“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.
“So, perhaps the best conclusion is that John was not looking for encouragement, but giving encouragement. In effect, he was saying, ‘Get on with it, cousin!’”
The nature of the texts of the Bible is just like the spoken words God gave to Adam. A great deal remained unsaid, and Adam was to “read between the lines” based upon God’s revealed character as his Father. However, Adam let somebody else fill in the gaps with some conflicting information about God’s character, somebody who was very likely jealous of Adam’s commission and had an ax to grind (and even here, we are left to fill in the gaps as to Satan’s motive based upon later scriptures!)
In Born of the Spirit, Peter J. Leithart writes:
Alan Kerr (The Temple of Jesus’ Body: The Temple Theme in the Gospel of John (Library of New Testament Studies), 71) offers this comment on Jesus’ statement that Nicodemus had to be born of the Spirit before entering the kingdom: “It is almost universally accepted that Spirit here refers to the Spirit of God. But at this stage in the Gospel there was no Spirit (7:39), because Jesus was not yet glorified. It is not until Jesus is risen and appears to the disciples and breathes on them and says, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ that the Spirit is given (20:22). So from the point of view of Johannine timing what Jesus says to Nicodemus should only be realized in a post-resurrection setting. Properly speaking he can only be reborn from above when Jesus is glorified.”
This obviously affects the use of John 3:5 as a proof text for the doctrine of regeneration.
Is this support for the ‘giving of the Spirit’ in paedobaptism?
“The Sabbatarian vision is too small. This is why Paul chides the Galatians for observing ‘days and months and seasons and years.’ The Sabbath, along with the Torah administration as a whole, belonged to the stoicheia, the “elements of the world,” the things that constituted the first creation.”
From Tim Gallant’s blog:
“Now therefore fear the Lord (T)
and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. (H)
Put away the gods that your fathers served (E)
beyond the River and in Egypt, (O)
and serve the Lord.” (S)
40 Years of Harlotry
Israel famously wandered in the wilderness for forty years. They were tested, offered as a sacrifice and refined with the holy fire of the Law of Moses. This “threshing” process appears at the centre of the Bible Matrix. It is pictured as the time of harvest (Pentecost – the giving of the Law), and as the burning eyes of the Lampstand watching over Israel (sun, moon and five visible planets). In the Covenant pattern it is the “Ethics,” the bit where God lays out the rules for success. Threshing is also a biblical euphemism for sexual relations. At this point, under the Lawful eyes of God, Israel is either shown to be a faithful bride or an adulteress. Is the fire of her desire true or “strange” (foreign). We can see this pattern in James 1:15. It is a sick parody of the Covenant process because it begins with a “false word.”
[This post has been refined and included in Sweet Counsel: Essays to Brighten the Eyes.]
Check out the matrix pattern in 1 Samuel 16. It’s an easy one, but it’s so beautiful. And it makes sense of the (rare) physical description of David, related to the Holy Place. Each of the seven sections follows the matrix, but here is the overall pattern:
A blog post from my friend Albert Garlando, republished here with his permission.
Marriage, Divorce and the Gospel
Jesus is interrogated by the religious ‘mob’ concerning his views on divorce (Mark 10:1-12). The mob are trying to get him to make a call on the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 24:1-4) provision for divorce and remarriage. The 1st Century rabbis did not agree in their own interpretations of this, so they pestered Jesus about it.
Their big question was: “What makes divorce OK?”
True to form, Jesus’ response is, “You have missed the point and are asking the wrong question.”
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11
I remember a scene from X Files where they printed out a binary code and laid the pages out on the floor. When viewed from a distance the ones and zeros made the image of a face. There was a similar scene in one of the Indiana Jones movies, where there was a search for a secret passage and it turned out to be a large X on the floor when viewed from above. This is just my view, but it seems a lot of theologians spend a great deal of time walking in circles in the jungle, lost in the details of prooftexts when we have Old Testament “Google maps” at our fingertips.
Jesus built a new Tabernacle before He tore down the old one that was ready to pass away. This is the basis of His message to John in prison:
or Weeping over Jerusalem
Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, ”and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.” —Matthew 3:5-9
Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: ” ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” —Luke 19:37-40
The Bible is consistent with its symbols, so what is it with stones crying out? Continue reading