Saturday, 24 December 2011

O come, o come ... Melchizedek?

Dear brothers,
we are about to celebrate the coming of the King. He is God's King, whom the Father has set over His own people, His own family, to rule them in sweet love. He was always God's King over Israel, as it was said about them, that "The LORD their God is with them, and the shout of a king is among them" (Num 23:21), even long before the first Christmas. He was with His own, though not yet one of them. Again, it was prophesied, "His [God's] King shall be higher than Agag, and His kingdom shall be exalted." (Num 24:7).

The Christian saints of old knew Him, and prayed concerning Him, "The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; He will give strength to His king, and exalt the power of His Christ" (1 Sam 2:10). Such was Hannah's prayer, after she had conceived the son she longed for with the help of God, and had given birth to him. She dedicated him to God, and he became a prophet over God's people. This prophet, Samuel, they asked for a king (1 Sam 8:5), not knowing Jesus, The King, whom Samuel's mother worshipped and living as though there was no king (Jgs 21:22). Samuel, distressed when seeing his beloved Christ rejected as king, prayed to the LORD, and Christ Himself answered, "Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them." (1 Sam 8:7). Yet, one day, in all His mercy, He would come anyway, to a people who rejected Him, to bring salvation to the poor.

And so He did - and the wise men, having learnt their wisdom from reading Scriptures diligently, came to Judea. They said to a king, "where is The King?" (after Mt. 2:2). Had they not known that Jesus was The King, they would have been content with the normal king, whom they had already found. But they came to see The King, bringing gifts to Him: Gold, and frankincense, and myrrh (Mt 2:11).

Why these gifts? Some say, Gold because Jesus is our glorious king, frankincense because He is our priest, and myrrh cause He's going to die (for myrrh was used to anoint the dead). And it sounds good, but is it the point? Are we seeing wonderful things in them that they didn't actually mean? Let's look again..
Gold for the king - but does Moses say that? (Please tell me, if you know!) Was not the High Priest the only person to be clothed in gold from top to bottom? He had golden bells above his feet, a plate of gold on his chest, and a plate of gold on his head, saying, "Holy to the LORD" (Ex. 28). It was also the priests and the High Priest who was anointed with myrrh (Ex. 30:22-30). Again, it was the High Priest who burned incense in the tabernacle (Lev. 16:12).

Remains the question: Why go to the baby-shower of a King, and bring presents for a High Priest? Surely they would have known that Jesus was a Jew? "For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests." (Heb. 7:14). Why then do they bring priesthood-gifts to a Jewish-born baby? Especially, since everything is so clear that they are looking for a King? There has been no-one in the Old Testament who was both king and priest ... except one: Melchizedek. "This Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God [that is, of the Father], met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him" (what follows is all from Heb 7:1-4). Let us "see how great this man was". Who is he? "He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life...". He has no father or mother, so is not a human being. He has no beginning of days, so he is not an angel either, nor any created being. That leaves us with three options, for there is only three who have no beginning of days: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Who is He? He's *the* "priest of the Most High God". Jesus is the only one to be both King and Priest. More than that, He is both the original King and the original Priest. Abraham knew Him, Hannah prayed about Him, Samuel talked to Him. But now He has come in the flesh! This God, our God, has become one of us, forever!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

God's Pleasure - to dwell with us

An attempt at a sermon based on Wesley's line "Pleased as Man with Man to Dwell"

- Scripture text was John 1:9-16

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Anachronistic Insufficiency

In Bible interpretation - the accusation is that the OT was often read anachronistically:
i.e. reading the NT back into the OT

the opponents against this stand by the fact that the OT is Christian Scripture - and therefore they are reading what is already there - and explicitly meant to be there

actually, I think the problem is we don't read Scripture relationally - as though the same Person(s) is speaking
and we have the knowledge that this Person(s) does not change

so in theory - we should read Scripture contextually (more about within the setting, rather than the 'extent of the revelation'), and then apply it both currently, exponentially in to the future, and anachronistically impose it onto the past - since the goal is to find out about the character of God Who does not change

it is also understanding the basis of the fact that humanity is inherently the same at the core - sinful  - and we merely see differential expressions of sin (and faith) according to culture

What do you think?