Consecration of Levites (18)

“Replacement Theology?”-NO! “Inclusive Catholic Theology”.

Sung Psalm 135:14-21

Reading Isaiah 66:15-24

In this prophecy the wicked idolatrous Israelites indulge in abominable worship and lifestyle and will be cast off (vv17,18a), whereas God calls (gathers-Isaiah 43:5)) his elect from all (Gentile) nations(v18b). The Scriptures in both Old Testament and New Testament fulfilment are replete with this message. Isaiah 65:1, Romans 10:19-21, Deut.32:43, Luke 4, Matthew 21:43, Acts 13:46-48, Romans 11.

Stats

Why does God leave his chosen people (physical Israel) to gather in a universal (catholic) church from the Gentile nations?

  1. He is God of creation and made all peoples.
  2. Christ must have his inheritance and marry his bride of all nations.
  3. He hardens the angry reprobate Jews.
  4. He provokes Jews to jealousy and always saves a remnant.
  5. He keeps his promise to Abraham.

Christ and his ambassadors are a light to the nations (Isaiah 49:6). God monergistically (all alone) gathers his elect irresistibly. Salvation in these verses is a “seeing of God’s glory” and since the glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 40:5, John 1:14) it is revelation of him and as we look to him we are changed into his image (II Cor.3:18).

Consecration of Levites (17)

Consecration of the Levites

Sung Psalm 135:14-21 (note Levi)

Read Numbers 8:5-22

The consecration of these warrior-priests included:

  • Cleansing
  1. Cleansing-sprinkling of water (? From laver or acc.to Lev.14)
  2. Shaving most of body of hair.
  3. Washing of clothes
  • Sacrifices-two bullocks (sin and burnt offerings), and meal offering
  • No special clothes
  • Laying on of hands (of representatives of all the congregation whom they represented).
  • Wave offering (of all of them)

Comparing their consecration to that of the priests, with the priests there were more sacrifices, special clothes etc and with that of the congregation there was a different sprinkling and the book of the covenant was involved. Theologians speak of a graded holiness with High Priest top (multi-coloured vestments), then priests (white linen garments), then Levites (own clothes) then people, then outsiders. This also is reflected in the graded access they had to holy places and things.

But every New Testament believer whether Jew or Gentile is a priest AND a Levite-set apart, belonging to God and called to serve in his church (Mal. 3:3, Isaiah 66:21).

 

 

Chance? Luck? Providence!

 

Ecclesiastes 9:11 states, “but time and chance happeneth to them all; to the swift and strong, the wise, understanding, and skillful; or to the swift and slow, to the strong and weak, to the wise and unwise; everything befalls them (and us-JK) just as it is ordered by divine Providence; for there is a certain “time” fixed by the Lord for every event; and whatever seems casual and contingent to man, and which he is ready to call “chance,” is nothing but “decree” with God, firm and unalterable.” John Gill

 

Acts 12

Herod’s persecution, Peter’s deliverance and Herod’s death.

We believe the persecution mentioned in the first verse occurred about the same time as the famine that Agabus prophesied namely around 43AD.
Herod was a title given to the kings not a name and the Herod here is Herod Agrippa (see charts) who also executed John the Baptist.

Herods

He was the son of Herod the Great who killed the babes of Bethlehem and he reigned over most of Israel (Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Perea). He was an Edomite.
He sought to please the Jews (especially Jewish leaders) and this was why he persecuted the apostles and the church and killed James (Boanerges and son of Zebedee).
He imprisoned Peter with a view to executing him and Passover was when Jerusalem was filled with zealous Jews from all over Israel and beyond. Perhaps he thought to stamp out the church.
We presume the church prayed for Peter’s release, witness in prison and likely his impending martyrdom. Surely Peter’s release was answered prayer!
We believe Peter was at peace enabled by grace to trust his Saviour (Psalm 4:8, 119:165 etc).
The angel who delivered Peter was a messenger of the Lord Jesus Christ (v11).
Sequence of events: light in prison, angel smites Peter, angel instructs Peter, Peter’s chains fell off, angel further instructs Peter, Peter follows angel out of prison, gate opens, they walk through the streets, angel leaves.
Peter thought it was a vision but after the angel left he realised what he was experiencing was real.
The Jews expected Peter to be killed. He went to Mary’s house (mother of John Mark and Barnabas’s sister) to see the other apostles and all the disciples to tell them the news and encourage them. The interaction between Rhoda and Peter was funny. Peter commanded that his news be told to James (the Lord’s half brother), and then he went presumably to another believer’s house.


The soldiers were terrified because they knew the penalty for allowing prisoners to escape was death and this is what happened because Herod was a cruel man.
Herod left Jerusalem for Caesarea possibly to escape awkward questions from Jewish leaders and went there because of displeasure with the inhabitants of the region. The local populace got his secretary on their side desiring peace. Herod subsequently gave a speech on a planned day arrayed in royal apparel no doubt speaking of his greatness and reign over the people desiring to impress and subdue them. Their reacion was either foolish flattery or outright deception (sent by God-II Thess.2:11) as they attributed divinity to him.


