This is our fifth episode in our series on Exile. In this episode Tim and Jon discuss the theme of Exile in the story of Jesus and the New Testament.
In part 1(0-10:23), Tim outlines the historical context of Jesus’ life. Israel was occupied by Rome. Rome was an oppressive military ruler who disenfranchised the Jewish people. Many Jews were waiting for a Messiah to come overthrow the Romans and restore the kingdom of Israel. When Jesus began performing miracles and declaring a new kingdom, “the kingdom of god” he quickly made a name for himself. But was he the ruler the Jews were hoping for? In Matthew 22, the Jews want to test Jesus and find out if he wanted to overthrow the Romans and ask him if its lawful to pay taxes to Rome. Jesus replies with his famous saying “Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Give to God that which is God’s.”
Tim says Jesus is the ultimate expression of the “wisdom warrior” that is outlined in the Old Testament books and characters like Daniel and Jeremiah. It seems the way Christians are supposed to interact with their government is one modeled after Jesus and Daniel. Be subversively loyal to your rulers. Work for the peace of your “babylon” but realize there will be times when your allegiance to the kingdom of God is more important than allegiance to a country or people group.
In part 2 (10:23 - 28:21), Tim and Jon discuss 1 Peter 2. Christians are supposed to “submit themselves to worldly institutions… and act like they are free.” Tim and Jon briefly discuss the movie Hacksaw Ridge, a true story where a Christian joins the US Army in WWII as a medic and refuses to carry a gun because it goes against his beliefs.
Tim postulates that perhaps the reason “the exile ethic” in the Bible is overlooked is because many Christians in western countries have grown up with a government that has a layer of civic religion. This civic religion is usually based on Judeo-Christian teachings. But this civic religion is not a substitute for following Jesus. Tim says at the end of the day, God has chosen to redeem and form a international people, his new-covenant family, not the various kingdoms and empires that rise throughout history.
In part 3 (28:21 - 34:06), Jon asks about how New Testament writers used the Garden of Eden analogy. Tim says there’s no indication the writers believed humanity would return to the “original garden.” Tim cites Romans 4:13 “Abraham will become an inheritor of the world.” Tim says this means the original promised land of Abraham was an image of what God wants to do for the whole world. Tim and Jon discuss the difficulties of thinking in this way. Modern Christians living today are actually exiles in time, not necessarily exiles in location.
In part 4 (34:06 - end), Jon and Tim discuss Hebrews 11 and the image of the “new Jerusalem” in Revelation. Tim says the new Jerusalem is supposed to be the anti babylon image. It is a picture of humanity’s civilizations working together as was originally intended. Humanity will finally no longer be in exile, but will have truly returned home.
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