Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Is it scriptural for a congregation to withdraw from another congregation?

     The concept of brotherhood (1 Pet. 2:17; 5:9), along with numerous biblical examples, supports the regular association and cooperation among churches of Christ (e.g. 1 Cor. 16:3; 2 Cor. 8:19; 11:8-9; et al.). But is Christian brotherhood limited to only pleasant circumstances and enjoyable activities? Does not the “brother’s keeper” principle (Gen. 4:9) enjoin on all members of God’s universal family the responsibility of warning, admonishing, and restoring those who are drifting away from the Lord? (Gal. 6:1-2; James 5:19-20). Does not brotherly love also require the exercise of certain actions which may be somewhat difficult or unpleasant? (cf. Jude 20-23). As fellowship is not limited to the congregational level alone, neither are cooperation, association, warning, admonishing, correcting, or restoring. To suggest that a congregation cannot publicly warn, rebuke, or turn away from a sister congregation that is in error is an attempt to tie the hands of the faithful and to give the devil free course to continue his destructive work. If a faithful congregation cannot withdraw from an apostatizing group, it is therefore forced to continue its association with no means of protecting its members from subversive influences.
     Since the Lord himself cuts off entire congregations when they drift too far away from the prescribed standard of conduct (Rev. 2:5; 3:16; cf. John 15:2-6), should any less be expected from those who remain in fellowship with God? It is true that there were faithful Christians even among the errant congregations of Asia Minor (cf. Rev. 2:24; 3:4), but bear in mind that the Lord did not happily accept the condition of these churches and expect them to maintain their status quo. He called upon them to either repent or face the consequences. Individuals who are true to the Lord, even within the unsound congregations, have the responsibility of admonishing and restoring the unfaithful (Gal. 6:1; James 5:19-20) and severing their affiliation with those who refuse to repent (1 Cor. 5:13; 2 Thess. 3:6; cf. 2 Cor. 6:17). Perpetual silence and toleration in the midst of unrepentant sin are not marks of faithfulness (cf. 1 Kings 18:21; Ezek. 3:17- 21; Rev. 2:20).
     Every Christian and every local congregation belongs to the universal body of Christ. Congregational autonomy does not negate the common bond we all share as a spiritual family. Certainly no single congregation has the right or authority to rule over the affairs of another, but warning, rebuking, and withdrawing from an erring group of Christians is not an infringement on church autonomy. A congregation has both the right and the obligation to refuse association with any person or group that fails to abide within the boundaries set forth by God’s word. Local leaderships will be held accountable for the souls entrusted to their care (Heb. 13:17), for their faithfulness to God or lack of it (Rev. 2:10, 23), and for the messages of approval or disapproval conveyed to their brethren (1 Cor. 11:2, 17).
     A word of caution is in order here. Before an entire congregation (or even an individual for that matter) is excluded from one’s circle of associations, the reasons and motives for such strong measures must be prayerfully scrutinized in the light of God’s word. It is fairly easy to make general allegations of “unfaithfulness” or “false teaching” or “liberalism” or “legalism” or “divisiveness” bolstered by numerous scripture references. But without the substantiation of specific details and reliable information, there is a risk of making illegitimate claims and premature or unwarranted judgments. There is no place for hasty decisions, unbridled emotionalism, or irresponsible proof-texting when dealing with something as precious as the fellowship of God’s people. And because this is such an important matter, sometimes the best course to take is disassociation.
--Kevin L. Moore


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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Who is the “I” of Romans 7:7-25?

In Romans 7 Paul seems to be using a rhetorical device that employs first person terminology to convey a general truth, similar to Rom. 3:5-7 and 1 Cor. 10:29-30. Some scholars refer to this as “speech-in-character.1 But even in a general sense, who would be included in the I references?

