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Jon Swales, Trinity College, 2009
Jesus' Death and the Temple in the Gospel of Mark Abbreviations: BibI
Bulletin for Biblical Research
Currents in Biblical Research
Harvard Theological Review
Journal of Biblical Literature
Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews
Journal for the Study of the New Testament
Literature and Theology
New International Greek Testament Commentary
New Testament Studies
Society of New Testament Studies Monograph Series
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament
Word Biblical Commentary
Introduction The purpose of my research is to explore, within the narrative of the gospel of Mark, the link between Jesus' death and the Temple. This link is clearly to be seen at the surface level of the passion narratives where the Temple and the cross are fused together in the closing stages of the Markan narrative. For instance, Jesus at his trial, which leads directly to his execution, is falsely accused of saying that he would destroy the Temple sanctuary ( ναὸν) and replace it with another (14:58). This accusation is repeated during the crucifixion in the form of mockery (15:29) and at the point of death the link between Jesus' death and the Temple is made explicit, 'for a single instant.... we [the reader] are transplanted from Golgotha to the Temple area, and then back to Golgotha'1 when the veil of the Temple was torn (ἐσχίσθη) in two (15:38). It may be suggested that the link between Jesus' death and the Temple is simply part of the pre-Markan tradition which had been handed down to Mark and that it is not an essential part of his own literary and theological concerns. I will argue, in this paper, that this is in fact not 1 R. H. Lightfoot, The Gospel Message of St. Mark (Oxford, Clarendon, 1950), 55.
the case and that Mark, as a creative theologian and with literary skill, has so shaped his narrative that the dual themes of the Temple and the death of his main character, are, to one degree or another, intertwined and a key aspect of his presentation. In support of my thesis we shall look at two literary devices which are being used by Mark, (i) the relationship between the prologue and the overall Markan structure (ii) and the parallels between Mark 13 and the Passion Narrative. As well as exploring these literary themes we shall also examine, briefly, the (iii) theme of tribulation in Mark which links together, in an overarching eschatological narrative, Jesus' death and the Temple.
Methodology Before doing this it is necessary to say something about my own methodological approach. I follow a narrative-synchronic approach to the gospel of Mark which focuses on the final form of Mark and pays, in the case of this paper, little interest to the diachronic concerns of source or redaction criticism2. This is not to deny that there is any historical basis to the gospel, but is to emphasise that the final form is, 'complete in itself not only apart from reference to the historical events on which it is based but also apart from the other gospels, which are also autonomous stories about Jesus..... we need to read Mark's gospel more carefully as a self sufficient story.'3 Although the text is to be read synchronically this is not to mean that its meaning is uncovered purely through a sequential reading of the text. I will not follow Staley 4 who believes that post-Gutenberg readers have distorted readings of the text in being able to flick back and forward in the text. In contrast to this Staley proposes that the Gospels should only be read in a sequential linear manner. I concede the obvious point that reading, especially of narratives as opposed to reference books, should be read sequentially, but this does not rule out in itself the 2 The following article discusses, from an Old Testament perspective, the relationship between synchronic and diachronic approaches to the text. One doubts whether the the anti-thesis is really as great as the author suggests. P. R. Nobel, “Synchronic and Diachronic approaches to Biblical Interpretation,” LT 7, no. 2 (1993): 130-148; Synchronic and Diachronic approaches to the text study the same object with different tools and perspectives. 'Here the approach to the text can be likened to examining an oriental rug. The source and redaction critics look at the underside of the rug to find seams and places where different sources are threaded together, whereas the narrative critic look at the other side of the rug to discern the patterns and unity that have been woven out of different sources' T. C. Gray, “Jesus and the Temple: The Narrative Role of the Temple in the Gospel of Mark” (Ph.D. diss., The Catholic University of America, 2006), 160. 3 Donald Michie and David Rhoads, Mark as a Story: Introduction to the Narrative of a Gospel (Augsburg Fortress, 1982), 3 . 4 J. L. Staley, The Print's First Kiss: A Rhetorical Investigation of the Implied Reader in the Fourth Gospel (Scholars Press, 1985); with serious serious and sympathetic discussion in Peter M. Phillips, The Prologue of the Fourth Gospel (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006).
Jon Swales, Trinity College, 2009
positing of an ideal reader who is able to study the texts in a linear, and non linear manner.5 A non-linear reading can enhance the ability to compare and contrast various parts of the text— the reader is able to move both forward and back—and can develop intertextual and intratextual potentialities through multiple readings. Mark, as we shall see, has used techniques of both intertextuality and intratextuality Intertextuality refers to the links which bind a text to other texts, which most notably in Mark is his use of the Old Testament.. On the other hand Markan intratextuality, which we shall see in our discussion of Mark 13 and the passion narrative, involves the internal relationships within the gospel of Mark. Recent scholarship, as we shall see, is rightly moving in the direction of seeing Mark as a creative author in his own right who can communicate effectively using a wide range of complex and subtle literary approaches.6
I) Prologue and Structure in the Book of Mark In ancient literature the prologue of a book could offer, to the reader or listener, in a world without a 'contents page' or blurb on the back cover, an advance warning of what is contained in the following pages of the literary work. E. Harris sums up her research on prologues in the 5 Similarly Peterson describes the movement 'back and forth through a text', 'Parallelism interrupts the merely sequential flow of content through a systematic repetition that requires readers and hearers to move forth and back through the text rather than simply straight through it. Once a parallel is discerned it becomes necessary to pause, however momentarily, and synthesize the relations between the parallels before moving forward through the text.' Norman R. Petersen, “The Composition of Mark 4:1-8:26,” HTR 73, no. 1/2 (April 1980): 204. In a similar way van Iesrel, after sketching out a chiastic structure of Mark, describes a circular approach to text which is present alongside that of the sequential. 'A circular construction operates the other way round [to the sequential linear reading]. The reader does not become aware of its presence until he or she has passed the centre of the construction and begins to recognise that the components following the centre correspond in reverse sequence to those preceding it. Whenever the construction is recognised, the reader is invited to look back to what has been read and connect the related elements.' van Iersel, Bas M. F.: Mark : A Reader-Response Commentary. London; New York : T&T Clark, 2004 (JSNT 164), S. 85 6 'His creative skill lies.... in the way he has set incidents in relation to each other by means of two related processes of arrangement. The first is the arrangement of the pericopae into a linear sequence to form a coherent plot with its own space and time. The second is the arrangement of a complex web of relationships between incidents by the use of a wide range of compositional, stylistic and literary techniques: repetitional devices, such as two-step progression, three-fold patterns, reiteration of key words; parenthetical constructions, such as intercalcations, 'insertions', framing passages and the use of inclusio; symmetrical patterns, as such as chiasmus, ring composition, and parallelism; techniques of foreshadowing and retrospection; and extensive use of the dynamics of parabolic speech, such as role reversal, paradox and irony.'....I'In summary narrative criticism has good grounds fro regarding him as an author of considerable literary skill, who regardless of his sources, bears full responsibility for the shape and structure of the final product.' C. D. Marshall, Faith as a Theme in Mark's Narrative (SNTSMS, 64) ; Cambridge (Cambridge University Press, 1989), 20-21.
ancient world by saying, 'Emerging in ancient religious drama, and continuing in some form into the first century CE, the prologue was intended to inform the readers (or audiences) in advance about the drama to be unfolded....The prologue, then, set forth cryptically in advance the religious and philosophical truths which were to be unravelled and explicated in the body of the work.'7 In the light of this it is no surprise that a number of scholars have focussed their attention on the prologue of Mark8, hoping to find the hermeneutical key which unlocks the overall Markan structure.9 In recent years scholars such as Rikki Watts and Joel Marcus have stood in the line of R.H Lightfoot who argued that Mark's high christological prologue 'puts into the reader's hands... the key which is designed to unlock the meaning and content of the whole book'10 Rikki Watts on the basis of the opening citation puts forward his thesis that the 'the overall conceptual framework for his Gospel is the Isaianic NE[New Exodus]'.11 Similarly, for Joel Marcus the 'Way of the Lord' in the opening citation 'is not only the double theme of Mark’s Gospel but also the controlling paradigm for his interpretation of the life of his community.'12 In the light of this, despite the fact that no explicit mention is made of the Temple in the gospel of Mark until much later in the narrative (Mark 11:11), we shall explore the position that the opening citation calls attention to the theme of the Temple.13 7 E. Harris, Prologue and Gospel (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005), 189; See also D. E. Smith, “Narrative Beginnings in Ancient Literature and Theory,” Semeia 52 (1991): 1-10. 8 Joel Marcus, The Way of the Lord (T.& T.Clark Ltd, 2004); R. E. Watts, Isaiah's new Exodus and Mark (Mohr Siebeck, 1997); F. J. Matera, “The Prologue as the Interpretative Key to Mark's Gospel,” JSNT 11, no. 34 (1988): 3. 9 From a different point of view Hatina rejects Watt's position that the opening citation 'is the hermeneutical key for the rest of the narrative' 181 T. R. Hatina, In search of a context: the function of scripture in Mark's narrative (Sheffield Academic Pr, 2002). 10 Watts, Isaiah's new Exodus and Mark, 53. 11 Ibid., See chapter 3, citation from page 90. likewise and independently Joel Marcus makes the same basic point. 'If, as we have contended, the larger Deutero-Isaiah context is in view in Mark 1, John the Baptist and Jesus are set firmly within the context of Jewish apocalyptic eschatology by the citation of Isa. 40:3 in Mark 1:3. Their appearance on the scene fulfils the prophecies of old because it heralds eschatological events,because it is the preparation for and the beginning of the fulfilment of that end so eagerly yearned for since Old Testament times: the triumphant march of the holy warrior, Yahweh, leading his people through the wilderness to their true homeland in a mighty demonstration of saving power.' J. Marcus, Way of the Lord (T and T Clark Ltd, 2004), 29. 12 Assuming that Mark 1:1-3 are part of the literary unity of Mark and not a later addition. Elliot advances a number of reasons for saying that 'the logical conclusion is that Mark 1:1-3 is not from Mark. I remain unconvinced in the light the outstanding study by Rikki Watts which demonstrates the theological link between the opening citation and the rest of the gospel J. K. Elliott, “Mark 1.1 A Later Addition to the Gospel?,” NTS 46, no. 04 (2000): 584-588. 13 The opening citation is clearly part of the prologue but there is some discussion as to the extent of the prologue. This discussion, although interesting, does not affect what is stated in this paper. See Watts, Isaiah's new Exodus and Mark, 91-96.
