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THE THEOLOGY OF THE GOSPEL
A. CHRISTOLOGY. Jesus was the Messiah of the Old Testament (1"), and was therefore descended from David and from Abraham (1”). His ancestral line rose to monarchical power in the person of David (19), lost their royal dignity at the time of the Captivity (19l), but recovered it in the person of Jesus, the anointed Messiah (116). Jesus was therefore born as King of the Jews (22), entered Jerusalem as its king (214-5), and died as a claimant to royal power (2711. 29. 37. 42). He was born of a virgin, as the Prophet İsaiah had foretold (122), by conception of the Holy Spirit (120), so that He could be called God-with-us (123), or Son of God (215 317 48.6 829 1488 175 2663 2740. 43. 54). At His baptism the Spirit of God came down upon Him; and here, as at the Transfiguration, He was proclaimed by God to be His Son, the Beloved, divinely elected (317 175). He therefore spoke of Himself as “Son,” and of God as “Father” in a unique sense ? (1127 2436). As Messiah, He fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. His supernatural birth (122), several incidents of His early years (25. 16. 17. 23), His public ministry in Galilee (424), His ministry of healing (817), His avoidance of publicity (1217), the misunderstanding of His hearers (1314), His use of parables (1385), the manner of His entry into Jerusalem (214), His betrayal (2624), His desertion (2691), His arrest (2654. 56), and the use to which the money given for His betrayal was put (279), had all been foretold in the Old Testament. As Son of God, He cast out demons by the Spirit of God (1228). He preached the near advent of the kingdom of heaven (see below). He performed miracles, chiefly of healing, but He also cast out demons, raised dead persons to lise, walked on the water on one occasion, and twice fed multitudes with a few loaves and fishes. He foretold His death and resurrection, and promised that He would come again in the near future (see below) to inaugurate the kingdom. He spoke of Himself as the “Son of Man." As such He had angels at His command (1341 249), and
* The distinction is also implied in the fact that Christ is represented as speaking of “My Father,” but not of “our Father,” except in 69, where the phrase is put into the mouths of the disciples. Schmidt (The Prophet of Nazareth, p. 154) argues that "Jesus said neither ‘My Father' nor your Father,' but 'the Father who is in heaven.'” But whilst it is true that Christ may have used Abba (=the Father) in the sense of “My Father,” cf. Mk 1436 and Dalm. Words, 192, the evidence of the first Gospel, that He spoke of
your Father” and “their Father,” must not be set aside, since it is supported by the usage of the Jewish literature. Cf. the instances cited on p. 44. Consequently the absence from the Gospel of "our Father,” except in 69, is very significant ; cf. Dalm. Words, 190.
3 But see note on 2436.
would come again in glory with angels (1627 2430), and sit on the throne of His glory (1928 2581).
Thus three aspects of the Messiah's work are represented in the Gospel : (1) The work of healing and preaching, which formed a sort of preparation for the coming kingdom ; (2) the reappearance at the end of the age, when He would come again to inaugurate the kingdom; (3) His death. This was, from one point of view, a necessary stage in the development of the divine purpose. If the Son of Man was to appear on the clouds of heaven in His kingdom, He must first return to the Father in heaven to be invested with the divine glory. Thus the Son of Man “must ” suffer (1621). This was a part of the divine scheme (1623). It had been foretold in prophecy (2624. 64).
But it was something more than a necessary link in a divinely foreseen chain of events. It had in itself a redemptive aspect. His blood was “shed for many," that their sins might be forgiven (2628). This bloodshedding signified the ratification of a covenant between God and man (2628). The idea presumably is that the death could be regarded as a sacrifice which once and for all propitiated God, brought men into a right relation to God, in virtue of which men could approach Him and be received by Him without further sacrifices. Hence it can be said that He came for this very purpose to "give His life a ransom for many" (2028 from Mk 1046).
