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…
The Oath/Sanctions section of the Revelation seems to have three parts. The judgment begins in the house of God (Temple bowls – Garden), then follows the revelation of the “mystery” of the Woman and the kings of the Land, and finally the judgment reaches out to the borders of the World (the oikoumene). This corresponds not only with the Garden, Land, World architecture of the nations in Genesis 1-10, it brings an end to the “intermarriage,” the compromise of the Priestly people with idolatrous kings. It is fitting that the third part of this judgment (chapters 18-19) culminates in a Red Wedding.
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.
At that time the Lord said to Joshua,
“Make flint knives and circumcise
the sons of Israel a second time.”
Was Israel disobedient in its failure to circumcise every male born in the wilderness? The Lord never chastised them for this. If this lapse in the practice of circumcision was in the plan of God, what was the purpose of that plan? The example which first comes to mind is the circumcision of the firstborn son of Moses in Exodus 4:24-26.
or Where Kenneth Gentry Is Wrong on the Revelation
Part 1 here.
I’ve been meaning to write this post since I wrote Part 1 (over two years ago). A friend’s recent question concerning Kenneth Gentry’s lectures on the Revelation encouraged me to bite the bullet and bust a gut and get it done. The question is this: Is the Revelation to be interpreted in the light of Josephus’ Jewish War, or in the light of the Bible itself?
Here’s a special offer for readers of Bully’s Blog: a discount on downloadable Revelation lectures from wordmp3.com.
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).
Then they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!” (Luke 23:30)
What we see
and what we seem
are but a dream…
a dream within a dream.
These lines by Edgar Allan Poe, slightly reshaped, are the first spoken words in the classic Australian film, Peter Weir’s Picnic At Hanging Rock (1975). Based on a novel by the enigmatic Joan Lindsay, it is an experience that clings to you, not merely because it is so carefully and beautifully made, but also because it is a film with secret blades: it is a mystery without a solution, a horror story without savagery, a nightmare in which all the watches stop at noonday.
On Saturday 14th February 1900, a party of schoolgirls from Appleyard College picnicked at Hanging Rock near Mount Macedon in the state of Victoria. During the afternoon several members of the party disappeared without trace…
(Spoilers follow, but feel free to read on…)
[This post has been refined and included in Sweet Counsel: Essays to Brighten the Eyes.]
“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  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.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6).
A Picture for Doug Wilson’s 1000 Words
Doug Wilson writes:
We honestly have very little idea what Jesus Christ looked like. We worship Him as the visible image of the invisible Father, and yet we do not know what that visible image looks like. What kind of visible image is that? We know what the paintings of Him look like, and they generally all have something in common with one another, but the fact remains that if you ever passed Jesus Christ on a crowded city street, you would have no idea that you had done so.
Nevertheless, we all still think of Him as a recognizable figure. But He is only “recognizable” because of the various forms of shorthand shifts we have come up with that prevent us from recognizing Him properly. And so what do I mean by “properly?”
I mean the way God intended for us to recognize Him—in and through the proclamation of the gospel. We are supposed to see the face of Jesus Christ in and through the declaration of what Scripture describes as good news—gospel truth. This is where we are supposed to find the only authorized portrait of Jesus.
This is a profound truth, and Doug illustrates it with a long list of other profound truths (in over 5000 words). For me, however, he has failed to tie it all together. What is the significance of the face of Jesus Christ? Could the reason we have no description of his looks be the fact that He has more than one face?
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.