May 23 2012

Sin City – 1

A quick historical summary of the destruction of Jerusalem for your non-preterist friends:

In AD64, Herod’s Temple was completed, and Nero burned Rome. Both events led to the persecution of Christians — the Great Tribulation.

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Oct 8 2011

A Time and Times and Half a Time


or Inheriting the Earth

Structure of Daniel 7 – Part 3

Now that we have covered the central point, Testing, we are working out way back out from the centre of the chapter. The main revelation is always given at Ascension to the Covenant Head (as in Moses on Sinai), opened at Testing (as in Numbers) and received by the people from the Covenant Head in Deuteronomy. Daniel 7 echoes this formula. The vision was given in “sign language” by God’s finger, and is now being received by Daniel in plain language. Of course, we see a similar pattern between the Old Testament’s dark sayings and the plain statements of the New, the two linked by the life of Christ.

However, this second part — the second witness — contains its own complete seven-fold pattern. Read on to find out why.

Creation – Transcendence
My spirit was distressed, (Ark)
I Daniel, within [my] body, (Veil)
and the visions of my head were alarming. (Altar)
I came near (Table – Nearbringing)
……………to one of those who stood by, (Ruling Lights)
……….and asked him the truth of all this. (Law repeated)
……….So he told me and made known to me (Sanctions)
the interpretation of these things: (Succession – Future)

So much for Sabbath! This stanza puts Daniel face-to-face with the Law of God. The Ark always causes trouble for fallen Man. Notice Daniel is humbled before he is “lifted up.”

There is a similar reference to “those who stand” in the book of Zechariah. They are the angelic elders who advised God and administered the Law until the saints inherited their thrones in AD70. In the Revelation, they vacate the heavenly Holy Place one by one, each ministering a judgment on the way out.

Division – Hierarchy
‘Those great beasts, which are four, (Light)
…..[are] four kings (Firmament)
……….[which] arise out of the [Land] (Land)
……………[and] receive the kingdom (Ruling Lights)
……….[shall] the saints of the Highest (Swarms/Clouds)
…..and possess the kingdom forever,
[even] for all ages.

You might notice I have “translated” this differently. I have followed the Hebrew word order because it fits the matrix better!

Using the four empires, the Lord formed the oikoumene, the “empire house.” But as with the Land of Canaan, God would come has a thief in the night and take everything the godless had toiled for and give it on a platter to His people. Succession has to do with “inheritance in history.” The meek (submissive to God) would inherit the Land, as Jesus reiterated in His famous sermon.

“Most High” is the Gentile name for God. Here it is at Maturity, the place of Gentile swarms. The very name of God used here gives us a hint of the mystery yet to be opened: Jew and Gentile in one Body.

Ascension – Ethics 1
Then I wished to know the truth
…..about the fourth beast,
……….which was different from all the others,
……….(a head above the rest? A Gentile king)
……………exceedingly dreadful,
……….[with] its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze,
…..[which] devoured, broke in pieces,
…..and trampled the residue with its feet;
and the ten horns that [were] on its head, (Succession)

The fourth beast has its own stanza. If Ascension is divided in two (and it often is), the first part is the Altar (earth lifted up) and the second part is the Nearbringing, the Sacrifice. The final form of the earthly “Land” was the “four corners” of the boundary of the Roman empire, within which Paul conducted his “harvest” journeys.

Instead of grain and fruit, proto-bread and proto-wine, growing out of it, we have a Succession of emperors, men who will not give up their lives, men who eventually claimed to be gods.

Regarding “dreadful.” Trembling often appears at Testing. Isaiah uses it ironically when Israel fails to tremble at God’s Law. But here, the Covenant people are trembling instead at the power of Rome, the beast they were supposed to conquer and convert, as Joseph and Daniel did: men at the right hand of the power, imaging Christ. This is exactly what we see in the Revelation concerning the relationship of the Jewish elite to the beast.