Jon Swales, Trinity College, 2009
Καθὼς γέγραπται14 ἐν τῷ Ἠσαΐᾳ τῷ προφήτῃ· ἰδοὺ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου, ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου· 3 φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ· ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν κυρίου, εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ (Mark 1:2-3) This opening citation, similar to those found elsewhere in Mark,15 is a composite quotation,
which fuses together Exodus 23:20, Malachi 3:1 16 and Isaiah
40:3. It is likely that these texts have been brought together by Mark because they have a common theme of 'the way', in which a messenger, in a wilderness context, prepares for the arrival of the Lord. In the light of this it may be suggested that Mark is simply wanting to highlight from scripture that John the Baptist, in his wilderness ministry, is preparing the way for Jesus (v2) who is in some sense the embodiment of YHWH.17 It seems, however, that there may be more to say on the matter if we allow the literary and theological contexts of the Old Testament citations to inform our reading of the opening citation. Thomas Hatina, who has devoted an entire monograph to this theme, raises these important questions, 'For example, the meaning of Isaiah 40:3 in the context of Second Isaiah has to do with the preparation of a mass exodus of the Israelites from Babylonian exile. But is this meaning to be imported into Mark's narrative along with the quotation? Does Mark 14 In support of my interpretation of the prologue one could follow the translation of Καθὼς γέγραπται provided by Eugene Boring. He translates this as 'The following narrative corresponds to Scripture'. He accepts that this phrase is normally 'related syntactically to what precedes' but that Mark 'has interfered with normal syntax, so that here Καθὼς indicates that the whole of the following narrative corresponds to Scripture.' On the basis of its usage in LXX and lack of parallels in its favour this interpretation is to be rejected. M. Eugene Boring, Mark: A Commentary (Westminster/John Knox Press,U.S., 2006), 34; See also his earlier article M. E. Boring, “Mark 1: 1-15 and the Beginning of the Gospel,” Semeia 52 (1990): 43-91. 15 H.C Kee states that the following are composite quotations. See also 1:11 (Isaiah 42:1; Psalm 2:7); 11:1-11 (Zechariah 9:9; Psalm 118:25-26); 11:17 (Isaiah 56:7; Jer 8:11); 12:1-12 (Isa 5:1-2; Psalm 118:22-23); 13:2426 (Isaiah 34:4; Josh 2:10; Ezek 32-7-8; Dan 7:13-14); and 14:62 (Dan 7:13;Psalm 110:1) However, the line between quotation and allusions is sometimes blurry. H. C. Kee, “The Function of Scriptural Quotations and Allusions in Mark 11-16,” Jesus Und Paulus: Festschrift Für Werner Georg Kümmel Zum 70. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1975, 165-88. 16 In Malachi 3:1 the MT says 'before me', whereas the LXX says 'before my face/ πρὸ προσώπου μου'. In each context, MT and LXX, the referent is to YHWH. However, the gospel of Mark uses the words 'before your face/ πρὸ προσώπου σου' making it refer, in its narrative context, to Jesus and his ministry. It seems likely that Mark is offering a Greek translation of the Hebrew text as the evangelist uses the word κατασκευάσει/prepare which is the piel version of the MT פנהas opposed to the LXX ἐπιβλέψεται/survey. 17 I disagree with the minority view as advocated by Tolbert that the messenger is Jesus rather than John the Baptist. This seems clear given 1) the story of John coming directly on from the opening citation. 2) The location of John in the wilderness 3) John as an Elijah type figure (see below) 4) The parallels with the proclamation of John the Baptist in Matthew and Luke. Mary Ann Tolbert, Sowing the Gospel: St.Mark's World in Literary-Historical Perspective (illustrated edition.; Augsburg Fortress, 1989).
imply the so-called original contexts of each of the three quotations that make up the composite? Or do the three quotations simply serve to validate the divinely orchestrated ministry of the Baptist who in turn introduces the coming of Jesus and the Kingdom of God. The context which the composite quotation is read can often be determinative of its function within the larger narrative.'18 It was Jeremias who warned a previous generation that 'restriction to express quotations gives a false impression'19. In a similar train of thought Richard Hays has made a strong case that Paul employs a literary trope of metalepsis in his use of OT allusions. 'Metalepsis is a rhetorical way and poetic device in which one text alludes to an earlier text in a way that evokes resonances of the earlier text beyond those explicitly cited. The result is that the interpretation of a metalepsis requires the reader to recover unstated or suppressed correspondences between the text.'20 I suggest, then, with others,21 that Mark uses the Old Testament quotations and allusions to evoke a whole different narrative world, and that the contemporary interpeter needs to commit to the possibility of reading 'other worlds' into the surface world of Mark, thus allowing intertextual space and hermeneutical potentiality. The opening composite citation is prefixed by saying that it comes from Isaiah which suggests that the main intertextual context, unless Mark has simply made a mistake, is determined by Isaiah. Rikki Watts has explored the Isaianic context thoroughly and has found it determinative, not only for the prologue but for the whole of the gospel. Whilst accepting the validity of this, our task, in determining the extent of the Temple theme to Mark's gospel, will only focus on the original context of the Malachi citation.
The Context of Malachi Malachi was written during the post-exilic period in which the Jewish people, upon returning to the land and rebuilding the Temple, faced grave discouragement as the hopes of a golden age of eschatological shalom and blessing were shattered (Is 40-55,also Zech and Hagg). 18 Hatina, In search of a context, 138-139. 19 Jeremias in discussion of the use of Deutero Isaiah in the New Testament. TDNT, electronic ed.(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-c1976), 5:705 . See also C. H. Dodd, According to the Scriptures: The SubStructure of New Testament Theology (Nisbet, 1952). This approach is not without its critics. For an early critique of Dodd see Felman which also dismisses, as if it were obvious, the larger context of the Old Testament citations in Mark 1:2-3.Sundberg Jr, A. C. “On Testimonies.” NovT (1959): 268-281. 20 R. B. Hays, The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul as interpreter of Israel's Scripture (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005), 2; See also his earlier book Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (Yale University Press, 1989). 21 Notably R. E. Watts, Isaiah's New Exodus and Mark
Jon Swales, Trinity College, 2009
Instead of the 'glory of YHWH' 'there was famine, poverty, oppression, unfaithfulness to marriage vows, and to covenant vows. Moral and spiritual laxity, pride, indifference, permissiveness, and skepticism were rife.22 The prophetic voice assures the people of God that they are still loved (1:2-5) but that YHWH will act to clear away injustice from the Levitical priesthood (2:17-3:5). If the people repent YHWH will bring blessing (3:6-12) for only those who are faithful to YHWH will be spared in the day of judgement (3:16-21, 4:3 Eng). Our particular passage (Mark 1:2) is from the fourth prophetic disputation (2:17-3:5) which contrasts the absence of justice and YHWH (2:17) with the future arrival of justice and YHWH (3:1-2). The prophetic imagination looks ahead to when YHWH will send a messenger to prepare his way (3:1) and then, he, YHWH, will arrive at his Temple.. However, the arrival of YHWH at his Temple, unlike that of YHWH's return in Ezekiel, will be to refine and purify his people in wrath and judgement. 'Who, [the prophet asks] can endure the day of his coming?' (3:2)23 The book closes with a message of hope in that the prophet Elijah will return before YHWH's 'great and terrible' today to restore (LXX)/turn(MT) the hearts of fathers to sons and bring interfamilial(MT) and interpersonal (LXX)24 peace. If this warning and offer of restoration is rejected by the people YHWH will come 'come and strike the land with a curse'( Mal 4:5-6 [MT 3:23-24]).
Hypothesis and Verification On the basis of the context of the Malachi citation we may plausibly suggest, as a working hypothesis, that Mark is creatively using this reference to Malachi as a way of suggesting that John the Baptist, like Elijah, is preparing for an event in which Jesus as the embodiment of YHWH returns to his Temple in judgement.25 In fact we should be optimistic of such a verification of our hypothesis for 'it would be most unusual if the themes evoked in the opening sentence were fundamentally different from those dealt with in the body of the work'26 22Ralph L. Smith, Micah-Malachi, WBC (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 299 23 For a fuller discussion see Watts, Isaiah's New Exodus and Mark, 67-71. 24 The LXX adds 'neighbours' to the father/son, son/father list of the Hebrew text 25 This does not mean that that the opening citation does not also refer, in its significant Isaiah allusion, to a New Exodus, but that this New Exodus, a time of blessing for the people of God, is conjoined with the theme of judgement on Temple and its leadership. In passing it is also worth noting that Mark, as well as using Malachi and Isaiah, also provides a citation of Exodus 23:20, whose context is one of covenant renewal in which God promises to send a messenger, which will be followed by a time in which those God will destroy the enemies of those of who obey him. (Ex 23:23) 26 Hatina, In Search of a Context, , 56. offers the following questions, (1) Does the assessment of the quotation presuppose ancient techniques or contemporary
We can move towards verification of this hypothesis through answering positively, although briefly, the following questions; a)
Is John the Baptist, within Mark, portrayed as the eschatological Elijah?
Is there evidence for reading Mark in a way which shows that Jesus is the embodiment of YHWH?
Does Mark structure his gospel to focus on Jesus' arrival at the Temple?
