The Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ Implied in the Image of the Paschal Lamb in 1 Cor 5:7

An Intertextual, Exegetical and Theological Study

by Jacob Paxy Alumkal (Author)
©2015 Thesis 414 Pages


St. Paul uses the image of Paschal Lamb only once. What is the real meaning of this symbol in his theology? It symbolises the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ but with a different emphasis. What does he emphasize?
The aim of this study is to show the exegetical meaning of 1 Cor 5:7 in order to have an overt theological emphasis of the imagery used in this particular context. The linguistic analysis from a historical critical method is used here to arrive at its theological significance. The study propounds the meaning, reality and the significance of the Hebrew original Paschal celebration and its commemoration from Semetical, Hellenistical and Greco-Roman culture and as understood in the OT Scriptures of various periods. The result is quite different from the hitherto theological understanding of the symbol and its significance. Paul is the first NT theologian to use this symbol and others have followed him with varying degrees of understanding of this symbol. A comparative study on this is made in this book. It shows to what extent it is relevant for Christians in postmodern Europe and India.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Acknowledgement
  • Contents
  • Abbreviations
  • General Introduction
  • First Experience with the Passover
  • Interest in Paul
  • Beginning of the Research
  • Studies on the Subject and its general Trend
  • Methodology and Content of the Study
  • Uniqueness of our Study
  • Chapter 1. Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Teachings of Paul
  • Introduction
  • 1.1 Centrality of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ in Paul
  • 1.2 Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ – A brief Exegetical and Theological Analysis of the Direct References
  • 1.2.1 Role of God in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
  • Pauline Texts in Greek and in English
  • Brief Exegetical and Theological Analysis of the Texts of each Letter
  • Letter to the Thessalonians
  • Letter to the Galatian Churches
  • Letters to the Corinthians
  • Letter to the Romans
  • 1.2.2 The Purpose of God in the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ
  • The Text in Greek and English
  • Brief Exegetical and Theological Analysis of Texts of Letters
  • First Thessalonians
  • Galatians
  • Letter to the Romans
  • 1.2.3 Christological Nuances of the Death and Resurrection
  • The Text in Greek and English
  • Brief Exegetical and Theological Analysis
  • First Thessalonians
  • Galatians
  • First and Second Letters to the Corinthians
  • Letter to Philippians
  • Letter to the Romans
  • 1.2.4 Soteriological Nuances of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ
  • Texts in Greek and English
  • Exegetical and Theological Analysis
  • Thessalonians
  • Galatians
  • First and Second Letters to the Corinthians
  • Letter to the Romans
  • 1.2.5 Paschal Lamb Symbolism of Paul referring to the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ
  • Text in Greek and English
  • Bird’s Eye View into Theological Nuance of the Text
  • Paschal Lamb – Product of Exodus-Christology of the First Christian Community
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 2. Pauline Background of the Image of the Paschal Lamb and the Lamb motive in the OT
  • Introduction
  • 2.1 The Symbol of Lamb and Sacrifices in the Ancient near Eastern Religions
  • 2.1.1 The Symbol of Lamb and Lamb Sacrifices in the ANE
  • 2.1.2 Concept of Sacrifice in ANE
  • Blood Sacrifices in the ANE
  • 2.1.3 Blood and its Significance in Ancient Near East and the Hebrew Terminological Analysis
  • 2.2 Lamb, Sacrifice, Bloodrite in Ancient Israel
  • 2.2.1 Hebrew Terminological Analysis
  • Lamb
  • Lamb Represents and Replaces (Substitutes) Human Being
  • Paschal Lamb
  • Kill or Sacrifice?
  • Blood in Pentateuch
  • Passover
  • 2.2.2 Passover, its Celebration, Paschal Lamb, Sacrifice, Blood, etc in Judaism
  • Passover in Israel and Judaism
  • Place of Passover in Israel and in Judaism
