Notable Quotes

Notable Quotes May 13, 2013

Everysermon requires that the preacher leave good material on the cutting roomfloor. You just don’t have time—and the listeners don’t have the patience orendurance—to say everything worth saying. So every Sunday, worthy points getleft unmade. This week, I ran into a number of excellent remarks in oneparticular commentary (William Propp, Exodus 19-40) that helped meappreciate the Tabernacle so much more. Here’s a sample of what I won’t havetime to say  today:

“TheTabernacle is dedicated to a paradoxical proposition. God and Israel bothwant to live together, yet Yahweh’s attribute of Holiness is incompatible withearthly corruption. …Whenever the Holy and the impure touch, at least one ofthe two is inevitably eliminated: the Impure repels the Holy and/or the Holyannihilates the Impure. Therefore, any meeting of God and Man should result inYahweh’s retreat into Heaven and/or death for the humans. …The whole purpose ofbiblical worship, and ancient worship in general, is to bring the human anddivine into safe contact. How is this accomplished?” (p 686)

“As theTabernacle moves through the wilderness bearing Yahweh’s cloudy-fiery presencein the midst of a people observing purity requirements, the Tent is essentiallya portable Sinai. Wherever it stands, it bridges the gulf between Heaven andEarth. The Tabernacle’s function is to transport God’s presence from Sinai to Canaan in a safe container.” (p 688)

“The divinepresence is no unmitigated blessing. Biblical passages extolling the benefitsof proximity to God must be balanced against the fearsome ‘Day of Yahweh,’ whenthe sky darkens and all Creation trembles when He comes. …It is common humanexperience that intimacy with the mighty, e.g., kings, confers specialadvantages as well as commensurate dangers.” (p 689)

“Due to theWest’s secular-scientific orientation, and Christianity’s emphasis on deferredretribution in the Hereafter, nobody any more finds worship terrifying.Churches and synagogues are not regarded as likely to spontaneously detonate.Instead, conceive the Tabernacle as a nuclear power plant, channelingcosmic power from Heaven to Earth. It must be meticulously tended by speciallytrained personnel clad in protective garb, wearing special identity badges, whoperiodically deal with crises of contamination. The least breach of protocolcan be disastrous, not just for the technicians but for the entire community.”(p 689-90)

Final comment (not a quote): Here’s a man who really gets the holiness of Israel’s God. So what does it say about the rest of us that this author is a self-proclaimed atheist?