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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.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Jesus and the Jubilee

Sometimes when we hear Jesus quote a scripture from the Old Testament, it doesn’t seem to have the same impact on us as it did the original hearers. The reason is that we aren’t as familiar with Old Testament as we should be.

That is right, we need to be a people who are familiar with the scriptures because they are God’s love letters to us.

Here is a place where Jesus quotes, or rather reads, from Isaiah. He says -

Luke 4:18-21 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

Now what is significant about that verse that Jesus reads?

What is significant about that verse is all of the history behind it. This verse has to do with the Jubilee.


What is the Jubilee?

When Israel came out of Egypt, God gave them certain laws about resting. God said that every Saturday they should rest, that is the Sabbath. God also said that every seventh year, Israel should let the ground rest. Finally, at 50 years, they should celebrate a Jubilee.
On the Jubilee, not only does the ground rest, but three other things take place as well.
If any land is acquired during those 50 years, it is to be restored.
If you have made anyone a slave in those 50 years, they are to be released.
If you have acquired any debts in that time, they are to be forgiven.

So celebrating the Jubilee would have been a time of great joy and celebration. It seems like it would have also been a time of great trust for those who had to let the slaves, land, and debts go.

It really would have, but God was saying – You need to do this for each other because I have done this for you when I brought you out of Egypt. I gave you the land of Canaan, I broke your bonds of slavery, and I canceled your debts. Now, you need to do that for one another.

The problem is, of course, that no one actually celebrated the Jubilee. So God says that He will punish the people.

Jeremiah 34:2 "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah and say to him, `Thus says the LORD: Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.

So here is what Zedekiah does:
Jeremiah 34:8-10 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to make a proclamation of liberty to them, that every one should set free his Hebrew slaves, male and female, so that no one should enslave a Jew, his brother. And they obeyed, all the princes and all the people who had entered into the covenant that every one would set free his slave, male or female, so that they would not be enslaved again; they obeyed and set them free.

Yet the story continues in the next verse.

Jeremiah 34:16-17 but then you turned around and profaned my name when each of you took back his male and female slaves, whom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them into subjection to be your slaves. Therefore, thus says the LORD: You have not obeyed me by proclaiming liberty (Jubilee), every one to his brother and to his neighbor; behold, I proclaim to you liberty (Jubilee) to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine, says the LORD. I will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.

That is when Judah goes off to Babylon in exile.

That is right, and that is what God is saying – you don’t want freedom for your slaves, that is fine, then I will set you free from the land.
But not all hope was lost. Isaiah told the captives in Babylon this:

Isaiah 61:1-2 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty (Jubilee) to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor

This is what Jesus reads in the synagogue and proclaims as being fulfilled.

Now each of those Jubilee promises has a heavenly fulfillment.

Remember that the Israelites were to do three things – forgive debts, restore the land, and free the slaves.
Well we ask God in the “Our Father” to forgive our debts (we say sins, because that is its true meaning),
Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors;
Our Heavenly homeland of heaven has been restored to us.
We are no longer slaves to sin and our passions.
All of these things were accomplished by Christ on the cross, and we are to pass them on to others.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dan's Top 10 Bible Tidbits in a Minute

#10
Genesis chapter 1 was tells us that when God created the heavens and the earth that the earth was formless and void.
God takes the first three days to give the earth form.
First by making day and night
Second by making the water and the sky.
and Third by making dry land appear.
Next God fills the void with rulers over these three forms.
On the 4th day he makes the sun, moon, and stars to rule the day and night.
on the 5th days he fills the water with fish and the sky with birds
On the 6th day he fills the land with animals and then finally land.

#9
In Genesis Chapter 15 God comes to Abraham and tells him that his reward will be great for his faithfulness. Abraham reminds God that he has no children. God brings Abraham outside and says - Look to heaven and number the stars if you can - this is how many your descendants will be.
What is interesting about this story is that if you drop down to verse 17 it says - when the sun had gone down…suggesting that the previous conversation took place during the day when the stars were not out to be numbered, yet Abraham still believed God. This is a man of great faith looking into the blue sky, knowing that stars are present but they just can't be seen. So he also believes God when God says that he will have descendants that number as the stars.

