Saturday, July 15, 2006

Melchizedek, Jesus and Jubilee

In Luke 4:15-22 Jesus quotes a section from the Book of Isaiah.

18The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

I'm still using Margaret Barker's "The Time is Fulfilled; Jesus and the Jubilee" (pdf).
That section is from her book the Great High Priest.

Barker says that the Qumran Melchizedek text refers many times "to the Jubilee oracle in Isaiah 61: '...the Lord God has anointed proclaim liberty to the captives'"

Hebrews 7 makes a connection between Melchizedek and Jesus.

Barker states:

Daniel’s seventy weeks of years were reckoned from this time ‘when the word went forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem’ (Dan.9.25), and the seventy weeks of years were to end when transgression, sin and iniquity were finally removed and Jerusalem was destroyed (Dan.9.24,26). The Day of Atonement was also the Day of the LORD, the Day of Judgement13. The description indicates a final Day of Atonement when prophecy and visions are fulfilled and the Anointed One appears.
The seventy weeks of years, 490 years, were ten Jubilees, and the alternative way of reckoning this period was as ten Jubilees. Jewish tradition remembered that the 490 years ended in 68CE; calculation from the second temple Jubilee sequence beginning in 424BCE gives 66CE. A two year discrepancy is hardly significant in the light of what this implies, namely that the tenth Jubilee began in 17/19 CE. In other words, tenth Jubilee fervour and expectations were the context for the ministry of Jesus.

The Qumran Melchizedek text describes the events of the tenth Jubilee.
Isaiah 52:7 is another important Melchizedek and Jubilee text. In this tenth Jubilee there was going to be a final day of Atonement.

In Luke's gospel Jesus claimed to have inaugurated the final Jubilee. Isaiah 61 was also central to the Melchizedek text. Barker states:
The first miracle was an exorcism (Mark 1.21-26), setting one of his own people free from the power of Belial. He spoke of a woman bound by Satan and released her (Luke 13.16), of slaves to sin whom the Son could release (John 9.31-38). He forgave sins and illustrated his teaching with a parable of two debtors whose debts were cancelled (Luke 7. 41-48). The healing miracles restored to the community people who would have been excluded as ritually unfit: the disabled, the lepers, a woman who was bleeding. This was the great ingathering of the Jubilee. Jesus spoke of those who would inherit the earth (Mat.5.5) and at the Last Supper, he spoke of the New Covenant and of his blood poured out for the remission of sins (aphesis, the Jubilee word, Mat.26.28).

In the "Risen Lord" Barker states, "The Qumran Melchizedek text shows that there were some in first-century Palestine expecting a divine high priest at the end of time bringing the day of the Lord which was also the great day of Atonement."

Psalm 110, the Melchizedek Psalm, is the the most frequently used text in the New Testament.

Jesus as Melchizedek?

Melchizedek, Jubilee and Jesus.

Barker again: "Melchizedek was central to the old royal court...and that this priesthood operated in the mythology of the sons of Elyon and the triumph of the royal son of God in Jerusalem."

Barker again: "In the Elyon tradition, Melchizedek was one aspect of the role of the king in his embodiment of the Spirit of Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel."

Melchizedek was a priest of El Elyon.

Were the ancient kings both sons of David and sons of Elyon? Was this how Jesus was understood?

Jesus inaugurated the Jubilee. Jesus declared the forgiveness of sins and the literal and financial remission of debts. Jubilee and the Day of Atonement restore the covenant. The Jubilee was to bring the lost and disenfranchised back into the fold. It was supposed to restore creation. Heal the wounds in creation.

What does it mean to say that Jesus is the Son of God? Were the ancient and first temple kings known as Sons of God? How did the Day of Atonement renew the covenant? So much material to assimilate. Remember this isn't really an argument, but rather a collection of notes, maybe for some future, hypothetical argument that I'll maybe make. Just trying to lay some groundwork for an understanding of Jesus, the Gospels and the New Testament, by using the Isaiah Servant Songs as a general inspiration and focus.

James Alison, Some Thoughts on the Atonement.
Margaret Barker, Atonement: The Rite of Healing.
Margaret Barker, Beyond the Veil: the High Priestly Origin of the Apocalypses

1 comment:

kenneth loch said...

I'm working on explaining the connection between Melchizedek, Jesus and The Genius.