Part 1 is here.
The Image of Man
This brings us to a substitutionary atonement which we do understand, the fulfilment of the cruciform Tabernacle in the cross of Christ. Although Jesus’ execution was Physical and Social, it was primarily Personal. Beginning in Galilee (World), working through Judah and Samaria (Land) and ending in Jerusalem (Garden), Christ alone ascended to rule all nations.
The murderous High Priest himself moved the focus from the Social to the Personal, predicting that one man should die for the people (John 11:49-53). The cross was the death of one man, but this man (Personal) represented not only Israel (Social Land) but also all nations (Social Sea). As James Jordan has observed, Christ was condemned by legal representatives of all domains, in the house of the High Priest (Garden), by Herod (Land) and then handed over to Pilate (World).
Christ ended the division of humanity in His own body, and the legal testimony of this microcosmic “deluge” was the blood (Land) and water (Sea) which flowed separately from His corpse (John 19:34-35). As a blameless substitute for all mankind, Jesus became the “model,” the entire Creation magnified, concentrated in a single sacrificial “tabernacle” (John 1:14). Being the Creator Himself, Jesus was not a cheaper option but a very expensive model, the reverse of the substitution of Isaac on Moriah. As God in human flesh, Christ was heaven and earth made indivisible. The entire world is judged in and by Him, which is why He used cosmic language to describe His own death.
Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world (cosmos); now will the ruler of this world (cosmos) be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth (land), will draw all to myself. (John 12:30-32)
Notice that Jesus does not say “all people” but “all.” This can mean all people, depending upon the context, but the word carries the idea of “all kinds.” Certainly, His personal ministry resulted in a new Social order, but it will culminate in a restored Physical order. Covenant history is thus symmetrical or chiastic, shaped like an hourglass, with the cross of Christ at the center of reality.
Since every part of Bible history is a symmetrical “there and back again” (including Israel’s journey from Canaan to Egypt and back to Canaan), Scripture itself invites us to compare each of these events with every other. When such comparisons are made, it seems that this entire process of Physical – Social – Ethical – Social – Physical was prefigured for us in the Torah. We can see it not only in the shape of biblical covenants, but also in the first five chapters of the Bible.
Perhaps most interestingly, it may also offer a clue to the structure of the book of Leviticus, where the subject matter appears to follow the journey of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. He moves from the courtyard (Physical Place) into the Holy Place (Social Time) and finally alone into the Most Holy (Personal Holiness). Once his representative ministry was complete, the order was reversed: Holiness, Time, Place.
(World to Land)
(Adam to Noah)
(Land to Garden)
|Time (Holy Place)
(Abraham/Moses to Christ)
|Holiness (Most Holy)
Lev. 13-18 / 19 / 20-22
(The cross of Christ)
||Social Order corrupted
|Time (Holy Place)
(Christ in the Church)
|Succession||Physical Order condemned
The Veil in the Temple was torn at the death of Christ, but the Temple itself was not. Not yet. A new “cosmic house” would have to be built before the old house was judged and torn down. God never leaves His people without a shelter, and never leaves the world without legal representation, either from earth to heaven (priest), or from heaven to earth (prophet).
The four “Gospel” horses in Revelation 6:1-8 carry the message of the resurrection from the Garden (Most Holy) into the Land (both the blessings and the curses), and establish a new representative house, the Church of Christ. Then the slain and exalted Apostolic Church accompanies Christ on white horses through the divided Abrahamic Land into the World (Revelation 19:11-21).1An offshoot of full preterism known as “Covenant Creationism” claims that since Jesus described the Jewish War as being like the days of Noah, the flood of Noah must have been merely local. However, the dichotomy is not global/local so much as Physical/Social. Their error results in Covenant history becoming entirely Social, with no Physical Creation at the beginning and no Physical Restoration at the end. A generation after the three year ministry of Christ, the campaign of Titus Vespasian followed exactly the same “microcosmic” course, beginning in Galilee, moving through Judea, and finally conquering Jerusalem. The smoke of the Temple was an ironic ladder to heaven, ascending as an eternal memorial to its destruction (Revelation 18:18).
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References [ + ]
|1.||↑||An offshoot of full preterism known as “Covenant Creationism” claims that since Jesus described the Jewish War as being like the days of Noah, the flood of Noah must have been merely local. However, the dichotomy is not global/local so much as Physical/Social. Their error results in Covenant history becoming entirely Social, with no Physical Creation at the beginning and no Physical Restoration at the end.|