Friday, December 26, 2008

Hanged on a Tree

Feature Article from Solomon's Portico

Editor's note: Justin Martyr d. 165AD, was an early Christian apologist and Philosopher. His conversation with an Hellenistic Jew named Trypho is recorded in an ancient book called "Dialogue with Trypho". The book is fascinating in many respects not the least of which appears in the following article.

In "Dialogue with Trypho" Justin mentions Deu 21:23 as evidence that Jesus was the Messiah because he was crucified, therefore being accursed by God and bearing the curse that was due us.

Trypho doesn't argue the translation in this instance, but rather argues that death by crucifixion was an unworthy death for the Messiah. Trypho agrees that the the Messiah must suffer but not by crucifixion and so disagrees with Justin that Deu 21:23 (and Gal 3:13) speak of Jesus.

Trypho does disagree in some places on the differences in translation between the Hebrew text and the Septuagint, but not in this case.

In this way the cross has become a stumbling block for the Jews as mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians.


Dialogue with Trypho ch 32
And when I had ceased, Trypho said, "These and such like Scriptures, sir, compel us to wait for Him who, as Son of man, receives from the Ancient of days the everlasting kingdom. But this so-called Christ of yours was dishonorable and inglorious, so much so that the last curse contained in the law of God fell on him, for he was crucified." (one thing that isn't debated is the existence of Christ)

Deu 21:23
"his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.

Gal 3:13
"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"."

1Cr 1:23
"but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, "

An interesting note, in the prologue to Dialogue with Trypho, the men who were with Trypho did not participate in the debate between Justin and Trypho. Rather they left to discuss the war in Judea at the time, this would have been the Bar-Khokba revolt.

Bar-Khokba in Aramaic "Son of a Star" was hailed as the Messiah by Jews of that period.

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