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John Reece
09-12-2015, 12:08 PM
Note to Geert van den Bos and all other cabalists: please, do not post anything in this thread.

The Parables of the Kingdom (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1961), by the late C. H. Dodd, is an out-of-print book that according to Amazon is available only from 3rd party sellers ― at inflated prices: as much as $146.32 used (only 9 copies available) and as much as $168.56 new (only 3 copies available from) as of 9-12-2015. I hope to present a series of paragraph size excerpts in this thread, because my perusals of so-called prophecy websites have prompted me to think about the difference between assertions about the kingdom of God on said sites compared with what Jesus himself said about the kingdom of God.

On the outside back cover of the paperback edition that I received today from a 3rd party seller via Amazon.com, I find this comment: "A book of which Dr. Alexander Whyte of old would have said to his students, 'Sell you bed and buy it.'" ―BRITISH WEEKLY

robrecht
09-12-2015, 12:21 PM
Some people may also want to read his short book, written for a popular audience at the end of his career: The Founder of Christianity, which is on-line here:

http://www.religion-online.org/showbook.asp?title=2241

John Reece
09-12-2015, 12:30 PM
Some people may also want to read his short book, written for a popular audience at the end of his career: The Founder of Christianity, which is on-line here:

http://www.religion-online.org/showbook.asp?title=2241

Thanks for that!

John Reece
09-13-2015, 08:15 AM
From The Parables of the Kingdom (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1961), by C. H. Dodd:



Chapter I

THE NATURE AND PURPOSE OF THE GOSPEL PARABLES

The parables are perhaps the most characteristic element in the teaching of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospels. They have upon them, taken as a whole, the stamp of a highly individual mind, in spite of the re-handling they have inevitably suffered in the course of transmission. Their appeal to the imagination fixed them in the memory, and gave them a secure place in the tradition. Certainly there is no part of the Gospel record which has for the reader a clearer ring of authenticity.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-14-2015, 01:13 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=244417&viewfull=1#post244417)


But the interpretation of the parables is another matter. Here there is no general agreement. In the traditional teaching of the Church for centuries they were treated as allegories, in which each term stood as a cryptogram for an idea, so that the whole had to be de-coded term by term. A famous example is Augustine's interpretation of the parable of the Good Samaritan.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-16-2015, 07:14 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=244947&viewfull=1#post244947)


A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho; Adam himself is meant; Jerusalem is the heavenly city of peace, from whose blessedness Adam fell; Jericho means the moon, and signifies our mortality, because it is born, waxes, wanes, and dies. Thieves are the devil and his angels. Who stripped him, namely, of his immortality; and beat him, by persuading him to sin; and left him half-dead, because in so far as man can understand and know God, he lives, but in so far as he is wasted and oppressed by sin, he is dead; he is therefore called half-dead. The priest and the Levite who saw him and passed by, signify the priesthood and ministry of the Old Testament, which could profit nothing for salvation. Samaritan means Guardian, and therefore the Lord Himself is signified by this name. The binding of the wounds is the restraint of sin. Oil is the comfort of good hope; wine the exhortation to work with fervent spirit. The beast is the flesh in which He deigned to come to us. The being set upon the beast is belief in the incarnation of Christ. The inn is the Church, where travelers returning to their heavenly country are refreshed after pilgrimage. The morrow is after the resurrection of the Lord. The two pence are either the two precepts of love, or the promise of this life and of that which is to come. The innkeeper is the apostle (Paul). The supererogatory payment is either his counsel of celibacy, or the fact that he worked with his own hands lest he should be a burden to any of the weaker brethren when the Gospel was new, though it was lawful for him, "to live by the Gospel."―(Quaestiones Evangeliorum, II, 19―slightly abridged.)

To be continued...

John Reece
09-17-2015, 07:38 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=245499&viewfull=1#post245499)


This interpretation (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=245499&viewfull=1#post245499) of the parable in question prevailed until the time of Archbishop Trench, who follows its main lines with even more ingenious elaboration; and it is still to be heard in sermons. To the ordinary person of intelligence who approaches the Gospels with some sense for literature this mystification must appear quite perverse.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-18-2015, 08:37 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=245830&viewfull=1#post245830)


Yet it must be confessed that the Gospels themselves give encouragement to this allegorical method of interpretation. Mark interprets the parable of the Sower, and Matthew those of the Tares and the Drag-net, on just such principles; and both attribute their interpretations to Jesus Himself. It was the great merit of Adolf Jülicher, in his work Die Gleicnisreden Jesu (1899-1910) that he applied a thoroughgoing criticism to this method, and showed, not that the allegorical interpretation is in this or that case overdone or fanciful, but that the parables in general do not admit of this method at all, and that the attempts of the evangelists themselves to apply it rest on a misunderstanding.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-19-2015, 06:26 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=246325&viewfull=1#post246325)


The crucial passage is Mk. iv. 11-20 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mar+4%3A11-20&version=ESV). Jesus, in answer to a question of His disciples, says: "To you is granted the mystery of the Kingdom of God, but to those outside everything comes in parables, in order that they may look and look but never see, listen and listen but never understand, lest they should be converted and forgiven"; and then follows the interpretation of the parable of the Sower. Now this whole passage is strikingly unlike language and style to the majority of the sayings of Jesus. Its vocabulary includes (within this short space) seven words which are not proper to the rest of the Synoptic record.* All seven are characteristic of the vocabulary of Paul, and most of them occur also in other apostolic writers. These facts create at once a presumption that we have here not a part of the primitive tradition of the words of Jesus, but a piece of apostolic teaching.

*Μυστήριον, οἱ ἐξω, ἀπάτη are not found in the Synoptics outside this passage; ἐπιθυμία is found elsewhere only in Lk. xxii. 15, in a different sense; διωγμός and θλῖψις are found only in Mk. x. 30, and in the Synoptic Apocalypse (Mk. xiii.), passages which are for other reasons suspected of being secondary.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-20-2015, 04:30 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=246875&viewfull=1#post246875)


Further, the interpretation offered is confused. The seed is the Word: yet the crop which comes up is composed of various classes of people. The former interpretation suggests the Greek idea of the "seminal word"; while the latter is closely akin to a similitude in the Apocalypse of Ezra: "As the farmer sows over the ground many seeds, and plants a multitude of plants, but in season not all that have been planted take root, so also of those who have sowed in the world not all shall be saved" (II Esdras viii. 41). Two inconsistent lines of interpretation have been mixed up. Yet we may suppose that the Teller of the parable knew exactly what He meant by it.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-21-2015, 09:54 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=247170&viewfull=1#post247170)


Again, the idea that the parable is a veiled revelation of the coming behavior of those who heard the teaching of Jesus, under temptation and persecution, is bound up with the view expressed in 11-12 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mar+4%3A11-12&version=ESV) about the purpose of the parables. According to these verses they are spoken in order to prevent those who were not predestined to salvation from understanding the teaching of Jesus. This is surely connected with the doctrine of the primitive Church, accepted with modification by Paul, that the Jewish people to whom Jesus came were by divine providence blinded to the significance of His coming, in order that the mysterious purpose of God might be fulfilled through their rejection of the Messiah. That is to say, this explanation of the purpose of the parables is an answer to a question which arose after the death of Jesus, and the failure of His followers to win the Jewish people. But that He desired not to be understood by the people in general, and therefore clothed His teaching in unintelligible forms, cannot be made credible on any reasonable reading of the Gospels.


To be continued...

John Reece
09-22-2015, 04:33 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=247581&viewfull=1#post247581)


The probability is that the parables could have been taken for allegorical mystification only in a non-Jewish environment. Among Jewish teachers the parable was a common and well-understood method of illustration, and the parables of Jesus are similar in form to Rabbinic parables. The question therefore, why He taught in parables, would not be likely to arise, still less to receive such a perplexing answer. In the Hellenistic world, on the other hand, the use of myths, allegorically interpreted, as vehicles of esoteric doctrine, was widespread, and something of the kind would be looked for from Christian teachers. It was this, as much as anything, which set interpretations going in the wrong direction.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-23-2015, 05:01 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=247581&viewfull=1#post247581)


The probability is that the parables could have been taken for allegorical mystification only in a non-Jewish environment. Among Jewish teachers the parable was a common and well-understood method of illustration, and the parables of Jesus are similar in form to Rabbinic parables. The question therefore, why He taught in parables, would not be likely to arise, still less to receive such a perplexing answer. In the Hellenistic world, on the other hand, the use of myths, allegorically interpreted, as vehicles of esoteric doctrine, was widespread, and something of the kind would be looked for from Christian teachers. It was this, as much as anything, which set interpretations going on wrong lines.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-23-2015, 06:00 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=248464&viewfull=1#post248464)


What then are the parables, if they are not allegories? They are the natural expression of a mind that sees truth in concrete pictures rather than in abstractions. The contrast between the two ways of thinking may be illustrated from two passages in the Gospels. In Mk. xii. 33 a scribe is introduced, who expresses the sentiment: "To love one's neighbor as oneself is better than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." In Mt. v. 23 the same idea is expressed thus: "If you are offering your gift at the alter, and remember there and then that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go and get reconciled with your brother first of all; then come and offer your gift." This concrete, pictorial mode of expression is thoroughly characteristic of the sayings of Jesus. Thus instead of saying, "Beneficence should not be ostentatious," He says, "When you give alms, do not blow your trumpet"; instead of saying, "Wealth is a grave hindrance to true religion," He says, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God." In such figurative expressions the germ of the parable is already present.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-24-2015, 07:52 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=248481&viewfull=1#post248481)


At its simplest the parable is a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application to tease it into active thought. Our common language is full of dead metaphors: a thought "strikes" us; young men "sow wild oats"; politicians "explore avenues." Such dead metaphors are often a sign of mental laziness and a substitute for exact thought. But a living metaphor is another thing. "Where the carcass is the vultures will gather"; "a town set on a mountain cannot be hidden"; "make yourselves purses that will not wear out"; "if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the ditch."

To be continued...

John Reece
09-25-2015, 07:26 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=248987&viewfull=1#post248987)


Now such a simple metaphor (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=248987&viewfull=1#post248987) may be elaborated into a picture, by the addition of detail. Thus: "They do not light a lamp and put it under a mean-tub, but on a lampstand; and then it gives light to all in the house"; "No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old coat, else the patch pulls away from it―the new from the old―and there is a worse tear"; "Why do you look at the splinter in your brother's eye, without noticing the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, let me take the splinter out of your eye, when there is a plank in your own"; or to take a simile, "To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-place and calling to one another, we played the pipes for you and you would not dance; we set up a wail for you and you would not weep!" This is the type of parable which is called by the Germans Gleichnis, i.e. similitude. It is a common type, including, for example, the Son asking for Bread, the Eye the Light of the Body, the Sons of the Bridechamber, the Fig-tree as Herald of Summer (Mk. xiii. 29), and other familiar parables.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-26-2015, 03:41 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=249414&viewfull=1#post249414)


Or again, the metaphor (or simile) may be elaborated into a story instead of a picture, the additional details serving to develop a situation. This is what the Germans call Parabel, the parable proper. The story may be a very short one; e.g. "The Kingdom of God is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened." Very little longer are the parables of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, the Hid Treasure and the Costly Pearl, the Mustard-Seed, the Seed Growing Secretly and the Two-Sons. Somewhat longer are Two Houses, the Sower, the Importunate Friend, and some others. And finally we have full-length tales (Novellen) like the Money of Trust, the Unforgiving Servant (Mt. xviii. 23-35), the Prodigal Son, and the Labourers of the Vineyard.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-27-2015, 07:52 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=249699&viewfull=1#post249699)


It cannot be pretended that the line can be drawn with any precision between these classes of parable―figurative sayings, similitudes, and parables proper. If we say that the first class has no more than one verb, the second more than one verb, in the present tense, and the third a series of verbs in an historic sense, we have a rough grammatical test; and this corresponds to the fact that the similitude on the whole tends to describe a typical or recurrent case, the parable a particular case treated as typical. But one class melts into another, and it is clear that in all of them we have nothing but the elaboration of a single comparison, all the details being designed to set the situation or series of events in the clearest possible light, so as to catch the imagination.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-28-2015, 01:57 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=250066&viewfull=1#post250066)


This leads us at once to the most important principle of interpretation. The typical parable, whether it be a simple metaphor, or a more elaborate similitude, or a full-length story, presents one single point of comparison. The details are not intended to have independent significance. In all allegory, on the other hand, each detail is a separate metaphor, with a significance all its own. Thus in the Pilgrim's Progress we have the episode of the House Beautiful. It is a story of the arrival of belated travelers at a hospitable country house. Commentators even undertake to show us the actual house in Bedfordshire. But in the story the maid who opens the door is Discretion, the ladies of the house are Prudence, Piety and Charity, and the bedchamber is Peace. Or to take a biblical example, in Paul's category of the Christian warrior the girdle is Truth, the breastplate Righteousness, the shoes Peace, the shield Faith, the helmet Salvation, and the sword the Word of God. On the other hand, if we read the parable of the Importunate Friend, it would be obviously absurd to ask who is represented by the friend who arrives from a journey, or the children who are in bed. These and all the other details of the story are there simply to build up the picture of a sudden crisis of need, calling for urgency which would otherwise be untimely and even impertinent. Similarly in the parable of the Sower the wayside and the birds, the thrones and the stoney ground are not, as Mark supposed, cryptograms for persecution, the deceitfulness of riches, and so forth. They are there to conjure up a picture of the vast amount of wasted labour which the farmer must face, and so to bring into relief the satisfaction the the harvest gives, in spite of all.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-29-2015, 08:24 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=250505&viewfull=1#post250505)


The object before the writer of an allegory is of course to tell his tale so that it reads naturally as such, even when the interpretation is out sight. But this needs great skill, and it is scarcely possible to keep it up for long. The interpretation will show through. Thus to return to the House Beautiful, Bunyan has shown great skill in introducing the natural incidents of a short stay at a country house. Among other things, the ladies display, very naturally, the family pedigree, which one still sees framed and hung in some some old-fashioned houses. But here theology breaks in: the pedigree showed that the Lord of the house "was the Son of the Ancient of Days, and came by an eternal generation." With less skillful allegorists the story often becomes sheer nonsense, and to make sense of it the details must be transposed into the ideas which they signify. Thus Paul, who is not always felicitous in his use of illustration, gives an allegorical story of a gardner who lopped off the branches of an olive tree, and grafted in their place shoots of wild olive. The lopped branches, however, he kept by him, and after the wild grafts had "taken" he once more grafted the olive-branches into the stock (Rom. xi. 16-24 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rom+11%3A16-24&version=ESV)). A curious piece of horticulture! But it is all intelligible if we bear in mind that the olive-tree is the people of God; the lopped branches, the unbelieving Jews; the wild-olive shoots, the Gentile Christians.

To be continued...

tabibito
09-29-2015, 11:54 AM
The seed is the Word: yet the crop which comes up is composed of various classes of people.

The seed is the word, the various types of people are the soil upon which the seed falls, the crop is produced in measure with the type of soil that the seed fell on. Where the seed fell on good ground, the word is fruitful. Where it did not, the word bears no fruit.

John Reece
09-29-2015, 12:30 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=250749&viewfull=1#post250749)


In the parables of the Gospels, however, all is true to nature and to life. Each similitude or story is a perfect picture of something that can be observed in the world of our experience. The processes of nature are accurately observed and recorded; the actions of persons in the stories are in character; they are either such as anyone would recognize as natural in the circumstances, or, if they are surprising, the point of the parable is that such such actions are surprising. Thus there is no doubt something surprising in the conduct of the employer who pays the same wages for one hour's work as for twelve, but the surprise of the laborers at being treated so gives point to the story.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-30-2015, 07:04 AM
The seed is the word, the various types of people are the soil upon which the seed falls, the crop is produced in measure with the type of soil that the seed fell on. Where the seed fell on good ground, the word is fruitful. Where it did not, the word bears no fruit.

You are criticizing Dodd (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=247170&viewfull=1#post247170), who was criticizing Mark (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=246875&viewfull=1#post246875).

I choose to let you guys have your say without any comment by me.

John Reece
09-30-2015, 07:19 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=250894&viewfull=1#post250894)


In making the distinction between the parable and the allegory, we must not be too rigorous. For if the parable is drawn out to any length, it is likely that details will be inserted which are suggested by their special appropriateness to the application intended, and if the application is correctly made by the hearer, he will then see a secondary significance in the details. But in the true parable any such details will be kept strictly subordinated to the dramatic realism of the story, and will not disturb its unity. And this is, with very few exceptions, true of the parables given in the Gospels. Here and there interpretation has intruded itself into a parable and marred its realism. But if the parables are taken as a whole, their realism is remarkable. I have shown elsewhere what a singularly complete and convincing picture the parables give of life in a small provincial town―probably a more complete picture of petit-bourgeois and peasant life than we possess for any other province of the Roman Empire except Egypt, where papyri come to our aid.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-01-2015, 06:33 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=251084&viewfull=1#post251084)


There is a reason for this realism of the parables of Jesus. It arises from a conviction that there is no mere analogy, but an inward affinity, between natural order and the spiritual order; or as we might put it in the language of the parables themselves, the Kingdom of God is intrinsically like the process of nature and of the daily life of men. Jesus therefore did not feel the need of making up artificial illustrations for the truths He wished to teach. He found them ready-made by the Maker of man and nature. That human life, including the religious life, is a part of nature is distinctly stated in the well-known passage beginning "Consider the fowls of the air ...." (Mt. vi. 26-30; Lk. xii. 24-28). Since nature and super-nature are one order, you can take away any part of that order and find in it illumination for other parts. Thus the falling of rain is a religious thing, for it is God who makes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust; the death of a sparrow can be contemplated without despairing of the goodness of nature, because the bird is "not forgotten by your Father"; and the love of God is present in the natural affection of a father for his scapegrace son. This sense of the divineness of the natural order is the major premise of all the parables, and it is the point where Jesus differs from the outlook of the Jewish apocalyptists, with whose ideas He had on some sides much sympathy. The orthodox Rabbis of the Talmud are also largely free from the gloomy pessimism of the apocalyse, and hence they can produce true parables where the apocalyptists can give us only frigid allegories; but their minds are more scholastic, and their parables often have a larger element of artificiality than those of the Gospels.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-03-2015, 02:15 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=251361&viewfull=1#post251361)


A further point of contrast between the parable and the allegory is that while the allegory is merely decorative illustration of teaching supposed to be accepted on other grounds, the parable has the character of an argument, in that it entices the hearer to a judgment upon the situation depicted, and then challenges him, directly or by implication, to apply that judgment to the matter in hand. We need only recall a familiar and typical parable in the Old Testament, where Nathan tells David the story of the poor man's ewe lamb which was stolen by the rich man. David falls neatly into the trap, exclaiming, indignantly, "As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this is worthy to die"; whereupon Nathan retorts: "Thou art the man!" That the parables of Jesus had a similar intention is sometimes shown by the way in which they are introduced. Thus: "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep...." "What do you think? A man had two children; he came to the first and said: My boy, go and work in the vineyard today. He answered, Yes, sir; but did not go. He went to the second and said the same. He answered, I will not; but afterwards he changed his mind and went. Which of the two did his Father's will?" But whether they are so introduced or not, the question is implicit. The way to an interpretation lies through a judgment on the imagined situation, and not through the decoding of the various elements in the story.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-04-2015, 07:29 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=251970&viewfull=1#post251970)


Jülicher and his followers, then, have done great service in teaching us how to take the first step towards the understanding of the parables. It is to accept the story as a piece of real life, and form our judgment upon it. What is the next step? Those who follow Jülicher's method tend to make the process or interpretation end with a generalization. Thus we may take the parable of the Money in Trust (Talents or Pounds). It is the story of a man whom overcaution or cowardice led into breach of trust. Such conduct is contemptible and befits no honorable man. That is our judgment on the situation. What then is the application? We must vote for the broadest application, says Jülicher; "fidelity in all that God has entrusted to us." By taking this line, he has happily delivered us from questions whether the talents represent the Gospel, the true doctrine, ecclesiastical office, or bodily and spiritual capacities, with which the earlier exegetes concerned themselves; and equally from modern attempts to make the parable into an instruction to Christians to invest their money wisely, and incidentally into justification for the capitalist system! But can we really be content with the pure generalization which Jülicher produces as the moral of the parable? Is it much more than an ethical commonplace?

To be continued...

