Saturday, May 12, 2007

Pentecost & Jesus as the Greater Solomon

A few thoughts about Peter’s sermon on Pentecost evoking several themes from Solomon’s dedication of the temple. This presumably points to Jesus as the greater Solomon (and the church as the greater temple).

The filling of the temple with the glory cloud (2 Chr 7.1-3) seems to ratify several things about Solomon, and about God’s relationship with his people. First, the completion of the temple marks the fulfillment of God’s promise to David, to have his seed sit on the throne of Israel (2 Chr 6.10). This seems to be a particularly pregnant association at Pentecost, as Peter expressly invokes the promise God makes to David to sit David’s seed on his throne (Acts 2.30).

So just as the pouring forth of the Spirit on Solomon’s temple fulfills the promise for this transition, so, too, the pouring forth of the Spirit on Pentecost again indicates the enthronement of David’s seed.

Secondly, Solomon’s temple suggest that “God will indeed dwell with mankind on earth” (2 Chr 6.18). God “tabernacled” with humanity in the person of Jesus (Jn 1.14). The temple is the locus of God’s presence (although of course God is not limited, 2 Chr 6.18). God now inhabits his new temple, the church. The implication being that God continues to dwell with mankind on earth through the church.

The fire on the heads of the disciples in Acts 2.3 would seem to be the same heavenly fire, the same theophanic manifestation, that accepted the offerings at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (2 Chr 7.1). The ecclesiastical implications of this – the implications of this for what happens at baptism, and for what it means to have the Spirit to live in us – are stupefying.

Third, God’s presence in the temple means that God forgives his people (2 Chr 7.14). Our entemplement at baptism is not merely a dedication to service, let alone a dedication to a Christian life. In receiving the Spirit in baptism we receive the promise that God will forgive us. We receive the beginning of God’s grace in baptism; the Spirit indwelling us is the continuing fulfillment of that promise in this age, and the promise that we will be forgiven on the last day.

So Pentecost provides evidence that Jesus is the definitive Davidic seed – i.e., the greater Solomon – that Jesus is Lord (via Ps 110), and that Jesus is the messiah, bringing reconciliation and forgiveness to God’s people.


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