Have you ever been reading in the Old Testament and wondered, what does this have to do with the larger story? Or maybe it’s never even occurred to you that the Old Testament even has a larger story! Well, in this episode, Kirk sits down with a premier Old Testament scholar, Stephen Dempster, author of the stellar book, Dominion and Dynasty, to talk specifically about the theology and storyline of the Hebrew Bible.
In this episode, Kirk and Dan discuss some additional matters related to the interpretation of Revelation 4. How should we understand the phrase “after this” used twice in verse 1, and what are some of the theological debates / discussions surrounding this phrase? Second, we take a closer look at the twenty elders and the four living creatures. Who or what might they be, and what role do they serve in this passage? Next, we consider briefly the theme of worship across the book. Who do you worship — God or the beast? And lastly, we consider the theme of heaven as God’s very temple, and how this reaches its climax in chapters 21-22.
The following is an excerpt from some material I composed for the teaching ministry of South City Church. You can listen to the sermon on which this material is based here — Our Identity and Calling in Christ (1 Peter 2:4-10).
In our passage this week [1 Peter 2:4-10], Peter makes use of this idea of temple.
Our understanding of temple begins in the Garden of Eden. If we were to look at Genesis 1-3 carefully, there are signs that we are suppose to see the Garden of Eden as something like a temple — a place where God dwells with humanity. Later when God gives Israel the tabernacle and temple, interestingly enough he tells them to decorate them with trees and things that make them look like a new Eden of sorts. The Garden of Eden is a “garden-temple.” And it is in this garden that God dwells with humanity without hindrance, without the intrusion of sin. Humanity experiences God’s presence and worships him perfectly.
When Adam and Even rebel, however, sin enters the equation. And this breaks the relationship between God and mankind. God, who is immeasurably holy, cannot tolerate sin. God’s, in his perfection, cannot dwell in the presence of sin without destroying it. This is why in the Old Testament, the levitical (temple) Law speaks of things being “unclean” and the sacrifices and their blood “cleansing” and “purifying.” It was through the temple and its sacrifices that God was able to dwell with his people again, despite sin. This is why God gave the temple, so that he could dwell with his people. And this is why he ordered the sacrifices, to deal with their sin.