Q&A: According to Knowledge

or Marriage is a Glory Box, a Hope Chest

In 1 Peter 3:7, the apostle writes:

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

The phrase “according to knowledge” (gnosis) is rendered “in an understanding way” in the NKJV and ESV. But is the exhortation for the husband to understand his wife, or to understand the source of his authority as her husband?

I believe the “Covenant literary” structure not only answers this question, but reveals the sentence to be an Edenic gem. [1] Firstly, it recapitulates the totus Christus pattern found throughout the Scriptures:

Sabbath – initiating Word
Passover – blood and water (Red Sea – death)
Firstfruits – presentation of head
Pentecost – head rules body
Trumpets – presentation of body
Atonement – water and blood (Jordan – resurrection)
Booths – head and body united in God  [2]

The references to the Red Sea and the Jordan allude to this pattern in Israel’s journey from Egypt to Canaan, but we can trace it right back to the first Man and Woman.

Sabbath – Call of Adam
Passover – Cutting of Adam
Firstfruits – Marriage of Adam
Pentecost – Testing of Adam
Trumpets - Song of Eve
Atonement – Crushing of the Serpent
Booths – Rest and Rule of the First Couple

Of course, this is not what happened, but based upon countless later patterns, we can accurately reconstruct it. (I know some will be skeptical, but there are many hundreds of examples. Trust me.)

Genesis 2 is a recapitulation of Genesis 1, with Day 7 being the “future” of Adam’s race benefiting from his continuing mediation. That is about as far as we can speculate, but my point here is that Genesis 2 is also a forming and a filling. The first part concerns Adam as priestly “head” and the second concerns Eve as his (bone and flesh) “body.” Having a “people” in the mother of all living moves Adam from priesthood to kingdom (hence the true kingdom did not arrive until Pentecost).

The goal was for Adam to testify on God’s behalf before the serpent, receive the Spirit of God through his obedience, and share that Spirit with Eve, who would sing the kind of head-crushing song we hear from Bible women, songs that sound so strange to modern ears. This third stage is prophetic. Adam has spoken. Eve has sung in response. Now that they are of one mind, understanding the mind of God, His purpose in their testing, they are both wise as serpents and harmless as doves. They become God’s voice, mediating between heaven and earth.

Peter’s Literary Brilliance

We are now in a position to appreciate Peter’s brief statement. Because it echoes a pattern built into the rest of the Bible, these few words contain unfathomable depths. Not only is a marriage a “new Covenant,” it is a new Creation, a new Tabernacle within which God is pleased to dwell as long as its priesthood is faithful. If the husband’s priestly office is not fulfilled, he will not have true kingdom.

“The men, likewise, (Day 1 – Initiation/Imperative/Ark)
living in wedlock  (Day 2 – Hierarchy/Veil)
according to knowledge, (Day 3 – Ascension/Open Scroll/Altar)
as with a weaker vessel, (Day 3 – Death of the Head/Firstfruits/Table)
with the feminine giving honor, (Day 4 – Response of the Body/Pentecost/Lampstand)
as also co-heirs of the grace of life, (Day 5 – Resurrection/Eldership/Incense)
so that your prayers (Day 6 – Mediators/Coverings/)
may not be blocked.” (Day 7 – Succession)

This sevenfold process is not only an architectural pattern, it also reveals why there are no “priestesses” under either the Old Covenant or the New. Any authority which Woman has is derived from the accountability of the Man. [3]

Viewed as a chain/process of Covenant authority, line 3 would mean “according to the doctrine/wisdom” given to Adam as mediator. Adam received the Law before the construction of Eve. He was to minister to her in the light of that Law, which is what he failed to do.

The architecture reveals the use of the word “vessel” to be priestly. “Weaker” can mean weakness either physically or morally. In relation to the Law, it may refer to the desire of women for male headship, that is, “leadership by example.” If Adam will not lead her, another spirit will lead her into harlotry. As Christ sends His Spirit to gather the Church, so the Adam’s self-sacrifice “constructs” or edifies Eve. The husband’s meekness towards God results in the wife’s meekness towards her husband, reversing the curse of tyranny in Genesis 3:16.

The earthen “vessel without strength” at 3 requires filling at 4, is fragrant at 5, and presented chaste to God at 6. Adam’s role, as mediator with a heavenly commission, is to take flesh, open its eyes and open its mouth. What God did for Adam physically, so Adam is to do for Eve legally. The woman begins as a possession but Adam, the regent, is to lead her to the role of co-regent. We see this in the difference between the Ten Words in Exodus and Deuteronomy, and in the process of Esther becoming more than simply another bride. [4] Of course, we see it in the difference between the Old Covenant and New Covenant brides, expressed in baptism (robe of office) being given to “both men and women,” women allowed into the Sanctuary, and the inclusion of women as Covenant witnesses, “prophetesses,” beginning after the resurrection. The true empowerment of Woman can only ever come through the submission of Man to God.

