Thursday, July 10, 2008

Messiah Tablet Confirms Published Dissertation

The Catholic News Agency ran a story on the Tablet which I posted on below. The author interviewed one of the brightest up-and-coming Catholic Biblical scholars around, Tim Gray.

"Dr. Timothy Gray, a professor of Biblical Studies at the Augustine Institute in Denver, told CNA that the news of the tablet was “very fascinating,” saying “everything seems to point to its authenticity.”

He said the text seems to draw heavily upon the Book of Daniel. Scholars know from the work of Josephus that many Jews immediately before and during the time of Jesus focused on the Book of Daniel because of his prophecies related to a messiah coming to usher in a Kingdom of God.
“A focal point of Jesus’ teaching was the kingdom of God, and Jesus makes many allusions to Daniel. That really seems to cohere with this view of Jesus.”

Gray said that Jewish expectation of a dying messiah is shown in Daniel’s prophecies, noting that Daniel chapter 9 talks about how an anointed messiah will be cut off and killed.

According to Gray, a standard view of modern biblical scholarship holds that the sayings of Jesus in the Gospels where He predicts His Passion and His death cannot be authentic because, scholars believe, most Jews had no expectation of a suffering messiah. Such scholars attributed these words of Jesus to later additions made by the early Church.

Knohl’s minority contention that there were Jewish ideas of a suffering messiah before Jesus, Gray said, is echoed in the work of Catholic biblical scholar Brant Pitre."

Gray is absolutely correct--this tablet confirms what my good friend and co-blogger, Brant Pitre, argued in his masterful dissertation, Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005).
But, as much as I love Tim Gray, I've got to quibble a little with what he said. Knohl's work is not echoed in Pitre's work--Pitre was arguing that Jews believed the messiah would suffer long before this tablet was known to the academy. In fact, the evidence is so strong, he doesn't even need to cite this Tablet to make his case.
Where does he get all of this evidence? Is it from some obscure source? Well, as Gray mentioned, first and foremost, is the biblical book of Daniel, which, in chapter 9, states:

“Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. 26 And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off, and shall have nothing; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. His [or "its"] end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war; desolations are decreed. 27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he shall cause sacrifice and offering to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

Here's what Pitre says:
"Despite the difficulties of interpretation surrounding this admittedly dense text, it is clearly a description of a final period of tribulation that is characterized by at last three important elements. First, the text explicitly asserts that during the last days before the "end" (קץ) an "anointed one" or "messiah" (משׁיח) shall rise up during this troubled time and be killed or "cut off" (כרת) (Dan 9:26). [Whether the text refers to one or two messiahs is irrelevant for our purposes; if there are two envisioned (something I doubt), at least one of them - the latter - comes before the end and is killed.] Thus, at least for Daniel, the eschatological tribulation is quite explicitly messianic: i.e., it is a period during which the Messiah - a royal eschatological figure, a "prince" (נגיד) - will come and be killed." (Jesus, the Tribulation and the End of the Exile, 56-7).
Many other passages could be referenced here--that's part of the reason Brant's book is over 550 pages.
So what are you waiting for--go buy it.

41 comments:

Brant Pitre said...

Wow, Michael!
Thanks for the plug--but I haven't worn glasses that big since the early 80s!

As an aside, it's worth noting that the modern scholarly myth of "no pre-Christian dying Messiah" is still alive and strong, even after my book! What's so fascinating about those who assert this so boldly is they virtually NEVER mention Daniel 9. As you pointed out, it's not like it's on some lost tablet. Last time I checked, you can still buy a copy of the Bible, with Daniel right there in it, at Wal-Mart.

As for the resurrection of the Messiah on the 3rd day, I just happen to be writing a chapter on that now...

Celucien L. Joseph said...

Thanks God I have Daniel in my Bible and a copy of Dr. Pitre's Jesus, the Tribulation and the End of the Exile:). Good job Dr. Pitre!

Patricia Burns said...

The End Time Application of Daniel 9:25-27

The Sixth Trumpet, Second Woe, battle (Re.9:13-21) against Jerusalem and the residue of the people not cut off from the city (Zech.14:2), which culminates with the slaying of the two prophets (Re.11:8-12) at the last hour of battle, will destroy Jerusalem to that point that a commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem will be ordered (Dan.9:25 below).

The commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem will be decreed seven weeks unto Messiah the Prince/Jesus (seven WEEKS, or 49 days, or 1 month, 19 days) prior to the Seventh Trumpet (1 Thess.4:16-17), the finish (Re.10:7).

From the commandment to restore, it will take threescore and two weeks (62 weeks, or 1 year, 2 months, 14 days) to build the street and the wall (Dan.9:25 below). In other words, the commandment to restore and to build will occur BEFORE the Seventh Trumpet ascension, and the street and wall will be restored AFTER the ascension has taken place.

Messiah the Prince (Dan.9:25, Dan.9:27) is Jesus Christ.

Messiah (Dan.9:26) is the false prophet.

The prince (Dan.9:26 below) is Satan (Jn.12:31, Jn.14:30, Eph.2:2).

After the threescore and two WEEKS (62 weeks, or 1 year, 2 months, 14 days), after the street and the wall are built again (Dan.9:25 above), Messiah (the false prophet - Dan.7:20, Dan.7:24, Dan.7:25, Dan.8:9, Dan.8:11, Dan.8:24-25, Dan.11:36, Dan.11:37-38, 2 Thess.2:4, Re.13:11-17, Re.17:8) will be cut off (Dan.9:26 below) by the kings who will destroy the city Babylon (Re.17:16-17 below).

One WEEK (Dan.9:27 below), prior to the Seventh Trumpet (1 Thess.4:16-17) ascension, Messiah the Prince/Jesus will CONFIRM the covenant with many. The many during that last week will be the 144000.

In the midst of that week Messiah the Prince/Jesus will cause the sacrifice and the oblation of the saints of the most High to cease (Dan.7:21, Dan.7:25, Dan.8:24, Re.12:17, Re.13:7, Re.13:15, Re.16:6, Re.17:6, Dan.12:6-7)). The 144,000 will not see death; they are those who are alive and remain.

For the overspreading of abominations that have occurred, Messiah the Prince/Jesus shall make the earth desolate, even to the consummation and that determined (the seven last plagues - Re.16:1), will be poured upon the desolate (Dan.9:27 below).


Dan. 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven WEEKS, and threescore and two WEEKS: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

Dan. 9:26 And after threescore and two WEEKS shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

Dan. 9:27 And he shall CONFIRM the covenant with many for one WEEK: and IN THE MIDST OF THE WEEK he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.


Re.17:16 And the ten horns (kings - Re.17:12) which thou sawest upon the (scarlet colored) beast, THESE SHALL HATE THE WHORE (Babylon - Re.17:1, Re.17:5), and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire (Re.18:8, Jer.51:48).

Re.17:17 For God hath put in their hearts (the ten kings) to FULFILL HIS WILL, and to agree, and give their kingdom (singular) unto the (scarlet colored) beast, UNTIL THE WORDS OF GOD SHALL BE FULFILLED.

Re.17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city (Babylon), which reigneth over the kings of the earth (Re.18:9).



Patricia © Bible Prophecy on the Web
Author of the self-study aid, The Book of Revelation Explained © 1982
http://groups.yahoo.com/BibleProphecy

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the comment here?

http://ralphriver.blogspot.com/2008/07/vision-of-gabriel.html

M Slater said...

“this tablet confirms what my good friend and co-blogger, Brant Pitre, argued in his masterful dissertation, ‘Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile’”

I read Brant’s book 8-9 months ago, and would agree that it brilliantly argues for a biblical and intertestamental understanding of the time of trial that is associated with the coming of Messiah and the restoration of Israel. I quite enjoyed it and refer to it often in my own studies.
This stone, as interesting as it may be, seems to prove little that we did not know already. Certainly it provides additional evidence that the New Testament portrayal of a suffering Messiah truly has solid roots in our heritage in Judaism, but we could see that in Daniel as well, and other places.

My question would be, based on how hard a time the 12 seem to have with the idea that Jesus might die as Messiah, couldn’t it be that this idea of Messianic suffering (though present) was a rather minority position?
That Israel might have a time of trail seems pretty widely understood, but that the Messiah himself would suffer or die, that seems like it may have been less commonly held…

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