A Cast of Thousands

Band of Brothers – 2


Part 1 here.

One thing the Bible Matrix demonstrates is the nature of history. Sure, it repeats itself. Everyone knows that. But our personal histories are microcosms of the lives and deaths of families, churches, nations and empires. Reading the Bible is like looking through a glass onion.

The structure of events in the primeval Garden are replayed in Cain and Abel, then in the sons of God. Garden; Land; World. Most Holy; Holy; Courts. Word; Sacrament; Government. Heaven; Mediator; Earth.

The pattern of creation was repeated in Adam and Eve, Word becoming flesh, but instead of the building of a greater Tabernacle out of raw materials, the dust devil of sin grew into a tornado, multiplying in speed and size, collecting material and taking on a body of its own—the entire race but for Noah.

Jesus reversed the pattern in the Garden. But it took all of the Old Testament to teach us what Jesus would actually do. We need to analyse all the occurrences of the pattern, all the different ways in which it was played out in history, to comprehend His redemptive achievement in all its glorious facets.

Just as death entered the world by the act of one man, it literally took a cast of thousands to portray the work of the Second Man. Cain slew Abel at the cross. Eve bore Seth as a replacement son in the resurrection. Enoch walked with God and was not at the ascension. Jonathan abdicated the Old Covenant and was resurrected as a New Covenant robe in David. Jephthah and David conquered as “Conquest” Land kings but had to die and be resurrected as “Glorification” World kings in Samson and Solomon respectively.

By the time of Jesus, the sin that was dealt with in the exile had again taken on a corporate body. God had divided and then scattered Solomon’s kingdom in judgment, but as God does, He scattered the people like seed. This enlarged His field. Jesus came to harvest this greater field. But the body of sin was also now much larger. The compromise between the Jewish sons of God and the Gentile daughters of men was empire-wide. Just as Lamech’s sin became institutionalised and ended the race, Ahab and Jezebel had again become a draconian church state under the Herods.

Jesus dealt with the cyclone by standing in the eye. His ministry itself took on a body, but in the gospels we see Him whittle it away until He stands alone and rejected. The crowds abandon Him, and then even His band of brothers is scattered. His seamless robe, a symbol of His kingdom, is taken away. It also symbolised the Covenant—the firmament. The firmament is a garment for God, filled with governing lights. No lights (disciples), no robe. Jesus is torn from the Father, and then, more alone than anyone until the final judgment, Jesus’ body itself is torn. All glory, all identity was gone, right down to the most personal, the most precious, the Most Holy.

He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him,
there is no beauty that we should desire Him.

“The guards came again, handing out coats. I could not understand at first why they took away all of our clothes only to give us in return garments that must have been worn by other women entering the [concentration] camp. But as I looked around at the women beside me withdrawn into their meagre, worn rags, I saw that we were no longer the strong women who had been able to endure hard labour, wartime conditions, and separation from our family and friends. The shearing of our heads and vulvas, the stealing of our clothes and everything we had owned, took from us the last traces of who we had been. My knapsack on the train, my mother’s chains and rings, would never be given back. I felt their loss almost as much as the loss of my hair. All I had left was Samuel’s ring.

When the guard reached me she held out a long gray coat. Without thinking I took it from her with my right hand. Immediately the guard circled the ring with her fingers and thumb, giving it a hard yank. My finger felt as if it were being pulled from me. The ring would not come off. Her grip tightened; the flesh around the ring was squeezed tightly. I cried out in pain.

‘Quiet!’ she hissed.

Again she pulled, spitting on the ring twice while she wiggled it back and forth. Finally, in one smooth movement, she scraped it over the ridge of my knuckle and slipped it off the end of my finger and into her pocket. Satisfied that no one had seen her, she shoved her crate of coats forward and moved on.” [1]

Crowds torn away. Family torn away. Disciples torn apart. Robe torn off. Beard torn off. Body torn … veil torn … torn … torn OPEN. And in the most exquisite plot twist in history, the plunderer was plundered. In the eye of the cyclone, in the Most Holy Place, the Gordian knot was cut.

In the eye of the cyclone, in the tomb, Jonathan became David. A new history, begun with this one-Man liturgy, was spoken into the Garden. Over the next forty years, the kingdom of the father of lies began to unravel in the Land. Like the climax of Peter and the Wolf, the more the Cunning Edomite Fox struggled, the tighter became the Apostolic rope around its neck.

Over the next forty years, Jesus took on a new body by His Spirit, and David became Solomon. Both John’s Old Covenant decrease and Jesus’ New Covenant increase became institutional. The headless Jonathan/John had a new Head. [2]

When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed.

The Word that tore open the Garden door began to tear open the Land. Revelation 14 shows Jesus again at the eye of a cyclone. This time He is an Angel with a sickle. The literary structure puts Him right at the centre, between the grain and the grapes [3]. It was time for His new “Land” body to follow Him through death and resurrection. The sickle swings and He harvests the saints as bread and wine. Now it was not just the eye but the whole Roman/Herodian cyclone that was red. What He accomplished on the cross was reenacted—filled up—in a cast of thousands. The empire was filled with violence and the corrupted sons of God disappeared beneath a flood of troops. [4]

The band of brothers we join is one of blood brothers. More Christians were martyred in the twentieth century than in the previous 19 centuries combined. As the victory in the Land continues to tear the World in two, the cast of thousands is now a cast of millions. Thankfully, the blood is always foundational. Spirit follows. [5] But we must be ready with our blood.

Could it take anything less than a cast of millions to picture the work of Christ? And perhaps we are still in the early days.

He shall see the labour of His soul and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant
shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.

[1] Sarah Tuvel Bernstein, The Seamstress, A Memoir of Survival, pp. 198-199.
[2] King Saul, Jonathan’s “head,” was beheaded.
[3] See Totus Christus p. 557.
[4] See Jewish War by Peter Leithart.
[5] See The Whole Bloody Bible.

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