“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.
“…we tend to read the parables as if Jesus’ ministry is at the beginning of the parables… I’m suggesting that we think about Jesus coming at the end of the story instead.”
Peter Leithart puts Jesus’ parables where they belong — in the context of Israel’s history.
Parables thus teach us about God’s ways and help us to anticipate what happens next. Whenever a field is planted with wheat, whenever we see the word spreading out through the world, we can expect the devil to spread his own seed, and the two grow up until a harvest. These are mysteries of God’s dealings throughout the ages. By learning to interpret parables, God forms us into prophets who know the times and can see God’s trajectories.
I guess this series should be called “A Structure of Matthew,” since there are so many interesting resources available. But of course, as usual, I reckon everyone else is wrong because the Bible Matrix is “the killer hermeneutic.” Ha! See what you think.
Who are the dogs and pigs whom Jesus warns His hearers against in Matthew 7?
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?
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?
“Matthew understands Jesus to be the rightful heir of the chieftaincy who instead volunteers to become the Victim at the tribe’s feast. But by being the voluntary victim, he becomes the first victim in the world who can speak.”
An excerpt from Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy’s “Fruit of Lips”:
“…as oral as Peter the fisherman must have been and as much as he probably detested ink, Matthew certainly was familiar with paper work and written records, only too well. Since we do not expect him to be employed inside his old activities, where he had used writing for superficial purposes to say the least, we may expect him to fight elsewhere…”
Structure of Psalm 91, with comments on Matthew 4:6
For the tools to make sense of the parsing below, get the Bible Matrix books. Book 1 describes the sevenfold Creation pattern. Book 2 describes the fivefold Covenant pattern from which the sevenfold pattern is derived (and how both of them are derived from the threefold Trinity).
T R A N S C E N D E N C E
He who dwells (Sabbath/Creation – Day 1)
in the covering/shelter/disguise (Passover/Division – Day 2)
of the Most High, (Firstfruits/Ascension – Day 3)
who under the shade of the Almighty/Day abides (Pentecost/Testing – Day 4)
will say of the Lord, (Trumpets/Maturity – Day 5)
“He is my refuge and my fortress; (Atonement/Conquest – Day 6)
My God, in Him I will trust.” (Booths/Glorification – Day 7)
Strangely, the RSV does a better job of the flow on this one than the NKJV or ESV. Here is where literary structure helps translation of Hebrew! Line 5 does not begin a new sentence.
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…” (Isaiah 53:4)
I thought this quote from Andrew Solomon’s The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression was worth sharing.