Posts tagged ‘three offices’

February 22, 2012

redefining sacred space around himself

This collection of passages captures several key theological ideas about the temple as well as the human offices of king and priest. Christ comes to replace the temple with Himself: becoming the perfect temple, king and priest. This is all clearly connected to the idea that Adam was also a king given the task of tending and protecting the temple-garden (including the jobs of protecting it from evil as well as conducting further planning and planting). We also encounter the overarching idea that “creation was itself a temple, the Temple, the heaven-and-earth structure built for God to live in.” Many basic and overlapping truths:

The same is true when we consider the other great “royal” aspiration: to cleanse or rebuild the Temple. We regularly refer to the striking action Jesus performed in the Temple as his “cleansing of the Temple.” We don’t, perhaps, always realize that any such action was staking an implicitly royal claim: it was kings, real or aspiring, who had authority over the Temple. It was Israel’s kings or would-be kings who planned it (David), built it (Solomon), cleansed it (Hezekiah, Josiah, Judah the Hammer), rebuilt it (Zerubbabel, Herod the Great), and hoped to defend it (Simon bar-Giora) or to rebuild it once more (Simon the Star).

…So when Jesus came into the Temple and performed another dramatic action, driving out the money changers and the dealers selling animals for sacrifice, this too would have been seen within a web of prophetic allusion and symbolism. Jeremiah, after all, had famously smashed a pot at the same place (Jer. 19), symbolizing the coming judgment. But what was Jesus intending to communicate? What did he mean by his action? Like many others, I have become convinced that Jesus’s dramatic action was a way of declaring that the Temple was under God’s judgment and would, before too long, be destroyed forever.

…The joining place was visible where the healings were taking place, where the party was going on (remember the angels celebrating in heaven and people joining in on earth?), where forgiveness was happening. In other words, the joining place, the overlapping circle, was taking place where Jesus was and in what he was doing. Jesus was, as it were, a walking Temple. A living, breathing place-where-Israel’s-God-was-living. As many people will see at once, this is the very heart of what later theologians would call the doctrine of the incarnation. But it looks quite different from how many people imagine that doctrine to work. Judaism already had a massive “incarnational” symbol, the Temple. Jesus was behaving as if he were the Temple, in person. He was talking about Israel’s God taking charge. And he was doing things that put that God-in-chargeness into practice. It all starts to make sense. In particular, it answers the old criticism that “Jesus talked about God, but the church talked about Jesus”—as though Jesus would have been shocked to have his pure, God-centered message corrupted in that way. This sneer fails to take account of the fact that, yes, Jesus talked about God, but he talked about God precisely in order to explain the things that he himself was doing.

…If Jesus is acting out a vision—astonishing, risky, and one might say crazy—in which he is behaving as if he is the Temple, redefining sacred space around himself, something equally strange and risky is taking place in the realm of time.

…Creation was itself a temple, the Temple, the heaven-and-earth structure built for God to live in. And the seventh-day “rest” was therefore a sign pointing forward into successive ages of time, a forward-looking signpost that said that one day, when God’s purposes for creation were accomplished, there would be a moment of ultimate completion, a moment when the work would finally be done, and God, with his people, would take his rest, would enjoy what he had accomplished.

From Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters by N.T. Wright.

Advertisements
January 11, 2012

occupations and skills of God

A study of the ‘occupations and skills of God’ should normally begin with the two highest: the priesthood and kingship, except that these are no longer occupations properly so-called, but rather functions. These two functions are those of teacher and sacrificer, governor and judge, spiritual authority and temporal power, and are the immediate and most elevated reflections of the divine activity ad extra, and in particular of the Divine Word. As these functions go beyond the very notion of occupation, we shall postpone speaking of them until we come to explain the foundations of a sacred politics and sociology. We shall therefore concentrate in divinis on three occupation attached to and, to an extent, specifications of these two functions: the scribe, the physician and the warrior.

From Divine Craftsmanship by Jean Hani (5).

December 13, 2011

we are attracted to goodness first by its beauty

Two passages from C. S. Lewis as Philosopher: Truth, Goodness and Beauty:

The great classic triumvirate of Truth, Beauty and Goodness is a particularly apt framework for engaging C. S. Lewis and philosophy. These magnificent ideals are not only at the heart of the classic philosophical enterprise, the tradition into which Lewis was initiated in his Oxford philosophical training, but they are also of crucial significance in the Christian vision of reality he came to embrace.

From the essay “Introduction: Jack of the Philosophical Trade” by Jerry L. Walls (p. 17).

God has not left himself without witness in any of the three distinctively human, more-than-animal powers of the soul, the three aspects of the image of God in us: the mind, which knows and understands the good; the will, which chooses and enforces it; and the emotions, which love and appreciate it. This threefold structure of the soul is also the reason why so many great classics in our literature have three protagonists corresponding to these three psychological faculties and social functions: prophet, king and priest.

…The order of these three transcendentals of truth, goodness and beauty is ontologically founded. Truth is defined by Being, for truth is the effulgence of Being, the revelation of Being, the word of Being. Truth is not defined by consciousness, which conforms to Being in knowing it. Goodness is defined by truth, not by will, which is good only when it conforms to the truth of Being. And beauty is defined by goodness, objectively real goodness, not by subjective desire or pleasure or feeling or imagination, all of which should conform to it. However, the psychological order is the reverse of the ontological order. As we know Being through first sensing appearances, so we are attracted to goodness first by its beauty, we are attracted to truth by its goodness, and we are attracted to Being by its truth. But ontologically, truth depends on Being, goodness on truth, and beauty on goodness. Truth is knowing Being. Goodness is true goodness. And the most beautiful thing in the world is perfect goodness.

From the essay “Lewis’s Philosophy of Truth, Goodness and Beauty” by Peter Kreeft (p. 24-25).

June 9, 2011

his will was in harmony with God’s will

This is a passage that I have been coming back to over and over during the past year. (I first heard it referenced in a sermon at our church.) It speaks primarily to kingship and mentions the issue of judging rightly (pursuit of the good), allowing me to categorize it under that heading, although it touches all three. (More on this theme tomorrow from Maximus the Confessor, as I populate these first several days with old treasures.)

To reign with Christ means to experience in one’s own life the restoration of the royal office. By virtue of creation man held the threefold office of prophet, priest, and king. As prophet his mind was illumined so that he knew God. As priest his heart delighted in God. As king his will was in harmony with God’s will. This threefold office, lost through the fall, is restored by God’s grace. The joyful response of the believer’s will to the will of Christ, that response which is true freedom, is the basic element in this reigning with Christ. Moreover, even during the period before death Christians rule the world by means of their prayers, in the sense that again and again judgments occur in answer to prayer (Rev. 8:3–5). In heaven they are even closer to the throne than are the angels (Rev. 4:4; 5:11). In fact, they sit with Christ on his throne (Rev. 3:21), sharing his royal glory. And when Christ returns, the saints sit and judge with him (Ps. 149:5–9; I Cor. 6:2, 3).

From New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles. Vol. 4. by W. Hendriksen and S.J. Kistemaker (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979. 258–259.

%d bloggers like this: