1) Ro 11:26-27 Darby
"And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "the Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob [Israel (Ge 32:28)]; for this is My covenant with them [Jews], when I take away their sins.""
What "is written" is a combination of parts from two OT passages, with alterations by Paul in order to fit his agenda (the Jews will convert, even if they didn't so far!):
- Isa 59:20-21a NKJV ""The Redeemer [here, it is God himself!] will come to Zion ["to" = "for the sake of" in the LXX], and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob," Says the LORD."As for Me," says the LORD, "this is My covenant with them: ...""
- Isa 27:9a NKJV "Therefore by this the iniquity of Jacob will be covered; and this is all the fruit of taking away his sin: ..."
For Paul, the "Deliverer" (Savior) of the Jews is undoubtedly Christ, by his death for atonement of sins. This is corroborated by:
- Ro 3:9 NKJV "... we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin ..."
- Gal 4:4-5a YLT "God sent forth His Son, come of a woman, come under law, that those under law [that would include Jews!] he may redeem, ..."
- Gal 1:3b-4a NKJV "... Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us ..."
- Ro 5:8b Darby "... we being still sinners, Christ has died for us."
And Paul kept "Zion" despite his rewriting. But why did he substitute"to/for the sake of" by "out of"?
Likely for not suggesting Jesus came for "delivering" only the Jews of Israel. Instead Paul implied:
- Jesus becomes the "Deliverer" when performing his redeeming act "out of" Zion,
- The "Deliverer" (Jesus) is "out of" (from) Zion.
I'll comment later on "Zion", which is mainly a geographical location in the Old Testament (in a few other cases, the assembly of Jews living in Zion).
Note: Carrier did not address Ro 11:26-27 in OHJ.
2) Ro 9:31-33:
"But Israel, pursuing after a law of righteousness, has not attained to [that] law. Wherefore? Because [it was] not on the principle of faith, but as of works. They have stumbled at the stumblingstone, according as it is written, Behold, I [God] place in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence ['skandalon']: and he that believes [has faith] on him [Jesus. See 10:11 below where Paul used the same quote, eleven verses later] shall not be ashamed ['ὁ πιστεύων ἐπ’ αὐτῷ οὐ καταισχυνθήσεται']."
Ro 10:9-11 "that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from among the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart is believed to righteousness; and with the mouth confession made to salvation. For the scripture says, he that believes on him [definitively Jesus here] shall not be ashamed ['ὁ πιστεύων ἐπ’ αὐτῷ οὐ καταισχυνθήσεται']."
a) What "is written" is parts of Isa 8:14 & Isa 28:16, with significant rewriting by Paul in order to fit his purpose:
- Isa 8:14 NKJV "He [the Lord God] will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense [NOT translated as 'skandalon' in the LXX!] to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem."
- Isa 28:16 NKJV "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I lay in Zion [Jerusalem] a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily.""
For Paul, the "rock of offence" for the Jews is "Christ crucified" or his cross ("For Christ is [the] end of law for righteousness to every one that believes." Ro 10:4 Darby)
by his sacrifice on the cross ("... for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain." Gal 2:21 NKJV)
whom the Jews are still refusing ("For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, have not submitted to the righteousness of God [brought about by Christ!]." Ro 10:3 Darby).
And why would "offen(s)ce" mean "Christ crucified" or his cross?
Because, according to Paul:
- 1 Cor 1:23 YLT "... Christ crucified, to Jews, indeed, a stumbling-block ['skandalon' (also translated as "offenc(s)e")] ..."
- Gal 5:11 NKJV "... the offense ['skandalon'] of the cross ..."
- Generally Ro 10-11 (about Jews not acknowledging Christ), as in the next quote:
Ro 11:9-10 NASB "And David says: "Let their table [Israel's] become a snare and a trap, and a stumbling block ['skandalon'] and a retribution to them. Let their eyes be darkened to see not, ..."" (quoted from Ps 69:22-23)
Finally, about the Law (with the associated righteousness) being replaced by one of faith in Christ & God:
- Php 3:9 NKJV "... not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;"
And despite all the deletions and changes, Paul kept "in Zion" as the location of the 'skandalon'/crucifixion.
Note: how does Carrier in "On The History Of Jesus" (OHJ) counteract that damning piece of evidence?
