Did Jesus Hope for Vindication after Death

I have already indicated my conclusion that a positive answer can be given to this final question. The answer will certainly have to be qualified by the character of the Jesus tradition and by indications of post-Easter reflection. Here more than anywhere else the tradition was likely to be formulated more or less from the first in the light of what the first disciples believed happened on Easter morning. Even so, however, there remains a strong possibility of discerning a hope initially formulated prior to that Easter morning.258

a. Hope of Vindication

We have previously noted the already strong conviction within Second Temple Judaism that the righteous should not despair that their righteousness was in vain. The same motif which holds out the expectation of suffering and death for the righteous looks beyond that death to vindication beyond. (1) Most clear is Wis. 3.1-9 and 5.1-5:

the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be a disaster, their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace. 4Forthough in the sight of others they were punished, their hope is full of immortality. been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them

257. Vogtle suggests that it was only at the test supper that Jesus came to conceive of his death as not only a suffering of God's judgment (Gerichtstod) but as necessary for the salvation of others ('Todesankundigungen' 111-12).

258. Pace Keck, Who Is Jesus? 110.

worthy of himself; gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them. the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble. will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them forever.

who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his holy ones, and he watches over his elect.

the righteous will stand with great confidence in the presence of those who have oppressed them and those who make light of their labours.

the unrighteous see them, they will be shaken with dreadful fear, and they will be amazed at the unexpected salvation of the righteous. will speak to one another in repentance, and in anguish of spirit they will groan, and say, are persons whom we once held in derision and made a by word of reproach — fools that we were! We thought that their lives were madness and that their end was without honour. have they been num bered among the children of God? And why is their lot among the saints?'

Nor should we be surprised that early Christian reflection seized upon Ps. 16.8-11 (Acts 2.25-28; 13.35), since the confidence in God expressed there seems to extend beyond death to a continuing life and 'pleasures for evermore' :259

161Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2I say to the LORD, 'YOU are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.' . . . 9Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure. you do not give me up to or let your faithful one see the Pit. show me the path of life.

In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures for-evermore.

(2) If Jesus did indeed draw on Daniel's vision of the 'one like a son of man', then we need simply to recall the capacity of that vision to encourage hope of vindication following suffering.260 As the manlike figure represented the saints of the Most High in their vindication following horrendous suffering, so he provided a further expression of the suffering-vindication hope. That Jesus may have been influenced by this vision is further suggested by the fact that it talks of the kingdom being given to that son of man (Dan. 7.14), to the saints of the Most High (7.18, 22, 27). The possibility is thus provided of a direct link between Jesus' ex

259. Lindars, New Testament Apologetic 38-45; but see also B. Janowski, 'Die Toten loben JHWH nicht. Psalm 88 und das alttestamentliche Todesverständnis', in Avemarie and Lichtenberger, Auferstehung — Resurrection 3-45 (here 41-44).

pectation of the kingdom to come and his own destiny in future vindication. That Jesus could have hinted at such a prospect is also confirmed by the expectation of some of the twelve that they would share in that kingdom (Mark 10.36 par.) and by Luke Both passages indicate in different ways that such a sharing in kingly rule will be consequent on shared suffering,262 and take us back into the same circle of thought as the suffering-vindicated son of man.

(3) If Mark 14.24 recalls Jesus' talk of his death as covenant sacrifice (§17.5d[3]), then we should also recall that 14.24 is attached to 14.25, the 'vow of abstinence' in prospect of celebration in the kingdom of God (cf. Luke 22.18,

Jesus may have seen his death as the sacrifice which renewed the covenant or brought into effect the new covenant. But if so, he expected also to share in its benefits, presumably in a post-mortem existence.

(4) Should it be the case that 53 also influenced Jesus (though the Jesus tradition does not enable us to make a positive affirmation on the point), then we need simply recall that Isa. 53 too holds out the prospect of vindication after death for the suffering Servant. I need refer only to 53.10-11 cited above (§17.5d). Here too we should recall that according to the Acts record of the earliest Christian preaching, the earliest apologetic use of Isa. 53 in Christian circles was in elucidation of the suffering-exaltation theme.264

(5) Finally, there is the broader consideration that Jesus presumably correlated in some way his proclamation of the good news of God's soon-coming kingdom with his anticipated death. It is hardly likely that he saw his death as marking the failure of God's predetermined purpose, much more likely as the acting out of that purpose or embraced within that purpose. However daunting the prospect, Jesus surely did not see his death as defeat and disaster; would he have set his face to go to Jerusalem so resolutely in that case? Much more likely, he saw his expected death as a prelude to the consummation of God's purpose, the birth-pangs of the age to come, perhaps even the means by which the kingdom would come. And if so, presumably he expected to be vindicated after death and to share the continued joys of that kingdom.

Eduard Schweizer put the point well, even if in terms of his own thesis regarding the Son of Man:

262. Mark 10.38-39; Luke 22.28. The fact that Luke has appended 22.28-30 to his version of the rebuke to the disciples' overweening ambition (Luke 22.24-27/Mark 10.41-45) implies his recognition of the same circle of thought.

