Jesus & Shadow Laws by lindayy


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									                                    In spirit and in truth
                     her, “Woman, believ Me,
      Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the           taught Christians against participating
    hour is coming when you will neither on
                            you                            in such ceremonies; church members even
    this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship               undertook voluntary Nazirite vows with
        Father You worship          you
    the Father. You worship what you do not                their attendant sacrifices at the temple (Acts
    know; we know           we worship,     salva-
    know; we know what we worship, for salva-              21:23).
    tion is of the Jews. But the hour is coming,       •      … worship “in spirit and truth” had nev-
         now                     worshipers
    and now is, when the true worshipers will              er existed before. The Old Testament, partic-
    worship the Father in spirit and truth; for            ularly the book of Psalms, is replete with
        Father                     worship
    the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”            examples of Spirit-led worship, some at the
    John 4:21-23                                           temple and some, such as Psalm 42, many
                                                           miles removed.
    Constricted by the mental hoops of standard        •      … worship “in spirit and truth” and wor-
    shadow and covenant theory, many see this              ship at the temple are mutually exclusive.
    passage as hailing a welcome end to primitive          Spirit-led worshipers of old, such as King
    temple worship. Jesus, they claim, proclaimed          David, not only worshiped enthusiastically
    the death of temple worship in tandem with             at the temple but also worshiped in the pri-
    His own death and the initiation of the new            vacy of their own palace or tent or under
    covenant. And not a minute too soon, thank             desert stars. The Old Testament never por-
    you. In this new era of spiritual worship, tem-        trays the Jerusalem temple as the only place
    ple worship would be meaningless. Adam Clar-           where members of the covenant community
    ke put it this way:                                    could worship properly.
       The time was now at hand in which the spir-           Before we can draw any conclusions about
       itual worship of God was about to be estab-       the meaning of Jesus’ words concerning temple
       lished in the earth, and all the Jewish rites     worship, we need to determine His train of
       and ceremonies entirely abolished (ed. Ear-       thought in this passage. His other statements
       le 1967).                                         provide clues enabling us to do just that.
         How sound is this idea? Analysis shows        Salvation is of the Jews
    that Jesus was saying no such thing. Rather, He
                                                        Admittedly, Jesus’ remark that Jews know
    was announcing that His imminent crucifixion
                                                        whom they worship (while Samaritans do not)
    and resurrection would cut the ribbon for a
                                                        because “salvation is of [from] the Jews” pre-
    new harvest of true worshipers for the king-
                                                        sents as many interpretive difficulties as the
    dom of God (vss. 34-38), one that would in-
                                                        temple-worship observation. Many take the
    clude Gentile Samaritans as well as Israelites.
                                                        phrase to mean nothing more than that the
         Let’s try to understand the thread of His
                                                        Savior would come from the tribe of Judah.
    thought. Though speaking with dogmatic con-
                                                        However, if that is what Christ meant, He
    fidence about the precise meaning of Jesus’
                                                        could so easily have said “the savior is of the
    words would be foolish, we can, through a pro-
                                                        Jews”. Carson (1991, p. 223) says, “Nor does it
    cess of elimination, have a fair idea. We will
                                                        simply mean that the promised deliverer…
    begin by showing what He did not mean when
                                                        would come from Judah…” So what does it
    He downplayed the importance of the two tem-
                                                        mean? And was that circumstance about to
    ple-capped mountains, Mt Gerizim and Jerus-
                                                        change, as some think?
                                                             Though the New Testament makes abun-
Neither Mt Gerizim nor                                  dantly clear that Gentiles do not have to be-
                                                        come Israelites in order to enjoy God’s salva-
Jerusalem                                               tion, it does support the Old Testament teach-
  Jesus was not saying that:                            ing that Gentiles would come to God, and
•      … worship at those sites would cease due         thereby to salvation, through Israel. One of the
    to the destruction of their respective temples.     most profound expressions of this truth can be
    The Samaritan temple at Mt Gerizim had              found in the prophecy of Zechariah 8:23:
    been destroyed over 150 years earlier. Fur-              Thus says the LORD of hosts: “In those days
    ther, it was rebuilt less than one hundred               ten men from every language of the nations
    years later.                                             shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, say-
•      … temple worship was pointless and must               ing, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard
    cease forthwith. He constantly upheld the                that God is with you.’ “
    sanctity of the temple and the validity of its           The latter chapters of Isaiah describe both
    rites. He even participated in its worship (ed.     Israel’s Messiah and Israel herself as God’s
    Douglas 1980, p. 1656). He ate the Passover         “servant” through whom salvation would
    lamb, sacrificed at the temple, with the pre-       come “to the ends of the earth” (Is. 49:6). Jesus
        scribed bitter herbs. The New Testament         is the grounds of salvation, Israel its broker.
          gives no indication that the church ever      Exactly how Israel aids the salvation process
  in the era of the church is beyond the scope of             ship by spirit worship or the demise
 this publication. Most people’s personal expe-               of temple worship’s value.