B. THE KINGDOM OF THE HEAVENS. This phrase occurs in the Gospel 32 times, viz. 32 417 53. 10. 19 (2). 20 721 811 107 1111. 12 1311. 24. 31. 44. 45. 47. 52 1619 181. 3. 4. 23
12. 14. 23. 24 (Z 133 124 157 S1 S2 abce, but x B al toll Deoù) 201 222 2314 251 We find also η βασιλεία του θεού in 1228 1924 (# B al) 2131. 43 and 683 (E al latt S?, but x B g?k omit toll Deoû). This phrase occurs in Mk. 14 times; Mt. 5 times substitutes ý Baouleia tûv oúpavôv, and 8 times omits or paraphrases. In the remaining case, Mk 1025 = Mt 1924, both readings are found in Mt.; but, in spite of the fact that tôv oúpavôv is not so well attested as toll Ocow, there is a strong presumption against the latter, from the fact that in the 13 other cases the editor omits, paraphrases, or substitutes των ουρανών for του θεού. In any case, it is clear that in 1228 2131 and 43 there must be special reasons for the occurrence of ń Baouleia toll Geoû. In 1228, which finds a parallel in Lk 1120, the phrase probably occurred in the source used by the Evangelist. He would, no doubt, have substituted tûv oúpavôv if the context had admitted it. But, as will be shown below, he everywhere uses η βασιλεία των ουρανών of the kingdom which Christ announced as at hand, to be inaugurated when the Son of Man came on the clouds of heaven. In 1228 the editor found in
his source the words, “ But if I by the spirit of God cast out devils, then the kingdom of God came upon you.” Whatever “the kingdom of God” means here, it clearly has not quite the same significance as "the kingdom of the heavens” in such passages as 811 1345. The editor therefore retains toù Beoû to mark the contrast between "the kingdom of God” as used here, and "the kingdom of the heavens" as used elsewhere in the Gospel. In 2131 η βασιλεία του θεού is again probably due to the source used. And here we might have expected the editor to substitute tûv oủpavô with a future verb. “Will go before you into the kingdom of the heavens” would have given a very good sense. But he is faithful to his source, which had a present tense, “go before you into the kingdom of God.” It was clear to him that, whatever the phrase meant, the kingdom here was not quite the same as “the kingdom of the heavens as used by him elsewhere in the Gospel, and he recorded his sense of the difference of meaning by retaining toû Ocoû. In 2143, on the other hand, Ÿ Baoideía toù deoû is probably editorial (see the notes). Why, then, does not the editor use Tôv oủpavñv ? Because he wished to explain the taking away of the vineyard, and the giving it to others (41). And there was no phrase which would so well correspond to the vineyard as "the kingdom of God.” “The kingdom ” alone would have been too
“ suggestive of merely earthly political power. “The kingdom of the heavens," as elsewhere used in the Gospel, had never been, like the vineyard, entrusted to the Jewish nation. But “the kingdom of God” might well be used to sum up that whole revelation of God to the Jewish people which was to be transferred to others.
We find, further, the simple “ Baodela in 423 812 935 1319, and the following: “His kingdom,” 633 1341 1628 ; “ Thy kingdom, 610 2021 ; "the kingdom of their Father,” 1343 ; "the kingdom of My Father," 2629. For the idea of “the kingdom of heaven” in Jewish literature, see Dalman, Words, pp. 91 ff.; Bousset, Rel. Jud. 199 ff. Dalman has shown that in Jewish writings "nigbo," when applied to God, means always the "kingly rule,” never the “ kingdom.” In other words, it should be translated by “sovereignty” rather than "kingdom.” The “kingly rule" of God was His divine sovereignty, which governed all things in heaven and in earth; cf. Ps 10319 “ His 'sovereignty' ruleth over all," Dn 484 "His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His sovereignty from generation to generation,” Enoch 842 “ Thy power, and kingship, and greatness abide for ever and ever.” Hence men, in devoting themselves to the service of God, can be said to choose or accept His sovereignty, cf. Jubilees 1219 “Thee and Thy dominion have I chosen ”; Mechilta (Ugol.) 384 :
They joyfully agreed to receive the sovereignty'"; and the
service thus accepted is called a "yoke"; cf. Siphri (Ugol.) 916: “Take upon you the yoke of the sovereignty of heaven.”