God struck him down immediatley (cf Ananias and Sapphira) because he proudly and wrongfully accepted glory that belongs only to God (Isaiah 42:8). Compare also Nebuchadnezzar reduced to madness (I Peter 5:5). The immediate judgment empasized prompt punishment by God which in other cases is postponed (Rev. 6:10). It was the angel of the Lord who smote Herod (cf Egypt, Assyrian 185,000 etc). He died of an overwhelming worm infestation, most likely over a few days and appropriately because pride consumed him first.
The church work of preaching and teaching prospered and it grew.
Barnabas and Saul returned to their home church in Antioch (chapter 13) after passing on their benevolence in Jerusalem.
John Mark was related to Barnabas, propably a nephew and son of Mary (Col.4:10).

Next study (DV) August 31st 8pm

New Testament Priests (16)

New Testament Priesthood

Sung Psalm 141|:1-5 (note refs to incense)

Reading I Peter 2:1-10 (note esp.vv5,9)

We have incontrovertible Scriptural evidence that all believers in the New Testament age are priests.

What was the work of Old Testament priests? What is the New Testament equivalent?

  1. Offered sacrifices……we offer ourselves, praise, thank, do good works, share (Heb.13:15).
  2. Offered incense……we pray for ourselves and others.
  3. Light the lamp………walk in the Spirit.
  4. Prepare the showbread and eat it……we partake of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.
  5. Teach………we teach one another.
  6. Pronounce clean/unclean……we discern between good and evil.
  7. Judge……we judge all things.

Hebrews 10:19-25 is the most extended teaching on our New Testament priesthood, full of typology now realised in us.

The major prophets clearly allude to the end of ceremonial law and the New Testament age, see Isaiah 61:6 where true believers who are in Christ (vv1-3) are made priests and this includes Gentiles (Is.66:21).

Malachi 3:3 speaks of Christ purifying a priesthood which must be his church and I John 2:2 and 20 show that our anointing as priests is lifelong.

The permanent offices in the New Testament church all include elements of priesthood-pastors teach (office of prophet), elders rule (office of king) and deacons (office of priest who mercifully dispense aid), (Heb. 2:17, Acts 6)

HOPE

HOPE OUR ANCHOR

A short but fairly comprehensive word study:

  • The godless majority of people in this world are without hope (Eph.2:12, I Thess.4:13) and even believers for a time may feel hopeless (Job 7:6, 19:10) but Job saw in the illustration of a tree cut down, that for him “hope springs eternal!” (Job 14:7). He saw that God purposely destroys the false hopes of the godless (Job 14:19, 27:8, 31:24-28). Job also knew about the three great spiritual graces, faith, hope and love (I Cor.13:13) and that hope ceases to exist after death (Job 17:15). Why? Because hope means the certain expectation of future good at the hands of God and it only pertains to this life. Its source is God himself (Rom.15:13, II Thess.2:16) and it is ours as we believe his word (Psalm 119:81, 114, 130:5). Specifically hope concerns our resurrection from the dead and our glorification in the new heavens and earth (Psalm 16:9, Prov.14:32, Acts 24:15, I Cor.15:19, Col.1:5,27, Titus 1:2) it, like faith, believes in something unseen (Rom.8:24,25). This hope come to fruition at the return of Christ (Titus 2:13). The basis for this hope is our regeneration or the dwelling of Christ in us and us in him (I Tim.1:1, I Peter 1:3). Since he has gone before us, we are bound to follow (Heb. 6:18-20).
  • Abraham, the archetypical Old Testament saint and father of us all, exhibited hope in God’s covenant promise (Rom.4:18).
  • King David speaks much of his hope and often prophetically speaks for Christ his Lord (Psalm 16:9, Acts 2:26, Psalms 39:7, 22:9, 71:5, 119:116, 146:5), his was  a hope he even had as an infant showing how even the very young can be regenerate. He exhorts us and Israel to have hope (Psalms 42:5,11, 43:5, 130:7. 131:3).
  • Jeremiah also confessed his hope (Jer.17:7,17) and that of the people of Israel (Jer.14:8, 17:13) as did Joel (Joel 3:16) and even Paul (Acts 28:20).
  • Paul probably writes more about it than anyone and he rejoiced in it (Rom.5:2, 8:24, 12:12, 15:4, Eph.1:18, 4:4) and also spoke of his hope in fellow believers (II Cor.1:7, I Thess.2:19).
  • Our hope is a witness (I Peter 3:15) and a great motivation to lead a holy life (I John 3:3), it is something we must, and will, by God’s grace, maintain to the end of our lives (I Peter 1:13). Hope is a vital helmet of defence against Satan’s temptations to fear and have  foreboding about our future (I Thess.5:8). As with all of our salvation, our hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Vital importance of play

I have always loved sport. Running, jumping, throwing, tennis, badminton, indoor rowing, sailing, fishing etc. Many species play especially when young and for good reason-to hone their skills for hunting, fighting, mating and survival. It always encourages my participation when I see dolphins surfing, gibbons brachiating (swinging by their arms) and otters juggling stones. Play is addictive because endorphins and dopamine chemicals are realeased which are “feel-good” factors. Play is characterised by:

  • Voluntary
  • Reward in the activity itself
  • Starts early in life
  • Repeated
  • Species must be healthy, safe and relaxed

God invented play!

