Archive for June, 2012

h1

Opposition Overcome…

June 2, 2012

Part 6: Opposition Overcome

In the last post of this series, we will examine the similarities present in the three texts we have discussed previously in 2 Samuel 15, Isaiah 14 and the Judas narrative.

There is a consistent picture in Scripture of our Savior King: from the Seed of the woman which will crush the serpent, to the blessing of nations in Abraham, the anointed one, and suffering servant. With this consistent glimmer of light has come a shadow of opposition, equally determined, equally consistent, but ultimately futile. As we review the three texts we see in three different time periods, three representations of God’s anointed, three forms of opposition, but one consistent outcome. The figure below will illustrate visually the similarities:

20120810-113051.jpg

These texts speak to their periods and they serve to interpret and add layers of meaning on each other. King David serves as a type for the Messiah King Jesus. Absalom serves as a type for Judas. That Satan is explicitly or implicitly present in the narratives helps to locate both narratives in the larger cosmic theater of God’s glory where Satan seeks to oppose God. As the serpent will be crushed, and Satan will be cast down, so too will all those who seek to oppose God’s glory through His anointed. This hope is not lost on David as he writes in Psalm 3:

O LORD, how many are my foes!

Many are rising against me;

many are saying of my soul,

there is no salvation for him in God. Selah

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,

my glory, and the lifter of my head.

(Psalm 3:1-3 ESV)

;

David records these would while being pursued by Absalom. Even in this dire condition, in an environment rife with uncertainty, David’s hope is in the Yahweh. He knows the fate that awaits the wicked, that God will “strike all my enemies on the cheek, and shatter the teeth of the wicked.” (Ps. 3:7) The heads of the wicked will be crushed for “salvation belongs to the Yahweh.” Those who make it their chief end to oppose God, are made an end in their opposition.

“A good story requires a beginning, a middle and an ending, a narrative whole. A well constructed plot, therefore, must neither begin nor end at haphazard, but conform to these principles.”[1] A clear beginning and a clear end serve to clarify the overall meaning of a text.[2] Here we see in these texts scattered across the overall narrative of scripture a picture of both God’s anointed and His evil opposition. Both strains of the narrative share beginnings, means of operations, and chief ends. The chief end of God’s anointed is glory in salvation through judgment[3]. The chief end of evil is to oppose God and mar His creation.[4] The anointed end in glory, those in opposition end in head crushing defeat and obscurity. From the beginning, God has made clear that such opposing efforts are bound to bring about death and distance from glory. God overcomes the narrative of pride, deceit, self-exaltation, murder and opposition with His raw creation-wielding power. He gives us a humble suffering servant, who is the way, the truth, God-exalting, life -giver, and crushes the head of the opposition. Through God’s command of the narrative, in both prediction and practice, we gain hope in the face of opposition. Even if thousands set opposition around us, we will not be afraid, for Yahweh sustains and He is our Salvation.[5]


[1] Aristotle from his Poetics quoted in Stephen G. Dempster. Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible Downers Grove: IVP Apollos. 2003. 45.

[2] Dempster, 45

[3] “God’s ultimate purpose is the main concern of the biblical authors, even when they are describing subordinate ends on the way to the chief end.” James Hamilton God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment: A Biblical Theology. Wheaton: Crossway. 2010 560.

[4] We might think of God’s prophecy concerning the serpent, that the seed of the serpent would pursue the seed of the woman, consistently bruising his heel; attempting to mar God’s creation and slow His purpose. Gen 3:15

[5] Psalm 3:5-6

h1

The King Opposed Again…

June 1, 2012

Part 5: The King Opposed… Again

When we reach the gospels we are no longer dealing with a mere type of the messiah, we are dealing with the messiah realized in Jesus the Christ.  Jesus’ appearance on the scene of history results in an abundance of opposition from a number of sources.  He is opposed by Satan, self-exalting Pharisees, deceitful disciples, and murderous demoniacs.  It is hard to explain the rise in evil opposition except to say that the coming of the kingdom of God was the in-breaking of a great light into a dark world.  This powerful light cast many shadows and when the true light of Christ came into the world shadows appeared and were vanquished.  The darkness did not overcome the light, rather the light overcame the darkness.[1]  The darkness deepens and the opposition reaches a head with Christ’s betrayal at the hands of Judas Iscariot.  As we examine this narrative, it will be helpful to set the scene.

The King (Jesus) has entered the city of Jerusalem in triumph. (Luke 19:28)  He is hosting a Passover feast.  At the feast he subtly identifies the one who will betray him. (John 13:21)  Judas has been deceitfully looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus into the hands of the chief priests. (Matthew 26:16)  Judas obtains leave from Jesus to depart, at which point, he is entered into by Satan. (John 13:27)  The King departs Jerusalem, crosses the Kidron valley, and goes up to the Mount of Olives to pray and weep. (John 18:1; Luke 22:39-46)  Judas arms himself with a cohort of Roman soldiers and officers from the Pharisees and pursues Jesus to the Mount of Olives. (John 18:3)  Here the King does not flee, for His hour has come. (John 12:23)  Jesus is taken, tried and killed.  Judas flees the city, hangs himself in a tree, his body is pierced, his entrails pour out, and he is buried without glory in an anonymous field.[2]  Then the King (Jesus) returns to the city,  having been made alive by the power of God, and His people gathered near to Him. (John 20:19-29)

One can hardly recount this narrative without being struck by the picture presented in light of scripture.  The similarities should be apparent.  King Jesus, from the line of David, reigns in this narrative confronted with the opposition of one close to Him.  One who is proud, seeking to exalt himself, deceiving others, with murder his goal.  Judas share the source of evil, the means of evil and the end of evil in opposition to God’s anointed.  One can observe in this narrative a multi-layering of nuance.  Is Jesus being opposed by Judas as David was opposed by Absalom? Yes.  Is Jesus being opposed by Satan as Satan opposed Yahweh in Isaiah? Yes.  The glorious difference between the texts is the immediacy of Jesus’ reversal of the opposition, rendering it mute by his timely resurrection.  Now that these three texts have been laid out, we shall compare them and attempt to gain insight and hope in observing the futility of those who oppose God.


[1]  “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

[2] Matt 27:5; Acts 1:18, Matt 27:8-10; Acts 1:19.