Messianics: 'Bring the exiles home'
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--All people are suffering from exile from the Garden of Eden, and the resurrection of Christ began the return from exile, James M. Hamilton Jr. told members of the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship June 20 in Louisville, Ky.
Explaining his belief that God's ultimate plan for creating the world was to "expand His glory across the land as the waters cover the sea," Hamilton presented an in-depth look at the minor prophets of Hosea, Obadiah and Micah to about 35 people at the Kentucky Exposition Center prior to the June 23-24 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
Hamilton, associate professor of biblical theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is the author of "God's Indwelling Presence: The Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testaments."
He noted the recurring pattern of sin, judgment, punishment and salvation in the Old Testament accounts of the Garden of Eden, the Israelites' exodus to the Promised Land and the minor prophets' recounting of Israel's forced exile to Babylon.
The pattern also is present in the New Testament account of the birth and death of Jesus Christ, he said.
For Israel, the definitive moment of salvation was the exodus from Egypt, when God delivered them from the hands of Pharaoh, Hamilton said, adding that the Book of Hosea portrayed a new exodus.
In Hosea, Israel is depicted as an adulterous wife who is punished for her idolatry, exiled to Babylon and given the opportunity to enter into a new covenant with Yahweh after experiencing the punishment of exile.
In other words, "Hosea is depicting a salvation that comes through punishment for God's glory," Hamilton said.
Hamilton believes the Old Testament prophets point to the future when "a new act of redemption will be so magnificent that it will eclipse the exodus from Egypt." He explained, "Now, the definitive moment for God's salvation isn't the exodus. It's the cross of Christ."
Contending that the cross of Christ, which was the most decisive punishment for sin, is "the deepest, darkest moment of the exile" and that Christ's resurrection began the return from exile, he added, "The exile has ended. It's our job to bring the exiles home."
Also at the meeting, Rabbi Robert Hevia of One New Man Messianic Congregation in Bloomington, Ind., shared a message based on Ephesians 2:15, which describes the one new man brought together by the Jew and the Gentile and the destruction of the "dividing wall of hostility" between them.
Alicia Smith, a Messianic psalmist from Humble Hearts Ministries in Belvidere, Ill., led in worship in Hebrew and English.
Phil Adams, a multiethnic church support manager at LifeWay Christian Resources, shared about LifeWay's effort to develop materials for 50 language groups. Materials in 13 languages, including Hebrew and Yiddish, still need assistance in translation.
Hal and Esther Garrett from First Baptist Church Hardy in Cherokee Village, Ark., told about opportunities offered through the North American Mission Board's Mission Service Corps program.
Jorge Sedaca, a coordinator for resource development and delivery in the North American Mission Board's church planting group, was unable to speak as scheduled because of a funeral.
In their business meeting, SBMF members elected Michael Saffle of Wichita, Kan., as president, succeeding Ric Worshill of Evanston, Ill., who will serve as vice president. Penny Isbell of Bessemer, Ala., was elected as treasurer, Connie Saffle of Wichita as secretary. Members discussed the formation of plans for women, youth and children's ministries in the growing organization.
Shannon Baker is national correspondent for BaptistLIFE, the newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. To learn more about the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship, visit www.sbmessianic.net.