John the Baptist as the Eschatological Elijah
After the opening citation of Mark 1:1-3 the readership is made aware of John the Baptist who will prepare the way of the Lord (1:2-3). He is described as wearing clothes of camel skin and a belt of leather,— ἐνδεδυμένος τρίχας καμήλου καὶ ζώνην δερματίνην περὶ τὴν ὀσφὺν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐσθίων ἀκρίδας καὶ μέλι ἄγριον. This description of John the Baptist ties in closely with 2 Kings 1:3 in which the messengers of King Ahazaiah offer a similar description of the prophet Elijah.27 It is relatively clear then, despite the lack of correlation between the Greek and Hebrew text, that Mark's ideal readership,with a thorough knowledge of the Old Testament, will have picked up this allusion. However, this does not settle the case at point— that of John as the eschatological Elijah—as Mark may simply be emphasising the prophetic nature of John's ministry by having him wear the attire of a classic Old Testament prophet. It is one thing to say that John is an Elijah-type figure, but another to say that he is to be understood by Mark as the eschatological prophet of Malachi or that Mark follows the Elijah-
(2) (3) (4)
Western ideals? Does the quotation have a range of possible rhetorical functions within the context in which it is imbedded? Is the narrative made to conform to the quotation or reverse? Are the dictional and thematic links, such as 'gospel' and forgiveness respectively, necessarily from a single source like Isaiah?
In response to this (1) Despite differences between post-Gutenberg modern reader and the ancient there are overlaps in literary methods. Hays has demonstrated that Paul used the larger old testament contexts of scripture, if Paul has, why not Mark. (2,3) The surface meaning of the text 'a messenger preparing the way' is not radically different to that which includes its larger context. Mark is capable of allowing a citation to have a range of possible meanings, the surface reading which fits the immediate context, and the deeper-original-context reading which fits his overall structural and theological aims. The use of scripture in the Temple 'cleansing' illustrates this point(4) It is likely that Mark is intending the reader to look at the Old testament context. This is supported by noticing that he specifically mentions Isaiah and that he uses the word εὐαγγελίου (1:1, also 1:1415)which echoes with the use of εὐαγγελιζόμενος in Isaiah 40:3. Elsewhere in the prologue the book of Isaiah sets the frame of reference, ie. Durign the basptism the heavens are torn (Isa 64:1), and God speaks (Is 42:1). 27 ζώνην δερματίνην περὶ τὴν ὀσφὺν is an exact quotation of the LXX 4 Kgdms 1:8, whereas the clothing of camel skin seems to follows the Hebrew text as the LXX refers to hairy skin rather than a hairy garment.
Jon Swales, Trinity College, 2009
preceding-the-eschaton motif of other Second Temple authors and communities.28 Clarity can be brought to this situation by looking at Mark 9:11-1329 Then they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 12 He said to them, “Elijah is indeed coming first to restore all things. How then is it written about the Son of Man, that he is to go through many sufferings and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written about him.” Mark records that the disciples asked Jesus why the scribes say that Elijah must come first to ἀποκαθιστάνει πάντα. Jesus shares with the scribes this conviction , yet the scribes are mistaken, from Jesus' point of view, in failing to recognise that Elijah has already returned (ἀλλὰ λέγω ὑμῖν, v13) . Matthew 17:13 makes explicit what is implicit in Mark, that John the Baptist is the present day Elijah. For the purpose of our study, and due to recent debate, we must ask whether Elijah is seen by Mark as the forerunner of the Messiah or of YHWH. In a recent set of journal articles , F Fairstein, J Fitzmyer and D Allision have engaged in a dialogue over whether Second Temple Jews shared a eschatological view in which Elijah would precede the arrival of the Messiah.30 The question is legitimate for those approaching the text atomistically. However, using a method of coherency and holism which tends towards the assumption of literary and theological unity, we may, on the basis of the opening citation of the prologue, assume that Mark has in mind Elijah as the forerunner of YHWH who prepares his way. This is not to avoid the Elijah-Messianic question but to subsume it under Mark's 'way of the Lord' perspective. We do not need to choose between Messiahship and embodiment of YHWH, for both themes are rooted in the Markan text (Mark 13:24-27). We have seen, then, that there is enough evidence, on the basis of Mark 1:8 and Mark 9:11-13, to provide an affirmative answer to our question about whether Mark portrays John the Baptist as the eschatological Elijah who will prepare the 'way of the Lord', which is supporting evidence for my overall thesis that Mark portrays Jesus as the embodiment of YHWH who, like YHWH in the book of Malachi, will visit the Temple.
28 Such as Sirach 48:10-11, 4Q521 Frag 2 col 3:1, 4Q558 Frag 1: col 2:4, 4 Ezra 6:24-26 29 Dale C. Allison, “Elijah Must Come First,” JBL 103, no. 2 (June 1984): 256-258; M. M. Faierstein, “Why Do the Scribes Say that Elijah Must Come First,” JBL (1981): 75-86; Steven M Bryan and Society for New Testament Studies, Jesus and Israel's Traditions of Judgement and Restoration (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 88-111. 30 J. A. Fitzmyer, “More About Elijah Coming First,” JBL (1985): 295-296; Morris M. Faierstein, “Why do the Scribes Say That Elijah Must Come First,” JBL 100, no. 1 (March 1981): 75-86; Allison, “Elijah Must Come First.”
b) Jesus as the Embodiment of YHWH In this section we shall explore, in brief, the bold claim that Mark has constructed his gospel with a high Christology and that he expected his readers to understand that Jesus, in some sense, was the presence and embodiment of YHWH. 31 This is not to say that I think that Mark is using strict ontological categories in which he equates Jesus with God. We will not follow the most obvious path for establishing Markan Christology by an examination of the titles which are found throughout the gospel. This is a valid enterprise and there is much to gained from looking at Mark's understanding of Son of Man, Son of God, teacher, prophet, Christ, Son of David, etc. but it does not help to support our Jesus-as-theembodiment-of-YHWH thesis. We may then question whether my hypothesis is actually able to get off the ground given that there is no explicit association, except in the opening OT citation of the prologue of Jesus, with the presence of YHWH. However, a titular or propositional approach to the gospels is not the only method available to us and the recent rise in narrative criticism has provided a fresh opportunity for doing Christology.32 The Christology of Jesus comes alive to us not simply in ontological categories but in the narrative world of Jesus' praxis and social engagement. Narrative allows a theologian, namely Mark, to present a paradox Christology which remains unresolved and raises questions and tensive answers for the readership. Although not an exhaustive list33, the following helps to illustrate that the narrative world of Mark is suggestive of a high Christology, which we may call tensively the claim that Jesus functions as the embodiment of YHWH. Jesus is presented as one who bridges the traditional 31 One struggles to find appropriate language to describe Markan Christology. It is inappropriate and anachronistic to see it as on par with the later dogmatic affirmations of later creedal formulations. Driggers, who explores the divine presence in Mark, although e unfortunately leaves Mark 13 relatively unexplored, uses language of 'possession' rather than embodiment. “There are of course no assertions of ontological sameness, as in the christological formulations of later church councils. God and Jesus are at one level different characters; but to the extent that God's spirit possesses Jesus those character boundaries become, and remain, blurred.' I. B. Driggers, “The Politics of Divine Presence: Temple as locus of conflict in the Gospel of Mark!,” BibI 15, no. 3 (2007): 227-247,232. 32 M. E. Boring, “Markan Christology: God-Language for Jesus?,” NTS 45, no. 04 (1999): 136. 33 This topic has been explored by two scholars from divergent theological perspectives who reach similar conclusions., Gathercole, S. J. The Preexistent Son: Recovering the Christologies of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2006, Boring, “Markan Christology.”
Jon Swales, Trinity College, 2009
monotheist 'God-Humanity' divide. Election: Jesus calls twelve disciples to himself (Mark 1:60-20,3:13)which no doubt would echo the calling of the twelve tribes by YHWH. As Hooker comments 'if the tradition is correct, then his choice of twelve men represents an implicit claim regarding his own status.' 34 This power of Jesus to gather the people of God is also reflected in the 'Son of Man's' eschatological ingathering of the dispersed people of God (Mark 13:27). Forgiveness and Blasphemy : Jesus not only shares YHWH's electing power but also has the power to do what God alone can do, forgive sins. (Mark 2:1-12). We need to note that twice in the narrative of Mark Jesus is accused of blasphemy. Once for forgiving sins (Mark 1:1-12) and then in his trial scene where he refers to his own eschatological return (Mark 14:63). Nature Miracles: Jesus is seen to be the one who rules over creation and has power over sickness, demons and over the sea (Mark 4:35-41,6:45-52). His power over sea is particularly telling given the description of YHWH in the Old Testament. (compare Psalm 107 w/Mark 4:35-41 and compare LXX Job 9:8 w/Mark 6:48-49). Joel Marcus commenting on Mark 6:4552 says 'Mark never explicitly says that Jesus is divine, he comes very close to doing so here, and this high christology is consonant with indicators elsewhere in the Gospel.'35 This list is far from exhaustive, and other texts, beside these , could, as Eugene Boring has shown, be called in as evidence for a high Markan narrative Christology. 36
c) Prologue, Structure and the Temple
34 M. D. Hooker, Gospel According to St Mark (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2001), 111. 35 J. Marcus, Mark 1-8 (Yale University Press, 2007). 36 Eugene Boring, in a thought provoking essay presents evidence for a high Christology in Mark. These include Mark 1:11;1:16-20; 1:24,;1:23-27, 2:1-12; 4:35-41; 5:6; 6:48; 6:50; 7:1-23; 9:2-8; 9:37; 12:1-11; 12:35-37; 13:6,13; 13:31; 14:60-64; 15:39. He concludes his analysis, ' Mark should be located among those NT authors with a ‘high’ Christology who afﬁrm the ‘deity’ of Christ. While no one of the nineteen texts catalogued above is compelling in itself, in the aggregate they incline on toward the view that Mark affirmed what is now called the ‘deity of Christ’,though this was no this way of formulating the issue.' M. E. Boring, “Markan Christology: God-Language for Jesus?,” NTS 45, no. 04 (1999): 451-471, 471See also Paul Danove, “The Narrative Function of Mark's Characterisation of God,” NovT 43, no. 1 (January 2001): 12-30; John R. Donahue, “A Neglected Factor in the Theology of Mark,” JBL 101, no. 4 (December 1982): 563-594.