  • Passover in the Cult of Israel and Judaism
  • Paschal Lamb and Blood Rite in Ancient Israel and in Judaism
  • 2.2.3 Significance of Blood Rite in Israel
  • Passover and Blood Rite in Mishnah, Talmud, Josephus, Philo, Qumran, Jubilees
  • Passover in Mishnah General
  • Blood Rite in Josephus and Philo
  • Qumran Sources
  • The Book of Jubilee
  • 2.3 Hellenism and Paschal Lamb
  • 2.3.1 The Concept of Lamb, Sacrifice, Blood Rite, Passover Feast etc. in Hellenism
  • Hellenistic Concept of Sacrifice
  • Passover in Hellenism
  • Blood and Blood Rites in Hellenistic Period
  • Blood Rite in Covenantal Ceremony
  • Sacrificial Animals
  • 2.3.2 Concepts of Lamb, Sacrifice or Kill, Blood and Passover in the Septuagint
  • Concept of Lamb
  • Concept of Sacrifice or Kill in the Lxx
  • Concept of Blood
  • Concept of Passover
  • 2.4 Exegetical and Theological Analysis of Exod 12 1–13; 14–20; 21–23 and 27
  • 2.4.1 Blood Rite of Passover
  • 2.4.2 Further Functions of Paschal Blood Rite in Brief (Exod 12:14–20, 21–23, 27)
  • 2.4.3 Unleavened Bread – Theological Significance
  • 2.5 Analysis of the Concept of Lamb and Blood Rite on the Day of Atonement
  • 2.5.1 Blood Rite in Lev 4 and 5
  • 2.5.2 Blood Rite – for Purgation – on the Day of Atonement
  • 2.5.3 Enlightenment of Lev 16 on Exod 12.
  • 2.6 Prophetical Influences behind Pauline Paschal Lamb Symbol for the Christ Event in 1 Cor 5:7
  • 2.6.1 Isa 52:13–53:12
  • Exegetical Meaning and Function of the Lamb Symbolism
  • The Message of the Suffering Servant of the Lord in Isa. 52:13–53:12
  • 2.6.2 Prophet Jeremiah 11:19
  • Exegetical and Theological Analysis of the Passage
  • Rabbinical Understanding of the Sufferings (Lamb Symbolism) of Jeremiah
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 3. 1 Cor 5:6–8 An Exegetical and Theological Analysis with an Emphasis on the Paschal Lamb Significance
  • 3.1 Background Study
  • 3.1.1 General Background of the Letter and the Text
  • Place and People
  • Religion and Cults in Corinth
  • Corinthian Church
  • Corinthian Church and Paul
  • Situation at the Church of Corinth and the Occasion of Writing the Letter
  • 3.2 Structure and Genre of the Letter
  • 3.2.1 Letter
  • 3.2.2 Structure and Genre of the Letter
  • Place of Chapter 5 in 1 Corinthians
  • Position of 5:7 in the Letter
  • Structural Pattern of 5:1–13 ABA and its Significance
  • Structural Analysis of 5: 7–8 (Concentric Structure)
  • Text in Greek
  • Our English Translation
  • Relevance of the ABA Method or Concentric Method
  • 3.3 Immediate Background of 1 Cor 5 – A Brief Exegetical Analysis
  • 3.3.1 Textual Witnesses: Case of Porneia -5:1–2
  • 3.4 Exegetical Analysis
  • 3.4.1 Exegetical Methodology
  • 3.4.2 Exegesis of Verses
  • First Cor 5:6
  • First Cor 5:7
  • First Cor 5:8
  • 3.5 Theological Reflections Of 1 Cor 5:6–8
  • 3.5.1 The Immediate Theological Background of Chapter 5
  • 3.5.2 Concept of God
  • 3.5.3 Christological (Concepts) Insights from 1 Cor 5:6–8
  • General Christological Nuances of 1 Corinthians
  • Christology of 1 Cor 5
  • 3.5.4 Soteriological Insights of 1 Cor 5:6–8
  • Passover Symbol and Salvation in Israel
  • Pauline Concept of Salvation Envisaged in the Symbol of Passover
  • 3.5.5 Eschatology
  • Jewish Apocalyptic Eschatology
  • Paul’s Eschatology
  • Our Assumptions
  • 3.5.6 Ecclesiological Nuances
  • Passover and Christo-Centricity of the Ecclesia in First Cor 5:6–8
  • Our Assumptions
  • 3.5.7 Pauline Ethical Thinking
  • General Notion of Ethics in 1 Corithians
  • Ethics or Moral Principles Envisaged in 1 Cor 5:6–8
  • Concept of Holiness in 1 Cor 5:6–8 and Teachings of Leviticus and Deuteronomy
  • Special Emphasis on Sincerity and Truth
  • Underlying Primacy of Holiness in 1 Cor 5:8 and Gal 5:19–25
  • Our Assumptions
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 4. Post Pauline Concept of the Lamb in the NT with Similar Theological Nuances
  • Introduction
  • 4.1 Jesus Christ as “The Lamb of God” in the Gospel of John
  • Introduction
  • 4.1.1 Exegetical Analysis of Lamb of God (Sitz im Leben) The Text in Greek
  • 4.1.2 Word Analysis
  • 4.1.3 Structural Analysis
  • The Structure Of Verse 29
