Peter Misselbrook's Blog
14/02/2017 - The Order of the Old Testament Books

When I was young, we were taught a song that helped us to learn and remember the order of the books in the Bible. It began as follows:

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers
Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges and Ruth,
Samuel, Samuel, Kings, Kings, Chronicles,
Ezra and Nehemiah, Esther and Ruth…

It was a useful song and certainly helped us to find our way around the Bible – particularly useful for “Sword Drill” – though I still have some difficulty with the order of some of the Minor Prophets! I thought no more about the ordering of the Old Testament books until I began to learn Hebrew at Theological College. Suddenly I encountered the Hebrew Bible with its books ordered in a rather different manner from that found in our Old Testaments.

The order in which the Old Testament books appear in our English Bibles, the order rehearsed in my childhood song, is the result of two different and contrary factors – and here I speak solely about our “Protestant” Bibles. The Hebrew Bible concludes with Chronicles, and there is some evidence that this was the structure of the Bible that Jesus knew and read (see Luke 11:50 in which Jesus seems to list murders from the beginning and end of the Hebrew Bible). However, the Christian church in the first few centuries was predominantly Greek speaking (hence the original New Testament documents are in Greek). The church therefore used a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament (generally the “Septuagint”) as its Old Testament Scriptures. This translation had the Old Testament books in much the same order as is found in contemporary English Bibles – though it also contained a number of additional books and additions to other books. The Septuagint later formed the basis of the Latin translation, the Vulgate, which formed the common Bible of the Western church until the Reformation.

The Reformation brought new attention to the authority of Scripture and gave rise to the concern to produce translations of the Scriptures into the language of the common people. Translators turned again to the original sources of the Scriptures rather than relying on the secondary Greek translation of the Old Testament or subsequent Latin translations. There was a renewed interest in the Hebrew Scriptures. Protestant translators and churches rejected the Old Testament material that was not found in the Hebrew Scriptures, material they judged apocryphal. Nevertheless, the ordering of the Old Testament books remained that of the Septuagint and Vulgate rather than that of the Hebrew Scriptures – perhaps either because of familiarity with that ordering or in order to gain acceptance. I want to suggest that this was a compromised reformation and that the time is long overdue for the Old Testament section of our Bibles to reflect the order of books found in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Why?

I have been reading a book called, Biblical Theology: Retrospect and Prospect (IVP, 2002). It consists of a number of chapters written by different scholars addressing issues in Biblical Theology. The first half of the Book is devoted to Biblical Theology of the Old Testament and several of the articles suggest that such a theology needs to be shaped by the canon of the Old Testament, including the ordering of the Old Testament books.

I have been deeply impressed with the chapter by Brian G. Toews entitled, “Genesis 1-4: The Genesis of Old Testament Instruction.” Brian Toews suggests that Genesis 1-4 (note 1-4 not 1-3), should be seen as an introduction to the Theology of the Old Testament:

“Genesis 1:1-2:3 presents the ideal world that God created. The world in which the rest of the OT takes place is the world of Genesis 2:4-4:26. This is the real world of the OT text and the real world in which the reader lives. Thus there is a tension between the ideal world and real world. This tension drives the OT narrative. Genesis 4 presents the first generation(s) of humanity living outside the Garden of Eden under the consequences of sin. Genesis 4 serves as the prototype for humanity outside the garden. The generations of humankind outside the garden understand life only in light of what transpired in the garden, but they are understood in light of Genesis 2:4-4:26. This tension is never resolved in the OT narrative, except in its prophetic vision. The tension is ultimately released only in humankind’s entrance into the blessing and rest of God granted in the new creation portrayed in Revelation 21-22.” (ibid. p.40)

The themes of God who reveals himself through his Word along with human response to (or failure to respond to) that Word are then played out against the blessing of God’s presence with (or absence from) his people in the earth/garden/land. This cycle of narrative, response, blessing and promise is played out throughout the canonical Old Testament concluding with Chronicles which begins again with Adam and concludes with the hope beyond exile that God will yet establish his messianic kingdom.

