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.
The final vision of Ezekiel is one of the most hotly debated passages in the Bible. Since the structure described has never been built, those who take the passage as fulfilled in history believe it to be figurative. However, the building is described in such careful detail that common sense suggests that something else is going on. The precise measurements remind us of the instructions given concerning the Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple for the purpose of physical construction. Is Ezekiel’s temple a false prophecy, or does it describe a third, and as yet unbuilt, Temple in Jerusalem?
And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. (Revelation 6:5)
The book of Revelation is a mystery, yet like all good mysteries it is a book made entirely of clues. It is a glimpse through the torn veil of the Temple, that is, the flesh of Jesus, into the heavenlies. The cloud into which He was taken up is opened to John’s eyes that he might see the horses and chariots of God (2 Kings 6:17). But John is a prophet who knows the Bible, and like John we will only understand the symbols if we know the Bible. The conversation at God’s table is for those who know their Master’s mind, who hear His voice as children and thus quit themselves like men. To them, this is indeed a Revelation. To those outside His commission, it remains an enigma, terrible lightning and thunder and the sound of trumpets (Exodus 19:19; 20:18).
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.
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.
“But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you.”’ (Acts 3:6)
Israel consistently failed to keep the final feast, the Feast of Sukkot, because she took her calling to be elitist rather than priestly. She thought her calling, gifts and purification were for herself, rather than for the healing of the nations.
Busts of Vespasian and Titus in the British Museum
or The Coming of the Father and the Son
The chief priests answered,
“We have no king but Caesar.”
So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
Is there any significance in the fact that apostate Jerusalem was destroyed by two generals, a father and a son, founders of a new Roman dynasty?
“Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded.” (Revelation 10:1-3)
Just a few notes on Pacific Rim, a movie which we enjoyed very much. It’s one of those films where you know your strings are being pulled, but they are doing it so well you don’t mind at all. There are some interesting deviations from the Hollywood formula, and they are worth identifying.
(Oh, and River says there’s spoilers ahead.)
The intro to the Reading the Bible in 3D seminar mentions the “jokes” in the Bible. In his book Deep Exegesis, Peter Leithart gives us a rundown on what a joke is to justify using the word to describe some of the allusions in Scripture. One of the reasons jokes are funny is their reliance on inside information.
Here’s my all-time favourite joke in the Bible.
We have reached the fifth stage of the matrix in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, which is the sixth cycle (as discussed in part 5, stage 3 — Ascension — is often split into two parts, altar and sacrifice).
So this fifth section is the “Deuteronomy” of the epistle. It is a New Covenant version of Moses giving his final words to the children of Israel before the conquest of the Land. Likewise, Paul himself, and all the other apostles (except perhaps for John, the final word) would be gone before the rulers of the Land (Revelation’s “kings of the earth”) would be wiped off the face of it forever.
As in all previous cycles, there are some real literary wonders here, which is especially satisfying to see when the passages themselves (unparsed) are so familiar. It’s like seeing old friends in a new way: the letter resurrected and alive and walking around.