Paul is writing to “all in Rome … called saints” (Rom. 1:7)and sends greetings to what appears to be three or more separate house churches (16:5, 14, 15) comprised of both Gentile and Jewish believers.3  At times in the letter his focus seems to be on Gentile Christians (1:5-6, 13; 11:13-24; 15:14-21), and at other times Jewish Christians (2:17; 6:14-15; 7:4; 16:3, 7, 11). Although there are allusions to physical Israel (e.g. 9:1-5), the apostle plainly states: “for not all those of Israel are [truly] Israel” (9:6b), and “the children of the flesh, these are not children of God, but the children of the promise are considered a posterity” (9:8; cf. 10:12). This follows the previous affirmations that Abraham is the father of all the Roman believers, both Jewish and Gentile (4:12, 16).  

Paul is writing as an evangelist to those who have already been evangelized (note 6:3-5), so whatever he discusses is most likely an internal Christian matter. While he wants to secure the support of the Roman brethren for his planned mission to Spain (15:24-29), he also needs to address the apparent division between Gentile and Jewish believers (14:1–15:13). There were multiple circumstances that “led Paul to write a letter in which he carefully set forth his understanding of the gospel, particularly as it related to the salvation-historical question of Jew and Gentile, law and gospel, continuity and discontinuity between the old and the new” (D. A. Carson and D. J. Moo, An Introduction to the NT 407; also D. J. Moo, Romans 16-22).

The discussion in Rom. 7 particularly relates to “those who know the law” (v. 1), albeit having been “delivered from the law” (v. 6). Paul was not anti-law (cf. 3:31; 7:7, 12, 14). Rather, he understood that apart from the faith of Christ justification before God cannot be secured by meritorious works of the law (3:20-31; 9:30-32). The argumentation in Rom. 7 is from the perspective of a mid-first-century Jewish Christian (like Paul himself), the application of which was almost certainly not intended to be limited so narrowly.
--Kevin L. Moore

Endnotes:
     1See, e.g., S. K. Stowers, “Romans 7.7-25 as a Speech-in-Character, in Paul in His Hellenistic Context (ed. T. Enberg-Pedersen): 180-202. 
     2Scripture quotations are the author’s own translation.
     3See K. L. Moore, A Critical Introduction to the NT 148-50.

Related PostsWas Paul Anti-Law? 

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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Chronology of Paul’s Work in Corinth

