The Breath of His Coming – 2


The Living Dead and the Dead Living

Creation: In part 1 we saw that the theme of the first stanza of 2 Thessalonians 2 was the “Sabbath” rest of the church. Paul writes to remove the alarm caused by the “conspiracy theorists” who attempted to disturb it.

Division: The second stanza concerned the splitting of the church into two — those who would persevere despite the growing threat of tribulation throughout the empire [1], and those who would succumb to their fears. The attacks would culminate in the completion of Herod’s Temple and the Nero’s burning of Rome in AD64. The first threw doubt upon the words of Christ concerning the Temple, and the second, though hardly believed, was an excuse to scapegoat this new Jew-Gentile sect, now legally separated from the protection afforded to Jews by Rome. The gospel tore Judaism in two. Then it united those believing Jews with Gentiles. But as in the wilderness, new Israel would be threshed and purified.

Ascension (Altar): The third stanza played on the theme of the Temple Altar and the Ascension offering. Rather than humbling themselves to be exalted by God, the rulers of the Land (badly translated “kings of the earth” in Revelation) exalted themselves as blameless before God. Unlike Christ, the dead living, they were in God’s eyes nothing more than the living dead.

The passage has two cycles for Ascension (we can tell this by the subject matter of stanza 5). I have found this is quite common. It allows one line or stanza for the Bronze Altar and one for the Golden Table: one for the earth from which the grain and fruit (flesh and blood) is harvested, and one for their presentation in the heavenly tent as a worthy “nearbringing.” With the sacrificial pattern in mind, the literary structure makes visible some pretty cool stuff.

Ascension (Table) – Firstfruits Church as Lot in Sodom

Do you not remember (Ark – Light)
…..that when I was still with you (Veil/Hierarchy)
……….I told you these things? (Altar – Sinai – Law given)
……….And now you know what is restraining, (Firstfruits – nearbringing)
……………that he may be revealed in his own time. (Lampstand)
……….For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; (Witnesses – Law repeated)
…..only He who now restrains [will do so] (Mediators)
until [out of the midst he is gone]. (Succession)

The word “restrain” appears twice. It also means “bind.” In the matrix structure, the first half concerns “forming” under the Law (childhood). The sacrifice is bound, offered as an Ascension, as Isaac was (the true Adamic “son of cutting off.”) The second half concerns “filling,” the maturity of adulthood, the “loosing” of the Bride. Adam is bound, cut, and Eve is loosed from his side.

The sacrificial type is important, but it is a symbol. Paul was bound with a chain. Moses complained of Israel “breaking loose.” What is the actual nature of “restraint” when it comes to principalities and powers according to the Bible? James Jordan writes:

“…one of the most important duties of a ruler is to restrain the waywardness of the people, using the power given him. To the magistrate is given the sword, to the church ruler is given excommunication, and to parents is given the rod. Those who are given these powers, and who refuse to use them to restrain those under them, become partially guilty when those under them wander into sin.” [2]

When Samuel saw Saul, Yahweh answered him,
“Behold, the man of whom I spoke to you!
This one will restrain My people”
(1 Samuel 9:17).

The biblical pattern of restraint concerns governors, including rulers like Eli, who failed to restrain his sons. So who was it that restrained the Herods from another massacre of biblical proportions when Paul wrote? Jordan writes:

The Church and her evangelism in Palestine created fence-sitters who were restraining apostate Judaism. An example is Gamaliel, Acts 5:33-42. Perhaps the falling away of so many early Christians into the Judaizing heresy would release the Man of Sin.” My own best guess is that the restrainer is the presence of believers in Jerusalem, whose presence kept Sodom from being destroyed. Their captain was James. [3]

Besides “Babylon,” Jerusalem is also called Egypt and Sodom in the Revelation, a prophetic practice we also observe in Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and originating in Moses (Deut. 32:32). The city could not be destroyed until the righteous were removed. How were they removed? They became a righteous firstfruits offering, a harvest of grain and fruit predicted in Revelation 14, with Jesus swinging the sickle.

Interestingly, the literal translation of the final line is “out of the midst.” The idea of the “midst” at this point is very common. Just as the people of God are set apart with a veil of circumcision (Passover blood), so the Atonement step is a “passing-through.” We see this in the Lord’s prefiguring of Israel’s entry into Canaan by “passing through” the divided animals, and also (and terrifyingly) in Jesus’ passing safely through the midst of the Jews who desired to bring down the Covenant curses upon Him by their own hands. [4] The festal picture is the High Priest passing through the Veil, symbolically tearing it as flesh on the Day of Atonement.

Testing – AD70 as Greater Pentecost

And then the lawless one (un-Ark)
…..will be revealed, (un-Veil)
……….whom the Lord will consume (un-Altar)
……….with the breath of His mouth (un-Table)
……………and destroy with the brightness of His coming. (un-Lampstand)

Now we come to the phrase, “the breath of his mouth.” Some translation render “breath” as “spirit.” Either is fine, because the image comes from the Lord breathing life into the Altar, the earthen mound made flesh, of Adam. Yes, even that process follows the Bible Matrix. Only, here it only gets so far. The Spirit of the Lord came flashing to and fro “in the spirit of the day” as He did in Eden (Genesis 3:18).

