"The Messiah will come and the great age of salvation will dawn (for the pious)"- Eric Eve
The Messianic Apocalypse (4Q521)
"Several fragments of the text of the Messianic Apocalypse survive, but the one that has attracted the most attention is the largest and best preserved, that from column 2, since it appears to look forward to a Messiah who will heal the wounded, revive the dead and bring good news to the poor... Although such phrases are more or less Old Testament quotations (from Isa. 61.1 and Ps. 146.7-8), their association with the coming of the Messiah makes them appear close to Gospel passages such as Lk. 4.18-21 and Mt. 11.4-5. The apparent link is strengthened by the fact that, unlike the biblical passages to which they allude, both 4Q521 and the Gospel passages refer to raising the dead...
This leaves the problem of how God can be said to be about to preach the good news to the poor. Whatever weight is placed on the particular use of דשכ at Isa. 61.1, nowhere in the Old Testament is this verb used with God as its subject, but always of human proclaimers of (mostly good) news. Added to the fact that Isa. 61.1, which appears to be in view here, speaks of one anointed by God's spirit to perform various actions on God's behalf, the difficulty appears almost insurmountable. There thus appears to be an exegetical deadlock. Every other consideration points to God being the subject of the verbs in Line 12, and yet the third of these verbs, preaching the good news, stubbornly resists having God as its subject.
At this point one must step back and consider some broader questions about the genre and purpose of this text. It appears that 4Q521 is hymnic in type. In Puech's view, the different themes evoke the genre of an exhortation on the blessings and punishments that God will bring about in the days of his Messiah. In language that is half-prophetic and half-apocalyptic the author invites the just to persevere in the law and in the orthodox practice of the cult...
In particular, he may not have been greatly concerned to distinguish between what God was going to bring about directly and what God was going to effect through the person of his Messiah. Or he may have considered that the action of a Messiah sent by God was equivalent of God acting himself (on the shaliach principle). In Isa. 61.1-2 the prophetic figure (perhaps reinterpreted as the Messiah by the author of 4Q521) is anointed with God's spirit to act as God's agent; on the shaliach principle the acts [the Messiah] performs while carrying out this mission may also be seen as God's acts: [the Messiah] proclaims the good news on God's behalf, so that [the Messiah's] words may be regarded as God's words just as the prophets of old certified their proclamations with "Thus says Yahweh." Or again, the text may describe what God is going to do quite apart from the Messiah.
Where does this leave the raising of the dead and other miraculous deeds? In the end, one can only say that the text does not make it clear whether these are to be performed through the Messiah or not. This is not a distinction the author was concerned to make: in common with several other authors of intertestamental texts his interest lay not with the person of the Messiah but with what God was going to do in the Messianic age. The Messiah will come and the great age of salvation will dawn (for the pious); that is the author's message; demarcating a precise division of labour is not his concern."
Eric Eve, The Jewish context of Jesus' Miracles
Sheffield Academic Press (August 2002), pp. 189, 194-6
The Messiah "will bear the signs of that same Jesus who arrived in the past."
"Almost clandestinely, the Roman Catholic Church has in recent weeks taken another step toward reducing Christian animosity toward Judaism - animosity stemming from the theological dispute between the two religions. In a 210-page document published in book form in Rome, the Church states that there is no contradiction between the Jews' anticipation of the Messiah's arrival and the Christians' belief that the Messiah has already arrived, because Christians believe that the Messiah will return at the End of Days. It is significant that the Vatican's new document does not unequivocally or explicitly state that the Messiah destined to return will be Jesus Christ but instead says that the Messiah "will bear the signs of that same Jesus who arrived in the past." The document even adds that the Jews' anticipation of the Messiah's arrival can significantly encourage Christians' belief in the Messiah's return. The new document was written by the Pontifical Biblical Commission, established by Pope John Paul II in 1997. The commission was headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and its other members were 20 Bible experts, each of whom received papal authorization to serve on the committee."
Eliahu Salpeter, Waiting for the Messiah - together
www.haaretz.com (Retrieved 23 January 2002)
"Conforming to many Jewish apocalypses that anticipate a period of turmoil and stress, Revelation envisions an "hour of trial" (3:10) that will be a "great ordeal" (7:14). The cast of the eye is forward and the anticipated time is short (1:1, 3; 3:11; 22:10, 20). Belief in God's firm purpose is so strong that final vindication has already been assured in heaven. This is seen most vividly when the blast of the seventh trumpet introduces the heavenly chorus proclaiming the victory of God and the Messiah, along with the twenty-four elders singing of God's power and victory over those who oppose God's elect, the prophets, the saints, and all the faithful (11:15—19). Also reflecting a true apocalyptic perspective are the many assurances that God's ways are "just and true" (15:3; 16:7; 19:2) and that God will take vengeance on those who afflict the saints (16:5—6).
Revelation stands squarely within the Jewish apocalyptic tradition, which looks to the end of history for the final vindication of God's cause. Because of its focus on the "last things," Revelation is thoroughly eschatological. It reports the events that will constitute a crisis for the believing community: the deteriorating conditions accompanied by disasters both natural and unnatural; the continuing struggle between the forces of good and evil; and the final set of events that brings closure to the crisis. John sketches a distinctive scenario for the future: a final battle led by Christ and his forces against the "beast and the kings of the earth" (19:19)."
Carl R. Holladay, A Critical Introduction to the New Testament: Interpreting the Message and Meaning of Jesus Christ
Abingdon Press (May 1, 2005) p. 780
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