  • Structural Analysis of the Pericope Jn 1:29–34
  • 4.1.4 Theological Analysis
  • Introduction
  • Theological Investigation
  • God as the God of Passover
  • Christological Analysis
  • Christo-Centric Soteriology
  • Ecclesiological Analysis
  • Concept of Holiness
  • Ethical Connotations
  • 4.1.5 A Brief Exegetical and Theological Cross Study of Jn 1.29 with Jn (18: 39); 19:14, 17, 36–37
  • The Text in Greek and its Translation
  • Exegetical and Theological Analysis
  • Conclusion
  • 4.2 Lamb in the Book of ‘Revelation 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 19, 21 and 22’
  • 4.2.1 Exegetical Analysis of avrni,on
  • 4.2.2 Theological Analysis
  • God the Sovereign and Centre of Revelation
  • Christological Insights on the Symbol of Apocalyptical Lamb
  • Christological Implication of the Picture of Lamb
  • Functions of Lamb
  • Universality of Salvation – Ecclesiology and Lamb in Apocalypse
  • Divinisation of the Lamb
  • Spirituality of the Slain Lamb but Standing Symbolism
  • The Eschatological Aspects of God and the Lamb
  • 4.2.3 Comparison of John and Paul
  • 4.3 Lamb Motive in the Letter of Peter
  • 4.3.1 The Text in Greek and new Revised Standard Version
  • 4.3.2 Exegetical Analysis of 1 Peter 1:18–19
  • Structure of the Letter
  • Exegetical Analysis of Selected Words
  • 4.3.3 Theological Analysis
  • The Vision of God in 1 Pet 1:18–19
  • Christological Nuances Implied in the Symbol of Lamb and its Blood
  • Soteriological Insights of 1 Pet 18–19
  • Ecclesiology
  • Concept of Holiness and Ethics
  • Comparative Study of 1 Pet 1:18–19 with 1 Cor 5:6–8
  • 4.4 Lamb Symbolism and its Christological Nuances in Acts 8:32
  • 4.4.1 The Text in Greek and English
  • 4.4.2 Christological Analysis of Acts 8:32
  • 4.4.3 Comparative Study with Pauline Passover in 1 Cor 5:7
  • 4.5 Comparison of John and Paul
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 5. The Impact of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ on Humanity implied in the Lamb motive in the genuinely Pauline Letters
  • 5.1 Gathering the Fruits of our Exegetical and Theological Investigations
  • 5.1.1 The Theological Impacts of Easter Event on the Humanity
  • 5.1.2 Resurrection
  • 5.1.3 Justification
  • 5.1.4 Salvation
  • 5.1.5 Reconciliation
  • 5.1.6 Expiation
  • 5.1.7 Redemption
  • 5.1.8 Freedom
  • 5.1.9 Sanctification
  • 5.1.10 Transformation
  • 5.1.11 New Creation
  • 5.1.12 Glorification
  • 5.1.13 Indwelling of the Jesus Christ and his Spirit
  • Conclusion
  • 5.2 Passover in the General Context of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ
  • 5.2.1 Exegetico-Theological Translation of ga.r to. pa,sca h`mw/n evtu,qh cristo,j
  • 5.2.2 First Cor 5:7 – A Passover Theology
  • 5.2.3 Pauline Passover Theology
  • Theology
  • Blood Rite and it’s Significance in Paul
  • Christ in Pauline Passover Theology
  • Passover Soteriology
  • Ecclessiology of Passover
  • Eschatology of Passover
  • Passover Ethics
  • Conclusion
  • 5.3 Necessity of Salvation
  • 5.3.1 Humanity in Need of Salvation Before Christ
  • Concept of Sin According to Paul
  • Effects of Sin on Humanity According to Paul
  • 5.3.2 God’s Response to This Human Quandary
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 6. Jesus Christ our Passover – Hope of New Life for the Post modern Europe and India
  • Introduction
  • 6.1 Post-Modernity a Glimpse
  • 6.2 Difference Between the East and the West
  • 6.3 Context of our Text
  • 6.3.1 Passover Answer to the Problem of Sexual Immorality?
  • 6.3.2 Postmodern Christians of West and East and Pauline Passover Symbolism
  • Western Church Some Current Aspects
  • Change of Nucleus – God the Value of the Postmodern World
  • Rediscovering the Identity of Christian
  • Response – New Life Calls for a New Way of Life
  • 6.3.3 Spirituality
  • God as one’s Loving Father
  • Christo-Centric Spirituality
  • Being with and for the Other
  • 6.4 Life Beyond
  • General Conclusion
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Primary Sources
  • 1.1 Biblical Sources
  • 1.2 Non-Biblical Sources
  • 1.3 Other Classical Resources
  • Dictionary, Lexikon and Encyclopaedia
  • Commentaries
  • Other Monographs and Articles


