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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jesus - King, Priest, Healer of Israel

There are some interesting parallels between 1 Kings chapters 12 and 13 and Matthew chapters 11, and 12

Back in the OT, they have thus far had three kings. Saul, the great King David, and Solomon, who begins as a wise king, but then uses that wisdom for corruption.

Now King Solomon has just died, and his son Rehoboam is up to be king. Representatives from the other tribes come to him and say this: ( listen to how many times he says the word yoke.)

1 Kings 12:4-14 "Your father made our YOKE heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy YOKE upon us, and we will serve you."

He says, “Give me some time to think.” Then he asks his old advisors, “Should I make things worse or easier for the tribes?“ The old advisors say - make it easier. Then he asks his own friends, the young advisors.

And he said to them, "What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, `Lighten the YOKE that your father put upon us'?" And the young men who had grown up with him said to him, "Thus shall you speak to this people who said to you, `Your father made our YOKE heavy, but do you lighten it for us'; thus shall you say to them, `My little finger is thicker than my father's loins. And now, whereas my father laid upon you a heavy YOKE, I will add to your YOKE. he spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying, "My father made your YOKE heavy, but I will add to your YOKE; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions."

Here is the parallel in Matthew.

Matthew 11:29-30 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

So Jesus is the new King of Israel who will lighten the yoke of the people who choose him to be King.

Back to 1 Kings. This news of course brings division and it is at this time that the 10 tribes of the north brake off and call themselves Israel, while the two tribes of the south call themselves Judah.

Now God has foreseen all of this and has already chosen a king for the north Israel and his name is Jeroboam.

(Note Jeroboam is the King of the North Israel, Rehoboam is the King of the South Judah. I remember it this way JERoboam is NOT the king of JERusalem)

Now Jeroboam sees that Israel will still have to go south to worship God. So for completely political reasons he sets up two temples in Israel, one in the north and one in the south, and reinstitutes calf worship.

He says in 1 Kings 12:28 "You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt."

Then to make matters worse, 1 Kings 12:31 He also made houses on high places, and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not of the Levites.

So he even gets rid of the legitimate priesthood and replaces it with a false priesthood. This is paralleled in Matthew, but in reverse. right after Jesus talks about the easy yoke:

Matthew 12:1-5 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, "Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath." He said to them, "Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law how on the sabbath the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are guiltless?

You see, only priests were allowed to do this kind of work on the Sabbath. Jesus is telling us that these are the new priests. Then he brings King David into the picture. David was from the tribe of Judah, not Levi. He and his men ate the bread that only the priests could eat, yet he remained guiltless, why? Because he was trying to reinstitute an older priesthood, the priesthood like Melchizedek’s priesthood.

One more parallel: Back in 1 Kings.
After Jehoboam sets up these temples, he is worshipping in one of the false temples and God sends a prophet who says this:

1 Kings 13:3-4 "This is the sign that the LORD has spoken: `Behold, the altar shall be torn down, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.'" And when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, "Lay hold of him." And his hand, which he stretched out against him, dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself.

In Matthew, right after the grain field confrontation, Matthew tells us this:

Matthew 12:9-10 And he went on from there, and entered their synagogue. And behold, there was a man with a withered hand.

Who, of course, Jesus heals.

So I think the point of these parallels is this: Jesus is the New King of Israel, the New David, with the beginnings of a new Israel in His 12 apostles. He has come to restore a true priesthood and to heal the divisions that sin has caused. Typoligically this is happening in Israel, which represents what He has come to do for the whole world.

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