“Chronicles provides the typological presentation of the hoped-for messianic kingdom that will re-establish the rule of God designed for humanity in the beginning. The Davidic Messiah will come as the second Adam and establish his rule on the earth for those who seek the Lord. Solomon, the first son of David, provides a narrative type of the son of David to come who will fulfil the Davidic promise (1 Chron 17).” (ibid. pp.50-51)

I have left out much of the detailed argument in Brian Toews’ chapter which rewards careful reading and may serve to dispel any remaining scepticism. He concludes:

“A canonical theology must go beyond just another way to arrange the books. If there is good evidence to look at the Law, Prophets and Writings as literary-theological units, then this should determine the shape of OT theology as well. Moreover, Genesis 1-4 serves as the introduction not only to the Law but to the canon as a whole. These chapters set forth the fundamental theological issues for the rest of the OT. Thus the instruction of the OT should be presented in accordance with the three- or four-part structure of the OT, demonstrating how each part of the OT contributes to the theological themes and narrative structure introduced at its beginning.” (ibid. p.51)

Is it not about time that we completed the laudable desire of the Reformers to return to the Scriptures of the Hebrew Old Testament and printed the Old Testament section of our Christian Bibles with its books in the order they are found in the canonical Hebrew Scriptures?

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02/05/2015 - Of Mindfulness and Beer

We go through life without noticing so many of the things around us, even the things we directly experience: tea; beer; the quality of sunlight and shadow; the dancing of leaves in the breeze; small tokens of affection...

Have you noticed how the head on a glass of beer as it is drained leaves an imprint as fine and intricate as any hand-made lace? This is a lace so fragile that it will soon be lost for ever, kept only in the memory of the one who has wondered at its complex pattern.

"Is that one finished yet?", she said. The glass is empty. The drink is gone. Yes, it's finished. A year of rain and sun; the seed, the green shoot and the golden grain. The summer is finished and dies into autumn. The dust of harvest and the damp sweetness of the malting floor; the days of the brewer's skill... Yes it is finished and gone. And gone too lightly, with too little consideration and even less regret. The glass is empty and now that too is gone along with the fragile beauty of its ephemeral lace.  

So before it goes, savour the moment and taste the living earth and life-giving sun. And in it all, taste and see that the Lord is good.

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12/06/2014 - Paul and the Faithfulness of God

Confined as I am to hospital (see previous Blog), I have taken the opportunity afforded by enforced rest to begin reading the latest of Tom Wright's massive series on Christian Origins and the Question of God namely the 1500 page, two volume work Paul and the Faithfulness of God. Thus far I have completed the first volume. I enjoyed it immensely and found it both helpful and thought provoking. Here I plan, rather impertinently, to offer a summary of the first volume - a mere 565 pages.

Wright spends some time sketching out the three worlds of first century Judaism, Hellenism and the Roman Empire and then dealing with the way Paul transforms the first and responds to and with the other worlds. This is anticipated in the first chapter by his brilliant and seminal consideration of Paul's letter to Philemon.

Wright emphasises that Paul the apostle does not abandon the Jewish faith which was his as Saul the Pharisee; rather, it is transformed and refocused in Jesus the crucified and risen Messiah. In particular, Wright argues that Paul's worldview (that through which he sees and interprets the world) is structured in terms of story. Israel told a story - the story of Abraham and the promised land, of slavery and of exodus - the story of Israel. Within that story was the story of David and Jerusalem, Solomon and the Temple. This story included the story of Israel's disobedience and exile (interpreted against the background of Deuteronomy) and the hope of 'return' and restoration grounded in a reading of such prophecies as Isaiah 40-66.

Wright develops Paul's transformed understanding of this story in terms of three stories, each embedded within the previous outer story - like Russian dolls. The first is the story of Monotheism - of the one God who is creator of all things. He created the world (cosmos) that it might reflect and be filled with his glory - that he might dwell in and with his creation and that it might delight in him and he be its delight. He placed humankind, made in his image, to govern the creation in his name - to orchestrate its delight in and praise of its creator. But something went wrong both in terms of human rebellion and in terms of the mysterious (in origin) powers which now have an influence on this world. All creation is marred. God's purpose is to restore creation so that it might be the good creation he intended it to be. Since human rebellion was the cause of its 'fall' (not sure that Wright uses this term), it can only be restored by first restoring humankind. Moreover, just as creation was spoilt through human rebellion, so it must be restored through human agency. This is the outer story which must not be forgotten if the inner stories are to be understood correctly.