Iron and bronze here are at Maturity. Metals appear here frequently, as plunder. But here they are the tools of plunder.

When feet appear at Conquest, it is the ruling mediator, walking on whatever “Sea” of dominion God has marked out at that time in history. Mouth is Word; Hand is Sacrament; Feet are Government. The world is now being put under Jesus’ feet.

and the other [horn] which came up, (False Transcendence)
…..before which three fell, namely, (Hierarchy)
……….that horn which had eyes (Ethics)
…..and a mouth which spoke pompous words, (Sanctions)
whose appearance [was] greater than his associates. (Succession)

The “Firstfruits Man” is lifted up because he has humbled himself before God. But here it is the line of the Herods, who lifted themselves up by twisting the arms of three emperors (from memory. See Jordan on this.) With eyes “full of darkness” from their sorcerous Oral Law, and a mouth which spoke self-aggrandizing words instead of honoring the Covenant Oath (note that this appears at Sanctions/Oath). The fact that it seems to be a five-line stanza means that the Law here at Ascension remains closed when it should be open. The Herods were not worthy to open the scroll because they were not unblemished lambs but foxes (Luke 13:32). Without the Bible Matrix structure, much of the “Covenant irony” here is not apparent.

The fact that his appearance was greater means perhaps that here was the real driving force behind the corruption of the oikoumene. Revelation is not a polemic against emperor worship. The Covenant is always central. It is a lawsuit against those who married idolatry instead of converting the idolaters, again, the sin of Solomon.

Testing – Ethics 2
“I was watching; (Sabbath – Light)
…..and the same horn was making war against the saints, (Passover)
……….and prevailing against them, (Firstfruits)
……………until the Ancient of Days came,
……….and a judgment was made [in favor]
…..of the saints of the Most High,
and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.

The little horn has short-sighted eyes, but humble Daniel sees his future. Here at the centre is the changing of the guard. Adam was confronted with a beast at Testing. Jesus faced the spirit of the same beast, yet overcame, so the saints filled with His Spirit would also overcome. There is perhaps a structural allusion here to the battle against Amalek, who prevailed until Moses was seated in judgment as prophet with His arms supported by Aaron (priest) and Hur (kingly Judah). Here it is Christ flanked by Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophets, the two (or three) witnesses required for a Covenant execution.

How brilliant is the second line? The Herods are ascending, yet the first century church is the true Firstfruits! According to Jordan, this is the subject of Revelation 14.

Maturity – Ethics 3
“Thus he said: (Light – Ark)
…..‘The fourth beast (Veil – Hierarchy)
……….shall be a fourth kingdom on [the Land], (Altar)
……………Which shall differ from all the kingdoms, (Lights)
……….And shall devour the whole [Land], (Table)
…..[and tread and crush]. (Laver – Feet – No Mediators)
(No Succession, No Entry into God’s Rest)

Notice that the Land beast, instead of being true holy, fruitful Land, is treading and crushing the grain and fruit under its feet.

This stanza is also very interesting because it has two parts. We are back to the Land beasts. This Golden Altar chiastically mirrors the Bronze Altar and Golden Table of Ascension: Beast – Horn / Judgment / Beast – Horn. This time, the saints are the incense crushed during the Great Tribulation (beginning around AD64), and set alight, a holy, fragrant cloud passing through the Veil to complete the Totus Christus and celebrate the marriage feast.

The ten horns [are] ten kings (Genesis – Transcendence)
…..[Who] shall arise from this kingdom. (Exodus – Hierarchy)
……….And another shall rise after them; (Leviticus – 3 levels)
……….He shall be different from the first,
……….And shall subdue three kings. (Firstfruits)
……………He shall speak [pompous] words (Numbers)
……………against the Most High,
……….Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, (Trumpets)
……….And shall intend to change times and law. (Deuteronomy)
…..Then [the saints] shall be given into his hand (False Joshua)
For a time and times and half a time. (Failure of Judges)

The central point is the Ethics. Here is the false prophet speaking the “Hath God said” in the second Temple garden. This is the explanation of the use of the Balaam (Head) and Balaamite (Body) symbols in the Revelation. The first century priesthood was a false prophet who would cause Israel to commit adultery and suffer the Covenant curses.