We generally follow the abbreviations of the JBL Hand Book of Style, For Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical and Early Christian Studies, edited by Alexander Patrich H., John F. Kutsko, James D. Earnest, Shirley A. Decker-Lucke and for the Society of Biblical Literature, David L. Peterson, Peabody, Hendrickson, 1999. ← 17 | 18 →

← 18 | 19 →

General Introduction

First Experience with the Passover

The most vivid picture of the Paschal Lamb in my mind is the Paschal Lamb made by my father when I was an eight year old boy. My father was also a professional decorator and once for the Holy Thursday liturgical celebrations he decorated the altar and the stage where the Holy Eucharist would be celebrated, with a Paschal Lamb. Since my parish church could not accommodate all the believers of the parish (around five thousand people) we used to have liturgical celebrations on the Holy Week in an open churchyard. My father made a Paschal Lamb out of thermocol. Its throat was cut and blood was flowing down directly over the tabernacle. This is the first vivid picture of the Paschal Lamb in my life. And my father explained to me that Passover Celebration is the greatest feast of the OT1 which indicates the total liberation of the Israelite from the bondage of Egypt. And in the NT Jesus Christ is our new Paschal Lamb. Of course I did not understand any more than these statements. And every year during the Holy Week my father used to read from the OT books of Exodus and Leviticus and from the NT the Gospel according to John. And this remains vibrantly in my memory even now.

