass these questions by providing answers which Jesus himself called into question.

21. I don’t think you understand the use of language here (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). When the passage talks of ‘handing over the kingdom to God the Father’, and ‘he must reign until he has put all his enemies being put under his feet’, and ‘the last enemy is death’,  it is applying terms appropriate to ancient rule and warfare to things which cannot literally be described in such a way. Jesus doesn’t literally ‘put all his enemies under his feet’. It’s metaphor. Jesus only clearly identifies one enemy, which is death, ie not a person. The other enemies are not so much people as power systems. We are in the realm of metaphor. The same applies to “the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him”, which if taken literally as you suggest, doesn’t make sense. Was Jesus not subject to God before his/God’s enemies were defeated?

22. Are you talking about Philippians 2:9-11? If so, see the introductory paragraph to my initial comment. It’s a non issue.

23. There is nothing in Ephesians which can be said to remotely resemble what you say Paul makes it mean.

24. That Jesus ‘became’ much greater than the angels (Hebrews 1:4) points to the use of the Psalm from which the thought is taken in Hebrews 2:7, where Jesus is the fulfilment of Psalm 8:4-6. The language is of Jesus’s identification with us. “The Son had to share our humanity, to suffer and to die, so that we might share in his glory” (New Bible Commentary — Peterson). If you shut your eyes to what God says in 1:8 especially (“But about the Son he says: ‘Your throne O God will last forever and ever”, and also says in 1:10 of Jesus as the creator of the world who will outlast created things, then you might be able to force your interpretation onto the description of the relationship between Jesus and the angels in 1 & 2.

25. Your comment is just assertion.

26. Yes; “exceptionally” is entirely the question under discussion.

27. Revelation 5:6 says that Jesus was in the middle - µέσῳ — of the throne, where he is also in the middle of the four creatures who surround the throne, and likewise in the middle (µέσῳ) of the elders who also surround the throne. The meaning is the same as the verbal form of mesoō in John 7:14 — the middle of the feast, and as a prefix in “the middle wall” — mesostoichon — in Ephesians 2:14. When prefixed to ouranēma in Revelation 8:13, 14:6 and 19:17, it means “in the midst of”, but this is an extension of the meaning rather than the meaning given to the figure “in the middle of the throne”. The four creatures and the twenty-four elders then “fell down” before the Lamb, with harps (of worship) and bowls (of prayers), and in 5:9 sing a hymn of praise to him. These voices are joined by “thousands upon thousands” of angels in 5:11, also singing a hymn of praise to the Lamb, and without so much as a Revelation 19:10 (“Do not worship me … . Worship God!”) in sight! 

I don’t see how you can still say that Jesus was only a human albeit exceptional figure in the NT scriptures which describe him. Just how exceptional was he? This is the heart of my question. Who was Jesus? It is the question most people who have considered him are still prompted to ask. I don’t think it is tenable from these passages to say he is a human emissary alone. But apparently some still do!

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