Revelation – Cycle 2

The Tabernacle Man

The second literary “cycle” of the Revelation continues the stream of subtle hints concerning what is to come. The cog wheel precision of the typological rhythm not only builds our anticipation of what will be revealed, it reads like a ticking clock, slowly building to the sound of a beating drum. This was a countdown to an evening and a morning which would change the world forever.

Daniel the Destroyer

The significance of the prophet Daniel for the “death and resurrection” of the nation of Israel becomes clear when the sacrificial “matrix” is discerned in the process.

The ministry of Daniel among Gentiles recapitulates that of Joseph. The Lord sent Joseph into Egypt as a forerunner, established a new house for him and integrated the old house of Jacob into it. Pharaoh was converted under the ministry of Joseph, humbled himself before Jacob and requested his blessing. Likewise, Daniel was taken to Babylon before the destruction of Jerusalem to mediate for the preservation of Israel. The Jewish captives were not slaves but were given their own houses. But the ministries of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel also allowed the rulers of Judah to fill up their sins as “Egyptians.” By the time Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon were destroyed, the nation was entirely without excuse.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Gospel

The book of Daniel consists of three heptamerous cycles, each cycle becoming the first step in a greater one.1See Daniel’s Long Shadow. At the thesis (center) of the first cycle (Daniel 1), Daniel passes through a “priestly” death and resurrection (having to do with food). At the thesis of the third cycle (Daniel 9), it is Christ who passes through the process, a “prophetic” death and resurrection (regarding Israel and the nations). Between the priestly and the prophetic is the kingly “death and resurrection” of Nebuchadnezzar, and the strange details of the account reveal this king, like Daniel, to be a type of God’s future work.

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Daniel’s Long Shadow

The book of Daniel is itself the blueprint for a new Temple. It is a “literary ziggurat.”

…by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous… (Isaiah 53:11)

The High Priest made two approaches to the Most Holy on the Day of Atonement – one for the Head (Adam) and one for the Body (Eve), lifting the curse on the Land and the Offspring. As Israel represented all nations, so one man represented all Israel. Once a year, one man would “die” for the people.

We see the same Head-and-Body (totus Christus) structure in the book of Daniel. The first six chapters concern the Jewish head, lifted up into the court of the emperor, and the last six concern the Jewish body in subsequent history. As we see in the Creation Week, the book has a Forming (priestly) and a Filling (kingly), and ends with a promise of the Future (prophetic). Daniel’s ministry as court prophet was a microcosm of Israel’s “latter day” prophetic ministry throughout the empire. His ministry to a single empire laid the foundation for Israel’s ministry to all four empires, culminating in a fifth, the rule of Christ and His Church.

The book of Daniel is itself the blueprint for this new “social” Temple, a literary ziggurat with three stages. Each heptamerous stage becomes the first step of a larger heptamerous pattern. It has a Most Holy Place (Daniel 1), a Holy Place (Daniel 1-7) and Gentile Courts (Daniel 1-12). This ziggurat shape means that the book resembles the mountain of God in textual form, a blessing flowing from the obedience of one man in the highest court flowing through a four-cornered Altar-Land into all the nations.

Garden – Daniel 1
Land – Daniel 1-7
World – Daniel 1-12

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Garden – Daniel 1

Creation – Captivity: The glory of the Lord goes before His people as the articles from the Temple are taken to the treasure house of Nebuchadnezzar
Division – Priests: The young Judahites are taken to Babylon to be trained as Babylonian “court magicians”
Ascension – Gifts: As high priest of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar appoints three years of training, with the king’s food and wine
Testing – Miracle: Daniel and his friends refuse the food of “Egypt” and are fed miraculously by God in the wilderness. They are given new names
Maturity – Gifts: God gives them gifts of wisdom, interpretation, strength and beauty
Conquest – Priests: They are chosen to serve before the king, above all the other wise men
Glorification – Captivity: Daniel’s ministry continues until the first year of the next empire, the proclamation that brings the end of the seventy year captivity

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Land – Daniel 1-7

TRANSCENDENCE
Genesis / Sabbath
– Daniel resists the offer of kingdom without priestly obedience (Ark)
HIERARCHY
Exodus / Passover
– Daniel shelters the wise men by interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s night vision (Veil)
ETHICS (Law given, Law opened, Law received)
Leviticus / Firstfruits
– Daniel’s mighty men are offered to the flames (LAW OF MAN) (Altar)
Numbers / Pentecost – The king of kings is humbled as a beast and regains his kingdom as a man (LAW OF GOD) (Lampstand)
Deuteronomy / Trumpets – Daniel warns Belshazzar that the kingdom is about to fall. He has drunk from the Lord’s prophetic cup and been found “wanting” (LAW OF GOD’S MAN) (Incense)
OATH/SANCTIONS
Joshua / Atonement
– Daniel survives the lions’ den, and is “resurrected” from the sealed “tomb” (Priest and People)
SUCCESSION
Judges / Booths – Daniel is given a vision of the end of the Restoration Covenant era, the final Old Covenant Succession (Shekinah)

As the final verse of Daniel 1 is opened in Daniel 1-6, so the final chapter in this second section (chapter 7) is opened in chapters 8-12. Israel’s “latter day” future, her “Succession,” is revealed to Daniel.

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World – Daniel 1-12

Creation/Day 1 – The Lord establishes worship outside the garden and land in the world (Daniel 1-6)
Division/Day 2 – The world empires are revealed in a night vision as Land beasts (some with wings) carrying Israel over the Sea. The saints rule the firmament (Daniel 7).
Ascension/Day 3 – Daniel sees the conquest of Persia by Greece. This time, the empire beasts are sacrificial Land animals, a ram and a goat. The Herods exalt themselves to the heavens at the “terminal time” (Rome) and usurp the throne of the priestly “STARS” (Daniel 8 ).
Testing/Day 4 – After fasting and prayer, Daniel is shown that this second 490 years (the latter days) of the Temple would end the same way as the first 490 years (the former days), with its desolation by a Gentile flood. The Messiah would be both High Priest and sacrifice (Daniel 9).
Maturity/Day 5 – Daniel experiences “death and resurrection” at the hand of a metal man sent to reveal the last days of the Jews (Daniel 10).
Conquest/Day 6 – From Alexander the Great, the history of Greece and the Herods (Rome) is predicted (Daniel 11).
Glorification/Day 7 – There is a great “time of trouble” that brings an end to the wicked. The coming of the Word of God awakens some to everlasting life and some to everlasting contempt. The saints witness to the truth and shine like priestly STARS (Daniel 12). This “first (corporate) resurrection” brings the Old Covenant to an end.

If we do not read the Bible as literary architecture, a lot of it isn’t going to make sense. But if we do, we will find it has a disarming beauty. Here, we can see that just as individual sin becomes corporate sin, so individual holiness becomes corporate holiness. God rips a holy man open to make a holy place, a shelter for others. As the man becomes a Holy Husbandman, so the barrenness and trouble of Eve is removed (Genesis 3). The entire restoration era rested upon the foundation of Daniel’s faithfulness, a life which began with a simple refusal to compromise in a day of “small things.” The long shadow of Daniel is a robe, a flowing train, of righteousness, which resulted in the construction of a Bridal city. God is faithful in transforming a life of faithful witness into a legacy that benefits many generations.


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