Posts Tagged ‘atonement’

Here is a review and critique of Brant Pitre’s ‘Jesus, the Tribulation and the End of Exile’

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4


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Some quotes from historical Jesus scholars makingt a link between Jesus’ death and the time of tribulation. For those interested Pitre offers the most in depth analysis.

‘A time of unheard of affliction must precede the coming of the Kingdom. Out of these woes the Messiah will be brought to birth. That was a view prevalent far and wide: in no other wise could the events of the last time be imagined.’

Albert Schweitzer 1

‘Any attempt to sketch out what Jesus expected in the future will have to start from his conviction that his mission was the prelude to the coming of the eschatological times of distress.’ 2


‘Just as the tribulation precedes the kingdom, so Jesus is to die and then know resurrection. The parallel is not fortuitous—

Dale Allison 3

‘Jesus not only expected the final tribulation to happen imminently, but by the time he reached Jersualem had also concluded that he would have to face the same tribulation’4

James D.G. Dunn

‘The ‘messianic woes’ tradition indicated that this suffering and vindication would be climatic, unique, the one-off moment when Israel’s history and world history would turn their great corner at last, when YHWH’s kingdom would come and his will be done on earth as it was in heaven. The central symbolic act by which Jesus gave meaning to his approaching death suggests strongly that this moment had come’

N.T. Wright5

1 Schweitzer, Albert, and Walter Lowrie. The Mystery of the Kingdom of God: The Secret of Jesus’ Messiahship and Passion. London: A. & C. Black, 1925. 219

2Jeremias, Joachim. New Testament Theology. London: SCM, 1971.  127

3Allison, Dale C. End of the Ages Has Come: Early Interpretation of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus. Fortress P.,U.S, 1985, 139

4 Dunn, James D.G. Christianity in the Making Vol 1: Jesus Remembered. William B Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2003. 808

5Wright, N. T. Jesus and the Victory of God. Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 1997. 597

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Jesus was not the first person to conenct his suffering and death soteriologically. I hear use soteriology in a broad sense. It has more to do with the restoration of Israel than ‘goign to heaven when you die)

Unlike the Maccabean Martyrs, Taxos (Testament of Moses) does not violently oppose the oppressors but believes that his death, which is caused by Torah allegiance, will be avenged by God.

As McKnight comments (Jesus and His daeth page 182), ‘When faced with the threat of death, instead of violent zeal Taxos proposes peaceful, non-violent allegiance to the Torah, an act that he is assured will trigger the favour of the avenging God.’

Testament of Moses Ch 9

91 Then in that day there shall be a man of the tribe of Levi, whose name shall be Taxo, who having seven sons shall speak to them exhorting (them): 2Observe, my sons, behold a second ruthless (and) unclean visitation has come upon the people, and a punishment merciless and far exceeding the first. 3 For what nation or what region or what people of those who are impious towards the Lord, who have done many abominations, have suffered as great calamities as have befallen us? 4 Now, therefore, my sons, hear me: for observe and know that neither did the fathers nor their forefathers tempt God, so as to transgress His commands. 5 And ye know that this is our strength, and thus we will do. 6 Let us fast for the space of three days and on the fourth let us go into a cave which is in the field, and let us die rather than transgress the commands of the Lord of Lords, the God of our fathers. 7 For if we do this and die, our blood shall be avenged before the Lord.

Charles, Robert Henry (Hrsg.): Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament. Bellingham, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2004, S. 2:421

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Jesus death, the Church affirms had, and has, soteriological significance. Here are a list of texts from Maccabees (2 and 4) which show that the idea of a death bringing ransom, peace and turning away wrath from Israel is not simply a creation of either Jesus or the early Church. The writers of Maccabees believed that the suffering and torture of the Maccabean martyrs was working soteriologically for the people of Israel.

2 Maccabees 7:37-38

36These our brothers, after enduring a brief pain, have now drunk of everflowing life, in terms of God’s covenant, but thou shalt receive by God’s judgement the just penalty of thine arrogance. 37I, like my brothers, give up body and soul for our fathers’ laws, calling on God to show favour to our nation soon, and to make thee acknowledge, 38in torment and plagues, that he alone is God, and to let the Almighty’s wrath, justly fallen on the whole of our nation, end in me and in my brothers. 39Then the king fell into a passion and had him handled worse than the others, so exasperated was he at being mocked. 40Thus he also died unpolluted, trusting absolutely in the Lord. 41Finally after her sons the mother also perished.

42 Let this suffice for the enforced sacrifices and the excesses of barbarity.

4 Macc 6:27-29

Thou, O God, knowest that though I might save myself I am dying by fiery torments for thy Law. 28 Be merciful unto thy people, and let our punishment be a satisfaction in their behalf. 29 Make my blood their purification, and take my soul to ransom their souls.’

30 And with these words the holy man nobly yielded up his spirit under the torture, and for the sake of the Law held out by his Reason even against the torments unto death.

4 Macc 17:22

And these men, therefore, having sanctified themselves for God’s sake, not only have received this honour, but also the honour that through them the enemy had no more power over our people, 21 and the tyrant suffered punishment, 22 and our country was purified, they having as it were become a ransom for our nation’s sin; and through the blood of these righteous men and the propitiation of their death, the divine Providence delivered Israel that before was evil entreated.

4 Macc 18:1-4

O Israelites, children born of the seed of Abraham, obey this Law, and be righteous in all ways, recognizing that Inspired Reason is lord over the passions, 2 and over pains, not only from within, but from without ourselves; 3 by which means those men, delivering up their bodies to the torture for righteousness’ sake, not only won the admiration of mankind, but were deemed worthy of a divine inheritance. 4 And through them the nation obtained peace and restoring the observance of the Law in our country hath captured the city from the enemy.

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