Saturday, March 16, 2013

Thou Shalt Go Before

Zacharias again tells us the role of the Elias priest, a role his son will fulfill.  The Elias priest goes before the Lord to prepare the way, gives knowledge of (announces) salvation, which is the imminent dawn, which will give to those in the valley of the shadow of death.  Finally, Elias will set the feet of those people in the path of "peace."  In this description, Zacharias quotes from Worship of the Shalems texts: Isaiah 9 and Isaiah 40.

Luke, like Matthew, is a temple man and a follower of Isaiah.

Friday, March 15, 2013

My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord

The Threshingfloor Marriage continues with a hymn.  The "blessed" status of the "handmaid" is noted again, as is the power "might" of the Lord, and the manifestation of blessing in "seed."  Notice the Sermon on the Mount Ordinance motifs: the Lord shows his arm, fills the hungry, exalts the low, and grants mercy.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

And Blessed Is the Fruit

The repetition of the phrase "blessed art thou among women" strengthens the impression that we have here to do with ritual language, words that are repeated and answered.  "Blessed is the fruit of thy womb" appears to be the response.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Behold the Handmaid of the Lord

Mary submits by identifying herself as the Lord's handmaid.  Similarly, Ruth identifies herself as Boaz's handmaid.  So does Hannah, before she conceives Samuel.  Psalm 116 identifies the servant in the courts of the Lord's house as the son of the Lord's handmaid.

Looking at these passages together, "handmaid" reads like a temple-priestly title.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Power of the Highest

The Melchizedek priest acts with power.  This same language occurs in a similar context, and appears to refer to a sacred marriage ordinance, in Matthew's story of the woman who marries seven brothers.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Lord Is with Thee

This greeting from Gabriel sounds liturgical; in other words, if there is a Threshingfloor Marriage, this sounds like it might be language taken from the performance of it.

Also, if Gabriel is alone, this language suggests that he is the Lord, El Gibbor.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013

His Wife Elizabeth Conceived

Elizabeth is childless and barren, a state Philo (not a Christian, as we understand the term) associates with symbolic virginity.  John the Baptist's conception is therefore also a sort of virgin birth, and arises from a temple appearance of the Melchizedek priest.

Friday, March 8, 2013

I Am Gabriel

The angel who brings the news to Zacharias is the Melchizedek priest -- he has come from the presence of God and he bears the name Gabriel = El Gibbor, the mighty God.

Was the giving of curses as signs a special power of the Melchizedek priest?  I am reminded of Abinadi and Alma.  Maybe this is how we should read Isaiah 10-14, as a curse/sign from the rightful and righteous Melchizedek priest.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

On the Right Side of the Altar

Zacharias has a vision, explicitly in the temple.  The angel (angelos, messenger) of the Lord appears to one side of the incense altar.  This is a telling detail that speaks to the angel's message: the angel is the angel / messenger of the hekal.  In the Worship of the Shalems, that makes the angel the Elias priest.  Is Zacharias' reaction the reaction of the worshippers to the coming of Elias?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

They Were Both Righteous

Elisabeth and Zacharias are identified as being righteous "before God," a phrase generally taken to imply presence in the temple, where God dwells.  They are both of priestly descent, and their righteousness is exemplified in the way they "walk."

Monday, March 4, 2013

Most Excellent Theophilus

A debated question is the identity of this Theophilus, identified as the recipient of Luke's testimony.  If we take Theophilus seriously as a real person (as opposed to a literary fiction), we need to reckon with what Luke says in his introduction.  Luke writes about witnesses from the beginning, the helpers of the Melchizedek priest, the Word.  Luke's is going to be a temple testimony, and he tells us that Theophilus -- whoever that might be -- already has some instruction in the matter.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ministers of the Word

Luke's gospel starts like John's: with the Word (logos), and his ministers (helpers, assistants) who were witnesses from the beginning (arche).

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Now the God of Peace

The God of Hebrews is the God of "peace."

The author had previously identified Christ as Melchizedek; now he also identified Christ as the "great shepherd of the sheep."

Friday, March 1, 2013

Divers and Strange Doctrines

The "strange doctrines" appear to be the animal sacrifices of the Jews.  Hebrews knows an altar meal participation in which requires authority, and from which the official priesthood of his day is excluded.