Wednesday, June 27, 2012

corpoprate, incorporative use of "messiah"

In a chapter in "Climax of the Covenant," which, maddeningly, is readable on Google books...but only to page  33  (here), N.T. Wrtight  picks up (pp 42ff):
     of the chief significances which this word [Christos/Messiah] then carries is incorporative, that is, that it refers to the Messiah as the one in whom the people of God are summed up, so that they can be referred to as being 'in' him, as coming or growing 'into' him, and so forth.... is endemic in the understanding of kingship, in many societies and certainly in ancient Israel, that the king and the people are bound together in such a way that what is true of the one is true in principle of the other.

..In Romans 6.11, the result of being baptized “into Christ”… is that one is now “in Christ,” so that what is true of him is true of the one baptized–here, death and resurrection. This occurs within the overall context of the Adam-Christ argument of chapter 5, with its two family solidarities; the Christian has now left the old solidarity (Romans 6.6) and entered the new one. 6.23 may be read by analogy with 6.11; whose who are “in Christ” receive the gift of the life of the new age, which is already Christ’s in virtue of his resurrection–that is, which belongs to Israel’s representative, the Messiah in virtue of his having drawn Israel’s climactic destiny on to himself. Similarly, in Romans 8.1, 2 the point of the expression “in Christ” is that what is true of Christ is true of his people: Christ has come through the judgment of death and out into the new life which death can no longer touch (8.3-4; 8.10-11), and that is now predicated of those who are “in him.” In Galatians 3.26 the ex-pagan Christians are told that they are all sons of God (a regular term for Israel…) in Christ, through faith. It is because of who the Messiah is–the true seed of Abraham, and so on–that Christians are this too, since they are “in” him. Thus in v. 27, explaining this point, Paul speaks of being baptized “into” Christ and so “putting on Christ,” with the result that (3.28) [translating Wright's reproduction of Paul's Greek here:] you are all one in Christ Jesus. It is this firm conclusion, with all its overtones of membership in the true people of God, the real people of Abraham, that is then expressed concisely in 3.29 with the genitive [again translating]: and if you are of Christ… When we consider Galatians 3 as a whole, with its essentially historical argument from Abraham through Moses to the fulfillment of God’s promises in the coming of Christ, a strong presupposition is surely created in faovor both of reading Xpistos as “Messaiah,” Israel’s representative, and of understanding the incorporative phrases at the end of the chapter as gaining their meaning from this sens. Because Jesus is the Messiah, he sums up his people in himself, os that what is true of him is true of them
...(a) The usage of Χριστός (Christ) is incorporative, that is, Paul regularly uses the word to connote, and sometimes even to denote, the whole people of whom the Messiah is the representative. (b) The best explanation for this incorporative sense is that Χριστός still bears, for Paul, the titular sense of 'Messiah', that that it is precisely on the basis of that meaning that he is able to coin...the various prepositional formulae in which this incorporative idea is summed up. (c) The distinction between Ιησους(Jesus) and in these various phrases, and indeed where they occur by themselves in Paul, is quite straightforward. Though both words denote the same human being, Paul uses Ιησους to refer to that man as Jesus, the man from Nazareth, who died on the cross and rose again as a human being, and through whose human work, Paul believed, Israel's God had achieved his long purposes; and he uses Χριστός to refer to that same man, but this time precisely as Israel's Messiah in whom the true people of God are summed up and find their identity." 

..Paul regularly uses the word to connote, and sometimes even denote, the whole people of whom the Messiah is the representative...

Because Jesus is the Messiah, he sums up his people in himself, so  that what is true of him is true of them.
. -N.T. Wright, Christos as 'Messiah' in Paul: Philemon 6,” in Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law in Pauline Theology .  (Excerpts found here in article by Matk Horne

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