#Ecclesiastes | #Transfiguration | #Reviler

Crumbs from the reading table is a post about gleanings from my recent readings—from books to articles. Every gleaning will be long enough to spark some thoughts but short enough to finish during a bathroom break.

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Excursions in Ecclesiastes

The following excerpt is from my series on Ecclesiastes:

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,

    vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

What does man gain by all the toil

    at which he toils under the sun?

 

  • Ecclesiastes 1:1-3

First, the foundational problem of man is sin. The source of “vanity,” “vapor,” or “uselessness” is moral and ethical.

Second, the problem of sin affects all of creation or all of life. Notice all the endeavors of man-centered living that the author critiques; learning, building, designing, entertainment, poverty relief, etc.

Third, Ecclesiastes gives us the wisdom to build nations. In giving us the negative ways to make culture, we are guided in the proper way to build culture. The Preacher is not offering a passive form of escape but redemption. He teaches the purpose of man: work, under God, according to His Word, in every part of our life.

A transfigured kerfluffle

In Robert Reymond’s A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, a section came up dealing with the authenticity of the Transfiguration. After establishing the authenticity, Reymond spends some time on its significance. Two points stood out to me.

While showing Elijah and Moses’ glory, the transfiguration distinguished the glory of Christ as greater and affirms of His deity. Reymond writes,

Whereas the Father’s voice from heaven at his baptism confirmed to Jesus his rightful claim to Sonship, here it attests to his disciples his unique station as the Son of God. Here, as there, these words signalized Jesus’ personal and essential divine Sonship as the antecedent ground and presupposition of his messianic investiture which is alluded to in the final words, “Listen to him,” words reminiscent of Deuteronomy 18:15, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me [that is, Moses; recall his presence here on this occasion] from among your brothers. You must listen to him.” Peter was later to confirm that the voice was that of God the Father and that the Father’s attestation “honored” and “glorified” the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1:17). Here, then, in the Father’s attestation to his Son, in addition to the feature of the trans-figuration itself, do we find the second indication in the transfiguration accounts of Jesus’ essential deity.

The other point has to do with dealing with the timeline of events prophesied in Scripture. They knew the Messiah was supposed to come after Elijah, yet we have Elijah finally arriving, but Messiah was already present all this time. Didn’t scripture say Elijah and then Messiah? It did, and Christ led them to conclude that John the Baptist came in the “spirit and power of Elijah.”

From these two observations, a few takeaways came to mind:

  • We may recognize and publicly acknowledge the glory—weightiness of one’s godly character and contribution to the kingdom—but we may not fraudulently weigh them as equal with the Lord of Glory. Fraudulent recognition of glory comes in obeying patently false or immoral directives. Or accepting assertions (didactical or pedagogical) without “weighing” them in the light of Scripture.
  • The divine and kingly glory of Christ cannot be localized to an institution or shrine but must weigh upon and direct us in our life and worship wherever the Father’s Will abides. In other words, the authority of Christ demands obedience at all times and in all places.
  • Questions about God’s providential workings aren’t wrong, as long as the Triune God through Scripture is the Master from whom you seek clarity.

Bleeding the “person” out of people (pt. 1)

I regularly frequent an article written by Martin Selbrede on the topic of reviling. Specifically, the sin of “Thee not me” regarding God’s warning against revilers.

Selbrede highlights the various meanings and renderings.

  • It injures another’s reputation by denigrating speech.
  • Abusive insults.
  • Verbal assaults with a mean spirit meant to demoralize.

The transliteration of revilers, according to some, is say-SPEARers. It’s indicative of someone ensnared with bloodlust who plunges verbal barbs in others. God forbids our use of reviling, even in retaliation—we “clap back” with blessing (1 Corinthians 4:12). No say-spears in God’s armory.

Selbrede concludes his first section with the following,

What Dr. Rushdoony brings out so clearly is the element of “constant judgment on all other men,” for reviling is nothing if not a judgment upon the character, conduct, intellect, integrity, or other attribute of the target. Rather than letting God judge, we elbow God out of the way and do the judging for Him. Man prefers to be in “constant judgment on all other men” because it places man on top as judge, as the standard of right and wrong, truth and error.

 

This is precisely why Rushdoony says the revilers act “as their own gods”: because they usurp God’s prerogative. God, after all, might be silent, “testing the sons of men with His eyelids” (Psalm 11:4), and the reviler then justifies his words as needful and righteous. His words are neither of these things—rather, they exclude him from inheriting the Kingdom of God.

Here is some food for thought:

  • Is your serrated edge really needed for righteousness sake, or do you just want to get a jab in even if your involvement is not needed?
  • When in a situation with someone saySPEARing you, are there ways you can bless them in return?

Until next time…

Read more. Think more. Apply it.