The Holy Spirit and the Son of God (Lk 1:35-1:35)

“The angel

Said to her.

‘The Holy Spirit

Will come upon you.

The power

Of the Most High

Will overshadow you.

Therefore,

The child to be born

Will be holy.

He will be called

The Son of God.’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἄγγελος εἶπεν αὐτῇ Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ, καὶ δύναμις Ὑψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι· διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον κληθήσεται Υἱὸς Θεοῦ.

 

Luke then has the Angel Gabriel reveal the whole plan.  Just as in Matthew, chapter 1:20, the angel told Joseph that the child conceived in Mary was from the Holy Spirit.  Luke did the same here.  This Angel Gabriel answered Mary (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἄγγελος εἶπεν αὐτῇ).  He said that the Holy Spirit would come over her (Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ).  The power of the Most High God would overshadow or envelop her (καὶ δύναμις Ὑψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι).  Her child would come forth or be born holy (διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον).  He would be called the Son of God (κληθήσεται Υἱὸς Θεοῦ).  This was a very theological statement uttered by the Angel Gabriel.  This child, Jesus would come about because of the Holy Spirit.  Elohim, the most high God, would overshadow her, the way that Yahweh had overshadowed the tent of dwelling with the covenant in Exodus, chapter 37:1-9.  This presence of God in Mary would make her pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.  The unique act of Jesus’ conception was a fully Trinitarian action involving the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit within the womb of Mary.  Obviously, the Son, her son, Jesus, would be born as a holy human person, clearly and rightfully called the Son of God.  This was a very developed theology of Luke, who always stressed the role of the Holy Spirit in his writings.

This is my blood (Mk 14:24-14:24)

“Jesus said to them.

‘This is my blood

Of the covenant.

It is poured out

For many.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης τὸ ἐκχυννόμενον ὑπὲρ πολλῶ

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:28, but Matthew added “the forgiveness of sins” at the end.  Luke, chapter 22:20, has a blessing cup before the bread and one after the bread and the supper.  Paul spoke about a “new covenant” in I Corinthians, chapter 11:25.  In John, chapter 13:53-58, Jesus was preaching about eating and drinking the body and blood of the Son of Man, since there was no institution narrative.  Mark indicated that Jesus said to them (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that this was his blood of the covenant (Τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης), that was to be poured out for many people (τὸ ἐκχυννόμενον ὑπὲρ πολλῶ).  This blood poured out for many may be an allusion to Isaiah, chapter 53:12.  This blessing of the wine had a more elaborate narrative than the bread.  However, both would become part of the new developing Christian Eucharistic Communion worship service.  Notice that Mark has this statement about the blood of Jesus after they had already drunk the cup.  The same could be implied from Matthew also.

This is my blood (Mt 26:27-26:28)

“Then he took a cup.

After giving thanks,

He gave it

To them.

He said.

‘Drink from it!

All of you!

This is my blood

Of the covenant,

Which is poured out

For many

For the forgiveness of sins.”

 

καὶ λαβὼν ποτήριον καὶ εὐχαριστήσας ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς λέγων Πίετε ἐξ αὐτοῦ πάντες·

τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης τὸ περὶ πολλῶν ἐκχυννόμενον εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:23-24, and similar in Luke, chapter 22:17, but preceding the blessing of the bread.  John, chapter 13:53-58, has Jesus preaching about eating and drinking the body and blood of the Son of Man.  Matthew and Mark agree that Jesus took a drinking cup (καὶ λαβὼν ποτήριον), assuming this cup was filled with wine.  After giving thanks (καὶ εὐχαριστήσας), Jesus gave them this drinking cup (ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς).  He told all of them to drink from this cup (λέγων Πίετε ἐξ αὐτοῦ πάντες).  He said that this was his blood of the covenant (τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης), that was to be poured out for many people (τὸ περὶ πολλῶν ἐκχυννόμενον) in order to forgive sins (εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν).  The blessing of the wine had a more elaborate narrative than the bread.  However, both would become part of the new developing Christian Eucharistic worship service.  Thus, the Greek word “εὐχαριστήσας (giving thanks)” became the name of the Last Supper Eucharist remembrance event.

