Living water, by Jyoti Sahi 1984 © Jyoti Sahi

The King, the Royal Priest, and the Garden

Our Role In God’s Story

In the beginning, there was a king who created everything he desired across time and space. Though he does not need them for his existence, yet out of his gratuitous love, he made all things beautiful. He brought to life remarkable things so complex, yet unique, both visible and invisible. He brought order and beauty from chaos.

Amid this astonishing creation, he chose to build his most beautiful dwelling place — his garden. Here life was abundant and beautiful, overflowing with righteousness and justice. Every part of this garden reflected the knowledge of the glory of the King. He created this garden to inhabit it along with someone special that he is going to bring about — a son who bears his image and glory. This Son is the prince of all creation. He and his wife were the appointed priests, who would worship the King by guarding and tending the garden and extending the King’s rule to all the earth. The King honored them with all knowledge, wisdom, and authority. He was delighted with their company, and they were always in one mind and spirit. The garden grew beautiful as they served it with great love and wisdom. The King told them, remain in my love, that you may live and rule with me forever. If you choose to reject me, you will lose me, the source of all life. You will surely die.

After many days, the priests slowly started doubting the King and his love. In their pride, they wanted to exalt themselves over the King. Instead of guarding the garden, they allowed the King’s enemy in, who tricked them into serving him. This broke the King’s heart. He sent them out of the garden. Despite the betrayal, the King still loved his priests. Though he sent them out to their desire, he wanted to restore them to himself and to life. He knows that they were deceived and are going to die forever if he doesn’t redeem them.

Many days later, these lost priests were persuaded back to the King. The King made a covenant to bring them back to the garden. But time and again, the priests failed to keep their word because the enemy enslaved them.

One day, the King came to his lost creation. By offering himself as a sacrifice, he liberated his enslaved priests and all creation from slavery. The King became the high-priest, to mediate a new covenant between his redeemed priest and the King. Now through the high-priest, the redeemed priest regained his priesthood to worship the King and extend his supreme rule over all things. The story resolves when the King, the priest, and the garden re-unites as bride and groom in perfect Shalom.

This is a long article but on an important point. So kindly take your time and read slowly. I hope it inspires you to dig deep into God’s story and discover your part in it.

Have We Forgotten the Story?

I don’t know if you liked this plot or not, but can you identify it? Have you ever gone to a theatre late to watch a movie and then left early? That is fine if it is a terrible movie but, it is unfortunate if it is one of the greatest stories ever told. That is precisely the situation of most Christians today. LT Jayachandran says, “We as the church have removed the beginning and the end of the biblical narrative from our theology.”

The above storyline is my attempt (not a perfect one) to outline the grand biblical narrative as a parable. By story, I don’t mean a legend or a fairy tale, but God’s Revelation in human history, given to us.

Many times our situation sounds like this Indian proverb, “After listening to complete Ramayana, he asked, how is Rama related to Sita.” That is why we fail to live our lives that is coherent with God’s vision. If we don’t see our part in God’s story, we may have missed the point.

At best, we believe that there is one crucial part that tells us that we are sinners, and Christ’s death on the cross is the solution to Heaven after we die. Thanks to “if you die today, where will you go?” gospel.

This narrow view assumes that the ship that God built is sinking, so he provided a lifeboat as an afterthought, to save you from drowning. If you ask them, where does this lifeboat take me? They may say, “sorry, I don’t know the end properly, probably to heaven somewhere above the clouds.”

If we think the Bible is a collection of random stories, rules, advice, and sweet promises, we can cook up whatever meanings we want to make. But, if the Bible is narrating one story. Do we know it?

A story has a beginning and an end, a theme, an author, and the audience. The plots in the Bible look something like this. The author, who is the King, made a perfect world. The main character (man), wanted something. In pursuing his desire with the enemy’s advice, he ends up in a fatal problem — death. The author comes into the story as a guide with a plan to help the main character to escape death and get back to the renewed world and restored purpose. Will the main character respond to the call and receive the promise or reject the plan and be condemned forever? The story has not ended yet. The uniqueness of this story is that the author invites the reader to become part of the story. The reader has a role to play in the glorious climax, which the author has already sketched out. Isn’t that wonderful?

