The Centre for Peace and Reconciliation
Early in scripture we see God provide a centre for reconciliation for mankind. Almost as soon as we rejected Him and turned to our own way, He was in pursuit, providing a place where we might return and repent and be reconciled – “not willing that any should perish”.
That place was most clearly established in 1 Chronicles after “Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel” in Chapter 21, creating the need for atonement for David’s disobedience. In response, David built an altar: “This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel.” (1 Chron 22:1).
David’s altar pointed forward to the temple that would be built by his son Solomon. 1 Kings 7 records for us the construction and decoration, culminating in Solomon’s declaration, “I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.” (1 Kings 8:13).
Immediately (v 14) we read of how God’s wrath was averted, as He accepted both the sacrifice and the place of its offering. “And the king turned his face about, and blessed all the congregation of Israel”; and all God’s people were brought into the temple: “Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.” (v 34).
The altar and temple of the Old Testament were rather like a cover note offered by insurance companies – the sacrifice was temporary, it had to be renewed, and it pointed forward towards a lasting solution yet to be delivered. God was about to reveal His permanent and perfect Centre for reconciliation:
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem”(Matt 2:1).
The temporary place where those seeking reconciliation with God could meet Him was replaced in the sole Mediator between man and God. The temporary sacrifice of an unblemished lamb was replaced in the permanent sacrifice of the only Lamb of God. The birth, life, death & resurrection of Jesus became necessary because of sin – that of Adam in the garden, of David in the palace, and of you & me today. The church of Christ today is not determined by which altar it gathers around, or which temple it meets in, but rather the church is that body of believers trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation. The only way to be free & accepted in the eyes of God, is to freely accept the gift of forgiveness won for us at Calvary.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”(John 1:1).
The Word is Jesus Christ. Dwelling before creation with His Father in heaven; Signposted in the altar of David and temple of Solomon; Living as a man bearing our sins to the cross 2000 years ago; Revealed for us today in the pages of the Bible – God’s Word; Returning to judge the world and take His church home to be with Him for all eternity.
Are you a member of that church? – it’s not a denomination, nor an organisation, but a reconciliation.
Is Jesus, the Word of God, at the centre of your reconciliation?
Right Worshipful Sir Knight Raymond Adams