Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Is I Kings 12:26-13:34 a warning for Protestants?

Solomon fell into idolatry and God said that, in punishment, He would take away the main bulk of the kingdom from Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. God gave the northern part of Israel, the ten tribes, to Jeroboam. King Jeroboam, afraid that he would lose the people’s loyalty if they went to the temple in Jerusalem, set up an altar with calves in Bethel. An alternate place of worship, not the one anointed by God and served by anointed priests in the true Levitical priesthood. And worse yet, Jeroboam “appointed priests from ordinary families....installing the priests of the high places which he had set up.” He even set up an alternative feast day on the fifteenth of the eight month.
God sent a true priest to call down wrath upon this sacrilege. “Altar, altar, Yahweh says this, “....on you [Josiah] will slaughter the priests of the high places who have offered sacrifices on you and on you he will burn human bones.” As a sign this will happen he said the altar will split apart, which it promptly did.
I was wondering if this didn’t have some warning for Protestants. Is it possible there are still legitimate, anointed priests? Could Jeroboam have some parallelisms to the early
reformers? Is it possible that God indeed ripped, temporarily, the Kingdom of Christendom at the High Renaissance, yet never intending on the reformers setting up a totally different system? The reformers were always supposed to return to the Mother Church for the sacraments and sacrifices, thus wooing them both back into unity? I don’t know. I just see that when an alternate priesthood was established with an alternate sacrifice and altar, God slew the priests on the Rock. (And I purposely capitalized Rock, see Matthew 16:16-18.)
Let’s continue the story. 
The priest God sent told him NOT to eat or drink with the people or in that place, (see I Cor. 5:11; 10:21), and yet he was tricked because one of the “alternative” priests convinced him that an angel from heaven was sent to give him the new piece of information that it was okay to eat with him. [Makes me think of Paul speaking to the Galatians verse 1:8, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!”]
The man was mauled by a lion before he reached home. 
The scriptures bemoan the fact that even after this warning, “Jeroboam did not give up  his wicked ways... but went on appointing priests for the high places from the common people. He consecrated as priests of the high places any who wished to be. Such conduct made the House of Jeroboam a sinful house, and caused its ruin and extinction for the face of the earth.” 
Is this a possible warning for Protestants today?