Departing Antiglory

pjleithartGreat stuff from Peter Leithart’s blog:

Michael Stead (The Intertextuality of Zechariah 1-8 (Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies)) points to a number of intertexual connections between Ezekiel 1-11 and the vision of Zechariah 5:5-11.  He concludes that the vision of Zechariah is an inversion of the Ezekiel’s vision of Yahweh’s departing glory: “Ezekiel 1-11 describes the departure of Yahweh from Jerusalem because of the idolatry (Ezek 8), iniquity (Ezek 4) and wickedness (Ezek 5) of his people, and his departure is attended by winged creatures riding on the wind.  But, now that Yahweh is returning to dwell in Jerusalem, idolatry/iniquity/wickedness is being forced to depart, in a parody of Yahweh’s earlier departure.”

This link is strengthened by the fact that the ephah that contains the wickedness that is removed to Shinar is a parody of the ark, borne by two parodic cherubim.  In addition to the visual similarity, Stead finds a pun between the word for ark cover (kapporet) and the phrase for “cover-disk of the ephah” (kikkar ‘oferet, Zechariah 5:7).

All this seems just right to me, but it does raise some interesting questions.

Zechariah’s vision confirms what earlier prophets had said.  Ezekiel promised not only that Israel would return and would receive the Spirit and hearts of flesh, but also that the Lord would purge Israel of sins.  Zechariah shows that this is happening: As the temple construction resumes, Wickedness is purged from the land.

But why should that be?  Why did wickedness drive Yahweh from the land before the exile, but is driven out of the land after the exile?  Why couldn’t Yahweh simply purge the temple in the time of Ezekiel?  There are deep questions of atonement theology here, but at least we can say this: Yahweh purges sin only after Israel’s destruction and restoration, only after Israel has been dismantled and re-mantled.  Israel’s death and resurrection is the mechanism for purging sin.

“Did not the Christ have to suffer and enter into His glory?”

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One Response to “Departing Antiglory”

  • jared Says:

    The same is true for us. We are baptised into Christ’s death and raised into his life. This death and resurrection is the mechanism which gets the process of sanctification moving.