Satan’s desire was always to turn the “pruning” of circumcision into an ax laid at the root of the tree of Israel.
Continuing on the theme of martyrdom, an online friend rightly pointed out a little while back that the handful of treatments of the “massacre of the innocents” which see this bloodshed as the first of the New Covenant’s martyrs miss the point of Matthew’s use of the word “fulfilled,” rendering it as good as meaningless.
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.
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.
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.
“John was not a court prophet but a man in skins, like Adam, representing both the goodness (covering) and severity (death) of God. John’s food and shelter, like his ministry, came directly from God, and was not the result of the wisdom of men.”
Matthew 10-15: HIERARCHY
The theme of the second major cycle of Matthew is the Hierarchy phase of the Covenant, which concerns the delegation of authority. This section contains seven cycles, a complete “week.” Identification of the structure answers some interesting questions concerning Jesus’ directives.
“Once prosperous (gold), we forgot God and dismantled marriage (girls) and then relied upon military power rather than God’s protection to maintain peace with our enemies (guns).”
In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, Moses gave Israel three laws for her future kings. As moderns who wrongly assume the Bible is merely “propositional truth,” we not only fail to see these three laws as a continuum, and thus fail to identify them in Bible history, we also fail to interpret contemporary history in their brilliant “triune” light.
Covenant Structure in Zechariah 11
“The meek will eventually inherit the earth but the wicked will always have to buy it.”
Reading the book of Zechariah, like most Bible prophecies, is like tuning in to Season 3 of any good TV series without watching Seasons 1 and 2. Our problem today is not that we haven’t actually read the books of Moses (well, I hope we have) but that we haven’t been taught to read them into the prophets and the New Testament. We treat them like we’ve now switched channels, or shows, and the authors are starting with a blank canvas! However, the canvas isn’t blank. The prophets were God’s repo men, and their messages were all framed in the context of the Covenant contract. What amazes me is how inventive the prophets are (or the Spirit is) in coming up with something new and surprising using the patterns laid down in Moses.
“When Moses slew the Egyptian, he was doing the will of God but not with the power of God.”
Numbers 12:3 says that Moses was the meekest man “on the face of the ground [adamah].”
Psalm 37:11 says the meek will inherit the Land [eretz] and delight in abundant prosperity.
Isaiah 11:4 says that
with righteousness [God] shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the Land;
and he shall strike the Land with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips she shall kill the wicked.
Firstly, what is meekness? And secondly, why is it connected to “face of the ground” (Adam), or Land?
or Who Is The Real Jericho?
Atheists love to embarrass Christians with a snide reference to the story of Elisha setting two bears upon some helpless children. What nobody, even Christians, seem to get is the “Covenant significance” of all the players in the story, harking back to Moses. The prophets were, after all, God’s “repo men.” 
[This post has been refined and included in Sweet Counsel: Essays to Brighten the Eyes.]