Interest in Paul

As a discalced Carmelite I was really impressed by the teachings of our Holy Father John of the Cross. During the novitiate I read all the works of St. John of the Cross. I found that the teachings of St. John of the Cross were very much influenced by St. Paul. When I started my theological course in 1996, Fr. Jacob Palliparambil OCD explained in the class the personality of Paul and his unique theological contributions. I was really fascinated by the personality and thinking of Paul. Therefore, for my BTh thesis I took Pauline letters to ← 19 | 20 → study. My topic was the concept of New Man according to St. Paul, lived and actualized by St. John of the Cross. When I was doing my MTh Studies at St. Peter’s Seminary Bangalore, I told my moderator Fr. Lucian Legrand about my interest to write a thesis on Pauline teaching and took Gal. 3:26–28, for an exegetical and theological study. I was thinking that if I study the letters of the Galatians I can better understand the letters to Romans.

Beginning of the Research

My study on Paul and his teachings during my Bachelor and Master degree has considerably increased my interest in him. I cannot but continue my studies on Paul. So when I was asked to do doctoral studies, I decided to do my further studies on Paul. Dr. Jacob Palliparambil, Dr. Augustine Mulloor and Fr. George Ollatupuram SSL, the scriptures scholars from my province have supported my decision to continue my research on Paul. Thus I came to Switzerland and revealed my desire to Prof. Walter Kirchschläger. He agreed upon my decision and helped me to find a suitable subject to do the research on. He was kind enough to go through my MTh thesis to get to know my way of thinking. We discussed some of the possible themes and finally Prof. W. Kirchschläger suggested me to study the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ symbolised in the Paschal Lamb. In fact I did not see much scope at the first reading, but Prof. Kirchschläger was so confident and encouraged me to proceed and gave me the necessary direction to start my research on it.

Studies on the Subject and its general Trend

There are not many studies on this topic. There is only one particular study on this subject. It is an exegetical study made on this topic by D.O. Wenthe.2 ← 20 | 21 → There is also a general study on the Passover theme in the 1 Corinthians by J.K. Howard.3 The remaining studies are part of the commentary on the passage. There is one more study by H. Sahlin who sees salvation as new Exodus4. H. Conzelmann mentions the possibility that the death of Jesus Christ could be explained in the Jewish Cultic categories as expiatory sacrifice, covenant sacrifice and Passover Sacrifice in so far as they represent the character of reconciliation as an act.5 Most of the commentators take for granted that in this particular pericope, Paul is speaking of the cultic Passover sacrifice. And the sacrificial theology could be applied to it.

Methodology and Content of the Study

We are basically following the historical critical method in our biblical analysis. We try to combine the historical critical method to the canonical method. In this work we always follow the method of analysing the text or concepts exegetically and draw from it the theological nuances. This work is an exegetical and theological study on 1 Cor. 5:6–8. In our analysis our main concentration is on the Paschal lamb symbolism for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our study consists mainly of five chapters and an additional sixth chapter dealing with the spiritual side of the exegetical and theological analysis for the postmodern Christian churches of the East and West. As a prelude to our study we made a survey of the mentioning of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by Paul in the undisputed Pauline Corpus. In the light of this survey we study the centrality of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the theological nuances connected with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The background study is inevitable to situate the theological context of the text. Since we are concentrating on the Paschal lamb we study the lamb motive and the blood rite in the Ancient Near East and in the OT in the second chapter. Paul takes ← 21 | 22 → the Passover symbolism directly from the OT. The Passover lamb and the blood rite at the so called first Passover in Egypt and its annual celebration by the later generations are totally different. The first Passover was unique and its effects were unique too. Then in the third chapter we study the exegetical and theological meaning of the Passover in the first letter to the Corinthians in general context and in the particular context of 1 Cor. 5. In our study of the exegetical and theological meaning of 1 Cor. 5:6–8, we arrived at the firm conviction that Paul is referring to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Passover, keeping in mind the first Passover and not the annual cultic Passover celebrations of the Jews. This brings a drastic change in the theology connected with the Passover. Consequently we translate that the Paschal lamb was killed and not sacrificed. And the theology connected with this Passover symbolism is not a sacrificial theology but a unique Passover theology for Paul. And this is quite meaningful from the historical context of the 1 Cor. 5.

