Saturday, October 08, 2022

Pondering: A priest forever

 Pondering: The Lord as sworn and will not relent. You are a priest forever. Just like Melchizedek.

This is said twice in Scripture referring to Jesus.

So what can we understand?

First: Melchizedek is a priest forever. If Melchizedek's priesthood is forever and unchanging, so is the priesthood of Jesus. God doesn't change his mind. Melchizedek still doing his priestly work? Or has he been, so to speak, retired?

Second: God has given to Jesus a name above all names and everything and everyone must bow their knees to the name of Jesus. So whatever Melchizedek is or is not doing now, he is in no way equal to Jesus.

Third: Jesus is the high priest of our confession. We have been made kings and priests in his kingdom (definitely on earth but will this continue in heaven and the New Jerusalem?) How many eternal priests are there? A high priest is over many priests. 

Fourth: No man comes to the Father but by Jesus. This is very important. The Bible doesn't say that no man comes to a good afterlife or to heaven without Christ. It says no man comes to the Father. So we have Lazarus in Abram's bosom. We also have Ezekiel speaking of those who serve the prince but never see his face forever. We have people outside the gates of New Jerusalem. We have the book of Romans and the concept that where there is no law there is no sin. Although sin and death rule over them, there is the law of their conscience. And we have Jesus speaking of those who didn't know the will of God being beaten with fewer stripes. We also have the Great Commission because even unsaved ignorant people who live by their conscience will sin against their conscience. I wonder if Melchizedek is the priest whom God has appointed over these people. But all will be Christ's and at last everything that is Christ will be God's.

Just going through a Biblical rabbit hole. We have to be careful when it comes to rabbit hole theology and doctrine.... especially if ultimately some theory doesn't matter to our own life. It's okay to ponder but our ponderings must always bow to Scripture and this is why we need to know Scripture. So many deceptions have come about in the church because someone missed a Bible verse. I remember a pretty famous preacher going on about God creating many humans in the beginning and calling their name Adam, as a collective. He decided on this because he figured the world couldn't have been so quickly populated. But he missed the verse in Genesis that says Eve was the mother of all living. And he missed the verse which states that through one man sin came to the earth. If Gid had made many Adams then did all the Adams eat the fruit? And if one of the Adams didn't eat the fruit, why didn't God use that tiny remnant? The same way of missing or ignoring or misunderstanding a Bible verse can be found in theology  where hell supposedly doesn't exist, or even in the idea that Satan represents collective human evil and tendencies. So when they say Jesus battled Satan's temptation in the wilderness, they forget the verse that the Bible says Jesus knew no sin. This kind of thing goes on in small those who believe in the Sethite theory (as if two different kinds of humans could be good and bad and marrying into the wrong race of humans could create strange beings.)

Anyways...all this is to say that Scriptures are our guidelines in all our ponderings. Or else we'll wrestle scriptures to our destruction.

Friday, October 07, 2022

Mini review of Mr Harrigan's phone on Netflix

 I just saw Mr Harrigan's Phone. I really liked it. Don't expect anything horrific. Man speaking from the grave notwithstanding. It's just a good little coming-of-age YA story.  It has a quiet spirituality to it. Vengeance is such a part of Stephen King's stories and here is a story where the entire idea of vengeance is challenged. It shows the futility of getting back at evil. 

The moralism isn't mostly about phones as some reviewers are saying. Yes, phones affect human connection. But the stories he reads are about power and the ability to use money or power to avenge oneself or to fight against the evil in the world. Craig has only a dead person to help him fight against evil. In the end, he grows and accepts that the world is full of wounded people and of wounds and perhaps having the power to redress evil isn't for him to decide. It's an anti-superhero kind of story. And for Stephen King who has created so many stories about vengeance, it's almost like an old man (old writer's) admittance that he has written a lot of vengeful tales and perhaps that isn't the way to go. I really loved that relinquishing of power.  The protagonist basically noped out of being an avenger. 

I'm one of those Stephen King fans who loves his YA and or mainstream slice-of-life stories. Having seen my share of Christian movies, I'll say that it's got that Christian vibe that i could never imagine a regular evangelical writer writing. Gently religious, gently supernatural, a subtle message in a slice of life ya story. Well, in this case "slice of supernatural life" story.

I loved loved loved it. It reminded me of Nope by Jordan Peele. We come to a Stephen King story looking for bloodshed and vengeance and Stephen gives us a character who learns the guilt and futility of vengeance. Literature in the film, Scripture in the film, are all about using power, money, etc to destroy those who want to destroy us. Power makes us play God. Our protagonist has the ability to avenge and destroy evil. Writers can uphold morality or socialism or vengeance or ....not. Stephen King showing literature s power makes me feel he's challenging himself. And perhaps apologizing for making a spectacle of vengeance. In the long run, protag learns that perhaps we should not be judge, jury, executioner, and CCTV camera. And we shouldn't indulge in literature that emphasizes our  thirst for vengeance. A quiet antispectacle noping out.

The story is from the anthology is "If it bleeds" and that comes from the old journalistic adage, "if it bleeds, it leads." People like spectacle and they want bloodshed because it is more exciting. But King is very courageous in challenging his readers who expect bloodshed from him and who get bored with normalcy. I thought it was a great coming of age story for a culture that loves spectacle and revenge porn horror. It's not meant to be scary in a give me blood spectacle kind of way. Every quote in the story hints at stopping the misuse of power. Having the power to do harm is not the way to go. And if one uses power to do harm then that is what is horrific. Our hero is not in Death Note or even in Chronicle. He knows how to retain his humanity. By restraining his power... Even in the face of injustice, he's come of age. And if King's readers have come of age, they will understand that addiction to vengeance is not the way to go either.

 Interestingly, one of the subtexts of the story is malice, gloating, vengeance, forgiveness. Which was one of the things we discussed when we talked about Obadiah in last week's Bible study.

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