Sunday, May 22, 2011

Christs and Prophets

The words of Matthew 24:24 have been troubling me a little since I did a translation of them a few days back for this blog. That's the verse about false christs and false prophets turning up. My first struggle is with the cop out of simply translating 'pseudochristoi' false christs. What do we mean by christ?
To understand my second struggle I have to go back a couple of weeks. I've been reading Exodus on one day of each week and recently I read about the ornamental clothes that God told Moses to make for Aaron as the priest.One of the reasons that God gives for the ornamental clothes is in chapter 28:2 'Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron, to give him dignity and honour'. We were also learning in seminary about the liturgical or seasonal colours of the church. These aren't a traditional Methodist thing as far as I understand, but they are used increasingly. We give different reasons for these vestments, but I guess at the root of it all is 'dignity and honour'. As I've journeyed with Moses and Aaron I have begun to struggle with the fact that while as a 'wannabe minister' I should maybe want to emulate Aaron, I actually find myself more like Moses.
Moses was tuned in to God, often struggling with him. He passed on God's word to the people, he interceded for them. He didn't seem to wear fancy clothes, or even have a title as such. Aaron's role was the ceremonial stuff; clothes and incense and rituals. I am definitely more at home with Moses - even to the reluctance to take the limelight. Would Aaron have been Moses's prophet?
Because then pseudo christs and pseudo prophets could refer to Moses and Aaron type partnerships if we take christ as meaning a Lord's anointed.
This opens the passage to a more manageable interpretation than when we think of false 'capital C' Christs.
But then I need to question the meaning of 'prophet'. If Aaron was a prophet was his function in any way similar to Isaiah's? Could they both be prophets, but different?
We know that the church is a royal priesthood of believers, but are there people that can be identified as anointed by the Lord and as prophets? Thus giving meaning to pseudochrists and pseudoprophets.
I'm not sure if I've said anything new . . . thinking . . .

4 comments:

Thomas Scarborough said...

Prophet -- mouthpiece -- Exodus 7:1. So Aaron was Moses' mouthpiece, and Isaiah was God's mouthpiece. So Moses himself was called a prophet -- Deuteronomy 34:10 ... ?

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Yes, I agree. But that does raise a question about contemporary prophets. Are there people who are God's mouthpieces? Most people who claim to be, clearly aren't!
Thanks for the comment.

Thomas Scarborough said...

Yes. I think there are prophets, both forthtelling and foretelling. If I get a chance (but I'm so scattered at the moment) I'll send you a prophecy to see.

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Thanks