The next inner layer of the story is that of Abraham and Israel - the story of Election. God chose Abraham and his descendants to be the means by which the world would be restored - all nations are to be blessed through him. The promise of the land is in some sense an anticipation - a sign - of the promise of the restoration of the entire creation. Many sub-themes are dealt with here such as: God's presence and glory which were with his people whom he redeemed from Egypt, focused in the Tabernacle and then the Temple but lost through disobedience; the Temple as symbolic of creation and sign of the day when God's glory would fill he whole earth; Sabbath as as a sign of God resting not only from his act of creating but in his creation and so an anticipation of the day when God would again fill the earth with his presence and glory, resting in his completed creation.

Wright believes that the three foundations of Jewish world view were Monotheism, Election and Eschatology. Israel thus had a vocation to be a light to the nations, the hope of the world.

But Israel also failed to live up to its calling and went the way of Adam. God, however, was faithful to his covenant by bringing upon them the judgment foretold in Deuteronomy; God's glory departed from the Temple (from Israel) and the people were sent into exile. Yet, beyond judgment, there remains the hope of Israel's restoration (sometimes linked in second temple Judaism with the hope of the Messiah). The restoration would not only restore Israel, but would also bring blessing to the nations who would be drawn to the God of Israel. God's glory would at last fill the whole earth.

Wright argues that a common theme in first century (or more widely, second temple) Judaism was that the exile had not finished with the return to Babylon. (In this connection he considers Daniel's vision in which he is told that the seventy years of exile will actually be seven times seventy years.) God's glory had not yet returned, the land was ruled by others and the children of Israel remained a scattered people. The restoration of all things still awaited the restoration of Israel.

The central story for Paul is the story of Jesus the Christ (the Messiah). Wright argues that for Paul, 'Christ' is not a proper name (a surname) but is always a conscious title. In Jesus, God has appeared to redeem Israel as he did before in rescuing them from slavery in Egypt and constituting them as his people. In doing so, God is redeeming the whole creation (remember the concentric stories). Jesus the Christ took upon himself the burden and vocation of Israel. He suffered its rejection of the calling of God in his own rejection and crucifixion. In his resurrection he has become the future of Israel - the future of the people of God. He is the fulfilment of all the promises of God - in particular, the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham that through his 'seed' all nations will be blessed. He is the one in whom creation is restored - he is the new creation.

This is a highly abbreviated (and inadequate) summary but the best I can do in a few words and from memory since I do not now have vol 1 with me.

Many sub-themes are dealt with along the way:

  • Temple. Jesus himself is that of which the Temple was a sign - the dwelling of God with humankind and in the midst of his creation. This reality which has appeared in Jesus becomes a characteristic of his people - we are the Temple of God, the people in whom he displays the glory of his presence.
  • Vocation. Those who have come to know Christ and who have entered the fellowship of his people through baptism share in his vocation - his calling. We, Jew and non-Jew, are heirs to the vocation (as well as the promise) of Abraham and of Israel. We are to be a people through whom the whole world encounters the one creator God, through whom all are blessed.
  • Israel. There is no rejection of God's purpose for Israel (no supersession, no plan B). There is one people of God, one children of Abraham, one Olive Tree defined by and focused in Jesus the Christ.
  • Kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is God's active rule over his world. It has an eschatological dimension (see 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul says that at the end of this age, Christ will hand over the kingdom to the Father), but there is also a present dimension - an already to the not yet. God's kingdom is manifest in and through those who live in obedience to the King - to Jesus the Messiah. There is no progressive advance to this kingdom; people do not die a little less because Jesus is risen from the dead. The people of God are signs of the kingdom and their activity is an anticipation of the kingdom but it does not bring in the kingdom (we build for the kingdom rather than are building the kingdom as NTW puts it elsewhere).
  • Justification. Justification is firstly God declaring his Messiah to be in the right through his resurrection from the dead. Secondly, it is his declaration that his people, those who have faith in Christ, who are in Christ, are in the right. It is an anticipation of the last day, he day of judgment, when they will be declared and shown to be in the right, an anticipation of the day when all things - all creation - will be put to rights. The behaviour and character of his people - a transformed and obedient people - is evidence now of their justification which is an eschatological declaration which has broken into the middle of history through Christ's resurrection from the dead.

