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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 104 (Deja Vu)

[reaction to OYB's Nov. 22-24 readings]

Today I finished Ezekiel. Toward the end it took a strangely detailed turn. The prophet described a vision of a new temple is striking detail. I reminded me of the description of the temple built by Solomon. I wonder if these were actually plans for the Second Temple. Also, it ended with a discussion of how to divide land when the tribes of Israel, all of them, return to the promised land. It also identified one clan of the Levites, those from Zadok, as the only ones authorized to be priests in the new temple. Very similar to the Levitical laws, it detailed sacrifice rituals, purity requirements, etc. And of course, I now can read Revelation as almost a parody of Ezekiel, even down to the new temple revealed in a vision. I guess that's foreshadowing.

The Epistle reading is from 1 Peter. In some ways, it is very similar to Paul's letters. It emphasizes self-control and obedience to authority. But it also starts of with this to blow a hole in my fledgling theory that bodily Resurrection was a replacement for the absence of a Second Coming in the life time of the early church members.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
That's not to say there weren't competing ideas. There absolutely were as is evident in Paul's comments about false teachers and by various disagreements among even the authors that made it into the Canon. But, the self-evident explanation I posed in my Mature Audiences Only post seems challenged by this.

Peter also has some nice stuff your mom told you, like, "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse ou of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." (2:12) The best revenge is to live a good life, right? Most significant for me is Peter's discription of salvation. "[Y]ou were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers." (1:18) This is what I think salvation is all about. Being saved from an empty life.

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