Children of God (Jn 1:12-1:12)

“But to all who received him,

To those who believed

In his name,

He gave the power

To become

Children of God.”

ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν, ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα Θεοῦ γενέσθαι, τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ,

John uniquely said that those who received the Word, Jesus (ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν) also believed (τοῖς πιστεύουσιν) in his name (εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ).  Thus, the Word, Jesus, gave the power to others (ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν) to become (γενέσθαι) the children of God (τέκνα Θεοῦ).  The power of God was in his name, just as the name of Yahweh rested in the Temple of Solomon.  Biologically, the Word was born Jewish among the children of God.  However, the covenant of Abraham and his descendants now gave way to a new covenant, belief in the name of the Word, Jesus.  The faith of Abraham in God, Yahweh, was not the new faith in Jesus, the Word.  The new children of God were believers in Jesus, the Word, not merely the God of Abraham.  There would be more children of God through faith, and not through a birthright.  Baptism was to overtake circumcision as the initiation for the new children of God.  Do you consider yourself a child of God?

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Children of God (Lk 20:36-20:36)

“Indeed,

They cannot die

Anymore,

Because they are

Like angels.

They are children

Of God,

Being children

Of the resurrection.”

 

οὐδὲ γὰρ ἀποθανεῖν ἔτι δύνανται, ἰσάγγελοι γάρ εἰσιν, καὶ υἱοί εἰσιν Θεοῦ τῆς ἀναστάσεως υἱοὶ ὄντες.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus gave an explanation.  He said that in the resurrection they would not be able to die anymore or be mortal (οὐδὲ γὰρ ἀποθανεῖν ἔτι δύνανται), because they would be like angels (ἰσάγγελοι γάρ εἰσιν).  Once again, this is unique usage of the word ἰσάγγελοι in the Greek biblical literature that means equal to angels or like the angels.  They would be children or sons of God (καὶ υἱοί εἰσιν Θεοῦ), because they were children or sons of the resurrection (τῆς ἀναστάσεως υἱοὶ ὄντες).  This is quite a profound theological statement.  The resurrected humans would be like angels so that marriage and procreation would be out of the question.  Both Matthew, chapter 22:30, with Mark, chapter 12:25, almost word for word, have simpler statements about humans being angels in heaven.  Mark simply said that they would all be like angels in heaven (ἀλλ’ εἰσὶν ὡς ἄγγελοι ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς).  Matthew simply said they would all be like angels in heaven (ὡς ἄγγελοι ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ εἰσιν).  Thus, these humans would take on an angelic way of life, with no reason to procreate in marriage.  Would you like a sexless angelic heaven?

Do the sons of the king pay the tax? (Mt 17:25-17:26)

“When Peter came home,

Jesus anticipated

What Peter was going to say.

He asked him.

‘What do you think?

Simon!

From whom do kings

Of the earth

Take taxes

Or tributes?

Do they demand that

From their children

Or from other strangers?’

When Peter said.

‘From other strangers.’

Jesus said to him.

‘Then indeed

The children

Are free.’”

 

καὶ ἐλθόντα εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν προέφθασεν αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγων Τί σοι δοκεῖ, Σίμων; οἱ βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς ἀπὸ τίνων λαμβάνουσιν τέλη ἢ κῆνσον; ἀπὸ τῶν υἱῶν αὐτῶν ἢ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων;

εἰπόντος δέ Ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων, ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἄραγε ἐλεύθεροί εἰσιν οἱ υἱοί.

 

This section about the temple tax is unique to Matthew.  When Peter came home (καὶ ἐλθόντα εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν), after talking to the collectors of the Temple tax, Jesus anticipated that Peter (προέφθασεν αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) was going to ask him about this tax.  He spoke to him, addressing him as Simon, and not Peter, as he asked him what did he think (λέγων Τί σοι δοκεῖ, Σίμων) about paying this tax?  Jesus wanted to know if the kings of the earth take taxes (οἱ βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς ἀπὸ τίνων λαμβάνουσιν τέλη ἢ κῆνσον) from their own sons or children or rather from other strangers (ἀπὸ τῶν υἱῶν αὐτῶν ἢ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων).  Peter responded that kings take their taxes and tolls from other strangers (εἰπόντος δέ Ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων), not their children.  Then Jesus said to him that indeed the sons or the children are free from this obligation to pay taxes (ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἄραγε ἐλεύθεροί εἰσιν οἱ υἱοί).  Jesus implied that they were the sons or children of God.

God’s attitude towards Canaan (Wis 12:3-12:7)

“Those who lived long ago in your holy land,

You hated for their detestable practices.

They had their works of sorcery.

They had their unholy rites.

They had their merciless slaughter of children.

They had their sacrificial feasting of human flesh.

They had their sacrificial feasting of human blood.

These were initiates from the midst of a heathen cult.

These were parents who murdered helpless lives.

You willed to destroy them

By the hands of our ancestors.

Thus the land is the most precious of all to you.

Thus you might receive a worthy colony

Of the children of God.”

Now this author turns to God’s holy land (τῆς ἁγίας σου γῆς) of Canaan and its former inhabitants who lived there long ago. They had detestable practices of sorcery. They had rites of sacrificial children with feasting on human flesh and blood. These heathen cults had parents kill their helpless children. God wanted to destroy all of them because the land was so precious. Thus there he created a colony for the children of God (Θεοῦ παίδων).

The response of the unjust (Wis 5:3-5:8)

“They will say.

‘These are persons

Whom we once held in derision.

We made them a byword of reproach.

We were fools!

We thought that their lives were madness.

Their end was without honor.

Why have they been numbered

Among the children of God?

Why is their lot among the saints?

So it was we

Who strayed from the way of truth.

The light of righteousness did not shine on us.

The sun did not rise upon us.

We took our fill of the paths of lawlessness.

We took our fill of the paths of destruction.

We journeyed through trackless deserts.

But the way of the Lord

We have not known.

What has our arrogance profited us?

What good has our boasted wealth brought us?’”

The unjust laid out their complaint. They said that they derided and reproached these people. They thought that their lives were madness and without honor. It turns out that they are the fools, because the righteous are numbered among the sons or children of God (υἱοῖς Θεοῦ), the holy ones (ἁγίοις), not them. The unjust suddenly realized that they had strayed from the truth (ἀληθείας). The light of righteousness and the sun were not going to shine on them. They had followed the path of lawlessness and destruction through trackless deserts. They did not know the way of the Lord (ὁδὸν Κυρίου). Their arrogance and wealth became useless.

God has his ways (Ps 73:15-73:20)

“If I had said.

‘I will talk on in this way.’

I would have been untrue

To the circle of your children.

But when I thought how to understand this,

It seemed to me a wearisome task,

Until I went into the sanctuary of God.

Then I perceived their end.

Truly you set them in slippery places.

You make them fall to ruin.

How they are destroyed in a moment.

They are swept away utterly by terrors!

They are like a dream when one awakes.

On awaking

You despise their phantoms.”

This psalmist Asaph deals in the hypothetical of what might have happened if he walked in their ways. He would have been untrue to the children of God. He was confused and weary until he went to the Temple sanctuary of God. There he understood their end. These wicked ones were on slippery ground. They would fall to ruin. They would be destroyed in a moment. They would be swept away with terrible terrors. This was like a dream. When you awake from it you hate it. The wicked were only enjoying temporary success.