Home > New Testament > Jesus the End of the Exile, Part 1

Jesus the End of the Exile, Part 1

I was watching a Christian television show the other day and heard something very interesting.  Of course, most Christian television is not worth much (and this show really wasn’t), but the content of the show involved a Jew and a Christian discussing their similarities and differences.  A Jewish Rabbi was on the show discussing his views of Jesus and interaction with Evangelicals.  The majority of the conversation between the Jew, the Christian, and television hosts, who were also Christians, involved discussion about the future of Israel, the rebuilding of a temple, and the occupation of the land.  One of the hosts boldly asked why the Jewish Rabbi did not accept Jesus as Messiah.  It was very interesting what the Rabbi said.  He laid out the Jewish view of the end times (one singular return of God to bring blessing to Israel and judgment upon her enemies) and then proceeded to show that Jesus was rejected by the Jews of his day because he did not deliver them from Roman oppression and establish an earthly kingdom.   The Rabbi stated that many Jews today reject Jesus for the same reasons.  The Rabbi went on to articulate how the New Testament apostles viewed Jesus as bringing an end to exile, establishing true peace, and fulfilling the Old Testament promises.  I was utterly surprised at how well the Rabbi described the theology of the New Testament apostles.  Dare I say that the non-believing Jewish Rabbi described Jesus better (in terms of his fulfillment of the Old Testament) than most Christians.  I doubt the hosts understood the implications of his comments (since they are heavy dispensationalists), but the Rabbi’s comments about the exile reminded me of the opening chapters in the book of Matthew.

In the book of Matthew we find one of the most difficult passages in Scripture.  Matthew 2:16-18 reads: 

Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH, WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN; AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE.”

Is Matthew merely proof-texting from the Old Testament to illustrate the murder of children at Bethlehem or is there something more to his reference of Jeremiah 31:15?  Stay tuned for part two.

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Categories: New Testament
  1. March 14, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    Chad –

    Did my post on the Targum of Song of Songs over at my blog make sense in this regard? The Jews really understood their OT, but they missed the interpretive “control” or “key,” who is Christ. They were not expecting two comings, especially when the first coming included the death of their Messiah.

    I guess more importantly about the Targum of Song of Songs is their understanding that they were still in exile, even though they had returned to the land. They knew that not all was at “rest” (Ps 95:11). The Messiah must come first, then they would return from exile. They simply were not prepared to understand the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:18ff).

    John

  2. March 14, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    John,

    I agree. That is where I am going with this blog entry. The Jews were still in exile and Matthew’s early chapters seek to establish that with the coming of Jesus, the King, exile is now over. I will posting the rest of my thoughts soon.

    Thanks, Chad

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