What is the prophecy that Harold says “no man can fulfill?” If Jesus in His person is not Messiah enough, then what else is needed? For me, this is where THE SHINING STRANGER really started to get interesting. Harold says:
Jesus appears to have realized that the Logos in man is man’s understanding of who and what he is, the “truth that I am” [not “the truth that I have”], and that the truth of man’s being is the truth that governs men; He appears to have understood also that if Messiah is to bear the truth of man’s being to humankind and dwell in a body among men, then words of truth must take a form of their own: Messiah could come only in the advent of a Book. By insisting that His words would not pass away, (Matt. 24:35) Jesus prepared the ground for His return in the advent of the book written of Him.
This can certainly be a challenging statement. Not impossible, but challenging! Harold goes on to explain his point…
If one sees His second coming in the advent of the Gospels, the mystery of His statement, that the disciple, John, was to survive until He “came back,” (John 21:20-22) is reconciled… Jesus lived until his record was set forth – that is, John’s understanding of Jesus lived until Jesus came back and spoke again in The Gospel According to Saint John.
Well, THAT is certainly an interpretation I’ve never heard before; and I LIKE it! What else does our insightful author have to say about the Bible?
The Bible, as Messiah, possesses glory, grace, and reality – not as THE only expression of the Logos in man, but as an only or one whole expression of it. The Bible was centuries in the writing, product of authors widely separated in time, but it has a marvelous unity of thought although it has also many contradictions – as many as man himself. It continues to be the most controversial book in the Western world because, like man, it is a supreme paradox. In sum, it contains the expression of humanity: it is Homo sapiens’ complete picture of himself, from Genesis to Revelation. Beginning with the advent of man’s realization of God-consciousness, symbolized in Adam, it reaches it’s climax in man’s realization of God incarnate in his being, symbolized in Jesus as Son of man, Lord, with which one’s consciousness may have but brief encounter – and then it bears witness to the transformation in consciousness this encounter evokes.
What a beautiful description of the world’s most popular book! And an effective vaccine against fundamentalism of all stripes!
Oh yes, what about that prophecy?! Here it is:
Thou hast no desire for sacrifice or offering;
it is a body thou hast prepared for me –
in holocausts and sin-offerings thou takest no delight,
So I said, “Here I come – in the roll of a book
this is written of me –
I come to do thy will, O God.
(Psalm 40:6-8 and Hebrews 10:5-7)
We’ll finish today’s post with Harold’s understanding…
In Jesus’ time, a book was a roll – a scroll… Jesus gave this command:
“Go and learn the meaning of this word, I care for mercy, not for sacrifice.” (Matt. 9:13)
Thus, one must seek to understand His mission through the prophecy quoted above, for in the face of this command, He cannot be viewed as seeing Himself in terms of a sacrifice or sin-offering. …if Messiah is to fulfill this Scripture, the one who filled the Messiah role could not be an atoning Lamb to ransom man, a sacrifice for man’s sin.
Viewed in another light, the poetic words of this prophecy also say that Messiah’s advent is in the “roll of the book” written of the one who comes, a prophecy no man could fulfill. If Messiah is to “tell us all things,” only a book encompassing the words spoken by countless truth-bearers to span the last reach of human consciousness could be Messiah to all men.
The “body…prepared for me,” for the one whose work would bring forth the book, is to be seen in the Scriptures into which Jesus wove His life and words, but it is in the volume of the book “written of me” – God, Son in man – that Messiah, the Bible, comes, comes as a roll, as a wave that surges upon the shores of the world through fulfillment of the missionary task Jesus imposed. Through the Bible, He came back. Through it, historical Messiah comes, fulfilling the Judaic promise to bear the whole body of truth to man: the truth embodied in man’s sacred writings in every language, in legends, for all these speak the same word and the Bible enfolds their like.
And there we have it.
At this point on our journey I’d like to step aside a bit and look further into the concept of a “book.” We’ll do that in the next couple of posts. Before that happens, though, I’m taking a week off for Holy Week/Spring Break. Have a blessed Easter, and I will see you in April. Until then, peace…