The Architecture of Sex

Human sexuality is an expression of the Trinity. It is an architecture also found in the Tabernacle. The Most Holy Place is the authority of the Father (the Ark), the Holy Place is the priestly submission (Table), kingly authority (Lampstand) and prophetic witness (Incense) of the Son. Finally, the courts of the nations are the gathering of the Bride by the Spirit (Eve is the multiplier). The pattern throughout the Bible is:

Father sends Son (Transcendence)
2  Son submits and dies for the Bride (Hierarchy)
3  Bride submits to the Son as the Son does to the Father (Ethics)
4  Son presents Bride as chaste to the Father (Sanctions)
5  The Father blesses the Son and the Bride (the gathered Church) with Land and offspring (Succession)

This is also the pattern of the entire Bible, as well as the deep structure of the book of Revelation. It is also hinted at in the search for a bride for Isaac, and in many other narratives.

Interestingly, we can also see the triune architecture in

Man and Woman (Genesis 1 – physical attributes)
Husband and Wife (Genesis 2 – social offices)
Father and Mother (Genesis 3 – historical continuity)

The evolutionary assumptions of modernism first deconstructed our understanding of man and woman as physical images of God (temples for His Spirit), mostly for the purpose of freedom from Moses (as some have testified). Without recognition of the authority of God, the purpose of “male and female” became arbitrary. Sex (gender) was reduced to the physiological, flesh without a divine commission. Western males and females were rendered naked, and bereft of hope.

This rejection of heavenly authority then led to the deconstruction of marriage, which had previously integrated Western culture, giving it a backbone and rendering it upright. “Husband and wife” as offices before God also became meaningless. Marriage ceased to be seen as sacrificial ministry, and the house was eventually left desolate. False gods were welcomed in, which led to adultery and then further perversion.

Our now spineless culture is at the stage where Father and Mother are also being deconstructed, through a man-made narcissistic version of marriage — love of the same rather than “the other.” Since male and female are no longer gifts from God, and husband and wife are no longer a means of exercising those gifts, Father and Mother are now also meaningless. We are left with Human, Partner and Parent. This is the social outcome of the rejection of the heaven-and-earth, head-and-body divide. There is no authority, no submission and thus no ministry.

According to Knowledge

I hope you noticed the allusions to the pattern of events in the New Testament. It is also the pattern of events in the apostate churches around us today. In both cases, the Word of God was well-known.

This tragic deconstruction is a threefold process of sin reaching its full maturity in our culture, with each step being the product (usually after a generation, around 40 years) of the previous sin. [5] God is tearing down the house in three stages, so He gets the glory.

Romans 1 outlines this process for us. Three times, God says He “gave them up” to what they desired, because they would not listen. The next step for our rebellious culture is a quick decline. We have sacrificed our historical continuity on the altar of unbridled desire. Atheists have taken the inheritance of 2000 years of Christianity and blown it all, like Hollywood brats, in a few decades. Say goodbye to Western Culture, with all its heavenly blessings.

Ideas have consequences, and the desire to be “in control” of nature, like gods, leads to nature being empowered by God to cut us off. Abortion, sterility, sexual perversion, social disintegration (and the mental illness that follows) and an epidemic of sexual diseases, are the outcomes of the dogma of Darwinism. It is highly ironic that Darwinism turned out to be an exercise of the right to extinction.

Empowered by the knowledge of God, the family is the spring of good culture. Rejection of that knowledge results in a poisoned spring, and God will put a stop to the bitterness. His judgment is entirely just. Our sin is not simply a “wandering astray.” It is high-handed rebellion from a culture with more knowledge of God than any before. Worse, those with a perverse desire relabel it as a “call” from God. The Spirit departs. The song is silenced. The Land and the womb are rendered barren.

The fact that many intelligent Christians fail to understand the importance of Genesis 1-3 quite amazes me. [6] It turns out that those early chapters are also the key to understanding the New Testament, as the pattern is replayed in individuals, families, churches and states.

It seems Peter, by the Spirit, was fully aware of the inescapable sacredness of marriage. As in Eden, marriage is itself a “glory box,” a hope chest filled with promises for the future. But today it is a marriage made in heaven, that between Christ and the Church, and Jesus will never forsake us to the serpent as Adam forsook Eve. He ministers to us “according to knowledge.”

Photo: Medieval Marriage Chest.

[1] So much for Peter being an ignorant fisherman. See Uneducated Fishermen? Nuh-uh.
[2] Chart from Bible Matrix, p. 76.
[3] See The Throne of Eve.
[4] See Esther and the Ten Words.
[5] See God Gave Them Up.
[6] See When the Grid Goes Down.

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