263. See above, §12.4f; similarly Gnilka, 'Wie urteilte Jesus?' 33-35; also Jesus 282-83; Schürmann, Gottes Reich 210-13, 219-20; Becker, Jesus 341-42; Müller, Entstehung 42-46. 14.25 'indicates that Jesus viewed his death as part and parcel of the process whereby the kingdom comes' (Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Kingdom 269).

264. See further Juel, Messianic Exegesis 119-33, and above, n. 228.

If Jesus did foresee suffering and rejection for himself and his disciples, then, of course, he saw it not as catastrophe but as a gateway to the glory of the coming kingdom. If he did call himself the Son of Man and connected the title (sic) with his lowly state on earth as well as the glory to come, then he must have expected something like his exaltation to the glory of God.265

b. Hope of Resurrection?

Could it be that Jesus expressed his hope of vindication in terms of resurrection? The Passion predictions certainly indicate so: 'and after three days/on the third day he will rise again/be raised'. But we have already seen that their present form shows clear signs of elaboration: the vaguer 'after three days' has become 'on the third day'; the less explicit 'killed' has become 'crucified' (§ 17.4c). Moreover, behind the sayings clarified in hindsight there may well be discerned a simpler masal: 'the man is to be handed over to the men'. In this form there is-no expression of vindication of resurrection. Is then the expectation of resurrection part of the post-Easter elaboration of the mashal?

The only reason for hesitating on the point is the fact that resurrection was one form of vindication hope which had become prominent in late Second Temple Judaism. It is most clearly indicated in what is usually reckoned a late (fourth or third century BCE) addition to Isaiah (Isa. 24-27) and in Dan. 12.1-3.266

dead shall live, their corpses shall rise. dwellers in the dust, awake and sing forjoy! For your dew is a radiant dew, and the earth will give birth to those long dead.

Dan. that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your peo ple, shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. who are wise shall shine like the

265. Schweizer, Lordship andDiscipleship 36 (see further Erniedrigung 26-28, 31-33, 46-52); similarly Barrett, Jesus 76; Schillebeeckx, Jesus 284-91, 311 ('Jesus' whole life is the hermeneusis of his death'); Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Kingdom 245-46, 269-70.

266. For fuller review and discussion see H. C. C. Cavallin, Life after Death: Paul's Argument for the Resurrection of the Dead in 1 Cor 15. Part I: An Enquiry into the Jewish Background (Lund: Gleerup, 1974); Collins, Daniel 394-98; A. Chester, 'Resurrection and Transformation', in Avemarie and Lichtenberger, Auferstehung 41-17 (here 48-70), and Hengel, 'Begräbnis' in the same volume 150-72.

brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

The earliest expressions of martyr-theology already express hope of vindication in terms of resurrection (2 Macc. 7.9, 14). There is also a consistent hope of resurrection expressed in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, though the extent of Christian redaction there is unclear,267 and probably also in 1 Enoch.26 We also know that the belief in resurrection was firmly embraced by the Phari-sees,269 as indeed by Jesus himself.270 So it would hardly be surprising if Jesus had entertained hope of vindication in terms of resurrection.

What this hope would refer to, however, is almost certainly what might best be described as the general and final resurrection — resurrection prior to final judgment (as implied in Dan. 12.2) and disposition of eternal destiny ('some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt'). If Jesus hoped for resurrection it was presumably to share in the general and final resurrection of the dead.

There are some indications of 'resurrection' language being used in service of a prophet redivivus concept: Jesus as John the Baptist 'raised from the dead' (Mark 6.14 pars.), 'Jeremiah' (Matt. 16.14), 'one of the old prophets has risen' (Luke But these are presented as expressions of troubled or puzzled minds trying to make sense of disquieting phenomena — Jesus acting like one of the old prophets, disturbingly like the Baptist. The hopes regarding the return of Enoch and Elijah are only partly parallel, since neither was thought to have died (§ 15.6a); but pseudo-Philo identified Elijah with Phinehas (Num. 25), preserved in secret ('in Danaben') by God until his return as Elijah {LAB 48.1).272 And the

267. T. Sim. 6.7; T. Jud. 25.1, 4; T. Zeb. 10.2; T. Ben. 10.6-8; cf. T. Levi 18.13-14; T. Dan 5.12; with clear echoes of Isa. 26.19; see further Hollander and de Jonge, Testaments 61-63, 125.

268. 1 En. 22.13; 90.33; 92.3; 91.10, (17b); cf. 46.6; 51.1; 61.5; 62.15; 92.3; 104.2. See M. Black, The Book ofEnoch or 1 Enoch (Leiden: ■ Brill, 1985) adloc. On whether theQumran community shared belief in a future resurrection (only 1QH 14[= 6],32-34 and 19[= 11). 12 call for serious consideration) see H. Lichtenberger, 'Auferstehung in den Qumranfunden', in Avemarie and Lichtenberger, Auferstehung 79-91.

