Thursday, April 17, 2008

Peter's Reference in Acts to Jesus as the Davidic Warrior-King

This caught my eye the other day: In replacing Judas, Luke records Peter in Acts 1 as saying this, "Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us -- beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us -- one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection” (vv. 21-22).

Of interest is Peter’s phrase about the period that “Jesus went in and out among us.”

The phrase, “went in and out among us” might be suggestive of the OT term of art that refers to the OT warrior-leaders leading military campaigns against the enemy.

For example, from 1 Sam 18:

“Therefore Saul removed [David] from his presence and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. David was prospering in all his ways for the LORD was with him. When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them” (vv. 13-16, emphasis added).

And this from Numbers 27:

“Then Moses spoke to the LORD, saying, ’May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, who will go out and come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the LORD will not be like sheep which have no shepherd’" (vv. 17-18, emphasis added).

2 Samuel 5:

“Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, ‘Behold, we are your bone and your flesh. Previously, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and in and the LORD said to you, “You will shepherd My people Israel, and you will be a ruler over Israel.”’ So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them before the LORD at Hebron; then they anointed David king over Israel” (vv. 1-3, emphasis added).

2 Chronicles 1:

“Solomon said to God, ‘You have dealt with my father David with great lovingkindness, and have made me king in his place. Now, O LORD God, Your promise to my father David is fulfilled, for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?’" (vv. 8-10, emphasis added).

So, first, I wonder whether Peter is echoing the OT language of “going out and coming in,” reflecting Jesus' earthly ministry as one akin to the OT warrior leaders, and, particularly, of the Davidic-warrior king.

But it’s not just the phrase itself, it’s the explanation that Peter provides in Acts: The period in which Jesus “went in and out among us” is precisely the period of Jesus’ baptism through his ascension – the period of his ministry on earth, beginning with the beginning of his warfare with Satan (recall the desert temptations immediately followed Jesus’ baptism) through his ascension – when the victorious Lord ascends to his throne.

So Peter seems to identify the period in which Jesus "went in and out among us" as precisely the period of Jesus warfare against Satan, from beginning to end.

I don’t know that I’d absolutely insist on it, but Peter’s language does seem suggestive.


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