Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An article recommendation


Our Catholic brother in Christ, Nick, linked to the following article at the Called to Communion blog:

The Tradition and the Lexicon

I have read the opening post/article, and some of the 178 comments. Before returning to the combox, I felt compelled to recommend and link to this informative thread.

Enjoy!


Grace and peace,

David

John Bugay’s latest response

Late last night/early this morning (depending on the time zone), John Bugay responded at length to my opening post from yesterday’s thread:

LINK to John’s new thread

About 15 minutes ago, I attempted to post my response to John’s opening post in the combox; the post appeared for a couple of minutes, but then vanished (seems Blogger technical problems are not being fixed). Rather than contend with Blogger’s continuing anomalies, I am posting my response here at AF:

Hi John,

An interesting response to my new thread at AF; you begin with:

==David Waltz
continues to press his charge of "inconsistency" against me …==

Me: Thank you for accurately representing what I actually wrote—I do not believe that you are “dishonest”, nor as the grandmaster of misrepresentation, Steve Hays, recently penned, that you are guilty of “hypocrisy”—I believe, once again, that you are sincere, yet inconsistent in your use of liberal, critical scholarship.

==William Dever is to Old Testament what Lampe is to – what? What is it that Lampe studies again? David fails to complete the connection.==

Me: My goodness, how many times do I have to repeat the common connection/element between OT/early history of Israel critical scholars and NT/early history of Christianity critical scholars; yet one more time, here is that common connection/element:

The premise/presuppostion that archeology and secular history must take precedence over Biblical historicity.

And Nick, raises another important point that is germane:

== When someone puts their stakes on one horse, they need to stick with that horse. One cannot selectively cite a scholar, especially if the scholar is liberal and you are conservative - this is precisely what the JWs are famous for (e.g. their work against the Trinity quotes from "authorities" like "The Paganism in our Christianity," which just so happens to also say the Bible is full of pagan and other errors, but this latter detail is ignored.) This is why certain of the Early Church Fathers were venerated as Saints/Doctors, since their testimony was considered genuine and reliable guide for early Christianity. When one throws away this distinction, they've made secular historians their authority rather than a living testimony of Christians led by the Spirit.== (LINK).

Me: Should one be so quick to dismiss the early bishop/presbyter lists complied by faithful Christian apologists and historians? (E.g. Hegesippus, St. Irenaeus, Eusebius, et al.) in favor of archeology and secular history? Is archeology an ‘exact’ science? Is ancient history an ‘exact’ science? More importantly, do differing presuppositions significantly effect the conclusions that one arrives at via archeology and secular history?

Sorry John, presuppositions matter, they matter significantly. Lampe believes that “the phenomenon of fractionation” among the “house communities” (i.e. house churches) had serious consequences on theology: “In Rome of the second century we find evidence of breathtaking theological diversity”; that “‘orthodoxy’ was finally victorious over the many other tendencies has, in my opinion, also social-historical reasons”; “Behind ‘orthodoxy’ stand the mass of uneducated Christian folk…The victory of orthodoxy was thus also a ‘majority decision’”; “For the mass of Christian folk, for the ‘simplices’, the ‘economic (οικονομία) Trinity and the christological usage of the Logos concept were suspect; modalistic ideas were favored by them”.

Last night before going to bed, I conducted a bit of online research, finding other works of Lampe in English that reveal some very odd conceptions of his. For instance:

“The writer of Revelation nonchalantly ignored the hierarchical structures that had also emerged in the Christian congregation by the end of the first century [as witnessed by the Pastorals]. Prophecy was the only church office he wanted to acknowledge in the earthly Christian congregation (cf. 10:7; 11:18; 19:10; 22:6, 16).” (Peter Lampe, “Early Christian House Churches: A Constructivist Approach”, in Early Christian Families in Context, ed. David L. Balch. Carolyn Osiek, p. 82.)

Anyway, sincerely hope I have helped clarify my take on the matter.