Let us discover the story from the end. What is the promise in the biblical narrative? What is God’s vision for all creation? A deep yearning that we sense across the biblical narrative is about Shalom. “God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule and blessing.” Cornelius Plantinga explains Shalomas “…the webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight…”

Imagine, when grandparents hear that their children and grandchildren will be coming to their home for Christmas. They start preparing and arranging everything for that occasion. They will be preoccupied with that event that is yet to happen. The promise of the biblical narrative is not entirely for the future but is also unfolding in the present. If Shalom is the author’s vision, how does it shape our lives today?

Do you see yourself in this story? If not, indeed, we have forgotten the story. That is terrible news. Let us explore this narrative from the biblical theology of God’s dwelling place.

The Promise — Shalom In the Garden Temple

John’s imagery of the new heavens and new earth is the glorious climax of the story in Revelation 21. “I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven from God… Its length and width and height are equal.” (Rev 21:10–16)

Prophet Isaiah, in chapter 11, gives another imagery of the same promise about the reign of Jesus the King. “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa 11:9) Isaiah’s holy mountain is the same as John’s city, where its length, width, and height are equal. In Solomon’s temple, the length, breadth, and the height of the holy of holies were the same in measurement. (1 Kings 6:20) John is equating this new Heaven and new earth to the holy of holies — God’s dwelling place!

The author of the Hebrews describes the dwelling place of God with more detail. “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Heb 12: 22–24)

John’s description of New Jerusalem seems to be the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s vision of the temple with the river that flows from the throne of God. (Ezekiel chapters 40 to 48) This grand promise of the Bible is about God restoring Shalom, where God dwells with men amidst his creation.

“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Rev 21:3)

This prophecy began in Jesus. In Matthew 24, he said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days, I will raise it up.” “In him, you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Eph 2:22)

We, the body of Christ, his Church, became the temple of God. “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev 21:2)

The glorious promise is Shalom in a city that is garden-like and in the shape of the temple of God. The river of life flows in the middle of it with the tree of life on both sides. They yield their fruit each month, and their leaves were for the healing of the nations.

To understand this better, let go to Genesis.

The beginning — Creation of the garden temple

The perfect world the author has created in the beginning is the story of King’s (God’s) dwelling place. The King created all things to inhabit amid his creation. He made someone like him who can rule on his behalf with all wisdom and authority. The garden in Eden is an archetypal temple where the priests (Adam and Eve) were called to worship (Abad) their God and King. This is Shalom (Peace)- the King’s vision for all creation. Abad is the Hebrew word behind the English words, work, worship, and service, to keep it and extend the King’s rule over all the earth. But sadly, there was a problem.

The priest creates the problem — Idolatry

In the garden of Eden, the King called the royal priests who were made in his image, to worship him (Abad, Shamar) and have dominion (Kabash, Radah) over all creation in his authority. Instead the royal priests wanted to exalt themselves over the King and rule by their own image as the enemy advice them. This was the abomination that brought desolation. They were sent out of the garden to serve the enemy, and the King placed Cherubim to restrain him from entering it.

C S Lewis in Mere Christianity writes: “… it was through pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”

“How you have fallen from Heaven, O Day Star, Son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most-High.” (Isaiah 14: 12–14)

The first priests played the harlot and broke the covenant. Their idolatry led them to exile and slavery. God’s dwelling place separated from the earth, the land was cursed under the power of the enemy. All creation has been groaning since then and was waiting for a redeemer.

Mary Magdelene washing the feet of Jesus, by Frank Wesley. © Frank Wesley

The King comes to the royal priest — Commences his dominion

The King so loved the priest and wanted to restore him. He found Abraham, a man who truly worshiped the King. He promised to bless him and restore all nations of the earth through him. When Abraham’s children cried in Egypt, the King redeemed them from slavery and made them a priestly nation. Creation of Israel also points to the same pattern of “God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule and blessing.

