Tuesday, October 25, 2016

coming and going: Israel and the church

The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon. Edward Poynter, 1890.

The Word for today:
2 Chronicles 13, 14
The prevailing pattern of scripture is that the Old Testament flows towards Jerusalem/the Temple/the cross, while the New Testament springs from Jerusalem/the Temple/the cross.
Israel is to bring the single Seed of the woman to the cross, where he would die, giving life to many:
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (John 12:24; see Genesis 3:15)
The church--the many seeds engendered at the cross--are to scatter themselves throughout the world:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)
Another example of this pattern is that in the Old Testament, Israel brings the world to the Temple. (The Queen of Sheba, who travels to Jerusalem from afar, is an example. See 2 Chronicles 9)
But in the New Testament, the church brings the Temple to the world!
The temple was like an art gallery containing pictures of the Way to God:
They brought the blood of a Lamb or they didn't get in. Then they entered by a single, narrow Door. They proceeded past the altar of sacrifice, which is a picture of justification. They then passed a big wash basin, called the laver, which is a picture of sanctification. As they went they were guided by the golden lamp stand. They were sustained by the table of showbread.
Then through the curtain they entered into the presence of God; before them gleamed the ark of the covenant.
Every picture is a picture of Jesus:
he is the Lamb of God (John 1:29);
he is the Door (John 10:9);
his cross is the the altar of sacrifice (Hebrews 10:12);
he washed the disciples' feet (John 13:5);
he is the Light of the World (John 8:12);
he is the Bread of Life (John 6:48);
his broken body is the torn curtain (Hebrews 10:20);
he is Immanuel, God's presence with us (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).
Putting it all together, He is the Way (John 14:6).
The mission of Israel was to bring the world to "the Gallery."
In the New Testament, "the Gallery" comes alive:
Therefore, brothers, we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh. (Hebrews 10:19-20)
The mission of the church, the living stones which comprise the temple today (1 Peter 2:5), is to bring the living way to the world:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Whether the church or Israel, whether going or coming, whether in picture or in Person, God will guard the Way:
The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore. 
(1) Psalms 121:7-8; see also Genesis 3:24

No comments:

Post a Comment