Grace and peace,

David

Monday, August 30, 2010

John Bugay, Peter Lampe and William Dever














In my previous thread, I shared an ongoing dialogue that I have been engaged in with John Bugay concerning his use of liberal, critical scholarship. The dialogue can be summed up with the following:

I believe it is inconsistent for conservative Christians to appeal to liberal, critical scholarship against other conservative paradigms for polemical purposes, whilst John sees no inconsistency in such an application.

In the combox of the previous thread, John posted:

But his overall conclusion is the result of a thorough examination of the history of ancient Rome. His views of the Scriptures form only one small part of that work. Lampe's "critical methodology" is to have seemingly examined each and every scrap of paper from that era, each and every inscription, each and every available public record, in order to come to his conclusions.

Tell me how his view on text-critical item 6d has any impact at all on his overall historical conclusions?
(LINK)

I briefly responded to John earlier today, but would now like to expand my response.

I have given John two examples where Lampe clearly states that he believes the historical record contained in the New Testament is mistaken. When Lampe (and other critical scholars like himself) examine the historicity of the Bible, archeology and secular history takes precedence over the Biblical record. Some critical scholars refuse to give the Bible’s historicity any value at all, but Lampe at least sees some value in the Biblical record, even though he discerns errors in it. Such an approach has turned the status of early Christian history upside down for the vast majority of critical scholars, for such scholars one can no longer speak of early Christianity, but rather, one must speak of early Christianities. Not only does incredible diversity exist in the early post-apostolic churches, but also within the New Testament documents themselves. This is what happens when a scholar begins with the premise that archeology and secular history must take precedence over Biblical historicity. One cannot speak of an early “orthodox” group of Christians, spreading a pristine, consistent, theological position that was delivered to them by the apostles which was being corrupted by heretics; but rather, one must recognize that there was competing theological ideologies from the very beginning with an “orthodoxy” of sorts emerging after the rise of the ‘apologists’. The number of liberal, critical scholars who embrace such views is vast, and it certainly does not stop with the New Testament and early churches, the Old Testament and history of ancient Israel has suffered the same fate.

The trilogy of books pictured above from the pen of William G. Dever represents a solid consensus of recent critical scholarship that works under the premise that archeology and secular history must take precedence over Old Testament Biblical historicity. The results undermine much of the Old Testament’s historical and theological witness. Dever, and the consensus of critical OT archeologists and historians, like Lampe (as John pointed out above), “have seemingly examined each and every scrap of paper from that era, each and every inscription, each and every available public record, in order to come to his conclusions”, and his conclusions include: a pre-monarchy group of “Israelites” is a myth; an exodus of a large group “Israelites” out of Egypt to Palestine is a myth; Moses is not an historical figure; monotheism did not exist until after the Babylonian captivity; the pre-monotheistic Yahweh had a wife (and possibly wives—Mormon apologists love this kind of stuff). Once again, this is what happens when a scholar begins with the premise that archeology and secular history must take precedence over Biblical historicity.

In my earlier response to John I wrote:

Now, sometimes conservative and liberal scholars arrive at the same conclusions, however when two differing conservative paradigms differ over a given position I believe it is inconsistent for either side to appeal to liberals who may agree with them; but, in the field of polemics, this happens way to often. Conservative Mormons appeal to Dever, but when Dever’s methods are applied to the Book of Mormon, they reject those methods; conservative Muslims appeal Ehrman, but when Ehrman’s critical methods are turned on the textual history of the Qur’an they too end up rejecting such methods; and when conservative Protestants turn to critical scholars like Lampe to undermine the primacy of the bishop Rome and apostolic succession, when his methods are applied to the NT they reject the conclusions. That some liberal Catholic scholars agree with Lampe and other critical scholars concerning the early Church should come as no surprise, just as some liberal Protestant scholars agree with the Dever and Ehrman types should come as no surprise.

So, is the conservative apologist being consistent when he/she embraces some of the conclusions of liberal, critical scholarship that happen to coincide with their particular beliefs on a given issue, using such scholarship polemically against other conservatives who happen to disagree with them? I say NO; what do others think?


