D.A. Carson on Psalm 102 and Hebrews 1

Posted by David Barron September - 11 - 2011 - Sunday 3 COMMENTS

D.A Carson is among those who argue that the Septuagint rendering of Psalm 102 serves as a basis for the application of it to Christ within Hebrews. Here are some of his remarks:

But here I shall focus attention on the final verses of the psalm. Regular Bible readers will recognize that verses 25-27 are quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12, with God addressing the Messiah, in effect giving him divine status. One may well ask how the writer of Hebrews construed the Old Testament in this way.

The answer turns in part on the fact that the original Hebrew of the Old Testament was composed with what today we call consonants. Vowels were not included. They were added much later—indeed, the most common vowel system was added to the Hebrew text about one thousand years into the Christian era. Usually this presents no problems. Once in a while, however, it is possible to read the Old Testament consonantal text with a slightly different vowel choice, yielding a different meaning. In this instance there is no question at all about the consonants. But the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, shows how those translators understood the Hebrew—and in this passage they understood it exactly as the Epistle to the Hebrews takes it. The traditional vowel placement, preserved in our English versions, understands verses 23-24 much as in the NIV. The thought is parallel to verses 11-12. But the LXX and Hebrews read it as follows: “He answered him in the way of his strength, ‘Declare to me the fewness of my days. Do not bring me up [i.e., summon me to action] in the middle of my days; your years are for generations on end. In the beginning you, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth. . . .’” The implication of this rendering is that God is addressing the psalmist, whom God addresses as Lord and Creator. That is how Hebrews takes it. On this view, the entire psalm is messianic, an oracular psalm like Psalm 110 (see vol. 1, meditation on June 17). Try rereading Psalm 102 that way; it makes sense. Compare the use of Psalm 45 in Hebrews 1 (see meditation for September 4): the Davidic king is addressed as God, and this too is cited in Hebrews 1. But even if the traditional Hebrew vowel assignments are correct, the inferences drawn by Hebrews 1 are not far away, though they must be drawn on quite different grounds.

– D.A. Carson, For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word, Volume 2 (Wheaton, IL., Crossway Books, 1999), October 13.

It is of interest that early unitarian Jews could concieve of another whom God would identify as having been involved in creation. This speaks strongly against Trinitarian proof-texting of Isaiah 44:24, especially when not considered in parallel with passages such as Job 9:8 and Psalm 72:18.

They Beheld Jesus’ Glory

Posted by David Barron September - 4 - 2011 - Sunday ADD COMMENTS

In God and Christ: Examining the Evidence for a Biblical Doctrine I provided exegetical reasons to reject the common interpretation of John 12:41 as a reference to Isaiah 6. John’s use of “because” to provide the basis for Isaiah having said what he said refutes the connection to Isaiah 6 and instead points directly to Isaiah 52-53.

Glory can refer to a visual manifestation, but also to one’s actions. In the aforementioned discussion I specifically noted God’s glory in John 11 as a reference to his miraculous works. So Isaiah’s prophetic foresight (on the use of eiden in this manner cf. John 8:56) of Jesus’ salvific work prompted him to say the words recorded at Isaiah 53:1.

One reference not included within the discussion was of John 1:14. John speaks of having beheld Jesus’ glory, yet as a man upon the earth this would not refer to some visible sight manifest to the eyes. Instead, it would have referred to his works, both in miraculous signs and, most importantly, in the redemption brought with his death. George Beasley-Murray sees the same:

The Evangelist will have had in mind the glory of the Christ which the witnesses saw in the signs he performed (e.g., 2:11), in his being lifted up on the cross (19:35), and in the Easter resurrection (20:24–29). It was a revelation of glory such as could proceed alone from the “μονογενής from the Father,” – Beasley-Murray, George R.: Word Biblical Commentary : John. Dallas : Word, Incorporated, 2002 (Word Biblical Commentary 36), S. 14

There is at a minimum overlap between the glory John claims he and others beheld and that which Isaiah saw when he was prompted to say the words at Isaiah 53:1.

Update

Posted by David Barron July - 4 - 2010 - Sunday ADD COMMENTS

While things have been relatively quite, this is far from saying that nothing is ongoing.  Quite the opposite, I’ve been extensively involved in research for what will be a greatly expanded Second Edition to God and Christ: Examining the Evidence for a Biblical Doctrine.  If all goes as planned, this edition will significantly dwarf the existing volume (For those interested, I’m currently making a careful study of the Dead Sea Scrolls with special emphasis on parallels to the New Testament, especially in the realm of agency and the christological implications, while also reviewing Larry Hurtado’s Lord Jesus Christ).   With the amount of research required I anticipate a few years before even before even beginning to write, so in the interim there will be an update to the first edition, providing minor corrections as well as limited expansion.  Even this will be some time forthcoming.

I hope to have more time for updating this blog, as there are many important topics worthy of discussion.   As circumstances allow this will be done.  Further, for those interested in supporting this website, specifically in the area of research material, I have posted an Amazon Wish-list containing various works required for further researching the Second Edition.   If you have the means to support this work it would be greatly appreciated.