269. The testimony of Acts 23.6-8 and Mark 12.18 pars, agrees with the Hellenistically slanted description of Josephus (War2.163, 165; Ant. 18.14, 16); in m. Sank 10.1 resurrection has become an article of faith for the rabbis.

270. Explicitly Mark 12.24-27 pars., but presumably implied also in Matt. 8.11-12/Luke 13.28-29; and note Luke 16.19-31. See further above, chapter 12 n. 234.

271. K. Berger, Die Auferstehung des Propheten unddie Erhohungdes Menschensohnes (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1976) draws attention to this text as an example of 'individual, non-eschatological resurrection of prophets' (15-22).

272. R. Hayward, 'Phinehas — the Same Is Elijah: The Origin of a Rabbinic Tradition', 775 29(1978)22-38.

Nero redux or Nero redivivus (Nero returned, Nero living again) rumours which circulated after his death273 well exemplify the fears or hopes that might be entertained regarding some famous or controversial person after he has disappeared from the scene.274 Such confused speculations, however, do not amount to a coherent theology such as was already current in Second Temple Judaism regarding the final resurrection. The distinguishing feature here is that the hope of resurrection is attributed to someone prior to his death, not as speculation regarding the earlier but unexpected or poorly attested death of someone else.276

Could it be, then, that Jesus on one or more occasions elaborated the simpler masal predicting the (son of) man's handing over to men by adding the hope for vindication in terms explicitly of resurrection?277 The earliest versions of the tradition attributed to Jesus envisage being raised 'after three days'.278 The phrase almost certainly means 'soon', 'shortly' (in a short time), as in the equivalent time interval envisaged in Luke 13.32-33 and Mark 14.58.279 That would certainly tie in with Jesus' expectation of imminent denouement (§12.4g-h) and with his recalled expectation of a period of abstinence prior to his participation in the feasting of the kingdom (Mark 14.25 pars.).280 In the ambiguities of a hope capable of expression only in metaphor and symbol (§12.6e), the image of rising up to a new day, of being raised with others into a final form of existence qualitatively different from life which ended in death, provided a sharper articulation of

273. For details see D. E. Aune, Revelation (WBC 52, 2 vols.; Dallas: Word, 1998) 2.737-40.

274. Cf. Mark 6.14, in reference to the Baptist, even though Herod had been responsible for his execution! In Heb. 11.35 'resurrection' is probably used typologically: the restoration of life of dead children (1 Kgs. 17.17-24; 2 Kgs. 4.18-37) foreshadows the 'better resurrection' (that is, final resurrection), just as the various elements of the old covenant foreshadow the 'better hope' of the new (Heb. 7.19, 22; 8.6; 9.23; 10.34; 11.16, 35, 40; 12.24). Alternatively, the thought is of the mother of the seven martyred brothers (2 Maccabees 7) receiving them back in confident hope of resurrection, in the same spirit displayed by Abraham who received back the about-to-be-sacrificed Isaac 'figuratively (enparabole)' (Heb. 11.17-19; cf. 9.9).

275. It is equally unclear whether the blessing of God as the one 'who makes the dead alive' (Shemoneh 'Esreh 2) has in mind resurrection or simply restoration to mortal life (cf. Ps. 71.20; Tob. 13.2; Wis. 16.13; Jos. As. 20.7; T. Gad4.6).

276. It should also be noted that the (probably first-century CE) work The Lives of the Prophets thinks in terms only of final resurrection (2.15; 3.12).

278. Schaberg argues that the 'after three days' may be an interpretation and shortening ofDaniel's 'a time, two times and half a time'(Dan. 7.25; cf. Rev. 11.2-12) ('Daniel 7, 12' 210-

see above at n.

279. See further Jeremias, Proclamation 285; Meyer, Aims of Jesus 182; Davies and Allison, Matthew 2.661; Bayer, Jesus' Predictions 205-208; cf. Lindars, Jesus 71-73; Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Kingdom 246-47.

280. Cf. particularly Bayer, Jesus' Predictions 224-29, 249-53.

that hope than did most other images. It is entirely possible that Jesus articulated his own hope of vindication in such terms.

The probability remains, however, that any hope of resurrection entertained by Jesus for himself was hope to share in the final resurrection.281 If we tie that possibility also into the bundle of kingdom and tribulation beliefs already discussed, then the possibility is quite strong that Jesus saw the climax to his mission as the climax to God's eschatological purpose. Jesus (and his disciples) would suffer the final tribulation through which God's kingly purpose would achieve its goal; the kingdom would come. His death would introduce that final climactic period, to be followed shortly ('after three days'?) by the general resurrection, the implementation of the new covenant, and the coming of the kingdom. That still leaves us with the same ambiguities of disparate metaphors and diverse imagery as confronted us at the end of chapter 12. But to be able to say even as much is to say more than historical questers have usually allowed.

281. See also Evans, 'Did Jesus Predict?' 91-96.

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