Background
     Lucius Junius Gallio Novatianus (a.k.a. Gallio) began his one-year office as proconsul of Achaia in June 51. An inscription discovered at Delphi and published in 1905 (with additional fragments found and then published in 1970) dates between April and July 52. From this we can deduce that Gallio was the proconsul of Achaia in the previous year (cf. Acts 18:2, 12).
     Emperor Claudius had dispelled Jews (including Aquila and Priscilla) from Rome in 49 (his 9th year as emperor). The dating of Claudius’ edict comes primarily from the 5th-century historian Paulus Orosius (Hist. Adv. Pag. 7.6.15-16), and even though there is a degree of uncertainty as to the exactness of this date (cf. J. Murphy-O’Connor, Paul: A Critical Life 9-10), it is consistent with other chronological data (Josephus, Dio Cassius, Suetonius) and is based on historical information available to Orosius that is no longer extant. 
     Paul and Barnabas met with the apostles and elders in Jerusalem to discuss the circumcision controversy (Acts 15:1 ff.) early in the year 50, fourteen years after Paul’s visit in 36 (Gal. 2:1).1 Afterwards, over the next few months, Paul’s missionary team started churches in the region of Macedonia, viz. in the cities of Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea, then on to Athens (Acts 16–17).
Paul’s Work in Corinth
     The apostle would have arrived in Corinth from Athens around late autumn of the year 50. He labored with Aquila, Priscilla, Silas and Timothy until spring of 52, leaving behind an established Christian community (Acts 18:1-18). After his departure via the seaport of Cenchrea, Paul seems to have had no further communications with the Corinthian brethren until sometime during his three years’ ministry in Ephesus (Acts 20:31; 1 Cor. 16:8).
     Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians in which he warned them not to associate with immoral persons (1 Cor. 5:9), and Timothy was sent to Corinth to remind them of the apostle’s teachings (1 Cor. 4:17). Paul received reports from Chloe’s people of certain disorders among the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:11), and he welcomed a delegation from Corinth, namely Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus (1 Cor. 16:17), who delivered a letter from the brethren seeking his advice on various questions (1 Cor. 7:1). In response Paul wrote the epistle of 1 Corinthians from Ephesus in the spring of 56 (cf. 1 Cor. 4:19; 16:8).
     An unsuccessful attempt had been made to get Apollos to revisit Corinth (1 Cor. 16:12), while Paul was planning to return to Corinth himself (1 Cor. 4:18-19; 11:34; cf. 2 Cor. 11:10; 12:21) to impart “a second blessing [cháris]” (2 Cor. 1:15). This could refer to his next return since the inaugural campaign (cf. 2 Cor. 12:14; 13:2; discussed further below). Another possibility is the fact that two upcoming visits had been planned – one on the way to Macedonia (2 Cor. 1:16a) and the other from Macedonia (v. 16b) – thus the first and second “blessing,” although the first of these did not eventuate.
     His initial intention was to stop in Corinth on his way to Macedonia, then revisit the Corinthians on his way from Macedonia to Judea and be assisted by them (2 Cor. 1:16; cf. 1 Cor. 16:6; Acts 19:21). However, for reasons presumably beyond his control, he had to change his travel plans and go to Macedonia first (1 Cor. 16:2-7; cf. 2 Cor. 1:12-24) via Troas (2 Cor. 2:12-13), although he did not want to visit the Corinthians while he was agitated with them (2 Cor. 1:23; 2:1-4; cf. 12:20-21; 13:10).
     Titus had been to Corinth and met Paul in Macedonia, reporting on the situation among the Corinthian disciples (2 Cor. 7:5-7, 13-15). From Macedonia (2 Cor. 7:5; 9:2-4) Paul and Timothy wrote 2 Corinthians in the summer and/or autumn of 56. Some interpret the evidence differently and propose three visits and four letters to Corinth (e.g. L. Morris, First Corinthians 22-25; C. Kruse, Second Corinthians 17-25; cf. G. Guthrie, 2 Corinthians 18-32).
     Paul states: “this [is the] third [time] I am ready to come to you” (2 Cor. 12:14), and “this [is the] third [time] I am coming to you” (13:1).2 These statements seem to be alluding to: (a) his inaugural visit to Corinth (Acts 18); (b) the intended visit on the way to Macedonia that did not occur (2 Cor. 1:15-17); and (c) the upcoming visit he is planning to make. This conclusion is corroborated by the next statement in 13:2, “I have warned and I am warning, as being present the second [time] and being absent now … if I come again …” This would indicate that Paul had been to Corinth once before (Acts 18), and though his previous plan to return did not eventuate, this letter is a prelude to his upcoming second visit (cf. 2 Cor. 9:1-5; 10:2, 11; 12:20-21; 13:10). Titus and other brothers were sent back to Corinth probably to deliver the letter and to help get the contribution ready which the Corinthians had proposed a year earlier (2 Cor. 8:6-24; 9:2-5; 12:17-18).
Paul’s Return to Corinth
     Paul did eventually return to Corinth, spending the three winter months of 56-57 in Greece (Acts 20:2-3), during which time he and Tertius wrote the epistle to the Romans. While it is possible that Paul revisited Corinth after his release from the first Roman imprisonment around 62-64 (cf. 2 Tim. 4:20), this cannot be confirmed.
Conclusion:
     Paul was not in the habit of making converts and then leaving them to fend for themselves (see They Returned). His documented work in Corinth demonstrates that he invested significant time and energy in fulfilling the great commission by making disciples and establishing congregations with ongoing contact and follow up.
--Kevin L. Moore

Endnotes:
     1 The question here is whether to understand the three years of Gal. 1:18 and the fourteen years of Gal. 2:1 concurrently or consecutively. Adding the fourteen years to Paul’s initial post-conversion Jerusalem visit does not present any insurmountable chronological difficulties. What creates a greater degree of uncertainty, however, is the ancient practice of counting a portion of the first and last years as a full year in the calculation.
     2 Unless otherwise noted, English translation of scripture is the author’s own.

