Oct 8 2014

Sheep and Goats – 2

Christ enthroned-Lourdes-S

After describing to an older Christian friend what happened in Jerusalem during the Jewish war, he replied, “Why have I never been taught this?”

Without their Covenant context and historical bearings, the pointy words of Jesus become so “generalized” that they seem inconsequential. In the wisdom of God, the tragic events of AD70 were recorded that we might understand the consequences of ignoring Jesus. They nail the New Testament Scriptures to the ground.

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Sep 19 2014

Sheep and Goats – 1

LastJudgmentFresco

Alpha and Omega

Since the sacred architecture of the Jew-Gentile social structure set up in Daniel was a spiritual expansion of the previous physical sanctuaries, we should not be surprised to find its shape serving as the foundation for the New Testament. Since the Holy Place symbolised the court of the King of Heaven, the Tabernacle sheds some helpful light on Jesus’ cryptic description of judgment from His throne in Matthew 25. It not only becomes clear why the Lord uses sheep and goats as symbols for Gentile nations, but their locations and destinies bring to an end a narrative thread which can be traced back to Genesis 4.

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Mar 10 2014

The Last Sin

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.

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Feb 18 2014

The Lord’s Prayer

This post is from Chris Wooldridge’s blog. His take on the structure of the Lord’s prayer is a little different to mine (I have the evil one at the center) but I find it very attractive and interesting. He writes:
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Feb 12 2014

The Shape of Matthew – 5

“As always, the beauty of the arrangement is breathtaking. It is historical narrative, poetry, legal Covenant and high symbolism all at once… It consists of three Cycles which recapitulate the triune ‘Garden, Land, World’ architecture of the Creation and the Tabernacle.”

Matthew 28: SUCCESSION

The fifth major cycle takes us to the end of the Covenant pattern, from the Covenant Sanctions to Covenant Succession. In the Old Testament, this concerned handing Covenant authority to the faithful of the next generation. It was the blessings of Jacob upon his sons (Garden), and Moses passing the baton of headship of Israel to Joshua (Land). This time, the inheritance was not the Garden Sanctuary of Moses [1] nor the Land of Canaan, but the entire World. Thus, it is no accident that in both cases, in that of Joshua and that of the disciples, He said, “I am with you.” A battle lay ahead.
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Dec 27 2013

Babylonian Bookends

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.

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Dec 16 2013

The Shape of Matthew – 4

“Sanctions corresponds to the Day of Atonement. One goat goes to heaven (as fragrant smoke) and the other goes to hell, carrying the sins of the people into the wilderness, to be eaten by the birds and beasts. The difference here is that we have not two goats, but two High Priests…”

Matthew 26-27: SANCTIONS

The fourth major cycle moves us from the Covenant Ethics to the Covenant Sanctions. This concerns the pouring out of blessings and curses for obedience or disobedience to the Covenant, and the cleansing of the Land from the guilt of sin and the ensuing barrenness.

Aligning this pattern with its corrupted prototype in Eden, the “war of words” between Adam (Jesus) and the serpent (the Jewish rulers) is over, and it is time for some face to face combat, and a reckoning.
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Dec 9 2013

The Shape of Matthew – 3

“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).

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Dec 6 2013

The Judgment of Galilee

[A guest post by Chris Wooldridge]

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.” (Matthew 11:21-24)

If we are paying careful attention to the historical context of this passage, it should be clear enough that the “day of judgment” referred to was fulfilled in the Jewish war of 66-70 AD. But why then does he seem to bring Tyre and Sidon/Sodom onto the scene in verses 22 and 24? Are we dealing here with a future judgment of the inhabitants of these cities, perhaps one which awaits the second coming of Christ?

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Dec 3 2013

The Shape of 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.

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