The rulers of Jerusalem tested Yahweh and refused to enter into His rest. In Matthew 21-22, Jesus is challenged by the authorities five times. The sixth challenge comes from Jesus, who then pronounces their doom.
The Covenant-literary shape of Psalm 8 allows David to make allusions to some surprising parts of the Torah as well as predicting the Temple of Solomon and even a crucial event in the ministry of Jesus.
There are no redundant details in the Bible. Every word is there for a reason. So what is the significance of the fact that the great red dragon in Revelation 12 “stands” rather than “stood”?
The twelfth and final cycle of 1 John brings us to Succession, where the overall theme is the inheritance of the faithful – eternal life. But union with Christ also entails the responsibilities of the saints as New Covenant elohim.
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Taken at face value, the New Testament appears to warn its first readers about coming events which were not only momentous but also imminent. This means that there is a great discrepancy between the sacred texts and the things which modern Christians are actually taught.
The eleventh cycle brings us to Atonement, where the theme is the “Covenant Oath” of Israel. However, since Jesus was entirely faithful to the Mosaic Oath as our High Priest, John turns this theme inside-out and calls upon other witnesses to testify to that faithfulness.
The tenth cycle brings us to Trumpets, where the theme is “hosts” of various kinds, swarms or clouds of individuals who share a single mind. Under this symbol, John shows us that a common love for God in heaven brings reconciliation on the earth.
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.
“Songs of Ascent” is the title given to fifteen of the Psalms (120-134) whose theme is drawing near to God on His holy hill for a tryst between heaven and earth. In liturgical imagery, the worshipers ascend the steps of the mountain-altar of Eden as blameless “living sacrifices” that their praise might rise from there as a “smoky” tower to heaven, an ascension offering which is acceptable to God.1For more discussion, see The First Ascension.
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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.