Related Posts: Ancient Corinth 


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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Chronology of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus

The Year and the Season
The 15th year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign (circa AD 27) coincided with the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry (Luke 3:1, 23), followed by approximately three to three-and-a-half years incorporating at least three and probably four Passovers (John 2:13; [5:1]; 6:4; 12:1).The year of the Lord’s death and resurrection would have been circa AD 30.It was springtime in Judea, around March/April just before Passover (Mark 14:1, 12), approximately six weeks prior to ripe figs (Mark 11:12-13; 13:28). 
The Historical and Political Setting
When Judea became a province of the Roman Empire in AD 6, the Romans deposed Archalaeus (son of Herod the Great), set up a military prefect,and appointed Annas as high priest. Annas was then removed in AD 15 and replaced by his son-in-law Caiaphas, although Annas and Caiaphas continued to jointly exercise authority and influence among the Jews (Luke 3:2). Pontius Pilate was the sixth prefect of Judea, appointed in the 12th year of Tiberius Caesar and governed during the years 26-36 (cf. Luke 3:1; 23:1).4
Jesus was arrested and brought first to Annas, then to Caiaphas (John 18:13, 24) and the Sanhedrin (Matt. 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:66-71), charged with blasphemy and sentenced to death (cf. John 19:7). The Romans had divested the power from the Sanhedrin to execute the death penalty (John 18:31), so Jesus was delivered to the local prefect Pontius Pilate (Matt. 27:11-14; Mark 15:1-5; cf. John 18:28-38)
The Lord was essentially accused of sedition, treason, and insurrection (Luke 23:2, 3, 5, 14; John 19:12) – a very serious charge.Only Luke records Pontius Pilate sending Jesus to Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Perea (4 BC–AD 39), who then returned Jesus to the prefect (Luke 23:6-12, 15a; cf. Acts 4:27) as the one with greater authority as the emperor’s personal representative. 
When Pontius Pilate gave the Jewish crowds the choice of which prisoner to be released – the humble Galilean preacher (Jesus) or the defiant patriotic militant (Barabbas) – their decision was no doubt influenced by their misconceived messianic expectations.It had become customary during the Passover feast for the Roman prefect in Judea to release to the Jews a prisoner of their choosing (Matt. 27:15; Mark 15:6, 8; Luke 23:17; John 18:39). This was neither a law nor a custom of the Romans or the Jews but appears to have been an attempt to placate the volatile Jewish people in order to deter further civil unrest and maintain some semblance of peace (cf. Matt. 27:24; Mark 15:15; John 19:8, 12).
The Crucifixion and Burial
While the Romans may have learned about crucifixion from the 6th-century-BC Carthaginians in N. Africa, they perfected it as a means of humiliation and torture and a deterrent to insurrection. It was not until the 4th century AD that Constantine banned the barbaric practice. The intent of this brutal form of capital punishment was to inflict maximum suffering with a slow, agonizing death.7