John Reece
10-05-2015, 09:06 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=252146&viewfull=1#post252146)


Similarly the parable of the Sower leads to the judgment that in agriculture, much labor may be lost and yet a good harvest may be reaped. Are we to apply this in the form of the generalization that any kind of religious work is subject to the same conditions? Or shall we say that the parable of the Hid Treasure teaches that one should always sacrifice a lower good for a higher; that of the Waiting Servants that one should be prepared for emergencies; and that of the Lamp and the Bushel that truth will out? This method of interpretation makes the parables to be forcible illustrations of eminently sound moral and religious principles, but undeniably its general effect is rather flattening.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-06-2015, 06:04 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=252344&viewfull=1#post252344)


Was all this wealth of loving observation and imaginative rendering of nature and common life used merely to adorn generalities? Was the Jesus of the Gospels just an eminently sound and practical teacher, who patiently led simple minds to appreciate the great enduring commonplaces of morals and religion? This is not the impression conveyed by the Gospels as a whole. There is one of his parabolic sayings which runs: "I have come to set fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" Few parables are more difficult to interpret with precision; none perhaps is clearer in its main purport. Indeed any attempt to paraphrase its meaning is both less clear and less forcible than the saying as it stands. It is exactly the phrase we need to describe the volcanic energy of the meteoric career depicted in the Gospels. The teaching of Jesus is not the leisurely and patient exposition of a system by the founder of a school. It is related to a brief and momentous crisis in which He is the principal figure and which indeed His appearance brought about.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-07-2015, 05:11 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=252523&viewfull=1#post252523)


Thus we should expect the parables to bear upon the actual and critical situation in which Jesus and His hearers stood; and when we ask after their application, we must look first, not to the field of general principles, but to the particular setting in which they are delivered. The task of the interpreter of the parables is to find out, if he can, the setting of a parable in the situation contemplated by the Gospels, and hence the application would suggest itself to one who stood in that situation.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-08-2015, 04:54 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=252761&viewfull=1#post252761)


We may first ask, how far the evangelists themselves help us to relate the parables themselves to their setting. It might be thought that the place in which a parable comes in the order of the narrative would give a decisive clue. But in the first place, the evangelists sometimes give the same parable in different settings; and secondly, recent research has tended to show that the materials of the Gospels were at first transmitted in the form of independent units, the framework being supplied by the evangelists who wrote not less than a generation after the time of Jesus. While I think myself that this judgment needs qualification, and that more of the framework was traditional than some recent writers suppose, yet it is clear that we cannot without question assume that the setting is which we have a parable is it original setting in history. It is only where something in the parable itself seems to link it with some special phrase of the ministry that we dare press the precise connection. More often we shall have to be content with relating it to the situation as a whole.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-09-2015, 04:26 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=252986&viewfull=1#post252986)


Apart, however, from the setting of the parables in the narrative, the evangelists sometimes, though by no means always, give an indication of the intended application. These usually brief applications stand on a different footing from the elaborate allegorizations of the Sower, the Tares and the Net, and they deserve more attention. It is, however, necessary to ask how far such applications can be regarded as original. The tendency of some recent writers from Jülicher to Bultmann is to discount them all heavily. But it would be well not to go too far in this direction. To begin with, parables with applications (no less than parables without applications) occur in all our four main Gospel strata. While therefore any particular application may be the work of this or that evangelist, the primitive tradition underlying the variously differentiated traditions from which our Gospels are derived, was certainly acquainted with applied parables.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-10-2015, 07:40 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=253218&viewfull=1#post253218)


Moreover, in many cases the application shows by its form that it had an organic connection with the parable itself from the earliest stage that we can trace. Thus in the parable of the Two Houses the application is so interwoven with the story, in Matthew and Luke alike, that it could not be eliminated without rewriting the story completely. And observe that the application thus suggested is not general but particular. We have not a simple contrast between hearing and doing. The actual listeners to the words of Jesus then and there will be as foolish, if they do not follow them, as a builder who chooses a site on floodland, with no foundation.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-11-2015, 06:45 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=253448&viewfull=1#post253448)


Again, the parable of the Children in the Market-place is followed immediately by a passage which by its form shows that it is a part of the same tradition:―


"John came neither eating not drinking, and you say,
He is possessed.
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say,
See, a glutton and a drinker,
A friend of publicans and sinners!

I cannot bring myself to doubt that the earliest tradition contained this application of the parable to the people in their attitude to Jesus and John. It is clear that any attempt to work it out by way of an allegorical equivalence of terms breaks down. You cannot say, Jesus and His disciples are the piping children, John and his disciples the mourning children; the picture does not fit. But the picture of petulant children who quarrel about their games suggests the frivolous captiousness of a generation who would not see the movement inaugurated by John and brought to such an unexpected pitch by Jesus was a crisis of the first magnitude, but wasted their time in foolish carping at the asceticism of the one, and good companionship of the other. They fiddled while Rome was burning.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-12-2015, 05:06 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=253851&viewfull=1#post253851)


Thus there are cases where, without necessarily solving the possibly unanswerable question whether we have the ipsissima verba of Jesus, we may have confidence that the application of the parable came down with the parable itself in the earliest tradition, and therefore shows us at the least how the parable was understood by those who stood near the very situation which called it forth.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-13-2015, 06:54 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=254161&viewfull=1#post254161)


On the other hand there are grounds for suspecting that in many cases the application was not a part of the earlier tradition, but was supplied by the evangelist, or by his immediate authority, representing no doubt current exegesis in that part of the Church to which he belonged. It is noteworthy that sometimes a parable occurs without application in one Gospel and is supplied with one in another, as for example, the parable of the Lamp occurs in Mark and Luke without any application, but in Matthew is followed by the injunction, "In the same way your light must shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven." Again, sometimes a different parable occurs in two or more Gospels with different and even inconsistent applications, as, for example, the parable of the Savorless Salt. We must suppose that Jesus intended some one definite application; hence either one, or more probably both, of the applications are secondary.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-14-2015, 06:02 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=254623&viewfull=1#post254623)


Sometimes different applications are supplied even by the same evangelist. Thus to the very difficult parable of the Unjust Steward (Lk. xvi. 1-7 (http://biblehub.com/context/luke/16-1.htm)) the evangelist has appended a whole series of "morals"" (i) "the sons of this age are more prudent in relation to their own time than the sons of light," (ii) "make friends by means of unrighteous wealth," (iii) "if you have not been honest with the true riches." We can almost see here notes for three separate sermons on the parable as text.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-15-2015, 05:41 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=254947&viewfull=1#post254947)


It is possible that the clause with which the parable itself appears to close was the application in the earliest form of tradition. The reporter of the parable added, "The Lord (Jesus) commended the unjust steward because he acted prudently." In that case we can relate the parable to its setting in this way. The story tells of a man suddenly faced with a crisis which may mean utter ruin to him. Realizing the seriousness of his position, he does some strenuous thinking, and finds out a drastic means of coping with the situation. The hearers are invited to make the judgment: this man, scoundrel as he was, at least had the merit of taking a realistic and practical view of a crisis. They would reflect that, as Jesus was constantly urging, they themselves stood before a momentous crisis. Surely, He would have them conclude, it was only common sense to think strenuously and act boldly to meet the crisis. This seems to me to be the most probable application of the parable, and in that case, the evangelist's further comment, "The sons of this age are more prudent than the sons of light," is apt enough.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-16-2015, 08:43 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=255351&viewfull=1#post255351)


On the other hand it is possible that the clause, "The lord commended the unjust steward" is actually part of the parable. The 'lord' is then the character in the story, the defrauded master, and the statement that he commended his fraudulent steward is so palpably absurd that it provokes the hearers to deny it vigorously. In fact it is a strong way of putting the question, "What think ye?" In that case we must relate the story to its setting in this way. Here is a man who feathered his nest by sharp practice, and actually expected to be commended for it! Who then among the hearers, or among people known to them, were acting in this way? Possibly the Sadducaic priesthood, who made a merit of keeping in with the Romans by concessions which they had no right to make. Possibly the Pharisees, who by a little easy almsgiving sought to make of their ill-gotten riches a means of winning the divine favor. It is clear that in this case there was no certain clue to the application of the parable even when it reached the evangelist Luke, and that he was given a variety of current interpretations.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-17-2015, 05:59 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=255766&viewfull=1#post255766)


I shall presently try to point out certain changes in the historical situation which have led to the re-application of parables in senses not originally intended. In any such case we must carefully scrutinize the parable itself, and attempt to relate it to the original situation, so far as we can reconstruct it. From this will follow the conclusion regarding its original meaning and application, which may be guided by the following principles: (i) the clue must be found, not in ideas which developed only with the experience if the early Church, but in such ideas as may be supposed to have been in the minds of the hearers of Jesus during his ministry. Our best guide to such ideas will often be the Old Testament, with which they may be presumed to have been familiar. Thus the images of a vineyard, a fig-tree, harvest, a feast and others had associations which could escape no one brought up on the Old Testament. (ii) The meaning which we attribute to the parable must be congruous with the interpretation of His own ministry offered by Jesus in explicit and unambiguous sayings, so far as such sayings are known to us; and in any case it must be such as to fit the general view of His teaching to which a study of the non-parabolic sayings leads. A preliminary task, therefore, will be to define, so far as we can, the general orientation of the teaching of Jesus.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-18-2015, 07:03 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=255976&viewfull=1#post255976)


Among the parables reported in the Gospels a certain number are introduced with some form of words such as "The Kingdom of God is like..." This introductory formula may be regarded as giving the "application" of these parables. In Mark two parables are so introduced, those of the Seed Growing Secretly and of the Mustard Seed. In Luke again there are two, the Mustard Seed and the Leaven. As these two occur in Matthew with the like introduction, we may take it that they stood in the common source ("Q") of the first and third Gospels. In Matthew there are eight other parables introduced in this way. One of them, the Great Feast, is given in a different form in Luke, where it is not explicitly applied to the Kingdom of God. The others are the parables of the Tares, the Hid Treasure, the Costly Pearl, the Drag-net, the Unforgiving Servant, the Laborers in the Vineyard, and the Ten Virgins. It appears that this form of introduction was a favorite one with the First Evangelist, and it may well be that he has made use of it in some cases where it was absent from the earlier tradition. As we have seen, the evangelists use a certain freedom in applying parables. But he has not used it indiscriminately, for the majority of the parables which he reports have no such introduction.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-19-2015, 09:38 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=256250&viewfull=1#post256250)


The two expressions, "The Kingdom of God" and "The Kingdom of Heaven," the latter of which is peculiar to the First Gospel, are synonymous, the term "heaven" being common in Jewish usage as a reverential periphrasis for the divine name. The term "kingdom is in English somewhat ambiguous, but it naturally suggests a territory or a community governed by a king. The Greek term βασιλεία which it translates is also ambiguous. But there can be no doubt that the expression before us represents an Aramaic phrase well-established in Jewish usage, "the malkuth of heaven." Malkuth, like other substantives of the same formation, is properly an abstract noun, meaning "kingship," "kingly rule," "reign" or "sovereignty," The expression "the malkuth of God" connotes the fact that God reigns as King.* In sense, though not in grammatical form, the substantive conception in the phrase "the Kingdom of God" is the idea of God, and the term "kingdom" indicates that specific aspect, attribute or activity of God, in which He is revealed as King or sovereign Lord of His people, or of the universe which He created.**


*Thus Exod. xv. 18, "The Lord shall reign for ever and ever," is paraphrased in the Targum of Onkelos, "His malkuth stands for ever and ever." (Dalman, Worte Jesu, 1890, p. 79.) "There can be no doubt," says Dalman, "that in the O.T. as in Jewish literature, malkuth as related to God always means 'kingly rule' and never 'kingdom'." It seems best, however, to retain the traditional expression, "the Kingdom of God," bearing in mind that the word "kingdom" carries in this case the sense of "kingly rule."
**The question may be raised whether the frequent modern use of the term "The Kingdom," as an abbreviation for the full phrase found in the Gospels, does not betray an unconscious presumption that the primary idea is that of an ordered society, which may be a kingdom of justice, or of brotherhood, or the like, though since we look to God for help to "bring in" or "build" such a kingdom, we may call it the Kingdom of God. In a book by the American labor leader Bouck White, The Call of the Carpenter, written to claim Jesus as a "proletarian" prophet, the author says, ingenuously enough, "The modern reader can perhaps grasp the 'Kingdom of Heaven' as Jesus used it―so far as a single phrase can embody it―by substituting for it in every case another term, 'The kingdom of self-respect.'" It is noteworthy that when a Jew spoke of "the kingdom" without qualification, he meant the secular government; e.g. Pirqe Aboth, iii, 7, "Everyone who receives upon him the yoke of Torah, they remove from him the yoke of the kingdom and the yoke of the worldly occupation," Whatever social application may be given to the teaching of Jesus, the essentially religious idea of God reigning in the lives of men and in human society lies at the bottom of it all.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-20-2015, 03:58 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=256499&viewfull=1#post256499)


In Jewish usage contemporary with the Gospels we may distinguish two main ways in which the Kingdom of God is spoken of.

First, God is King of his people Israel, and His kingly rule is effective in so far as Israel is obedient to the divine will as revealed in the Torah. To submit oneself unquestionably to the Law is "to take upon oneself the malkuth of heaven." In this sense "The Kingdom of God" is a present fact.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-21-2015, 03:48 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=256688&viewfull=1#post256688)


But in another sense "The Kingdom of God" is something yet to be revealed. God is more than King of Israel; He is King of the whole world. But the world does not recognize Him as King. His own people is in fact subject to secular powers, which in the present age are permitted to exercise malkuth. Israel, however, looks forward to the day when "The saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom," [Daniel vii. 18 (http://biblehub.com/daniel/7-18.htm)] and so the kingship of God will become effective over the whole world. It is with this intention that pious Jews in the first century prayed (as they still pray), "May He establish His Kingdom during your life and during your days, and during the life of all the house of Israel."* In this sense "The Kingdom of God" is a hope for the future. It is itself the eschaton, or "ultimate," with which "eschatology" is concerned.

*Kaddish in the Jewish Authorized Daily Prayer-book, translated by S. Singer, authorized by the Chief Rabbi, and published by Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1908, p. 86.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-22-2015, 08:27 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=256962&viewfull=1#post256962)


As such, the idea is capable of entering into association with various views of the "good time coming" as set forth in prophecy and apocalyptic. The hope may be a temporal and political one. Thus in the Eighteen Benedictions* we have the prayer:


"Bring back our judges as at first, and our rulers as afore-times, and be Thou King, over us, O Lord, thou alone."



*Shemoneh Esre; text in Dalman, Worte Jesu, pp. 299-301, after Schechter in Jewish Quarterly Review, 1898, pp. 564-659.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-23-2015, 11:33 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=257233&viewfull=1#post257233)


On the other hand it may be associated with the final and absolute state of bliss in a transcendent order, as in the Assumption of Moses, ch. x:


"And then His Kingdom shall appear throughout all His creation,
And then Satan shall be no more,
And sorrow shall depart with him ...
For the Heavenly One will arise from His royal throne,
And He will go forth from His holy habitation
With indignation and wrath on account of his sons ...
For the Most High will arise, the Eternal God alone,
And He will appear to punish the Gentiles,
And He will destroy all idols.
And thou, Israel, shall be happy, ...
And God will exalt thee,
And He will cause thee to approach to the heaven of the stars."
[Translation by Charles in Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha]

To be continued...

John Reece
10-24-2015, 08:22 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=257510&viewfull=1#post257510)


Where a personal Messiah is looked for, the kingly rule of God is thought of as exercised by the Messiah, whether He is a human prince of the house of David, or a supernatural personage. Thus in Apocalypse of Baruch ch. lxxiii:


"And it shall come to pass,
When He (the Messiah) has brought low everything that is in the world.
And has sat down in peace for the age on the throne of His kingdom.
That joy shall then be revealed,
And rest shall appear,"
[Translation by Charles, op. cit.]

To be continued...

John Reece
10-25-2015, 08:28 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=257673&viewfull=1#post257673)


In all these forms of belief the common underlying idea is that of God's sovereign power becoming manifestly effective in the world of human experience. When it pleases God to "reveal" or "set up" His kingly rule, then there will be judgment on all the wrong that is in the world, victory over all powers of evil and, for those who have accepted his sovereignty, deliverance and a blessed life in communion with Him.*

*.... Sooner or later He will reveal his sovereignty. He will be King of all the world, not only de jure but de facto: "the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom" (Dan. vii. 18 (http://biblehub.com/daniel/7-18.htm)). Thus the eschatological idea of the Kingdom of God seems to arise naturally from primitive Hebrew conceptions, under the influence of prophetic teaching and of outward events.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-26-2015, 08:34 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=257804&viewfull=1#post257804)


In considering the meaning of "The Kingdom of God" in the Gospels, we shall do well to be guided by the results of source-criticism. It would now be generally agreed (a) that the material which appears in all three Synoptic Gospels lies before us (broadly speaking) in its earliest form in Mark; (b) that where Matthew and Luke agree independently of Mark, they are following a second source of some kind. Much of their common material seems to have been handed down in floating tradition. The symbol Q is often used to denote the supposed lost document; but as its reconstruction is problematical, it seems best to use this symbol for that stratum of the First and Third Gospels in which they agree together but do not seem to depend on Mark as a source. In using the Gospels as documents for the life and teaching of Jesus it is not necessary to decide whether a given passage did or did not form a part of a written document before it entered into our Gospels. In any case, if Matthew and Luke show any striking measure of agreement, and if this agreement cannot be accounted for by their common use of Mark, then the material in question did in any case belong to a tradition, substantially earlier than any date we can assign to the completed Gospels, and that is all we really know.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-27-2015, 06:07 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=258021&viewfull=1#post258021)


As for the remaining portions of the First and Third Gospels, they come from the sources of which we can say little. If the once widely accepted theory of B. H. Streeter is right, we have to allow for four relatively primitive sources, those represented by Mark, 'Q' and the peculiar portions of Matthew and Luke respectively. But although we may suspect that the two latter were possibly as old as Mark or 'Q', we can never know whether a given passage in Matthew or Luke was drawn directly from the early sources, or whether it represents a later development. We know from their treatment of Mark that the other synoptists used their sources with some freedom. Nor, if it be true (as I think it probably is) that behind the Third Gospel lies a 'proto-Luke' which might be as early as Mark, are we entitled to give the same weight to this hypothetical document as we give to the Second Gospel; because (a) we do not know what amount of revision 'proto-Luke' underwent in being incorporated in the Third Gospel, and (b) the peculiarly Lucan material, on its merits, seems in places almost demonstrably secondary to Mark, even though in some places it may be thought to have preserved a more primitive tradition.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-28-2015, 05:37 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=258360&viewfull=1#post258360)


We are therefore left with Mark and 'Q' as primary sources, and I do not think criticism has yet provided us with any better organon for approximating to the original tradition of the words and works of Jesus than is supplied by a careful study and comparison of these two.* No one supposes that either is infallible. But they serve to correct, confirm, and supplement one another,** and their agreement in some important points gives us confidence that we are in touch with the tradition at a very early stage indeed, before the two lines of transmission which culminated in Mark (at Rome) and 'Q' (in Palestine or Syria (?)), began to diverge.

*The school of Formgeschichte (form-criticism) seeks to go behind our written sources to the oral tradition. It often illuminates the development of the tradition, and I have not been unmindful of its methods in what follows. But I do not think it has yet provided us with a trustworthy criticism for the historical value of the reports in the Gospels. And we must always bear in mind that any deeper analysis on Mark and 'Q' must be speculative in a sense in which the determination of the proximate sources of the Gospels is not speculative but demonstrative.
*I assume that Mark and 'Q' are independent of one another. The attempts to show that Mark depends on "Q", and that "Q" depends on Mark, cancel out, and neither has carried conviction.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-29-2015, 03:25 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=258708&viewfull=1#post258708)


In dealing therefore with the complicated question of the Kingdom of God, we shall not only be saving time by leaving out of account (with few exceptions) those parts of Matthew and Luke which have no parallel in other Gospels, but we shall also be dealing with material which has the best claim to bring us in touch with the earliest tradition accessible to us all.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-30-2015, 08:15 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=258991&viewfull=1#post258991)


The twofold Jewish usage of the expression "The Kingdom of God" is reflected in the teaching of Jesus a recorded in the earliest traditions.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-31-2015, 09:47 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=258991&viewfull=1#post258991)


The twofold Jewish usage of the expression "The Kingdom of God" is reflected in the teaching of Jesus a recorded in the earliest traditions.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-31-2015, 10:44 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=259556&viewfull=1#post259556)


The Rabbinic expression "to take upon oneself the malkuth of heaven" finds a parallel in the saying of Mk. x. 15: "Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." The Rabbis meant by this scrupulous observance of the Torah. Jesus was evidently understood to contrast the way of the "little child," or the "babe" (Mt. xi. 25; Lk. x. 21) with the way of the "wise and prudent." For him, to accept the sovereignty of God is something other than scrupulous observance of the Torah.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-02-2015, 02:50 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=259566&viewfull=1#post259566)


Again, the Jewish prayer, "May he establish His Kingdom during your life and during your days," finds a parallel in the central petition of the Lord's prayer, "Thy Kingdom come." The apocalyptic predictions of a future, and final, manifestation of the sovereign power of God are echoed (though, as we shall see, with a difference) in such sayings as Mk. ix. 1, "There are some of those who stand here who will never taste death until they have seen that the kingdom of God has come with power"; Mt. viii. 11, "Many will come from east and west, and sit at meat with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of God." Like some of the apocalyptists, it would appear that Jesus placed the ultimate Kingdom of God in an order beyond space and time, where the blessed dead live forever and ever "like the angels" (Mk. xii. 25) Accordingly, the expression "The Kingdom of God is used in Mk. ix. 43-47, x. 17, 24, 25, alternately with "life" or "eternal life". The latter expression is an equivalent for the Rabbinic term "the life of the Age to Come," which is in our Jewish sources a far more usual expression than "the Kingdom of God" for the great object of hope, the eschaton.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-03-2015, 07:38 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=260063&viewfull=1#post260063)


So far, the use of the expression "The Kingdom of God" in the Gospels falls within the framework of contemporary Jewish usage. The kingdom of God may be "accepted" here and now, and its blessings will be enjoyed in the end by those who have fulfilled the necessary conditions.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-04-2015, 10:41 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=260225&viewfull=1#post260225)


But there are other sayings that do not fall within this framework. "The Kingdom of God has come upon you" (Mt. xxii. 28 = Lk. xi. 20).* Here the Kingdom of God is a fact of present experience, but not in the sense which we have recognized in Jewish usage. Any Jewish teacher might have said, "If you repent and pledge yourself to the observance of Torah, then you have taken upon yourselves the Kingdom of God." But Jesus says, "If I, by the finger of God, cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you." Something has happened, which has not happened before, and which means that the sovereign power of God has come into effective operation. It is not a matter of having God for your King in the sense that you obey his commandments; it is a matter of being confronted with the power of God at work in the world. In other words, the "eschatological" Kingdom of God is proclaimed as a present fact, which men must recognize, whether by their actions they accept or reject it.