Here it is, from page 572:
"Paul likewise says God put 'in Zion a stone of stumbling' although anyone who trusts in it will not be ashamed (Rom. 9.33); but he is quoting scripture here (not citing a historical fact), and the context is the Torah and the gospel (Rom. 9.30-32), not Jesus. Thus Paul does not mean Jesus was crucified 'in Zion' as some sort of geographical fact. Even if Paul believed he had been (as could be the case on minimal historicity), that is not what Paul is talking about here. The subject is not Jesus at all, but the old Torah law that Jews were still trying to obey, yet could never succeed at (Rom. 9.30-10.6). They are thus stumbling over the gospel's concept that faith succeeds where works fail (9.32), as God intended (9.33); but it was still Paul's hope that the Jews would be saved (Rom. 10.1)." It is thus the gospel that originated 'in Zion'. And even that is not geography but ethnography: he simply means it originated within Judaism."
Paul's gospel is never considered a 'skandalon' anywhere else in his epistles (or just shameful), but the crucifixion of Jesus is, for Jews (and others), as I have shown.
And in 'Hebrews' (12:2), we have "... Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame ..."
Also, it would be absurd for Paul to suggest his gospel originated in Zion (= within Judaism according to Carrier!), when Paul claimed his gospel came by revelation from Jesus Christ (Gal 1:12).
Appendix: 'Zion' in the OT
All over the OT, 'Zion' is referred many times, as indicating an earthly place, either the heartland of the Jews or the holy city itself. Here are some examples (all quotes from the NKJV):
2 Sa 5:7 "Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David)."
1 Ki 8:1 "Now Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel, to King Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the City of David, which is Zion."
Ps 2:6 "Yet I [David] have set My King on My holy hill of Zion."
Ps 48:1-13 "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion ..., the city of the great King. God is in her palaces; He is known as her refuge. ...
We have thought, O God, on Your loving kindness, in the midst of Your temple. ...
Walk about Zion, and go all around her. Count her towers; mark well her bulwarks; consider her palaces; that you may tell it to the generation following."
Isa 1:7-8 "Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
So the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, as a hut in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city." (in 701 BCE, the Assyrian army devastated Judah, including its cities, except for Jerusalem which was saved. Same situation for the next quote)
Isa 4:3 "Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem."
Isa 10:24 "Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: "O My people, who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian. ..."
Isa 33:20 "Look on Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken."
Isa 64:10-11 "Your holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.
Our holy and beautiful temple, where our fathers praised You, is burned up with fire;
And all our pleasant things are laid waste." (in the second part of 'Isaiah', the Babylonian army had destroyed Jerusalem. Same situation for the next quote)
Jer 26:18 "Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts "Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, ..."'"
a) In the OT (and more recent Jewish texts (2nd cent. BCE to 2nd cent. CE), such as 'Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach', '2 Esdras', DSS 'The prayer for king Jonathan'), 'Z(S)ion' is never identified as a (mythical) heavenly place. The same goes for its seven occurrences in the NT (Mt 21:5; Jn 12:15; Ro 9:13, 11:26; Heb 12:22; Pe 4:6 & Rev 14:1) but not, at times, for 'Jerusalem' (Gal 4:26 "the Jerusalem that is above"; Heb 12:22 "the heavenly Jerusalem"; Rev 21:2 "the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven").
And other Christian writings from antiquity never specify that '(mount) Z(S)ion' was mythical/heavenly, up to Eusebius (early 4th century). In his 'History of the Church' (X, 4), he wrote: "But the region above the heavens, with the models of earthly things which are there, and the so-called Jerusalem above, and the heavenly Mount of Zion, and the supramundane city of the living God ..."
b) 'Mount Z(S)ion' in Heb 12:22 & Rev 14:1 is often interpreted as being heavenly (but never claimed as such before Eusebius). But regarding just 'Z(S)ion', as in Ro 9:31-33 & Ro 11:26-27, it was Augustine (354-430) who started to suggest 'Sion' was heavenly by having it stand for the city of God (& the Church) and the (eternal) Jerusalem:
Exposition on Psalm 99,4 "Ask thou now, what is Sion? We know Sion to be the city of God. The city of Jerusalem is called Sion; ... But, now that it is clear that Sion is the city of God; what is the city of God, but the Holy Church?"
Exposition on Psalm 126,2 "What is Sion? Jerusalem, the same is also the eternal Sion."
Furthermore, the "Zion" of Ro 9:31-33 & Ro 11:26-27, as the place for the crucifixion/Sacrifice cannot be imagined in God's heaven (because death cannot occur there, according to Doherty and Christian, Jewish & Gentile beliefs then).