As already mentioned, Mark's opening citation presents John the Baptist as the one who will prepare the way for the Lord, and Mark identifies this Lord with the person of Jesus. This prologue provides, in shorthand, a description and structure for the rest of the book.
Kevin Larsen has sought to categorise the findings of many scholars into four camps. (i)Some scholars seek to outline Mark's gospel typologically noticing the obvious point that Jesus moves from Galilee (1:6-13), beyond Galilee (6:14-8:26), to Jerusalem (8:27-13:37).(ii)Taking a different approach, other scholars seek to identify a theological outline to Mark's gospel. (iii) Still, others argue that the Sitz in Leben informs the structure, in that the needs of the church dictate the structure of the Gospel. (iv) And finally, some see the structure as stemming from literary concerns. Given that there is no consensus amongst the scholarly community as to the structure of the Gospel it may seem wise to abandon the task before us. However, the very fact that no scholarly consensus abounds is supportive of the contention that the gospel of Mark cannot be reduced to a singular overarching structure, but that in the course of the Jesus tradition being passed on, preached , shared, and finally collected and shaped by the evangelist, it has undergone multiple structural adjustments which include consideration of geography, theology, Sitz im Leben and literary techniques.38 It will therefore be reductionistic for myself, or any other scholar, to claim that there is a monolithic structure.39 However, this does not mean that using and seeking structure to engage in interpretation is invalid in itself. 37 I am aware that there have been, and will be, numerous proposals as to what this structure is. See Larsen for an analysis of the current stage of research into Mark's structure. Kevin W. Larsen, “The Structure of Mark's Gospel: Current Proposals,” CuBR 3, no. 1 (October 1, 2004): 140-160. 38 I quote Johnson approvingly
‘Only further study on the part of many scholars will bring agreement as to which alleged patterns are real and significant, but surely it is clear that the earliest gospel is not a naïve and fortuitous collection of incidents but the result of a long tradition of preaching and teaching’ Johnson The Gospel According to Saint Mark 1972: 23-24 39 Joel Marcus is not alone in fusing together literary, theological and geographical structures. 'There does seem to be an overarching geographical framework to the Gospel, within which, literary and theological structures play their roles.' Mark 8-16: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2009), 63.
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Having found that Mark portrays John as the eschatological Elijah and Jesus as the embodiment of YHWH, we return to our aforementioned discussion about the relationship of the opening citation 'ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου·' , with its reference to Malachi, to the shape of the gospel as a whole. We note, alongside many commentators, that Mark using the word ὁδός seventeen times throughout his gospel40. The word ὁδός, as in 2:23 and 8:3, in itself can simply refer to a way, path or journey. However, it seems likely, for two reasons, that this word has special significance for the Mark. Firstly, ὁδός is used twice within the opening citation which creates the possibility that its usage later in the narrative of Mark will be theologically loaded. Secondly, seven uses of the word are concentrated around Mark 8:22-10:52 which in itself is framed by 'in the way' (8:27, 10:52) . This is significant in itself but is further supported by noticing, with van Iersel, that 8:22-10:52, is a central part of a Markan structure standing between the Galilee (1:16-8:21) and Jeruslaem (11:1-15:39) sections of the gospel and finding itself roughly in the middle of the text. Van Iesrel illustrates this diagramatically.41
40 1:2,3; 2:23; 4:4.15; 6:8; 8:3,27; 9:33, 34; 10:17, 32,46,52; 11:8 (2x) ; 12:14 41 van Iersel, Bas M. F. Mark : A Reader-Response Commentary. Vol. 164. London; New York: T&T Clark, 2004. 84. For a full discussion see pages see Chapter 4
It is likely then that the word ὁδός had, for the Markan readers, become charged with meaning. The 'way' is not simply a road, but, in the light of the prologue, a road to Jerusalem and the Temple. The opening citation, as we have already said, is shaped by Isaiah's New Exodus in which YHWH will lead his people out of exile . Isaiah the prophet describes, in language echoing exodus, a new deliverance that will take place in which God will prepare a road in which in he will lead the captives from Babylon to Jerusalem. Mark shared this eschatological hope in line with many Second Temple Jews of the return of YHWH to Jerusalem.42 Yet Mark also understood this in the light of the Christ event in which Jesus, arriving at the Temple and the City, was rejected by the Temple authorities and announced judgement on the Temple. This is perhaps why Mark fuses the the text of Malachi with that of Isaiah. Jesus brings not only salvation and restoration, but judgement. I share company with Rikki Watts when he says , ‘This dual perspective of salvation and judgement—both within the context of the INE [Isaiah's New Exodus]seems to provide the fundamental literary and theological structure of Mark’s gospel’ 43 Like the 'way' in Malachi and Isaiah, where YHWH arrives at his city and Temple, the Markan reader is able to see that Jesus' destination is the city and the Temple44. Unlike John's gospel Mark has Jesus travelling to the Temple only once and it therefore functions climatically in the gospel. In Mark 10, which immediately precedes Jesus' triumphal' entry into Jerusalem, the word ὁδός is used 4 times. The way is the 'way up to Jerusalem' (ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἀναβαίνοντες εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, Mark 10:32). The use of the word ἀναβαίνοντες is supportive of our contention that the way is the way to the Temple because of its cultic connotations. 42 N.T. Wright calls attention to the 'return of YHWH' to Zion' in Jesus and the Victory of God (London: SPCK, 1996), 615-624. Rikki Watts 'The goal of the New Exodus [in Isaiah] is the enthronement of Yahweh in a restored Jerusalem-Zion....The prophet thus presents a vision of 'Yahweh, (who) after smashing the powers of chaos and making a way through the wilderness, gently leads his flock home to Zion' Watts, R. E. “Consolation or Confrontation? Isaiah 40-55 and the Delay of the New Exodus.” TynBul 41, no. 1 (1990): 34 43 Watts, Isaiah's New Exodus and Mark, 4. 44 In disagreement with Myers who says the opposite 'According tot he dominant nationalist ideology of salvation history, Jerusalem was considered the hub of the world to which all nations would one day come. Mark turns this 'circulation' on its head: far from embarking on triumphal pilgrimage to Zion, the crowds flee to the margins, for purposes of repentance.' He fails to take account of the the 'way' being the way to Jerusalem. He achieves a subversive interpretation but surely it is subversive to see a triumphal procession to the Temple which results in a Malachi like disapproval in which the Temple is weighed in the scales and found wanting. Ched Myers, Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark's story of Jesus (Maryknoll N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1988), 126.
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That ἀναβαίνειν was a cultic term may be seen in non-biblical writings.... though ἀναβαίνειν became the usual expression by reason of the elevated situation of Temples, it became a technical term for cultic action in the sense of going to the Temple.45 We have established, then, that the 'way', on the basis of the prologue and its use throughout the gospel, is placing the 'Temple' as a central motif in the gospel of Mark. There is, as well as this, a strong case for seeing the 'way' as being the way of the cross. The road to Jerusalem is the way which will lead to suffering, death and vindication. We have already mentioned that the middle section of the Gospel, which is framed by healings of the blind men ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ, uses the word ὁδός seven times. This unit is bound together linguistically with ὁδός because it is in this section that Jesus begins his long jouney to Jerusalem yet is also held together by the passion predictions. Just as the two mass meals form the heart and the three crossings the frame of the previous section, so the healings of two blind men form the frame of the central part (8:22–26 and 10:46–52), while the three predictions of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the implications of this for Jesus’ followers, are the backbone of the composition (8:27–38; 9:31–50; 10:32–45). There is a wide consensus about the structural function of these elements. 46 Arguably then, the ὁδός of Mark's gospel is taking a cruciform shape. The way of the Lord is not the way of exaltation and glorification but is the way of suffering and the cross. Of the sixteen references to “the way” (hodos) in Mark, half are concentrated between 8:27 and 11:8. In this section “the way” is the way to the cross, which becomes clear for the first time in the passion predictions. It is also “the way of the Lord” about which Isaiah wrote in the citation that began the Gospel (1:2– 3). This way out of bondage to freedom, this second exodus, is a way the disciples are going to find especially distasteful47 We have established that Mark, in his prologue, has invited the reader to see that Jesus' ascent to Jerusalem and the Temple is to be seen as 45 TDNT, 1:520 46 Bas M. F. van Iersel, vol. 164, Mark : A Reader-Response Commentary, (London; New York: T&T Clark, 2004). 270 47 Sharyn Echols. Dowd, Reading Mark : A Literary and Theological Commentary on the Second Gospel, Reading the New Testament series, 84 (Macon, Ga.: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 2000).
YHWH's return to his Temple. As well as this, Mark has sought to show that the 'way' is the way of the cross. We see here that Mark, in the structure of his book, has sort to fuse together the Temple and the cross. Timothy Gray follows Gundry in denying that the 'way of the cross' is central for the Gospel. For Gray, the Temple is the way and the cross merely functions in the background. 'For Mark, the theology of the way has its primary locus in Jerusalem's Temple... it is important to recognise that in the foreground of Mark's narrative, 'the way' leads to Jerusalem, and more accurately, the Temple, while the cross looms in the background.'48 In contrast, I have sought to show that the Temple and the Cross are fused together in the gospel of Mark. and can both can be considered as major themes within the gospel. In this paper, so far, we have been advancing, using broadstrokes, the view that Mark, in the light of the opening citation, is seeking to structure his narrative so that the the ideal reader understands that Jesus is in some sense the embodiment of YHWH who will return to the Temple, be arrested and crucified.
II) Intratextuality : Mark 13 and the Passion Narrative In our study we shall now focus more specifically on the the intratextual links between Mark 13 and the passion narratives. However, it is first necessary to state why Mark 13 is important for developing links between the Temple and the cross.