*ἔφθασεν ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ. The verb φθάνειν in classical Greek has the sense, "to anticipate" someone, to get before him, and so to be there before he knows. But in Hellenistic Greek it is used, especially in the aorist, to denote the fact that a person has actually arrived at his goal. This usage is preserved in modern Greek. If you call a waiter, I am told, he will say, as he bustles up, "ἔφθασα κύριε!" Thus ἔφθασεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ expresses in the most vivid and forcible way the fact that the Kingdom of God has actually arrived. Prof. Millar Burrows, of Yale, pointed out to me that ἔφθασεν ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ sounds to him like an echo of Dan. vii. 22 (as rendered by Theodotion) ἔφθασεν ὁ καιρός, καὶ τὴν βασιείαν ἔχον οἱ ἅγιοι ["the time arrived, and the holy ones gained possession of the kingdom" (A New English Translation of the Septuagint: Oxford, 2007)].

To be continued...

John Reece
11-05-2015, 10:04 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=260505&viewfull=1#post260505)


The same sense seems to be intended by the formula in which Mark sums up the preaching of Jesus in Galilee (Mk. i. 14-15); "The time has reached fulfillment, and the Kingdom of God has drawn near. Repent and believe the Gospel." On the face of it this might mean either that the Kingdom of God is near in point of time, i.e. that it will soon come; or that (in spacial metaphor, cf. Mk. xii. 34) it is within reach. But in the LXX ἐγγίζειν is sometimes used (chiefly in past tenses) to translate the Hebrew verb nagaʿ and the Aramaic verb mʾta, both of which mean "to reach," "to arrive", The same two verbs are also translated by the verb φθάνειν, which is used in Mt. xii. 28, Lk. xi. 20. It would appear therefore that no difference of meaning is intended between ἔφθασεν ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ and ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ. Both imply the "arrival" of the Kingdom. With an eye on the presumed Aramaic original, we should translate both: "The Kingdom of God has come." Again we observe that the coming of the Kingdom is not represented as something dependent on the attitude of men. It is an historical happening to which men should respond by repentance, but whether they repent or not, it is there. This is made clear in the Lucan Charge to Missionaries: "Say to them, 'The Kingdom of God has come upon you' (ἤγγικεν ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς, cf. ἔφθασεν ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς, Mt. xii. 28, Lk. xi. 20). And if you enter any city and they do not receive you, go into their streets and say, 'Even the dust which sticks to our feet from your city we wipe off against you; but all the same, be sure that the Kingdom of God has come (ἤγγικεν)'" (Lk. x. 9-11).

To be continued...

John Reece
11-06-2015, 05:26 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=260786&viewfull=1#post260786)


It is therefore instructive to compare such an apocalyptic passage as the Testament of Dan, v. 31―vi. 4: "The Lord will be in the midst of her, and the Holy One of Israel reigning from her ... for he knows that on the day when Israel is converted, the kingdom of the Enemy will be brought to an end." In the "Q" context from which the words "The Kingdom of God has come upon you" have been quoted, the exorcisms performed by Jesus are treated as a sign that the kingdom of Satan has been overcome. As in the Testament of Dan, this is equivalent to the coming of the Kingdom of God. But here the coming has not waited until Israel should repent. In some way the Kingdom of God has come with Jesus Himself and that Kingdom is proclaimed, "whether they will hear or whether they will forbear," as Ezekiel might have said. It is an act of God's grace to reveal His Kingdom to an unrepentant generation, that they may be provoked to repentance.


To be continued...

John Reece
11-07-2015, 12:07 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=261240&viewfull=1#post261240)


There are other passages in our oldest Gospel sources which help to make it clear that Jesus intended to proclaim the Kingdom of God not as something to come in the near future, but as a matter of present experience. "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings wished to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear and did not hear it" (Lk. x. 23-24, and with insignificant variations, Mt. xiii. 16-17). That which prophets and kings (such as David the psalmist, and Solomon, to whom the Messianic "Psalms of Solomon" were attributed), desire, is naturally understood as the final assertion of God's sovereignty in the world, the coming of "the Kingdom of God." This it is that the disciples "see and hear." "Again, "The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation, and condemn it; because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold something greater* than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment with this generation, and condemn it; because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold something greater than Jonah is here" (Lk. xi. 31-32 = Mt. xii. 41-42). What is this "something greater" than Jonah the prophet and Solomon the wise king? Surely it is that which prophets and kings desired to see, the coming of the Kingdom of God.

*πλεῖον, the neuter adjective; not "a greater than Solomon", which would require the masculine.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-08-2015, 10:09 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=261367&viewfull=1#post261367)


The same idea seems to be intended in the series of sayings about John the Baptist given, from a common source, in Mt. xi. 2-10 (http://biblehub.com/context/matthew/11-2.htm) and Lk. vii. 18-30 (http://biblehub.com/context/luke/7-18.htm). In answer to John's question, "Are you the Coming One, or are we to expect another?" Jesus points to the phenomena of His own ministry in terms which clearly allude to prophecies of the "good time coming." The implication is that the time of fulfillment has come: that which the prophets desired to see is now matter of present experience. John is himself not merely one of the prophets, but greater than any prophet, because he is the Messenger of whom the prophets spoke, who should immediately precede the great divine event, the coming of the Kingdom of God. The implication is clear: John has played his destined part, and the Kingdom of God has come. And as the disciples of Jesus are more privileged than prophets and kings who desired the coming of the Kingdom of God, because they "see and hear" the tokens of its presence, so they are "greater" than John the Baptist because they are "within the Kingdom of God"* which he had heralded. Matthew adds here a saying which is given in a different form from Lk. xvi. 16 (http://biblehub.com/luke/16-16.htm).

*Or, in other words, "theirs is the Kingdom of God" (Mt v. 3 (http://biblehub.com/matthew/5-3.htm); Lk. vi. 20 (http://biblehub.com/luke/6-20.htm); cf. Mk. x. 14 (http://biblehub.com/mark/10-14.htm)). The variety of expression does not carry with it different conceptions of the Kingdom, as a realm which one can enter in the one case and a treasure one can possess in the other (cf. Mk. x. 15 (http://biblehub.com/mark/10-15.htm); Mt. xiii. 44-46 (http://biblehub.com/context/matthew/13-44.htm)). Both are ways of saying that the coming of the Kingdom of God is realized in experience.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-09-2015, 12:06 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=261650&viewfull=1#post261650)


The two forms (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=261650&viewfull=1#post261650) are as follows:



Matthew

"From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of heaven is forced and men of force make prey on it. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John."


Luke

"The law and the prophets were until John: from that time on the Kingdom of God is proclaimed and everyone forces his way into it."

The original form of the saying, and its precise meaning, are exceedingly difficult to determine; but it seems clear that a contrast is drawn between the past and the present. John the Baptist marks the dividing line: before him, the law and the prophets; after him, the Kingdom of God. In Luke at least it is clear that any interim period is precluded. In Matthew it is possible that the additional words "until now" (ἕως ἄρτι) are intended to allow for such an interim period between the baptism of John and the coming of the Kingdom of God―the period, namely, of our Lord's earthly ministry. Yet even for Matthew the Kingdom of God must have been in some sense a present reality "from the days of John the Baptist until" the moment of speaking, that is to say, throughout the ministry of Jesus, since it is said to be the object of human "force" (whatever that may mean). In any case, the general implication of the whole passage, Mt. xi. 4-19 with its Lukan parallels seems to me to be unmistakable: the old order closed with the ministry of John; the new begins with the ministry of Jesus.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-10-2015, 07:46 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=262004&viewfull=1#post262004)


These passages, the most explicit of their kind, are sufficient to show that in the earliest tradition Jesus was understood to have proclaimed that the Kingdom of God, the hope of many generations, has at last come. It is not merely imminent; it is here. In whatever way this is to be reconciled with other passages in which the coming of the Kingdom of God is still an object of hope and prayer, as it is in Jewish thought, we much do justice to the plain meaning of the passages we have just considered. That school of interpretation which professed to find the key to the teaching of Jesus in "thoroughgoing eschatology"} ("consequente Eschatologie") was really proposing a compromise. In the presence of one set of sayings which appeared to contemplate the coming of the Kingdom of God as future, and another set which appeared to contemplate it as already present, they offered an interpretation which represented it as come very, very soon. But this is no solution. Whatever we make of them, the sayings which declare the Kingdom of God to have come are explicit and unequivocal. They are moreover the most characteristic and distinctive of the Gospel saying on the subject. They have no parallel in Jewish teaching or prayers of the period. If therefore we are seeking the differentia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differentia) of the teaching of Jesus upon the Kingdom of God, it is here that it must be found.*

*Among recent writers the one who does fullest justice to the idea is Rudolf Otto. His phrase for it is "der Schonanbruch des Reichen Gottes." I cannot see how anyone, after reading Reich Gottes und Menschensohn, pp. 51-73, could be content with interpretations which water down the meaning of these great sayings into a mere expectation that the Kingdom of God would come very soon.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-11-2015, 11:03 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=262230&viewfull=1#post262230)


This declaration that the Kingdom of God has already come necessarily dislocates the whole eschatological scheme in which its expected coming closes the long vista of the future. The eschaton has moved from the future to the present, from the sphere of expectation into that of realized experience. It is therefore unsafe to assume that the content of the idea, "The Kingdom of God," as Jesus meant it, may be filled in from the speculations of apocalyptic writers. They were referring to something in the future, which could be conceived only in terms of fantasy. He was speaking of that which, in one aspect at least, was an object of experience.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-12-2015, 10:05 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=262614&viewfull=1#post262614)


The common idea, as we have seen, underlying all uses of the term "The Kingdom of God" is that of the manifest and effective assertion of the divine sovereignty against all the evil of the world. In what sense, then, did Jesus declare that the kingdom of God was present? Our answer must at least begin with His own answer to John: "The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the Gospel preached to them." In the ministry of Jesus Himself the divine power is released in effective conflict with evil. "If I by the finger of God cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you." When the Fourth Evangelist presents the works of healing as "signs" of the coming of "eternal life" to men, he is rightly interpreting these sayings in our earliest sources. For eternal life is the ultimate issue of the coming of the Kingdom of God, and this coming is manifested in the series of historical events which unfolds itself in the ministry of Jesus.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-13-2015, 10:57 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=262891&viewfull=1#post262891)


Here then is the fixed point from which our interpretation of the teaching regarding the Kingdom of God must start. It represents the ministry of Jesus as "realized eschatology," that is to say, as the impact upon this world of the "powers of the world to come" in a series of events, unprecedented and unrepeatable, now in actual process.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-14-2015, 07:35 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=263093&viewfull=1#post263093)


Nevertheless, the teaching of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels, has reference to the future as well as to the present. We must enquire what is the relation of this predictive element in his teaching to the proclamation of the kingdom of God as present.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-15-2015, 09:55 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=263389&viewfull=1#post263389)


It is no doubt possible to take the view that the predictions which we find in the Gospels are no more than a reflection of the experience of the early Church within which the tradition was formed. It is certain at least that some of them have been colored by this experience. But we know that Jesus was widely regarded as a prophet, and prediction was a part of the traditional rôle of a prophet. Moreover, there seem to be traces (as we shall see) of predictions attributed to Him which were not in fact fulfilled, and therefore cannot be regarded as vaticinia ex eventu. We may therefore take it to be probable that He did on occasion utter prediction.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-16-2015, 01:23 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=263701&viewfull=1#post263701)


Some of these, as we have them in the Gospels, seem to refer plainly (in the manner of the classical prophets) to forthcoming historical events; others resemble visionary forecasts of the apocalypses, referring to events of a wholly supernatural order. In our Gospels these types of prediction are mixed together, and to disentangle them is no easy task. Nevertheless the attempt must be made. We shall do well to depend mainly on the two earliest sources, Mark, and the common source or strain of tradition, underlying Matthew and Luke ("Q"), and to check th one by the other. And our task is the more difficult, because the most considerable predictive discourse in Mark, the "Little Apocalypse" of Mk. xiii, lies under the suspicion of being a secondary composition, though it no doubt incorporates genuine sayings of Jesus. We cannot use it as it stands for evidence of His own forecast of the future. Its various component parts must be examined separately, and compared with our other primary sources.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-17-2015, 07:44 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=264228&viewfull=1#post264228)


We inquire, therefore, what, on the testimony of the best sources to which we have access, did Jesus predict?

To be continued...

John Reece
11-18-2015, 01:54 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=264573&viewfull=1#post264573)


In the first place, it is difficult to point to any precise prediction of the coming of the Kingdom of God. There is no saying of the unequivocal form, "The Kingdom of God will come," to balance the statement, "The Kingdom of God has come." The nearest thing to such a saying in our earliest sources is Mk. ix. 1: "There are some standing here who will not taste death until they have seen that the Kingdom of God has come with power. The meaning appears to be that some of those who heard Jesus speak would before their death awake to the fact that the Kingdom of God had come. The only open question is whether Jesus meant that the Kingdom had already, in his ministry, come "with power," and that His hearers would afterwards recognize the fact, or whether He intended to distinguish its partial coming at the moment of speaking from some subsequent coming "with power." Our answer to this question will depend on our interpretation of other passages.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-19-2015, 11:15 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=265063&viewfull=1#post265063)


Next we have the saying in Mt. viii. 11 (with its parallel in Lk. xiii. 28-29): "Many will come from east and west and sit at meat with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of God." As we have seen, this is congruous with the apocalyptic idea of the "life of the Age to Come," presented under the similitude of a feast with the blessed dead. But it is not said that the Kingdom in which the patriarchs feast is yet to come. What has not yet happened, but will happen, is that many who are not yet "in the Kingdom of God," in its earthly manifestation, will enjoy its ultimate fulfillment in a world beyond this. The saying does not answer the question whether or not Jesus expected any further "coming" of the Kingdom of God beyond that which was already taking place in His own ministry. It may be that the patriarchs are thought of as living "in the Kingdom of God,"* in the world beyond this, where God's Kingdom does not "come," but is eternally present. That God is King in heaven from all eternity is a postulate of Jewish theology. The new thing is that His Kingdom shall be revealed on earth. This according to the teaching of Jesus has already happened. It would however be susceptible to the meaning the at some date in the future the present earthly manifestation of the Kingdom of God will yield to a purely transcendent order in which it will be absolute.

*Jesus said that the patriarchs were alive (and not in some state of suspended existence, awaiting a resurrection), since God is their God, and he is not a God of the dead but of the living (Mk. xii. 26-27 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mark+12%3A26-27&version=NRSV)).


To be continued...

John Reece
11-20-2015, 08:08 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=265306&viewfull=1#post265306)


The same background of ideas lies behind the saying at the Last Supper, Mk. xiv. 24; "I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God. The figure of the heavenly feast determines the symbolism. Jesus is about to die. He will never again partake of wine at any earthly meal, but he will drink wine of a new sort, "in the Kingdom of God." The form of expression suggests something of a pause or interval before this comes about. Are we to think of the Kingdom of God here as something yet to come? If so, it is not to come in this world, for the "new wine" belongs to the "new heaven and new earth" of apocalyptic thought, that is, to the transcendent order beyond space and time.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-21-2015, 08:39 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=265531&viewfull=1#post265531)


We turn now to predictions which make no direct mention of the Kingdom of God.

In the first place, Jesus is recorded to have predicted sufferings in store for Himself and His followers. It is often plausibly held that the forebodings of His own death which are repeatedly attributed to Jesus in the Gospels are of the nature of vaticinia ex eventu (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaticinium_ex_eventu). The Church could not believe that their Lord had been ignorant of what lay before Him. It may freely be concluded that the precision of some of these predictions may be due to the Church's subsequent knowledge of the facts, but this admission does not necessarily carry with it the view that all forecasts of coming suffering are unhistorical.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-22-2015, 07:46 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=265977&viewfull=1#post265977)


We may observe (1) that the whole prophetic and apocalyptic tradition, which Jesus certainly recognized, anticipated tribulation for the people of God before the final triumph of the good cause; (2) that the history of many centuries had deeply implanted the idea that the prophet is called to suffering as a part of his mission; (3) that the death of John the Baptist had shown that this fate was still part of the prophet calling; and (4) that it needed, not supernatural prescience, but the ordinary insight of an intelligent person, to see whither things were tending, at least during the later stages of the ministry.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-23-2015, 11:42 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=266195&viewfull=1#post266195)


When now we turn to the Gospels records we find that in all four of the main sources, or strands of tradition, which criticism recognizes, there are forecasts of persecution for the followers of Jesus, both direct and allusive. Such forecasts are indeed so emphatic and so characteristic of the whole temper and tone of the teaching that is seems impossible to attribute them all to the later reflections of the persecuted Church. The various contexts in which they occur leave it possible to doubt whether the sufferings anticipated were expected to come almost immediately, or at a later date. For example, one group of such predictions occurs in Matthew in the Charge given to the Twelve when they are sent out to preach and heal (x. 17-22), and in Mark in the final discourse (xiii. 9-13), just before the death of Jesus. In the latter case they are clearly taken to refer to the persecution of the Church recorded in the Acts of the Apostle and elsewhere. In the former case the impression is that persecution might break out at any moment, perhaps even while the Twelve were out on their mission. In Luke, some of the same group of predictions occur in a third different context (xii. 11-12).

To be continued...

John Reece
11-24-2015, 10:48 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=266529&viewfull=1#post266529)


It is clear that the occasion of such sayings was not clearly indicated in the earliest tradition. But it is noteworthy that a call to endure sufferings is in several passages of Mark and Luke associated with the theme of a journey to Jerusalem, and indeed the impression which we gather from the Gospels as a whole is that Jesus led His followers up to the city with the express understanding that a crisis awaited them there which would involve acute suffering both for them and for Him. The most striking of such passages is Mk. x. 35-40. Here the sons of Zebedee are assured that they shall drink of the cup of which their Master drinks, and be baptized with His baptism. The purport of the words is not doubtful. The disciples are to share the fate of their Master, and surely to share His fate in the crisis which lies immediately before them. In point of fact the followers of Jesus did not at that crisis share his fate. Strangely enough, the Jewish authorities seem to have been content with the death of the Leader, and to have left His followers alone. Naturally the Church sought fulfillment of this and other similar predictions in events which happened many years later.


To be continued...

John Reece
11-25-2015, 08:30 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=266828&viewfull=1#post266828)


In a passage which occurs in slightly different forms in Mark and in the common material of Matthew and Luke, and therefore possesses the combined attestation of our two best sources, Jesus speaks of the coming sufferings of His disciples in the form of a call to "bear the cross" (Mt. viii. 34, reproduced in Mt. xvi. 24, Lk. ix. 23; Mt. x. 38 = Lk. xiv. 27). As the cross was an only too familiar method of execution under Roman government, the suggestion is that He wished to prepare them not only for suffering but for death. There is a hint in the same direction in the "Q" saying, "Fear not them that kill the body" (Mt. x. 28 = Lk. xii. 4).

To be continued...

John Reece
11-26-2015, 09:24 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=267107&viewfull=1#post267107)


In this context of thought it becomes entirely credible that Jesus did, as the Gospels say, predict His own death. To what point in the ministry such predictions belong, is a question which for our purpose we need not answer. It is at any rate clear that at the Last Supper Jesus anticipated immediate death for Himself; but at this point it is equally clear that He expected His followers to survive. He passes the cup by, because He has done with this world; He gives it to His disciples because they must endure "the fellowship of His sufferings" in this world.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-29-2015, 06:06 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=267107&viewfull=1#post267107)


The most natural reconstruction of the facts from the evidence would seem to be that Jesus anticipated tribulation for Himself and His followers; that towards the close of his ministry He led His followers to Jerusalem with the expectation that He, and at least of them, would suffer death at the hands of the authorities; and that at the last He went open-eyed to death Himself, predicting further tribulations for His followers after this death.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-30-2015, 08:55 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=268383&viewfull=1#post268383)


There is another group of predictions which refer to coming disasters for the Jewish people, their city and temple. According to Mk. xiv. 58, it was alleged against Jesus at His trial that He had said "I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another not made with hands." The same saying occurs in John ii. 19, in the form "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up". Now it seems clear that the belief that Jesus had said something of this kind was an embarrassment to the early Church. Mark is concerned to invalidate the evidence given at the trial: it was never proved, he says, that Jesus had said this; there was a conflict of evidence (Mk. xiv. 59). John is concerned to show that the saying did not bear the meaning put upon it (ii. 21-22). But if Jesus did not say something of the kind, is it likely that the Church would have produced so embarrassing a saying? Mark himself avers (xiii. 2) that what Jesus had actually said was, "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another without being pulled down."

To be continued...