#8
The name Joshua is the Hebrew form of the name Jesus. And just as Joshua in the OT led the Israelites from wandering through the Jordan into the promised land; Jesus through the waters of Baptism leads us into the heavenly promised land.

#7
The number 666 is used in reference to two people in the Bible; once in the Book of Revelation and once concerning how much Solomon had taxed the people and had really fallen from grace and had become a type of antichrist.

#6
Jonah (you know the guy in the fish story) went to the city of Jappa when fleeing the Lord's command for him to call the Gentile city of Ninevah to repent. After being spit up by the great fish he found himself once again at Jappa and did finally go to the tell the those Ninevites to repent.
Now Peter in the New testament was called by Jesus "the son of Jonah" also found himself at the port city of Jappa when he was commanded by the Lord to receive the first Gentile convert Cornelius into the Church.

#5
We all know the story after the resurrection in the Gospel of John Chapter 21 how Jesus had made a charcoal fire and asked Peter 3 times if he loved him. Peter responded in the affirmative. Now we can guess why Jesus asked three times, because Peter had denied Jesus three times. If we look closely at Peter's denial of Jesus we see another important detail. Peter denied Jesus while warming his hands over a charcoal fire. Jesus now recreates the situation as an opportunity for reconciliation.

#4
At the end of Mark Chapter 1 we hear the story of how Jesus healed the man with leprosy.
This story is a summery of the whole Gospel. There is a man who is sick who can not go into cities because of his sickness and must remain in the wilderness. Jesus who had only been going to cities now meets the man in the wilderness and cures his sickness but it is Jesus who can no longer go into the city. Jesus cures the man of his infirmity but takes on himself the effects of the infirmity, namely not being able to go into cities. The same thing happens with sin. Jesus cures us of our sins but takes on the effects of the sin through being put to death.

#3
In Leviticus 21:10 it says that the high priest is not allowed to tear his garments. (You know in the OT whenever they heard band news they were always tearing their garments and putting dirt on their head)
Well, while Jesus was on trial before the High Priest Caiphas, Jesus admits that he is the Christ and Caiphas the high priest tears his own robes breaking the law in Leviticus 21. But notice something else - in John 19:23 when they are dividing Jesus’ garments (which was a seamless garment, what a priest would where when offering sacrifice). Instead of tearing them they decide to draw lots for them, and his cloths do not get torn showing that Jesus is the new High Priest.

#2
The Good Samaritan - a spiritual interpretation.
The man is Adam leaving the city of God (Jerusalem) and going to the city of man (Jericho). He is attacked by the devil. Neither the natural priesthood before Moses nor the Levitical priesthood of the law can help man. Christ is the good Samaritan who anointed him with the sacraments represented by oil and wine. He then places him in the church and gives charge of him to the pope and promises a return.

#1
In John 6:51 we hear Jesus - I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever. Notice he says - eats ..will live forever.
These words are used in only one other verse in the Bible. Genesis 3:22 - Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever." Jesus, who died on a tree (acts 5:30), continues to say in the discourse that we are to eat his resurrected flesh and blood for eternal life. The cross is the new tree of life and Jesus is the fruit of the tree.


- Thanks for reading my blog. If you would like to discover some of your own Bible Tidbits or just deepen you knowledge of Sacred Scripture and Our Lord; consider purchasing "A Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture" (Volume 2: The New Testament) by Dom Bernard Orchard. To purchase: Click below or on the image at the top of the page. Thank you.

Steve DiCarlo and I are currently working on Volume 1: The Old Testament and Volume 3: Articles. We hope to have them out later this year.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

9 Ways to Participate in the Blessings of Others

We have spoken before on the 9 ways to participate in someone else’s sin. If we flip those around, I think we can use them to participate in someone's good works.

