No Bronze Wedding


“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of Man be lifted up…”
John 3:14

Peter Leithart recently noticed a chiasm in John 3:

A. Lifted up
B. Serpent
……C. Wilderness
B’. Son of Man
A’. lifted up.

Bible Matrix readers should notice immediately the wilderness at the centre. This means there is a lot more to this single phrase of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus. In fact, there is all of heaven and earth.

Seeing as there are five points, we might first try the five-fold Covenant pattern. But A, B and A’, B’ don’t seem to allude to that. What if we take a step out and include the text just before and just after. It gives us seven points, with a really cool point seven. The five-fold Covenant is there after all.

And as Moses (Transcendence – Word)
lifted up (Closed veil)
the serpent (Hierarchy – Bronze Altar ascension)
……………in the wilderness, even so must  (Ethics – Lampstand)
……….the Son of Man (Sanctions – Golden Altar ascension)
……be lifted up, (Open veil)

that whoever
…..believes in Him
…..……should not perish
…..but have (possess?)
eternal life. (Continuity/Succession)

The word “must” refers to an obligation to fulfill the Law. Revelation uses “must” in exactly this way in 11:5, 13:10, and at the centre of chiastic structures just like this one. “Must” is the very heart of Testing.

What are we to make of the “lifted ups”? In Joseph’s first cycle, his robe is delegated at the point of the first “lifted up” (the heavens are spread out like a garment) and his robe is torn and bloodied with a goat’s blood at the point of the second “lifted up” (substitutionary Atonement). Here we have delegation and vindication: a stewardship given to the Son, and then a stewardship the Son was willing to die for.

The Last point is a microcosm of the whole. As Succession it is a New Covenant.

As Dr Leithart pointed out, the serpent and the Son are matched. Adding the Tabernacle furniture matches the serpent with the Bronze Altar, symbolically formed out of the dust of the earth, and awaiting the holy fire of the Spirit to fill it.

Jesus is lifted up, but not as a serpent of bronze. In this structure at least He is the golden altar, not the one on earth but the one in heaven. He is a more glorious offering. Fragrant, silvery smoke comes out of the golden altar. It is the bride, awesome as an army with banners.

Gold, silver and bronze all relate to the Tabernacle. The stuff inside the tent was gold (kingly – king and wise men [elders]), the stuff outside is bronze (priestly). One is Adam formed from dust, an “Altar of earth,” and the other is that Altar made to glow with the spirit (filled).

Silver is bridal. Although there was silver in the Tabernacle pillars (which are God’s people, i.e. trees cut down and “glorified”), there were actually lampstands in the temple made of silver and gold. Silver made its way into the furniture. The Temple was a bridal version of the Tabernacle. Just so, the church is a bridal version of Adamic Israel. Women are now allowed into the Holy Place (but not the Most Holy — only males can image the Covenant head). It is an Eden made safe by a better Adam.

So bronze is the earth (the Altar-Land), gold is the sun (Lampstand), and silver is the moon and stars (Eve, the mother of all living), the Incense army which fills the house (Isaiah 6:4; Revelation 15:8).

All that packed into so few words.

“If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.”

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