WFT- preeminent

19 July 2009

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for June 17th was preeminent.  They provided this definition:

having paramount rank, dignity, or importance : outstanding, supreme

G-d is supreme (Revelation 5:13).  All believers would agree upon this... but who among believers is preeminent?  The Catholic church says Peter is preeminent.  Others say Paul since he wrote much of the New Testament.  The disciples had this same question:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

To the mind of 21st-century Americans "this child" might be a picture of innocence or purity.  We have the idea that based upon our measure of innocence we have rank or importance in the kingdom.

To the Hebrew mind, a child is a picture of one who is submitted to the authority of their father.  This is not to say that children should be oppressed and subjugated in a harsh manner to the whims of their father.  Instead children find peace and security and safety under the authority of their father.  All of their needs are born on their father's shoulders... shoulders that are much more able to bear such burdens.  G-d knew this and gave us the command:

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. (Exodus 20:12, also Deuteronomy 5:16)

The picture of submission and service is pictured in Malachi:

'A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?' says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. But you say, 'How have we despised Your name?'  (Malachi 1:6)

If we honor the Son then we honor the Father, as it is written:

so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.  (John 5:23)

I believe our specific position in the kingdom of heaven is unknowable to us at this time but we do know there is a distinction that will be made.  Messiah speaks of those who are "great" and "least" in the kingdom:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 5:17-19)

In either case both groups are "in the kingdom".

To the Father and Eternal King be the glory and honor forever.  Amen.

Last modified on 07 January 2017

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