You Were Made For This: An Introduction to the Priesthood (Genesis 2:4–25)

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You Were Made For This: An Introduction to the Priesthood (Genesis 2:4–25)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people for his own possession,
that you may proclaim the excellencies of him
who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
— 1 Peter 2:9 —

From Genesis to Revelation, the themes of priesthood and kingship overlap and intertwine in the history of redemption. In this new sermon series we are examining how royal priesthood applies to Jesus, the church, and our identity in Christ.

In this first sermon, we consider how Adam and Eve were created in God’s image to be royal priests serving and worshiping in the Garden of Eden. You can read about the background to this sermon series here and listen to the sermon online here. Response questions and Additional Resources can be found below. Continue reading

From the First Adam to the Last Adam: 15 Quotations from ‘Christ from Beginning to End’

christ.jpegWhen one of my closest friends (Trent Hunter) and my doctoral supervisor (Stephen Wellum) write a book together on biblical theology, it is not surprising I’d commend it. In fact, I did that months before it came out and as soon as it came out, I assigned our “Theology Thursday” book study, a men’s group at our church, to discuss Christ from Beginning to End: How the Full Story of Scripture Reveals the Full Glory of ChristWe’ll do that Thursday, but before then let me say a couple things about this new book.

In this biblical theology the reader will find a well-crafted but non-technical summary of the Bible which helps people understand how to read the Bible and what is in the Bible. Following the trajectory of the biblical covenants (with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Israel, David, and Christ), Christ from Beginning to End incorporates a biblical vision which I have shared with them in personal discussions and teaching for the last decade.

In fact, the book itself comes from the teaching ministry of Dr. Wellum at Southern Seminary and Ninth & O Baptist Church, where Trent worked with Dr. Wellum in his Sunday School class. This is where I met them both, and I rejoice in the publication of this book, as it so well-expresses the way I hold the Bible—as a result, no doubt, of my time spent with Dr. Wellum. Still in reading this book, one feature stood out above the rest, and one I want to highlight it here.

From beginning to end, Wellum and Hunter make a strong connection between the first and last Adam. In fact, somewhere in the middle of reading, I realized that I can’t think of another biblical theology that does as a good a job of connecting Adam to the rest of the Bible. With meticulous consistency, they show how each biblical covenant mediates the gap between Adam and Christ, and how figures like Abraham, Israel, and David both repeat Adam and anticipate the Second Adam (Christ).

Indeed, without having read the book I was already giving it away, because of my close friendship with both of these brothers. But now having read it, I commend it for a fresh reason. If you want to understand the Bible’s Adam-Christ typology, a framework that fills Paul’s letters (e.g., Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15) and the rest of the New Testament (e.g., Hebrews 1–2), Wellum and Hunter’s book is the place to begin.

In addition to giving a biblical framework for the world (i.e., creation-fall-redemption-new creation) and expounding how the biblical covenants work their way towards Jesus Christ, this attention to Adam helps us understand how Christ is more than a New Israel or a Savior of our own making. He is the true man (Adam) and the one who is both God and the Son of God, according to the biblical covenants, who has come to bring redemption to all the nations—just as God promised Adam (Genesis 3:15), Abraham (Genesis 12:1–3), Israel (Exodus 19:5–6), and David (1 Samuel 7:19; cf. Psalm 72).

In what follows, therefore, I share 15 quotes from Christ from Beginning to End which I pray may help you see the role of Adam in the Scripture. At the same time, if these quotes pique your interest in biblical theology and Adam’s role in God’s redemptive history, I encourage you to pick up this book and read through it. Better yet, pick up a handful of copies, share them with friends, and then meet to discuss. That’s what we are doing on Thursday. You should do the same. Continue reading

Adam as Prophet, Priest and King, and the Bible as the Story of ‘Three Sons’

leviticusWhat has been the best book you have read in 2018? For me, it has been a 300+ page study on Leviticus. Yes, Leviticus!