There are many more themes which deserve to be picked up, such as: the Law; the principalities, powers and rulers of this present age; the role of the Spirit as the Spirit of the risen Christ, the one who brings the power of the age to come into the present age; etc. Memory and space fail me.

This book (and I have yet to read the second and larger volume) is a tour de force; a book which demands and rewards reading and careful consideration. I believe that it helps us towards a better understanding of the worldview (theology if you like) of Paul which fired the self-understanding of his vocation as apostle to the Gentiles and which undergirds the message of his letters.

I thoroughly commend this massive and extraordinary piece of work.

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07/06/2014 - Thoughts from a hospital ward

It is some time since I last wrote a Blog. I have been unwell for a few months and, after investigations it was discovered that I have heart block (a problem with the electrical systems of the heart which means that my pulse is slow and irregular - down to 36 in the mornings). I also heve a leaky aortic valve which needs replacing. I have now been in hospital for just over four weeks awaiting surgery.

I have been encouraged to use my time to write - perhaps some poems. The room I now inhabit in the hospital has a view over Southmead and towards the Severn and beyond it the hills of Wales. Sometimes they can be seen clearly, but not this morning. So this is what I wrote:

This morning they are gone -
The Severn bridges and the hills of Wales
Hidden by a mist so fine
That it too goes unseen.
Things close at hand remain distinct
Nothing here has changed.
And yet the now unseen
Remains as much unchanged
The bridges stand where yesterday they stood
The hills unmoved by any fleeting mist.
And so the faithfulness of God
Remains unchanged, though it may be unseen
While closer things may crowd our shortened view.
Indeed, God's glory fills the earth
And all is animated by his power
Who gave life at the first and gives it still.
There are those moments
When the mist is blown away
And we see clearly and we cry "Glory".
But though these moments pass and mist returns
The glory and the faithfulness remains
And shall remain until all mist is gone
And we shall see as we are seen
And know as we are known
And cry as we have never cried, "Glory!"

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30/03/2014 - Mary and Martha

Last Sunday, the passage read at our evening service was Luke 10:38-42. The passage tells of how Jesus and his disciples travelled to a village where “a woman named Martha opened her home to him.” Note that it was Martha’s home and she had invited the Lord and his many disciples to come and stay with her. She must have been concerned to look after them properly and so she busied herself – with preparation for meals, I imagine.

Martha’s sister Mary was also in the house. We are not told whether they lived together or whether Mary had come to her sister’s house to meet with Jesus. What we are told is that Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to him as he taught his disciples – she seems to have hung on his every word.

Now when Martha protests that she has been left to do all of the work and asks Jesus to tell Mary to give her a hand, she seems to receive a rebuke. “Martha, Martha”, says Jesus, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I am sure that many of us feel some sympathy for Martha. Her concern (her “worry”) was only that Jesus and his disciples might be looked after properly. She was doing no more than might be expected of a good host. It seems quite unfair that she should have been rebuked for her diligence.

How do we read this passage of Scripture? It’s all too easy for us to divide Christians into two groups: there are the activists who are always busy in the work of the kingdom – determined to serve Christ to the best of their abilities; then there are the contemplatives, who love to be still and listen for the voice of God. Are the latter here commended at the expense of the former?

As I thought about this question, I found it helpful to think of the life and character of the Lord Jesus himself. He was one who was utterly devoted to the work of the kingdom. In Capernaum, after he had healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law the crowds came seeking Jesus and begged him to stay with them. Jesus replied, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because this is why I was sent” (Luke 4:43). Jesus seems constantly driven in his ministry. On another occasion, Jesus told his disciples, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4).

And yet Jesus never seems hurried; he always had time for others. He had time to stop and talk and listen to those to whom no one else paid attention – to the tax-collector, the leper, the woman at the well in Samaria. And he often spent time alone with his Father. Activity and rest, busyness and communion with his Father were equally vital elements of his life (see the whole of Luke 4:42-44).

