- In the voice of: The Church
- Spoken to: The Church
- Source Text: Isaiah 2, 33 & 50, Proverbs 8:13, Psalms 2:1-12, 97:10 & 139:17-24, Isaiah 50:1, Jeremiah 3, Matthew 24
To say that Jesus was not the Christ everyone expected, is an epic understatement. Even John the Baptist sent his followers to ask Jesus if John had… made a mistake by proclaiming Jesus is the Christ. It’s not a surprise that God’s process of exiting the physically identifiable political sphere leaves us with a few questions – even 2 millinnea later.
The face of God that Jesus exposed to us; left us full of peace, but not complete in understanding. Even though Jesus fulfilled more prophecies than we understood at the time, there was still divine judgement and wrath that had been promised for those who sit defiantly enthroned as God; declaring, “I AM”. The prophetic wordpictures of God’s wrath and fury promised in the law and prophets had not been fulfilled!
The moment I AM indentified as king of one race, with a physical throne, and a capital city – at that moment in time; God deselected the rest. Deselection is the outsider’s experience of selection. The exclusivity of the contract being fulfilled between I AM and Israel was more like a marriage than a business deal. For hundreds and hundreds of years the God had promised that there was a storm coming… and Jesus as Christ didn’t quite “go out in a blaze of glory storming the castle” – in the classical King David sense. Still; there were promises left unfulfilled!
It is difficult to connect the personality of God who commanding his army to kill every man, women, child, and animal in certain city (and then firing the king who left some who surrendered alive) alongside Jesus teaching that we are to turn the other cheek when we get slapped in the face. This is complex, but not unknowable. These expressions of I AM intersect (for those of us who belong to him) with, “fear I AM and hate evil”. We in the church either hate pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth, or we are not following Christ.
The storyline which began with Moses assured us who follow him that there will be a day of I AM of Armies – for all who are proud and haughty, and for all that is lifted up; it will be brought low. The loftiness of man will be bowed down, and the pride of people will be brought low; and I AM alone will be praised in that day. The idols will utterly pass away. Men will go into the caves of the rocks, and into the holes of the earth from before the terror of I AM, and from the glory of his majesty when he gets up to shake the earth with power. Blessed are all those who take refuge in him. You who love I AM, hate evil.
In the mid 700s BC, I AM tormented his prophet (Hosea) by marrying him to a prostitute – to illustrate God’s position with Israel. God allowed Israel a divorce, and the time to separate had come. I AM says, “Where is the bill of your mother’s divorce, with which I have put her away? Or to which of my creditors have I sold you? Behold, you were sold for your iniquities, and your mother was put away for your transgressions. But you have played the prostitute with many lovers; yet return again to me, says I AM. Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see! Where have you not had sex with others? You have sat waiting for them by the road. You have polluted the land with your prostitution and with your wickedness. You refused to be ashamed.”
Even Jesus warned his followers of the coming storm. As he sat in the park outside of Jerusalem, the week he died. The disciples came to him (sneakily), saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen? What is the sign of your coming, and of the ‘end of the age?’” Jesus answered them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray… When, therefore, you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea runaway to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take out the things that are in his house. Let him who is in the field not return back to get his clothes. Then there will be great oppression, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be again.
The war may have been won, but the battle was just heating up.