Mount of Corruption

One of the great things about reading through the Bible is making connections in the texts that illumine the larger narrative of the fall and redemption.

In 1 Kings 11.4-8 we read that Solomon’s loyalty to God was led astray by his foreign wives and their worship of false gods. Solomon erected shrines for all these gods that his wives worshiped, including the shrine to Moloch, a shrine of child sacrifice.

In 2 Kings 23.13-14 we find the great Reformer-King Josiah bringing true worship back to Israel. Josiah goes to where Solomon erected all these shrines and tears them down, and we are told the location of this place is the Mount of Corruption, the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives becomes a byword in Israel, a term of degradation. No longer the Mount of Olives, but the Mount of Corruption. The place that once gave anointing oil, and oil of incense, and oil for sacrifice for the worship of God is now the place of Corruption.

When we read about the Mount of Olives, or think about the Mount of Olives, we usually do not think about what Solomon and Josiah did there, but what about Jesus did on the Mount of Olives. He would go there to pray through the night and to be alone with the disciples, but He also went there to be crucified and buried.

God’s plan is that of restoration and recreation. Corruption is not a permanent mark of human history because God is the one writing it. The Mount of Corruption is also the Mount of Crucifixion, but God doesn’t leave it there either. The Mount of Corruption becomes the Mount of Resurrection.

Jesus was crucified on the Mount of Olives, the place of corruption, but this place is transformed into a Garden of Life. It was on the Mount of Corruption that Jesus defeated the Devil by crushing his head and receiving a wounded heel. It was there that He paid the penalty of sins for His people, and it is there that the curse of death began to come undone. It was there that He ascended to the Father to receive all authority in heaven and earth.

The Mount of Corruption was the place that God’s people once offered their sons and daughters to the demon Moloch, and it is the same place that God the Father sent His Son to be the willing Lamb. From the place of Corruption comes the new creation. Solomon, the greatest king in history failed to stay loyal to God and failed to be a blessing to the nations. Josiah the great Reformer-King failed in rooting out the corruption of worship. But where these kings failed, King Jesus succeeds.

Jesus is the Servant King. He is the Priest-King, and as a new high priest His death cleanses the Mount of Corruption into the Garden of Resurrection. This is what the death and resurrection of Jesus does in the land. Jesus is not just after this one mount to the south of Jerusalem, but He is after every place of corruption.

Every place of corruption in every nation on this earth will be transformed by the death and resurrection of Jesus. That is the promise of God. It is at the cross that mercy, peace, and cleanness may be found. It is in the perfect death of Jesus in the midst of a corrupt and rebellious people that God begins something irreversible, a new creation. No king can undo what Jesus has done and no corruption of demonic worship or child sacrifice can stop the victory of the Gospel. All the shrines in all the world will topple and Jesus will reign supreme.

From the Mount of Corruption to the Mount of Olives, from the First Adam to the Second Adam, it is plain that through Jesus Christ God pulls grace out of sin.

New Year, New Reading Plan

I like Bible reading plans, they are an encouragement to reading and a good reminder where you left off. I have dabbled in many readings plan over the years and if you have as well, then you know it is a little tricky to find the one that fits just right. I have tried the Bible in 90 Days, Professor Grant Horner’s reading plan, Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s reading plan, and so on. Each plan I have tried has its perks and its drawbacks, none of them seem to fit. One plan tried to cram too much in, another jumped around the Bible too much, another I felt wasn’t covering enough the Bible fast enough, and so on.

So, I decided to make one for meself. With this plan, I read the Bible in 180 days, that’s twice a year-ish, and about 5-7 chapters a day. This is good for my daily reading. My job is to teach the Bible, and so I find myself in the Bible every day. This makes 5-7 chapters a good start to all my other reading and writing. If you want more than that, go with the 90 Day Reading plan.

I have also made the reading plan into a PDF to be printed as a bookmark, or to be tucked into your Bible’s cover. It is a two-page document, so print it double-sided and cut out the bookmark. Each PDF has three bookmarks, so feel free to mark off your readings as you go. You can find the plan here.

Alfred Rex Story Book

A brief review.

Over the course of six years (the age of my oldest child) my wife and I have have purchased and perused many-a-Bible-storybook. We have consistently been let down. Many Bible storybooks alter the text of the Bible by interpreting the story, rather than telling the story. Many Bible storybooks have a baptist bent where each story is a moral lesson and an altar call to your kids. All that is missing is the flannel graph and anxious bench. And many Bible storybooks leave out about 85% of the Bible. Most Bible storybooks usually go like this: God made the world. Adam broke the world. Devil bad. Moses in Egypt. David fights Goliath. Jesus is born. Jesus dies. Jesus rises. The end of the world is tomorrow, repent kid.

However, with the Alfred Rex Story Book we were pleasantly surprised. The story of the text is told, and questions of the text are asked. The Alfred Rex Story Book doesn’t sugar coat much of anything and leaves interpretation up to the parents. Jael crushes Sisera’s head, no apologies. How many Bible storybooks do you own that even include the most blessed of women (Judges 5.24)?

Not only does this storybook include those bits of the righteous overcoming the wicked, it also includes every king in both Kingdoms, north and south. But wait, there’s more! Every single prophet is included and at no extra cost the back of the storybook includes wonderful timelines and charts and extended notes for you parents. My favorite chart being a timeline that incorporates the kings and prophets together. Do you know who was king in Israel and Judah when Ezekiel was active?

This storybook also keeps the attention of children while reading due to the plethora of pictures throughout the book, 270 to be exact. These pictures are accurate in many details. There are no large-headed cartoonish boy-David wrestling a larger-headed hairy Goliath. Nope, not at all. David cuts his wicked head off, and my kids loved it. And, amen.

This book is, by far, the best Bible storybook I have seen. Now let me hand out a couple cautions. I have two concerns with it, and only two! That’s pretty good for a Bible storybook. The first issue I have is that this book depicts God the Father in a handful of pictures. I am not against the depiction of the Son, for He indeed has a physical image to depict. Christians are not monophysites, and an artists’ rendition of Jesus should not trouble our conscience. I know that for some a picture of Jesus does toruble the conscience and that is well and good as far is it goes, but I am unwilling to make that binding on anyone. However, depicting the Father makes me all squirmy on the inside considering the Second Commandment and all that. So, I generally read these stories standing up so the kids don’t see, or as some folks I know of have taken artistic liberty to white wash those images altogether. Or you could just put a sticky note over it.

The second concern I have is the approbation of the Seder meal that comes relatively late in Judaism. The Seder meal and its practices comes after the destruction of the Temple in 70AD and plays absolutely no part in the Bible, let alone the Last Supper. However, this storybook incorporates aspects of the Seder meal into the Lord’s Supper, and I simply edit that out as I read. It is relatively easy to do so, especially if you are familiar with the Last Supper and the institution of the Lord’s Supper.

So, with those two remarks, I highly recommend the Alfred Rex Story Book. Buy a copy, and get a few for Christmas gifts.