There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.

New Testament believers are consecrated priests (15)

New Testament believers are priests

Our consecration as (prophets), priests (and kings) is more like Christ’s consecration than the O.T. priesthood. There is no hereditary transmission and no public ceremony (it is an invisible consecration).

The Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 12  Q32 http://www.prca.org/about/official-standards/creeds/three-forms-of-unity/heidelberg-catechism/the-second-part/of-god-the-son/lord-s-day-12

We are consecrated in Christ. No ecclesiastical hierarchy or sacerdotalism as with the Roman Catholic false priesthood. Luther was clear, “Every Christian is a priest.” There will also be no future literal Jewish millennial priesthood as this is not only a misinterpretation of scripture but  would be an absolutely  retrograde step (Heb.6:12-19).

Proof of the universal and catholic priesthood of believers:

  • I Peter 2:9-we are a royal priesthood
  • Revelation 1:6- we are made priests by Christ, by his redemption and are such here and now on earth.
  • Revelation 5:10- we will be a catholic priesthood (meaning universal-from every tribe and nation), in the new heaven and earth (future eternal state).

Revelation 20:6-again these are priests here and now in the NT age but in their spirit in the  intermediate state (after their first resurrection at death) in heaven.

So as prophets, priests and kings (the latter two offices always being linked in the N.T.) we function to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, use our lips to  praise and thank God and offer our prayers as intercessors for others.

Covenant Consecration of Israel (14)-their priests.

Consecration of Israel’s priests.

Sung Psalm 132:7-14

Reading Exodus 29:1-37 (carried out in Leviticus 8)

 

Remember the stages in the consecration of the priests:

  1. washing
  2. dressing
  3. anointing
  4. sacrificing
  5. smearing (of blood)
  6. sprinkling
  7. abiding

The Aaronic priesthood was: *hereditary, with public ordination (Lev.8:3) and ceremonial (ceremonial liquids, objects e.g. altar and garments .

Consecration of Christ

We looked at Hebrews and the contrast of Christ’s consecration and calling (Heb.5:5, Acts 13:33, Psalm 2:7). It had none of the above* characteristics. He was called severally-in eternity, at his birth, baptism, resurrection/ascension. He has an eternal priesthood given him under an oath from God the Father which is none other than a divine “fiat” or decree-“Thou art a priest for ever…” What a wonderful High Priest we have and what priviledges and responsibilities have church office bearers and members who are also called into office as priests.

 

Acts 11:1-30

Acts 11:1-30

Peter reports to the church in Jerusalem because certain Jewish leaders were critical of his association with Gentiles in Caesarea. Some of them accused him of associating and eating with Gentiles which was a traditional addition to God’s law. These men were called the “circumcision”. Their accusation was correct but unjustified. This tells us that many in the New Testament church were zealous converted Jews who kept the law but were ignorant of the fact that ceremonies were passing and the church was becoming catholic or universal (see also Acts 15:24 where the same thing is repeated and 21:21-25 where Paul makes a small concession to them).

Peter logically recounted in detail the events in Joppa and Caesarea to show God’s providential hand in them. He gives three arguments that Gentiles are to be included in the church:

  • The Holy Spirit was poured out on them
  • Christ said his disciples would be baptized with the Spirit
  • The gift of tongues was seen as proof

The church at Jerusalem had nothing to say because Peter proved that the events were orchestrated by God and should be cause for gladness not criticism and that Gentiles as well as Jews were granted repentance and eternal life.

Luke recalls that after Stephen died great persecution broke out and many disciples scattered over the Roman Empire going as far as Crete, Cyprus, Libya and Antioch. These believers, some of whom were preachers, preached to Jews only because of their similar background and language (carrying on the ministry of Christ and the apostles to the lost sheep of the house of Israel). Grecians were Jews who spoke Greek, who likely came from outside Israel. When the church in Jerusalem heard about conversions outside, they sent Barnabas to assess, as far as Antioch where most were converted. The grace of God (v23) is his power to save (Titus 2:11). Barnabas is described as a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of faith. He went to get Saul from Tarsus because Saul was very knowledgeable in the Scriptures, an apostle and a teacher, who alongside him, taught and established and built up the church making them disciples.

Apparently, the minister of the church in Antioch and possibly outsiders there, nicknamed the disciples “Christians” or Christ-ones. We do not know if this name was an insult or compliment.

There still were extraordinary prophets in the New Testament church because the canon of Scripture was not finally fixed. These men got direct divine revelation and were able to say, “Thus saith the Lord.” Agabus prophesied a famine in Israel which happened sometime between 43 and 46AD. The disciples in Antioch decided to send money to the Jerusalem church because of their unity and care and we need to respond in the same way today.

Next study (DV) August 11th at 8pm Acts 12:1-25