A Devotion for 23 July 2020 Anno Domini, by the Rev. Mark Sutherd Carroll, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
Christ Militant – Warrior King
Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. [Ps 45]
Comment: Psalm 45 is prophetic of the coming of the Messiah. The Warrior king girds himself with a sword, his rule is everlasting, he subdues his enemies, his queen, the Church, is exalted.
Christ Militant – Redeemer Warrior
God saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompense. So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. [Is 59:16-20]
Comment: This prophetic scripture points to the man who would come to redeem Israel. By his actions he would bring Salvation. He would be their Intercessor and their Mediator, and he would come with his armor and bring recompense to the enemies of God’s people. He would redeem all who repent of their sin and turn to him.
Christ Militant – Good Shepherd
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber….I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. …and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Comment: The image of the Good shepherd in this scripture is important, for it shows Christ who will lay down his life in the defense of his flock. The Good Shepherd is ready to enter into battle with any who would kill a kid of his flock, even unto death. Here he prophesies a coming battle, and fulfills it at the cost of his human life, in order to defeat Satan and death for all of his flock for evermore. The similitude of the Good Shepherd must have brought to mind two other Bible sections: the 23rd Psalm, where God protects his flock in the Shadow of Death, and the history of Jesus’ maternal ancestor, King David, who defended his flock against lions and bears, slaying them with his hands in 1 Sa 17:34-37
And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.
And God shall deliver his elect out of the hand of Satan and Death. Amen.
Christ Militant – The Right Hand of God
“Thy Right Hand, O Lord, is made glorious in power. Thy Right Hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy;”
Comment: Ambrose, in his letter to Emporer Gratian on the Holy Spirit, cited these passages as referring to our Lord Jesus Christ. In all cultures the right hand has come to signify arms. It is so in the scriputures, it is so today.