We have already been hinting at this final post throughout the series. Jesus conquering the dragon is a matter of the salvific work of God, but the passages of Revelation 12 and Daniel 7 signal more than just the conquering of the dragon. The most prominent theme of Christmas and the Gospel is the arrival of Yahweh, the LORD… as a human. This is familiar territory and basic Christian theology; we are not exploring a new topic or bringing some kind of fresh revelation, so you might think this will be a quick read. However, there may be some hidden pieces we are not quite aware of until we dig up some Old Testament passages.
Last week, we looked at Genesis 3:15 and how Jesus crushes the head of the serpent (dragon). I think we can acknowledge that while this has already happened in Christ’s death and resurrection, it continues to happen in us as the Gospel spreads. Then, in finality when Jesus returns to earth riding on the clouds, He will finish off sin and the dragon for good in the lake of fire. This concept is known in Christian circles as the “Already but not yet” Kingdom of Jesus.
Understanding the Old Testament is vitally important to understanding our faith because the narrative of God and His relationship with His people is a pattern that finds its fulfillment in Jesus. Jesus only makes sense within the narrative of the Old Testament. The Apostles did not make up a new faith, they recognized Jesus as the prophesied Messiah of the faith they already practiced. A fulfilled revelation was given to them and the early Jesus movement. Like them, we cannot separate the New Testament from the Old Testament, in fact, the only thing different about “testaments” are the titles. Both speak to the same Yahweh, the same Christ, the same Lord.
Jesus fulfills another image that is given in the Old Testament. This is not a fulfillment of specific prophecy so much as the fulfillment of the very nature of what it means to be human. In Genesis 1:26, we read:
“Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and all the crawling things on earth.”
This is a very well-known verse, one you are familiar with. A common interpretation is that there is something about humanity that is the “image of God”, and much ink has been spilled explaining what exactly the “image of God” could mean. However, that way of reading and understanding does not take into account the cultural context of the Hebrew Scriptures, that is, an ancient Middle Eastern culture.
Dr. Mackie says in this video: “—one thing that’s missing in this tabernacle that you would find in every other ancient holy space are idol images, that physically represent the god… that’s because in the Bible, all humanity is God’s image.” (emphasis mine) The “image of God”, therefore, means that humans are the representations and representatives of the Creator to His creation. We are the “idols” that represent the LORD.
We have walked through a number of discussions about things surrounding and leading up to the appearance of Jesus in the Gospels. We’ve talked about the faithfulness of women and how Jesus comes to the world through His faithful people. We’ve talked about the dragon and how Jesus overcomes death and chaos to bring peace, life, and order to His faithful people. This week, we are going to discuss Jesus as King and High Priest, the Perfecter of humanity.
Humanity is created to be the gateway between Yahweh and creation. We are created to be partners with Yahweh in His ongoing creative work. We would all agree that humans are made to worship God, and more specifically, we are created to be in union and partnership with Him. We went through the series on abiding, and this is the crux (pun intended) of the matter: we are to be with Him and He with us, creating life, and helping bring His world to full reconciliation.
This is our “ministry of reconciliation” and what it means to be a “royal priesthood.” We are able to do this because Jesus came and conquered death. We are able to do this because He has gone before us as the High Priest and King, mediating our reconciliation with Him, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. The whole Trinity partnering together to do what we could not, succeeding where we have failed. From infancy through to death and resurrection, Yahweh has made a way for us to righteously re-enter His courts, bow at His feet, offer ourselves as living sacrifices, and go back out into the chaos as witnesses of His kingdom and glory. To follow Jesus’ example of being truly human and fulfilling our intended role as beloved partners of God.
In a world where we can get caught up in the faithlessness of many, both the mighty and the weak, let us step back and acknowledge there is one true King and one true family of God who transcend, subvert, and pervade all cultural and ethnic boundaries to acknowledge and celebrate the glory of God. Israel was no different, with faithless kings throughout its history, with rare and only temporary exceptions. Similarly, your preferred political candidate, party, human-centered hope, or ideology is human and all need to bow before Jesus as Lord. He has already overcome the chaos they seek to order and defeat.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39
Let us meditate on the goodness and glory of our God and rejoice in Him:
From Bethany and the Luyt-Dozois home,