John Reece
12-01-2015, 08:11 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=268623&viewfull=1#post268623)


And here attention must be called to a significant point which has not been sufficiently noticed. It is a practice of Mark, when he records something which seems to call for explanation, to introduce a private interview between Jesus and His disciples at which the matter is elucidated. After the saying about the destruction of the temple he introduces such a private interview between Jesus and four disciples, at which the long "apocalyptic discourse" is delivered. That whole discourse is introduced primarily in order to set the saying about the destruction of the temple in its proper light. So far from having threatened to destroy the temple (Mark means) Jesus had predicted that after a long period of tribulation there would be a horrible act of sacrilege in the temple, and then would follow a great tribulation in Judea, and afterwards the final catastrophe, in which the whole universe would collapse. In this scheme the destruction of the temple is not explicitly mentioned, but it is implied that it would come as a sequel to the great sacrilege. It is not an impending historical event, still less an act which Jesus Himself had plotted, as His enemies alleged. Our evangelist would surely not have made so much pother about it if there had not been a good tradition (to be explained or explained away) that Jesus had affronted the feelings of His Jewish hearers by predicting the ruin of their holy place.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-02-2015, 08:52 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=268920&viewfull=1#post268920)


In the "Q" material there is no such explicit prediction. But in Mt. xxiii. 37-38 = Lk. xiii. 34-35 we have an address to Jerusalem culminating in the declaration: "Your house is abandoned." The "house" may be the city of Jerusalem itself; more likely it is the temple,"Our holy and our beautiful house where our fathers praised thee" (Is. lxiv. 11). It is abandoned, not, probably, by the worshippers, but by the divine presence which alone gives its significance. The temple is not now, as God meant it to be, "a house of prayer for all nations"; it has become as it had become in the days of Jeremiah, "a brigand's hold" (Mk. xi. 17). As Jeremiah had predicted its ensuing destruction, so, we are to understand, did Jesus. In spite of Mark's attempt to associate the prediction with an apocalyptic catastrophe, it is most natural to suppose that Jesus pronounced the doom of the temple as an impending event in history.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-03-2015, 08:38 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=269181&viewfull=1#post269181)


We cannot but connect this doom of the temple with the various words of judgment upon the Jewish people and its leaders. The existing generation of Israel, according to the "Q" prophecy in Mt. xxiii. 34-36 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mat+23%3A34-36&version=NRSV) = Lk. xi. 49-51 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luk+11%3A49-51&version=NRSV), will bear the accumulated penalty of all the righteous blood shed "from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zacharias." [Note: stay tuned to this thread (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8734-The-Jewish-War) for Josephus' account of the fulfillment of this prophecy ―JR] As for the form in which this judgment is conceived, our Gospels in their existing form leave us in some doubt. Lk. xix. 43-44 predicts a siege of Jerusalem, in some detail; cf. also xxi. 20, where the investment of the city by enemy forces takes the place which in Mk. xiii. 14 is occupied by a sacrilege of the temple. The context in Mark is fantastic, but nevertheless the predictions of xiii. 14-20 suggest an historical catastrophe. The command to flee to the mountains in Mk. xiii. 14 seems to correspond to the "oracle" which according to Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. III. v. 3) led the Christians of Jerusalem to desert the city in A.D. 66. If so, it is not likely to be a vaticinium ex eventu (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaticinium_ex_eventu). The injunction, "He who is on the housetop must not come down to take up anything from his house, and he who is in the field must not turn to take up his coat," would admirably suit a supposed situation in which the quick-marching Roman armies are threatening Jerusalem; and the prayer that it might not happen in winter is appropriate to war conditions. In a purely supernatural "apocalyptic" tribulation summer or winter would matter little!

To be continued...

John Reece
12-04-2015, 11:04 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=269534#post269534)


We may further adduce a passage peculiar to Luke, which nevertheless seems to bear the marks of historical veracity―the reference to the massacre of Galileans and the fall of the Tower of Siloam in Lk. xiii. 1-5. In themselves these incidents were comparatively inconspicuous. They are made to foreshadow judgment on Israel in the form of the sword of Rome and the collapse of the towers of Jerusalem. This quite incidental and allusive reference to the Roman peril seems to me to be significant.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-05-2015, 10:01 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=270052&viewfull=1#post270052)


The evidence is not entirely satisfactory, but it does appear, when all allowance has been made for the probable coloring of our tradition by the experience of the Church, that just as the Old Testament prophets saw in the Assyrian or the Babylonian peril the form in which divine judgment on Israel was approaching, so Jesus saw in the growing menace of a clash with Rome a token of coming disaster, in which the sins of the Jewish people would meet their retribution. Our Gospels were written at a time, and for a public, to which the political fortunes of Judea had little relevance. It is not surprising if the historical realism of some of the sayings of Jesus has been slurred over in a generalized eschatological scheme. It appears that the prophets made use of earlier mythological conceptions of "the Day of Jehovah," and rationalized and moralized them in terms of the historical situation in their day. Their predictions were in many cases re-absorbed (so to speak) into mythology by the apocalyptists. It may well be that a similar tendency has affected the Gospel records of the sayings of Jesus.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-06-2015, 08:32 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=270331&viewfull=1#post270331)


We conclude that Jesus uttered predictions comparable with those of the Old Testament prophets, that is to say, He forecast historical developments of the situation in which he stood. In particular, He forecast a crisis in which He himself should die and His followers suffer severe persecution; and He forecast disaster for the Jewish people and their temple.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-07-2015, 11:18 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=270581&viewfull=1#post270581)


We may now ask whether there is any evidence to show how the crisis which brings the death of Jesus is to be related to the disasters coming upon the Jewish people. Actually the death of Jesus was separated from the fall of Jerusalem by about forty years, and we must expect the knowledge of this fact to have colored our records. But we observe that it is "this generation" upon which the retribution from the blood of the righteous is to fall (Mt. xxiii. 35-36 (http://biblehub.com/context/matthew/23-35.htm) = Lk. xi. 50-51 (http://biblehub.com/context/luke/11-50.htm)). Now Mark, in reporting the forecast of the coming disasters makes Jesus say that generation He addresses will experience not only these disasters, but also the final collapse of the universe: "This generation will not pass away until all these things have happened" (xiii. 30 (http://biblehub.com/mark/13-30.htm)). No doubt when Mark wrote, and even in A.D. 70, there were many people alive who were also alive in A.D. 29. But the generation which suffered the calamities of the Roman war was not, in any real sense, the same generation as that of forty years before. We must suppose that historical exigencies have led to a certain expansion of the interim period, and that Jesus actually expected the tribulation of Judea to follow more closely His own death. We must add that the saying about the destruction of the temple, whatever its original form, must have been capable of being understood as an immediate menace, and not a forecast of something to happen in the comparatively remote future.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-08-2015, 07:36 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=270976&viewfull=1#post270976)


Consider again the following important passage, which occurs both in Matthew and in Luke. In Luke it is embedded in a context full of such parallels with Matthew, and therefore may fairly be attributed to a common source, written or oral, even though the wording differs considerably:―



Mt. x. 34-36

"Do not suppose that I came to cast peace upon the earth but a sword. For I came to set a man at variance with his father, a daughter with her mother, and a daughter-in-law with her mother-in-law, and a man's enemies will be the members of his household."


Lk. xii. 49-53

"I came to cast fire upon the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism to undergo, and how I am cramped until it is accomplished! Do you think I came to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division! For from this time on there will be five in one house divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against farther, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."


To be continued...

John Reece
12-09-2015, 08:29 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=271235&viewfull=1#post271235)


A reference to various prophets and apocalyptic passages will show that this description of division among families is part of the traditional picture of "red ruin and the breaking-up of laws," and appropriate to the "eschatological" tribulation. Mark has rationalized the saying in a forecast of the treachery within families which Christians actually experienced in time of persecution (xiii. 12). The fact that the saying was known to him, as well as to the compiler of "Q," confirms its authenticity, but the "Q" version is to be preferred. According to this, Jesus expected that the crisis which His ministry was bringing about would issue in a general upheaval; and if the Lucan version is to be trusted, He connected this directly with His own "baptism" of suffering. In His forecast of history we recognize the characteristic "foreshortening" of prophetic vision.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-10-2015, 07:44 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=271853&viewfull=1#post271853)


It certainly looks as if Jesus conceived His ministry as moving rapidly to a crisis, which would bring about His own death, the acute persecution of His disciples, and a general upheaval in which the power of Rome would make an end of the Jewish nation. If he did speak in such terms, it is not surprising that, when things did not turn out precisely so, His sayings should have been to some extent remolded to fit the course of events.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-11-2015, 11:11 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=272420&viewfull=1#post272420)


It is, however, important to make clear that this foresight is not of the nature of mere clairvoyance. It is in the first place insight into the actual situation. The perception that the religion of the temple has no absolute significance dramatizes itself in a picture of its actual destruction. The perception that the historic Jewish community as at present constituted is not serving the advancing purpose of God, dramatizes itself in the vision of its end amid the horrors of war and social upheaval. Whether or not the predictions were to be fulfilled in the actual course of history, the essential spiritual judgment upon the situation stands. As a matter of fact, Jerusalem did fall, the temple was destroyed, and the Jewish community as a political institution came to an end. These things did not happen exactly in the same way Jesus predicted, but at least they provided an impressive corroboration in history of his discernment of inevitable tendencies, arising out of a spiritual estimate of the situation.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-13-2015, 01:50 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=272822&viewfull=1#post272822)


This principle, that foresight is primarily insight, and that predictions, however concrete and true to the historical situation, are primarily a dramatization of spiritual judgments, is equally applicable to the classical prophets of the O.T. In them also we observe the shortening of the historical perspective. When the profound realities underlying a situation are depicted in the dramatic form of historical prediction, the certainty and inevitability of the spiritual processes involved are expressed in terms of the immediate imminence of the event. The proposition, "A is involved in B" (by the logic of the moral and spiritual order), becomes "A will follow immediately on B." The actual time-process is not so simple or direct. But the time-scale is irrelevant to the ultimate significance of history. "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day"―and not with the Lord only, but with the philosophical historian. It is enough if we can see that the great tendencies of history correspond with the spiritual principles enunciated by the prophets, whether at short range or at long. In so far as they do so, die Weltgeschichte ist das Weltgericht. [The history of the world is the judgment of the world.]

To be continued...

John Reece
12-14-2015, 12:09 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=273392&viewfull=1#post273392)


The predictions which we have considered may be compared with the prophetic forecasts of disaster in the O.T.―the "eschatology of woe," as it is sometimes called ("Unheilseschatologie"). In most of the O.T. prophets the eschatology of woe is balanced by an "eschatology of bliss ("Heilseschatologie"). After the disaster Jehovah will have mercy on His people and give them marvelous prosperity. In the early prophets this epoch of prosperity is conceived in historical, though miraculous terms―victory over enemies, miraculous fruitfulness of the land, and the like. In the apocalypses these temporal blessings are either supplemented or replaced by the wholly supernatural bliss of "The Age to Come.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-15-2015, 08:19 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=273716&viewfull=1#post273716)


Now it is extremely difficult to find in the sayings of Jesus anything which could point to an "eschatology of bliss" on the historical or temporal plane, corresponding to the "eschatology of woe" which we have considered.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-16-2015, 07:50 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=273932&viewfull=1#post273932)


There are in fact only two passages in the Gospels which could with any show of reason be held to bear such a meaning. According to Mark (and John) the prediction of the fall of the temple was accompanied with the assurance "In three days I will build another temple" (or, "I will raise up it up"). And there is a "Q" saying, whose exact original form it is difficult to reconstruct out of the varying versions in Mt. xix. 28, Lk. xxii. 28-30, but which in any case spoke of the Twelve as "judging the twelve tribes of Israel." These two sayings, taken by themselves, might conceivably be understood to mean that after predicting the ruin of the temple and of the Jewish state, Jesus went on, after the manner of the prophet, to predict that the Jewish state would be restored, with Himself as King and His disciples as His ministers of state, and that he would miraculously rebuild the temple. It is true Mark and Matthew, in the respective contexts, have been at pains to guard against such an interpretation. Mark throws doubt upon the authenticity of the saying about the temple, and in any case he gives it in a form which contrasts the temple "made with hands," which is to be destroyed, with a temple "not made with hands," which is to take its place. But the epithets are not present in the Johannine form of the saying, and they recall the vocabulary of the Acts and the Epistles.* Nor, in spite of Mark's aspersions upon the witnesses, is there good reason to deny the substantial authenticity of the saying. As for the judging of the tribes, Matthew has made it clear that it is to take place "at the rebirth," i.e. in the transcendent order beyond history. This however may be discounted on the score of this evangelist's known tendency to emphasize the apocalyptic element. In the Lucan form the prediction might quite well be historical in character.

*Χειροποίητος as an epithet of the temple, Ac. vii. 47, xvii. 24; Heb. ix. 11, 24; cf. also Eph. ii. 11: αχειροποίηψος, II Cor. v. 1; Col. ii. 11. The epithets do not occur in Matthew and Luke.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-17-2015, 09:03 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=274198&viewfull=1#post274198)


The question is whether we are justified, on the ground of the prima facie meaning of these two sayings, in reversing the general impression created by the sayings of Jesus as a whole, by the Gospel narrative, and by the procedure of the Church after its Founder's death, the impression, namely, that He disassociated himself from national aspirations. Attempts have been made in various quarters to show that the intention of Jesus was to bring about a political or social revolution, and that after the failure the Church sedulously covered its tracks. Such attempts when worked out in detail, serve only to show how arbitrarily it is necessary to deal with the evidence, and how much has to be supplied by sheer speculation, to give any such result. But unless a drastic reconstruction of the whole story could be effected, we are obliged to suppose that the two sayings in question are susceptible of some other meaning than that of an historical forecast.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-18-2015, 10:53 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=274455&viewfull=1#post274455)


The saying about the judging of the tribes is probably to be placed, where Matthew places it, in the context of ideas about Doomsday and the Day of the Son of Man, which I shall presently consider. The building of the temple "not made with hands" is similarly to be associated with the apocalyptic idea of "the restoration of all things.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-19-2015, 09:46 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=274729&viewfull=1#post274729)


We conclude that on the historical plane there is no "eschatology of bliss" in the sayings of Jesus. He gave no promise that the future would bring with it any such perfection of human society as some Jewish thinkers had predicted under the form of a restored kingdom if David. He declared that the Kingdom of God had come. When He spoke of it in terms of the future, His words suggest, not any readjustment of conditions on this earth, but the glories of a world beyond this.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-20-2015, 09:08 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=274856&viewfull=1#post274856)


How then are we to relate the "historical" predictions of suffering and death, and of disasters upon the Jewish people, to the declaration that the Kingdom of God has come?

In view of this declaration it is not permissible, for example, to represent the death of Jesus as in any sense the condition precedent to the coming of the Kingdom of God. We may not say that He died "to bring in the Kingdom"; that His death was the "price" of its coming; or that He died to bring about the repentance without which it could not come. These and similar statements, in one form or another, are often found in modern attempts to explain the matter. But they are all confuted by the fact that Jesus before His death declared that the Kingdom of God had come.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-21-2015, 11:03 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=275028&viewfull=1#post275028)


The point may be illustrated by comparing a passage in a contemporary apocalypse. The Assumption of Moses was composed, according to Charles's dating, during the life-time of Jesus. It contains one of the very rare direct allusions to the Kingdom of God in apocalyptic literature. In chap. ix. we have a prophecy about one Taxo and his sons, who in the days when the servants of God are persecuted, will deliberately give themselves over to martyr death; "and then," we read in chap. x. "and then His Kingdom shall appear throughout all His creation." The death of the martyrs is the condition precedent to the appearance of the Kingdom of God. The situation in the Gospels is different. Jesus proclaims that the Kingdom of God has come, and He also foretells suffering and death for Himself and disasters upon Israel. In some sense therefore this "eschatology of woe" falls within the Kingdom of God.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-22-2015, 06:36 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=275223&viewfull=1#post275223)


Let us then go back to the common underlying meaning of the expression "The Kingdom of God" in all its various uses. It means God exercising His kingly rule among men. In particular it implies that the divine power is effectively at issue with the evil in the world, making an end of "the kingdom of the enemy," In this sense judgment is a function of the Kingdom of God. When it comes to history, it brings the effective condemnation of sin. We can understand that Jesus saw in the crisis which His ministry was bringing to a head, an effective judgment on the sin of Israel. The purpose of God, indeed, in asserting his sovereignty in the world is to confer on men "eternal life," and to "receive His kingdom" is to "enter into life." But to reject God is to pronounce judgment upon oneself. "He who rejects me, rejects Him that sent me," said Jesus (Lk. x. 16 (http://biblehub.com/luke/10-16.htm)).

To be continued...

John Reece
12-23-2015, 07:07 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=275448&viewfull=1#post275448)


In rejecting Him, the Jewish nation rejected the Kingdom of God. They thereby shut themselves out from the bliss of the Kingdom, but brought themselves under the judgment of the Kingdom. In weal or woe, the Kingdom of God came upon them.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-24-2015, 08:26 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=275860&viewfull=1#post275860)


Can we then bring the death of Jesus under this same category? I will venture to turn for an answer to the epistles of Paul. This will no doubt seem to some readers an illegitimate dragging-in of theology. But Paul was not only the first Christian theologian. He is also our earliest authority for the facts and beliefs upon which the Christian faith rests. He came in contact with the Christian tradition, through its original bearers, during the first decade after the Crucifixion. After that he had for many years little contact with the Aramaic-speaking wing of the Church, in which the Synoptic tradition grew up. We may regard the Pauline type of Christian thought as a development from the origin tradition, parallel to the development which produced the Synoptic Gospels. While we must always allow fully for Paul's originality, we cannot brush aside his contribution to an understanding of the early tradition, especially as we have no evidence that his differences with Peter extended beyond the field of missionary policy to the fundamentals of the Christian tradition itself.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-28-2015, 12:30 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=276179&viewfull=1#post276179)


Now Paul says that through the death of Jesus God triumphed over principalities and powers (Col. ii. 15). We have seen that in apocalypse the final victory over "the kingdom of the enemy" is the coming of the Kingdom of God; and that in the Synoptic Gospels the exorcisms of Jesus are treated as signs of this victory and so of the coming of the Kingdom. Paul adds that His death also was a means of God's victory over the powers of evil. He says further that through the death of Jesus God manifested His righteousness (Rom. iii. 25), and condemned sin (Rom.. viii. 3). But the manifestation of the righteousness of God, and judgment upon sin, are essential elements in the idea of the Kingdom of God. Paul therefore understood that the death of Jesus fell within the Kingdom of God, as a part of the effective assertion of God's sovereign rule of the world.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-29-2015, 08:17 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=276889&viewfull=1#post276889)


There was surely something in the original tradition upon which he could base such an interpretation, and in any case it does provide an explanation for the recorded fact that Jesus declared at once that the Kingdom of God had come, and that He Himself must die. If there is no parallel or anticipation of such an idea in the Jewish background of Christian thought, that is nothing against it. As we have seen, the declaration that the Kingdom of God has come, breaks up, in any case, the old eschatological scheme, and makes room for a new set of ideas. Further, the teaching of Jesus upon the character of God and His attitude to men―His unqualified benevolence and beneficence towards all His creatures, His unlimited forgiveness, His desire to seek and to save the lost―leads necessarily to a new view of what it means for God's righteousness to be manifested, and for sin to be condemned. Our attempt to determine the relationship between the coming of the Kingdom of God and the death of Jesus has led to the necessity for a theology according to which God's opposition to evil is shown in the suffering of its worst assaults, and the condemnation of sin is its self-exhibition as "exceeding sinful" in the presence of the revealed love of God. While formally the new and original element in the teaching of Jesus is that the Kingdom of God, long expected, has come, there is an even more profound originality in the new content given to the idea through His revelation of God Himself.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-30-2015, 08:48 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=277059&viewfull=1#post277059)


Thus the course of events which outwardly is a series of disasters holds within it a revelation of the glory of God, for those who have insight. This is the "mystery of the Kingdom of God"; not only that the eschaton, that which belongs properly to the realm of the "wholly other," is now matter of actual experience, but that it is experienced in the paradoxical form of the suffering and death of God's representative. Behind or within the paradoxical turn of events lies that timeless reality which is the kingdom, the power and the glory of the blessed God.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-31-2015, 06:44 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=277236&viewfull=1#post277236)


So far we have considered predictions which appear to refer to coming events within the historical order. We must now turn to other predictions to which it is difficult to give such a reference.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-01-2016, 08:17 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=277645&viewfull=1#post277645)


First we must notice a group of sayings in "Q" which make use of the traditional eschatological conception of Doomsday (variously called "the Judgment," "the Day of Judgment," or "that Day"). In Mt. xi. 21-22 = Lk. x. 13-14 we read, "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the works of power which happened in you had happened in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes." So far the saying means no more than that the Phoenician cities, whose territory, contiguous with Galilee, Jesus visited, would have been a more responsive public for his work than His own cities; but the saying proceeds) "It will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the [day of] judgment than for you."

To be continued...