In the fourth chapter we study the Lamb motive in the post-Pauline NT writings in order to see the Paschal lamb motive in the NT. Jesus as the Lamb of God was a pre-Pauline Christological concept but the interpretation of it varies according to the theological view attached to it by the various NT authors. In the fifth chapter we examine the theological impact of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and in particularly the theological impact of the Passover lamb motive on humanity. Here we bring out the unique findings of our exegetical and theological study of 1 Cor. 5:6–8. This chapter is the result of the exegetical and theological analysis of the previous chapters. And the sixth chapter as I said already is a short spiritual reflection on our study. It is only an attempt how the Passover theology can better influence postmodern Europe and India. It is not conclusive but open for further reflections.

Uniqueness of our Study

When Paul spoke of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the symbol of the paschal lamb, Paul was trying to explain the salvific effects of the paschal mystery in the light of the First Passover Lamb. In the history of Israel there was only one unique Passover by which the Israelites ← 22 | 23 → were saved and liberated from the slavery of Egypt by God. God is the author of the salvation in Jesus Christ too. The term Passover has very deep theological meanings which were lost in the Judeo-Christian context due to the over-emphasis of the meaning on the “passing over” or “limping over” or “jumping over”. But etymologically and theologically the first meaning of the root term is “to have compassion” and secondly “to protect”. We go to these root meanings in order to find the essence of the theological meaning of the Passover event. The yearly Passover celebration does not bring out a decisive salvific event. It is only a reliving of the past experience of salvation by God. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and its salvific effects cannot be adequately explained theologically by the yearly cultic Passover celebration theology. It is unrepeatable like the first Passover. And from the overall exodus context of the first letter to the Corinthians it is clear once again that Paul is comparing or presenting Jesus Christ as the eschatological Passover lamb after the model of the first Passover Lamb. And therefore the death of Jesus Christ is to be explained not as a sacrifice but a killing. The first Passover was not a sacrifice in strict sense. The sacrificial theology and the expiatory sense of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are limited. The Passover symbolism presents a much deeper and holistic theology connected with it. And we have enough grounds to believe that Paul is speaking of a Passover theology rather than a sacrificial theology. Theological explanation of this passage from the view of sacrificial theology is possible. But when we conclude from various exegetical possibilities the most probable explanation would be that the Passover symbolism of Paul in 1 Cor. 5:7 must be explained in the light of the unique theology of the Passover. Since Paul wanted to make the Corinthians aware of the indicative reality of their Christian existence in Baptism, he brings the OT symbol of Passover by which the Israelites became God’s own people. The baptism theology of Paul too supports our view. And with regard to the Passover theology either in the OT or in the NT we have not come across with a single monograph. Therefore we have come to our own theological propositions of the Passover symbolism. We have tried to explain the theology, Christology, soteriology, ecclesiology, eschatology and the ethical nuances of 1 Cor. 5:6–8 in the light of the Pauline Passover theology. And this is the unique contribution of our study. Passover theology has a wider scope than the sacrificial theology. Each sacrifice has a specific function and it belongs to the cultic celebration. Passover theology also could include the sacrificial aspect of the cult yet ← 23 | 24 → goes beyond the sacrificial theology. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has many theological nuances of which the expiatory aspect of sacrificial theology is just one element. And Pauline Christology could be explained other than expiatory perspective. After this study I find that there is a wide scope of exploring the Passover theology in Pauline letters and to explain the Christo-centric -soteriology in the light of this view. Also there is an extensive possibility of theological exploration so called “First Passover” of the OT and its impact on salvation history of the OT. ← 24 | 25 →


  1  OT = Old Testament; NT = New Testament.

  2  D.O. Wenthe, “An Exegetical Study of 1 Corinthians 5:7b”, Springfielder, (1974) Vol. 38, No. 2, 134–140.

  3  J.K., Howard, “Christ our Passover: A Study of the Passover-Exodus Theme in I Corinthians”, Ev Q, XLI. 2, (1969) 97–108.

