A recent lecture by Peter Leithart:
Attempting to interpret and isolated chapter from a book or an isolated scene from a movie is not a recipe for success. Events viewed out of context are events without meaning. We are forced to read purpose into them based upon our own presuppositions, our own context. This is part of the reason why moderns have such trouble with the Bible. We have been taught to read it by an army of Andy Warhols, men with no sense of narrative. Placing an image outside its usual context renders it an open invitation for the reader to fill the hole with whatever seems right in his own eyes.
How does Peter see the apocalyptic imagery of Joel in the events of Acts 2?
The first step is to take note of the context of Joel’s prophecy. It is the coming destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls. (Joel 2:32)
Even if we identify the context, it may sound to us as if Joel is still looking forward to the first century events at the end of his predictions. The unfortunate chapter break between 2 and 3 stops us reading further, but if we keep reading without a break, the beginning of chapter 3 makes it clear that Joel is still speaking about the restoration from exile. God would judge all the Canaanite nations, including Israel, who had behaved like a Canaanite. But only Israel would resurface from the “flood” of Babylonian control, while all the Canaanite powers remained scattered forever. And Israel would be vindicated across the world, from India to Ethiopia, in the events of the book of Esther (predicted in Ezekiel 38-39).
This means that the particular “day of judgment” had already passed by the time Peter quoted the prophet, so he is not quoting the prophecy to announce its soon fulfillment. He is, however, announcing a similar destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, with all that this entails.
The letters to the pastors of the seven churches in Asia are a prophecy of the history of the Church, according to dispensationalist Bible teachers. For interpreters who are committed to a “literal” hermeneutic, this is bending the rules in the direction of a “literary” hermeneutic, which is excellent. However, they apply the letters to the wrong future, and overlook the obvious allusions to the past.
The first verses of 2 Thessalonians 2 have been an unnecessary battle ground. The Day of the Lord would not come until after the Man of Sin had been revealed. This reasoning seems obvious to Paul. It should be obvious to us if we know the early chapters of Genesis and their corporate expression in Israel’s festal calendar.
James Jordan’s must-have Revelation lecture series
In this final post on the structure of Ephesians, we will cover stage 6 (Conquest/Atonement) and stage 7 (Glorification/Booths). (Unfortunately, I can’t refer to them as cycles because there are 8 cycles, as previously discussed.)
A common interpretation of the “armor of God” relies on the assumption that Paul is using the kit of a Roman soldier as a metaphor. This shows how fragmented is our understanding of the Bible, an organic text which is not fragmented at all, and not reliant upon the various contemporary cultures anywhere near as much as we assume. The armor in Ephesians 6 is that of a priest, a priest with a sword, fulfilling his guard duty at the gate of God.
“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land…”
Many modern commentators hamstring various parts of the Bible so they don’t run against the grain of modern scientism and historical revisionism. They do this by “classifying” the bits of Scripture that offend modern theory into neat literary genres. “If Genesis is poetry, it can’t be historical,” and other stupidities. Nice try. Another one is “apocalyptic,” a genre which, to the eye of unbelief, might appear to actually exist.
It’s been a while since I blogged due to some pesky Russian hackers.
Well, it looks possible at this point that Ephesians actually has eight cycles, just as many of its “sevenfold” stanzas have eight lines. This is because step three reflects the Altar and the Table, the Land and the fruits of Day 3 (the first half of the cycle has a preliminary “filling”).
This means that the previous cycle, which spoke of the gifts to the Church, concerned the initial outpouring of the Spirit by Christ at His ascension. If that was the “three-and-a-half,” this next cycle must then be the Day 4, the governing lights, which seems to be the case as it begins with a reference to enlightenment, and proceeds to comment on what this looks like in the saints. If this is indeed the structure here, what follows below is the “Ethics opened” section of the epistle. The new Israel will not be given to harlotry in the wilderness, as the old one was.