Joseph is an expert in macroeconomics: “The seven fat cows are seven years, and the seven full heads of grain are also seven years; they have the same meaning. The seven thin cows which came up later and the seven thin heads of grain scorched by the desert wind are seven years of famine. It is just as I told you—God has shown you what he is going to do.” (Interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams Genesis 41:1-36)
Business cycles are not really cycles and seven is only a rough average for US economic history. But it is still impressive that this ancient piece of literature brings up issues of the bigger economy that shake the world to this very day.
Today’s Reading is Hebrews 4:14-5:14.
Here Jesus is described as being in the priestly order of Melchizedek. That is a thing the Bible has hardly anything about:
Genesis 14:17-19 knows:
“When Abram came back from his victory over Chedorlaomer and the other kings, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in Shaveh Valley (also called King’s Valley). And Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and also a priest of the Most High God, brought bread and wine to Abram, blessed him, and said, “May the Most High God, who made heaven and earth, bless Abram!”
– So the sacrifice that is brought by a priest of the Melchizedek order does not have animals in it but merely bread and wine. This can be understand as to relating to Christ’s last supper.
Psalm 110:4 knows:
The LORD made a solemn promise and will not take it back: “You will be a priest forever in the priestly order of Melchizedek.”
– Of Melchizedek we don’t know anything as far as ancestors or descendants goes. Same for the priesthood of Christ not being handed down to him or by him but eternal in itself.
What all of this does is that it gives Christ a unique position of unquestionable stability and power as an intermediator between God and us. Enter the Bible has a wonderful summary of the Epistle’s intention:
“The book of Hebrews brings a word of encouragement to discouraged Christians. The intended readers once had a vivid sense of God’s presence and later showed bold support for others during an outburst of persecution. Yet as time dragged on, some began drifting away. The author emboldens them by telling of the way Jesus the pioneer went through suffering into glory, making a way for others to follow. As high priest, Christ offered himself as the atoning sacrifice, bringing others into a new covenant relationship with God. People are therefore called to persevere in faith, knowing that God will be faithful.”
Today’s Reading is Daniel 6:1-28.
The faithful Jew Daniel is made head of state affairs of the Persian empire after interpreting the king’s dreams. Sound familiar?
The same story is told about Joseph become vizier of Egypt after interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams! So during the persecutions by the Greek Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes authors retold the story of old how God not only saved “Daniel” during the days of the Babylonian Exile but even Joseph in Egypt. Remember how good our God has always been!
There will be two posts today, because I missed yesterday’s reading Matthew 8:18-34.
Matthew is still working on making sure his audience gets the message that with the coming of Jesus, the kingdom of God has come: “What kind of man is this?” they said. “Even the winds and the waves obey him!” It’s pretty much like in the beginning.
Matthew is also still working on making sure his audience gets the message that Jesus is faithful to the Jewish tradition: Gadara is in the Decapolis still – where the gentiles live. That’s why there is pigs in this story. Not only does Jesus cast out demons but he also disposes of a non-kosher herd of pigs, killing two birds with one stone.