Recently it has been proposed that announcements of judgment, like the ones to be found in the minor prophets Amos and Hosea, on principle are to be considered as vaticinia ex eventu. Even the traditions of salvation, employed to reinforce different kinds of reproach, are held to be the work of learned redactors. However, these hypotheses are supported neither by the evidence from the ancient Near East nor by the logic underlying prophetical proclamations of judgment themselves, for sheer announcements of punishment could only be meaningless in times of doom as well as during periods of recovery. Old Testament prophecy of doom is no complete stranger among the religions of the ancient Near East. It owes its uniqueness not to the kind or genus, but only to the complexity of its message.
In conventional readings of Mark 9,1, the meaning of the "kingdom of God coming with power" determines the identity of the bystanders who will supposedly experience ("see") it. Since the prediction of the kingdom is usually regarded as a blessing, it is assumed that the bystanders are protagonists. In contrast to this conventional approach, the reading proposed in this essay begins with the group(s) which will experience ("see") "the kingdom of God coming with power", first in 9,1 and then in 13,26 and 14,62. When prior attention is given to these groups in the context of the narrative, Jesus’ prediction in Mark 9,1 emerges not as a blessing promised to the protagonists, but as a threat of judgment aimed at antagonists.
This article elucidates the Johannine concept of Jesus’ "sword" as the means of liberation against a background of Palestinian messianic apocalypticism. It is argued that the Johannine Jesus is depicted as a messiah who liberates the world at large from the spiritual oppression of sin and the devil by means of his Spirit-imbued word of truth. In addition, Jesus also provides physical, social, religious and political liberation. Jesus’ programme of holistic liberation is continued by his disciples through the transference of his "sword" in the form of their Paraclete-imbued witness.
The distinctive way of honoring gods or God was to celebrate what is unique about them, that is, praise of persons who were the "first", "only", or "one of a few" to do something. Rhetoric from Aristotle to Quintilian expounded the theory of "uniqueness", which the authors of Greek hymns and prayers employed. One finds a Semitic counterpart in the "principle of incomparability" describing Israelite kings. "Uniqueness" pervades the New Testament, especially its doxologies. In them, "uniqueness" was richly expressed in rhetorical mode, as well as by predicates of negative theology which elevated the deity above those praising.
Isa 65,20 which forms part of the future blessings of God’s servants, subsequent to the inauguration of the new heavens and new earth, is contentious theologically and linguistically. The present paper investigates why sinners persist in the future glorious age, concluding that human nature does not change with the appearance of the new heavens and new earth. Rather the latter indicate that no longer will the righteous suffer, nor will the land be devastated, because of the deeds of the unrighteous. Further it is noted that the usual translation of Isa 65,20 appears not to accord with Isa 65,22. It is argued that the LXX version is to be rejected as a later rationalisation. Instead yk should be taken as the dividing point of the verse and llq recognised as an allusion to Job 24,18.
Psalm 141 has national distress as its background. The speaker of this text prays for discipline, not to be enticed by the ‘delicacies’ of profiteers, ‘workers of mischief’, and thus become involved in their intrigues. Discipline, such as a righteous person may teach him, will enable him to seek justice for these people when the present regime is overthrown. At the end of the psalm the speaker asks his God that he himself be guarded from evil which the ‘workers of mischief’ may plot against him. In vv. 4-6 all 3rd person plural suffixes refer to those called Nw)-yl(p; they are also the subject of w(m#$w (v. 6b). In v. 4 twll( means ‘fabrications’. In v. 5 w dw( can be understood as ‘in the end’, and tw(r as ‘troubles’.