Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Follow up to Intercession Propitiation: Awesome Verse!

Hey everyone, I found an amazing verse today regarding the question of whether the actual "propitiation" of wrath/punishment/consequences/whatever was due directly to the sacrifice or due to the intercession/prayer of the righteous priest who offered them.

[I gave various reasons for the sacrifices themselves... see last post.]

Check this out: the context is that David ordered a census of Israel, which was a major sin (likely because it suggested a lack of faith in God's ability to save Israel, but that is beside the point.)
David is being punished because of this sin...or rather the entire land is being punished.

Gad tells David to offer sacrifices. After he does so we read 2nd Samuel 24:25,

David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Thus the LORD was moved by prayer for the land, and the plague was held back from Israel.

Isn't that awesome? Even in a verse where a sacrifice is given, we are told the actual reason for the relenting of wrath was the prayer/intercession. (Same word in Hebrew.)


Steve said...

Could not the offerings constitute the prayer/intercession?

David Rudel said...

I don't know of other cases where "prayer" or "intercession" was described as the offering.

Earlier in the passage, David had prayed to God to stop the plagues.

In other places where people are said to pray or make intercession, it is rare for an offering to be around. Most notably Moses interceding after the golden calf, Moses interceding after the Israelites refuse to enter the Promised Land, Daniel interceding for the exiles, Abraham interceding for Abimelech.

Nick said...

I have enjoyed reading the last few posts you've made, but I've not managed my time well enough to make better comments. Overall, I agree with the main points.

I think this marks a general turning point on this critical issue of Penal Substitution. Right now we see the 'historical Protestant' folks starting to squirm at the mere questioning of Psub...but soon we'll be seeing it rejected more and more by the "scholarly" type.

In this passage I believe the offerings were the heart of the prayer/intercession (the parallel in 1 Chron 21:26 confirms this). But that's not a problem at all. The offerings were that of burnt offerings and peace offerings, neither of which are focused on forgiving sin when you consult the instructional chapters in Leviticus.

Further, the account says God had three punishments in mind, but they were hardly handled in a strict 'legal' fashion (e.g. God mercifully stops the pestilence halfway through and offers to accept David's intercession), much less one of penal substitution.

Josh said...

I've been posting on the subject of atonement on my blog, and this observation reminds me of Clement's understanding (part 2 in my series).

David Rudel said...

Thanks, Josh, for directing me to this entry of yours. I've made a comment on your blog.

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