John Reece
01-02-2016, 09:10 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=277872&viewfull=1#post277872)


Again in Mt. x. 15 = Lk. x. 12, any city which does not respond to the appeal of the Twelve is condemned in the words, "It will be more tolerable for Sodom [and Gomorrah] on the day of judgment [or 'on that Day'] than for you." What is the implication of such sayings? The judgment of Judea, as we have seen, seems to be expressed in terms of the horrors of war and social upheaval; but it is impossible to suppose that Tyre and Sidon are promised an easier lot in that impending historical tribulation. They had nothing to fear from Rome. And as for Sodom and Gomorrah, their judgment, in an historical sense, had taken place ages before.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-03-2016, 06:27 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=278095&viewfull=1#post278095)


Again, in Mt. xii. 41-47 = Lk. xi. 31-32, the men of Nineveh, contemporaries of the prophet Jonah, and the Queen of the South, a contemporary of Solomon, are to appear "in the judgment" as witnesses against the Jews who heard and ignored the preaching of Jesus.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-09-2016, 08:56 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=278235&viewfull=1#post278235)


In such passages the idea of the Day of Judgment is to be taken literally and realistically, we are obliged to think of a Great Assize in which individuals long dead, and peoples long extinct, play their part. It is therefore outside the historical order. The intention at any rate of the sayings is clear. The Rabbis counted the men of Sodom among those who had notably "no part in the Life of the Age to Come." Jesus therefore says in effect to His hearers, "Even those whom you consider the most hopeless of sinners are less hopeless than those who refuse to hear the Gospel." Similarly in His reference to Tyre and Sidon He is echoing the prophetic words, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore upon you I will visit all your iniquities. ... Are ye not as the children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel"? (Amos iii. 2, ix. 7); and the references to Nineveh and the Queen of Sheba are in the same spirit. There is no independent interest in the Day of Judgment as such, or in the fate of Gentiles in the judgment. The time-honored image of a Last Judgment is simply assumed, and used to give vividness and force to solemn warnings.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-10-2016, 09:10 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=279975&viewfull=1#post279975)


There is another group of sayings in "Q" which speak of the Day of the Son of Man.* According to Mt. xxiv. 37-39 = Lk. xvii. 26-27, that Day will be like Noah's Deluge, coming suddenly and unexpectedly upon people thoughtlessly engaged in the ordinary occupations of life. According to Mt. xxiv. 27 = Lk. xvii. 24, it will be like a flash of lightning spanning the whole vault of heaven at once. According to Mk. xiii. 24-26, the sun and moon will cease to shine, the stars will fall from heaven, and all the celestial "powers"** will be shaken, and then "they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with much power and glory." But here this cosmic catastrophe will be preceded by a long series of signs. It is not sudden and unexpected, like Noah's flood. After all the events forecast in Mk. xiii. 14-25 it is safe to assume that people will no longer be eating and drinking, marrying and being married! The two accounts are inconsistent, and of the two we must certainly prefer that of "Q". Our two earliest sources however agree in representing the Day of the Son of Man as a supernatural event, of universal significance. "Q" emphasizes its difference from any historical event. Of any event in history one can say that it happens here or there. Of the day of the Son of Man one must not say "Lo, here!" or "Lo, there! because it is like a flash of lightning visible everywhere at once.***

*The expression "the Day of the Son of Man," corresponding closely to the O.T. expression, "the Day of Jehovah," is implied in Lk. xvii. 24, οὕτως ἔσται ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου [ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ αὐτοῦ], but the actual phrase does not appear in the Gospels. Luke has "the days of the Son of Man" (xvii. 26, and in a passage peculiar to him, xvii. 22). Matthew uses the stereotyped phrase, ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, in various contexts. As the word παρουσία is is peculiar to him, we may reasonable doubt whether it occurred in the original tradition. It seems likely that the original term underlying the variety is "The Day of the Son of Man."
**The δυνάμεις are the discarnate intelligences supposed to inhabit and control the astral universe among the Jews identified with orders of angels. See my book, The Bible and the Greeks, pp. 16-19, 109-111.
***This is perhaps the place to consider a passage peculiar to Luke which has a certain similarity to the "Q" saying before us (Lk. xvii. 20-21); "The Kingdom of God does not come with observation" (i.e. it is not anything you can watch for, as astronomers watch for the conjunction of the heavenly bodies), "nor will they say, 'Lo, here, or there! For behold the Kingdom of God is ἐντὸς ὑμῶν―among you"? or "within you"? The former translation is nowadays almost universally preferred. But (i) ἐντός is properly a strengthened form of ἐν used where it is important to exclude any of the possible meanings of that preposition other than "inside." The only approximation to the meaning "among" which are cited (Xenophon, Anabasis, I, 10, 3, Hellenica, II 8, 19) are not, I think, clear exceptions to the rule. (ii) When Luke means "among", he says ἐν μέσῳ, an expression which occurs about a dozen times in the Third Gospel and the Acts. If he meant "among" here, why did he vary his usage? (iii) If appeal be made to an underlying Aramaic, the prepositions in that language meaning respectively "among" and "within" are distinct, and there is no reason why a competent translator would confuse them. (iv) "Among does not give a logical sense. A thing which is "among you" is localized in space, more or less. On the other hand you cannot say "Lo here, or there!" of that which is within, and the Kingdom of God is said not to be localized in space, because it is ἐντὸς ὑμῶν. This might be understood as the counterpoint of the "Q" saying discussed above: the Day of the Son of Man is not localized in space (or time) because it is instantaneous and ubiquitous; the Kingdom of God is not localized because it is "within you." In other words, the ultimate reality, though it is revealed in history, essentially belongs to the spiritual order, where the categories of space and time are not applicable. There is however another possible meaning. In the Harvard Theological Review, vol. xli, no. 1 (1948), C. H. Roberts argued persuasively on the basis of evidence from papyri and elsewhere, that ἐντὸς ὑμῶν means "in your hands," "within your power." That is, the Kingdom of God is not something for which you have to watch anxiously (οὐ μετὰ παρατηρήσεως), but is an available possibility here and now, for those who are willing to "receive it as a little child." There is, I think, more to be said for the substantial authenticity of the Lucan saying than is generally admitted. But as it is not one of the passages clearly belonging to the oldest tradition, I am not using it in this discussion.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-11-2016, 11:45 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=280286&viewfull=1#post280286)


The purpose or consequence of the coming of the Son of Man is not clearly stated in our earliest sources. The First Gospel gives a short apocalypse (often miscalled the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats*), in which the traditional scene of the Last Judgment is depicted in vivid colors, with the Son of Man as judge. There is however no direct confirmation of this in our other sources.** In Mark xiii. 27, the Son of Man when He comes, "will send his angels and gather the elect from the four winds, from edge of heaven to edge of earth." In "Q" it appears from a comparison of Mt. xxiv. 37-40 with Lk. xvii. 23-35 that the saying about Noah's flood was followed, either immediately or at no long interval, by a double saying in parallelism, of which the second member is identical in the two Gospels, while the first has different forms:



Matthew

"Then there will be two men in the field; one is taken and the other left.
"There will be two women grinding at the mill; one is taken and the other left.


Luke

"On that night there will be two men in one bed; the one will be taken and the other will be left.
"There will be two women grinding together; the one will be taken and the other will be left.***



*Mt. xxv. 31-46. It does not conform to the parabolic type, but belongs to the same class as the judgment scenes in Enoch and other apocalypses. The only parabolic element in it is the simile of the shepherd separating the sheep and the goats, and this is a passing allusion; sheep and goats play no part in the main scene. The climax of the passage is to be found in the two sayings, xxv. 40, 45, which are parallel to Mt. x. 40-42, Mk. ix. 37. The judgment scene was probably composed to give a vivid setting to these settings.
**The same idea recurs in Mt. xvi. 27, but as we shall see, this is a Matthean rewriting of a passage in Mark, which itself is probably less original than a corresponding saying in "Q." In the more original forms of the saying the Son of Man (or Jesus) appears not as a judge, but as advocate.
***Inferior manuscripts of Luke add here the two men in a field; but this is no part of the original text of this Gospel. The Synoptic situation is as follows: Matthew gives the saying "one taken and the other left" directly after the saying about Noah's Flood. Luke interposes (a) a second example of sudden disaster, that of Sodom; (b) the saying "do not come down from the housetop"; (c) the warning example of Lot's wife; (d) the saying "He who seeks to save his soul shall lose it ... " Of these (d) is a floating saying, which crops up in several various contexts in all Gospels; (b) is given by Mark in the apocalyptic discourse, and as we have seen is best connected with the forecast of war.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-12-2016, 09:36 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=280545&viewfull=1#post280545)


The purport of these words is difficult to determine. It is not even clear whether the one taken or the one left has the better lot. The saying has in common with the saying which precedes it the idea of a sudden event overtaking people engaged in the ordinary occupations of life. This sudden event, it is suggested, will make a sharp distinction between the fate of individuals who up to that moment were in close association. If the connection of the two sayings is original, this event will be the Day of the Son of Man, bringing a selective judgment on individuals; but in this case the judgment is not conceived as a Great Assize in a world beyond this, in which communities like Sodom and Tyre, Bethsaida and Chorazin, appear before the Judgment-seat. It is something which supervenes directly upon the everyday life of individuals. If however the two sayings had originally no connection (as is very possible, for even "Q" is admittedly a compilation of originally independent sayings), we should naturally take the saying "one taken and the other left" as a true parable and the question of its application would be an open one.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-13-2016, 07:44 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=280840&viewfull=1#post280840)


Even more clearly parabolic is the other saying which Luke gives immediately after this one, and Matthew appends to the saying about the lightning flash: "Wherever the carcase is, there the vultures will gather."* The idea surely is that there are certain conjunctions of phenomena which are quite constant and inevitable, so that if one is observed, the other may be inferred; but which phenomena are in view we cannot say.

*Mt. xxiv. 28, Lk. xvii. 37. It has been suggested that the ἀετοί are Roman eagles, and that this is a forecast of the war. But though some eagles will eat carrion, the vulture is the bird which characteristically watches for the slain. ἀετός is here probably the vulture, as in some places in the LXX.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-14-2016, 08:53 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=281043&viewfull=1#post281043)


We are left thus with only vague indications of the role which the Son of Man is expected to play "in His Day." It is not made clear that the Day of the Son of Man is identical with the Day of Judgment, though it is natural to suppose that it is; but that the Son of Man Himself is judge is not stated in our earliest sources, nor is the form which the judgment will take place made plain.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-15-2016, 02:27 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=281329&viewfull=1#post281329)


The matter is complicated by the fact that Jesus is represented in the Gospels as using the title "The Son of Man" with reference to Himself. Whether in this they are true to historical fact is a question about which there is still unsettled controversy. It is certainly true that our Gospels show a tendency to insert the phrase "The Son of Man" into contexts when criticism shows that the original tradition made Jesus say "I," and it is argued that whether the expression is used with reference to Jesus Himself it is secondary. Further, it cannot be denied that in unquestionably genuine passages (such as those we have just noticed) Jesus is made to refer to "The Son of Man" without the least suggestion that He is speaking of Himself.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-16-2016, 08:52 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=281629&viewfull=1#post281629)


On the other hand we must observe that in all our primary Gospel sources Jesus is identified with the Son of Man. That identification therefore at least belongs to an extremely early stage of the tradition. Moreover, the theory I have mentioned assumes that "The Son of Man" was at some stage a current designation for Jesus, and as such was interpreted into the records of His life and teaching. But we have no independent evidence of any such stage. There is only one passage in the N.T. outside the Gospels in which the expression is so used. In the Gospels themselves it is never used except in the mouth of Jesus. In contrast, we know that the titles "The Messiah" and "The Lord" were current in the Church; yet in the Gospels Jesus is only exceptionally represented as applying either to Himself. The terms most familiar in the Church are recognized as inappropriate in the mouth of Jesus; the term "The Son of Man" which is seldom used in referring to Jesus, is represented as His most characteristic self-designation. This can best be accounted for if He did in fact so describe Himself. If that was so, we can well understand that the growing tradition tended to introduce the term "The Son of Man" into sayings which did not originally contain it. If not, it is difficult to understand why it should have appeared so frequently in saying of Jesus, without penetrating into the narrative. To apply the term "The Son of Man," with its "apocalyptic" and "eschatological" associations, to a living man, is no doubt a paradox; but it is also a paradox to say that the Kingdom of God, itself an "eschatological" fact, has come in history.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-17-2016, 08:29 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=281766&viewfull=1#post281766)


Assuming, then, that Jesus did speak of Himself as "The Son of Man," we have to think of Him as in some sense the central figure in the "Day of the Son of Man" predicted in the passages we have already considered. To these we must add Mk. xiv. 62. Here Jesus, questioned by the High Priest, "Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed?" replies "I am; and you will see 'The Son of Man seated on the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven'." The words are a somewhat free citation of Dan. vii. 13, with a glance at Ps. cx. 1. The passage in Daniel describes an apocalyptic vision, in which mythological figures in the forms of beasts are overcome by "one like a son of man," i.e. by a figure of human form. The vision is then interpreted. The "beasts" stand for pagan empires; the Son of Man stands for "the people of the saints of the Most High." The vision means that the Jewish people will at the end step into the place of the pagan world-empires, and so the Kingdom of God will be realized on earth. The vision is symbolical. The historical reality corresponding to it is the expected emergence of an independent and sovereign Jewish state. The "Son of Man" has as much or as little reality as the "beasts" whom He supersedes.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-18-2016, 09:55 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=281960&viewfull=1#post281960)


Other passages in Daniel lead us to believe that for him events in history were the counterparts of real processes in the supernatural world. The seer was able to discern, in symbolic forms, these supra-historical processes, and so to predict historical events in which they would ultimately be embodied. It remains that the Son of Man in the vision is a symbolic figure, and that the fulfilment of the symbol is looked for in history. In what sense, then, did Jesus cite the prediction from Daniel? It is gratuitous to assume that He must have interpreted it with strict literalness. I shall return to this question later.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-19-2016, 08:27 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=282291&viewfull=1#post282291)


There is another passage in Mark in which Jesus seems to predict the "coming" of the Son of Man: "Whoever is ashamed of me and mine in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels" (Mk. viii. 38). A similar saying occurred in "Q," as represented in Mt. x. 32-33 = Lk. xii. 8-9.



Matthew
"Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge him before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I will deny him before my Father in heaven."


Luke

"Everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will acknowledge him before the angels of God, but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.

Mark apparently has given only one member of a double-saying in parallelism. This Hebraistic parallelism is so characteristic of the sayings of Jesus, as of the prophetic tradition in which he stood, that we must suppose that the "Q" form (if we could ever recover it) was nearer to the original. Now in this form, the reference to the Son of Man is not so secured as attested. It does not occur at all in Matthew, and in Luke it is confined to the positive member of the parallel, being omitted in the negative. In neither is there any reference to the "coming" of the Son of Man. Men will be confessed either "before my Father in heaven" or "before the angels of God." That might or might not refer to a Day of Judgment closing history; but its most natural meaning is that Jesus (or the Son of Man) will acknowledge or deny men in the supernal world; that is, the acknowledgement or denial is eternal in quality.*

*For a similar mode of expression, cf. Mt. xvi. 19. xviii. 18: "Whatever you forbid on earth will stand forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will stand permitted in heaven"; that is, the inspired decisions of the apostles have eternal validity. By analogy, the meaning of the saying we are discussing would be that those who acknowledge Christ on earth thereby possess the sign that they are eternally accepted by Him.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-20-2016, 09:58 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=282568&viewfull=1#post282568)


It is not clear therefore that the saying originally conveyed an explicit prediction of the "coming" of the Son of Man. It is noteworthy that Matthew has not been content with the allusive reference to the "Coming" in Mark, but has recast the saying: "The Son of Man is to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will requite everyone according to what he has done." A comparison of "Q", Mark and Matthew seems to show a growing tendency to give precise "apocalyptic" form to a saying of Jesus, and of this tendency we have always to be aware in attempting to interpret the sayings.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-21-2016, 11:09 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=282974&viewfull=1#post282974)


We may usefully return at this point to the "Q" saying about the judging of the tribes, which we decided to exclude from the historical series of predictions. In its two versions it runs as follows:



Mt. xix. 28

"I tell you truly that you who followed me, at the Rebirth, when the Son of Man sits upon the throne of his glory, will sit, yourselves also, upon twelves thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."


Lk. xxii. 28-30

"It is you who have stood by me in my trials; and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me a kingdom, that you shall eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit upon thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-22-2016, 10:46 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=283334&viewfull=1#post283334)


It seems doubtful whether a common written source underlies the two forms (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=283334&viewfull=1#post283334). The saying may have undergone development along two lines of oral tradition before reaching the evangelists, and its original form is hard to determine. But it clearly indicates the closest possible association of the disciples with their Lord in his coming glory as in His present tribulations. It is a companion to the other saying according to which those who acknowledge Him on earth will be acknowledged by Him in heaven. We may recall that in Daniel the Son of Man is "the people of the saints of the Most High." Although the Son of Man is now identified with Jesus Himself, so much of the earlier idea persists, that His followers are associated with Him in His reign. That the scene of that reign is placed in the transcendent order is explicit in Matthew alone, but it would seem to be the intention of the saying in the Lucan form also. The "table" at which the disciples are to "eat and drink" recalls the "new wine" which Jesus is to drink "in the Kingdom of God," as well as the feast of the blessed "with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven."

To be continued...

John Reece
01-23-2016, 02:13 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=283759&viewfull=1#post283759)


It is doubtful then, whether the earlier tradition contained explicit predictions of an historical second coming of Jesus as Son of Man, though there are passages which refer to such a "coming" beyond history. There are, however, several other passages which predict that He, as Son of Man, will rise from the dead. The Marcan predictions of the Passion (viii. 31, ix. 31, x. 34) all culminate in an assurance of resurrection "after three days" (for which our other Synoptics give "on the third day," in accordance with the formula cited by Paul in I Cor. xv. 4). For those who deem the predictions of the Passion unhistorical, the prediction of the Resurrection is a fortiori. I have freely admitted that the precise formulation of the predictions may be secondary, but I have shown reason for believing that Jesus did in fact forecast suffering and death for Himself. If so, is it to be believed that this was His last word about his fate?

To be continued...

John Reece
01-24-2016, 08:29 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=284104&viewfull=1#post284104)


It is true that in some forms of Jewish expectation the Messiah was destined to die. But our evidence for this is subsequent to the period of the Gospels; and in any case the Messiah does not die until He has reigned in glory. But Jesus had not yet reigned in glory. In the immediate prospect of death, He predicted that the Son of Man should be seen on the clouds of heaven. Whatever this was intended to symbolize, it is quoted from a vision of triumph, and could not be held to be fulfilled in the ignominious death of Jesus as such. If therefore He did designate Himself as Son of Man, He must have expected that He would be victorious after death. It is therefore credible that He predicted not only His death but also His resurrection. It is noteworthy that nearly all of these predictions in Mark are in the form, "The Son of Man will suffer, die and rise again." There is only one saying in which the first personal pronoun is used. Mk. xiv. 28: "After I have been raised, I will precede you into Galilee" (reported again by the "young man in white" at the sepulture, Mk. xvi. 7). The term "the Son of Man" is in its associations eschatological. It's use in these predictions seems to indicate that both the death and the resurrection of Jesus are "eschatological" events.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-25-2016, 09:01 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=284202&viewfull=1#post284202)


What then is the relation between the resurrection of the Son of Man and His "coming"? First, we must observe that according to Mk. xiv. 62 the Son of Man is to be seen (a) "on the right hand of the Power," and (b) "coming with the clouds of heaven." In the N.T. outside the Gospels the "coming with the clouds" is still future, but the session on the right hand of God is already attained: That is to say, the Church in the light of its own experience, had divided the prediction of Mk. xiv. 62 into two stages.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-26-2016, 08:40 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=284440&viewfull=1#post284440)


Further, except in the Acts of the Apostles, no distinction is drawn between the exaltation to the right hand of God, and the resurrection; or at least, there is no hint of any interval between the two. Paul, it appears, "saw the Lord" in glory, "at the right hand of God" (I Cor. xv. 8, II Cor. iv. 6, Rom. viii. 34). As he makes no distinction between his own experience and that of Cephas and the rest, he appears to assume that they too "saw the Lord in glory." The theory of forty days' interval between the resurrection and the ascension, with the prediction of a future descent "in like manner" [Acts i. 9-11], seems to be the product of a course of development in the Church. The developed theory allows for three stages: resurrection, exaltation, second advent; but there is some reason to think that at an early stage the two former were not distinguished, and in the saying in Mk. xiv. 62 the two latter are at least closely associated. Is it possible that all three are aspects of one idea?

To be continued...

John Reece
01-27-2016, 08:56 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=284798&viewfull=1#post284798)


The resurrection is regularly predicted "after three days," or "on the third day." It might be argued that this is due to the experience of the disciples, who began to "see the Lord," according to the Gospels, on the Sunday after the crucifixion. But in the early formula cited by Paul in 1 Cor. xv. 3-7 the resurrection "on the third day" does not seem to be affirmed on the evidence of eye-witnesses, as are the appearances of the risen Lord. It is "according to the Scriptures." What scriptures, Paul does not tell us. He no doubt took over the formula just as it was. The only O.T. passage which suggests itself is Hos. vi. 2: "After two days will he revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live before him." It looks as though the prophecy of the restoration of Israel, that is, the Day of the Lord, had been taken as a prophecy of the Day of the Son of Man (which would be quite in accord with the general line by which prophecy passed through apocalyptic into the thought of primitive Christianity), and the "third day," as a mysterious indication of the divinely-appointed term for that event. But we observe that the "three days" recur in the saying about the destruction and restoration of the temple. That raises the question, whether the use of Hosea's prophecy in this way may not go back of Jesus Himself. Might we go so far as to say that the "third day" is the Day of the Son of Man?

To be continued...

John Reece
01-28-2016, 11:31 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=285328&viewfull=1#post285328)


It is no more than a speculative conjecture, but one which has some probability on its side, that Jesus predicted, in terms we cannot precisely recover, His own survival of death, and the ultimate triumph of the cause of God in His person; and that the Church interpreted Him in the light of its own experience. Some of these predictions it expressed as a forecast of the resurrection of Jesus, as His followers had experienced it in the early days. Others it expressed in terms of His return "on the clouds of heaven," bringing the "Day of the Son of Man," conceived in apocalyptic fashion. Where He had referred to one single event, they made a distinction between two events, one past, His resurrection from the dead, and one future, His coming on the clouds. His other predictions were distributed (and sometimes differently in different strains of tradition) through the period expected to elapse between His death and His second coming. Thus the eschatological scheme of primitive Christianity was constructed.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-29-2016, 11:30 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=285755&viewfull=1#post285755)


There is nothing conclusive about such conjectures. They are invited by the obscurity of the actual data, The "apocalyptic" predictions, unlike those which refer to coming historical events, elude any precise information. It seems clear that they have been in a special way subject to re-interpretation in terms of the developing eschatology of the early church, and to recover their original form, or to determine their original intention, is a matter of extreme difficulty. It does not appear that Jesus spoke in terms of current apocalypse of a "divine event," in which He would Himself appear in glory as Son of Man. With this event He seems to have associated the idea of a last judgment upon the quick and the dead, and of blessedness for His followers in a new Jerusalem with a temple "not made with hands." It is clearly not an historical event in any sense which we can attach to the term. If it is related to the historical series at all, it represents the point at which that series comes to an end. Matthew spoke of it as "Thy advent [parousia] and the consummation [synteleia] of the age" (xxiv. 3 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mat+24%3A3&version=NRSV)).* He alone, however, of the evangelists is so explicit.

*Both terms, παρουσία and συντέλεια are peculiar to Matthew among the evangelists.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-30-2016, 09:59 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=286226&viewfull=1#post286226)


If then it is an event related in this way to history, what length of time is supposed to elapse between the ministry of Jesus and the close of history? Here our documents leave us in doubt. According to the eschatological scheme in Mk. xiii., the violation of the temple leads to a short and sharp tribulation in Judaea, and then comes the end, before the generation in which Jesus spoke has died out [Mk. xiii. 24-27 (http://biblehub.com/context/mark/13-24.htm)].