Grace and peace,

David

P.S. I see that Ken Temple in the combox of my previous thread has provided a link to a NEW THREAD at Beggars All that is germane to some of the issues of this post; I think some of his musings are addressed above—have a few more comments that need to made to deal with a couple of specifics in his post, but I have run out time for today—hope to add a few more reflections tomorrow (the Lord willing).

Friday, August 27, 2010

John Bugay and the German critical scholar Peter Lampe

I have been engaged in an ongoing dialogue with John Bugay over at the Beggars All blog. This ongoing dialogue began when I posted the following comment in THIS THREAD:

Hi GV19,

Longtime no chat! Hope that your month of fasting (Ramadan) is strengthening you spiritually…I concur with most of the following that you posted:

>>John I have found your insights very helpful, and I say this not with any ill intent towards others on this blog; however I find you one more the cultured, enlightened and self restrained people who approach others who have a different world view than your own.>>

Me: Though John is certainly one of the more charitable and self-restrained anti-Roman Catholics I have encountered online, I still cannot help but suspect that his anti-Roman Catholic bias has some negative ramifications on his research and beliefs. For instance, John eagerly endorses the critical German scholar Lampe concerning the status of the Roman church/s during the 1st and 2nd centuries, and then thoroughly recommends Andreas Kostenberger and Michael Kruger's The Heresy of Orthodoxy which is at odds with some important conclusions of Lampe. Do not wish to digress here, but it does remind me a bit of James White’s charge/s leveled against Muslim apologists who quote “liberal”, critical Christian scholars in their debates, whilst James allows himself to use “liberal” and critical Islamic scholars.

To make a very long story short, I sincerely hope and pray that a bit more consistency among epologists emerges in the near future—but forgive me if I do not hold my breath…

Grace and peace,

David (LINK)

Reactions to the above post were numerous, and crossed over into other threads that John subsequently created. Unfortunately, Beggars All has been experiencing some posting anomalies—i.e. some posts in the comboxes are vanishing shortly after being posted. This, and divergent issues not related to the original topic, have made coherent dialogue between John and myself nearly impossible; as such, I have moved our discussion to Articuli Fidei.

After my initial post, Matthew D. Schultz (another BA team member) responded (his post is the one immediately following my post linked to above). I attempted to respond to Matthew, however, my subsequent comment repeatedly vanished minutes after my submitting the post (I made 6 attempts). Here is my response, which I was able to copy before it disappeared:

David Waltz said...

Hello Matthew,

Thanks for responding to my musings; you posted:

>>David Waltz writes:For instance, John eagerly endorses the critical German scholar Lampe concerning the status of the Roman church/s during the 1st and 2nd centuries, and then thoroughly recommends Andreas Kostenberger and Michael Kruger's The Heresy of Orthodoxy which is at odds with some important conclusions of Lampe.How does it follow that this is inconsistent? Since you yourself have given the qualification of "some," it doesn't seem reasonable to suggest that John can't recommend both Lampe and Kostenberger/Kruger. Unless they were completely contradictory (in both methods and conclusions), it seems perfectly reasonable to draw on and recommend those aspects of these works he finds helpful and accurate.>>

Me: Perhaps you do not understand the key issues between critical scholarship and conservative scholarship (maybe you do, but choose to sweep these issues under the carpet for now). Lampe's critical methodology permeates his scholarly work--the inconsistency of John lies in his willingness to accept Lampe's critical methodology in a very narrow venue—i.e. wherein he undermines certain Roman Catholic claims—but then rejects Lampe's critical methodology when it works against his worldview.

>>Do not wish to digress here,Then I have to ask why you brought up this charge of inconsistency at all. Are you hoping that it will stand uncontested if you couch it in noncommittal language?>>

Me: No.

>>Charges of intellectual inconsistency are serious. It would be best to either make them with an intent to discuss them or not to make them at all.>>

Me: I am willing to do so.

