Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Jesus as Faithful Israel

Matthew 1:1
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
David Holwerda in Jesus & Israel: One Covenant or Two? writes:
Since no ancient genealogy is a complete record--it was always necessary to narrow the list down to a selection of names--various genealogies could be composed for one person depending on the claims or perspectives intended. Thus Luke's genealogy of Jesus, with it's focus on Jesus as the Son of Adam, the beginning of the new humanity, differs from Matthew's. Matthew has his own perspective on the meaning and significance of Jesus.(p.31)
He proclaims Jesus as the Son of David and the Son of Abraham. Such sonship undoubtedly has significance for a new creation and a new humanity(cf. Matthew 28:18-20), but here Matthew is thinking not of a parallel to Genesis 2 and 5 but of a fulfillment of Genesis 12 and 2 Samuel 7. Indeed a new age has begun, but it is new because after centuries of Israel's failure the covenant promises of God to Abraham and David are finding their fulfillment in their Son, Jesus Christ.(p. 32)
If Jesus is the one through whom the promise is being fulfilled, then He can lay claim to being Abraham's true descendant, the one who is what a descendant of Abraham is supposed to be. Jesus, then, is true Israel, the one who does everything that Israel was supposed to do and who is everything that Israel was supposed to be.(p. 33)
Baptism Insights by Pastor Bret McAtee, Iron Ink
The Gospel of Matthew gives us a great deal of recapitulation of the OT wherein Jesus is the Faithful Israel, that answers to unfaithful OT Israel. One such example is the Baptism of our Lord Christ. 
Just as Israel was led by Moses and had to go through the water at the Exodus to enter the the promised land, and just as the second generation had to do the same thing at the Jordan River under Joshua’s leadership, as a miniature second exodus, so again, now that Israel’s restoration is imminent, as led by One who is greater than both Moses and Joshua, true Israelites must again identify with the water and their anti-type prophetic leader in order to begin to experience true restoration and entry into the new creation.
And so, like Moses and Joshua, Jesus and His people are Baptized as on the cusp of entry into a new Kingdom.
Of course this has implications for the Church. Clearly Moses, Joshua and God’s people with them, were not immersed in their Baptism, but rather they went through the water without going under the water. This would give strong circumstantial evidence that Jesus Himself was not immersed, but as a true Israel passing through the Red Sea and later the Jordan, was sprinkled. If this continuity holds, this means that immersion is not Biblical as a mode of Baptism. 
Another implication, if this observation about recapitulation is true, would be that Adult-only Baptism (as practiced by Anabaptists) is also not Biblical. As infants and children were participants in those OT Baptisms of Moses and Joshua, together with all of God’s people, so this would mean that infants and children today should be identified with the Baptism of Christ just by virtue of belonging to covenant member parents.

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