 rience today would seem to deny that they in            •       Some Samaritans would soon begin
 any way depend on the house of Israel in their               to worship God in spirit, no longer limit-
 relationship with God. Be that as it may, Paul,              ing worship to their temple.
 in a highly complex section of Scripture, cor-          •       This new blessing about to be enjoyed by
 roborates the principle:                                     Samaritans was in some way contingent
      For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also         upon Jewish mediation.
      holy; and if the root [patriarchs} is holy, so            Let’s put it all together. Before Jesus came,
      are the branches. And if some of the branch-         Israel was locked up under the old covenant.
      es [of Israel] were broken off, and you [Gen-        That covenant, shutting Israel away from ac-
      tiles], being a wild olive tree, were grafted in     cess to believing faith, was imposed on Israel
      among them, and with them became a par-              due to her rebellion against God after their
      taker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,     redemption from Egypt. Some very few “true
      do not boast against the branches. But if            worshipers” in Israel, and an even smaller
      you do boast, remember that you do not               number of Gentiles, worshiped God in spirit
      support the root, but the root supports you          and truth, walking and talking with Him in
      (Rom. 11:16-18).                                     their everyday lives regardless of their geo-
      So salvation is still “of the Jews”. God as-         graphical location. But the majority did not. As
 signed them, with all Israelite tribes, to be a           a result, Israel failed to fulfil her commission
 “kingdom of priests” to minister to Gentile               to take the truth of God to other nations, in-
 peoples, teaching them about their Messiah                cluding Samaria. All that was about to change.
 and the salvation that He alone provides. That            Jesus was about to usher in the new covenant,
 circumstance was not about to change. Samar-              releasing Israel from the old covenant’s con-
 itans would need Israelitish assistance and               demning grip, freeing her to enjoy an outpour-
 guidance in their quest to enjoy the saving ben-          ing of the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost
 efits of Israel’s Messiah.                                in 31 AD, three thousand Jews were convert-
Worship in spirit and truth                                     Now the critical point. This development
 What is worship “in spirit and truth” all                 would have ripple effects on Samaritans and
 about? Since much has been written about the              other Gentiles. Some Jews would begin to ful-
 meaning of this phrase, with wide variations              fil their God-given commission to take the gos-
 in interpretation, caution is advised against             pel to others. Exactly that began to happen just
 dogmatic assertions. Ladd’s explanation,                  a few years after Jesus’ death and resurrection,
 though, makes a lot of sense (1974, p. 292). He           with the apostle Paul serving as the spearhead.
 points out that “spirit” worship refers to wor-           As a result, Samaritans and other Gentiles be-
 ship motivated and guided by the Holy Spirit              gan to receive the same gifts, and to be grafted
 rather than to inner “spiritual” worship as               into the same olive tree, as Israelites. Whereas
 opposed to mechanical rites. Since God is spir-           before then all Samaritans thought God could
 it, He cannot be limited to any one place, be it          only be worshiped at their temple, after Calva-
 Jerusalem or Gerizim. The Holy Spirit enables             ry some began to worship Him in spirit and
 men to worship God anywhere. (Jews under-                 truth elsewhere.
 stood this point; Samaritans did not.)                         What “the coming hour” was about to
      Ladd adds that “truth” relates to the Old            bring was not a new form of worship, for God
 Testament idea of God’s faithfulness to Him-              had had true worshipers from the beginning,
 self, “and therefore it refers to what God is             but a new era in which “all flesh”, both Israel-
 doing in the coming of Jesus”. The Holy Spirit            ite and Gentile, could have unlimited worship-
 inspires worship, but Jesus, the promised seed            ful access to God through Christ and assisted
 of blessing, is the mediator of worship (Heb.             by the Holy Spirit. They would not restrict
 4:15-16). Worship “in truth” is thus synony-              their worship exclusively to the temple. This
 mous with worship “in Spirit”. Someone mo-                new era, in which untold thousands worship
 tivated by the Holy Spirit and having access to           God in the time-honored way of “spirit and
 God through his heavenly high priest, Jesus               truth” in no way abolishes those rites and cer-
 Christ, can worship God acceptably anywhere,              emonies that for centuries acted as shadows of
 and in various ways.                                      His coming and work, and which were so un-
                                                           derstood by saints of old. Were a temple stand-
Putting it all together                                    ing now, God’s servants would be free to avail
  Let’s try to understand this vital passage. Con-         themselves of the extra benefits its shadow ser-
  sider these points:                                      vice provided. But a true worshiper today can
•      Jesus’ words show that temple worship               have, just as true worshipers of Old Testament
    was about to be “overtaken” by Spirit-led,             times could, a dynamic, living, healthy rela-
      Jesus-mediated worship. Based on points              tionship with God without ever setting
         raised above, this change should not be           foot in the temple.
         seen as the replacement of temple wor-

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