Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Name and Incarnation.

More from the book.

A similar movement might be observed with the description of God's Name in the Old Testament.  As we have previously observed, the divine Name is identical with God's hypostatized presence.  The Tabernacle/Temple is a "house for My Name" (2 Sam 7:13).  God gives Israel his Name in Exodus 3 at the same time of his revelation of his will to redeem them for the sake of the promises made to the Patriarchs.  This means that through God's unilateral act of promise he has bound himself up with Israel's fate.  His Name is exalted through the exodus and redemption of Israel (Exod 9:16).  Because he has tied his Name is tied to Israel, his name is cursed among the nations when Israel sins (Ezek 36:20).  Ultimately, YHWH will redeem Israel not for their own sake, but for the sake of his Name that he has bound to them and donated to them (Ezek 36:22).  There will be a final moment of universal reconciliation where all the nations recognize his Name and will give true worship (Isa 45:23).  This exaltation of the divine Name will be the moment of final reconciliation of all the nations. 

This coincides with the promise to Abraham to bless all nations and exaltation his name (Gen 12).  Since God has in fact tied himself to Israel, the exaltation of his Name through the unity and true worship of the all the nations must logically connect to Israel's own exaltation.  The one who receives the blessing of the coming "seed" in Genesis 9:26-6 is Shem.  Shem's name literally means "Name."[1]  Abraham, as an inheritor of Shem's promise to bring about the reconciliation of the Gentiles (9:26-7), is told that his name will be "great" (12:2) and that the nations will be blessed and reconciled in him (22:18).  This promise directly parallel's God's statement in Isaiah 45 that the exaltation of his Name would coincide with the reconciliation of the nations.  Elsewhere, David is told that his name will be made great: "I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth" (2 Sam 7:4).  This will come about because God will establish the eternal throne of the Messiah.  David states in his prayer in response to the oracle: "this is the instruction of all mankind" (7:19).[2]  He goes on to state that by fulfilling his promise, God's Name will also be exalted among the nations (7:26).  Beyond the fact that these are obviously fulfillments of promises made to Abraham, David is connects back also to the events Genesis in other way.  First, by his crushing of the head of Goliath, who wears serpentine armor (1 Sam 17:5) which echoes the protevangelium.  He is also connected to the earlier narratives of Genesis (as noted in chapter 1) by the fact that he offered himself up as a substitute and built an altar on Mt. Moriah (2 Sam 24), the very place where Abraham offered up Isaac and built an altar (Gen 22).  It should also be noted that this is the place where Abraham received the promise of the blessing of the nations.    

In other words, by way of the exaltation of David's seed and name, God's own Name will be exalted, thereby fulfilling his promises to Adam, Eve, and Abraham about the coming "seed." By this, all humanity will be redeemed and united.  Hence the exaltation of Israel and of God's Name, merge into the single person of the Davidic Messiah.  Paul shows in the Christological hymn of Philippians 2, that it is in fact though Jesus, the Davidic Messiah (Rom 1:3) and the seed of Abraham (Gal 3:16), who by his being exalted (Phil 2:9) and gaining "the name that is above every name" (v.9), that the prophecy of Isaiah 45 will be fulfilled.  God's own self-donation to Israel logically leads to the vindication and exaltation of Israel and God's own Name in a single person.


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