Luke 2:10, Tidings of Great Joy

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

//You may recognize this verse in its Christmas theme; the baby Jesus brings hope of great joy, which, the verse says, shall be to “all people.”

Paul, writing in 1 Corinthians 15:22, echoes a similar sentiment: For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

This universal hope is again extended to “all” … that is, we assume, “all people.” Wonderful, isn’t it, how all are enveloped in great joy! But is it possible that even “all people” is too restrictive? Luke’s verse could be more literally translated as “all flesh.” After all, here is the promise, back in the Old Testament book of Joel:

Joel 2:28, And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.

Not just people, but all flesh. Animals, too, perhaps. But what about the plant kingdom? Back to Joel, a few verses prior to this, about that wonderful day:

Be not afraid, O land; be glad and rejoice. Surely the LORD has done great things. Be not afraid, O wild animals, for the open pastures are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.

Makes me wonder if perhaps even Universal Christians aren’t universal enough!

1 Comment

  1. From a Goodreads friend (Phil):

    Another comment – “bring good tidings” (which is found in Isaiah 40:9) is a single word, whereas the Greek as “announce” followed by “great joy/happiness.” Assuming for a minute that Luke, the Greek physician, had access to texts (oral or written) based on Hebrew, there would be a necessity to add “great joy” because it not implicit in the Greek as in the Hebrew. There is an important phrase in Post-Biblical Hebrew /besorot tovot yeshuot ve-nehamot/ recited by observant Jews in the Grace After Meal – literally “good tidings, salvations, and consolations.” Salvations is yeshuot, and Consolations is nehamot. Why the plural? Perhaps parallel plurals are more poetic. But had the singular been used (because what are salvations, in the plural?), it would have been Yesh’ah. It is possible that the plurals were added in the Talmudic (even Mishnaic) period to avoid confounding people, who would not see yeshu’ah as “salvation”, but Yeshua’ – As for ‘consolations.’ a more sensible singular might make more sense, but the Hebrew can also mean “consoling comfort,” as well as “consolation.” Again, the plural would avoid common people confounding the abstract noun with the Paraclete.

    PS I neglected to add that the entire phrase in that Grace is “May the Almighty send us Elijah, who will bring us good tidings, etc. That Elijah the Prophet is mentioned cannot be overlooked.

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