I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-16)

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More Schmemann:

Baptism is forgiveness of sins, not their removal. It introduces the sword of Christ into our life and makes it the real conflict, the inescapable pain and suffering of growth. It is indeed after baptism and because of it, that the reality of sin can be recognized in all its sadness, and true repentance becomes possible. Therefore, the whole of the Church is at the same time the gift of forgiveness, the joy of the “world to come,” and also and inescapably a constant repentance. The feast is impossible without the fast, and the fast is precisely repentance and return, the saving experience of sadness and exile. The Church is the gift of the Kingdom—yet it is this very gift that makes obvious our absence from the Kingdom, our alienation from God. It is repentance that takes us again and again into the joy of the Paschal banquet, but it is that joy which reveals to us our sinfulness and puts us under judgment. (For the Life of the World, 79)

I read Jerry Bowyer’s The Maker Versus the Takers this week. He offers fascinating commentary on Jesus’s words and ministry in light of the first century economic context. Some quotes:

What you will see is Jesus confronting the takers of wealth, not the makers of it. He did this with such vigor and clarity, the ruling class who lived and worked in that nation’s capital saw Him as a threat to their system of economic extraction. That’s why they instigated His judicial execution by the Roman state. Elites failed to heed Jesus’s warnings about the ways in which the capital city and its ruling political/religious elite were courting disaster. Eventually, the economic problems Jesus warned about led to an economic collapse and the destruction of the capital city, Jerusalem (xiii)

Commenting on Exodus 18:

The people were to choose political leaders who hated dishonest gain. Why? Because political office by its very nature tempts one to dishonest gain. It is such a powerful factor so singularly connected with the nature of politics that it is one of only three qualifications for public office listed by Jethro (Moses adds wisdom and discernment) and the only negative qualification mentioned. That is to say, it is the only character flaw that is singled out in the qualifications for political office, which suggests that, at least in the eyes of Jethro, it is the quintessential political temptation. (50-51)

Commenting on Matthew 18:

If I tell you a story about someone who is $22 trillion in debt, then it is sensible to see this as an analogy (and parables are analogies) for a national debt. And it is likewise sensible, even without everything I’ve already told you about the seventy sevens and the debt rules and all the rest, to see this as a story about the combined debt of a nation over several years. . . . Israel continued their disobedience by continuing to shake the poor for debts that should have been released under the Torah. . . (81-82)

Bowyer recognizes the story of the rich man and Lazarus as a story about the temple and priesthood. The rich man wears purple and fine linen; rejoices literally “by lamp;” and has five brothers (evidently this is historically significant). And, significantly, we know that the actual priesthood was not persuaded by the resurrection of an actual Lazarus:

But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus. (John 12:10-11, NKJV)

They are not all Israel who are of Israel:

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “that I will punish all who are circumcised with the uncircumcised—Egypt, Judah, Edom, the people of Ammon, Moab, and all who are in the farthest corners, who dwell in the wilderness. For all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.” (Jeremiah 9:25-26, NKJV)

How interesting, then, that God commanded the circumcision of infants.

Jeremiah was the proximate fulfillment of Isaiah’s suffering servant. His ministry is a great foreshadowing of Jesus’s ministry. Jeremiah ministers at the end of the first seventy sevens, the beginning of the exile:

Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says Yahweh. (Jeremiah 7:11, NKJV)

Now in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month (which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the LORD and the king’s house; all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great, he burned with fire. And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down all the walls of Jerusalem all around. (Jeremiah 52:12-14, NKJV)

Jesus comes to inspect his house at the end of Daniel’s seventy sevens. This time no stone will be left upon one another. Ezekiel, too (the earlier son of man), is a foreshadowing of Jesus’s ministry and AD 70. God does not take it lightly when his church is faithless:

Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols; they will loathe themselves for the evils which they committed in all their abominations. (Ezekiel 6:9, NKJV)

And this is how we ought to take it:

Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; and Yahweh said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.” (Ezekiel 9:3-4, NKJV)

To wit:

Now, we check back in on [mother Israel in Revelation] 17, and we find out that she’s riding around in the wilderness on the back of the beast. She’s not making war with the beast; she’s in league with the beast! She’s drinking the blood of the martyrs; she’s made up like a prostitute. She’s not engaged in warfare; she’s in communion with the dragon: she’s made a treaty with him, and she’s not protecting her holy offspring; she’s not defending them: she’s eating her young.

And you’re not alone if you’re shocked and revolted by this image. Even John has a hard time keeping it together when he sees this. (Duane Garner, “The beast’s warfare on the woman.”)

To wit:

One of the things that is valuable about Daniel and other books of the exilic period is the perspective it gives us on exile. Christians often think of exile as the state of the Christian church at all times in all places; it’s a pilgrim church, it’s always small and beleaguered; it’s always a minority and oppressed. And this is part of a picture that is skeptical about any notion of Christendom, any kind of public role for the church or power for the church.

It’s important in looking at the actual exile in the Old Testament, that although Israel is in fact under another a foreign power, scattered, captured and transported to a new place: The main people we know from the exilic period are people who rise to great prominence within different empires. . . . Daniel and his friends are in high positions in Nebuchadnezzar’s court; Daniel remains or comes back to a high position by the time the Persians take over; Esther and Mordecai are in high positions in the Persian empire; Nehemiah is there before the king of Persia; and Ezra is at least known to the Persian king because he commissions him to go back to Jerusalem. So all of the prominent people we know in exile are people who are new Josephs that ascend within the exile.

That gives a different picture than many people have of what exile involves. There is a certain kind of weakness involved in being an exilic people, but the Lord regularly puts chosen people in high positions in order to accomplish his purposes—particularly to protect and guard his people, but accomplish other purposes too.

That’s an important component of the exilic situation that we don’t want to miss. (Peter Leithart, The Theopolis Podcast, lightly edited)

I’ve been reminded a few times this month of the importance of this:

The first one to plead his cause seems right,
​​Until his neighbor comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17, NKJV)

Amos and Annie are interested in military time. I can remember being fascinated by it at their age. Yesterday I overheard an excited conversation: “Annie, military time makes you be so smart.”

Bravo Steak-umm:

“Considering the evidence, it shouldn’t be necessary for [the jury] to retire.” (the character of Thomas Cromwell in A Man for All Seasons)

Written by Scott Moonen

April 17, 2021 at 6:32 am

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