Mark 13 Those familiar with the exegetical and hermeneutical landscape of Mark 13 will no doubt realise the serious challenges which are to be faced by the interpreter. The literature is vast, the issues are complex, the battle lines have been drawn and, on top of all of this, it cannot be studied in isolation 48 Gray, “Jesus and the Temple,” 29.
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from other biblical minefields49. I take my stand alongside a number of scholars in arguing that Mark 13 is primarily about the localised judgement which will fall on the city and the Temple. A full discussion cannot be given here but the following points support my position. (a) If Mark 13 is read within it's narrative context the reader is not surprised if it is about the destruction of the city. The incident in the Temple (11:15-19) which is sandwiched50 in between the stories of the cursed fig tree (11:12-14, 16-18)51 reveals Jesus as the one who symbolically enacts the destruction of the Temple.52 Likewise the parable of vineyard (12:1-12) announces the coming judgement on the owners of the vineyard, on those who have built the tower (Temple)53. Mark 13 is situated within the climatic moment of the plot in which conflict with the Temple and authorities is developing.54 (b) The disciples, after leaving the Temple, comment on the beauty of the 49 A useful literature survey and history of scholarship has been provided by G.R. Beasley Murray. His latest book on this topic is George R.Beasley- Murray, Jesus and the Last Days: Interpretation of the Olivet Discourse (Paternoster P., 1994).which is based upon his earlier works, A Commentary on Mark thirteen (Macmillan, 1957) and, Jesus and the Future (London: Macmillan, 1954).As scholarship does not stand still we must add to this the more recent contributions of R. T. France, The Gospel of Mark: a commentary on the Greek text (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2002); N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, 339-367; E. Adams, “The Coming of the Son of Man in Mark's Gospel,” TynBul 56, no. 2 (2005): 39; T. R Hatina, “The Focus of Mark 13: 24-27: The Parousia, or the Destruction of the Temple?,” BBR 6 (1996): 43-66; T.J. Geddert, Watchwords: St.Mark 13 in Markan Eschatology (Continuum International Publishing Group - Sheffield, 1989); Two particular interesting publications in offering a reading of Mark 13 are Pitre and doctoral dissertation of Dr Timothy Gray. Pitre reads Mark 13 with an eye to the concept of tribulation, whereas Gray with reference to the Temple Brant Pitre, Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile: Restoration Eschatology and the Origin of the Atonement, 219-381; Gray, “Jesus and the Temple,” 142-239. 50 The withered fig tree (A) and the incident in the Temple (B) share a theological purpose as the respective parts of the Markan sandwich (ABA). 'Mark sandwiches one passage into the middle of another with an intentional and discernable theological purpose', James R. Edwards, “Markan Sandwiches. The Significance of Interpolations in Markan Narratives,” 31, no. 3 (July 1989): 193-216, 196 51 The most complete and thorough study of the incident of the withered fig tree is W.R Telford, The barren Temple and the withered tree: a redaction-critical analysis of the cursing of the fig-tree pericope in Mark's Gospel and its relation to the cleansing of the Temple tradition (Sheffield Academic Press, 1980); P.F Esler refuses to see this the fig tree as a warning of destruction on the Temple/city. I remain unconvinced given its location in Mark in that it frames the Temple incident. . “The Incident of the Withered Fig Tree in Mark 11: A New Source and Redactional Explanation,” JSNT 28, no. 1 (2005): 41. 52 This interpretation of what has traditional been known as the 'cleansing' was put forward by E.P. Sanders and has established itself, with various nuances, as a serious option for the interpretative community. E P Sanders, Jesus and Judaism (London: SCM Press, 1985), 61-76; Also Wright, 'the natural reading of this incident is to see it as an acted parable of judgement'. Jesus and the Victory of God, 413-428, 416 53 Snodgrass, 'The Parable of the Wicked Tenants'; Snodgrass, Stories with Intent, 276-297. 54 'The climatic confrontation in Jerusalem comes quickly. Jesus attacks and briefly occupies the Temple, the national centre of government. The opponents again state their determination to destroy Jesus, with all the national authorities fully marshalled against Jesus' Michie and Rhoads, Mark as a Story, 86-88,87
Temple.55 Jesus responds by saying that these great buildings will be destroyed and one stone will not be left upon another. Jesus leaves the Temple and sits facing the Mount of Olives (v3), and in answer to the disciples' question, seeks to explain, in verses 3-36 when this destruction will take place and what sign will be given for its arrival (v4)56 The opening questions, with their focus on the Temple, are answered in the rest of the discourse. (c) Mark 13 shares a number of similarities with Isaiah 13 and 14 and there is a direct textual link with Mark 13:24-25 and Isaiah 13:9-10. Isaiah describes the judgement which will fall on Jerusalem.
YHWH is acting to destroy Babylon. Isaiah 13:1
YHWH is bringing destruction to the Temple. (Mk 13:2)
Language of cosmic disturbances is used to set the scene for destruction of Babylon
Language of cosmic disturbances are being used to describe the destruction of Jerusalem.(Mk 13:24-25)
This is the Day of YHWH's coming
Jesus embodies the presence of YHWH (Mark 13:3 in the light of
55 The unnamed disciples comment on the magnificence of the Temple is thoroughly understandable. This Temple, commissioned by Herod, was a complete renovation of the Temple of Zerubbabel (Jos. Ant. 15:11.13, Jos War 5.5.1-6). Work began in 20/19 B/C. It is sometimes mentioned that this rebuilding task did not finish till shortly before the Jewish War (John 2:20). However, the beauty of this building would have been readily evident during Jesus ministry as the bulk of the building task was completed within a decade. The disciples amazement may well have been at the size and beauty of the stones being used. (Jos. Ant. 15.391402, Jos. War. 184-226) 56 These two questions, of timing and accompanying signs have been understood in a number of different ways. Hooker, Joel Marcus and Beasley Murray, amongst others, see the second question 'all these things'(ταῦτα πάντα) as looking at eschatological events beyond 'these things' (ταῦτα).' However, there is no textual reason to be confused about this, unless of course one assumes that the passage is actually about the second coming. The simplest reading is to assume that they are an example of synonymous parallelism, in which both questions relate to the same event of these things/all these things. We can be confident that this is how this would have been understood in the first century as the Lukan parallel (Luke 21:7) , assuming here Markan priority, omits ‘all (πάντα)’ so that both questions refer to ‘these things’ (ταῦτα). In Mark 13:28-30 the terms ταῦτα and ταῦτα πάντα are reintroduced, this time at the end of the response which Jesus is giving. The disciples questions, which follow on from his announcement of the destruction of the Temple, are about this event, an event which will be fulfilled within this generation. The Matthean parallel does seem at the surface level of the text to have more cosmic parousia things in mind as the disciples ask 'when these things will be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age.' Matt 24:3. However, assuming date after AD70 for Matthew and that he says these things will happen within the generation(24:34) it is likely that parousia and close of the age are tied to the localised destruction of the Temple. See the helpful discussion in Robert H. Stein, Mark (Baker Publishing Group, 2008), 590-591.
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Page 19 prologue.)
Destruction will be followed by restoration (Is 14:1-2)
Tribulation will be followed by the restoration of God's people (Mk 13:27)
It is likely then, given the similarities between Mark 13 and Isaiah 13-14, that the allusion to Isaiah 13:9-10, is meant to evoke not only the allusion itself but its larger context. Although it seems reference is being made in Mark 13:24-25 to 'cosmic events', the focus of the judgement is the locality of Jerusalem and the Temple, and are part of Jesus' answer to the disciples' question concerning the destruction of the Temple. In agreement with Hatina, 'The point which needs to be stressed …. is that the cosmic, universal-type language is used figuratively to describe the demise of a political entity within history. It is not a reference to the closing act of 57 history. As YHWH came to judge Babylon, he is also coming to punish Israel. As YHWH brought restoration to exiled Israel after the destruction of Babylon, YHWH will bring restoration, through the 'Son of Man', to his exiles.
Intratextuality: Gleanings from Lightfoot to Geddert
Mark has provided a number of intratextual linguistic clues for his ideal reader in which he connects the passion of Jesus with the demise of the Temple. The purpose of this paper is not to make sense of the clues—to answer the question 'what is the connection between Jesus death and the Temple?' — but simply to recognise their existence. It was R.H Lightfoot who reminded scholarship of an 'unexpected parallelism, however slight and tentative, between the apocalyptic prophecy and the Passion narrative'.58 Firstly Lightfoot noted that both passages refer to being handed over. In chapter 13 it is used three times to describe the suffering of the disciples in the tribulation (13:9,11,12) whereas in the passion narrative it is used ten times in describing the betrayal of Jesus (14:10,11,21,41,) by Judas who is described as the ὁ παραδιδούς (14:42,44). Jesus is delivered (παραδεδώκεισαν) up to Pilate (15:1) by the chief priests (15:10), and its final usage is found when Jesus is 57 Hatina, “The Focus of Mark 13,” 53-59. 58 Lightfoot, The Gospel Message of St. Mark, 48-59.
delivered up to be crucifed (καὶ παρέδωκεν τὸν Ἰησοῦν φραγελλώσας ἵνα σταυρωθῇ, 15:15)59. Secondly, Lightfoot also noticed a comparison between 13:9 and the account of Jesus' treatment in 14:53. Βλέπετε δὲ ὑμεῖς ἑαυτούς· παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς συνέδρια καὶ εἰς συναγωγὰς δαρήσεσθε καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων σταθήσεσθε ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς.(13:9) which is mirrored by the treatment of Jesus who who is 'delivered by by Judas to the Sanhedrin; he stands before it and before Pilate the governor, and he is scourged.'60 Subsequently, Lightfoot compares Jesus' prophetic warning about going astray (Mark 13:2223) with both the action of Judas in the passion narrative (14:18-21) and Jesus' warning to the disciples, prior to his arrest, that they may fall away. (14:26-31). Fourthly, Lightfoot notices that in 13:32-33 we read 'but concernign that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor ther Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know hen the time will come.' can be compared with the scene in Gethsemane. Jesus prays that the hour would pass from him (14:35) but it is clear that his will is subordinated to that of the Father (1:36b). Jesus requests that his disciples 'keep awake' (14:34, 38) . In Mark 13:36-37 the disciples are urged to stay awake during the time of the tribulation for they do know when the master shall return. Likewise, in Gethsemane the disciples fall asleep and are urged to stay awake. (14:37). Lightfoot also notices similarities between the time designations in 13:35 about the return of the Lord (evening, midnight, rooster crows, morning) and the closing hours of Jesus' life being reckonend at three hour intervals. (14:68, 72; 15:1,25,33,42 rooster, rooster, morning, third hour, six hour to ninth hour, evening). Finally, for Lightfoot, the prophecy in 13:26 of the coming of the son of man is repeated at Jesus' trial before the sanhedrin (14:62). Dale Allison , building upon Lightfoot, adds to this list by pointing out another five parallels. (1) In Mark 13:24 the 'arrival of the son of Man' is 59
'Thus when it is predicted that the Christians will be handed over to councils and beaten in synagogues and will stand before governors (13:9), we are reminded that Jesus too was handed over and was beaten and stood before Pilate.' Lloyd Gaston, No Stone on Another: Studies in the Significance of the Fall (Supplements to NovT; Leiden: Brill, 1970), 478. 60 Lightfoot, The Gospel Message of St. Mark, 52.
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preceded by darkness. When Jesus dies darkness covers the land (15:33) (2) At Jesus' death the veil of the Temple is torn in two 'signifying that in some sense, the holy place has passed away or will pass away'61 which parallels the future destruction of Temple found in Mark 13:2. (3) In the passion narrative Judas is described as being one of the twelve (14:10,20,43) and in Mark 13:23-13 we read 'brother will betray brother to death' (13:12-13). (4) In Mark 14:50-52 we read of the unamed disciple who flees the scene when Jesus is arrested. Likewise in Mark 13:14-16 the disciples, on seeing the abomination of desolation are urged to flee to the mountains. (5) Allison, like Lightfoot, draws attention to the linguistic parallels between Mark 13 and the episode in Gethsemane. In Mark 14:40 Jesus comes (ἐλθὼν ) to his disciples and finds (εὗρεν) them sleeping (καθεύδοντας) . This same construction is found in 14:37—ἔρχεται καὶ εὑρίσκει αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας. This parallels Mark 13:36 in which good servants need to be on their guard unless their master comes (ἐλθὼν) and finds (εὕρῃ) them sleeping (καθεύδοντας). 62 Timothy Geddart in his monograph Watchwords, which seeks to read 'Mark 13 carefully and comprehesively in the context of Mark's gospel'63, argues that Mark 13:34-37 is an 'eschatological parable passed on by an editor/author with a much more profound view of the relationship between eschtaology and the passion than has usually been suspected'64, Geddert seeks to do this from a number of differant angles. He recognises that the parable is problematic as, (1) Mark gives the impression that he going to tell a parabolic story but the story never develops. (2) We are first given the impression that a man is about to go on a long journey, but then are led to believe that the crucial period of watching covers only the time period of a single night (3) The reference to servants in the plural becomes somewhat superfluous when the focus changes to the doorkeeper in the singular'65 61 Dale C. Allison, The End of the Ages Has Come: Early Interpretation of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus (Fortress P.,U.S, 1985), 37. 62 Allison moves on from describing these parallels to noting their theological significance. For Allison, Mark 13 describes the tribulation/messianic woes which precede the arrival of the eschaton which is linked with the suffering and death of Jesus which is, likewise part of this tribulation. He says, 'For Mark, then, the denouement has commenced with the passion of Jesus, which is thus 'the first act of the end of the world.' Jesus has passed through the time of crisis, and the disciples must follow after their Lord, his way being therirway (Mark 8:34-38). The suffering of Jesus and of his church together constitute the labour pains after which the new world comes' Ibid., 38. 63 T. J. Geddert, Watchwords: Mark 13 in Markan Eschatology (JSOT Press, 1989),18 64 Ibid. 94. 65 Geddert is in dialogue with D. Wenham. D. Wenham, recognises the problems whilst Geddert proposes a
These difficulties are explained by reading the parable alongside 14:17-15:15. The shift of focus from a long journey to a single night is explained as follows: 'Mark, knows he intends to portray at a more subtle level the one crucial paradigmatic eschatologically-significant night during which one kept faithfully while the others all failed their posts.'66 The shift from plural to singular 'is explained by the fact that in the final Day and Hour there will be many servants, with Jesus playing the role of the Master, but in the imprending passion he will be portrayed as a servant, and specifically as a faithful doorkeeper.' 67 Although none of these pieces of evidence in themselves suggest that Mark had deliberately written his gospel to provide linguistic clues which link together Mark 13 and the passion, the sheer volume of these links move us from seeing Mark 13-Passion parallels as being possibly significant to being probably significant. These links are, 'too meticulousley crafted [and frequent] to be only a figment of the reader's imagination'68 ...Mark has utilized the juxtaposing of narratives here, as elsewhere , to make subtle points above and beyond what the individual pericopes contain' 69 These links between Mark 13 and the passion narratives have led to the bold, but unconvincing thesis of Peter Bolt who claims that Mark13 is 'in fact an apocalyptic preparation for the passion'70 and does not encouarge us to look for its fullfillment outside the text, whether that be in a Parousia or in the events of AD 70—'The story which surrounds Jesus' apocalytpic discourse shows no explicit interest in either the parousia or the destruction of the the Jerusalem temple'71. Bolt is correct to recognise the closeness of Mark 13 and the passion narratives, but fails, in my opinion, to take seriously the narative role of the Temple in Mark72, fresh solution. The Rediscovery of Jesus' Eschatological Discourse (JSOT Press, 1984). Geddert, Watchwords, 93. Ibid. Ibid., 96. Ibid., 95. Peter Bolt, The Cross from a Distance : Atonement in Mark's Gospel (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity, 2004), 85; With a full discussion in P.G. Bolt, “Mark 13: an apocalyptic precursor to the Passion narrative,” Reformed Theological Review 54, no. 1 (1995): 10-32; and summarised in P. Bolt, Jesus' Defeat of Death: persuading Mark's early readers (Cambridge University Press, 2003), 252-253. 71 P.G Bolt, “Mark 13: An Apocalyptic Precursor to the Passion narrative,”, 20. In a similar way although not as reductionistic Karl Barth commenting on Mark 13:7-20 says, 'Jesus is primarily foretelling His own impending death when he speaks of these imminent events, and His ressurection when to the comprehensive picture of man tormeneted by war, division, earthquake and famine...the coming of the Son of Man to gather his elect, and therfore his triumphant life as the Lord of the community.'Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics III/2/501 72 Bolt says 'the material in Mark 11-12 reveals that the polemic is not against the temple, but against the religious leaders of Israel.' ibid. 17. However, the religious leaders are intertwined with the politics and praxis of the temple. We also note that Mark 13 is framed by the stories of women who give great gifts (Mark 12:4144, 14:3-9). We may suggest that both give gifts to something which is to be destroyed, one to Jesus who is anointed for burial, the other to the barren temple, which as a den of robbers, will be destroyed. 66 67 68 69 70
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the actual question of the disciples in Mark 13, the parable of the fig tree and the importance of the future suffering of the desciples73. We have so far seen that the Gospel of Mark seeks to link together Jesus' death with the Temple. The way of Jesus is simultaneously, for Mark, the way of the cross and the way of YHWH bringing judgement on the Temple. Our analysis of Mark 13, with Lightfoot, Allison and Geddert as our guides, has established another literary link between Jesus' death and the judgement which will befall the city. It is likely, then, that Mark intends his readers to interpret the death of Jesus alongside Mark 13.74 Mark, as we have seen, has so woven his narrative so that the themes of the Temple and death of Jesus are interwined. Jesus, as the embodiemnt of YHWH, arrives at the Temple and announces its destruction. Yet the road to Jersusalem is also the way of the cross, and his death strangely parallels the future destruction which awaits the Temple.
III) Tribulation, Temple and the Passion The final part of this paper will seek to show that Mark has not only connected the Temple and Jesus' death through literary devices of intertextuality and intratextuality, but that he has woven them together eschatologically, in that Jesus' death and resurrection, along with discussion of the demise of the Temple in Mark 13, follow a similar eschatological timetable. Their respective sufferings form part of the necessary tribulation which must occur before the arrival, in some sense, of the eschaton. In this last sentence I use the word ‘tribulation’75 deliberately to denote a Second Temple eschatological concept and not simply as a substitute for the words 'suffering' or 73 Bolt so emphasises the uniqueness of the cross of Christ that he follow a tendency to downplay imitation of the cross by the disciples. See Jason Hood 'Evangelicals and the Imitation of the Cross: Peter Bolt on Mark 13 as a Test Case.' EQ 81.2 (2009) 116-125. ' Bolt's attempt to lay virtually the full weight of the Olivet discourse on the events of Jesus' passion and resurrection in Mark falls flat precisely because he fails to account for the way in which the suffering and tribulation of Jesus in Mark is not merely vicarious.'123 74 In discussing Mark 13 and the Passion narrative parallels Gaston comments, 'When he [Mark] comes to tell the passion story it will be understood against a certain background, which is essential for a full understanding.' No Stone on Another, 479. 75 Within biblical scholarship this concept has lacked some conceptual and terminological clarity. It is referred to in various ways such as ‘the final ordeal and confusion’(Emil Schurer), ‘Messianic Woes’ (R.H Charles), ‘prelude to the messianic age’ (Joseph Klausner), ‘preliminary time of Evil’ (Hartman). It is Pitre, Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile (JTEE)., and to a lesser extent Allison, End of the Ages Has Come., who bring precision and conceptual clarification to such scholarly disorder. See JTEE 1-31
'hardship'. Brant Pitre’s recent doctoral thesis, republished as Jesus, the Tribulation and the End of Exile, demonstrates that this concept of tribulation is firmly established within the texts of late Second-Temple Judaism and that it is plausible that Jesus, along with many of his contemporaries, shared such an eschatological view. Pitre reaches this position by studying a variety of texts composed between 200BC to 30AD such as Epistle of Enoch, Testament of Moses and several documents from the Dead Sea Scrolls76. From his analysis of these texts Pitre draws together a number of aspects of the concept of tribulation in late Second-Temple Judaism, arranging them in order of most frequent to least frequent. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.