Conquest – Sanctions
But the court shall be seated,
…..And they shall take away his dominion,
……….To consume and destroy [it] forever.
……….Then the kingdom and dominion,
……………And the greatness of the kingdoms
……………under the whole heaven,
……….Shall be given to the people,
……….the saints of the Most High.
…..His kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, (Head)
…..And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’ (Body)
This [is] the end of the account.

Here, the curses of the Covenant are poured out upon those who wilfully remain under the Old Covenant. The matrix structure is forming and filling, Law and Grace. So here, structurally, the Law of the flesh is abolished, and only the Law of the Spirit remains.

In the wilderness, Satan offered Christ all the kingdoms of the World. Here, those kingdoms are at Testing, the Wilderness step. Jesus shared His rule with the martyred Firstfruits Church, who now sit on thrones–alive–in the place of the Old Covenant angels. The disciples sat on twelve thrones and judged the twelve tribes. It’s history.

Glorification – Succession
As for me, Daniel, (Source)
… thoughts greatly troubled me, (Veil)
……….and my countenance changed; (Facebread Man)
……………but I kept the matter in my heart. (Internal Law)

This is hilarious! It’s just like one of those movies that is set up for a sequel. Just as the saints would be subject to the Roman-powered Herods for a three-and-a-half (Testing), [1] so the Succession stanza leaves the story unfinished, open, ready for the coming of the Lord. The stanza itself is a time, times and half a time.

If you remember, the first half of the chapter was also a three-and-a-half. It finished at Testing. This second part, the interpretation, fills out the complete pattern, yet the final verse reminds us that the actual fulfilment was yet to be revealed.

Finally, notice the architectural similarity between the Lord’s throne in heaven with its four beastly guardians, the nation of Israel on earth serving within four beastly guardian empires, and Daniel in the den of lions. His experience was the template for the Jews for the next 500 years. They were to tame the Gentile kingdoms by faith, not aspire to be like Gentile kings (as Saul did). The devouring lions became ministers of God’s judgment upon Daniel’s enemies! Daniel himself was a lion of Judah.

For the cover of James Jordan’s complete lectures DVD box (see right column), I used a lion head door knocker. For those willing to listen, Jordan’s lectures are a very practical gateway to understand the Bible, and I wanted to communicate that very simply. The image links the two-edged message of traditional “gargoyled” doors with the two-edged gospel: for the faithful, the Lion of Judah is a guardian and a door; for the unfaithful, He is merely a guard at the door.

[1] This half-week was completed by the Jewish War, three years of hell on the Land, the Herodian harlot being devoured by her beastly Roman lover. See The End of Shadows.

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Sep 22 2009

The Greatest Tribulation


“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”  Matthew 24:21-22

The context of Matthew 23-25 is very clearly first century. Many interpreters are forced to put gaps and parentheses and qualifiers into Jesus’ warnings because they won’t recognise what happened in the last years of the Old Covenant.[1] 

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Apr 10 2009

The Last Hour

Gregory Beale examined the Old Testament background of John’s claim that “this is the last hour,” tracing it mostly back to Daniel 8-12, the only place where he could locate a combination of “last” and “hour.” He claimed that John was talking about the eschatological trial that was inaugurated in his day, but one that continued through the whole church age.

It seems better to me to see it as the eschatological trial of the first century. John is (as Beale recognised) drawing on the Olivet Discourse, but there the coming of false Christs and false prophets is a sign of the end of the age, and of the destruction of the temple. The tribulation that Jesus talks about is the tribulation of the birth pangs of the new covenant. John is talking about the same event, only telling his readers that the timetable is almost completed.

Peter J. Leithart, 1 John: Last Hour,

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