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Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel

Did the Apostle Paul believe Jesus was the Prophet-like-Moses? And does it matter? An Introduction

Hello friends,

This is my first attempt at an original blog post and it will probably show.  Please bear with me as I find my way forward with both the topic and the technology.

Here are my short answers to the questions above:

  1. I hope so.  That is what this series of blog entries and responses will attempt to explore
  2. I believe it is important because if it is true, it may help give us a new starting place for understanding the work and writing of Paul

The theme of the Prophet-like-Moses is one that early Friends lifted up as an important way of understanding who Jesus is and what his work among us entails.  I hope that this will be a forum for exploring some of that contribution.  I am not a scholar, so I am inviting the input of many of you who are better read in Early Friends’ writings.  I am aware that I am not the first to discuss the theme of the prophet-like Moses.  Some of you are more familiar with the insight and contributions of Lewis Benson and others in the last 60 years.  And I am grateful that others have given us valuable help to understand George Fox’s approach to Scripture (and that of other early Quaker apostles).  This approach did not rest on a method or someone else’s theology or scholarship.  It began and continued by revelation, what they called “openings.”  These openings were not antithetical to study and consideration, but they were life giving.  They were what “opened” a closed book, closed law, closed prophets, closed writings and epistles, even closed passages….

This is what I do bring to this conversation.  I believe the questions that head this blog were spoken to me on Friday the 11th of February, 2011 while I was sitting on my bed trying to read a section of the Epistle to the Romans.  And I believe that they were spoken by the Lord by His spirit.  If someone else has pursued these questions before, I am not aware of it, so as yet, I have not given them proper credit.  If the questions have been addressed before, I hope someone will draw it to my attention because it may be of much use in this conversation.

Here is something else that I bring which I believe I hold in common with George Fox.  The Scriptures are precious to me and they are precious because of openings (see the Nickalls ed. of the Journal, p 34).  In my case, some of these have come directly and some have come through the inner witness from  the insights and ministry of others.  I also know something of having my understanding “shut up” in sin and false teaching.  If the Lord’s blessing is in this, those dark places that are still festering will be thrown open and the false consumed by the Day Star arising.

I am not going to begin by tackling Paul’s epistles directly.  That may disappoint some, but my sense is that door of fear is too tightly shut for many to tackle without letting faith and hope grow first by laying some groundwork.  I will try to be careful to give credit to others when I am aware of their contribution.  And I ask that you all be good Bereans, checking out what I and others write and calling us out when we mistakenly fail to cite the contributions of the cloud of witnesses who have gone before.

I have run this “plan” by some of my closest brothers and sisters in the faith.  When possible, a leading for ministry should be submitted rather than presented to the community of believers, the brother-and-sisterhood of prophets.  There is wisdom and strength to be found in these “Monday” or” 2nd Day” meetings of ministers when they are given to us.

Following is a rough outline of the thread in future blog posts that I laid out to these precious folk on that fateful Friday.  This is a blog as opposed to a tract or article because I do not yet see through everything I will be given to say.  And I hope this will be a joyous community celebration of new insights.  I also long for the endeavor to strengthen our work of proclamation among those who are now sure this message is wrong but who may yet see the work of Grace.  I certainly don’t know what will be contributed by others and those contributions may be the most important in setting the direction.

But for the time being:

1.      What is this Prophet-like-Moses business anyhow?

2.      Is there a basis in Scripture for this?  (And what did the early Friends say?)

3.      What messianic expectations existed at the time of the ministries of Jesus and John (the Baptist)?

4.      What references in the accounts of Jesus’ ministry relate to this particular expectation?

5.      What do we have from the early Church?

6.      Who does Luke say about what Paul did and what he had to say?  Did he lose this theme?

If we are brought past the last question in the Lord’s gentle yoke, we may be ready to look at some of the epistles.

Views: 187

Comment by Allistair Lomax on 2ndMo. 20, 2011 at 17:50

Hi Dan,

I'm very much looking to seeing the rest of your blog. You made a good start.

I know the focus will be on Paul's writings, but I'm also interested to see how the same 'Prophet-like Moses' figure is developed in John's Gospel. Off your intended topic, I know, but I think it may be useful, nevertheless.

Comment by Michael Langford on 2ndMo. 20, 2011 at 22:22
I shall follow this with great interest.  It had not occurred to me to make this particular connection with the Epistle to the Romans but it is nery promising.  For Jesus, Paul and Fox all the books of the Pentateuch contain the teaching of Moses, and Deuteronomy in particular, so any references to them are relevant here.  There was a gneral expectation that the Messiah would be a sort of reincarnation of Moses who wouls complete the work of establishing God's People in the Promised Land #to be extended to include the whole earth.  Jesus undrstood this in a very special way as the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth a,s "manna from Heaven£ as spiritual nourishment, symbolised as food sharing in the here and now.  I dont suppose you are interested in Rex Ambler but from his rather diferent scholarly perspective he decided that he could not fully understand Fox without coming to terms with Paul and then foundthat behind Paul was Moses, which is what he is working on now. 
Comment by Dan Davenport on 2ndMo. 21, 2011 at 0:14

Thank you Allistair and Michael,

I am excited about the references and allusions to the Prophet-like-Moses in the book of John.  Doug Gwyn pointed to some of them in Apocalypse of the Word (pp. 105 ff.) but i believe there are more than he listed and I do plan to talk about them in coming posts.

 

Also, I am excited to hear about Rex Ambler's realization.  I believe this was an important opening.  He may be given a lot to contribute to this general discussion.  In fact, I find this affirming rather than threatening.  May the Lord's power be with him and in his writing!

Comment by Dan Davenport on 2ndMo. 24, 2011 at 1:16

I am posting this for Ellis Hein who is having trouble with interacting with the site:

 

Regarding your question at the end, specifically, "What is this Prophet like Moses business anyhow?" In my conversations with people from various denominations I always run into the comment, "you are saying the same thing we do only in different words." They withdraw that comment by the time we get to discussing the importance of the Prophet like unto Moses. One can plead for sin and imperfection as long as the understanding of "Christian life" is based upon our best ability to understand scripture. But when our understandings are opened to realize that we have to do with the one who speaks from heaven, who speaks to individuals and to the body, the one whose voice is breath and life, we now have the power to obey and the understanding of what that obedience is to look like. The people I have been talking with plead for imperfection and cannot see how one can live above the power of the serpent. The power lies in the bread of life and we receive this bread of life as we listen to and follow our prophet like unto Moses..

 

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