The tribulation is tied to restoration of Israel and the End of Exile. A righteous remnant arises during the tribulation. The righteous suffer and/or die during the tribulation. This sometimes includes the suffering and/ or death of a messianic figure. The tribulation is tied to the coming of the Messiah, sometimes referred to as the 'Son of Man' There is a tribulation which precedes the final judgement. The tribulation is depicted as the eschatological climax of Israel's exilic sufferings, often through the imagery of the Deuteronomic covenant curses. The tribulation has two stages (1) the preliminary stage, and (2) the Great tribulation. The tribulation precedes the coming of the eschatological kingdom An eschatological tyrant, opponent, or Anti-Messiah arises during the tribulation. Typological images from the Old Testament are used to depict the tribulation The tribulation is tied to the in gathering and/or conversion of the Gentiles. .The tribulation has some kind of atoning or redemptive function. The Jerusalem Temple is defiled and/or destroyed during the tribulation. The tribulation precedes the resurrection of the dead and/or a new creation
The most frequent theme of tribulation texts in late Second-Temple Judaism is that the concept is related to the restoration of Israel and the End of Exile. In the gospel of Mark the destruction of both the Temple and Jesus, I will argue, found in (a) Mark 10:35-45 and (b) Mark 13:27 respectively, are tied to a 'return from exile', that is the hope that a time would come in which God would gather together his exiled community.
(a) Mark 10:35-45 76 The full list is 1 Enoch 93:1-10;91:11-17, 1 Enoch 91-107, The Book of Daniel, The Book of Dreams , The book of Jubilees, The Third Sibylline Oracle, the Psalms of Solomon, The Testament of Moses, 1QH, 4Q171, 4Q174 & 4Q177, 1QS, CD, 1 QM, 4Q246, 1 Enoch 3771
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Jesus has already predicted his death several times in the gospel of Mark. However in this passage the reader is able to see that Jesus' impending death is not just the death of a martyr but possesses, for the Markan Jesus, in some sense, soteriological significance77 for Jesus will δοῦναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν. (10:45). I shall argue that this suffering is to be understood as being part of the (i) eschatological tribulation which will (ii) result in the exiles returning to YHWH.
i) Mark 10:35-45 and the Eschatological Tribulation The disciples ask Jesus if he will allow them to to sit (καθίσωμεν) next to him when he is in his glory (10:37). They are asking Jesus what their place will be during the eschatological vindication and exaltation, as the word for 'sitting' is not the usual greek word for sitting/reclining but is that which is used when someone is sitting in a regal setting or in judgement. Likewise, both the sitting on the right and of the left, and the 'glory' is suggestive of a royal setting. Pitre rightly points out that their request 'establishes the theme of eschatological glorification and rule.'78 It is probable that this passage is meant to evoke 'one like a son of Man' in Daniel 7, a passage which brings together thrones (Dan 7:9), sitting in judgement (v9,26), dominion, glory and kingdom (14,26). Jesus responds to their question by reminding them of the suffering that they and he must go through prior to the eschaton. The disciples seem to have forgotton that the Danielic eschatological vindication is preceded by a time of intense suffering. 'In the book of Daniel, the eschatological tribulation is a sustained period of war, human suffering, apostasy, and tribulation of the righteous that precedes the final judgement and the ressurection of the dead'.79 Jesus, and those who choose to follow him, must drink the cup of suffering. It is necessary to take into account both the Old Testament usage for 'cup' as a metaphor for judgement80 and 77 I say 'in some sense' as one is to be reminded that soteriology is not a fixed concept through time. Soteriology, the doctrine of salvation, is considerably different for instance between Second Temple Judaism and contemporary American evangelicalism. 78 Ibid., 391. 79 Ibid., 52. 80 Ps 11:6; 75:7-8; Isa 51:17,22; Jer 25:15-17, 27-29; Ezek 23:31-34; Hab 2:16; Zech 12:2. The cup can also be used as a metaphor for blessing, Ps 23:5; 116:13 but the contexts of Mark 10:35-45 make this extremely unlikely especially when read along the 'cup' language in the Gethsemane scene. James D.G. Dunn, Christianity in the Making Vol 1: Jesus Remembered (William B Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2003), 803. This metaphor continues in intertestamental literature, see J. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Companions and Competitors v. 3: Rethinking the Historical Jesus: Companions and Competitors v. 3 (Yale University Press, 2007), 263 n.
the 'cup' language elsewhere in Mark. Although appearing later in the Markan narrative, it is likely that on multiple readings the intratextual linking with the last supper and Gethsemane would heighten the significance of the 'cup' language in Mark 10:35-45. At Jesus' hour of πειρασμός (14:38) in Gethsemane he says to his father 'Remove this cup from me, Yet not what I will but what you will' (14:38). Most commentators suggest that πειρασμός has a specific eschatological meaning,81 which, we may add, evokes, due to its usage in LXX in reference to the Passover, the suffering which take place before the 'new exodus.'82 The cup of suffering is no other than the suffering of the tribulation which must precede the new exodus and eschatological glorfication. —'For Jesus the route to glory is clear; it is by way of the ποτήριον and the βάπτισμα which await him.'83
ii) Mark 10:35-45 and the Return from Exile In Mark 10:45 Jesus says that he will give his life as a ransom for many (δοῦναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν). While scholars affirm about this text that the death of one man, Jesus, provides ransom for others, there is a multiplicity of options available as to what this means. Some, such as Davies and Allision, and Hooker, remain agnostic, as the text leaves us with 'unexplained affirmations'84 and mystery,85 while others see this text as evoking the suffering servant of Isaiah or a full blown penal substitionary model.86 Adela Collins notes, Mark 10:45 is the 'most explciit statement in the gospel about the meaning of the death of Jesus.....but that does not imply that it is actually clear.'87 At the most basic level the word λύτρον refers to ' price of release, ransom88' which suggests 50. 81
'There are a number of times in the NT where peirasmos refers to the testing in a specific way, namely, the great eschatological trial or struggle involving divine judgement...It is in this sense that, with different nuances, most scholars interpret the peirasmos of the Gethsemane scene.' R. Brown, The Death of the Messiah, from Gethsemane to the Grave: v. 1: A Commentary on the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels (1st ed.; Yale University Press, 2007), 159. 82 LXX Deut 4:34; 7:19; 29:22 See Gray, “Jesus and the Temple,” 258-259. 83 R. T. France, The Gospel of Mark : A Commentary on the Greek Text, 416 84 W.D. Davies and Dale C. Allison, Matthew 19-28: A Commentary: 003 (T.& T.Clark Ltd, 1997), 100. 85 'In some mysterious way, which is not spelt out, the sufferings of one man are used by God to bring benefit to others', Hooker Mark 86 'Why, though, should Jesus be handed over? Mark 10:45 provides the answer. He came 'to give his life as a ransom for many', to be handed over to God's wrath in their place.' S Jeffery, Pierced for our transgressions : Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution (Nottingham Eng.: Inter-Varsity Press, 2007), 67-71. 87 A. Y. Collins, The Beginning of the Gospel: Probings of Mark in context (Fortress Press, 1992), 281. 88 William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed.,(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000). 605
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that Jesus saw a group (the many) as being in slavery or captivity. Ben Witherington suggests that this captivity, in the light of Jesus' exorcisms, is captivity to the power of Satan. 89 Whilst this is a possibility, it seems more likely that Jesus's/Mark's use of this word would be shaped, to one degree or another, by its usage and that of its cognates in the Old Testament. On turning to the Old Testament we find, time and time again, that λύτρον is often used in the context of either the (a) first exodus or of the (b) Isaianic New Exodus. (a) Exodus: God promises Moses that he will deliver them from bondage and will redeem them Ex 6:6-8, λυτρώσομαι ὑμᾶς. Micah records that this is what YHWH actually did—'For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you (ἐλυτρωσάμην σε) from the house of slavery.' (Micah 6:4). The Psalmist records with thanks the time when YHWH delivered (ἐλυτρώσατο) his people from Egypt and brought them to the holy land (Psalm 78:42-55). The release from Egypt which YHWH accomplished results in his people, the redeemed (λελυτρωμένοις) coming with singing to Zion (Is 51:10-11).90 The Markan readership would have more easily made the mental connection between the word ransom (λύτρον ) and the Exodus than the modern reader as we often fail to realise the formative nature of the Exodus for the Judaic worldview. (b) New Exodus In our discussion of the opening citation we also noted that Mark may be shaping his book to so that Jesus is seen as inaugurating the new exodus. When God's people fell into exile God promised that he would one day act in history to restore and redeem his people. God will one day call his people back from the nations. 3 For thus says the Lord: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed ( λυτρωθήσεσθε) without money.” 4 For thus says the Lord God: “My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing. 5 Now therefore what have I here,” declares the Lord, “seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail,” declares the Lord, “and continually all the day my name is despised. 6 Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I.” 7How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” 8The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion. 9Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed (ἐρρύσατο) Jerusalem. (Is 52:7-9)
89 B. Witherington, The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical commentary (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2001), 290. 90 Pitre records at least 20 other references from the Old Testament in which ransom is connected with the release from slavery and exile in Egypt. Pitre, Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile, 409.