In Classical Greek (until the early 4th century BC), the term stauróreferred to an upright stake for impaling (H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, Greek-English Lexicon 595), but in Koinē Greek it denoted the wooden object upon which the Romans executed criminals.The condemned was forced to carry the implement upon which he would die to the place of execution. Seeing that an entire Roman cross weighed over 135 kg (300 lb.), it was the crossbeam, weighing approximately 35-60 kg (75-125 lb.), that was typically carried. Jesus was beaten, crucified, and then buried in a borrowed tomb. 
The Resurrection9
Early Sunday morning (the first day of the week), women journeyed to the tomb “while it was still dark” (John 20:1), and as it “began to dawn” (Matt. 28:1) they arrived at the tomb “when the sun had risen” (Mark 16:1). About a year earlier Jesus had issued the first clear prediction of his death and resurrection, saying he would be killed and then raised “after three days” [metà treîs hēméras] (Mark 8:31). In Jewish usage the expression “after three days” is equivalent to “the third day” [tētrítē hēméra] (Matt. 16:21; Luke 9:22); each evangelist has provided his own Greek translation of the Lord’s Aramaic words. 
Earlier Jesus had spoken more enigmatically, viz. of raising up the temple of his body “in three days” (John 2:19-22), then making a comparison to Jonah in the fish’s belly “three days and three nights” (Matt. 12:38-40). Before wrestling with any perceived discrepancies in the chronological record, our first consideration ought to be what the Lord intended by these words and how his immediate listening audience would have understood them. Since Matthew is the only Gospel writer to have recorded the latter prediction, another consideration is what this would have meant to his original reading audience. The surest interpretation of a biblical prophecy is to be found in its fulfillment. 
According to ancient time reckoning, any part of a day is counted as a full day, and the expression “three days and three nights” is the idiomatic equivalent of “three days” (see, e.g., 1 Sam. 30:12-13; Esth. 4:16; 5:1; cf. Gen. 42:17-18; 2 Chron. 10:5, 12).10 The enemies of Jesus knew he had predicted his resurrection “after three days” [metà treîhēméras] (Matt. 27:63), understanding this to mean “until the third day” [héōs tēs trítēs hēméras] (v. 64). In other words, after the third day has come, not after the third day has past. If antagonists had understood the prophecy otherwise, they could have (would have?) easily charged the Lord with having made an erroneous claim. What was meant by the prophetic words was indeed fulfilled.
Jesus was crucified “the day before the Sabbath” (Mark 15:42; John 19:31), i.e., Friday. His corpse was in the tomb on the Sabbath, i.e., Saturday. He arose early on the first day of the week (Mark 16:1-2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1), “after the Sabbath” [opsè …sabbátōn] (Matt. 28:1),11 i.e., Sunday. On the day of the Lord’s resurrection, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, having just described his death, said to Jesus, “today is the third day since these things happened” (Luke 24:20-21).12
The death and resurrection of Jesus provide the cornerstone of the Christian faith (Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; 1 Pet. 3:21), without which our entire belief system is empty and futile (1 Cor. 15:14-19). Every first day of the week (Sunday) thereafter has been a special day of significance for followers of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; cf. Acts 2:1; Rev. 1:10).
--Kevin L. Moore

