Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Is Christianity Edom? An Interesting Bit of Rabbinic Tradition




Why does James in Acts 15 explain the mass conversion of the non-Jews by referencing an obscure (and somewhat conflated) prophecy from Amos 9 (LXX)?  The Septuagint version SEEMS to contradict the Masoretic version as scholars have noted:

"This is not what James and the LXX say [Acts 15:16-18].  In place of [they shall possess], they read [they shall seek]...Instead of [the remnant of Edom], they read [the remnant of men, of humanity]. In this way the meaning of the verse is almost reversed [as compared to the MT]."  [A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles by C.K. Barrett, pg. 727]

But is that a contradiction?  

It turns out that there's an ancient Jewish tradition that says the Edomites became Rome (which, by extension includes both Christianity and the entire Greco-Roman world):

"At the end of the tannaitic period, and still more in the amoraic, the identification became very widespread, and the overwhelming majority of homilies about Edom speak explicitly of Rome. Thus it was stated that Rome was founded by the children of Esau, and Rome was identified as one of the cities of the chiefs of Esau enumerated at the end of Genesis 36 (these identifications occur not only in the Midrashim and the Talmuds but also in the Palestinian *Targums of the Torah and in the Targums to Lamentations and Esther). At a still later period the term became a synonym for Christian Rome and thence for Christianity in general, and allusions were even found to *Constantinople among the cities of Edom (and see *Caesarea)." [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0006_0_05562.html]
It's interesting as a parallel that the reason why the Edomites were punished because they, like the Christian Church, did violence to Judah:


Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence [against] the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. {3:20} But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. {3:21} For I will cleanse their blood [that] I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion. [Joel]
King David, the precursor to the Moshiach, wasn't so friendly to the Edomites:


And David made a name for himself when he returned from striking down 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. [2 Sam. 8:13]
So will the future David (Moshiach) conquer the "Edomites" or will they choose to seek Him?

Perhaps we should consider the possibility that both options are true.

Also, one last thing, Scripture compares all the Goyim to Edom.  Edom is Esau as you know.  Is it possible that the conflict between Jews and non-Jews will come to an end when both realize that they are brothers, serving the same Father?


Something to think about.


Blessings and Shalom to the Body,


Peter 





5 comments:

  1. "Is it possible that the conflict between Jews and non-Jews will come to an end when both realize that they are brothers, serving the same Father?"

    No doubt about that. Just a matter of timing. However, I believe that G-d will not leave those who shed the innocent blood unpunished.

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  2. Shalom, you have a good analogy there brother!
    This reconciliation of these long-lost relatives we hope to see in the spirit of Eliyahu, like it is written in the Malachi's last verses. Also we see in the Torah the two brothers Esau and Yakov reconciling after many years.

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  3. "However, I believe that G-d will not leave those who shed the innocent blood unpunished."

    Do you mean the shedding of Yeshua's blood?

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    1. "Do you mean the shedding of Yeshua's blood?"

      No, I meant blood of innocent Jews and righteous of the nations. Yeshua's blood was spilled willingly for forgiveness of others, including his persecutors, not their punishment.

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  4. You probably did not mean the stoning of Steven either.

    Here's a thought....Maybe the victims will surprise the world with nobleness and pray to G-d for the perpetrators..."Father, forgive them for they know not what they do".

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