I recently preached a sermon on the ark of the covenant in Exodus 25. While studying the ark I realized that there was an overwhelming amount of typology written about the ark that, while not necessarily allegory, was definitely superficial. I would consider it unwise at least and probably irresponsible.
Most of these instances focused on how the Ark was built from two materials (gold and wood). Here’s an example: Continue reading
Another awesome quote about the Ark of the Covenant. This one didn’t make it into the sermon but I really wanted to share it.
The deposition of [the Ten Commandments] in the ark underneath the mercy seat… testified to the fact that God’s kingdom in Israel was founded on immutable justice and righteousness (Ps. 89:15; 97:2). Even grace, in its actings, must respect law. Favour cannot be dispensed on terms which make the law “void” (Rom. 3:31). If sin is pardoned, it must be with full recognition of the law’s claims against the sinner. The ultimate end must be to “establish the law” (Rom. 3:31). Only in the Gospel have we the clear revelation of how, on these terms, mercy and truth can meet together, and righteousness and peace can kiss each other (Ps. 85:10; Rom. 3:21–27).
– H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Exodus, vol. 2, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 253.
I’m putting the finishing touches on a sermon about the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:10-22) for tomorrow morning and wanted to share this tremendous quote. It’s a meditation on how only Yahweh could bring together the conflicting demands of mercy and justice perfectly:
The teaching of the ark in this respect was, primarily, that of David in the eighty-fifth psalm: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Mercy without justice is a weak sentimentality, subversive of moral order. Justice without mercy is a moral severity—theoretically without a flaw, but revolting to man’s instinctive feelings. The synthesis of the two is required. The law, enshrined in the holiest place of the sanctuary, vindicated the awful purity and perfection of God. The mercy seat, extended above the law, assigned to mercy its superior directive position. The cherubic figures showed the gaze of angels riveted in astonishment and admiration on God’s mode of uniting mercy with justice, by means of vicarious suffering, which he can accept as atonement. Finally, the Divine presence, promised as a permanent thing, gave God’s sanction to the expiatory scheme, whereby alone man can be reconciled to him, and the claims both of justice and of mercy satisfied.
H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Exodus, vol. 2, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 251.
In the Ark of the Covenant justice (the tablets of the law) and mercy (the mercy seat) come together. They point forward to the day when God the Son would bear the wrath of justice due us so we could receive the mercy he lovingly bestows.
I’ll begin my link post with a link to a link post!
A very important article:
But as every good virtue in this fallen world has its Achilles’ heel, so this good and excellent principle has been taken too far by some. The very text we use, most often, to defend the preaching of Christ from all the Scriptures – does not, in fact, teach that every passage is necessarily about Him or His work. The misuse and abuse of the beauty of Christocentricity has (1) caused some to over-react in response and thus miss the clear testimony to Jesus from all parts of Scripture; and (2) caused some to be robbed of the “whole counsel of God” because they trample underfoot many profitable things in their zeal to pave a way to Jesus from every text and syllable.
If you want to read ahead a bit you’re going to see some thoughts on biblical theology coming from me over the next few months. My definition of “biblical theology” is a bit narrower than this one – I limit my own use of the term to biblical themes (#3 on this list).
This post shows one goal of Christ-centered preaching: Continue reading
This past January I took a course at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary titled “Christ in the Old Testament.” Gordon Hugenberger taught the course and he is a big fan of typology. I’ve covered typology and allegory in the past but Hugenberger gave a historical overview of some interesting approaches to typology.
Here’s a quick summary: Continue reading
“Are you reformed?”
I get that question quite a bit as a Baptist attending a Presbyterian seminary (Westminster). It’s a tough question to answer. My answer depends on the context: What does “reformed” mean to the person asking the question?
What “Reformed” Used to Mean
“Reformed” properly refers to:
- The theological heritage of John Calvin, the Synod of Dort, and the Westminster Confession
- A commitment to covenant theology, including pedobaptism
- Belief in predestination and reprobation (i.e. TULIP, commonly called Calvinism)
- A preoccupation with the glory of God
- A preoccupation with the sovereignty of God
- A commitment to redemptive-historical hermeneutics (The whole focus of this website.)
As a credobaptist I can’t say that I’m in that heritage. However… that doesn’t mean I’m not reformed. It depends on the situation.
What “Reformed” Means Today
Like the term “evangelical” the meaning of “reformed” is changing. In the west today “reformed” theology has lost the implications of covenant theology, pedobaptism, and its credal heritage.
Today “reformed” has typically dropped the first two criteria and simply means: Continue reading
Here’s a quick note that Iain Duguid’s ebook Is Jesus in the Old Testament? is available for free download on the Westminster Bookstore website to help promote a sale on three of his commentaries.
If you scroll down you’ll also see deals on other books he wrote about finding the gospel in the Beatitudes and the lives of the patriarchs.