The King made his dwelling among them to restore worship. As the King walked (Halek) in the garden with Adam and Eve (Gen 3:8) similarly, he walked among his people Israel. (Deut 23:14, Lev 26:12, 2 Sam 7:6) He desired to be their King and made them his priests.

God commanded the priests to guard and keep the tabernacle (Num. 3:7–8, 8:25–26, 1 Chr. 23:32) just as God commanded Adam to “cultivate (Abad)” and “keep/guard (Samar)” the garden. (Gen 2:15) Those are the same Hebrew words used. With Israel, God began to restore his rule and worship. His first commandment was on worship, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery… You shall have no other gods before me.” (Ex 20:2,3)

If we pay close attention to the details of the tabernacle in the Exodus and Solomon’s temple, we see that it points to the garden of Eden. Its imagery of cherubim, almond tree, palm trees, pomegranates, open flowers, gold, precious stones, etc. God says these are the copy of the heavenly temple. They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain.” (Heb 8:5)

Though the King dwelt among them and taught them the law, they did not truly worship the King. The law was unable to make them righteous and release them from the bondage of sin. Sadly, Israel played the harlot (Prophet Hosea writes about this). Idolatry led to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. (Jer 45) They were driven into exile just as it happened in the garden. God desired to be their King, but Israel — his kingdom of priests, rejected him just as Adam rejected him in the garden. Worship ceased, and eventually, the temple was destroyed.

The King becomes the high priest — Restores righteousness, worship and his dwelling place

So, now, can the priest and all of creation be restored back to the King? Prophet Amos says, “Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them, and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps, I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:22–24)

The King himself became the priest and lived among them. The enemy came to him in the desert and tempted him to worship him, just as he tempted Adam in the garden. The King, who became the priest — the second Adam, resisted the enemy. Then through his sacrifice on the cross, he released the slave (priest) and all creation from the bondage of the enemy to himself. “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Heb 2:14,15)

The second Adam became the high-priest by sacrificing himself, and with his blood entered the holy of holies, the heavenly temple, and seated on the right hand of God. “This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.” (Heb 7:22) “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” (Heb 9:24 & 14)

Today through the high-priest (Jesus) — the second Adam, the priests are made righteous and are being transformed into the image of God so that they can truly worship the King. They are justified and glorified in him. (Rom 8: 29,30) They are called to worship in spirit and in truth because they are in Christ seated on the right hand of God in the heavenly temple. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” (Eph 1:2)

We, as his body, are the temple that God is building. “In whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him, you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Eph 2:21,22)

Sacrifice of Isaac, Oil on canvas, by Caravaggio, 1603

Let us briefly see the next two plots. The King calls the priest to act in faith to enter the promise and escape judgment. Why should the priest act in faith? What is at stake? If nothing is at stake, there is no story.

The priest’s rebellion in the garden has separated the heavens and the earth and brought utter desolation. The separated creation was subjected to suffering, death, and decay. If the priest rejects the grace offered to him, he will remain separated forever from life and the Shalom of the King. (John 3:18)(Ps 96:13)(Matt 25: 31–46)(Rev 22:15) The eternal destiny of the fallen priest is at stake.

Through the death and resurrection of the second Adam, the King is restoring all creation to Shalom. (Col 1:15–20) In Jesus, Heaven and earth come together again. He did not merely come back to life but rose to a new reality. He is calling the lost priest to enter this new reality by faith or remain forever dead.

“I see in it God’s plan for imparting righteousness to men, a process begun and continued by their faith. As the scripture says: ‘The just shall live by faith.’” (Rom 1: 16–17),

The promise and our role in it

As followers of Jesus, what we believe about the glorious hope of the biblical narrative, shape our lives. If we are misguided or ignorant about it, we most likely are ignorant of our calling.

The gospel invites us into this story. The good news is about the triumph of the King. The Lamb, who was slain, is worthy to open the scroll and take his kingdom. “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood, you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Rev 5:9,10)

How now does the redeemed priest ought to reign with the King in his ‘already and not yet’ kingdom? This is not a future event yet to be, but it is already unfolding in the present. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (1 Cor 5:17)

Gregory K Beale has done an excellent study in his book The Temple and the Church’s mission — The Biblical theology of the dwelling place of God. Here he says, “Our mission as a Church is to be God’s temple. To be filled with his presence that we expand and fill the earth with that glorious presence until God finally accomplishes this goal at the end of time!”

