Hungarian Reformed on the Sacraments

In the latest edition of Kerux, there is a fine presentation on the Hungarian Reformed Churches. James T. Dennison even translated their confessions.

Of those confessions one is the Erdod Confession. I thought that it had a good and condense statement on the sacraments that presented the basic Reformed position. This is the Erdod Confession from 1544:

Article VI

Baptism, the Lord’s Supper takes away Sins (Two Sacred Rites: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper and their Administration and Effect).

In the administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, we follow the institution of Christ and the early church and we confess all our sins to be taken away through baptism and the grace of God to be offered and in the Lord’s Supper the body and blood of Christ to be truly exhibited beneath the bread and wine. Moreover, we desire that the institution of Christ in both sacraments be celebrated and administered in the native language, in a manner which befits reverence, and in the same rite and form in all the churches. We condemn those who diminish original sin, and those who assert that infants are not to be baptized. Likewise we condemn the violators of the institution of Christ and the profaners of the Lord’s Supper, and those who withdraw the other element from the laity and the lawful use of the Lord’s Supper, and turn it into the dreadful buyings and sellings and abomination of the Mass. Likewise we condemn all blasphemers, who call this institution of Christ, which exists in our churches, a diabolical mass. Peter therefore commands that this blasphemy be addressed and that such blasphemers are to be punished (2 Pet. 2:12)

The Chariot of Israel

“My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!”

Elisha shouted this out in 2 Kings 2: 12 when Elijah was being taken up in the fiery chariot.  The question that ought to come up in our minds, though it often doesn’t, is “How did he know what this was?”

Is there another reference to “the chariot of Israel” in the Bible?  This would be the primary verse.  I’ve heard others point to the fiery angels in Ezekiel 1 who seem to move with a wheel.  This is not totally clear though, and it isn’t explicit in Ezekiel 1.  We’d need to know what the chariot is first in order to see it there.

So is there another place to find the chariot?

The only other reference to “the chariot” is in 1 Chronicles 28.  This is a section describing temple furniture.  It says:

16 And by weight he gave gold for the tables of the showbread, for each table, and silver for the tables of silver; 17 also pure gold for the forks, the basins, the pitchers of pure gold, and the golden bowls—he gave gold by weight for every bowl; and for the silver bowls, silver by weight for every bowl; 18 and refined gold by weight for the altar of incense, and for the construction of the chariot, that is, the gold cherubim that spread their wings and overshadowed the ark of the covenant of the LORD.

So, the chariot is the piece of furniture that covers the ark of the covenant and would be used for carrying it.  It has gold cherubim that spread their wings over the ark.  More can be found in Exodus 25:10-22.   Here we see that the Lord would meet with his people atop the chariot.  He would speak to his people from the mercy seat, between the cherubim.  In 2 Samuel 6:2 we even read that the Lord dwells between the cherubim.

And so when Elisha sees a fiery chariot, with angels presumably, carrying Elijah up to heaven, he sees the chariot.  He recognizes it from the temple.  Elijah was being taken up in the ark of the covenant’s own covering.

He was being taken up in the reality, of which the temple furniture only served as a sign.

The extra neat part of all of this is that we are not told that this piece of furniture is called the chariot until the book of Chronicles, which was the last book written in the Old Testament.  The piece of furniture existed, but we, living today, don’t know that until we get to Chronicles.  So we learn that you have to use a stream-of-consciousness hermeneutic.  =)

This is the same way the New Testament works though.  It tells us all about the Old Testament, and it isn’t just making up a new way to read.  Rather, it is explaining to us about what was there all along.