No Tabernacles for the Prophets

Matthew 17:4-8 shakes up the world of the prophets and the disciples. In this version of the story the two prophets do not get a briefing about Christ’s atoning sacrifice and I am loathe to try and harmonize the evangelists’ intentions. Luke alone (9:31) seems to have inquired about the conversation between the three and learned that the two prophets had been talking about (most certainly the meaning of) Christ’s death.

Who appeared in glory, and spoke of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

The narrative freezes any attempt to honour the prophets, even these two towering figures. It also denies the equality of Christ and the prophets.

Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if you will, let us make here three tabernacles; one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. While he yet spoke, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear all of you him.

Hear and Fear

Two things bring on the reverence due. The disciples are wrong about the prophets and wrong about Christ. They go from being excited about the prophets’ association with the Rabbi to sheer terror and to the stark reality that Yeshua is all there is.

And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

Remembering Christ’s Sacrifice

Idols litter the landscape while the majesty of the Risen Lord gets a passing mention. No repeated claim attends the memorial of Christ’s death for all human sin. We belittle and denigrate the covenant by inserting our desire for a miracle.

The cross must be accepted as full and effective payment for sin, not for financial, physical or mental wellbeing. People do not have to claim anything when the Church celebrates the Lord’s supper. No one needs to apply for what is theirs by virtue of their once-for-all confession and faith in the once-for-all propitiation in the Blood of the Lamb?

People can add whatever they wish to their celebration of Christ but only at great risk of showing how much shipwreck is part of their beliefs. One pastor proclaims that no physical death will touch our families when we partake of the Lord’s supper. We ought to know what the Scriptures authorize and quit making it up as we go. Remember does not mean request.

Your Brother’s Home!

Lost means lost. Found means found. Here in the Lost (not wasteful or prodigal) Son story in Luke’s gospel the one was not lost turns out to be miserable and self-loving.

The fact that the lost son wasted (dapanao) his inheritance seems to have shaped our interpretation of the lesson. At best it shows how quickly we evaluate one another as undeserving, while the closing thought is rejoice and be glad.

Very often we neglect to put ourselves into the picture of the stories Yeshua told. When we do put ourselves into the narrative we choose the best light and most favourable situations.

It was fitting [for you] to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found. Luke 15:32

EE

From dead festival to living faith

The lessons that spring from the announcement of the ancient festivals are typically instructions about what to do and when. Naturally, there are prohibitions in the mix. Surprisingly, the following show up and if they did not give the Israelite near complete confidence and comfort they certainly do today over two thousand years later.

The following three instructions show how YHWH intended to focus the Israelite mind on personal responsibility for the neighbour’s welfare.

  • 1. Proactive kindness to the poor: reaping, Leviticus 23:22

And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God.

  • 2. Proactive kindness to the poor: bringing food
  • 3. Seven days of fire offerings, aromatic (incense or great smell) for yhwh and the nutrition for the priesthood

The lessons that spring from the announcement off the festivals are typically instructions about what to do and when. Naturally, there are prohibitions in the mix like Leviticus 23:25, “You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the Lord”.

Surprises include:
Food offerings for YHWH. Leviticus 23:36

For seven days you shall present food offerings to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the Lord. It is a solemn assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work.

Bread with yeast, Leviticus 23:17

You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to the Lord.

As evidence of the symptomatic refusal to shift into warp speed we have the doctrine of God-creator dominating both Jewish and Christian practice instead of the saving and providing God in both temporal and spiritual matters.

Pentecost (Shabuot) is our season of shift. It stands in contrast to Leviticus 2:11

No grain offering that you bring to the Lord shall be made with leaven, for you shall burn no leaven nor any honey as a food offering to the Lord.

Even so, leavened bread, in the feast of Pentecost, seems to properly identify us along with our Saviour-God (as the unblemished life). God accepts us with his Son.

Leviticus 23:17

You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to the Lord.