The final Pentecost in the first century was the destruction of the Old Temple by fire. The house of prayer for all nations was now the apostolic church. The Jewish war tore the final veil away, and the identity of the true sons of God was manifested (Romans 8:19 – don’t worry, this is what always happens when the Lord comes in judgment, and there is a greater judgment to come).

Maturity – False Witnesses under Covenant
The coming of the [lawless one] (False Advent)
… according to the working of Satan, (False Delegate)
……….(False 3-decker Temple)
……….with all power, (Head – Word)
……….signs, and (Hands – Signs)
……….lying wonders, (Feet – Serpents)
……………and with all unrighteous deception
……………among those who perish,
……….because they did not receive
…..the love of the truth,
that they might be saved.

If you have Bible Matrix: The Covenant Key, you’ll know that the Ten Commandments follow the matrix structure (I disagree with Ray Sutton’s structure on this one). The commandments have been renumbered (according to Augustine’s “scroll” division) which puts “Stealing” and “False Witness” at level 4, Sanctions. This seems to be a combination of the Maturity and Conquest sections of the matrix structure. It demonstrates that the context of “false witness” is the courtroom, the same kind of false witnesses brought against Jesus, to have him falsely accused and falsely condemned. Instead of the “two witnesses” pattern begun at the death of Abel/conviction of Cain, the Cainite Herods are Jannes and Jambres, court magicians to a Herodian Pharaoh (yes, this is the context of Paul’s warning in 2 Timothy 3:8).

So, the theme of this fifth point (stanza 6) concerns the lying under Covenant oath of the rulers of the Old Covenant. By destroying Jesus, they brought the Holy Spirit from heaven to the Church. By destroying the church, they led the unbelieving Jews into a fiery holocaust engineered by the Spirit, under the true Covenant “testimony of Jesus.” The unbelieving Jews cursed the brethren of Jesus, and the sharp edge of the promise to Abraham was fulfilled upon them.

“I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you…”
(Genesis 12:3)

Dispensationalists make terrible mistakes when it comes to this promise. Those of faith are the sons of Abraham.

The Holy Spirit is a consuming fire. Baptism is a Noahic flood. The Table of Communion is the cross. The Christian receives all of these “curses” as “blessings” because they are given to us in sacramental doses. The old Temple was set alight, “flooded” with Roman troops (Daniel 9:26) and the blood of the slain ran through the city in rivers. Thousands of Jews were crucified. This is why Revelation presents her destruction as a worship service. Vengeance belongs to God.

Conquest – Covenant Oath broken: Black Stone
Atonement: the goat elected to be a vessel of destruction

And for this reason (Transcendence/Covenant Curse)
…..God will send them strong delusion, (Hierarchy)
……….that they should believe the lie, (Ethics 1 – Law given)
……………that they all may be condemned (Ethics 2 – Law opened)
……….who did not believe the truth (Ethics 3 – Law received)
…..but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (No Sanctions/Judgment)

The delegate in this passage is an evil spirit from the Lord. [5]

Notice the ironic “Ethics” pattern at the centre. Following the first 7 Bible books, Israel is condemned in “Numbers,” the book of counting. Only Jews are “numbered” in the Revelation, Gentiles are not. The unbelieving Jews would be “counted among those who go down to the pit.” The sons of Korah come to mind. [6]

And this stanza is missing its Sabbath rest. At the “Atonement” line, the unrighteousness remains uncovered on the day of coverings. There was no more sacrifice for sins. [7]

Conquest – Covenant Oath kept: White Stone
Atonement: the goat elected to be a blessed offering

But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you,
…..brethren beloved by the Lord,
……….because God from the beginning chose you for salvation
……………through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,
……….to which He called you by our gospel,
…..for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, (Creation)
…..brethren, (Division)
……….stand fast (Ascension)
……………and hold the traditions (Testing)
……….which you were taught, (Maturity)
…..whether by word (Conquest/Oath)
or our epistle. (Glorification/Commission)

This stanza gives a full cycle to its Glorification line, the blessing of New Covenant Succession. I’d say the first line of this stanza probably does the same, but in a five-fold pattern.

Glorification – (Booths) The Church sheltered by God

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself,
…..and our God and Father,
……….who has loved us and given [us]
……………everlasting consolation (Spirit comforter)
……….and good hope by grace,
…..comfort your hearts
and establish you in every good word and work.

The final blessing in this passage. The rest disturbed by the liars at the beginning is reclaimed — reborn and resurrected as an even better hope — by the Shekinah. Not sure why the Father is in line 2, but it sure is interesting! Possibly because the pattern shows Jesus bringing the saints as an Ascension to the Father.

The structure ends with the Firstfruits Church as the fulfilment of the Feast of Booths, the true shelter for the nations, founded on the blood of Christ.

[1] One objection against a preterist interpretation of the New Testament is that the Gentile churches would not have suffered during the Jewish war. See Peter Leithart: Jewish War.
[2] James B. Jordan, The Restrainer.
[3] James B. Jordan, The Abomination of Desolation, Part 2.
[4] See Pass-over and Pass-through.
[5] See Strong Delusion.
[6] See The Falling Away and Ashes and Smoke.
[7] See No More Sacrifice for Sins.

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

Share Button

Comments are closed.