Who did new testament writers think Jesus was ?

by Steel 7 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Steel

    I have been reading this book called " The two powers in heaven " .

    The readers digest version is basically there was a first century belief of kind of a dual god system in the old testament. God is invisible and yet he appears at the " word of the lord " or " the angel of the lord ". Basically any time god was visible and dealing with humans in a touchable , see able manner , it was though to be Christ. Yet the term Jehovah or LORD seems to apply to both figures or at the least there is an ambigious use of the term.

    So when you read the new testament , what exactly did New Testament Writers mean by expressions like " visible image of god " or calling Jesus " the word of the lord " , or there was a belief that Jesus lead the Israelis out of Egypt.

    I am not trying to argue if the bible is right or wrong or inspired. I just find the more I study , from a theology point of view it seems to teach a common story that isn't even close to what the WTS teaches.

  • fukitol

    Show us specific quotes please.

    The Jews were well familiar with the concept of an angel acting as an agent of God, or of an agent speaking as if they were God. They never thought for a moment that the agent was God, even when the agent spoke as if they were God.

  • Aroq

    " there was a belief that Jesus lead the Israelis out of Egypt." - Steel

    here is the scripture that references this:

    1 Cor 10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers,[a] that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown[b] in the wilderness.

    6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.”8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ[c] to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer."

    The Jews were well familiar with the concept of an angel acting as an agent of God, or of an agent speaking as if they were God. They never thought for a moment that the agent was God, even when the agent spoke as if they were God. - fukitol

    Right! Even when Jesus pretty much said it. They rather try and kill that person before they believed it. But that was the Jews, not the apostles. John thought so, as did Peter, Paul, Matthew, etc.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    I think it is a mistake to imagine that there is a coherent message in either the OT or Greek scriptures. The texts are eclectic and use folk tales, borrowed rituals and stories and most certainly borrowed ideas.

    Christianity from its start was a cult competing with other messianic cults and based on the pagan temple worship and its ritualised hope for salvation. Clear evidence for this connection is seen in Christianity using the same functionaries of bishops, presbyters and deacons etc as did the pagans. (It was only after Rome dominated and enforced Christian belief in a fusion of Catholic dogma that the earlier paganism was strictly proscribed).

    Christianity evolved from paganism. The nature of the NT texts reflect the nature of seeking converts and avoiding the 'wrong type' of cult teachings on penalty as Paul said, of being "mentally diseased", it was about a scramble for prime position in the cult marketplace.

    The first century christ story was not the same as the fourth century Roman fusion christ story. Consequently at the root of the choice of texts which are included in the NT canon are those which satisfy the cultural longings of the disparate groups of would be believers. Hence 1Cor 10;1 was used so as to resonate with Jews and be meaningful to them-- but not only Jews, the text also had to appeal to followers of Mithra, the saviour Dionysus and Orphic cults amongst others. It had to fuse polytheism with monotheism and bring the mainspring beliefs of each religion into an accommodation of credible acceptance to all. It was never a perfect fusion it always bore ambiguities.

    At this distance in time from the writings, we should be looking at the historicity and sociological basis for these beliefs. To believe them or attempt to put any of it into practice is surely madness.

  • EverApostate

    The very Existence of the Christian Jesus is still debated.

    I don't think any of the New testament writers had ever met the supposed Jesus, even if he had roamed around. They simply thought that Jesus was the Messiah, based on oral traditions.

  • Cold Steel
    Cold Steel

    None of the New Testament writers had ever met the supposed Jesus, yet all save one of them gave their lives testifying of him. Very few able scholars doubt that Jesus existed. Religions like Christianity don't just pop up and spread over mythical figures. Not only did Jesus die for the faith, and the apostles (except John), but look at all the Christians that Rome tortured and killed from the first century on. People don't give their lives without conviction, nor do the scholars record histories or the theologians record doctrines. Christianity held together very well, but lost its cohesion after the apostles died and revelation ceased.

    Denying the existence of Jesus is wishful thinking on the parts of today's atheists. Not satisfied with denying God, they now seek to deny Christ, his existence and teachings, but it's an intellectual form of whistling past the graveyard.

    The Jews had varying expectations of the Messiah, including a dual messianic expectation, one of Joseph and one of Judah. One author I like is Margaret Barker, who has written and lectured extensively on the messianic expectations of early Judaism, the identity of YHWH as a son of God (not the Father, as the JWs think).

    Believing Jesus didn't exist is far more an act of faith than believing he did exist. One may not like him, and not like his teachings, but they're fighting an uphill battle in denying his existence.

  • Phizzy

    I am of the opinion that "Jesus" the 1st Century Teacher did exist, this is only an opinion, based on the evidence.

    It is also my opinion that the N.T writings about him are mainly myth/fiction, although I am not saying the writers thought of themselves as writing myth/fiction.

    One is right to question the motives of those who pretended to be Paul, or Peter or another Apostle when writing, although a genre recognised by people at the time, it is very close to fraud.

    With that in mind, it is up to us to decide which bits we think "Jesus" may have said, or done.

    Whatever we decide though, should, if we are rational about it, be tempered by the knowledge that he was a mere man, and a man of his time at that.

  • Steel

    the question is do new testament writers think of Jesus as a central figure from the old testament?

    I really believe they do?

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