The Sermon on the Plain can be broken down into three sections: the blessings and woes (20–26), Ethics (27–38), and the Parables (39–49); each section can be further broken down. Starting with the blessings and woes we see four blessings along with four concomitant woes. However, the last blessing and the last woe seems not to fit well with the first three blessings and woes. First we have the rhythm of the text. The first three blessings read:
Continuing from the last post, talking about fragments from Qumran and their relevance to messianism, let us move on to the fragment from Qumran called the “Heavenly Prince Melchizedek” (11Q13) or the “Melchizedek document.” This fragment gives us a pointed look into the mindset of at least some Jews in the century prior to Jesus. Like the Messianic Apocalypse, the Melchizedek document is dated to the early first century B.C.E. Here is the fragment:
I’ve made the connection earlier in this blog between Jesus and early Christianity and the Jubilee, especially in Jesus’ Mission statement. Christianity wasn’t the only form of Judaism that made the connection between messianism and the Jubilee; the idea had been around in Judaism for a while.
To demonstrate various views of the Messiah and his connection to the Jubilee, I want to look at some documents from the Dead Sea Scroll first of all the Messianic Apocalypse (4Q521). The Messianic Apocalypse is dated to the early first century B.C.E. and is made up of 2 fragments, the first one reads:
I would like to return to a paper I mentioned in a previous post, the article is one by David Bently Hart (in the previous post, I was working from a reading of his paper, but here is the actual paper itself). In the previous post, my focus was on Hart’s critique of the Calvinist doctrine of Reprobation, and the pre-ordination of the damned. His solution is universalism, or apocatastasis, in this post I want to examine and challenge his solution. David Bently Hart Lays out his position thus:
If God is the good creator of all, he is the savior of all, without fail, who brings to himself all he has made, including all rational wills, and only thus returns to himself in all that goes forth from him. If he is not the savior of all, the Kingdom is only a dream, and creation something considerably worse than a nightmare. But, again, it is not so. God saw that it was good; and, in the ages, so shall we.