Monday, November 04, 2013

Eugene Peterson: the plagues and temple cleansing as exorcism of evil imagination

 Eugene Peterson:

The ten plagues were employed to expose the emptiness of evil, to purge the Hebrew minds of all envious admiration of evil, to systematically demolish every god-delusion or god-pretention that evil uses to exercise power over men and women. … Each of the ten plagues was an ammonia-laced scrub-bucket of suds for just such a cleaning. … 

The ten plagues were an elaborate exorcism, a casting out of the demons, that freed the imagination of the Hebrews form domination by evil so that they were free to hear and follow their Savior and worship God “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). When Moses began his work with his Hebrew brothers and sisters, their spirits were “broken” (Exod. 6:9) and the only “truth” they had access to was this huge Egyptian lie. But Egypt and Pharaoh were not the “real world.” They were the real world defaced, desecrated, demonized. …

 The exorcising drama of the ten plagues freed the Brews from this Egyptian way of understanding reality, clearing the mind to accept God’s revelation reality, energizing their spirits to live in the world of salvation. The intent was that by the time they left Egypt, they would not only be physically free of the evil oppression but mentally free of the evil imagination that had crushed the life out of them for so long. The ten plagues would cleanse the “doors of perception” so that Israel could see life in a totally different way – the unreality of Egypt exposed; the untruth of Egypt laid bare – and would set them free to live a different life when they get out of Egypt, free to live the freedom of salvation..

Jesus in his temple cleansing compressed the eight-month drama of the ten plagues exorcism into the work of  a single day..

....In the act of cleansing the temple, he cleansed people’s understanding, purged their imagination--an exorcism so that the people, clear-eyed on the matter of God’s sovereign authority, would be able to embrace salvation without distraction, without clutter.  We carch a clear echo of the ten plagues in the temple cleansing.

...The work continues, the work of the ten plagues...the cleansing of the temple.. This is a  major and never-ending task, this exorcism of the culture's lies
and pretensions from the Christian imagination so that God’s sovereignty in history can be received in a life large with salvation  --Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, pp. 165-169
Read this whole section here

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