Read what Jesus says:

Matthew 10:41 He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

So I believe that we can say that when we support prophets and righteous men and radio stations, we will benefit from their rewards.

Also sometimes you can know learn things about a topic by studying its opposite and that is what I hope to accomplish today.

Now some of these things are of course obvious, but they are always good to meditate on and be reminded of.

So let’s go through those 9 ways to participate in someone’s sin, and see if we can turn these into blessings.

#1
The first is counsel, if we counsel someone to do wrong that is a sin, but if we counsel someone to do well, this will bring with it a blessing.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

#2
The second is Command. If we command someone to do evil, this is sinful. But if we command someone who do well, this is a blessing.

Naaman is a pagan who has leprosy, he is counseled by his Jewish slave to go to Elisha to be cured. Elisha tells him to wash in the Jordan 7 times.

2 Kings 5:11-13 But Naaman was angry, and went away, saying, "Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage. But his servants came near and said to him, "My father, if the prophet had commanded you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather, then, when he says to you, `Wash, and be clean'?"

He then washes and is made clean because he obeys the prophet.

#3
The third is consent. If we are told to do something sinful and we consent, this is a sin. This is a response to either being counseled or commanded to do something evil. Now when we flip that on its head and consent to some good that has been counseled or commanded for us to do, then this is good.

This reminds me of the story of Gideon, who is in one of the smallest tribes of Israel, and in one of the smallest clans, and in one of the smallest families, and is the least in his family.

This is Judges chapter 6. He is asked by the Lord to go up and fight the Midianites, but their army is great in numbers. He asks for some signs from God that God was in fact the talking to him and God gave him the signs and he agreed to lead the army. There was just one problem. The army was too big. If it is too big then Gideon might get the glory if he wins. God wants the glory and has Gideon take his army from 32,000 men to 300. With these 300, God, through Gideon, freed the Israelites from the Midianite army. It was all because Gideon consented to God’s plan, and today we remember this guy from 3200 years ago. - How is that for glory?

#4
The fourth is provoke. If you provoke someone to sin, your provocation is sinful as well. While we don’t want to necessarily provoke someone into doing good, that seems like you are going to make fun of them until they give in. I would say that the opposite is to encourage someone to do something good.

#5
The fifth is praise. If you praise someone for going something evil, this is evil as well. Conversely if you praise someone for doing well, this brings with it a blessing.

#6
The sixth is conceal. If you conceal something evil that is done, let's say in confession, then that is sinful too. But if we flip this around and proclaim some good news, like the gospel, this is a blessing.

2 Timothy 4:1-2 charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.

#7
The seventh is help. If you help someone do something sinful, this is sinful. Likewise, if you help someone do something good, this is good.

This gets back to the verse about receiving a prophet. If you support the good that is going on, you will share in its blessings.

#8
The eight is silence. In certain cases silence is a sin. If someone is accused of a crime - let’s say - and you know that they didn’t do it, and yet you stay silent. This is a sin.
The opposite would be to speak up and tell what you know, even if it is hard.

#9
The ninth is to defend a wrong done. The opposite could be to defend something good done.

( if there is time I think this would be great to do )

Now here are the Nine ways to participate in someone elses blessings - listening to Catholic radio.

If you counsel to listen to Catholic radio - this is a blessing.
If you command someone (in charity) to turn on Catholic Radio - this is a blessing.
If you consent to listen to Catholic radio - this is a blessing.
If you encourage someone to listen to Catholic radio - this is a blessing.
If you praise someone for listening to Catholic radio - this is a blessing.
If you have a sticker, advertising your Catholic radio station - this is a blessing.
If you help someone to listen to Catholic radio by keeping it on the air through donations - this is a blessing.
If you are silent while others are listening to Catholic radio - this is a blessing
If you have defend someone who is being attacked for listening to Catholic radio - this a blessing.