Monday, April 11, 2011

The way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin

This phrase and close variations of it, made an impression me every time I read through the scriptures. I never, until just recently, went and cataloged exactly what those sins were.

The attempt to start a new Denomination at least requires persistence. That is if you wish to do it right. No Godly man I think would attempt to do it the wrong way. Sunday it struck me that the need for authority to appoint authority has been spoken to directly in scripture. Human authority appoints, in worship and in church leadership. The Sins of Jeroboam, the Son of Nebat, who made Israel to Sin:
"Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense." (1st Kings 12)
Most prominent is the sin of Idolatry. In the shadow of that spectacular sin (which by the way we always congratulate ourselves on NOT committing), we miss the others.

Jeroboam made those persons not designated to be in authority in worship (in those days, the priests) into authorities in a house of worship. The people worshiped idols (the wrong Gods), not in Jerusalem (the wrong place) and not led by the Levitical priesthood (the wrong people).

My wife and I have this discussion regularly, she is Catholic.

Me: "There are no priests."

My adored wife: "Yes there are, they are in the Bible."

Me: "There are no priests ANYMORE. Christ is our High Priest."

The discussion ends there but happens on a regular basis. I bring this up to emphasize something. I do NOT maintain that there is to be a priesthood. I bring this up to say that the priesthood in Ancient Israel performed functions now performed by the clergy in Reformed denominations. With the coming of the Christ, Jesus, there is no need for the Priesthood to persons such as myself.

The message is simple though. Only those who ought to be in authority roles in worship (the church, the local body when it is gathered) are to be in those roles. Initial church hierarchy is always appointed by an Apostle in the New Testament examples we are given. There is the whole business about being "sent" that we find in Romans 10:
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?"
The Greek for "sent" is the word for Apostle.

I am not an Apostle in the sense Paul was, or Peter. If I am an apostle, it is an apostle of other men. So would be any legitimate preacher in any church. He is an apostle of an apostle of an apostle going back to the time where we find an Apostle of Christ.

But what is among the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to Sin? Putting men in places they ought not be. Jeroboam was not authorized to appoint priests. He did it anyway.
"(W)hen king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him."
Yet we think nothing of setting ourselves up as preachers, when none have sent us.

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You lose, see 1 Pt 2:9 "ye are a ... Royal priesthood..." priesthood there is the Gr hierateuma from whence the English word hierarch is also derived. Christians are like ancient Israel, a sacerdotal hierarchal order of priests with Jesus, the head, and high priests, with orders of overseers (bishops), presiders ("priests"), table servers (deacons), laity, who also help say the Divine Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist....

The Pharisee said...

Clearly I don't see it that way, but you're welcome to try. I don't think my point suffers though if you are right. I was only trying to deflect a discussion of Priesthood as it was not my point.


I was pretty sure you realized that you lost with your wife. The argument is better this way:
In Rom 10 it says we have to orally agree about Jesus being Lord. Of course, he means Lord of everything including His household, the Church, the truth's pillar and foundation (cf Gr 1 Tim 3:15). If He is Lord of the Church, then who are we to determine its leaders? He can do what Baal couldn't do in the OT: use his divine power to change them...

The Pharisee said...

No, I don't think I lost.