In Who Shall Ascend the Hill of the Lord? A biblical theology of the book of Leviticus, Michael L. Morales gives the reader a biblical feast. From considering the literary shape of the Pentateuch to the goal of the Yom Kippur (The Day of the Lord), from considering the typology of the tabernacle to the priestly role of Adam, Morales’ book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the system of mediation outlined in the books of Moses.

Even more, the whole book helps the Bible student to learn how to read the Bible and to understand God’s covenantal purposes for bringing his people into his presence. For these reasons, I would highly recommend this book. For now, let me share a quotation that demonstrates the richness of his study.

Adam as Prophet, Priest and King, and the Bible as the Story of Three Sons

Making a bevy of intra-biblical connections, Morales explains how Adam functioned as a prophet, priest, and king. Moreover, he explains how the whole story of the Bible can be explained along the lines of God’s Son—from Adam to Israel to Christ.

Without comment, I will share his words. I pray they stir up your affections for God as much as they did me.

Davidic kingship, then, is (1) rooted in YHWH’s kingship and (2) an inheritance of Adam’s roles as son of God. In reality, all three offices of anointing (prophets, priests, and kings) possess an Adamic role, and are oriented by the mountain of God. Indeed, as to the Adamic role, it is possible to comprehend the progress of redemptive history according to what we may call ‘God’s three sons’:

  • Adam was the first firstborn, who functioned as prophet, priest, and king.
  • Secondly, God created a corporate firstborn son, Israel. (Due to humanity’s estate of sin and misery there was a separation of powers, as it were, with the distribution of the offices of prophet, priest and king among the members of Israel distinctly.)
  • Finally, as the last Adam and true Israel, the Son of God dawned, as prophet, priest and king, now conforming humanity to himself as the image and likeness of God.

As to the offices being oriented by the mountain of God, we have already observed in a previous chapter how the high priest’s office is focused upon and validated by his annual entrance into the summit of the architectural mountain of God, the holy of holies, on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16). Similarly, kings were enthroned upon God’s holy mountain, and prophets were sent from it. The king, at his coronation, was installed upon God’s holy mountain, reigning from the earthly Zion as a reflection of YHWH’s reign from the heavenly Zion (Ps. 2). And to become a servant of YHWH, a prophet had first to encounter him at the mountain of God and then be sent forth from it as a messenger (Isa. 6; Exod. 3:1-10). Since all three offices are cultic, functioning distinctly for the same divine goal, one may see how kingship in ancient Israel accorded with what I have argued to be the Pentateuch’s major theme: the Davidic king reigned to shepherd humanity to the house of God upon the mountain of God. (Who Shall Ascend the Hill of the Lord?, 235–36. Bullet points mine.)

Soli Deo Gloria, ds

Noah as a Second Adam: Eight Evidences

covenantIn his short study on biblical covenants, Covenant and God’s Purpose for the World, Tom Schreiner provides a helpful comparison between Adam and Noah. As our men’s Bible study looks at this section of Scripture today, I share Schreiner’s eight evidences for seeing textual connections between Adam and Noah. Clearly, Moses wrote Genesis 1–11 to show how Noah is a Second Adam.

Here are his eight observations. I’ve added the italicizes to highlight the observations.

First, God’s work of ordering and shaping the creation occurred when the earth was covered with water and chaos (Gen. 1: 2). So too, after the flood the earth was inundated with water, and a new beginning took place when the water receded.

Second, God created the birds, creeping things, and animals to flourish and multiply on earth (Gen. 1: 20–21, 24–25). After the flood, the birds, creeping things, and animals again began to propagate on the earth (8:17–19). Continue reading

Starting with Adam: Seeing How the Priesthood Begins in Genesis 1–2

gateEarlier this year, The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology published my article on typology. In it I argued for a “covenantal topography,” i.e., a semi-predictable pattern which all biblical types follow as they develop through the covenant history of the Bible. In that article, I focused on the priesthood as an example of how types develop from creation through the patriarchs, the law, and prophets. Ultimately, they culminate in Jesus Christ and by extension apply to those in Christ. At least, that’s the argument I made.