>>but it does remind me a bit of James White’s charge/s leveled against Muslim apologists who quote “liberal”, critical Christian scholars in their debates, whilst James allows himself to use “liberal” and critical Islamic scholars.That comparison assumes White's methods are inconsistent.>>

Me: Not an assumption (IMO).

>>However, it's appropriate (even obligatory) to argue that the conclusions of liberal scholars (quoted by Muslims against traditional Christianity) are faulty while, at the same time, demonstrating the merits of liberal scholarship with respect to critiques of Islam.>>Me: This is the 'problem' Matthew: you, and so many others, are willing to use a double-edged sword (i.e. liberal, critical scholarship) against your opponents whilst crying 'foul' when they attempt to do the same!!!>>Since White deals with liberal scholarship on a regular basis, I don't see how this approach is inconsistent on any level.>>

Me: Sigh...

>>And you are comparing the use of liberal and conservative scholarship across two different religious traditions. Not only do you require a symmetrical relationship where none should exist, but your comparison of John Bugay's methods with White's is disanalogous.>>Me: I disagree Matthew; the fact that John, James White, and many other epologists are willing to solicit liberal, critical scholarship ONLY when it furthers their agenda/s, whilst denying the same method to their opponents, is an all too common practice—that you do not discern commonality and/or inconsistency here is a bit troubling...

Grace and peace,

David
2:44 PM, August 24, 2010

[Note: I corrected a typo in the orignal post, changing "aggenda/s" to "agenda/s".]

Rather than responding in the combox, John chose to create a NEW THREAD. In the original opening post of this new thread John wrote the following:

David Waltz stopped by last night to accuse me of intellectual dishonesty. It's funny, he's always so cheerful with me, who would have guessed that he harbored such doubts?

A bit later in the combox, I responded to the above with:

Hello John,

You wrote:

>>David Waltz stopped by last night to accuse me of intellectual dishonesty. It's funny, he's always so cheerful with me, who would have guessed that he harbored such doubts?>>

Me: Not an accurate representation of what I said: I stated that I believe that you (and many other epologists) are inconsistent, NOT dishonest.

Grace and peace,

David

Thankfully, John went back and changed "intellectual dishonesty" to "intellectual inconsistency".

However, upon rereading his opening post, I saw that he has left the following remarks unchanged:

But there is nothing I'm writing, that I am aware of, that is being intellectually dishonest with the materials.

David, I would like for you to show me where you think I might disagree with Lampe, or where you think Kostenberger and Kruger might disagree with him. Perhaps you're willing to tell me just how the work of these individuals is at odds and then we can discuss the specifics of it, and only then you can genuinely begin to charge me with intellectual dishonesty. Or not.

This is a Harvey Cox conclusion that we can agree with. But we also know precisely where we would disagree with him. Such is the nature of the confluence of conservative and critical scholarship. And guess what? No one is being intellectually dishonest here.

For the record, yet once again, I have not charged John (nor the conservatives he cites) with intellectual dishonesty. Hopefully John will go back and change his misrepresentations.

In one of the above quotes, John requested:

David, I would like for you to show me where you think I might disagree with Lampe, or where you think Kostenberger and Kruger might disagree with him.

I responded to John's request, but unfortunately (yet once again) my post vanished from the combox; the following is my initial response to John's request:

David Waltz said...

Hi John,

So much to cover in your opening post; will try to focus on one aspect at a time. First, your brief bio; I sincerely appreciated your candor, and do not in the least doubt your sincerity. However, with that said, I do find it interesting that no anti-Roman Catholic poster has attempted to dissect and analyze your spiritual journey as they have, and continue to do so, with mine. James Swan, David King, and others have been quite critical of my spiritual journey—you and Rhology are ‘allowed’ a number of worldview and/or ecclesiastical changes in your respective journeys without the worry of derogatory comments being cast your way, but I, who have made fewer changes than either you or Rho, must constantly defend my spiritual journey—I cannot help but think that if I too was a thorough going anti-Roman Catholic, such denigration would cease.

