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Jesus said;- Take the old and the new

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posted on Jul, 19 2019 @ 05:00 PM
“Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old” – Matthew ch13 v52

Matthew has collected “the parables of the Kingdom” into a single chapter, following on from the parable of the Sower. At the end of the discourse, Jesus asks the disciples if they have understood all these things. They respond with a confident “Yes”.
His reply is the comparison quoted above.

“Therefore”; their ability to understand his teaching makes them examples of the kind of people that he’s describing.

“A scribe”; The scribes who appear in the gospel narratives are men trained to understand and explain the old Hebrew scriptures.

“A scribe who is trained for the kingdom” has also, like the disciples, understood the new teaching of Jesus.

In the Middle Ages, a man qualified in canon law and civil law could be called a DOCTOR UTRIUSQUE- a master of both kinds of legal expertise.
The same can be said about the scribe who understands the kingdom. He has “both” kinds of knowledge. He has two strings to his bow.

Such a man is like a householder who can bring new things and old things out of his treasure chest.
This comparison is clearly meant to express approval.
It’s an excellent example of domestic economy. The man is supplying his needs by making the best of all the resources available to him.

I am that householder, in a most literal sense.
I mow the lawn with my own electric mower, powered by my father’s extension lead, attached to an obviously home-made drum.
When I make the sherry trifle at Christmas, I use fresh sherry and my mother’s glass trifle dish.
I sleep on my own mattress, covered with some of my grandmother’s stock of sheets and blankets (she did bed-and-breakfast in the summer).
I type my ATS threads on a modern laptop, resting on an elegant inherited dining table.
Taking advantage of the new without discarding the useful parts of the old, I can enjoy the best of both worlds. This is true conservatism.
As a householder, I benefit from the continuity of my family’s life and possessions.

In the same way, the whole of the Bible is a genuine family inheritance, with a continuity which needs to be recognised.
The disciples of Christ are the latest generation of the family that goes back to Abraham.
The combined history of the two Testaments shows the preparation of God’s people for the task of presenting him to the world.
In particular, Israel’s history in the Old Testament is preparing the ground for the arrival of Jesus and the kingdom.
One of the functions of the Old Testament, indeed, is to demonstrate why the work of Christ was necessary.

This continuity has practical implications.
In the first place, the scribe who is familiar with the old learning should not ignore the new teaching of the kingdom. That would be like the householder neglecting to fill up the gaps in his chest with fresh goods.
Many of the scribes and Pharisees of the time of Jesus were making this mistake.
That may have been part of the point of the comparison.

On the other hand, those who are trained in the kingdom should not abandon the older learning of the scribes. That would be like the wasteful householder throwing away good and useful products.
Historically, the Christian church has not been making that mistake.
The lesson was taught by Jesus at a very early stage; “Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke ch24 v27).
The church has always been assiduous, and sometimes over-ingenious, in discovering references to Jesus in the themes and images of the Old Testament.
They disowned the teachings of Marcion, who made a dogma out of discarding the Old Testament and focussing on a detached and edited version of the New Testament. In fact Marcion could be refuted by the connections which were still visible even in those portions which he retained.

So Christians need to be conscious of the Old Testament, as the background of Christian teaching.
At the same time, they need to be reading the Old Testament in the light of the new knowledge available in Christ.

When I first entered into lodgings, away from home, the nation’s electrical fittings were undergoing change. Round-pin electric plugs were giving way to square-pin plugs, as the new standard. My landlords had not replaced the round-pin wall-sockets, which appeared to mean that my vital equipment (such as the electric kettle) could not use them. The solution was to go out and buy an adaptor, which could receive the new plug and fit into the old socket, and provide a connection between the two.

In the same way, the Old Testament cannot be used, for the purposes of the kingdom, without the help of an adaptor.
In this case, the name of the adaptor is “the Holy Spirit.”
Paul explains the necessity (2 Corinthians ch3).
The difference between the old covenant and the new covenant is the difference between “the letter” and the Spirit. “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (v6).
Moses delivered the old covenant wearing a veil, to protect the Israelites from the brightness of his face.
But the veil was also there to conceal the fact that the splendour of the old covenant would fade and give way to the new covenant (v13).
So the Jews of Paul’s day still cannot read the old covenant with full understanding;
“To this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when a man turns to the Lord, the veil is removed” (vv15-16).
In other words, the veil is removed by the Spirit, because Lord “is the Spirit”, and the Spirit speaks for the Lord.

We need to understand that the veil is the over-literal interpretation, which helps to conceal how the old covenant is pointing towards Christ.
That is why the obsessively literal reading of the Old Testament practised by many modern Christians frequently involves them in a falling away from the truth.
In effect, they are deliberately picking up the discarded “veil” and re-placing it over their minds, preventing themselves from receiving the new understanding provided by the Spirit.
The knowledge of the scribes needs to be adapted for the purposes of the kingdom. Those who are trained for the kingdom need to be reading the Old Testament, but they should not be reading the Old Testament except in the light of Christ.

