Today my Sunday school class got up to Hebrews 2:5-13. I was really struck by the fact that the author says that he is speaking about the world to come. Was that obvious to everyone reading the epistle, prior to this point? Does that mean that the language about the exalted status of the Son is not about the first creation, but about the world to come, the new creation? Could that help one to reconcile the apparent presence of a Christology of pre-existence and an exaltationist one?
The close connection between Jesus and humankind in general is central to what follows. The author reads Psalm 8 chronologically. Since human beings cannot be both lower to angels and have all things under our feet, the author views Jesus’ experience as moving in advance of that of humanity as a whole, with Jesus currently exalted above the angels, having previously been made subject to them.
The application of words from Psalm 22 to Jesus would have made natural sense to an author familiar with the passion narrative that has Jesus quote that psalm.But what about the quotations from Isaiah 8? It may be that it is primarily the Emmanuel context that made it seem appropriate to that author to attribute words from there to Christ.
But it could also be that, within the poetic section and thus apparently the prophetic oracle, there is a change of voice, so that, even though the introduction says that it is Yahweh who says what follows, an expression of trust in Yahweh is articulated, seemingly by someone else.
While the natural reading, from our perspective, would be to simply regard the final words as the voice of Isaiah (see where the quotation marks are placed in the NIV), ancient Judaism developed a tradition of noticing where one who is called Yahweh nevertheless speaks about Yahweh in the third person. And so I wonder whether the author of the letter to the Hebrews was engaging in that sort of “two powers” reading.
Are there readers of this blog who’ve explored the quotations from Jewish Scripture in Hebrews in detail? Do you have any thoughts on what logic, if any, made the use of certain texts, and the connection of them with Jesus, seem appropriate?