The ninth cycle of John’s first epistle brings us to the thesis of the second half. At Testing, instead of finding evil or temptation, celestial rulers or serpents, we discover that true Kingdom is love.
The eighth cycle deals with the saints in the court of God as a new Priesthood. Unlike the disobedient sons of Aaron, and the idolatrous priests of Baal, those with the Spirit of Christ are able to discern between the true fire which indwells them and the “strange fire” which possesses, deceives and motivates those in the world.
The revival of debate over the “eternal subordination of the Son” boils down to yet another attempt by Christian academia to solve the biblical jig saw puzzle with no reference to the picture on the box.
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.
Just as the Tabernacle was a “microcosmos” which served as a sacrificial substitute for the world, so John 1 presents Jesus as a human tabernacle. In the first Covenant-literary cycle of his Gospel, John works through the Bible Matrix with a focus on the Creation Week. Just as Day 7 was to be an entering into God’s rest for Adam, and the final step in the Tabernacle construction was its filling with God’s glory, here the Christ is the Adam who himself is a Tabernacle filled with glory, in this case, Ethical glory—grace and truth.
Every one of God’s houses throughout Bible history has “former days” and “latter days.” This pattern of construction and reconstruction is a process of death and resurrection.
Our familiarity with the Bible is a two-edged sword. Knowing it well enables us to wield it, but it often shields us from being truly exposed to it. By this I do not mean the moral and spiritual challenges from which we benefit in our reading and our study. What I mean is that we forget how terribly eccentric this book of God actually is. Its strangest parts are like the weird uncle at family gatherings. We have become so accustomed to his idiosyncrasies that we no longer question them. Instead of asking “Why is it so?” we settle for the fact that it is simply so, and must be accepted without question. “What’s done is done.”