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peter wilkinson | Tue, 01/14/2020 - 16:26 | Permalink

I tend to think that there are as many problems with your version of an apocalyptic narrative as you say there are with Piper’s attempt to combine it with a Christology of the pre-existing divine son.

The pre-existing Word in John was not simply “the creative Word or wisdom of God which was involved in creation”. The Word “was with God and was God”. John adds an extra divine dimension to the creative wisdom of God through which creation came about.

Supernatural attributes associated with Jesus find counterparts in the OT which are attributed to God alone, and in the NT are not described as being given to Jesus as a separate agent — eg the calming of the storm (Psalm 107:29-30); healings in the context of return from exile (Isaiah 35:5-6), and forgiveness of sins, about which the Pharisees have a better understanding of scripture than the people who say (in Matthew’s version only) God had given such authority to men. Of course, this passage is much more than a proof text for either the divinity or exclusive humanity of Jesus, and it is simplistic to use it so. One could also point to the feeding miracles, with their clear association with God’s provision of manna in the wilderness, healings which implicitly invoked authority to overturn the law (the woman with bleeding); the giving of a new “law” which fulfilled the “law” at least in part by overturning it (the sermon on the mount); claiming authority over the Sabbath by reinterpreting it; raising the dead (not a common OT theme, but always identified with God alone, I think, eg Isaiah 25:7-8).

All these examples (with which I include Matthew 9) show Jesus acting in ways exclusively, and I would say deliberately identified with God in the OT. If they are meant to be seen as God delegating his authority to a human agent in the line of Israel’s human kings, priests or anointed ones, the evidence is so thin as to be non existent.

Matthew 28:19? I don’t think it’s talking about power, in the sense of “omnipotence” (which is a concept foreign to OT & NT). It’s talking about an authority which Jesus obtained in the light of his mission, which reached its climax in his death and resurrection. This was not an authority to do anything he liked because he was God. It was an authority he now had on behalf of others which was incomplete before his death and resurrection. He subjected himself to weakness in his death, depending on God the Father to raise him to life. He subjected himself to weakness in bearing our sins (Acts 2:23-24, 32, 38, affirmed by 1 Cor. 15:3, 1 Peter 2:24, and so on). In this sense (and no other) he was “given all authority”, which he delegated to his followers in the making of disciples, baptising, and teaching obedience to his commands. However, the ramifications of that authority were wide ranging.

There are various interpretations of “the one like A son of man” in Daniel 7:13, but at least some in the Jewish tradition saw this as messianic and not corporate Israel. The thought then applied to him in verse 14 echoes that of verse 27b, where “God” in the everlasting kingdom of God (“His kingdom”) is directly identified with the Messiah in 14b. No wonder Daniel was “deeply troubled by my thoughts”(7:28)!

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