The best way to gain understanding of the Biblical God is to recognise the continuity of the information available from the Old and New Testaments, and make the best use of both elements.
That is why it is desirable to be a scribe AND to be a scribe who is “trained for the kingdom of heaven”.

posted on Jul, 19 2019 @ 05:02 PM
I used a different metaphor to make the same point, in a sermon I preached a few decades ago. I was never ordained, by the way, or even licenced by the Bishop, but our parish was allowed to get away with informalities like that. I’ve still got the notes, written out by hand. Verbatim, because I’ve never been able to do public speaking in any other way. But the style is better suited to reading aloud, so I’d better paraphrase.

I was comparing the structure of the Bible with the structure of an Agatha Christie novel.
I had prepared a prop, for use at the appropriate moment. An old paperback had been carefully pulled in half, along the spine, and then mended with Sellotape, so that it could be pulled apart again with greater ease.

I described the course of a typical Poirot mystery; the basic puzzle, the scattering of clues, and the way those clues make no sense until the final chapter. Then Poirot gathers everybody together and gathers all the evidence together and points out the guilty party.
How the solution is normally one which nobody could have guessed without being told. Yet after the explanation, we can look back through the story and read it in a completely different light. We can see the meaning of each clue and each little event, and see how they fit into the story, and we can see how the whole pattern of the story hangs together.
So the final chapter is the place where we can find the answer to all the puzzles and mysteries of the earlier chapters.

I pointed out that the Bible is also telling a story, about God’s dealings with humanity and especially with his own people. The story keeps raising questions, which haven’t been answered by the time we get to the end of the Old Testament.
There is the question of the final resting-place, which may or may not be the same thing as the Promised Land.
There is the question of what is going to be done about the problem of sin and disobedience.
There is the problem of suffering.
We find clues, scattered through the story, about a coming saviour.
The Jews could not understand them, because they did not possess the last chapter of the story, the one that brings in all the explanations.

That’s how Philip, in the previous Bible reading, had been able to help the mystified eunuch. (I called him “a court official belonging to the king of Ethiopia” This was a family congregation. “I wondered how you were going to get round that one”, one of the mothers remarked afterwards.)
The man needed to know what the prophet meant in describing one who was wounded for our transgressions and made himself an offering for sin and made many people righteous.
In other words, he was trying to find out “whodunit”.
The priests in Jerusalem, knowing the Old Testament alone, could not have helped him.
But Philip, with his knowledge of the gospel, was able to join him in that chariot and tell him that “Jesus dunnit.”

And, in short, every question of the Old Testament was finding its answer in Jesus.

This was the moment when I picked up the prepared paperback and tore it in half.
In my left hand, I told them, I was holding an Agatha Christie novel, nearly complete. Only the final chapter missing. Anyone reading it would find themselves at the end with a lot of questions and no answers.
That was the position of someone reading the Old Testament on its own, and ignoring the New Testament.

In the other hand (on the other hand), I was holding the final chapter of an Agatha Christie novel.
Anyone reading it would find a collection of answers, which would lose most of their meaning if the reader did not know the story they were supposed to be explaining.
That was the position of someone reading the New Testament on its own and ignoring the Old Testament.

Thus demonstrating the point that we need them both.
There is a continuity, and we need to respect that continuity, by giving their rightful place to the old and to the new.

posted on Jul, 19 2019 @ 05:03 PM

The knowledge of the scribes needs to be adapted for the purposes of the kingdom. Those who are trained for the kingdom need to be reading the Old Testament, but they should not be reading the Old Testament except in the light of Christ.

This point can be illustrated over several different issues.
I‘ve already looked at the problem of sin, in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Does the Old Testament have a remedy for sin?
New Testament Salvation
More recently, the topic was the New Testament understanding of “law”;
Jesus said; The law is justice and mercy and faith[
I’ve also looked at “the Day of the Lord”, in the Old Testament and in the teaching of Jesus.
What is the Day of the Lord?
The Last Battle in Old Testament prophecy
When Jesus returns
This thread will be followed up by a short series considering what happens after the Day of the Lord, in what might be called “the state of lasting peace”.
The overall story can be summed up in this way;
There is a final and conclusive defeat of the enemies of God.
Once the battle is over, the exiles come home.
They are safe in their own land.
Their God rules over them, and their Temple is restored.
They are re-united with their brethren, and even reconciled with their former enemies.
They are holy to God.
And they will have the full blessings of life.

I’ll be taking different aspects of the story in turn. In each case taking the message of the prophets in the Old Testament, and then considering how the New Testament is reinterpreting the message in the light of Christ.
Thus, like the wise householder, making the best use of the old and of the new.

posted on Jul, 19 2019 @ 05:09 PM

The church has always been assiduous, and sometimes over-ingenious, in discovering references to Jesus in the themes and images of the Old Testament.

One example may be of interest.
When Jacob blessed his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis ch48 vv13-14), he placed his right hand on the head of the boy standing on his left, and his left hand on the head of the boy standing on his right.
If we try to picture that scene, what we find is that Jacob was making the sign of the cross with his arms.

posted on Jul, 19 2019 @ 07:02 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Cool, I'm trained in the word...

A new thought for me when I read the first 5 paragraphs.....kinda neat......dispensations.......the new one is Paul as how he wrote Rom 16:25...a mystery from before the world was......he has 6 mysteries....indwelling of the Holy Spirit...rapture.......the church is the body.....etc but it is kinda hidden in there.....Paul got rid of baptism.....riles em up.....I no

posted on Jul, 19 2019 @ 07:39 PM
That was a wonderful message...thank you!

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