Let us explore these ideas from the scripture.

“Our mission as a Church is to be God’s temple. To be filled with his presence that we expand and fill the earth with that glorious presence until God finally accomplishes this goal at the end of time!”

An evangelical church for every people, by Bryn Gillette 2017 © Lausanne Movement

To become the King’s dwelling place — Worship

Adam’s calling in the garden temple was to worship the King by tending (Abad — work, worship, serve) and keeping (Shamar — keep, watch, preserve) the garden temple. Paul, writing to Corinthians, reminds them that they labored as fellow workers in building God’s temple. “For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Cor 3:9)

When we obey the will of God, we are born of the Spirit and made into the King’s dwelling place to worship him as his royal priests. Both individually and as communities of the King, we become his temple.

When the tabernacle at Sinai and the temple in Jerusalem were dedicated, “fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.” (Exodus 40:34–38, 2Chronicles 7:1 ESV)

On the day of Pentecost, fire came down from heaven and rested on each one of them. On that day, God changed his address. In Jesus, we have become his dwelling place. (A study on Pentecost)

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23)

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. “For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (1Cor 3:16) (Eph 2:21,22) (Eph 1:3)

“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet 2:4,5) (Rom 12:1)

Unfortunately today, worship has been misunderstood with singing. Singing praises to the King is a beautiful privilege, but worship is sacrificially offering all of our being to the King.

If we are the temple, how then do we worship the King? Jesus, the second Adam, our high-priest, tells the Samaritan women that we don’t worship God in temples made with hands anymore. “But the hour is coming and is now here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4: 21–24)

Under the new covenant through the second Adam — Jesus, we become the dwelling place of the King to worship him in spirit and truth. We are now seated on the right hand of God in the heavenly temple. Since God is Spirit, we, therefore, worship (Proskuneó — prostrate oneself in homage) him in our spirit (Pneuma- rational soul, mind — not by physical prostration) and in truth (Aletheia — in reality, sincerely). That means worshiping (Abad) God by all that we are and all that we do. Our spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual, imaginative, sexual, creative, relational, financial aspects of life can be offered in worship to the King. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Mat 22:37,38)

John’s imagery in Revelation informs us that God’s dwelling place (temple) is like a walled garden city, full of light, and with the throne of God from where the river of life flows. “On either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month.” (Rev 22:2)

Jesus speaking to the Samaritan woman said, “The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) As followers of Jesus and communities of the King, we have become the temple of God by the Spirit of God. By offering our lives in worship (2Cor 7:1) (Psalm 15) (Psalm 91) we become the trees of life yielding its fruit each month.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.” (Gal 5:22,23)

As followers of Jesus and communities of the King, we have become the temple of God by the Spirit of God. By offering our lives in worship we become the trees of life yielding its fruit each month.

Kingdom impact in every sphere of society, by Bryn Gillette 2019 © Lausanne Movement

To expand the King’s dwelling place — Subdue through discipleship

The King called Adam not only to worship him in the garden but also to extend the King’s dominion over all the earth. “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen 1: 28)

The second Adam, after defeating the enemy through his death and resurrection, he said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mat 28:18–20)

Through the second Adam, the King restored his dominion, where he is making all things new. Apostle John in Revelation describes this renewed creation as a new Jerusalem, where a river flows from the throne of God. “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city…” (Rev 22:1,2)

In (Genesis 2:10), it says, “…A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.” In the shadow of the holy temple in Jerusalem flowed a spring called Shiloach. Prophet Zachariah prophesies about the living waters (Shiloach) flowing from the holy mountain. (Zachariah 14) Prophet Ezekiel’s vision of the temple, he writes, “water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east,” which became a mighty river.

