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Ezekiel 43-48

09.06.2010

I’m befuddled.

Who’s this “prince”?  Many of Zeke’s described activities in the rebuilt temple involve a prince that seems to have special privileges and a special place of honor.  My first impression is that this is Jesus, ruling in His eternal temple.  The study Bible is silent on this point, as far as I can tell.

Apparently, there’s some controversy about this.  The Jewish interpretation is that these passages describe the Messiah, but there are details that are incompatible with Jesus, most notably that the prince has sons that will inherit his portion of the land.  Evangelical tradition, apparently, claims that it’s not Jesus described here.

I don’t know what to think.  For starters, the controversy assumes the interpretation that this prophecy describes eternity.  If it were a description of Jesus, I could see how the inheritance could be explained as a spiritual inheritance (similar to what Paul describes in the New Testament).  But who knows.

Incidentally, my reaction here highlights something I was just discussing earlier today.  I was asked whether I could conceive of any evidence that would cause me to stop believing in the Gospel.  I said no.  I admit that it’s not a very respectable thing to say, in terms of intellectual honesty.  Part of my response is because of the truth claims of the Gospel; I believe that it is true enough that there is no evidence that will invalidate it.

But another part of my response is descriptive of how I filter new information relative to my previously held beliefs.  The intellectual standard is defined, in part, by John Maynard Keynes, who said, “When my information changes, I change my opinion.  What do you do, sir?”  To answer him, I must admit that I take this new information and find away to explain it in such a way that it fits with my previously held belief.  This helps me to expand and deepen my beliefs, making them more robust to encompass all relevant information.

Part of this is human nature, but it’s also partly a reflection of my personality.  It’s something I have to at least be mindful of.  If I’m going to claim to understand truths about this world and about God, I need to at least be aware of the intellectual short cuts I’ve taken to arrive at those truths.  I can defend those, individually, on the merits, but I need to at least remember what they were.

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