Nov 16 2011

Serpents and Dragons


Remy Wilkins recently proposed a thesis about serpents and dragons in the Bible. Is there a difference? Are the words interchangeable? And even if they aren’t, how are these animals–and the spiritual truths they were created to represent–related?

This post has been slain and resurrected for inclusion in my 2015 book of essays, Inquietude.

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Aug 12 2011

Just Passing Through


“…sprinkling or pouring conflates the Covenant head with the Covenant body.”

Doug Wilson writes:

“God, in baptizing the disciples with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, did so by pouring out His Spirit upon them. Pouring is therefore very clearly described as a biblical mode of baptism” (To a Thousand Generations, p. 102).

God poured out the Spirit, certainly. But can we then assume that the apostles poured water on new believers and their babies? Single words are clues, but they can be misleading. The effectiveness of word studies is limited because context is crucial. And the context of the Bible is most importantly structural. Structure is the answer.

The reason is that all of God’s new creations follow the structure of Genesis 1. It’s almost like, when God speaks, the Spirit will pick up anything available, anything lying around, and arrange it into the familiar pattern. This means that the Bible Matrix is crucial in identifying the meanings of many Bible symbols. Baptism and the Day of Atonement might not look anything like each other to us, but the Bible keeps tying them together, along with some other things, to tell us the same part of the Creation story. If we have eyes to see, this method also gives us hints as to the correct mode of baptism. It’s not about the motion of the water. It’s about the motion of the one being baptized. [1]

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Oct 27 2010

Skin for Skin


or The Ultimate Rip Off

“So Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘Skin for skin!
Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.’”
Job 2:4


Part of allowing the Bible to interpret the world for us is to see the significance of things. Modern evangelicals generally pass off the weird references to things like bone, flesh and skin as though they were part of an outmoded worldview. But modern scholars are themselves still made of bone, flesh and skin. These things are significant in the created order. They communicate something to us. Bone is structure, flesh is life, and skin is glory. It is a three-level Tabernacle: Garden, Land, World, or Word, Sacrament, Government. [1]

There was some discussion recently on the BH forum about the “skin” that the Lord used to make “tunics” for Adam and Eve. The Hebrew word is singular, so James Jordan thinks it was a single animal, a single mediator picturing Christ. He is probably right, but I recently said that I thought it was likely a bull was killed for Adam and a goat or two for Eve, prefiguring the Day of Covering (Atonement). It would then have been the Lord as the Single Mediator, the High Priest making two approaches: one to cover the head, and another to cover the body. This means there would have been blood shed twice. Can this be linked to the death of Christ? Yes, it can, and in a way that few Bible expositors see because they won’t recognise repeated patterns. Continue reading

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Jul 17 2010



But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)

The structure of God’s work in the world finds its origin in His trinity: Word, Sacrament, Government (Discipline). Often in the prophets, the man of God is given a sign which is a type of a greater event to come. The prophet is the sacrament that mediates the Word of discipline to the People.

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Jul 14 2010

Deus ex machina

or Covenant as Human Shield


“…woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” Matthew 23:13


All Creation is Covenantal, and therefore all relationships within it have a hierarchical structure. God calls a vassal (Creation), separates/sanctifies him as a delegated authority (Division). He gives him a job to do (Ascension), and a period of time to accomplish it.

This Adam, the Covenant Mediator, stands between heaven and earth (Land). The Land was raised out of the Sea, and the Man was raised out of the Land as “grain and fruit.” Then this new house, this body of broken earth, was filled with heaven, with the Spirit of God, sun moon and stars: This Adam was to be a singular prism that expands the white light of God into plural lights, a greater body, the full spectrum of colour. But he was to be a broken man. The light had to pass through him.

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Jun 12 2010

Totus Christus

tcstackA Totus Christus review*

Finally. Mike Bull has done it. Finally. Totus Christus is a tour de force of Biblical Theology. Here we have a book that believes the Bible is the Word of God and is not ashamed of any part of it. Bull believes in Biblical History all the way down to the talking serpent in the garden. Here we have a faithful exposition of the Symbolic, Typological and Poetic theology of the Bible that does not sacrifice faith in the Literal and Historical.

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Jun 8 2010

The Glory Are We


“Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes.” Ezra 3:11-12

Doug Wilson writes (Less Glory Is More):

The Bible teaches us that the times of the new covenant are attended with a greater glory than the old covenant, as well as with a greater simplicity. In effect, that simplicity is part of the glory.

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May 13 2010

The Eighth Letter


or Jesus, the Destroying Angel

James Jordan says the Revelation is like one of those old human anatomy teaching aids, the ones with layers of acetate. One starts with the skeleton and overlays the nervous system, arteries, organs, etc. They are all connected and yet each is a system that is individually identifiable. This is literature that is irreducibly complex.

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May 7 2010

Armageddon’s Big Sista

or Legs of Burning Bronze

So, we have noted that the New Jerusalem, the crystal city with walls and gates, is pictured by the water crossings of Israel.

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May 4 2010

The Church as Colossus


For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end.  And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. (Ephesians 2:14-18)

So, the New Jerusalem—at least the way it is described in Revelation 21—is the culmination of all the “Day 6s” since the original in the Garden of Eden. And, like the walls of water at the Red Sea and Jordan crossings, this entire, miraculous arrangement is held together by the Mediator-Man, the Lamb standing at the centre.

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