Eastside Baptist Church
- Created to Draw Near: Our Life as God’s Royal Priests by Edward T. WelchPart 2: Israel“Sanctuaries & Ladders” (Chapter 8)When God Comes CloseAltars - where heaven came to earthGod’s voice and heavenly visions - when God speaks, he is present.Blessings and promisesWhen he blesses us, we will, in turn, pass that blessing to others, and a prized priestly job is to pronounce blessings. - Edward WelchHolypeople, places, special days, and objects that God has brought close to himselfPriestsJob - one of our priestly ancestors5 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.Abraham8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.MelchizedekAs God’s priest Melchizedek shared in the status of God himself, which means that he was Jesus. - Edward WelchWas Melchizedek Jesus?Melchizedek described with names, locations, etc. suggest he was a normal man.Melchizedek, king of Salem parallel with king of Sodom in Gen. 14, who met Abram simultaneously (Wenham, Hamilton).Hebrews 5-7 understands him to be a “type” of Christ, but not Christ himself. Melchizedek’s priesthood becomes a paradigm for the priesthood of Christ.Both Jewish interpretation and early church interpretation understood Melchizedek to be a historical figure.It has been suggested that he is the pre-incarnate Messiah. However, the author of the epistle to the Hebrews teaches against such an identification (see Heb. 7:3–4). - John CurridJacob12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.It was only a stone or two, but that’s how temples get started. This temple was the house of God, and from it was a ladder that traversed into heaven itself. - Edward WelchWhen the veil of heaven is pulled back for a moment, as it was with the ladder, we see that much is happening. And God is resolute—he was making a way for his royal priests to be with him. He is never far. - Edward Welch“Jacob” (Chapter 9)...Priests are the ones brought close to God, and Jacob was very close. - Edward Welch24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”Meeting God a Second TimeJacob was alone, and it was dark.Facing dangerWould he and his family survive his meeting with Esau?God met him.God responds to our fears.God assures his people of his presence.God emptied himself of strength.The “man” who wrestled with Jacob was most likely a Christophany - a preincarnate appearance of Christ.This event gives us a glimpse of the incarnation in which Christ humbled himself and took on the weakness of humanity.God revealed his strength gently.God and his strength were revealed with he “touched” Jacob’s hip....Those who know God accurately know that he is inclined to be near, and to be near is to bless. - Edward WelchGod blessed him.A new nameNo longer “deceiver”Now “prevailer with God”Priests typically were models of decorum when they came near to the Lord. There were, however, especially desperate times during which they learned that they could not make life work through their own cunning. At those times desperation emboldened them. Like the impudent midnight caller who kept asking a neighbor for bread until he finally got out of bed and gave him bread (Luke 11:5–8), we have the option of holding on to the Lord even tighter as we remember his power and love. There is more than one way to be near and receive the blessing he promises. - Edward Welch
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