But the conception of God's sovereignty is an ideal one, and there is much in life which seems inconsistent with it. The future would see a universal recognition of it. Hence the idea easily becomes an eschatological one, and blends with the conception of the coming Messiah as king. Cf. Dn 714, Sib. Or 345-46 tóte δη βασιλεία μεγίστη αθανάτου βασιληος επ' ανθρώποισι φανείται, , 767 και τότε δή εξεγερεί βασιλήιον εις αιώνας πάντας επ' ανθρώπους και Assumption of Moses 101 "Then will His kingdom appear throughout all His creation”; Mechilta (Friedmann) 568 “Then shall God alone be absolute in all the world, and His sovereignty shall endure for ever.”] It is in this eschatological sense that the phrase is used in this Gospel. Jesus was of the royal line (11-16). In Him the Davidic family recovered once again its lost Sovereignty; but more than recovered it, for Jesus was the anointed Messiah (116). He was born “King of the Jews" (22). As "king" He entered Jerusalem (21%), and as king He suffered (2711. 29. 87. 42). As king He would sit upon the throne of His glory to judge all nations (2584. 40), cf. Orac. Sib 349-60 fel 8 åyvos avaš raons ris σκήπτρα κρατήσων εις αιώνας άπαντας επειγομένοιο χρόνοιo. The announcement of the coming kingdom was frequently the subject of His preaching
He proclaimed its near advent. It was at hand (417), and He bade His disciples make the same proclamation (107). "This preaching was an evangel, i.e. good news (423 986). The disciples were to pray for the coming of the kingdom (610). It would, however, not come in the lifetime of the Messiah, but after His death, when He would come as Son of Man (1628, cf. 21). This coming would usher in the end of this dispensation (243). It would take place immediately after the great tribulation (2429) which would accompany the fall of Jerusalem (2415. 16), i.e. within the lifetime of that generation (2434, cf. 1628 1023). But God alone knew the exact day and hour (2436), and the good news must be preached first to all nations (2414, cf. 2819). It seems clear that the Evangelist saw no obstacle to this preaching being effected within a very short period (1023). The inauguration of the kingdom is called the new birth (1928). Then the Apostles would sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. They who should find a place in it were “the pure in heart” (58), those who were "persecuted in the cause of righteousness” (510). Those who broke the Mosaic law and taught others to do so would be called least in it (519). They alone whose righteousness exceeded that of the scribes and Pharisees would enter into it (520). Rich people would hardly find entrance (1923-24). But they should
· Quoted by Dalman, Words, p. 99.
obtain admission who did the will of God (721), and who were of childlike character (189 1914). On the other hand, the chief priests and elders, the representatives of the Jewish nation, would have the kingdom which should have been theirs taken from them (2143, cf. 812). Publicans and harlots would enter in before them (2131).
Christ's disciples were to give up all earthly possessions for the sake of the kingdom (1929), even life itself (1624-26). Some of them would renounce marriage (1912). They were to strive after the kingdom first (683).
In ch. 13 we have a series of illustrations intended to throw light upon the nature of the kingdom. But it is clear that no definition of the kingdom can be deduced with certainty from them. They can only be used as illustrations of a conception which is already clearly defined. In some of these parables the kingdom might seem to denote an abstract principle, the divine sovereignty, so that “the kingdom of heaven” would be equivalent to the "will of God.” In others it lends itself easily to definition as the Church, the Christian Society in which the principle of recognition of the divine sovereignty finds expression. But without inquiring into the ideas involved in the phrase as used by Christ Himself, it seems probable that so far as the editor of this Gospel is concerned we should give to the phrase in these parables the meaning which it seems to bear elsewhere in the Gospel, i.e. the meaning of the coming kingdom to be inaugurated at the end of
Thus in 1324-80. 86-48, a parable from the Matthæan Logia, the story deals with the period of preparation for the kingdom which is to be set up at the end of the age (43). The world during this period is compared to a field. Christ the Son of Man (37) has sown in it the good seed of the knowledge of the true nature and near approach (cf. 47) of the coming kingdom. But in the meantime the Devil also sows tares, i.e. false teaching. The good seed ripens to maturity in the “sons of the kingdom," i.e. those who are destined to enter into it (cf. the same phrase of the Jews in 812). The tare seed develops into unbelievers, i.e. sons of the evil one (38), i.e. those who partake of his nature, and who will be excluded from the kingdom. The end of this period of preparation is likened to a harvest (89). Then the Son of Man will come and inaugurate the kingdom (cf. 1628 "coming in His kingdom ”). From it will be excluded the wicked, whilst the righteous will shine forth in it as the sun (39).
The teaching of the parable of the Sower (133-23) seems to be to the same effect. The seed is “the word of the kingdom” (19), i.e. the doctrine of its near advent, and of the requirements of entry into it. This must fall into receptive hearts if it is to develop