Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Happy is the man who waits

There are a number of Biblical passages expressing the expectations of the divine kingdom. Amos 5:8 declares the hope for divine salvation, a theme we also find in the Lucan “hope of Israel.” The prophets Micah (7:4, 7) and Isaiah (18:17; 30:18) confirm that the longing for the “day of the Lord” was a well known tradition in the prophets.

“If it delays, wait for it, for when it comes will be no time to linger.” What we read in Habakkuk was a well established concept. Joseph of Arimathea “lived in expectation of the kingdom” as did Simon waiting for the consolation of Israel and the redemption of Israel. Thus it is not surprising that the idea appears in the Parable of the Unjust Judge.

The prophecies became prayers. At Qumran, they prayed: “Great is your hope, O Zion . . . those who desire the day of your salvation will rejoice in your plentiful glory . . . how they waited for your salvation . . . Your hope will never die, O Zion and your aspiration will never be forgotten.”

The title of this post expresses the idea succinctly. However one would not expect to find this thought in the Book of Daniel. The failure of prophecy gave rise to apocalyptic literature but in the new genre the people continued to long as they waited for the day of the Lord. That Luke contains the same idea does not prove late dating. On the contrary it is probative of early dating.

Jesus and Paul did not renounce the hope that apocalypticism offered the people and they in fact used apocalyptic language but sparingly. Matthew and Mark rewrote Luke sparing no words in their imagery announcing the birth-pangs of the close of the age.

Copyrighted 2007


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