At that time the Lord said to Joshua,
“Make flint knives and circumcise
the sons of Israel a second time.”
Was Israel disobedient in its failure to circumcise every male born in the wilderness? The Lord never chastised them for this. If this lapse in the practice of circumcision was in the plan of God, what was the purpose of that plan? The example which first comes to mind is the circumcision of the firstborn son of Moses in Exodus 4:24-26.
or Where Kenneth Gentry Is Wrong on the Revelation
Part 1 here.
I’ve been meaning to write this post since I wrote Part 1 (over two years ago). A friend’s recent question concerning Kenneth Gentry’s lectures on the Revelation encouraged me to bite the bullet and bust a gut and get it done. The question is this: Is the Revelation to be interpreted in the light of Josephus’ Jewish War, or in the light of the Bible itself?
For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:38-39)
Most disputes concerning the meaning of the Scriptures are not due to a lack of trying when it comes to hermeneutics. They result from a lack of due process. By this, I do not mean the process of interpretation but the identification in the Scriptures of the processes of God.
An example would be the meaning of Christ’s words concerning the unpardonable sin, which have terrified many Christians unnecessarily. Blasphemy against the Spirit is unpardonable not because it is the worst sin. It is unpardonable because it is the last sin.
Jesus’ reference to Daniel 7 in Matthew 26:64 (and Mark 14:62) is a source of some confusion. To figure out what is actually going on in Daniel’s vision, we have to go back to Leviticus 16. James Jordan writes:
…when Jesus calls Himself “the Son of Man,” He is referring to Ezekiel, not to Daniel 7 (except perhaps indirectly). Jesus is the Greater Ezekiel. Christians are those who are “like the Son of Man,” like Jesus.
“As always, the beauty of the arrangement is breathtaking. It is historical narrative, poetry, legal Covenant and high symbolism all at once… It consists of three Cycles which recapitulate the triune ‘Garden, Land, World’ architecture of the Creation and the Tabernacle.”
Matthew 28: SUCCESSION
The fifth major cycle takes us to the end of the Covenant pattern, from the Covenant Sanctions to Covenant Succession. In the Old Testament, this concerned handing Covenant authority to the faithful of the next generation. It was the blessings of Jacob upon his sons (Garden), and Moses passing the baton of headship of Israel to Joshua (Land). This time, the inheritance was not the Garden Sanctuary of Moses  nor the Land of Canaan, but the entire World. Thus, it is no accident that in both cases, in that of Joshua and that of the disciples, He said, “I am with you.” A battle lay ahead.
Looking God in the Eye
The history of mankind is one of good gifts turned into idols. Blessings abused become curses in the hands of those who won’t look God in the eye.
For those of us who know the Bible, the idolatries become more subtle. This was the case for the Pharisees. The exile had purified Israel of old-school idolatry, so she invented a new school: an elitism bound by an Abrahamic heritage and energized by the abuse of Moses and the Law as a means of salvation: heritage instead of faith; obligation instead of salvation. The good things given as gifts once again became the gods.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him… (Matthew 2:1-2)
An atheist recently declared to me that a cumulative reading of the Bible makes no sense, since the Bible is not a single book but an anthology. I agree, but this “anthology” is indeed a single work because it was compiled by God. Without that foundation, the significance of much of its detail appears redundant. A good example is the wise men from the east in Matthew 2.
“Titus was the only individual in history that could be said to have fulfilled Jesus’ prophecies concerning the Son of Man.” – Joseph Atwill
“But whenever they persecute you in this city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes.” (Matthew 10:17-23)
Joseph Atwill is a biblical scholar who believes that the Gospels were a satirical invention of the Romans for the purpose of pacifying the Jews. This sounds harebrained, but as I have written elsewhere (see Jesus’ Caesars), he does have a gut sense of the way the Scriptures speak. He has observed that the conquest of Judea by Titus follows a similar route to the one traced by Jesus in the Gospels one generation earlier. Atwill’s conclusion is back-to-front, but his observation remains profound. If Judea would not accept the true King of the Jews, she would be “ministered to” by a Prince of the Gentiles. Jesus’ ministry ended with the tearing of the Temple Veil. Titus’ campaign ended with the destruction of the entire Temple.
“What time Ierusalem that Cittie faire,
Was sieg’d and sackt by great Vespatians heire”
(Thomas Dekker, Canaans Calamitie, Ierusalems Misery)
What follows is an excerpt from Atwill’s book, Caesar’s Messiah, which includes the kind of chart you might be used to finding around here.
* * * * * * *
“A stone would be rejected by builders because it was ‘unhewn,’ like an Altar stone. But priestly submission was the only possible foundation for the perfectly chiseled stones of Israel’s temples, including the one still taking shape as Jesus spoke these words.”
Matthew 16-25: ETHICS
The third cycle moves us from the “Exodus” of Jesus and His ministry to the threshing of Israel under His new Law. His growing influence among the people (Hierarchy) brings Him into conflict with the authorities (Ethics).