Above all, Jesus was a man filled with, led by and empowered by the Spirit of God. He sought always to do the will of him who sent him, whether that meant hurrying on to another town or stopping to talk, listen and heal.

How are we going to learn to become like Jesus – neither to be worried by the pressure of all we want to do for him nor unfruitful in the work of the kingdom?

To ask the question is to answer it – we need to learn of him. It is that for which Mary was commended.

As I thought about this perplexing passage, my mind turned again to Jesus words in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

Jesus does not want us to be burdened and weary – not even with the work of the kingdom. He calls us to come to him and to rest in him. Yet this rest involves taking his yoke upon us. The yoke is a picture of being made ready for work – as oxen are yoked to pull the plough. But it is Jesus’ yoke that we are called to take upon us. We are to be yoked to him and to join him in the work the Father has given him to do. And as we are yoked to Christ and bound close to him in his work we learn of him, for he always takes the lead. And now, in his work, we find rest for our souls – a continuous refreshment of spirit as we learn from him and work with him.

It is in Christ alone that the conflict between work and rest, activity and contemplation, finds its resolution.

Let’s learn of him by being closely yoked to him.

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24/02/2014 - Striking Scripture Verses

One of the wonderful things about the Bible is that you are always discovering more within it. I am now in my 60s and my parents read the Scriptures to me and told me their stories from my earliest years. I, in turn, have been reading the Scriptures myself for all of my adult life. For the last decade or more I have been in the habit of reading my way through the text of the Greek New Testament on an annual basis. One might think that there was nothing left to be discovered. But there is always more.

Yesterday I was preaching at a church in Somerset. The church has been working their way through the wonderful story of the growth and expansion of the church in the Book of Acts. I had been asked to preach on Acts 12:18-25 on the theme of “God’s unstoppable word” (see 12:24). I must confess to an initial feeling of disappointment. The verses beforehand – Peter’s delivery from prison by an angel – seemed far more exciting. The verses following – the beginning of Paul’s missionary journeys – seemed far more instructive. But I began to prepare my message from the verses given me and found, as so often, that there was much to learn from these verses.

In particular, as I began to look more closely at the passage assigned to me and its context within Acts 12, I was struck (if you will forgive the pun), with the odd wording of 12:7, “Suddenly an angel of the Lord … struck Peter on the side and woke him up.” The verb use of the angel’s action is πατασσω (patasso); it’s onomatopoeic – reminiscent of the thwack of the cricket bat against the ball. It’s not a gentle word. Why did the angel “strike” Peter? Why not lay a hand gently upon his shoulder and shake him awake before leading him out of prison? Why not whisper gently in his ear? To strike him on the side seems to be an unnecessarily violent action.

But then I turned to the verses from which I was to preach. King Herod was so angry that Peter had escaped the gruesome death he had been planning for him that he had the guards executed in Peter’s place. Later, in Caesarea, he sought to recover his wounded pride and sense of power by appearing in all his royal finery before a submissive crowd and giving what was no doubt a self-exalting speech. The crowd in turn shouted out “This is the voice of a god, not a man.” Then we read, “Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died” (12:23).

I had never before noticed the way in which the wording of 12:23 echoes so precisely that of 12:7, right down to the use of the same striking verb. Luke surely wanted to draw attention to the link between these two events. The angel of the Lord struck Peter to wake him from his sleep and deliver him from the death Herod had planned for him. The angel of the Lord struck Herod to wake him from his folly and deliver on him the fate he had planned for Peter.

God has a way of turning the evil plans and actions of people back upon themselves. We see it at the cross: those who sought to destroy the Son of God served only to accomplish God’s purposes by putting him to death. Through his death he conquered death and brought forgiveness and salvation to all who turn to him. God always has the last word: “But the word of God continued to spread and flourish” (Acts 12:24).

And God always has more to say to us from his word if we only have ears to listen to him.

Lord, show me more of the greatness of your saving power today.

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08/01/2014 - Shame

I have just been reading a short story by John Galsworthy called ‘The First and Last’. The story is set at the beginning of the twentieth century and concerns a notable lawyer, Keith Darrant K.C. One evening, his wastrel brother, Larry, calls round in a state of turmoil to say that he has accidentally killed a man in a fight over a woman and hidden his body under an archway. Keith, concerned to preserve the family name, asks if anyone saw what happened. On learning that they did not, Keith tells his brother to lie low.

