Keys of the Kingdom: Allusion to Divinity?

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The more we know and understand the historical, cultural and linguistic background of the Bible, the more we are able to discern elements in the biblical text that heretofore have gone unnoticed. These can be elements that can greatly increase our understanding of the biblical text, reinforce our traditional conceptions, or at times radically transform our understanding by revealing totally unexpected information that affects how the texts would have been originally understood.

The more we know and understand the historical, cultural and linguistic background of the Bible, the more we are able to discern elements in the biblical text that heretofore have gone unnoticed. These can be elements that can greatly increase our understanding of the biblical text, reinforce our traditional conceptions, or at times radically transform our understanding by revealing totally unexpected information that affects how the texts would have been originally understood.

In his book, Jesus, Rabbi and Lord: A Lifetime’s Search for the Meaning of Jesus’ Words, Robert L. Lindsey,[1] of beloved memory, explains how Peter’s confession in Matthew 16:13-20 is more than a simple confession that Jesus is the Messiah, and definitely not the first time that Peter or the other disciples realized that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah.[2] Lindsey’s discovery demonstrates that by putting the text back into Hebrew and understanding the cultural usage of the language, an element of the story is revealed that has been overlooked by some scholars.

Contrary to the view of many scholars that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah and that his disciples only added this notion at a later time, Lindsey’s discoveries demonstrate that subtle Hebraic elements in the text reveal that Jesus did in fact claim to be the long-awaited Messiah. However, these elements also imply that Jesus was to be much more than the expected Messiah. Traditional Jewish views of the Messiah did not promote the view that the Messiah would in some sense be divine or God incarnate. As Lindsey points out, in this gospel passage the revelation is not of messiahship but divine messiahship.

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  • [1] See the chapter, “What Did Peter Say.”
  • [2] John 1:19-51.

Comments 4

  1. Clifton Payne made some solid conclusions, based on solid evidence, that certainly includes his conclusion that when Yeshua said that He Himself will give Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, Yeshua was, most likely, hinting that He is ADONAI, which Yeshua was likely hinting to by alluding to a Jewish tradition that, very likely, was already a well-established, well-known traditional Jewish teaching (which was part of the Oral Torah) that already existed at that time. That traditional Jewish teaching that Yeshua was, very likely, hinting at during the Mathew 16:19 event certainly dates earlier to when it was finally recorded (i.e., written about) in b. Sanhedrin, b. Ta’an, Genesis Rabbah, Deuteronomy Rabbah, 2 Baruch, and the Zohar. Just as one cannot date Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech to the date of an encyclopedia article in which that speech is quoted, one cannot date a Jewish saying or tradition to when it was finally quoted or written about in a work of Jewish literature (such as a Talmudic book, a book that is part of midrashic literature, a book that is part of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, or the Zohar). Great job, Mr. Clifton Payne! I encourage you to keep up the good work!

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  2. Many of the sources you quote from such as the Rabbah commentaries are from a much later source, starting from around 600 A,D and just as with the Talmud the comments and discussions were among the sages themselves and not taught to the Am’haretz. You quote Yeshua ” “I and the Father are one,”The word Heis the cardinal number for ONE in Greek (pronounced ACE) is used in the NT over 607 x’s with a multiplicity of meanings depending on the words it is joined to and what the speaker/writer is trying to convey. Without going into a long comparison of texts showing how it was used in all places I’d like to focus on just two, they are JN10:30 & JN17:11,21-23. In JN 10:30 Yeshua says, “I and the Father are one.” Here the meaning is not one and the same, but rather metaphorically, “union” and “concord,”( harmony and agreement) e. g., John 10:30; 11:52; 17:11,21-22;(Vines expository of NT words). Also in Thayers, “to be united most closely (in desire,& spirit”) John 10:30; 17:11,21-23; So Yeshua is saying that he is one with the Father in goal and purpose in bringing about the desires of the Father as in JN 17 he also prays that his disciples will be of the same spirit being ONE with he and the Father in goal and purpose. “Many being gather together into one”, John 11:52;( Friberg Analytical Greek Lexicon). Yeshua goes on to disclaim any divinity for himself with, ” 38 But if I do them, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know and understand that the Father is in me,( that is doing the works) and I in the Father ( doing what he tells me to do) (Joh 10:38) Another point you touch on is the Phrase, The Son of Man. While this term is mentioned in some Jewish writings it was not meant as a divine status but rather a special Man that would be the the epitome of Man in the image of Elohim. Ezekiel is called “Son of man” did that make him divine? In Ps 8:4 David says, What is mankind?” The singular noun ‌אֱנוֹשׁ‎‏‎ (‘enosh, “man”) is used here in a collective sense and refers to the human race. The same goes for the Son of man where Ben Adam it’s used in a collective sense and of course Yeshua was a part of.

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