In the English New Testament, “Judas” and “Judah” as personal and corporate names are a helpful differentiation. But when it comes to Judas Iscariot, his Hebrew name links him “liturgically” to the fate of the kingdom of Israel.
In the fourth cycle of John’s first epistle, the apostle shifts from the stipulations of the New Covenant (Ethics) to the role of the saints as faithful representatives of that Covenant (Oath/Sanctions). Since John’s deep structure is a recapitulation of the Torah, his major theme is now the book of Numbers.
In the third cycle of John’s first epistle, the apostle employs the themes of ascension – the firstfruits of the land and the womb, lawgiving at Sinai, and “Levitical” purity – in his exhortation to the New Covenant Israel. But these saints had assembled at a better mountain.
In the second cycle of John’s first epistle, John shifts his focus from the Tabernacle itself to the guardians of worship, from Transcendence to Hierarchy.
The astronomical shift from geocentrism to heliocentrism is today regarded as part of a greater philosophical shift – the rejection of special creation as taught by the Bible. But this reveals the ongoing incapacity of humanity to perceive the nature of what God considers to be truly “central.”
Matthew’s account of Jesus, Peter and their miraculous payment of the Temple tax is a classic literary puzzle. Providentially, the Bible’s own covenant-literary matrix is its key.
To understand where John is coming from in his first epistle, we must understand where he is. John has brought us with him into the heavenly Temple.
Why are there seven bowls of wrath in Revelation 16, and from where did they come? Those familiar with the Old Testament will relate them to the Day of Atonement, but only the literary architecture reveals their actual source and identity.
The account of Israel’s sin with the golden calf is flanked by the instructions for the Tabernacle and the construction of the Tabernacle. Israel breaks the Covenant and God makes a “new” one. As an easily-defined pericope, what are the chances that this section is “Covenant-shaped”?
Wheels Within Wheels
The structure of the Bible resembles something which was grown rather than built, composed rather than assembled. Its employment of “structure-as-sign” at every level from micro- to macrocosmic leads to the conclusion that a hermeneutic worthy of Scripture requires not only training in history, art and music but also the wits bequeathed to us by modern fractal geometry.