  4  H. Sahlin, “The New Exodus of Salvation according to St. Paul”, A. Fridrichsen, The Root of the Vine, London, Dacre, 1953.

  5  H. Conzelmann, 1 Corinthians, G. W. MacRae (ed.), Hermeneia, Philadelphia, Fortress, 1984, 99.

Chapter 1
Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Teachings of Paul


With regard to the centrality of Pauline theology there are differences of opinions6. But in this study we hold that the content or core of the Gospel7 that Paul preached is the eschatological work of God in Christ and its benefits especially to the Gentiles8. The “eschatological work of God in Christ” refers to the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1–4)9. This chapter attempts to focus on the theological nuances of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, especially from the undisputed letters of Paul10. Although there are different perspectives and possibilities available to study the concept of the death and resurrection and also our aim is to study the exegetical and theological meaning of the Passover symbolism of Paul, we concentrate on the definitive role played by God the Father and Jesus Christ in the event of the death and resurrection and its salvific effects on humanity. ← 25 | 26 →

1.1 Centrality of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ in Paul

The First Theologian of the New Testament who put in black and white the content of Christian faith is undoubtedly St. Paul11. Although he did not encounter Jesus during the time of his earthly ministry, (Gal. 1:11–17), he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ12. According to J.D.G. Dunn, by “Gospel of Jesus Christ” Paul means the death of Jesus Christ13. J.B. Green rightly says that the death of Christ often mentioned on a par with resurrection, occupies the central position in Paul’s representation of the Gospel14. Nevertheless Pauline letters are also imbued with the teachings and concerns of the Historical Jesus15. But his immediate concern was the core of the Christian faith which is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and its salvific effects on humanity. The resurrection of Jesus Christ ← 26 | 27 → stands as the central motif in Paul’s eschatology in so far as it inaugurates the age to come and provides the basis for the future hope16. Paul himself insistently bears witness to the primacy of Christ’s death and resurrection (1 Cor. 15: 2–4). Since Martin Luther the theology of the Cross17 has central point in God’s self revelation and Paul is rightly called the quintessential theologian of the Cross18. This was the part of primitive kerygma found in almost all his letters19. In other words Pauline theological focus is Christological, more precisely the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ20. Paul does not explicitly explain the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from a historical perspective. He simply takes these for granted. He does not attempt also to prove the historicity of the resurrection21. Of course the Act of the Apostles dramatises the encounter of the Risen Lord with Paul. In Gal. 1:16 Paul speaks of the inner revelation that he had from God through which he encountered the risen Son of God. He writes further that he did ← 27 | 28 → not consult any human being for the verification of his Gospel truths rather began his preaching ministry all on a sudden and continued it for three years (Gal. 1:16–17). The inner revelation of the risen Son by God served as the basis of Pauline Christian Faith. On this foundation Paul builds up the theological concepts of God, His Salvific action, Justification by faith, Ethical conducts of the society, Ecclesial communities, Role of the Holy Spirit in the human history and the like. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is significant to Paul because of its redemptive and salvific value. The pre-Pauline apostolic tradition lays such grave importance to it and thus the oral tradition of the suffering death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was prominent. It is Paul who developed this theme in various theological perspectives22. He made it clear that if Christ has not been raised from the dead then there is no foundation for the Christian Faith (1 Cor. 15: 1–19). What he preached and gave witness to is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And it is precisely based on this basic truth that Paul teaches his communities about the moral behaviour, human conduct and practice of faith in private and public. The following citations which directly refer to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ reveal the vast influence of this truth in the teachings of Paul.

