“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).
or Semina Divina
And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” (Mark 5:30)
We aren’t told in Genesis 9 what Ham’s intention was when he “uncovered” his father, Noah. Peter Leithart and James Jordan both present some fascinating insights (which differ from each other), but perhaps there is a solution elsewhere in Genesis, which, combined with both these possibilities, offers something new.
“Once the architecture is taken into account, the text is not ridiculous but terrifying. It marches inexorably through the deep rhythm of the seven days with laser precision, stately deliberation, and omniscient vision. These words were breathed by the source of all breath.”
Part I – Picking Up Sticks
“You shall kindle no fire in all your dwelling places on the Sabbath day.” (Exodus 35:3)
Many Christians ignore, and atheists poke fun at, the weird bits of the Bible, as though these texts are primitive, distorted, or contrived. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that these texts are designed to choke the faithless, and to be chewed over, meditated upon by the faithful, that we might be changed.
Why was fire forbidden on the Sabbath? The first thing to do with any text is identify its context. No more treating Bible texts like fortune cookies, do you hear me?
That day Moses charged the people, saying, “When you have crossed over the Jordan, these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. And these shall stand on Mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. (Deuteronomy 27:11-13)
Paul now moves into the Deuteronomy section of his epistle to the Galatians, and it becomes clear that, structurally-speaking, Galatians gets no further than Moses. The epistle is fivefold in nature, a recapitulation of the Torah, and thus it ends on the wilderness side of the Jordan. Like Moses, Paul will not live to see the new order, except from afar.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
(Isaiah 11:8 )
“The Unknown Gifts”
Reading Matthew 7, I came across Jesus’ words concerning the goodness of God as our Father in heaven.
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? (Matthew 7:9-10)
At face value, this is simply an exhortation to expect good things from God. The problem is that Jesus uses stones and serpents as examples of bad things, and our Father in heaven has long history of doling out stones and serpents to His children. Since that is the case, how can our Father in heaven possibly be good?
“The promise and the law are the two goats on the Day of Atonement.”
The Blessings of Abraham and the Curses of Moses
This is the fourth cycle within the “Numbers” section of Galatians. Since the next section concerns the Christians’ identity as sons of Abraham (Succession), this cycle seems to correspond to New Covenant Sanctions. I’ll take a risk and outline the epistle as I see it so far, so you can keep a handle on it. (The headings for the sections we have already covered are links to the relevant blog posts.)
Was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen (1 Kings 19:19-21) something out of the ordinary? If not, why is it mentioned?
Elisha was not plowing alone. Arab farmers worked together for social and security reasons, and a single plow was not very effective. Barbara Bowen writes:
We are apt to think that he had a team of twelve yoke of oxen with which he was working, but the picture is of twelve separate plows following one after another as closely as possible. We have seen a dozen of them work like this.
Now the arable land of nearly all villages is cultivated in common. The Arab farmers delight to work together in companies, partly for protection, but more for their great love of gossip.
Their small plows make no real furrow, but merely scratch the soil, so any number may follow after, each making his own scratch, and they go back and forth until the whole piece of land is plowed. It was well that Elisha was last, for they may not pass one another. We can believe that Elisha’s oxen and plow were like the ones in Palestine today. The people worked in companies then as they do now, and for the same reasons. 
If plowing with multiple oxen was no big deal, what is the significance of their number? Continue reading
“Show Us the Father And We Will Be Satisfied” (John 14:8)
This is the third cycle within the “Numbers” or Ethics section of Galatians. Paul is contrasting the external Ethics of the Law (requiring the perfect obedience of Man) with the internal Ethics of the Spirit (resulting from trust in the perfect obedience of Christ). But there is something deeper here which, it seems to me, is often overlooked.
It’s time to put another epistle under the matrix-scope!