Fire Hydrant Theology

January 3, 2011

Bring on that Symbolic Biblical Language! I can take it!!

If you weren’t able to hear the sermon, here it is. Jesus, cut off: A Theology of Circumcision

Rather than repeating myself (and to buy myself some time), I’ll just open up the floor to any questions, comments, or challenges (ahem, DAN!).

Fodder for thought:

1) Did you go and read Genesis 22 in light of what was said about 3rd days and resurrection?
2) Why not?
3) And now?
4) Think of how long Jesus’ ministry lasted
5) and how many journeys the Apostle Paul took.
6) Anything else confuse or bring other questions to mind?

Here are some key reiterations upon which you might continue to meditate:

~~One language to rule them all; One language to guide them; One language to reveal them all; and in the Light unbind them.
The one language that the Bible uses to rule over all other spoken languages is the language of symbolism or typology.

~~Typology in the Bible–the Bible’s language of symbolism– that which pictures in the OT what finds its fullest reality in the NT either through the person and work of Jesus or through the relationship that God has with his people.
In the OT, God used various pictures and manifold ideas to teach his people what he meant by what he said and did whenever he did or said anything. In the OT, God used various pictures and manifold ideas
to teach his people truths about who and what they were as sinners in need of deliverance.

~~In the OT God orchestrated enough historical and sacrificial events that symbolized what he would do in and through Jesus’ work as Messiah on the 3rd and 7th and 8th days. Biblically speaking 3 is half of 7
and very often represents testing or trials midway through a symbolic “week”. And so when the 3rd hour or day or month or year comes along it’s a crucial turning point to which we must pay attention.
7 is the number of creation which was subjected to futility and so needed renewal on the 8th day which is the beginning of a new week.

~~this is what most people do not understand about the sacraments: the sacraments are both promissory and threatening; they hold out both life and death to the recipient and the determining factor in whether or not it is life or death is the presence of a life of faith.

~~When Abraham heard God’s explanation of this maledictory ritual he understood God to be saying, “I am the source of your life—-stay in covenant with me and you will live; I am the source of your life—-separation from me will lead to death.

~~And this is really what we are to understand is meant when the Bible speaks about breaking the covenant
from this text we need to see that breaking the covenant is more than merely sinning against God; simply sinning is not breaking the covenant breaking covenant with God is to depart from God in disbelief.

~~When Paul here says, the removal of the body of the flesh, he is referring to the rite of circumcision as it was practiced since Abraham–but also as it was not practised by the Gentiles. Much of what Paul has written in his epistles has to do with the abusive attitude the Jews had toward the Gentiles re: circumcision. Judiasm in Paul’s day was not the religion of Moses but an aberration; Judaism in Paul’s day said no Gentile could be saved unless he was circ’d, but circumcision was never, ever, required for someone to be saved in the Bible.

~~What we need to understand is when Paul talks about the circumcised and uncircumcised, he is not talking about believing Jews and unbelieving “other people”. In Romans 2 and 4 Paul is talking about believing Jews who were circumcised and believing Gentiles who were not. Notice that Abraham is spoken of there as “father of all who believe and are c’d”—-meaning Jews; and he is “father of all who believe without being c’d”—-meaning God fearing Gentiles like Cornelius in Acts 10. What Paul is not saying is this, “Abraham is father to those who believe but choose not to be circumcised b/c circumcision is not really that important.”
No, Paul knew what we normally do not: Paul knew that Moses never taught or required Gentiles who confessed Yahweh as their one, true God to be circumcised. It was only those who were physical descendants of Abraham who had to be circumcised as priests to the nations for a specific purpose in redemptive history.

~~So, to sum up: in the OT there were people who were saved by faith in the one true and living God;
one group began with men like Abel and Seth and Noah and Melchizedek and Abraham and these were saved by faith without being circumcised.
The other group began with men like Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Moses and these were saved by faith, too, but were also circumcised.

~~In Colossians 2 Paul shows that spiritually speaking the removal of the body of flesh happens for everyone by faith in Christ. By the circumcision of Christ, Paul says, you are circumcised in your baptism;
you get the circumcision made without hands which is being united by faith to Christ in his crucifixion;
which is the fulfillment of circumcision in it fullest sense. You and I are freed from our offenses against God in Christ’s circum-crucifixion; instead of our being cut off from God because of Adam’s breaking the covenant
as our covenant head we have a new covenant head who has not only kept the covenant for us but who also went under the knife for us. Because Jesus was cut off, cruci-circum-fied for us, we will not be cut off.