In ancient Israel a single person could be the representative of God or of the people. Thus, the Hebrew prophet spoke for God to all the people. The high priest spoke for all the people to God. And the king spoke for particular people to all the people. This concept has since become known as the “corporate personality” in ancient Israel.2
Jesus Christ as the Corporate Person
The Israelite belief in a corporate person was fully and finally realized in and as Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was simultaneously Prophet, Priest and King. And he was much more than these. Jesus was not only fully human; he also was “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).
As both fully God and fully man, Jesus constituted the biblical covenant. In his incarnation, life, ministry and death, he corporately represented the old covenant of command, possession and power. At his death on Calvary’s cross, he took the old covenant to the grave. At his resurrection he inaugurated the new covenant of God’s self-emptying love to all mankind and all Creation.
Jesus Christ as Yom Kippur
Thus, by his resurrection Jesus Christ corporately reconciled all mankind to God and God to all mankind. His resurrection marked the Day of Atonement (at-one-ment). In ancient Israel the Day of Atonement was known as Yom Kippur. For Israel, Yom Kippur was a time of great rejoicing. It was the ultimate Day of Judgment. It was the ultimate day of rest — Shabbat (Sabbath). It was the ultimate day of forgiveness. Furthermore, Yom Kippur signified the new Creation — of humanity, of life, and of the universe.3
Jesus Christ as the Final Revelation
Soon the Risen One will reveal himself to all humanity in his Second Coming or Parousia (“enthronement”) and with the resurrection of the dead. Then, through his gracious gifts, Jesus Christ will be received and understood by humanity. He then will be the full and final Revelation.4
As we near the Parousia, by God’s grace we can be his witnesses. We can willingly receive and understand him. We can accept his gifts and share them with all others for eternity. Thus, though the world remains in turmoil, it is time to rejoice!
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee . . . — Zechariah 9:9.
- Zechariah 9:9. (go back)
- See H. Wheeler Robinson, Corporate Personality in Ancient Israel (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1981). (go back)
- See Jacques B. Doukhan, Secrets of Daniel: Wisdom and Dreams of a Jewish Prince in Exile (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2000). (go back)
- See Dan O. Via, The Revelation of God and/as Human Reception in the New Testament (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1997). (go back)
Last Revised September 2011