To be continued...

John Reece
01-31-2016, 12:01 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=286574&viewfull=1#post286574)


But we have reason to suppose that the disasters to fall upon the Jews were conceived by Jesus Himself as much more immediately impending. Are we then to say that He also conceived the Day of the Son of Man as much nearer than Mark reports it? It would seem so, if the saying addressed to the High Priest is to be interpreted literally at all. "You will see the Son of Man on the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven." That assurance is offered in explication and in support of the claim to be the Messiah. It can hardly be thought of as an event still in the remote future, for it is to be a sign to those persons, the members of the Sanhedrin, who were at that moment sitting in judgment upon the claim, and both Matthew and Luke have added to the saying words which show that they understood it to refer to something beginning "from this moment."*

*Mt., ἀπ' ἄρτι, Lk. ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν. Observe, however that in Luke the coming with the clouds is not mentioned. It is the session at God's right hand that is immediately impending (ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν ἔστω). This accords with the normal view of the early Church: Christ is at the right hand of God; he will come in glory. In Matthew, however, the session and the coming are conjoined, and both are to be seen immediately (ἀπ' ἄρτι ὄψεσθε).

To be continued...

John Reece
02-01-2016, 10:18 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=286910&viewfull=1#post286910)


Consider again the reference to "three days" in the predictions of resurrection and of the restoration of the temple. I have tried to show that both these predictions belong to the "apocalyptic" series, and point to the Day of the Son of Man. The formula of "the third day" was clearly intended by Hosea to suggest that speedy restoration of Israel. Its adoption by Jesus would naturally be supposed to carry a similar suggestion of the speedy approach of the Day of the Son of Man.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-02-2016, 09:32 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=287202&viewfull=1#post287202)


If then these "apocalyptic" predictions are to be understood literally, they seem to point to an event expected to happen very soon indeed, and this is the view commonly taken by those who adopt the "eschatological" interpretation of the Gospels. But, as they clearly see, this raised a difficulty in regard to the ethical teaching of Jesus. Some of them have attempted to represent this ethical teaching as "interim ethics," in the sense of precepts for the life of the disciples during the very short interval before normal conditions of human life cease to be. But it has become clear that the sayings cannot be convincingly interpreted in this sense. The alternative would seem to be to regard almost all the ethical precepts attributed to Jesus as the deposit of the teaching given by the Church to is members in the early years, and this view finds much favor at present. That the original tradition of the teaching of Jesus has undergone some expansion for the purposes of moral instruction in the Church becomes certain from a comparison of the Gospels; but to eliminate ethical perception from the tradition of the teaching of Jesus is an heroic piece of destructive criticism to which we should do well not to commit ourselves too rashly.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-03-2016, 07:01 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=287512&viewfull=1#post287512)


We seem to be confronted with two diverse strains in the teaching of Jesus, one of which appears to contemplate the indefinite continuance of human life under historical conditions, while the other appears to suggest a speedy end to these conditions. A drastic criticism might eliminate the one strain or the other, but both are deeply embedded in the earliest form of tradition known to us. It would be better to admit that we do not possess the key to their reconciliation than to do such violence to our documents.

To be continued...

Note: In The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary on the Greek Text (NIGTC: Eerdmans, 2002) and in The Gospel of Matthew (NICNT: Eerdmans, 2007) the late R. T. France provided the exegetical key to the reconciliation of the two diverse strains in the teaching of Jesus noted by Dodd above, without inflicting any violence on the biblical text.

John Reece
02-04-2016, 08:31 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=287944&viewfull=1#post287944)


It may be possible to find a place for both strains if we make full allowance for the symbolic character of the "apocalyptic" sayings. The symbolic method is inherent in apocalyptic. The course of history, past, present and future, with its climax in the Day of the Lord, is presented in a series of symbolic visions. So far as the apocalyptists use this method to describe history down to their own time, the interpretation is plain, because we have before us, as they had, the actual events corresponding to the images employed, and they sometimes supply the key. But when they come to describe the supposed future course of history, there is no actuality within our experience, or theirs, corresponding to the imagery. How far did these writers suppose the images themselves to be actuality? The answer to the question would no doubt be different for different writers. For the author of the book of Daniel, for example, the actuality corresponding to the victory of the "Son of Man" over the beasts" is a victory of the Jews over the Seleucid monarchy, and the subsequent erection of a Jewish empire.* It had not happened when he wrote, but it had for him the actuality of an impending historical event.

*I do not mean to say that there is nothing "supernatural" in the predictions of "Daniel." No doubt he may have conceived the victory as brought about miraculously, and the subsequent kingdom of the saints is certainly painted in supernatural colors. But there can be no doubt that the seer expected to experience, with his contemporaries, the events I have mentioned, on the plane of history.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-05-2016, 10:22 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=288505&viewfull=1#post288505)


There are, however, writers who certainly seem to be describing, in their own intention, that which lies beyond history altogether. Must we assume that they always intended their visions of the end, unlike their visions of coming events within history, to be taken with the strictest literalness, or does a consciously symbolic element still persist? How can we tell what was in their minds? It does however seem probable that the more deeply spiritual their outlook was, the more clearly they must have been aware that the ultimate reality lies beyond anything that the mind of man can conceive, and that any form in which he can imagine it must remain strictly symbolic. It is at least open to the reader to take the traditional apocalyptic imagery as a series of symbols standing for realities which the human mind cannot directly apprehend, and as such capable of various interpretation and re-interpretation as the lessons of history or a deepening understanding of the ways of God demand.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-06-2016, 08:53 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=288951&viewfull=1#post288951)


Now in the teaching of Jesus the traditional apocalyptic symbolism is controlled by the central idea of the Kingdom of God. This idea was itself an element in the eschatological complex with which the apocalyptists worked, though in their writings it is less prominent than other ideas of the same order. But it is peculiarly fitted to express the essential religious conviction which underlies, and which alone can justify, the eschatological hope in all its aspects. Judgment and unending bliss, the establishment of righteousness, the perfecting of human nature and the renovation of the universe, are religious ideas only so far as they depend on the conviction that the Lord is King, and that His will is the ultimate good which the whole created universe is destined to realize. It is therefore significant that the idea of the Kingdom of God has a central and controlling position in the teaching of Jesus which it has in no other body of religious teaching. With it are associated the traditional symbols for judgment and bliss, and, as the bearer and representative of the Kingdom, the traditional and symbolic figure of the Son of Man. All these are "eschatological" in character; they are ultimates, and are proper not to the empirical realm of time and space, but to the absolute order.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-07-2016, 08:51 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=289232&viewfull=1#post289232)


But Jesus declares that this ultimate, the Kingdom of God, has come into history, and He takes upon Himself the "eschatological" role of the "Son of Man." The absolute, the "wholly other," has entered into time and space. And as the Kingdom of God has come and the Son of Man has come, so also judgment and blessedness have come into human experience. The ancient images of the heavenly feast; of Doomsday, of the Son of Man at the right hand of power, are not only symbols of supra-sensible, supra-historical realities; they have also their corresponding actuality in history. Thus both the facts of the life of Jesus, and the events which He foretells within the historical order, are "eschatological" events, for they fall within the coming of the Kingdom of God. In particular, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ possess a unique significance which is hinted at by the use of apocalyptic symbolism. To go back to Daniel, the symbolic vision discloses to the prophetic eye a reality of the supernal world, the ultimate triumph of the cause of God over all hostile powers, and this has its counterpart in a parallel sequence of events on earth, conceived as immediately impending. On analogy, in Mark xvi. 62 the coming of the Son of Man with clouds, standing, as in Daniel, for the ultimate triumph of the cause of God, should have its historical counterpart in events immediately impending (as is implied in the language of the Gospels), and these can hardly be other than the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is, on the historical plane, the triumph of the cause of God, the coming of the Son of Man. The historical order however cannot contain the whole meaning of the absolute. The imagery therefore retains its significance as symbolizing the eternal realities, which though they enter into history are never exhausted in it. The Son of Man has come, but also He will come; the sin of men is judged, but also will be judged.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-08-2016, 11:24 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=289627&viewfull=1#post289627)


But these future tenses are only an accommodation of language. There is no coming of the Son of Man in history "after" His coming in Galilee and Jerusalem, whether soon or late, for there is no before and after in the eternal order. The Kingdom of God in its full reality is not something which will happen after other things have happened. It is that to which men awake when this order of time and space no longer limits their vision, when they "sit at meat in the Kingdom of God" with all the blessed dead, and drink with Christ the "new wine" of eternal felicity. "The Day of the Son of Man" stands for the timeless fact. So far as history can contain it, it is embodied in the historic crisis which the coming of Jesus brought about. But the spirit of man, though dwelling in history, belongs to the eternal order, and the full meaning of the Day of the Son of Man, or of the Kingdom of God, he can experience only in that eternal order. That which cannot be experienced in history is symbolized by the picture of a coming event, and its timeless quality is expressed as pure simultaneity in time―"as the lightning flashes.'

To be continued...

John Reece
02-09-2016, 09:21 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=290049&viewfull=1#post290049)


The predictions of Jesus have no long historical perspective. They seem to be concerned with the immediate developments of the crisis which was already in being when He spoke, and which He interpreted as the coming of the Kingdom of God. But this does not necessarily mean (if the view I have set forth is admissible) that He believed that history would come to an end shortly after his death. The eternal significance of history had revealed itself in this crisis. Whether its subsequent span would be long or short, men would henceforth be living in a new age, in which the Kingdom of God, His grace and His judgment, stood revealed. Hence there is a place for ethical teaching, not as "interim ethics," but as a moral ideal for men who have "accepted the Kingdom of God," and live their lives in the presence of his judgment and His grace, now decisively revealed.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-10-2016, 08:13 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=290384&viewfull=1#post290384)


The experience of many generations has no doubt brought a growing understanding of the meaning of that revelation, and the attempt to live by the ethical teaching of Jesus has had results in history. We may hope yet to understand Him better, and to see His ethical principles more fully embodied in our social life. But of all this we hear nothing in His sayings. He points His hearers directly from the historic crisis in which they were involved to the eternal order of which that crisis was a mirror.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-11-2016, 06:58 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=290666&viewfull=1#post290666)


It is to some such view that we seem to be led in the attempt to find in the teaching of Jesus the unity and consistency which it must have possessed. We have however so far dealt only with those sayings which are more or less explicit, even though making use of symbolism. But a great deal of the teaching on precisely these themes is contained in parables. The theory which I have enunciated may be regarded as an hypothesis to be tested by applying it to the interpretation of the parables, some of which, as currently interpreted, seem to point to a period, long or short, during which the disciples of Christ are to wait for His second coming, and during which the Kingdom of God "grows" on earth.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-12-2016, 10:17 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=291051&viewfull=1#post291051)


The most recent school of Gospel criticism, that of Formgeschichte, or "Form-criticism," has taught us that in order to understand rightly any passage in the Gospels we must enquire into the "setting in life" (Sitz im Leben) in which the tradition underlying that passage took form. The original "setting in life" of any authentic saying of Jesus was of course provided by the actual conditions of His ministry. But the form-critics rightly call our attention to the fact that the formed tradition of His teaching, as it reaches us, has often been affected by the changed conditions under which His followers lived during the period between His death and the completion of our Gospels. Its "setting in life" is provided by the situation in the early Church. It is important to bear this distinction in mind in studying the parables. We shall sometimes have to remove a parable from its setting in the life and thought of the Church, as represented by the Gospels, and make an attempt to reconstruct it original setting in the life of Jesus.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-13-2016, 06:57 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=291484&viewfull=1#post291484)


There are, however, a number of parables whose bearing upon the situation that existed during the ministry of Jesus is clear enough in the Gospels as they stand. Some of these I will consider first.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-14-2016, 07:43 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=291721&viewfull=1#post291721)


Among the parables explicitly referred to the Kingdom of God, two of the shortest are those of the Hid Treasure and the Costly Pearl, which form a pair in Mt. xiii. 44-46. In each of them we have a picture of a man suddenly confronted with a treasure of inestimable worth, which he forthwith acquires at the cost of all that he has. For their interpretation the only real question that arises is whether the tertium companationis is the immense value of the thing found, or the sacrifice by which it is acquired. This question is, I think, decided by the following considerations. First, inasmuch as the Kingdom of God was conceived by those whom Jesus addressed as the great object of hope and prayer, they did not need to be assured of its value. Secondly, the parables, like the majority of the parables of Jesus, set forth an example of human action, and invite judgment upon it. Was the peasant a fool to impoverish himself for the sake of buying the field? Was it unpardonable rashness in the merchant to realize all his assets to buy a single pearl? At first sight, yes. But to know when to plunge makes the successful financier. Only, you must feel quite sure of the value of the property you are buying.





To be continued...

John Reece
02-15-2016, 09:01 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=292029&viewfull=1#post292029)


What then is the "setting in life"? The Matthean context gives no real help. The "parabolic discourse" of Mt. xiii. is clearly made up by expanding the corresponding discourse of Mk. iv. with material drawn from other sources; and the Marcan discourse itself has long been recognized as a compilation. We have to conjecture a situation in which the idea of great sacrifices for a worthy end is prominent. There is no difficulty in finding such a situation. In Mk. x. 17-30, and other kindred passages, Jesus is represented as calling for volunteers to join a cause. It may mean leaving home and friends, property and business; it may mean a vagrant life of hardship, with an ignominious death at the end. Is it folly to join such a losing cause? The parables before us fit such a situation. They are not intended to illustrate any general maxim, but to enforce an appeal which Jesus was making for a specific course of action then and there. The implicit argument they contain is cogent, provided that the Kingdom of God is in some way identified with the cause of Jesus. They do not indeed indicate whether the possession of the Kingdom is immediate or in prospect. But with the fundamental principle in mind, that Jesus saw in His own ministry the coming of the Kingdom of God, we may state the argument thus: You agree that the Kingdom of God is the highest good: it is within your power to possess it here and now,* if, like the treasure-finder and the pearl-merchant, you will throw caution to the winds: "Follow me!"

*This is perhaps what is meant by the ἐντὸς ὑμῶν of Lk. xvii. 21, see p. 62, n. 2 [reprinted below↓]

Here is the note referenced by Dodd:


This is perhaps the place to consider a passage peculiar to Luke which has a certain similarity to the "Q" saying before us (Lk. xvii. 20-21); "The Kingdom of God does not come with observation" (i.e. it is not anything you can watch for, as astronomers watch for the conjunction of the heavenly bodies), "nor will they say, 'Lo, here, or there! For behold the Kingdom of God is ἐντὸς ὑμῶν―among you"? or "within you"? The former translation is nowadays almost universally preferred. But (i) ἐντός is properly a strengthened form of ἐν used where it is important to exclude any of the possible meanings of that preposition other than "inside." The only approximation to the meaning "among" which are cited (Xenophon, Anabasis, I, 10, 3, Hellenica, II 8, 19) are not, I think, clear exceptions to the rule. (ii) When Luke means "among", he says ἐν μέσῳ, an expression which occurs about a dozen times in the Third Gospel and the Acts. If he meant "among" here, why did he vary his usage? (iii) If appeal be made to an underlying Aramaic, the prepositions in that language meaning respectively "among" and "within" are distinct, and there is no reason why a competent translator would confuse them. (iv) "Among does not give a logical sense. A thing which is "among you" is localized in space, more or less. On the other hand you cannot say "Lo here, or there!" of that which is within, and the Kingdom of God is said not to be localized in space, because it is ἐντὸς ὑμῶν. This might be understood as the counterpoint of the "Q" saying discussed above: the Day of the Son of Man is not localized in space (or time) because it is instantaneous and ubiquitous; the Kingdom of God is not localized because it is "within you." In other words, the ultimate reality, though it is revealed in history, essentially belongs to the spiritual order, where the categories of space and time are not applicable. There is however another possible meaning. In the Harvard Theological Review, vol. xli, no. 1 (1948), C. H. Roberts argued persuasively on the basis of evidence from papyri and elsewhere, that ἐντὸς ὑμῶν means "in your hands," "within your power." That is, the Kingdom of God is not something for which you have to watch anxiously (οὐ μετὰ παρατηρήσεως), but is an available possibility here and now, for those who are willing to "receive it as a little child." There is, I think, more to be said for the substantial authenticity of the Lucan saying than is generally admitted.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-16-2016, 06:32 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=292256&viewfull=1#post292256)


If now in other parables, which are not directly applied to the Kingdom of God, we find a reference to the same aspect of the ministry of Jesus, we can hardly be wrong in treating them as being in the same sense, "parables of the Kingdom." Such, for example, are the twin parables of the Tower-builder and the King going to War (Lk. xiv. 28-33). These are associated by the evangelist with the call of Jesus to men to take great risks with open eyes; and although the actual connection in which he placed them may be artificial, the general reference is no doubt right. The parables may be aptly illustrated by the episodes related in Mt. viii. 57-62, where possible followers are reminded in stern terms of the cost which they must be prepared to pay.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-17-2016, 10:17 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=292697&viewfull=1#post292697)


Take again the parable of the Children of the Market-place, which, as we have seen comes down to us with an application to the frivolous attitude of the Jewish public to the work of Jesus and of John the Baptist alike. There is no good reason for doubting this application. If in the ministry of Jesus the Kingdom of God comes, as in the ministry of John its coming had been heralded, then our attention is drawn to the egregious folly of such childish behavior in the presence of the supreme crisis of history. There is indeed no reference to the Kingdom of God, but the words, "the Son of Man came," echo the language of eschatology. The coming of the Son of Man is the coming of the Kingdom of God. In the light of this we might perhaps interpret the cryptic words with which the passage closes. If the Matthean form is original, "Wisdom is justified by her works," the meaning may be that the actual facts of the present situation, however it may be misjudged by the frivolously minded, demonstrate the wisdom and righteousness of God, that is, they are the manifestation of His "Kingdom." But since Luke gives a different form ("Wisdom is justified by all her children"), we cannot be sure of the original sense.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-19-2016, 10:16 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=293175&viewfull=1#post293175)


In Mk. ii. 18-19 we have a brief narrative, in which the disciples of Jesus are censured for not fasting, like the disciples of John and the Pharisees, and Jesus replies with a brief parabolic saying, "Can the groomsmen fast while the bridegroom is with them?" The allusion is to the custom by which the attendants upon a newly-married pair were released from certain religious duties during the seven days of the wedding festivities, in order that the rejoicings might not be interrupted. The saying therefore depicts in brief a familiar situation and asks for a judgment upon it. The application is indicated by the setting which the evangelist has given in the introductory narrative, and there is no serious reason to question it. It would be as unreasonable to require the disciples of Jesus to fast, as it is admittedly unreasonable to expect wedding-guests to do so. Clearly then the disciples are conceived to be in a situation to which joy and not grief is appropriate. We recall such sayings as "Blessed are your eyes, for they see"; "Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God." For those who have "accepted the Kingdom of God as a little child," there is pure happiness which makes any such rite as penitential fasting a mockery. For the Kingdom of God is, in a familiar figure, a feast of the blessed.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-20-2016, 06:36 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=293820&viewfull=1#post293820)


To this controversy about fasting Mark has appended a pair of parables, those of the Patched Garment and the Old Wineskins. In the intention of the evangelist at least they have an application similar to that of the parable we have just considered. Their common motive is the folly of trying to accommodate the old and the new. The ministry of Jesus is not to be regarded as an attempt to reform Judaism; it brings something entirely new, which cannot be accommodated to the traditional system. In other words, "The law and the prophets were until John; from his time the Kingdom of God is proclaimed.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-21-2016, 08:18 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=293958&viewfull=1#post293958)


Let us now consider in the same way another group of parables, beginning with the short parabolic saying, "It is not the healthy who need a physician, but the sick" (Mk. ii. 17). The evangelist has supplied both a narrative setting and a "moral." The narrative relates how Jesus called Levi the publican, and subsequently dined in company with many "publicans and sinners." This brought an expostulation from the scribes, and the parable was the reply. The "moral," "I did not come to call righteous people, but sinners" is appropriate to the "calling" of Levi with which the story starts. It is not, however, particularly apt to the question, "Why does he eat with publicans and sinners?" Moreover, it raises a notorious difficulty about the use of the term "righteous." Did Jesus really say that His mission was to sinners and not to the righteous? Was righteousness a positive disqualification for discipleship? In view of Mk. x. 17-21 (http://biblehub.com/context/mark/10-17.htm) it hardly seems likely. Then is the term "righteous" used with bitter irony ("those who had confidence in themselves that they were righteous and dispised others" Lk. xviii. 9)? If so, it is not an appropriate interpretation of the "healthy" of the parable.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-22-2016, 08:05 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=294109&viewfull=1#post294109)


In short, we may suspect that the "moral" is no part of the original saying, but a rough interpretation of the parable on allegorical lines. "It is not the healthy who need a physician, but the sick": "healthy" = righteous; "sick" = sinners; "physician" = Jesus. Whether or not the narrative setting is as original as the parable itself we need not discuss, but there is no reason to doubt that the saying was intended to be applied to some such situation. The friendship of Jesus with "publicans and sinners" we have already found referred to in the parable of the Children in the Market-place. It is unquestionably one of the features of His ministry which attracted most attention and most criticism. That "sick folk need a doctor" is obviously an apt reply to such criticism.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-23-2016, 11:29 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=294258&viewfull=1#post294258)


Luke (ch. xv.) has used a similar setting for the three parables of the Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, and Prodigal Son, of which the first two form a characteristic pair, while the third is related in subject, but different in treatment. The Lost Sheep (though not its companion parable) occurs also, in a different setting, in Matthew (xviii. 12-14). Both evangelists give a "moral." In Luke it runs, "I tell you that in the same way there is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need repentance"; in Matthew, "In the same way it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." Both cannot be original, possibly neither is. The Lucan "moral" keeps more closely to the terms of the parable itself, but the reference to the "righteous" is open to the objection which arose in regard to Mk. ii. 17 (did Jesus really teach that there were righteous persons who needed no repentance?; and there is the same suggestion of allegory: home-keeping sheep = righteous persons; strayed sheep = sinner; strayed sheep found = repentant sinner; hence, 1 repentant sinner is better than 99 righteous persons. It is a little too mechanical.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-24-2016, 06:38 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=294539&viewfull=1#post294539)


Now the story itself (and the companion parable of the Lost Coin follows the same line) depicts vividly the concern which a person feels about a loss which an outsider might consider comparatively trifling and his (or her) corresponding delight when the lost is found. The Lucan setting is surely so far right, that the parables refer to the extravagant concern (as it seemed to some) which Jesus displayed for the depressed classes of the Jewish community. We need not ask whether Jesus Himself, or God, is thought of as the Seeker of the lost. In the ministry of Jesus the Kingdom of God came; and one of the features of its coming was this unprecedented concern for the "lost."