This 'return from exile', when YHWH becomes King, will be a time for good news to be proclaimed, a theme which resonates with Jesus' first preaching engagement in the book of Mark.—κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ λέγων ὅτι πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρὸς καὶ ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ· μετανοεῖτε καὶ πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ. If Mark associated the arrival of the Kingdom with the promises of Deutero-Isaiah—Isaiah's New Exodus—then it is likely that λύτρον would have been understood as the ransom which would set the exiled people of God free.91 In the words of Pitre, 'Jesus is using the lanaguage of the Old Testament prophets to declare that the Son of Man will give his life in order to release ('ransom') the scattered exiles of Israel (the many).'92 Before moving this discussion forward, it is necessary to say a word about the scope of the exile, as 'return from exile' themes, particularly since the publication of N.T. Wright's Jesus and the Victory of God, have become more popular which has led to seemingly devestating critique and further nuances. The most formidable challenge to this view has been raised in reponse to the Historical Jesus scholarship of N.T. Wright. For Wright, Jesus is bringing about the 'end of exile'. ‘Most Jews of this period [Second Temple period], it seems, would have answered the question ‘where are we?’ in language which reduced to its simplest form, meant, we are still in exile. They believed that, in all the senses which mattered, Israel’s exile was still in progress. Although she had come back from Babylon, the glorious message of the prophets remained unfulfilled, Israel still remained in thrall to foreigners; worse Israel’s god had not returned to Zion'93 Some would claim, however, that Wright is wrong,94 for the Babylonian exile was over, the Jews had returned to the land and the Temple had been rebuilt. I follow Pitre in pointing out that the 'return from exile' in the Old Testament was never simply about the Babylonian exile but had to do with the restoration of all twelve tribes.
In Isaiah, for instance, the prophetic
hope looks to a 'return from exile' for both Israel and Judah from the 91 Jer 31:7-12, Micah 4:1-10, Zech 10:6. See Ibid., 412. 92 Pitre, Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile, 405; See also R. E. Watts, “Jesus' Death, Isaiah 53, and Mark 10: 45: A Crux Revisited,” Jesus and the Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 and Christian Origins: 125-151 Watts makes the case that Mark 10:45 needs to be understood within the larger literary and theological concerns of the gospel. When this is done the allusion to Isaiah 53, given the influence of Deutero-Isaiah on the whole book, is more likely. 93 N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God v. 1 (SPCK Publishing, 1992), 268-269. 94 Maurice Casey, “Where Wright Is Wrong: a Critical Review of N.T.Wright's Jesus and the Victory of God,” JSNT 20, no. 69 (January 1, 1998): 95-103. 95 Pitre, Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile, 38, see discussion 31-40
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clutches of Babylon and Assyria. He will raise a signal for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 13The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart.... 15And the LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the sea of Egypt; and will wave his hand over the River with his scorching wind; and will split it into seven channels, and make a way to cross on foot; 16so there shall be a highway from Assyria for the remnant that is left of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt. (Isaiah 11:12-13,15-16) 96
(b) Mark 13 We have seen on the basis of Mark 10:45 that the Markan Jesus looks to his own death as being part of the eschatological tribulation which occurs prior to long awaited 'return from exile'. For Mark, Jesus' death not only anticipates this return but actually brings it about. When we turn to Mark 13 we see that a similar eschatological timetable is at work. i) a time of great suffering and eschatological suffering precedes (b) the ingathering of the elect, that is the 'return from exile'.
i) Mark 13 and the Eschatological Tribulation Mark 13 is rich and dense in its use of Old Testament imagery to describe the impending suffering which must befall the nation. In Mark 13:5-8 Jesus responds to the disciples' questions by describing a series of events. This future suffering will begin with a series of birth pangs (ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων ταῦτα.) Birthpangs, as Pitre notes, are not only a common metaphor for 96 NRSV, see also Jer 23:5-8, Ezekiel 37:15-28 and J. M. Scott, Restoration: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Perspectives (Brill, 2001), 489-526, particularly 519 n. 79; M. E. Fuller, The Restoration of Israel: Israel's Re-gathering and the Fate of the Nations in Early Jewish literature and Luke-Acts (Walter De Gruyter Inc, 2006).
suffering in times of judgement but are also used to 'describe the tribulation which precedes the destruction of a city or nation or precedes the coming of the Messiah.'97 It is used in the Old Testament to describe the destruction of Samaria (Hos 13:12-16), Babylon (Isa 13:6-14:2, Jer 50:43), city of chaos98 (Isa 26:16-19; 24:10), Moab (Jer2 48:41) and Jerusalem (Jer 4:531; 6:22-26;22:23-27; 30:4-8, Micah 4:10-14). These birthpangs, which precede the arrival of the Messiah, include a triplet of external sufferings, each of which highlights the eschatological nature of the suffering. (i)
coming of deceivers (Mark 13:5-6),
onset of war (13:7-8)
earthquakes and famines (13:8-9)
As the discourse continues Jesus moves on to discuss the persecution (13:9-13) and divine support of his disciples (13:11). This persecution is to be understood as eschatological as the disciples will preach the gospel to all nations (13:10), for it evokes a number of eschatological Old Testament texts which tie together the preaching of good news with the ingathering of the Gentiles and the end of exile.(Is 52:7-12, Joel 2:32,4:1-9 also Pss Sol 11:1-14.) The arrival of the Spirit may also be understood as eschatological and. interestingly, for the purpose of our study, the book of Joel brings togther the themes of gospel proclamation (Joel 2:32), arrival of the Spirit (2:28) and ingathering of the exiled people of God and the nations ( 4:2-9). The events leading up to the localised destruction of the Temple have cosmic and eschatological consequences. In Mark 13:12 Jesus casts the future tribulation of the disciples in terms of interfamial conflict, 'πατὴρ τέκνον, καὶ ἐπαναστήσονται τέκνα ἐπὶ γονεῖς καὶ θανατώσουσιν αὐτούς·'. Interfamial conflict is understood in the book of Micah to be the prelude to the New Exodus. Put no trust in a friend, have no confidence in a loved one; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your embrace; 6for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-inlaw; your enemies are members of your own household. 7 But as for me, I will look to the LORD, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. …..15As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, I will show them marvelous things.16The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might; they shall lay their hands on their 97 Pitre, Jesus the Tribulation and the End of Exile, 229 98 More than likely Jerusalem
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mouths; their ears shall be deaf; 17they shall lick the dust like a serpent, like the crawling things of the earth; they shall come trembling out of their strongholds; they shall turn in dread to the LORD our God, and they shall be in fear of you. Micah 7:5-7,15-17 (NRSV)
ii) Mark 13 and The Return From Exile The eschatological discourse reaches its climax in the 'coming of the son of man' which has traditionally been understood as the parousia. However, this has been challenged in recent years by R.T. France and N.T. Wright99 who advocate a 'vindication' reading of the passage. Of interest to us is that the period of great eschatological tribulation is followed by the 'son of man' who will send his angels καὶ ἐπισυνάξει τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς [αὐτοῦ] ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων ἀνέμων ἀπʼ ἄκρου γῆς ἕως ἄκρου οὐρανοῦ. Brant Pitre, calls attention to a number of Old Testament texts which , 'reveals that divine punishment, meted out by way of exile and captivity, is often depicted as a people being 'scattered' to 'the four winds' [Jer 49:36] or to every 'wind'[Jer 49:32, Ezek 5:2,10,12; 12:14;17:12]. Hence, the image of the the 'four winds' is an image of exile.'100 This is further supported by the hope, present in the Old Testament, that God would one day gather those he has scattered. And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, 2 and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. 4 If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. 5 And the LORD your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you 99 R.T France rejects a parousia understanding of this passage as the text does not speak of the 'son of man' coming to earth but on the basis of its Daniellic background is to be understood, with Mark 8:38, as 'enthronement, of the the 'one like the son of man' coming before the throne of God to be given universal and everlasting dominion. It is the imagery of setting upon a new kingship to replace the failed regimes of previous empires, and it is located not on the earthly scene but in the presence of the God of heaven.' NIGTC Likewise for N.T. Wright , 'The 'son of man' figure 'comes' to the Ancient of Days. He comes from earth to heaven, vindicated after suffering. The Danielic story always was one of vindication and exaltation, and was retold as such in the first century.' Jesus and the Victory of God, 361, N.T. Wright and R.T France, with both earlier and contemporary advocates such as Hatina and Perriman ( see Beasley-Murray (90-93) understand this text on the basis of Daniel 7, with the movement of the 'son of man' being from earth to heaven, rather than from heaven to earth. France, The Gospel of Mark; Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God; Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Future; Hatina, “The Focus of Mark 13”; Andrew Perriman, The Coming of the Son of Man: New Testament Eschatology for an Emerging Church (Paternoster Press, 2005). 100Pitre, Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile, 342.
more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. 6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Deut 30:1-6101 It seems likely then, based on the Old Testament precedent, that the Markan Jesus in Mark 13 anticipates a future time of eschatological tribulation which is closely tied to the destruction of the Temple. This will be followed by the 'coming of the son of man' which will result in the 'return from exile' in which God fulfills the long awaited hope of gathering together those whom he had previously dispersed. This analysis of Mark 10:35-45 and Mark 13 has shown us that the cross and the destruction of the Temple are to be understood, by Mark and his ideal readership, as part of the tribulation which will be followed by the 'return from exile'.
Conclusions In this paper we have sought to show that Mark, at several points, seeks to bring together the death of Jesus with the Temple. In the first part of this paper we have seen, through our exploration of the opening citation, that it is likely that the way of Jesus is simultaneously both the way of YHWH to his Temple and the way of the cross. On top of this, drawing on the work of Lightfoot, Allison and Geddert we have drawn together a number of linguistic connections which can be made between Mark 13, with its focus on the downfall of the temple, and the passion narrative. In the last part of this paper we briefly looked at Mark 10:45 and Mark 13 in which the destruction of Jesus and the Temple are understood as eschatological tribulation which is followed by the return from exile.
101 See also Isa 11:10-12, Jer 31:7-8
Jon Swales, Trinity College, 2009
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