Endnotes:
     1The first Passover during his ministry was 46 years after Herod had begun construction on the temple (John 2:13, 20), which was about 20/19 BC, the 18th year of Herod’s reign (cf. Josephus, Ant.15.11.1).
     2The traditional date of AD 33 is based on the assumption that the Lord’s ministry began at year 30, even though the biblical record says he was “about” 30 (Luke 3:23), not to mention the 6th-century miscalculations of Dionysius Exiguus. 
     3Sometimes the term “procurator” is used, but procurators were usually civilian financial officers, whereas prefects were military men. The “Pilate Stone,” an inscription discovered at Caesarea Maritima in 1961, identifies Pontius Pilate as “prefect” of Judea.
     4See Tacitus, Annals 15.44; Josephus, Ant. 18.4.1-2. 
     5Cf. also Matt. 27:11, 29, 37, 42; Mark 15:2, 9, 12, 18, 26, 32; Luke 23:37, 38; John 18:33, 39; 19:3, 14, 15. “Ideologically, the Pax Romana [Roman Peace] was predicated upon the universality of Rome’s political and military authority, as well as its laws, institutions, customs, and cultural mores…. the Romans genuinely believed that whatever means had been used to impose this peace, and however great its human and material costs, the Pax Romana they had established was characterized by prosperity and by physical and spiritual concord. Accordingly, it justified Rome’s imperium and legitimized every effort to sustain it” (A. Parchami, Hegemonic Peace and Empire 26, 30).
     6See K. L. Moore, “Barabbas,” Moore Perspective (30 Nov. 2012). 
     7For a well-researched medical and historical analysis, see William D. Edwards, Wesley J. Gabel, and Floyd E. Hosmer, “On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ,” JAMA 255:11 (21 March 1986): 1455-63. For a more recent medical anthropological perspective, see Emanuela Gualdi-Russo, Ursula Thun Hohenstein, Nicoletta Onisto, Elena Pilli, and David Carmelli, “A multidisciplinary study of calcaneal trauma in Roman Italy: a possible case of crucifixion?,” Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences (April 2018): 10.1007/s12520-018-0631-9 <Link>.
     8Early patristic authors, writing about the “cross” upon which Jesus was crucified, unanimously describe it as having a crossbeam (e.g. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 15; cf. Epistle of Barnabas 9.7-8).
     9Matt. 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-11; John 20:1-2. On the textual integrity of the ending of Mark’s Gospel, see K. L. Moore, A Critical Introduction to the New Testament 71-79.
     10Saying to a friend in a modern-day western culture, “I’m here for you 24/7,” is simply an expressive way of conveying long-term loyalty and care, but not intended or understood as a literal commitment of unceasing presence. To say that a job was completed “at the eleventh hour” has nothing to do with precision of time. The same is true of other modern idioms, like “fifteen minutes of fame,” “four letter words,” “put two and two together,” “scattered to the four winds,” “six feet under,” “the whole nine yards,” “six of one and half a dozen of the other,” et al.
     11CSB, ESV, NASB, NET, NIV, NKJV, N/RSV. Some English translations have obscured this reference, e.g., “in the end of the sabbath” (KJV); “now late on the sabbath day” (ASV). According to Jewish convention, the Sabbath began at sunset (Friday p.m.) and ended at the following sunset (Saturday p.m.), leading into the early hours of the first day of the week.
     12Over a period of 40 days Jesus was seen alive by more than 500 eyewitnesses in Galilee and Judea prior to his ascension into heaven (Matt. 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-19; Luke 24:1-51; John 20:1–25:25; Act 1:11; 1 Cor. 15:3-7). The Passover was on the 14th day of the first Jewish lunar month (Ex. 12:6), and the church was established 50 days later on Pentecost (Lev. 23:16; Acts 2:1-47).


