The Breath of His Coming – 1

This post concerns the Covenant-literary structure of 2 Thessalonians 2. The context and audience are first century, but it amazes me how willing we modern Christians are to do intricate hermeneutical acrobatics to avoid the obvious conclusion that the particular “coming” of Christ referred to here was also a first century event – the end of the Old Covenant in AD70.

A reasonably close look at the text makes it inescapable. A very close analysis makes it inexcusable, especially once we are versed in the literary mechanics of the Bible Matrix.

Each stanza will be followed by some comments on the types the structure reveals.

Creation – Sabbath rest

Now, brethren, concerning
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our gathering together to Him, we ask you,
not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled,
either by spirit or by word or by letter,
as if from us,
as though the day of Christ had come.

The first stanza concerns an initial rest, to be interrupted by the Lord in order to bring a greater rest, matching it chiastically at the end of the cycle. We observe this imperfect rest in the first chapter of Zechariah, and indeed on Day 1 of Creation.

Notice the “gathering” is at Firstfruits. The first century martyrs would ascend as Jesus did, being the second approach of the High Priest on this first century “Day of Atonement.” (Israel’s entire history follows the festal pattern. See Bible Matrix p. 191.) See One Taken, One Left Behind.

The trouble is at Testing. Would they believe the Lampstand eyes of the gospel, or what they saw with their own eyes? Spirit, word and letter seem to be a three-level construct. At this point in the cycle, it is a house of resurrection, not death (that’s line 3). “As if from us” is aligned with the Covenant oath. Is the letter true or false? As a priestly people, filled with the Spirit (an internal Urim and Thummim) they were to judge.

The cycle ends with the rest into which they would enter, the heavenly country.

Division – Torn Veil – Passover darkness

Let no one deceive you by any means; (Transcendence)
for unless the apostasy comes first, (Hierarchy – Division)
and shall be revealed (Ethics – Lampstand)
the man of sin, (Sanctions – Mediator)
the son of perdition, (Ironic Succession)

This cycle is five-fold, a Covenant scroll that is yet to be opened. It is yet veiled. Notice the apostasy at Division. It would be like the exodus in its violence. The man of sin is at Day 6, the false Herodian priest-king construct, which supports Jordan’s assertion that this man is truly an Adam, not a Roman emperor. See The Man of Sin. And “Succession” makes sense of the reference to “son.” The Greek word translated “perdition” literally means “cut off.” They wanted to maintain outward circumcision, so their city would be circumcised as a new Jericho. All flesh would be cut off as an ironic firstfruits of the new Land.

Now, you can argue that this process of interpretation is entirely arbitrary, and I am reading too much into a few words, but I believe the Covenant structure of this stanza is undeniable. Don’t let me keep you from your systematic textual impotence and your formless, one-eyed, hermeneutical fantasy. This is not just Paul. It is the Spirit of God, and His words always blow us away.

Ascension (Altar) – Herods receive kingdom from Satan (cf. Matt 4)

who opposes
and exalts himself
above all that is called God
or that is worshiped,
so that he sits as God
in the temple of God,
presenting himself as God.

Ascension brings us to the “Levitical” stage of this passage, the house of God and the High Priesthood. “Opposes” appears where the Ark of the Covenant should be. This man pretends to uphold Moses yet he opposes Moses. He exalts himself at line 2, which the spot where real men of God fall on their faces. “Above” is the Ascension line within this first Ascension stanza. This man is climbing God’s Land-mountain-Altar un-covered, exposing his nakedness.

“Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.” (Exodus 20:26)

Only priests of Baal elevate themselves above the Altar. The Jacob-stairways of the “ascension” offering are for ministering angels purified by holy fire. The picture is of a man who believes he is a holy sacrifice and needs no sinless substitute. The priests of Baal cut themselves, and so did the post-Pentecost Judaizers. Paul refers to them as the “concision” or “mutilation.” But no flesh can be justified without death and resurrection by the Spirit of God. And the Judaizers repeatedly blasphemed the Spirit of Pentecost.

The word “worshipped” means “objects of veneration,” “whatever is religiously honoured, an object of worship of temples, altars, statues, idolatrous images” (Strong’s).  This “priest-king” -hood believed it was above Yahweh and indeed all the gods of the nations. But in doing so, they made the Temple into a golden calf, a house that contained no graven images but itself became a graven image, the “image of the Beast,” speaking in the place of the graven words.

“So that he sits as God” occurs in this passage at the same point at which Moses sat enthroned on a stone, his arms lifted up by a priest (Aaron) and a king (Hur, from Judah). This is Maturity, the place of eldership in God’s court and the role of prophetic witness to kings. But these men sitting in Moses’ seat (Matthew 23:2) would not defeat the oncoming Amalekite hordes. Like Saul, they had conspired with Amalek. Worse, they had handed their precious Joshua over to Amalek for execution, with His arms lifted up.

The final line is supposed to be the enthronement of Adam as the perfected Covenant vassal, a man entirely subject to God’s Law to whom history and kingdom can be handed — because he has pure hands. But, as with Israel’s kings before the captivity, the Herods were kings in the way Gentile kings were: their gods were subject to them.

I hope you can see by now that this passage, though written to Gentiles, has a Jewish context. In fact, it is screaming at us if we have eyes to see.

To be continued…


Artwork: Herod’s Temple exterior by Abe Goolsby from the HCSB Study Bible. Check out his design process here.

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One Response to “The Breath of His Coming – 1”

  • Travis Finley Says:

    This begs the question(s): what did they think the day was that it might have already passed? How ignorant were they? If Gentiles, then more so I s’pose. Same thing with Peter’s nay sayers; “where is the promise…”. Were they steeped in BT festal patterns, they should’ve known.