Moving on, you posted:

>> But there is nothing I'm writing, that I am aware of, that is being intellectually dishonest with the materials.>>

Me: Once again, I have not said, nor believe, that you are being “intellectually dishonest”. I do believe (as I hope to demonstrate later) that you are at times inconsistent, and that you have misunderstood some the material you have read (e.g. Metzger/HERE – which is certainly not the same thing as intellectual dishonesty).

And importantly, I would like to carry on this dialogue without getting ‘personal’; will attempt to be as objective as possible, and if at anytime I have somehow misrepresented your position and or thoughts, please correct me.

I would much rather like to continue our dialogue face-to-face—I have found internet discussions to be deficient on many levels—but, even though I do not ‘know’ you personally, I sense, like Ken, that you prefer charitable, construction dialogue over polemical/rhetorical ones, hence my willingness to carry on our discussion.

Need to get some lunch; more later, the Lord willing.

Grace and peace,

David

5:27 PM, August 25, 2010

John was able to copy my post before it vanished, and responded to it; the following is my response to John's remarks (which is still in the combox):

Hello again John,

Back for a few more thoughts and reflections on your opening post; you wrote:

>>But there is nothing I'm writing, that I am aware of, that is being intellectually dishonest with the materials. If anything, what I am finding is that there is a flood-tide of scholarship that is coming to "anti-Catholic" conclusions -- including the work of such Catholic writers as Raymond Brown, Eamon Duffy, Robert Eno, Francis Sullivan, Klaus Schatz, and others.>>

Me: I use the term “anti-Catholic” (fyi, James and others prefer that we use the term “anti-Roman Catholic”) to denote those who do not believe that the Roman Catholic Church is a Christian denomination. Apart from Duffy (whom I have not read), the gentlemen you list above are Roman Catholic, and certainly believe that the denomination is a Christian one. My position on the RCC is similar to that of Dr. Charles Hodge and Tim Enloe.

>>One might go so far as to suggest that David Waltz does not understand what it is that he is reading -- the particular conclusions that make a scholar liberal or conservative, or how they arrive at those conclusions. What might be agreed with or disagreed with, and on what basis.>>

Me: I make no claim to infallibility, so I am certainly open to the possibility that I do, “not understand what it is that he is reading”; could you provide some specific examples?

>>David, I would like for you to show me where you think I might disagree with Lampe, or where you think Kostenberger and Kruger might disagree with him. Perhaps you're willing to tell me just how the work of these individuals is at odds and then we can discuss the specifics of it, and only then you can genuinely begin to charge me with intellectual dishonesty. Or not.>>

Me: First, once again, I have not charged you with “intellectual dishonesty”. Second, I would like to present some of Lampe’s positions which I suspect you (as well as K&K) would not agree with—which, as you probably know, come via the same methods that Lampe uses to arrive at his historical assessments (e.g. form criticism, redaction criticism, et al.).

I shall begin with the following from Lampe’s pen:

“The Pastoral letters presuppose Aquila and Prisca still to be in Ephesus (2 Tim 4:19) while Paul is already in Rome. This is one of the historical inconsistencies found in the Pastorals.

For example, when Paul moved from Ephesus to Macedonia, by no means did Timothy remain behind in Ephesus, as 1 Tim 1:3 supposes: Acts 19:22; 20:1-4; 2 Cor 1:1; Rim 16:21…

How did the author come to the mistake regarding Aquila and Prisca?” (Peter Lampe, From Paul to Valentinus, 2003, pp. 158, 159.)

Now, do you believe that “the deutero-Pauline author” (Lampe’s words/take, not mine) of 2 Timothy made a “mistake regarding Aquila and Prisca”? DO YOU DISAGREE WITH LAMPE?

Grace and peace,

David
4:18 PM, August 25, 2010

[Note: I have corrected a typo in the original, changing "of 1 Timothy made" to "of 2 Timothy made".]

The thread then went off-topic, so John started yet another NEW THREAD to respond to my above post. In the opening post of this new thread John wrote:

The issue here seems to be that Lampe doesn't accept that 2 Timothy was actually written by Paul.