1.2 Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ – A brief Exegetical and Theological Analysis of the Direct References

We are analysing here the direct (and also some indirect) references in the genuinely Pauline letters regarding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We don’t make a profound exegetical analysis of each verse but an overall analysis. Our enquiry is limited to the following titles. The Role of God in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ according to Paul; The purpose of God in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; Christological nuances of the death and resurrection; The theological nuances of the impact of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and finally Paschal ← 28 | 29 → Lamb symbolism of Paul, referring to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

1.2.1 Role of God in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the theological view of Paul is primarily a divine activity. There are direct and indirect references to the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead in most of the authentic Pauline letters. First we give here the Greek and English translation of various texts in somewhat chronological order23. Then we will have a brief exegetico-theological analysis of it. Pauline Texts in Greek and in English

First Thess. 1:10 kai. avname,nein to.n ui`o.n auvtou/ evk tw/n ouvranw/n( o]n h;geiren evk Îtw/nÐ nekrw/n( VIhsou/n to.n r`uo,menon h`ma/j evk th/j ovrgh/j th/j evrcome,nhjÅ

First Thess. 1:10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead– Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

Gal. 1:1 Pau/loj avpo,stoloj ouvk avpV avnqrw,pwn ouvde. diV avnqrw,pou avlla. dia. VIhsou/ Cristou/ kai. qeou/ patro.j tou/ evgei,rantoj auvto.n evk nekrw/n(

Gal. 1:1 Paul an apostle– sent neither by human commission nor from human authorities, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead

First Cor. 15: 3–5 pare,dwka ga.r u`mi/n evn prw,toij( o] kai. pare,labon( o[ti Cristo.j avpe,qanen u`pe.r tw/n a`martiw/n h`mw/n kata. ta.j grafa.j (4) kai. o[ti evta,fh kai. o[ti evgh,gertai th/| h`me,ra| th/| tri,th| kata. ta.j grafa.j (5) kai. o[ti w;fqh Khfa/| ei=ta toi/j dw,deka\

First Cor. 15: 3–5 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, (4) and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, (5) and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. ← 29 | 30 →

First Cor. 15:12 Eiv de. Cristo.j khru,ssetai o[ti evk nekrw/n evgh,gertai( pw/j le,gousin evn u`mi/n tinej o[ti avna,stasij nekrw/n ouvk e;stinÈ

First Cor. 15:12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead?

First Cor. 15:14 eiv de. Cristo.j ouvk evgh,gertai( keno.n a;ra [kai.] to. kh,rugma h`mw/n( kenh. kai. h` pi,stij u`mw/n\

First Cor. 15:14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain.

First Cor. 15:15 eu`risko,meqa de. kai. yeudoma,rturej tou/ qeou/( o[ti evmarturh,samen kata. tou/ qeou/ o[ti h;geiren to.n Cristo,n( o]n ouvk h;geiren ei;per a;ra nekroi. ouvk evgei,rontai.

First Cor. 15:15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ– whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.

First Cor. 15:16 eiv ga.r nekroi. ouvk evgei,rontai( ouvde. Cristo.j evgh,gertai\

1 Cor. 15:16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised

First Cor. 15:17 eiv de. Cristo.j ouvk evgh,gertai( matai,a h` pi,stij u`mw/n( e;ti evste. evn tai/j a`marti,aij u`mw/n(

First Cor. 15:17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

First Cor. 15:20 Nuni. de. Cristo.j evgh,gertai evk nekrw/n avparch. tw/n kekoimhme,nwn.

First Cor. 15:20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.

Second Cor. 4:14 eivdo,tej o[ti o` evgei,raj to.n ku,rion VIhsou/n kai. h`ma/j su.n VIhsou/ evgerei/ kai. parasth,sei su.n u`mi/n.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2014 (December)
symbol meaning significance
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 414 pp.

Biographical notes

Jacob Paxy Alumkal (Author)

Jacob Paxy Alumkal completed his PhD at University of Lucerne, Switzerland in 2013. He is a member of the Jyothirbhavan Institute of Theology and Spirituality in Kalamassery, India. He is engaged in giving courses on biblical theology as well as conducting retreats and meditation programs.


Title: The Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ Implied in the Image of the Paschal Lamb in 1 Cor 5:7
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416 pages