Christians reading the Old Testament

The Old Testament Hebrew Bible raises questions of interpretation for a Christian.  To what extent am I, as a Christian, projecting Christian views and values on the children of Israel, the people of Israel, the Israelites?  There are various terms that translators have used to describe the slowing forming group of Yahweh believers over three thousand years ago.  Yahweh was their God and intervened in their lives.  They had a special relationship or covenant with him.  The Hebrew sacred writings were incorporated into Christianity because all the early Christians were Jewish.  However, the writings were not originally meant for Christians, but for the Hebrew people.  Can I really fully understand the Semitic thought process of three thousand years ago?  Will I be able to appreciate how important the promised land of Israel was to Jewish people?  What role did the exodus from Egypt, the Temple, the exile, and the various codes play in their lives?  I can try, but I doubt if I will be fully successful.

The infidelity of the past (Hos 9:10-9:10)

“Like grapes

In the wilderness,

I found Israel.

Like the first fruit

On the fig tree,

In its first season,

I saw your ancestors.

But they came

To Baal-peor.

They consecrated themselves

To Baal,

A thing of shame.

They became detestable,

Like the thing they loved.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, pointed out that their ancestors were like grapes plucked in the wilderness. They were like the first fruits of the first season of a fig tree. In the wilderness, they made a covenant with Yahweh. But then, their ancestors came to Baal-peor, as mentioned in Numbers, chapter 25. There, they intermarried with the women of Moab and worshipped the Canaanite fertility god of Baal. Thus, they consecrated themselves to the shameful Baal god. They became detestable, just like this Baal god. All this happened as they entered the land of Canaan.

The disputes and the resistance (Dan 11:32-11:35)

“He shall seduce,

With flattery,

Those who violate

The covenant.

But the people

Who are loyal

To their God

Shall stand firm.

They shall take action.

The wise among the people

Shall give understanding

To many.

For some days,

However,

They shall fall

By the sword,

By the flame.

They shall suffer

Captivity,

As well as plunder.

When they fall victim,

They shall receive

A little help.

Many shall join

Them insincerely.

Some of the wise

Shall fall.

Thus,

They may be

Refined,

Purified,

Cleansed,

Until the time

Of the end.

There is still an interval

Until the time appointed.

As indicated in 1 Maccabees, chapter 2, King Antiochus IV seduced some of the Hellenizing Judeans to abandon the covenant. However, there were many who remained loyal to their God. They stood firm and sided with the wise ones of Jerusalem. However, they also fell by the sword and the flames. They suffered captivity and plunder, but they received a little help. Some of these people were insincere. Even some of the wise ones fell, so that they could be refined, purified, and cleansed until the end times. Nevertheless, there was going to be an interval until this appointed time came.

The anointed one was cut off (Dan 9:26-9:27)

“After the sixty-two weeks,

An anointed one

Shall be cut off.

He shall have nothing.

The troops

Of the prince,

Who is to come,

Shall destroy

The city.

He shall destroy

The sanctuary.

Its end shall come

With a flood.

To the end,

There shall be war.

Desolations are decreed.

He shall make

A strong covenant

With many

For one week.

For half

Of the week,

He shall make

Sacrifices cease.

He shall make

Offerings cease.

In their places,

There shall be an abomination

That desolates,

Until the decreed end

Is poured out

On the desolator.”

Well, that was a simple explanation by Gabriel! After 62 weeks, the anointed one would be cut off. In fact, there is some agreement that this anointed one was the high priest Onias III, who was deposed in 175 BCE. The prince coming to destroy him was probably King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who came to destroy the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary. It is unclear what the flood was about. Obviously, there was a war and the Maccabees uprising. The covenant for one week might mean 7 years, and ½ a week might mean 3 ½ years, the time when the sacrifices and offerings ceased in the Temple. Instead, they had the terrible abominations and desolations of the false idols. Finally, this all came to an end.