Restoration: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Perspectives

By James M. Scott | Go to book overview

JESUS, THE TWELVE AND THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL

John P. Meier
University of Notre Dame


INTRODUCTION

A question that is often debated today is whether Jesus' ministry of teaching and healing was fundamentally motivated by a conception of Israel's restoration. Although the answer to this question does not depend on the presence or absence of the term “restoration” in sayings attributed to Jesus in the Gospels, nevertheless it is intriguing to note that at least one passage does indeed contain a term which can be so translated. Matt 19:28 uses πaλιγγ&ϵv&ϵσὶa (“renewal, restoration”) to describe the time when the Son of Man would be seated on the throne of his glory and his followers would likewise sit on twelve thrones, judging (or ruling) the twelve tribes of Israel:1

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, in the restoration, when the Son of Man
is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on
twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Similarly, Josephus (Ant. 11.66) uses the term παλιγγɛvɛσὶα with reference to the restoration of Israel to the land in the time of Zerubbabel:2

1 The parallel passage (Lk 22:29–30) does not use the term




In all
likelihood, therefore, the term παλιγγ∈v∈σὶα does not go back to the historical
Jesus. On Matt 19:28 par., see further below. The present chapter is adapted from
J. P. Meier, “The Circle of the Twelve: Did It Exist during Jesus' Public
Ministry?” JBL 116 (1997) 635–72, with modifications by J. M. Scott.

2 Cf. 1 Esdr 4:62–3, which does not use



Nevertheless, as R. Bauckham points out in his contribution to the
present volume, 1 Esdr 5:8 clearly indicates the restoration of all Israel, for the
leaders of the return from the Babylonian exile under Zerubbabel number twelve.

-365-

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