To be continued...

John Reece
02-25-2016, 07:29 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=294724&viewfull=1#post294724)


The parable of the Prodigal Son is not exactly parallel with the other two. Its point would seem to lie in the contrast between the delight of a father at the return of his scapegrace son, and the churlish attitude of the "respectable" elder brother. The application, however, is to the same situation in the ministry of Jesus. So Luke represents it, and we cannot doubt that he is right.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-26-2016, 07:33 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=295011&viewfull=1#post295011)


This motive, of the contrast between those whom the evangelists call the "righteous" and "sinners" respectively, recurs in other parables. Thus the Matthaean parable of the Two Sons (Mt. xxi. 28-32 (http://biblehub.com/context/matthew/21-28.htm)) is clearly a comment on the rejection of the word of God by the religious leaders, and its acceptance by the outcasts, as the evangelist represents it.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-27-2016, 09:56 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=295290&viewfull=1#post295290)


It finds more elaborate expression in the parable of the Great Feast (Mt. xxii. 1-13; Lk. 16-24). In Matthew, though not in Luke, the parable begins "The Kingdom of Heaven is like ..." In Luke it is prefaced by the words "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God." The differences between the two versions of the parable make it unlikely that the evangelists depended upon a single proximate source; but that they are following variant traditions of the identical story is clear. The common nucleus of the story tells how the invited guests were left out of the feast by their own act, and their places taken by rag-tag-and-bobtail. Now the symbol of the heavenly banquet was a traditional one for the bliss of the good times coming, when the Kingdom of God should be revealed. Jesus Himself employed this symbolism in other sayings. The audience therefore might be expected to take the allusion. In that case, the words of initiation (common to both accounts, though with slight verbal differences): "Come, for all is ready," correspond to the call of Jesus, "Repent, for the Kingdom of God has come"; and the parable suggests the rejection of that call by the "righteous," and its acceptance by "publicans and sinners."

To be continued...

John Reece
02-28-2016, 09:40 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=295516&viewfull=1#post295516)


In the elaboration of the story by the two evangelists we may detect the interests of the Church at a later date. Luke had duplicated the episode of the last-minute invitations. First, messengers go into the "squares and alleys of the city" to collect guests; and since there are still vacant places, they are sent farther afield into the highways and hedges. It is probable, as most commentators hold, that Luke has here in view the extension of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Matthew, on the other hand, has only one set of last-minute invitations. He followed a tradition which was not interested in the calling of the Gentiles (cf. x. 5-6 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mat+10%3A5-6&version=NRSV)). But he has made the feast into a wedding feast for a king's son, a trait which was no doubt intended to be interpreted allegorically; and he adds the episode of the man without a wedding-garment. This was perhaps in origin a separate parable, but Matthew seems to have intended to guard against the reception of the Gentiles into the Church on too easy terms.

To be continued...

John Reece
03-02-2016, 08:44 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=295733&viewfull=1#post295733)


A similar motive underlies the Matthaean parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Mt. xx. 1-16), which again is introduced with the formula, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like ..." Matthew has added at the close the saying "the last shall be first and the first last." But this saying is found elsewhere in different contexts, and has no obvious appropriateness in relation to the parable. The point of the story is that the employer, out of sheer generosity and compassion for the unemployed, pays as large a wage to those who have worked for one hour as to those who have worked all day. It is a striking picture of the divine generosity which gives without regard to the measures of strict justice. But its "setting in life" must surely be sought in the facts of the ministry of Jesus. The divine generosity was specifically exhibited in the calling of the publicans and sinners, who had no merit before God. The Kingdom of God is like that. Such is Jesus' retort to the complaints of the legally minded who caviled at Him as the friend of publicans and sinners.

To be continued...

John Reece
03-03-2016, 12:06 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=296399&viewfull=1#post296399)


A further aspect of the ministry of Jesus is illustrated in the parable of the Strong Man Despoiled (Mk. iii. 27, Lk. xi. 21-22). In its Marcan form it runs:


"No one can enter the strong man's house and plunder his gear, unless he first binds the strong man; then he will plunder his house."


To be continued...

John Reece
03-04-2016, 11:06 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=296676&viewfull=1#post296676)


The Lukan version (which is probably drawn from a different source) is more elaborate. Instead of an ordinary case of burglary, we have a story about an armed man guarding his courtyard. He is attacked by an enemy superior in strength, who challenges him to combat, overcomes and disarms him, and then plunders his goods at leisure. We may think of a border incident on the frontiers of Syria, always exposed to Bedouin raids. The heightening of the picture we may put to the credit of the Greek evangelist. But the purpose of the story is the same. Now both Luke and Mark (followed by Matthew), associate this parable with the exorcisms of Jesus, in which He sees the end of Satan's kingdom. In Jewish thought the end of the kingdom of Satan is associated with the coming of the Kingdom of God; and in fact both Matthew and Luke have given in the immediate contest the saying, "If I by the finger [or Spirit] of God cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you." The evangelists therefore unanimously regard the parable of the Kingdom of God, in the sense that they apply the metaphor of the overthrow of the strong man to the defeat of the power of evil. And in this they are doubtless right. But for our present purpose it is important to observe that the defeat of the powers of evil is not, as in Jewish apocalyptic, a hope for the future, but something actually accomplished it the ministry of Jesus. Once again, the ministry of Jesus is the eschatological event. It is the coming of the Kingdom of God.


To be continued...

John Reece
03-05-2016, 06:58 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=296900&viewfull=1#post296900)


The most difficult of the parables referring directly to the existing situation is that of the Wicked Husbandmen (Mk. xii. 1-8 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mark+12%3A1-8&version=NRSV)), For Julicher and his followers this is an allegory constructed by the early Church with the death of Jesus in retrospect. I cannot agree. As we shall see there is reason to think that it has suffered a certain amount of expansion, but the story in its main lines is natural and realistic in every way.


To be continued...

John Reece
03-06-2016, 06:22 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=297042&viewfull=1#post297042)


An absentee landlord let off a vineyard to tenant cultivators. He made with them a contract stipulating for the payment of rent in the form of a proportion of the produce. After vintage he sent his agents to demand his rent. But an absentee landlord is fair game if the tenants see their chance. They paid their rent in blows. The landlord, realizing that the situation was serious, sent his son to deal with it. The son of the proprietor would surely command a respect which was denied to the slaves who had represented him in the first instance. But the tenantry already had the bit in their teeth. They murdered the landlord's son, cast his body unburied outside the vineyard, and seized the property.


To be continued...

John Reece
03-07-2016, 09:03 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=297214&viewfull=1#post297214)


The story has the more verisimilitude if we remember the conditions of the country at the time. Palestine, and Galilee in particular, was a disaffected region. Since the revolt of Judas the Gaulonite in A.D. 6 the country had never been altogether pacified. The unrest had in part economic causes. If now we recall that large estates were often held by foreigners, we may well suppose that agrarian discontent went hand in hand with nationalist feeling, as it did in pre-war Ireland. We can then see that all the conditions were present under which refusal of rent might be the prelude to murder and the forcible seizure of land by the peasantry. The parable, in fact, so far from being an artificially constructed allegory, may be taken as evidence of the kind of thing that went on in Galilee during the half century preceding the general revolt of A.D. 66.


To be continued...

John Reece
03-08-2016, 07:04 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=297391&viewfull=1#post297391)


The parable closes, as a parable should, with a question: "What will the owner of the vineyard do?" (xii. 9 (mark 12:9)). Well, everybody knew what was the end of such an affair, whether or not Jesus answered His own question (contrary to His custom), as Mark avers. The question, however, really means, "What did these men deserve?" The answer expected is that they deserve the worst, for their crime was such as every decent man must abhor.


To be continued...

John Reece
03-09-2016, 08:18 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=297527&viewfull=1#post297527)


What is the application? The opening words of the story are all but a quotation from Isaiah's Song of the Vineyard (Is. v. 1-2 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isa+5%3A1-2&version=NRSV)), which would be familiar to every Jewish hearer. Every such hearer would also know that by long tradition, beginning from that poem of Isaiah's, Israel was the Lord's vineyard. It follows that the crime of the wicked husbandmen, who refused their landlord his due, and met his appeals with defiance that stopped at nothing, is the crime of the rulers of Israel. Mark says that they recognized that the parable was aimed at them (xii. 12 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mark+12%3A12&version=NRSV)), and we can well believe it.


To be continued...

John Reece
03-10-2016, 09:04 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=297765&viewfull=1#post297765)


According to Mk. xii. 9, Jesus answered His own question: "He will come and destroy the cultivators, and will give the vineyard to others." In itself this is a natural conclusion to the story. When a mutinous tenantry had broken out into open revolt, it was no doubt possible for the landlord to obtain assistance from the government to put it down by force; and he would then look for new tenants. The general implication of the answer, moreover, is in harmony with the known teaching of Jesus. He did apparently foretell the disruption of the Jewish community. Nor do the terms of the answer correspond so precisely with historical events that they must be a vaticinium ex eventu (http://www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com/article/opr/t94/e1988?_hi=0&_pos=13). In the Christian view, indeed, religious leadership did pass from the Jewish authorities to the apostles of Christ; but the former were not "destroyed" until the Roman capture of Jerusalem, which was probably still in the future when Mark wrote. It appears, however, that it was not the practice of Jesus to answer the questions to which His parables so often led up; and on the other it is the practice of the evangelists to point the moral of parables. It must therefore be regarded as uncertain whether xii. 9b is an integral part of the authentic tradition.


To be continued...

John Reece
03-11-2016, 04:00 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=298021&viewfull=1#post298021)


Matthew (xx. 41) has restored the form more usual in the conclusion of parables, by making the audience answer the question: "He will evilly destroy the evil men and will let the vineyard to other cultivators, who will deliver the produce to him in its season"; and he makes Jesus enforce the application in explicit terms: "Therefore I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that brings forth its fruits. In the phrase "he will evilly destroy evil men," we may reasonably see an allusion to the horrors of the Roman capture of Jerusalem: and in the concluding sentence we surely have the doctrine of the rejection of Israel and the election of the Gentiles, as it meets us in other parts of the N.T. The Church is dotting the i's and crossing the t's of the original application.


To be continued...

John Reece
03-12-2016, 06:03 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=298475&viewfull=1#post298475)


In addition to the application of the parable, all three evangelists have appended a testimonium from the O.T. "The stone which the builders rejected has become the top of the corner" (Mk. xii. 10 and parallels), and Luke has added a further saying about a stone which brings disaster upon those who fall on it and upon those on whom it falls (Lk. xx. 18).


To be continued...

John Reece
03-13-2016, 07:15 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=298564&viewfull=1#post298564)


All this progressive elaboration indicates that the Church held the parable to be of peculiar importance, and was anxious to put its interpretation beyond doubt.


To be continued...

John Reece
03-15-2016, 07:32 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=298780&viewfull=1#post298780)


This being so, it would not be surprising if the details of the story itself, even in its earlier canonical form, had suffered some measure of manipulation in order to point the moral more clearly. The parable as we have it in Mark invites an allegorical interpretation in which the "servants" stand for the prophets, and the "beloved son" for Jesus. How far is such an interpretation responsible for the actual terms of the story? There are two points upon which suspicion has particularly fallen.


To be continued...

John Reece
03-16-2016, 12:55 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=299244&viewfull=1#post299244)


First, the long series of "servants" sent by the landlord to claim his rent strikes the reader as unreal in the supposed situations. The number may well have been multiplied in order to suggest the long role of prophets sent by God to His people and rejected or martyred by them. If we excised Mk. xii. 4, we should have a climactic series of three, which is congenial to this form of story (as to folktales): "He sent to the cultivators at the season a slave to receive from the cultivators (the amount due) from the produce of the vineyard; and they took and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And again he sent to them another slave, and him they beheaded and outraged. He still had a favorite son. He sent to them last of all." That reads naturally enough.


To be continued...

John Reece
03-17-2016, 07:11 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=299605&viewfull=1#post299605)


Secondly, it has been thought that the murder of the "beloved son" is too obvious a reflection of the theology of the early Church to be accepted as part of a genuine parable of Jesus. But we must observe that a climax of iniquity is demanded by the plot of the story. The outrageous contumacy of the tenants must be exhibited in the most emphatic way. How could it better be emphasized than by bringing on the scene the landlord's only,* or favorite son? It is the logic of the story, and not any theological motive, that has introduced this figure. Moreover, the description of the murder of the son betrays no reminiscence of the manner of the death of Jesus. Matthew has in fact tried to remedy this. He makes the tenants first expel the son from the vineyard and then kill him‪―as Jesus "suffered without the gate" (Heb. xiii. 12). But in the Marcan version there is not even this hint.

*ἀγαπητός is used in the LXX of Gen. xxii, 2, 12, 16, Jer. vi. 26, to translate yachid, of an only son (unless we suppose that in all the cases the translators read yadid for yachid), and there is other evidence that ἀγαπητός could bear that sense.


To be continued...

John Reece
03-18-2016, 10:54 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=299744&viewfull=1#post299744)


The parable therefore stands on its own feet as a dramatic story, inviting a judgment from the hearers, and the application of the judgement is clear enough without any allegorizing of the details. Nevertheless, the climax of iniquity in the story suggests a similar climax in the situation to which it is to be applied. We know that Jesus did regard His own ministry as the culmination of God's dealings with His people, and that He declared that the guilt of all righteous blood from Abel to Zechariah would fall upon that generation. Consequently, the parable would suggest, by a kind of tragic irony, the impending climax of the rebellion of Israel in a murderous assault upon the Successor of the prophets. If now we concede that Mark has placed the parable in its true historical context (and in the Passion-narrative, to which this part of the Gospel is an introduction, the sequence of events is more clearly marked, and probably more true to fact, than we can assume it to be elsewhere), then the situation was one in which the veiled allusions might well be caught by many of the hearers. Jesus had, in the Triumphal Entry and the Cleansing of the Temple, challenged the public of Jerusalem to recognize the more-than-prophetic character of His mission. The parable might be understood as enforcing that challenge: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the prophets ..."―what will the next step be? This is not allegory. It is a legitimate use of parable to bring out the full meaning of a situation.


To be continued...

John Reece
03-19-2016, 07:37 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=300086&viewfull=1#post300086)


Taken in this way, the parable of the Wicked Husbandmen helps to illuminate those sayings of Jesus in which He foretells His own death and the disasters to fall upon the Jews. The parable in itself gives expression to a moral judgment upon the situation; but by implication it may be said to "predict" the death of Jesus, and the judgment to fall upon His slayers. As I have already suggested, it is in this sense that the predictions are to be understood. They do not proceed from mere clairvoyance. They are a dramatization in terms of history of the moral realities of the situation.

To be continued...

John Reece
03-20-2016, 09:01 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=300205&viewfull=1#post300205)


Thus, although it is only in the secondary comment in Matthew that there is any allusion to the Kingdom of God, yet this parable is a true "parable of the Kingdom," since it points to the final crisis in the dealing of God with His people.

To be continued...

John Reece
03-21-2016, 07:54 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=300358&viewfull=1#post300358)


In all the cases we have so far considered there is no difficulty in seeing that the parables had a contemporary reference, and this reference has been generally recognized in the exegetical tradition. I want now to suggest that many other parables originally had a similar reference, but this reference has been more or less obscured in our Gospels through the influence of readily recognizable motives arising out of the changed situation after the death of Jesus. First, however, we must try to see how the standpoint of the Church changed, and then illustrate the effect of this change on the interpretation of parables.

To be continued...

John Reece
03-22-2016, 07:01 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=300472&viewfull=1#post300472)


The early Church, which preserved the tradition of the teaching of Jesus, long kept the vivid sense of living in a new age which is implied in His declaration, "The Kingdom of God has come upon you." Beginning with the apostolic preaching, as we can recover it fragmentarily from the Acts of the Apostles, through the epistles of Paul and the Epistle to the Hebrews, on to the Fourth Gospel, the testimony of the Church is unanimous, that it is living in the age of fulfillment.* God has acted decisively in history, and the world is a new world.

*This is admirably enforced in Hoskins and Davey, The Riddle of the New Testament.

To be continued...

John Reece
03-23-2016, 06:39 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=300657&viewfull=1#post300657)


Nevertheless the situation of the Church was different from the situation in which Jesus taught. When the apostles made their proclamation, within a few weeks of the death of their Master, they may still have had the sense of living within the crisis, as they had lived during His brief ministry, though at a more advanced stage of it. They confidently expected that the whole meaning of the crisis would reveal itself before all eyes in the shortest possible time. But as the months and years passed by, the sense of crisis faded. Not all the things of which the Lord had spoken had come to pass. The Jewish community had not collapsed, and the temple stood. For years things went on, outwardly as they had always been. The Lord had died, and He had risen again, and by the eye of faith they saw Him 'on the right hand of God"; but where was the promise of His coming on the clouds of heaven?

To be continued...

John Reece
03-24-2016, 12:57 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=300903&viewfull=1#post300903)


In course of time the better minds of the Church, under the guidance of such teachers as Paul and the author of the Fourth Gospel, arrived at an interpretation which did justice to the deeper meaning of the teaching of Jesus. But meanwhile those who took his words literally built up a new Christian eschatology on the lines of the Jewish apocalyptic tradition. It is that which we have in our outline of the "Little Apocalypse" of Mk. xiii., elaborated in Matthew, and it is brought to its completion in the Revelation of John. The assumption is that at a date in the future (which the Church continued to the end of the first century to hope would soon come) the interrupted eschatological process will be resumed. The great tribulation will fall upon the Church, Jerusalem and the temple will fall, and the Son of Man will come on the clouds to judgment. Meanwhile the Church had its life to live in this world, and it gradually worked out in a way of life which became more and more independent of eschatological expectations.

To be continued...

John Reece
03-25-2016, 10:25 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=301244&viewfull=1#post301244)


The result of this development was that the original unity and continuity of the eschatological process was broken up. This is the profound and significant difference between the outlook of the sayings of Jesus and that of the formed tradition of His teaching as it entered into our written Gospels. The sayings were uttered in and for a brief period of intense crisis: the tradition was formed in a period of stable and growing corporate life, conceived as the interval between two crises, one past, the other yet to come.

To be continued...

John Reece
03-26-2016, 07:36 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=301562&viewfull=1#post301562)


In this position, the Church, looking for guidance in the teaching of the Lord, would naturally tend to re-apply and re-interpret His sayings according to the needs of the new situation; and that in two ways: (i) they would tend to give a general and permanent application to sayings originally directed towards an immediate and particular situation; and (ii) they would tend to give to sayings which were originally associated with the historical crisis of the past, an application to the expected crisis of the future.

To be continued...

John Reece
03-27-2016, 09:58 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=301777&viewfull=1#post301777)


These two motives, which we may describe as "homiletic" or "parᴂnetic," and "eschatological," respectively, can be shown, by comparison in one Gospel with another, to have been at work during the period in which the Gospels were written, and it is reasonable to suppose that they worked during the earlier period of oral tradition. Let us then examine some parables for traces of the influence of these motives.

To be continued...

John Reece
03-28-2016, 08:12 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=302040&viewfull=1#post302040)


We may find a convenient starting-point in a parable which occurs in Mt. v. 25-26 and Luke xii. 57-59, and which we may call the parable of the Defendant. The two evangelists have evidently taken the parable from a common source. The differences between the two versions are few, and merely verbal. In its Matthean form the passage reads as follows:


"Come to terms with your opponent quickly, while you are with him on the way, lest your opponent should hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the constable, and you should be thrown in prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the last farthing.

It is clear that this is one of the parables transmitted without any application; neither evangelist has explicitly supplied one. The contexts however in which they have placed the parable indicate how they intended it to be applied.

To be continued...

John Reece
03-29-2016, 07:19 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=302186#post302186)


In Matthew it forms part of the Sermon on the Mount, and more particularly that section of the Sermon (v. 17-48) in which various precepts of the old Law are criticized and either reinterpreted, supplemented or suspended. The precept "Thou shalt not kill" is cited. This is shown to be inadequate. The law of Christ equally forbids anger and contempt. On the positive side, reconciliation with a "brother" must take precedence even of the worship of God. It is the phrase "be reconciled with your brother" (v. 24), that forms the link introducing the parable. What if your "brother" is your opponent in a law-suit? Well, even common sense suggests that you should "come to terms with your opponent quickly." It is clear that Matthew understood the parable to teach the importance of being always ready and anxious to take the first step towards the healing of a quarrel between neighbors. It is in this sense that it finds a place in the Sermon on the Mount, which is in fact a compilation of religious and moral maxims, drawn from the teaching of Jesus, for the guidance of Christians.

To be continued...

John Reece
03-30-2016, 07:39 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=302407&viewfull=1#post302407)


In Luke the context is different. In the preceding passage we have first a series of parables which we must later consider in detail―the Waiting Servants, the Thief at Night, the Faithful and Unfaithful Servants―and then another little parable about the punishment of disobedient servants. Then comes the great saying, "I came to set fire on the earth," introducing a description of the breakup of families. All this circles about the central idea of a crisis which provides a decisive test of men's dispositions and determines their destiny. Then follows the saying about the sights of the weather, the purport of which, in this context, is clearly to suggest that men ought to have the wit to see that the crisis is upon them. Then follows our parable.