Soon, however, a vagabond who stole and pawned items from the body is arrested for the murder. Keith tells his brother not to worry; the evidence is insufficient for the man to be convicted. Nevertheless the man is convicted he expected to be sentenced to hang. Larry is conscience stricken; he will not let an innocent man go to the gallows. He writes a confession, poisons himself and leaves the note beside him for his cleaner to discover. But it is his brother Keith who comes looking for him and, finding him dead, takes the confession away leaving the body to be found by the cleaner.

Keith, the eminent and admired K.C., considers what he should do with the letter. It would save an innocent man from execution but it would also bring shame upon the family and ruin his own reputation as a leading lawyer. In the end, he throws it into the fire.

The story made me ask myself, “What would I do to avoid shame? What do I do to avoid shame?”

We all tend to hide things from others, even those nearest to us, for fear of what they might think of us if only they knew … Most of us want others to think the best of us – there is a little bit of the Pharisee in us all.

One of the most wonderful things about the Gospel is its declaration that God knows everything about us – nothing can be hidden from him – yet he loves us. Indeed, his love is shaped by his knowledge of us for he sent his Son into the world to bear our sin and shame and reconcile us to himself. The Lord Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the one who knows our weakness and infirmity but does not despise us; he tends his sheep, binds up their wounds and carries those who are lame. He does not break the bruised reed or snuff out the smoking wick. He heals and restores.

Rejoicing in the grace of God, we do not need to pretend to be anything other than we are. We cannot hide anything from God and we do not need to hide anything from others. “The one who believes in [the Lord Jesus] will never be put to shame” (Romans 9:33).

We need to remind ourselves continually of these things and to lead shamelessly Christian lives – open to God; open to one another. We have nothing to prove and nothing to lose.

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31/12/2013 - Revelation 22:1-21– The beginning and the end

Today we come to the end of the Book of Revelation, to the end of the New Testament as it is conventionally arranged, and so to the end of the Bible. And what an wonderful ending it is. Here, all that was written before and promised before reaches its conclusion.

The Bible begins with a picture of the perfect world God created for our blessing and enjoyment. It is pictured as a garden full of delights – a garden in which God walked and talked with a man and a woman whom he had created in his own image and to whom he had entrusted all that he had made. And in the middle of the garden was the tree of life, symbolising the life God had given to them and to all creation. But humankind was banished from the garden and from these blessings because of rebellion against God; banished to live in a world marked by God's absence; banished to live out a limited lifespan under the increasing shadow of death.

And now the Bible ends with a vision of a garden city, filled and ever refreshed with life that flows from the presence of God. There is no longer one tree of life, there are many such trees, providing nourishment and healing – healing for all that is past; healing for all the hurts of our present world. There is no longer any curse. There is healing for the nations (what sermons there are in this wonderful phrase). The inhabitants of the garden city will see God's face and live in the brightness of his presence (Revelation 22:1-5).

If this wonderful picture fills us with joy and with longing, what shall the reality be like?

One of the hymns we sang when I was a child began like this:

God has given us
a book full of stories,
which was made for
his people of old,
it begins with the tale of a garden,
and ends with the city of gold.

But the Bible is more than a book full of stories; it tells the one great story which is both God's story and our story. It is the story of human folly and of divine faithfulness. It is a love story. It is a story that centres in Jesus who, along with the Father is "the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (22:13).

In him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their father lost.

The Lord Jesus has centre place in this story because it is in his death that God has passed judgment on a world in rebellion against him; in his death its death is announced. And it is through his resurrection that the new creation has begun in the realm of the Spirit and will be fully manifest when he appears. He is the hope for the healing of a broken world – “by his stripes, we are healed.”

We need to be careful how we tell this story; not adding anything extraneous to it nor leaving out any part of it (22:18-19). We need to tell the world the story. We need to live the story in the power of him who is our beginning and shall be our end.

Father God, help me by your Spirit to show and tell your story more faithfully and fully day by day. Help us to live the story and show the world something of the promise of the age to come. May this story bring healing to the nations, life to the world and eternal glory and praise to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

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Peter Misselbrook