If you are interested in typology and how the Bible fits together, this article (“From Beelines to Plotlines: Typology That Follows the Covenantal Topography of Scripture“) may be worth considering (or critiquing, or I hope considering and improving). For today, I share the first phase of the priesthood, to show how priestly themes begin in Genesis with the creation of Adam as the first royal priest. Continue reading

Adamic Imagery in Colossians 1:15-20

Colossians 1:15-20 is one of the most exalted views of Jesus Christ in all the Scriptures.  It demands doxological invocation through theological description. 

In just six verses, Paul unfolds a litany of magnificent truths that span the horizon of biblical theology and reach from the horrors of hell (Christ’s experience on the cross) to the glories of heaven (Christ’s headship in the church and His rule over all creation). Consider:  He is the image of God.  He is the firstborn son over all creation.  He is the Creator of all things.  All things!  Nothing exists without his sovereign oversight.  He upholds the universe, thus he sustains each photon of light from the star whose light has not yet reached the earth.  He is the head of the church.  And he is the firstborn from the dead.  Each truth deserves individual attention.  Taken together they crescendo in praise. 

But these truths are not vaccuous propositions devoid of context and biblical definition.  Paul writes these things to contest the false teaching erupting in Colossae.  Paul lifts up the glory of Christ to combat any notion that deficiency in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He draws on OT concepts and language to declare Christ has come and fulfilled all things–the law (cf. Rom. 10:4); the promises (cf. 2 Cor. 1:20; the offices of the OT (cf. the book of Hebrews).  He is the God, and in him the fullness of God dwells bodily (Col. 1:19; 2:9).

In making his case, Paul conflates Jesus Christ’s eternal deity and creativity with his functional role as the second Adam.  GK Beale provides helpful commentary and analysis of this Adam-Christ relationship.  He writes:

The three descriptions for Christ in Colossians 1:15-17 (“image of God,” “firstborn,” “before all things”) are thus different ways of referring to Christ as an end-time Adam, since they were common ways of referrring to the first Adam or to those who were Adam-like figures and were given the first Adam’s task whether this be Noah, the patriarchs, or the nation of Israel (GK Beale, “Colossians,” in Commentary on the NT Use of the OT, 854).

While the first Adam imaged God and was YHWH’s firstborn son (Luke 3:38), he was not “before all things.”  In this way, Jesus Christ is a greater Adam, one who is both Creator and incarnated as the perfect image of God.  Whereas, every other son of Adam (daughter of Eve), bears in being a marred image of God, Jesus Christ is the perfect image of God, “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3).  Thus, we who have been redeemed by the Second Adam, who have been buried with him in baptism, and await the redemption of our bodies and to be clothed with the imperishable, are being conformed into the image of the second Adam, the perfect man.  This is the corporeal hope of the Christian life, we will be glorified in our bodies (cf. Rom. 8:29-30), when Christ comes again.

Beale goes on to speak of Jesus position of authority, for as the perfect man, he has always retained his Divine Nature (cf. Phil. 2:5-11):

This position of authority is also grounded in Paul’s acknowledgement that Christ is the sovereign Creator of he world (1:16) and sovereignly maintains its ongoing existence (1:17b).  Therefore, Christ perfectly embodies the ruling position that Adam and his flawed human successors should have held, and he is at the same time the perfect divine Creator of all thins, who is spearate fro mand sovereign over that which he has created, especially underscored by the clause ‘all things have been created through him and for him’ at the end of 1:16 (854).

As we read our Bible’s may we see the intracanonical connections that help us better understand our Savior; and as we see these Spirit-illumined truths, may our hearts be filled with joy as we consider our great and gracious Immanuel.

Sola Deo Gloria, dss