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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Was Jesus “the Son of God” Prior to His Incarnation?

     The apostle Paul affirms: “but when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, having been born out of woman, having been born under [the] law” (Gal. 4:4).1 Does the fact that “God sent forth his Son” suggest Jesus was the Son of God prior to his incarnation? R. Y. K. Fung argues: “It is to be observed that Christ was already Son when God sent him, that it was not the sending which made him the Son of God; in other words, his Sonship is to be understood not merely in a functional sense but in an ontological sense” (Galatians [NICNT] 181-82). But is this a valid inference, and is it consistent with overall biblical teaching? 
     There are only three references in the OT to Jesus as “Son” (Psa. 2:7, 12; Dan. 7:13), all of which are predictive messianic prophecies. The formal title “the Son of God” does not occur in the Hebrew scriptures.2 There are eleven verses in the OT alluding to God as “Father” (Deut. 32:6; 2 Sam. 7:14; 1 Chron. 17:14; Psa. 89:26; Isa. 9:6; 63:16; 64:8; Jer. 3:4; 31:9; Mal. 1:6; 2:10), though not as the Father of a Son but of the nation of Israel.3 And one of these passages (Isa. 9:6) is actually a messianic prophecy applicable to Jesus Christ!
     Paul connects the sending forth of God’s Son with the occasion of “having been born of woman.” In Luke’s account of the birth narrative, the angel Gabriel proclaims to Mary: “And behold you will conceive in [your] womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. This [one] will be great and will be called Son of [the] Most High …. [the] Holy Spirit will overshadow you; therefore also the holy [one] being born will be called Son of God” (Luke 1:31-35, emp. added). The future tense of this proclamation indicates that Jesus was recognized as “Son” in conjunction with his human conception and birth, not before.
     The fact that “Jesus Christ” is said to have been “sent” (John 17:3) does not mean that he was known as “Jesus Christ” prior to the incarnation (cf. Matt. 1:21). The expression “God sent forth his Son,” therefore, does not necessarily imply previous recognition as God’s Son. To speak of “the Son of God” being “manifested” (1 John 3:8) is comparable to saying that “Jesus Christ” was “manifested” (2 Tim. 1:9-10; 1 Pet. 1:13, 19, 20), neither of which imply prior existence as either the Son of God or as Jesus Christ.
     Paul appears to be making a proleptic statement, i.e., using current language to describe something in the past. For example, Moses speaks of “Bethel” as he records Abraham’s entrance into the land of Canaan (Gen. 12:8), even though the place was not actually named Bethel until several decades after the arrival of Abraham (Gen. 28:10-19). At the time the historical narrative was transcribed, the place was known as Bethel and thus so designated in the text. In John 11:1-2, in the account of Lazarus’ illness and subsequent death, Mary is described as the one who anointed the Lord’s feet (an act for which she was known at the time of writing), although chronologically this did not occur until a few months later (John 12:5).
     Paul’s employment of the term “Son” to designate the one sent forth from God “resonates with the surrounding verses, in which he states that believers are also ‘sons of God’” (L. A. Jervis, Galatians [NIBC] 109). In relation to God, the significance of the designation “the Son of God” is twofold, suggesting: (a) subordination of role or position (cf. John 14:28); and (b) equality of nature and essence (John 5:17-18; 10:24-33; 19:5-7). While the latter was in place prior to the incarnation, the former was not (cf. Phil. 2:5-7).
--Kevin L. Moore

Endnotes:
     1 Unless otherwise noted, scripture quotations are the author’s own translation.
     2 When Nebuchadnezzar said “the appearance” [wə-rê-wêh] of the fourth person in the furnace “is like” [dā-mêh] “a son” [lə-ḇar-] “of gods” [’ĕ-lā-hîn] (Dan. 3:25, cf. ESV, N/ASV, etc.), it is highly unlikely that the pagan king had any concept of “the Son of God” (N/KJV) in the NT sense. The pre-incarnate Christ would not be manifested as the Son of God for another six centuries. Nebuchadnezzar was simply trying to explain what he saw as “a divine being” (ISV), perhaps an “angel” (3:28). Elsewhere in the book of Daniel the same terminology is used with reference to pagan “gods” (2:11, 47; 5:11b; cf. most translations of 4:8, 9, 18; 5:11a, 14).
     3 An apparent exception is 2 Sam. 7:14 and the parallel account in 1 Chron. 17:14, where David is reassured that after his death God will take his place as Solomon’s father, in the sense of exercising special care for him. In addition to the fact that the Davidic king represents the Davidic kingdom (i.e. the people of God), this passage seems to have messianic implications, as it is later quoted in Heb. 1:5 to discount angels from the role of divine sonship, establishing Christ’s superiority over them. In the OT “fatherhood” is just one of several metaphors describing God’s relationship with his people; cp. “husband” (Isa. 54:5; Hos. 2:16), “shepherd” (Psa. 23:1; Isa. 40:10-11), “vinedresser” (Isa. 5:1-7), “shelter” (Psa. 61:3-8), etc.



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