Review of Lunn on Jesus Being our Atoning Sacrifice

Introduction

The intent of this critique is to explore the theological implications of Lunn’s allusions of the ritual of the Day of Atonement and its correlation to the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross thus fulfilling the event of the Day of Atonement.  Encapsulated in the statement “Jesus, The Ark, and the Day of Atonement: Intertextual Echoes in John 19:39-20:18” Lunn presented a theological framework for the ascension of Christ.[1] Furthermore, Lunn implied that the ascension to His Father proffered implications that the ascension fulfilled the entire process of the ritual of the Day of Atonement.[2] Lunn offered the details of John 19:38-20:18 as evidentiary proof of the theological implications of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.

Summary

Lunn prefaces the discourse with the state of the tomb of Jesus, the presence of the angelic beings – similar to the divine beings of the Most Holy Place in the temple and the presence of linens left behind by Jesus after His resurrection.[3] Lunn extends the theological correlation of the Azazel with the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ who died for all of the humanity.[4] Lunn posited the existence of numerous intertextual links between The Lord’s prayer in John 17 and the discourse between the Levites and Aaron in Numbers 18:6, 8:19, and 3:9.[5]  Lunn continued that the atonement pattern presented itself throughout the Johannine passion narrative and cited that Jesus was indeed the chosen and final “Azazel” in that John 19:23-24 by the positing that the removal of Jesus’ “woven” garments equaled the same removals of the priestly garments noted in  Exodus and Leviticus during the ritual of Yom Kippur.[6]  Lunn posited that the final corollary intertextual proof was the placement of linen garments in the sanctuary and the appearance of the High priest for ascension offering. [7]  Lunn dictated that Jesus offered himself as the sin offering, place his garments in the tomb, met Mary in the garden and articulated that the statement “ [that Jesus ascended to] my Father and your Father, my God and your God” sealed the atoning sacrifice and closed the ritual of Yom Kippur.[8] Lunn ends the parallel between the priestly garments, duties, and the atoning sacrifice of Christ because the disciples entered the tomb which represented the Holy of Holies-thus signifying that all may approach the throne of grace because the final sacrifice occurred with the atoning death of Christ.[9] Lunn also posited that Pauline theology indicated that same parallels between the Levitical rituals as associated with the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His priestly role.

Critical Interaction

Lunn presented a theological topic that appeals to any individual who questions the extinction of the Mosaic laws and the rituals attached to those laws. Lunn approached the subject of the atonement from a textual lateral view of the Old Covenant (OC) requirements and the New Testament (NT) or New Covenant finalization of that covenant through the death, entombment, resurrection, and ascension of Christ as the completion of the OC.[10] Lunn chronicled the similarities between the Levitical duties and posited the similarities with the disrobing in tomb, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus as portrayed by the Gospel of John. [11]However, the intensity of the discussion that focused on the atoning sacrifice of Christ was not as extensive as the Levitical priesthood and its role.[12] Lunn detailed the implications of the Gospel of John “to the idea of atoning sacrifice” as a theological point of reference.[13] However, Lunn does not extend that premise by providing supporting details from scholarly sources that compared the old covenant and the new covenant.[14] The importance of the atoning death of Christ that paid the penalty for sin is alluded to but not expounded.  Lunn appeared to circumnavigate the topic with the choice of word used in the presentation. For instance, Lunn declared “the fact that the crucifixion and death of Christ should have overtones of the principal Mosaic ritual dealing with sin should occasion no surprise.”[15] At this juncture Lunn missed an opportunity to conclude this discussion by stating the apparent theological importance of the final atonement of Christ.

Lunn made a solid case for Johannine theology as one that supports the deity of Christ but does not extend that thought into the atoning sacrifice of His death. A footnote detailing the connectivity of John’s gospel, written to a Jewish audience,  with that of Hebrews written to a similar audience and the fact that it details the permanence of the New Covenant, and the transformative power of that atoning death of Christ would have bolstered the credence of the atonement theology presented in the article.[16] The application of the OT Levitical Priestly role and the actual rituals associated with the Day of Atonement juxtaposed against the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ posited solid theological support for atonement theology.[17] The narrow focus of the presentation of the atonement theology demonstrated by the article negated the importance of the correlations made by Lunn. Lunn presented the construct of atonement theology through the limited snippet of textual allusions and lessened the impact of the importance of Jesus as the atonement for humanity.

 

Conclusion

Lunn presented a discussion on the allusions between the priestly duties, the Holy of Holies, and the atoning death of Jesus Christ. The article paralleled the Old Testament rituals with the death of Christ. The placement of His garments in the empty Tomb, and the culminating fact that the ascension concluded the necessity of the Atonement ritual.  Lunn left not so much of question as a need for further New Testament attestation of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The substitutionary death of The Lord is the supreme act of God and the completion of the need for the sacrifices and rituals of the Old Testament. 

Bibliography

 

Joslin, Barry. Hebrews, Christ, and the Law: The Theology of the Mosaic Law in Hebrews 7:1-10:18. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2008.

Lunn, Nicholas P. “Jesus, The Ark, And the Day of Atonement: Intertextual Echoes in John 19:38-20:18.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 52, no. 4 (December 2009): 731-46. Accessed January 21, 2017. ProQuest Ebrary.

Meyer, Jason C., and E. Ray. Clendenen. The End of the Law: Mosaic Covenant in Pauline Theology. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2009. Accessed January 21, 2017. ProQuest Ebrary.

Schrock, David Stephen. A Biblical-Theological Investigation of Christ’s Priesthood and Covenant Mediation with Respect to the Extent of the Atonement. PhD diss., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2013. Accessed January 21, 2017. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2013.

Williams, Jarvis J. For Whom Did Christ Die?: The Extent of the Atonement in Paul’s Theology. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2012, Google Books.

[1] Nicholas P. Lunn, “Jesus, The Ark, And the Day of Atonement: Intertextual Echoes in John 19:38-20:18,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 52, no. 4 (December 2009): 731, accessed January 21, 2017, ProQuest, 732.

[2] Ibid., 732.

[3] Ibid., 732.

[4] Ibid., 736

[5] Ibid.

[6] See the details of John 19:23-24; Exodus 28:32 and Leviticus 16:4

[7] See Leviticus 16:23.

[8] Lunn, “Jesus, The Ark, And the Day, 746-747.  These scriptures clarify Jesus’ role “he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:2); “he [God] loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

[9] Ibid.

[10] Lunn, “Jesus, The Ark, And the Day, 736-744.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid., 736.

[13] Ibid.

[14] See Barry Joslin, Hebrews, Christ, and the Law: The Theology of the Mosaic Law in Hebrews 7:1-10:18 (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2008). Joslin posited solid support for this theological argument.

[15] Lunn, “Jesus, The Ark, And the Day, 737.

[16] Jason C. Meyer and E. Ray. Clendenen, The End of the Law: Mosaic Covenant in Pauline Theology (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2009), 232, ProQuest Ebrary.

[17] David Stephen Schrock, A Biblical-Theological Investigation of Christ’s Priesthood and Covenant Mediation with Respect to the Extent of the Atonement, PhD diss., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2013 (ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2013).

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