Thursday, January 17, 2008

The King must depart before the Spirit Comes

Jesus' public life seems to parallel David's life in many ways. Both are anointed by the son of a barren mother (1 Sam 1.5; Lk 1.7, both come in an age of priestly corruption, (1 Sam 2.12-17, 22-25; Lk 20.9-19, 22.2), both are anointed king during the reign of another king, and both have the Spirit descend on them after their anointing (1 Sam 17.12-14; Lk 3.21-22). Both defeat Israel's enemy (1 Sam 17.49, Gn 3.15, Mt 12.28, & etc.), the existing king persecutes both of them, (1 Sam 19.1, Mt 2.13, 27.11-12, 37, 63-65), and they both feed Israel, (2 Sam 6.18-19; Mt 14.17-21 & etc.).

There are other parallels as well. I wondered about this one last weekend: both must go away before the Spirit comes in power. In the OT, the completion of the temple brings the Spirit (2 Chr 5.13-6.1, 7.1-3). So God's decision to forbid David from constructing the temple (1 Ch 17.4, 11-12) effectively means that David must disappear from the scene before the Spirit comes to dwell in the temple.

And, of course, Jesus points out that he must go away in order for the Spirit to come (Jn 16.7).

So I wonder if the King must go before the Spirit comes.

Still, the "mutatis mutandis" seem a bit steep for this parallel. God forbids David from building the temple because he is a man of blood rather than a man of rest (as Solomon would be). And, of course, Jesus is the greater Solomon as well as the greater David. Further, Jesus says that he'll send the Spirit as a result of his departure, something not implied at all regarding David.

Still, there seems the hint of a wistful "feel" on my part. Sure, I want the Spirit to come -- the scenes in 2 Chronicles and in Acts when the Spirit comes in power are among the most powerful in the whole of the Scriptures. Yet I want, as it were, to experience these events with David and Jesus' presence, not without them. (Also coming to mind in this regard is Moses' departure from Israel prior to entering the promised land.)

Of course, even the wistful lament will pass away when Jesus returns; we will then enjoy the blessing of the Spirit and Jesus' visible presence.


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