No, that is not the issue (concerning my belief that John has at times been inconsistent in his methodology) at all (and btw, I agree with John concerning the author of the Pastorals). As such, I responded to John with:

Hi John,

I should be in bed, but could not resist checking BA before I headed upstairs…thanks for responding to my comments; you wrote:

>>The issue here seems to be that Lampe doesn't accept that 2 Timothy was actually written by Paul.>>Me: No, that is not “the issue” at all (even though I disagree with Lampe); “the issue” is whether or not you agree with Lampe that there are mistakes in the Bible. In addition to his belief that the author of 2 Tim made a “mistake regarding Aquila and Prisca” (forgive my earlier typo), he also believes the author of 1Tim made a mistake concerning the location of Timothy.I asked a very simple question that you did not answer, and shall ask it again (with a typo correction and expansion): do you disagree with Lampe concerning mistakes being made in 1 Tim and 2 Tim?

Grace and peace,

David
11:05 PM, August 25, 2010

In one of John's subsequent responses (in the combox of the above lined thread), he wrote:

Here again, in this question about Lampe vs. K&K, you are going to ridiculous lengths to strain at a gnat and try to force me to the conclusion that there is some inconsistency between two sources that I like and highly recommend.

No, yet once again, John is not accurately representing my position. I have not, in my above response, brought K&K into the picture yet; rather, I am merely asking John if he agrees with Lampe concerning his belief that the author/s of 1 and 2 Timothy have made historical errors. I ask this very simple question because it has a direct relationship to one of his requests—here is that request yet once again:

David, I would like for you to show me where you think I might disagree with Lampe, or where you think Kostenberger and Kruger might disagree with him.

I am sincerely wondering if I am the only one who is baffled by John's responses; I find the following from his pen revealing, and a bit troubling:

No, I am not going to answer your question. These issues no doubt are discussed in great detail in some of the commentaries that you reportedly own. Look them up and come to your own conclusions.

John, the issue is not what others may think about Lampe's position, but rather WHAT YOU THINK—the context of your request concerns YOU.

I want to apologize to readers who may think that this thread may be too lengthy, but in my defense, I have attempted to give everyone a solid context of my dialogue with John. Further, I would not have created this particular thread if the posting anomalies in the comboxes over at BA were non-existent.

In my next thread I plan to provide another selection from Lampe that I suspect John with disagree with.


Grace and peace,

David

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

GOD - use of the term in the Bible and pre-Christian literature


In our modern times, the use of the term "God" among Christians, Jews, and Moslems has taken on a restricted meaning, and is properly used only of "the one true God". However, this restricted usage did not exist in the Hebrew OT, nor in much of the other Jewish literature produced before the advent of Christianity.

In the Hebrew OT, the most widely used Hebrew term for God, elohim, is not restricted to the one God of Israel, and is also applied to the false Gods of the nations, idols, departed spirits, angels, and men—concerning the latter two, note the following examples:

Exodus 4:16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God (elohim) . (KJV)

Exodus 7:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god (elohim) to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. (KJV)

Exodus 21:6 Then his master shall bring him unto the judges (elohim); he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever. (KJV)

Exodus 22:8, 9 If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges (elohim), to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour's goods. For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing, which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges (elohim); and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour. (KJV)

Deuteronomy 10:17 For the LORD your God (elohim) is God (elohim) of gods (elohim), and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:1 Samuel 2:25 If one man sin against another, the judge (elohim) shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them. (KJV)

Psalm 45:6, 7 Thy throne, O God (elohim), is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God (elohim), thy God (elohim), hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (KJV)
Psalm 82:1 God (elohim) standeth in the congregation of God (el); He judgeth among the gods (elohim). (KJV)

Psalm 82:6 I have said, Ye are gods (elohim); and all of you are children of the most High. (KJV)

Psalm 136:2 O give thanks unto the God (elohim) of gods (elohim): for his mercy endureth for ever. (KJV)
Psalm 138:1 {A Psalm of David.} I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods (elohim) will I sing praise unto thee. (KJV)

