The Fifth Element


Why are there four Gospels? There would be so much less confusion — and theological spade work — if there were just the one. The most obvious answer is that each one was written for a different audience, as described here. The least obvious answer is that God was not only writing the commandments in human flesh, He was also “measuring out” the architecture of the Tabernacle in humanity.

Sacred architecture is not an optional accessory when it comes to understanding the Bible. If its study was central to us, it would be obvious that the Gospels are four horns of the Bronze Altar bloodied as a witness to the satisfaction of the Law, that the holy fire of Pentecost could descend upon it and offer up a fragrant savour.

Not only is biblical architecture helpful in making sense of some of the oddities in the testimony of Christ, it possibly sheds some light on the difference in the ministries of Gabriel and Michael.

In Daniel 10, Gabriel is delayed from bringing his message to the prophet for twenty-one days. There is a relationship between Daniel’s fasting and Gabriel’s victory, since Daniel, being a prophet, was not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against the powers of heaven. It is not clear whether it was Gabriel who was “left” in Persia, or if Michael remained there that Gabriel might be freed from his post. However, since the four “beast” kingdoms in Daniel 7 were earthly (social) replicas of the four beasts guarding the throne in heaven, we can assume that these angelic powers correspond to the “four corners” of the territory of the oikoumene, that is, the boundaries of the resurrected Israel’s ministry within the empires.

Under Babylon, the horns had been turned against Israel. Through the ministry of the prophets (as “Trumpets,” the heavenly horns of the Incense Altar), these horns were restored as Israel’s protection on earth. In Zechariah’s second vision, the beasts are seen as the horns of Israel’s altar, and the prophets are seen as Spirit-filled craftsmen like Aholiab and Bezalel, who appear at the “Pentecost” of the vision.


Creation: And I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, four horns!
(Light – Ark)


Division: And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these?” (Firmament – Veil)


Ascension: And he said to me, “These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”
(Land – Bronze Altar. Law given: Priest/Forming – Days 1-3)
Testing: Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen.
(Lights – Lampstand. Law opened: King/Filling – Days 4-6)
Maturity: And I said, “What are these coming to do?”
(Incense – Law received: Prophet/Future – Day 7)


Conquest: He said, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no one raised his head.


And these (the prophets)
have come (delegation)
to terrify them, (Mordecai as righthand man)
to cast down the horns (Rulers)
of the nations (Persian provinces as body)
who lifted up their horns (Head)
against the land of Judah (Body)
to scatter it.” (ministry to Gentiles)

Notice the relationship between the four horns (visible) and the four winds (invisible). Instead of “Ingathering” (Booths) in the last line, there is scattering. Horns are earthly, replicated in metal (Cain, the “smith” – Moses, the external Law hidden in the earth). But the winds are heavenly, replicated in smoke (Abel, the “vapor” – Elijah, the internal Law of the body hidden in heaven). Scattering is the result of the testimony of two witnesses, beginning with the tablets in the Ark.

As James Jordan has observed, the beasts were not, as many assume, inherently evil empires. Empire is in fact the goal of history. These empires were set up for Israel’s protection. When each empire turned against Israel, God judged the empire and replaced it swiftly (as swift as wind) with the next one. This recapitulates the pattern of Balaam attempting to curse Israel from successive mountain peaks — as horns — around the assembly of Israel in the wilderness (an observation shared by Luke Welch).

If Gabriel was guarding Persia, do the “four angels” in Revelation 7 correspond to the four beasts? Gabriel would either be one of those four, or else he moved from one empire to another through their succession over 500 years. If so, Michael (“one of the chief princes”) would then be the “fifth element” in command over them. It is this angel who restrains the judgment upon Jerusalem for one more generation, for the sake of the saints, after Christ forgives His enemies at the cross:

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the Land, holding back the four winds of the Land, that no wind might blow on Land or Sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm Land and Sea, saying,

“Do not (Day 1)
harm (Day 2)
the Land or the Sea (Day 3)
or the trees,
until we have sealed (Day 4)
the servants (Day 5)
of our God (Day 6)
on their foreheads.” (Day 7)

This would mean there was a good angel and a bad angel working in each kingdom, two sets of four “corners” (Jordan again: the Hebrew for military commander is “corner,” thus David and his three mighty men, etc.) with Michael and Satan as chiefs over their respective officers. The “corner” angels are the horns on the Altar, for blessing or cursing, like the mountain peaks climbed by Balaam and Balak around Israel. Then the archangel and Satan would be the holy (or strange) fire as the Fifth Element, the animus of the Body, expressed in either faithfulness to God or in spiritual adultery.

5E temple

When the dominion of the beasts was coming to an end, it was time for Michael to “stand up” against Satan. Just as Michael helped Gabriel against the prince of Persia, so Satan “stood up” to aid the angelic “prince of Rome” against the incursion of the Spirit-filled apostles (Revelation 12:13-13:1). He stood on the boundary between Jew and Gentile (“the sand of the Sea”) and raised up a corrupted ruler in Rome. AD64 saw not only the completion of Herod’s Temple, but also Nero’s cursing of Christians, identified apart from Judaism for the first time.

The false Pentecost of the Herodian priesthood was a recapitulation of the priests of Baal on Carmel, and also of Balaam’s ministry for Balak, thus the mention of “Balaamites” and “calling fire down from heaven” in the Revelation. This was a demonised Temple “fighting fire with fire,” the priests of Christ versus the corrupted sons of Aaron. The “fifth element” of Jerusalem’s physical Temple was Satan himself, expressed in a false bride, the harlot. In response to the “corporate Esther” of the Christian Church, Satan constructed a “corporate Herodias,” hence the reference to those “beheaded” for Jesus in Revelation 20:4) Both women were offered “half the kingdom.”

This architecture is the context of Matthew 24:31, the scattering of the Herods and the gathering and enthronement of the Old Covenant saints in heaven, fulfilling the Feast of Clouds:

And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.


This five fold architecture can be traced back to Genesis 2. Adam, the “four cornered” cruciform Tabernacle is laid out once again on the ground, and the fragrant Eve, also “four cornered” but representing instead the four-horned heavenly altar, is constructed from his body. Eve pictures the Church filled with the Spirit, the faithful bride made possible through the fourfold Gospel testimony. When the testimony of heaven concerning the Son (Law given) is given by the prophetic people on earth (Law received), they are united in the Shekinah. [1]

(Peter Leithart has written recently about the “elemental” (stoicheian?) nature of the four beasts in the Revelation here.)

[1] Another reason why paedobaptism has no place either in sacred architecture or in its fulfilment in Christianity, since it is objective, external law, not a witness of the internal government of the Spirit, which is the heart of the Gospel. See “The End of Stoicheia” and “Internal Law” in The Shape of Galatians.

Share Button

3 Responses to “The Fifth Element”

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Notice the “metal man” from Daniel 2 in the images from the movie, standing at the centre of the four elemental stones.

  • David Says:

    In James Jordan’s Revelation series he says that the ‘other angel’ is Christ, and I think in another place he suggests that Michael may be Christ. What do you think?

  • Mike Bull Says:

    To the Old Covenant rebels, Jesus is “the angel of the Lord.” To the New Covenant faithful, He is the Son. Yet it doesn’t always use the name Michael. So it’s possible, but the logic isn’t clear.