To be continued...

John Reece
03-31-2016, 12:53 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=302705&viewfull=1#post302705)


In this context the emphasis clearly falls upon the situation in which the defendant finds himself. He is being arrested for debt; in a few moments he will find himself in court, and he will no longer be a free man: sentence and imprisonment will inevitably follow. For the moment he is free to act. What will he do? Common sense dictates: settle the case out of court with all speed. It is another picture of crisis, bringing out the urgent necessity of immediate action. Luke has suggested the application of the idea to the situation to which the preceding verses have pointed the words, "Why do you not form a right judgment from yourselves?"―that is, either out of your own sense of what is fitting, or from the example of the behavior set forth in the parable, which is that of any man of ordinary common sense. In any case he understands the parable to refer to the urgency of taking the right step in face of the tremendous crisis which he has depicted.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-01-2016, 10:04 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=303113&viewfull=1#post303113)


If now we take the parable out of its context, as it was handed down in tradition, we must surely judge that Luke has come nearer than Matthew to its primary significance. It is not upon reconciliation as such that the emphasis falls. More telling illustrations of the importance of reconciliation could be found than a case in which it is, after all, only a matter of expediency. But it provides an admirable foil to the incredible folly of men who, faced by a tremendous crisis, have not the wit to see that they must act, now or never. If now we recall the preaching of Jesus was focused upon the point that "the Kingdom of God has come upon you," we are surely safe in concluding that the parable as He spoke it was meant to be applied by the hearers to the situation in which, then and there, they stood, faced by the supreme crisis of all history. This was the original application. Luke, naturally enough, applies the same lesson to Christians awaiting the future crisis of the Lord's second advent, while in Matthew the "paraenetic" motive has brought the parable into a quite fresh setting.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-02-2016, 06:53 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=303383&viewfull=1#post303383)


A more complicated example is the treatment by several evangelists of the little parable about Salt. This parable is found in all three Synoptics, and as Matthew and Luke agree in significant variations from the Marcan form, we may safely conclude that they found it in a common source independent of Mark. The Marcan version is the simplest:


"Salt is good; but if the salt becomes saltless, with what will you season it?" (ix. 50).

A comparison of Matthew (v. 13) and Luke (xiv. 34-35) suggests that their common source has a form of the parable somewhat as follows:


"If salt decays, with what will it be salted? It is good for nothing; they throw it away."

Both Matthew and Mark explicitly indicate the application which they intend. Luke gives no explicit application, but the context in which he has placed the parable suggests the way in which he understood it.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-03-2016, 08:24 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=303608&viewfull=1#post303608)


The Matthean application (v. 13) is the clearest: "You are the salt of the earth." The parable then becomes a warning to the followers of Christ. Upon them lies the solemn responsibility of exerting a purifying and preservative influence in the world at large: if they fail to do so, they have missed the end of life, and will be utterly rejected by God.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-04-2016, 11:04 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=303812&viewfull=1#post303812)


The Marcan application (ix.50) is given in the words, "Have salt in (or among) yourselves, and live at peace with one another." The meaning is not altogether perspicuous; but in any case "salt" is not the Christian community itself but some quality which it should possess; and it is a quality somehow associated with "peace." Hence the salt-parable is employed to close a series of sayings introduced by a scene in which the disciples quarrel about precedence. Perhaps we should find an allusion to the widespread idea of salt as a symbol of hospitality, and so of the permanent relation of friendship set up between two who have partaken of each others salt. This cannot be regarded as a very felicitous application; for the main point of the parable is the worthlessness of salt that has lost it savor, and it is just this point which is left vague in the application.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-05-2016, 11:04 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=304092&viewfull=1#post304092)


In Luke (xiv. 34-35) the salt-parable closes a series of sayings dealing with the stringent demands made upon those who follow Jesus, and introducing the two parables of the builder who was not able to finish, and the king going to war against a stronger enemy. The lesson of those parables is summed up in the words, "Even so, every one of you who does not renounce everything of his own cannot be my disciple." Then follows the parable: "Salt is good, but if ever the salt decays, with what will it be seasoned?" The savorless salt is made to suggest the would-be disciple who does not fulfill the demand for renunciation. It is not clear whether salt is thought of as representing a quality, lacking which a man is not fit to follow Jesus, or as representing the person himself. Perhaps the latter is the simpler. In that case the sense approximates to that of Mt. v. 13; but whereas in Matthew the salt-like quality is a matter of influence in the world, in Luke the astringent savor of salt stands for the heroic virtue of the true Christian.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-06-2016, 08:22 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=304468&viewfull=1#post304468)


The variety of application suggested by the three evangelists shows that the primitive tradition did not know how the parable was originally intended to be applied. The use made of it in Mark and in Luke has an appearance of artificiality, and we can hardly think that the salt-parable was originally intended to suggest either peace in the Church or self-sacrifice. Matthew's interpretation is clear and effective. But was this the original intention of the parable?

To be continued...

John Reece
04-07-2016, 10:57 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=304763&viewfull=1#post304763)


Let us take it in isolation from any context, as it appears to have stood in the primitive tradition. Here is a picture of a commodity valuable to men, and indeed necessary to their life; but it has lost the one and only property which gives it value. It is worse than useless. Now in the situation in which Jesus taught, what was the most outstanding example, in his eyes, of such a tragic loss of value? There is abundant evidence that He saw in the state of Judaism in His time just such a tragedy. We need not ask whether the "salt" of the parable is the Jewish people itself, or their religion. The tertium comparationis is simply the lamentable fact of a good and necessary thing irrevocably spoiled and wasted. Applied in this way, the parable falls into line with other sayings of Jesus. It becomes a poignant comment on the whole situation at the moment. The evangelists, having lost the sense of the moment, have in various ways utilized the parable to convey a lesson or warning to the Church of their own day.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-08-2016, 08:57 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=305353&viewfull=1#post305353)


The case is somewhat similar with the striking little parable of the Lamp and the Bushel. Here again we have a passage contained both in Mark and in the common source of Matthew and Luke. The Marcan version runs:


"Does the lamp come in to be put under the meal-tub or under the bed? Does it not come in to be put on the lampstand?" (iv. 21).

The Matthaean (v. 15) version runs as follow:


"They do not light a lamp and put it under the meal-tub, but on the lampstand, and then it gives light to all in the house."

It is probable that the original "Q" form was closely similar to this.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-09-2016, 08:20 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=305808&viewfull=1#post305808)


Matthew alone gives an explicit application of the parable, in the words: "In the same way let your light shine before me, in order that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven." We may observe that this is a somewhat surprising maxim in the mouth of Jesus, when we consider His stern sayings about those who do their righteousness to be seen of men; and that it is closely similar to current Rabbinic teaching.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-10-2016, 10:20 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=306132&viewfull=1#post306132)


In the other two Gospels we are left to infer the application from the context in which the parable is placed. In Mark it comes in a passage which is introduced by a question of the disciples regarding the nature and purpose of parables (iv. 10). To this the answer is given that the truth about the Kingdom of God is proclaimed in parables in order that "outsiders" may not understand it. Next, by way of example, an interpretation of the parable of the Sower is offered. Then comes the parable of the Lamp and the Bushel, followed by the saying "Nothing is hidden, but with the intention* that it shall be made manifest." It seems clear therefore that Mark thought the lamp represented the truth concerning the Kingdom of God, which in the lifetime of Jesus was concealed, but only with the ultimate intention that it should be displayed to the world like a lamp on a lampstand. That this connection is artificial hardly requires proof.


*This must be the meaning of Mark's ἐὰν μὴ ἵνα: probably the Aramaic particle di has been understood as a final conjunction, while the "Q" form of the saying results if it be taken as a relative pronoun. The parable has both meanings.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-11-2016, 10:43 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=306359&viewfull=1#post306359)


In Lk. viii. 16 the context is that of Mark. In xi. 33 the parable has a different setting. Here we have a series of sayings introduced by the words "This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks a sign." The general theme is the idea of self-evident truth which needs no sign to confirm it. The Ninevites discerned the truth in the preaching of Jonah; The Queen of the South recognized the wisdom of Solomon―for a lamp on a lampstand gives light to all who enter the house. For this evangelist then the lamp represents truth shining by its own light. This is hardly original, for it suggests no very pointed application of the of idea of putting a lamp under a meal-tub, which is surely the main point of the parable.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-12-2016, 08:57 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=306652&viewfull=1#post306652)


It is evident that in the primitive tradition the parable came down without any express application. Each evangelist did his best with it, but none of the suggested applications seems entirely satisfactory. Let us then once again consider the parable itself. It draws a picture of the extreme folly of putting a lighted lamp in the very place where its light becomes useless. In the situation in which Jesus spoke, what was the outstanding example of such folly? Was it not, in His eyes, the conduct of the religious leaders of his time, who, as He said, shut the Kingdom of Heaven in men's faces (Mt. xxiii. 13 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mat+23%3A13&version=NRSV), Lk. xi. 52 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luk+11%3A52&version=NRSV)), or in other words, hid from them the light of God's revelation? [Note that the Torah is light]. Once again, therefore, we seem to have a parable which was originally a bitting comment upon the actual teaching or warning to the Church of their day: to wit, either that Christians should show forth God's glory by their good works; or that the time has come when the mystery of the Kingdom of God should be blazoned abroad; or in general that truth shines by its own light.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-13-2016, 10:47 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=307046&viewfull=1#post307046)


These examples suffice to prove that what I have called the "paraenetic" [exhortatory] motive has in some cases worked to modify the original application of parables. In the next example I shall take this motive is replaced or supplemented by the "eschatological" motive.


To be continued...

flowers92
04-13-2016, 12:02 PM
Luke 8:10 he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’

John Reece
04-13-2016, 04:28 PM
Luke 8:10 he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’

The purpose of this thread is solely to present the scholarship of C. H. Dodd on the subject of the OP; please recognize and honor that fact.

John Reece
04-14-2016, 09:34 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=307603&viewfull=1#post307603)


The Parable of the Talents in Matthew (xxv. 14-30) and the parable of the Pounds in Luke (xix. 12-27) are clearly variant versions of the same parable. The extent indeed to which they use the same words is not sufficient to make it likely that both evangelists followed the same proximate source; and there are differences in the actual story which make it probable that in both cases the pericopé had a history in tradition before it reached the evangelists. Nevertheless it is in substance the same story.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-15-2016, 12:04 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=308024&viewfull=1#post308024)


In the First Gospel the parable is one of a series appended to the apocalyptic discourse which is taken from Mark. The discourse itself is focused upon the point of the advent of the Son of Man in glory at a time which is left indefinite, but is conceived as relatively remote in the future, though it will fall within the lifetime of the existing generation. Matthew then appends sayings to illustrate the unexpectedness of the advent: the sayings about Noah's Flood, the parables of the Thief at Night and the Faithful and Unfaithful Servants. Next he gives the parable of the Ten Virgins, which in another way enforces the wisdom of preparedness and the folly of unpreparedness for the great event. Then follows the parable of the Talents, which in this context is clearly intended to refer to the second advent, and to serve as a warning to the followers of Christ that at His coming He will take account of the way in which they have borne their special responsibilities.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-16-2016, 10:20 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=308616&viewfull=1#post308616)


Luke has provided a brief introduction to the parable, which indicates clearly the application which he intended:


"He spoke a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the Kingdom of God would appear immediately."

The effect of this is to draw special attention to that part of the story which speaks of the master as taking a long journey and then returning to take account. The parable is made explicitly to teach a lesson concerning the delay of the second advent.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-17-2016, 12:10 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=308853&viewfull=1#post308853)


Apart however from the application indicated in Matthew by the context and in Luke by the short introduction, both versions of the parable append a "moral.' The Lucan form is the simpler:


"To him who has, shall be given, and from him who has not, even what he has shall be taken away."

The Matthean form differs only slightly:


"To everyone who has shall be given, and he shall have abundance, and he who has not, even what he has shall be taken away."

To be continued...

John Reece
04-18-2016, 09:34 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=309149&viewfull=1#post309149)


It appears that the early traditional source which lies behind both versions supplied the parable with an application in the form of a general maxim. At a stage much earlier than that represented by the First and Third Gospels the point of the parable was felt to lie, not in the reference to the second advent, or to its delay, but to the specific treatment of the worthy and unworthy servants.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-19-2016, 08:08 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=309494&viewfull=1#post309494)


But it is to be observed that the same maxim appears in Mk. iv. 25 as a detached saying. It differs from the Lucan form only in its grammatical structure,* which more clearly betrays the influence of an underlying Aramaic original.** In this context Luke has copied Mark, with negligible differences, while Matthew has again introduced his additional words.

*ὃς γὰρ ἔχει, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ· καὶ ὃς οὐκ ἔχει, καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ. The substitution of the participial construction for the relative clause in Mt. xxv. 29 and Lk. xix. 26 improves the Greek.
**Mark has placed the saying in the series of utterances following the disciples' question about the nature and purpose of parables. Apparently he interpreted it with reference to the spiritual insight needed for their understanding. He who possesses spiritual insight will have that insight enlarged by considering the parables; he who does not possess it will only be led by them into worse bewilderment and ignorance. A true observation, but perhaps not the original purport of the saying.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-20-2016, 07:58 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=309911&viewfull=1#post309911)


Now when we recall that there was a tendency to turn sayings of Jesus, which were uttered in reference to a particular situation, into general maxims for the guidance of the Church, we can no longer feel sure that the "moral" appended in the early traditional source to the parable of the Talents is original. As Matthew found in the parable of the Defendant an exhortation to reconciliation, and as Luke found in the parable of the Lamp and the Bushel an illustration of the principle that truth shines by its own light, so at an early stage the parable of the Money in Trust was used to illustrate the maxim that a man who possesses spiritual capacity will enlarge that capacity by experience, while a man who has none will decline into a worse condition as time goes on. That the maxim is an original saying of Jesus is fairly certain, in view of its multiple attestation, but its original application is lost beyond recall. In any case, the parable of the Money in Trust is not a perfect illustration of the principle. The man who hid the money was deprived of it, not because he had little, but because he had not increased his holding, which is a different matter.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-21-2016, 04:21 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=310376&viewfull=1#post310376)


We must therefore postulate a still earlier form of the parable in which, like so many of the parables of Jesus, it had no expressed moral or application. Let us therefore take the story by itself and try to bring it into relation with the actual situation in the life of Jesus. For our purpose we shall do well to construct the story so far as possible out of those elements which are common to Matthew and Luke, neglecting the elaborations which are peculiar to one or other evangelist.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-22-2016, 09:57 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=311134&viewfull=1#post311134)


A man called his servants and gave them sums of money in trust, and went away. Later he returned and called them to account. Two of them had largely increased their capital and were commended. A third confessed that he had been afraid to risk his master's money, and had carefully hoarded it: he now restored the precise sum he had received. It is implied that he expected to be commended for his caution and strict honesty. The master however retorted (and here the agreement between the two versions is at its maximum): "Wicked slave! You knew me for a man to drive a hard bargain. You ought to have invested my capital and then I should have got it back with interest." The third servant is thereupon deprived of his money, which is given to his more enterprising colleague. There the story ended, so far as we can construct the earlier version.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-23-2016, 10:33 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=311371&viewfull=1#post311371)


It is surely evident that the central interest lies in the scene of the reckoning, and in particular the position of the cautious servant, whose hopeful complacency receives so rude a rebuff. The details of the story are subordinate to this dramatic climax. The master's journey is necessary in order to provide an interval during which the servants can prove their worth. It has no independent interest. All is contrived to throw into strong relief the character of the scrupulous servant who will take no risks. It is upon his conduct that the judgment of the hearers of the parables is invited. Here is a man who with money to use will not risk its loss by investment, but hoards it in a stocking. An over-cautious, unenterprising person, we judge, too careful and too fearful to make his mark. But further, the money belongs to someone else, and was entrusted to him for investment. His over-caution, then, takes a worse color. It amounts to a breach of trust. He is an unprofitable servant, a barren rascal. That is the judgment which the parable is intended to elicit.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-24-2016, 07:47 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=311732&viewfull=1#post311732)


To whom, then, is the judgment to be applied? In seeking an answer to this question we must put ourselves in the position of those who heard Jesus speak, and who would find a clue to His meaning, if at all, in their own experience and within the field of their own knowledge. While we need seek for no correspondence in historical facts with the details of the story, we may recall that in the Old Testament and in Jewish usage the relation of God and Israel was so constantly represented as that of a "lord" and his "slaves" that a hearer of the parable would almost inevitably seek an interpretation along those lines. Then who is the servant of God who is condemned for an over-caution amounting to a breach of trust? I would suggest that he is the type of pious Jew who comes in for so much criticism in the Gospels. He seeks personal security in a meticulous observance of the Law. He "builds a hedge about the Law," and tithes mint, anise, and cumin, to win merit in the sight of God. "All these things," he says, "I have observed from my youth"―"Lo there Thou has what is thine!" Meanwhile, by a policy of selfish exclusiveness, he makes the religion of Israel barren. Simple folk, publicans and sinners, Gentiles, have no benefit from the Pharisaic observance of the Law, and God has no interest on His capital.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-25-2016, 12:44 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=311937&viewfull=1#post311937)


The parable, I suggest, was intended to lead such persons to see their conduct in its true light. They are not giving God his own; they are defrauding Him. "The Judaism of that time," says Dr. Klausner, "had no other aim than to save the tiny nation, the guardian of great ideals, from sinking into the broad sea of heathen culture." Put that way, it seems a legitimate aim. But from another point of view, might it not be aptly described as hiding the treasure in a napkin? To abandon the scrupulous discipline of Pharisaism would be a risk, no doubt. It was precisely the risk that the early Christians took, and they took it under the inspiration of their Master. It is the kind of risk, this parable suggests, that all investment of capital involves; but without the risk of investment the capital remains barren. We have here, it seems, a pointed application of the parable which arises directly out of the historical situation.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-26-2016, 09:02 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=312283&viewfull=1#post312283)


If this argument is sound, we can trace the history of this particular pericopé of the Gospels three stages. First, the parable is told by Jesus, with pointed reference to the actual situation. Next the early Church makes use of the parable for paraenetic purposes, applying it as an illustration of the maxim, "To him that hath shall be given." It is at this stage that the form of the parable underlying Matthew and Luke was fixed in tradition. In the Matthean line of tradition it suffered further "paraenetic" developments. The amounts of money given to the three servants is now graded, in order that the parable may illustrate the varieties of human endowments.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-27-2016, 03:12 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=312549&viewfull=1#post312549)


At a third stage the "paraenetic" motive is superseded or supplemented by the "eschatological" interest. The return of the master signifies the second advent of Christ, and the the parable is on the way to become an allegory. In Matthew the unprofitable servant is not only deprived of his unused money; he is cast into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The master's reckoning with his servants has becoming the Last Judgment. In Luke the allegory is carried further, along different lines. The master becomes a nobleman who goes into a far country to receive a kingdom. That is Christ, who ascends to heaven to return as King. After taking reckoning with his servants, the King slays his enemies. That again is Christ who returning as judge will destroy his enemies. To put the reference to the second advent beyond all doubt, the parable is now introduced by a statement that it was spoken because some people thought that the Kingdom of God should immediately appear (whereas, as the Church now knew, there would be a long delay before the Lord's second coming).

To be continued...

John Reece
04-28-2016, 08:06 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=312992&viewfull=1#post312992)


The study of this parable has revealed how subtly the changing interests of the Church have altered the application, while leaving the substance of the story unaltered. We may fairly suspect that the same thing happened in other cases, where the course of development is perhaps not so clear.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-29-2016, 10:22 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=313127&viewfull=1#post313127)


There is a striking group of parables which as we have them are intended to be referred directly to the expected second advent of Christ, and to inculcate preparedness for that approaching crisis. It is in these parables that support is most commonly sought and found for the view, which I believe to be mistaken [color emphasis added by JR], that Jesus foretold a period of waiting between His death and resurrection and His coming in glory. The group consists of the parables of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servants, the Waiting Servants, the Thief at Night, and the Ten Virgins.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-30-2016, 09:40 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=313501&viewfull=1#post313501)


These parables, as we have them, are set in the context of exhortations to be ready, alert, and wide-awake. Such exhortations belong to the current paraenesis of the early Church. In the earliest extant Christian writing (as I believe it to be) the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, we have the following passage:


"You yourselves know quite well that the Day of the Lord comes like a thief at night. When they are saying, 'Peace and security," then sudden destruction comes upon them like her pangs upon a woman with child, and they certainly will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you like a thief. For you are all sons of light and sons of day. We do not belong to night or darkness. Let us therefore not sleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For sleepers sleep by night and drunkards are drunk by night; but let us who belong to day be sober (v. 2-5).

To be continued...

John Reece
05-01-2016, 08:31 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?8389-The-Parables-of-the-Kingdom&p=313764&viewfull=1#post313764)


As Paul says that this is familiar to his readers, we may take it that such exhortations were a regular part of the instruction he was accustomed to give to his converts. Now compare the following passage, which Luke has added to the apocalyptic discourse taken from Paul:


"Beware lest your hearts be made heavy with reveling and drunkenness and worldly cares, and that Day come upon you like a snare. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But keep awake,* praying on every occasion for strength to escape all these things which are going to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man" (xxi. 34-36).

*It seems necessary to call attention to an ambiguity of our language. The English word "watch" is etymologically identical with "wake," and formerly bore the same meaning. But in common usage at the present time to "watch" is to observe, to look out for, to be on guard, or the like: it corresponds to such Greek words as θεωρέω, παρατηρέω ... But these are not the words used in the passages referred to; they are γρηγορέω and ἀγρυπνέω, and these mean "to keep awake," with the implication of alertness―that and nothing else. The change in meaning in the English word "watch" makes it a most misleading translation.




To be continued...