Paul tells us in Galatians 4:1 "I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. "
Paul goes on to describe an allegory of mothers and sons :
Gal 4:22 ' For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written,
"Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.”
Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman. '
Here we see explicit allegory about two mothers :
Paul is apparently saying :
It's an allegory, and nothing to do with history.
Paul describes the Last Supper :
1 Cor. 11:23 : ' For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.'
Paul 'received' (paralambano) this from the Lord - language he uses for mystical revelation e.g. in Gal. 1:11 : " For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel preached by me is not the product of men. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but through a revelation of/about Jesus Christ. "
Paul's version of the Last Supper was received in a vision - it's not evidence for a Historical Jesus.
Also - 'betrayed' is a poor translation of paredidoto (was being handed over?), being elsewhere used to mean simply 'delivered up' e.g. Rom. 8:32.
Paul compares an earthly Adam with a heavenly Christ :
1 Cor. 15:22 : " For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. ...
" So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However that which is spiritual isn't first, but that which is natural, then that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the one made of dust, such are those who are also made of dust; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. As we have borne the image of those made of dust, let's also bear the image of the heavenly. "
Paul describes Jesus Christ (the second Adam) and the resurrection of the dead like this :
In comparison to (the first) Adam who is described like this :
Clearly Adam is an earthly man, but Jesus Christ is a heavenly being.
Some of the early Christians had some odd things to say about the 'blood of the cross' which appear entirely non-historical, such as making peace by the blood of Jesus' cross :
Col. 1:20 "and through him to reconcile all things to himself, by him, whether things on the earth, or things in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of his cross."
The Johanine 1 John (which appears to be written after a vision of Jesus Christ) is at pains to note that Jesus Christ came both by water AND blood :
1 John 5:6 "This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and the blood."
Barnabas wrote after Paul, but before the Gospels became widespread. He describes remission of sin through the sprinkling of Jesus Christ's blood :
Barnabas Ch. 5 "For to this end the Lord endured to deliver up His flesh to corruption, that we might be sanctified through the remission of sins, which is effected by His blood of sprinkling."
Barnabas Ch.12 "In like manner He points to the cross of Christ in another prophet, who saith, "And when shall these things be accomplished? And the Lord saith, When a tree shall be bent down, and again arise, and when blood shall flow out of wood."
According to the Historical Jesus theory about the cross and Jesus Christ - when did Jesus' blood flow out of wood ? (And when did the tree bend down and back up again ?) I note a strange contemporary clue in the1st C. Jewish work 2 Esdras :
2 Esdras 5 "Blood shall drip from wood, and the stone shall utter its voice; the peoples shall be troubled, and the stars shall fall."
Cor. 5:16 "Therefore we know no one after the flesh from now on. Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more."
Ignatius, Phil. Ch. 4 : "Take ye heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to [show forth] the unity of His blood" ... "while I flee to the Gospel as to the flesh of Jesus, and to the apostles as to the presbytery of the Church."
Paul sometimes speaks of the cross in oddly metaphorical ways :
1Cor. 1:17 "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel--not in wisdom of words, so that the cross of Christ wouldn't be made void. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. "
Col. 2 : "You were dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. He made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, wiping out the handwriting in ordinances which was against us; and he has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross; having stripped the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. "
Phil. 3:18 : "For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, as the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who think about earthly things. "
Gal. 5:11 "But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling-block of the cross has been removed."
Gal. 6:12 "As many as desire to look good in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ."
Paul describes Jesus Christ as descended from David according to the flesh.
Rom. 1:3 : "concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,"
This is probably the best Pauline evidence for the Historical Jesus theory. But even so, it is not impossible to see this as a metaphorical reference.
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