Christ's physical resurrection In two previous posts I tried to discern the significance of Christ's resurrection for earliest Christianity. I came to the conclusion that the resurrection served, for the most part, as a sign pointing to the exaltation of Christ to God's right hand. I argued that this exaltation, in turn, established Christ's role … Continue reading The resurrection to heaven
What was Gehenna? As most commentators note, Jesus appropriated the concept of Gehenna from Jeremiah's prophecies against sixth century Judah. According to Jeremiah, the valley of the son of Hinnom (Hebrew: Ge Hinnom, Aramaic: Gēhannā) would become the "valley of Slaughter" when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC (Jeremiah 7:30-34, 19:4-6). Besides the oracles … Continue reading War is Hell: Gehenna and the war with Rome
Healing prayer among Jews By the second temple period intercessory prayer was well established by Biblical precedence as a critical tool in the healer's toolbox. Abraham and Moses had acquired cures through prayer (Genesis 20:17, Numbers 12:13). Elijah and Elisha had raised the dead by calling out to the Lord (1 Kings 17:21, 2 Kings … Continue reading Jesus the prayer healer
At two particular points in the New Testament narrative the Holy Spirit breaks through the heavenly seal and escapes into the earthly realm. In the first case, the spirit descends upon Jesus at his baptism in the Jordan. In the second case, the spirit is poured out upon believers as they celebrate the feast of … Continue reading When did Jesus and his followers receive the spirit?
And [Jesus] could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. (Mark 6:5-6) And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:58) Matthew's subtle redaction of Mark here and elsewhere has … Continue reading “He could do no mighty work”
The Biblical authors occasionally attribute to God and Christ the designation "king of kings." Paul names God the Father "king of kings" in 2 Timothy 6:15 and YHWH is praised as "lord of lords" across the Hebrew scriptures (Deuteronomy 10:17, Psalms 136:3). Likewise, Christ rides out to conquer the kings of the nations as "king … Continue reading Who is the king of kings?
The Kingdom and the kingdoms The precise definition of the kingdom of God continues to allude interpreters. Is it the church? Is it a state of mind? A spirit-led mode of living? Is it an earthly kingdom that comes at the end of history? All of the above? Support for each theory can be readily … Continue reading The kingdom as divine judgement