With the above verses in mind, closely related to the use of the term elohim for those who represent and/or act with YHWH's authority is the fact that the earthly throne of Israel's kings, is actually the throne of YHWH:

1 Chronicles 29:23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of Jehovah as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him. (ASV)

Because the earthly king represents YHWH, and sits on YHWH's throne, he receives "worship" with YHWH:

1 Chronicles 29:20 And David said to all the assembly, Now bless Jehovah your God. And all the assembly blessed Jehovah, the God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped Jehovah, and the king. (ASV)

Before ending this post, I would like to provide a selection from the Dead Sea Scrolls (11Q13) that comments on the Psalms 82:1 passage:

…And concerning that which He said, In [this] year of Jubilee [each of you shall return to his property (Lev. xxv, 13); and likewise, And this is the manner of release:] every creditor shall release that which he has lent [to his neighbour. He shall exact it of his neighbour and his brother], for God’s release [has been proclaimed] (Deut. xv, 2). [And it will be proclaimed at] the end of days concerning the captives as [He said, To proclaim liberty in the captives (Isa. lxi, I). Its interpretation is that He] will assign them to the Sons of Heaven and to the inheritance of Melchizedek f[or He will cast] their [lot] amid the po[rtions of Melchize]dek, who will return them there and will proclaim to them liberty, forgiving them [the wrong-doings] of all their iniquities.

And this thing will [occur] in the first week of the Jubilee that follows the nine Jubilees. And the Day of Atonement is the e[nd of the] tenth [Ju]bilee, when all the Sons of [Light] and the men of the lot of Mel[chi]zedek will be atoned for, [And] a statue concerns them [to prov]ide them with their rewards. For this is the moment of the Year of Grace for Melchizedek. [And h]e will, by his strength, judge the holy ones of God, executing judgement as it is written concerning him in the Songs of David, who said, ELOHIM has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgement (Psalms lxxxii, I). And it was concerning him that he said, (Let the assembly of the peoples) return to the height above them; EL (god) will judge the peoples (Psalms vii, 7-8). As for that which he s[aid, How long will you] judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah (Psalms lxxxii, 2), its interpretation concerns Belial and the spirits of his lot [who] rebelled by turning away from the precepts of God to … And Melchizedek will avenge the vengeance of the judgements of God … and he will drag [them from the hand of] Belial and from the hand of all the s[pirits of] his [lot]. And all the ‘gods [of Justice’] will come to his aid [to] attend to the de[struction] of Belial. And the height is … all the sons of God … this … This is the day of [Peace/Salvation] concerning which [God] spoke [through Isa]iah the prophet, who said, [How] beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who proclaims peace, who brings good news, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion: Your ELOHIM [reigns] (Isa. lii, 7). Its interpretation; the mountains are prophets … and the messenger is the Anointed one of the spirit, concerning whom Dan[iel] said, [Until an anointed, a prince (Dan. ix, 25)] … [And he who brings] good [news], who proclaims [salvation]; it is concerning him that it is written … [To comfort all who mourn, to grant to those who mourn in Zion] (Isa. lxi, 2-3). To comfort [those who mourn: its interpretation], to make them understand all the ages of t[ime] … In truth … will turn away from Belial … by the judgement[s] of God, as it is written concerning him, [who says to Zion]; your ELOHIM reigns. Zion is… , those who uphold the Covenant, who turn from walking [in] the way of the people. And your ELOHIM is [Melchizedek, who will save them from] the hand of Belial. As for which He said, Then you shall send abroad the trump[et in] all the land (Lev. xxv, 9) … (The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, translated by Geza Vermes, New York: Allen Lane The Penguin Press, 1997, pp. 500-501.)

Vermes, in his introduction to the above text, states:

The heavenly deliver is Melchizedek. Identical with the archangel Michael, he is the head of the 'sons of Heaven' or 'gods of Justice' and is referred to as elohim and el. (Ibid., p. 500.)

Much more to come, the Lord willing…


Grace and peace,

David