During the end of the Feast of Sukkot, the priest draws water from Shiloach spring and makes libation upon the altar of God. “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now, this he said about the spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37–39)

So why is Jesus saying this here? Jesus used the context to point to himself, likewise giving ‘living water’ to anyone who is ‘thirsty.’ He is also alluding to (Zachariah 14: 8,9) “On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. And the Lord will be King over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.”

Jesus speaking to the Samaritan woman said, “The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13, 14) John mentions that Jesus was talking about the Spirit of God that flows from the heart of those who believe. “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38)

Prophet Ezekiel writes, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh.” (Ezk 47:8) The poisonous Dead sea will become fresh.

At the temple, during the Feast of Sukkot, Jesus again said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Drawing of water, illuminating the temple and building Sukkah (Tabernacle) are the three main rituals of the feast. When the temple was still standing, great pillars like candelabra were erected and illumined in the Court of Women. This glorious blaze of fire recalled to Israelites God’s Shekinah, the pillar of fire by day and smoke by night that accompanied them throughout their wanderings in the wilderness. Because the temple stood atop a hill, the blazing candles illuminated the city below so that the denizens of Israel could see from afar. When Jesus stood in the temple claiming to be the Light of the World, He was making a radical statement. It was like saying, “I am the Shekinah; I am the pillar of fire.”

John describes this new Jerusalem by saying that Jesus is the light. “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day — and there will be no night there.” (Rev 21: 22–25)

Jesus, in the book of Matthew, says to his disciples, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Mat 5:14–16)

In the first creation, the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of waters. In the new creation at the feast of the Pentecost, the Spirit of God descended upon the Church with tongues of fire. The river began to flow since then to bring King’s rule wherever it goes until “…the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa 11:9) (Habakkuk 2:14)

As the King wanted Adam to extend his rule beyond Eden to over all the earth. The King, who became the second Adam, before ascending to the holy of holies as a high priest, he commissioned his priests to “Go, therefore, and (as you go) make disciples of all nations.” so that the poisonous Dead sea could become fresh. The fallen world being reconciled back to the King. “… who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself…” (2 Cor 5:18,19)

Discipleship is not about making converts; it is about extending God’s rule through our lives in the lives of our neighbors. Unfortunately, today we have reduced discipleship with events, membership, and “winning souls.” We don’t have time to disciple others or be disciplined by others. We don’t live our lives in common anymore.

As disciples and communities of the King, we bring all things to the obedience of the King. Our private lives, relationships, families, education, businesses, politics, governance, economy, etc. should come under the light of our King’s rule. “The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” (Rev 22:2) God’s rule brings healing to this broken and dark world. Don’t get me wrong. Conversion is essential; the Spirit of God convicts us of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Through discipleship the Spirit of God extends the King’s rule on the earth. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mat 6:10) “By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it…” (Rev 21:24)

An Epilogue

John’s imagery is not of a distant future in eternity, it is the plot where the author invites the reader to this ‘already and not yet kingdom.’ I am writing this during the Covid19 lockdown. Our world has entered an unprecedented crisis this generation has ever seen. We do not know if things will ever get better any time soon. In a sense, this article sounds like wishful thinking for many reasons. But, the wonderful part of God’s story is that the extended ending is full of hope. The conflict will persist until the end. (Matt 13:30) Paul and Barnabas encouraged the disciples by saying, “… continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations, we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)

The King is putting all his enemies under the feet of the high-priest. “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet” (Heb 1:13). For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Cor 15: 27,28)

With this vision, the King has called his priests to be his disciples by obeying everything he commanded and making more disciples by teaching them to follow the same. “For I have chosen him, that he (Abraham) may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” (Gen 18:19) “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22:37–40)

If this story is true, are we taking our part? The King finally unites heaven and the earth into a beautiful garden temple, where the King of Shalom, along with the priests, will rule forever and ever.

Shalom

PS. This is just my attempt to sketch the outline of God’s grand narrative. If we, as faithful disciples, pay close attention to the Spirit is saying through the scripture, we can observe the patterns of God’s beautiful story unfolding.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Mark Raja

Mark Raja

261 Followers

I mostly write to clarify my understanding. You will find my articles on themes like beauty, faith, hope, culture, and common good.