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.
In the fifth cycle of John’s first epistle, he has reached the final step of the fivefold Covenant pattern: Succession. His subject matter is historical continuity via offspring, however the New Covenant “sons” are not natural but spiritual seed.
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.
When the prophet Nathan told David of a rich man who had stolen and killed a poor man’s sheep (2 Samuel 12), David’s judgment that the man restore it fourfold was based on the stipulation in Exodus 22:1. But why does that law stipulate a fivefold restoration for the same crime concerning an ox?
“Make yourself right at home in the Garden, Tabernacle and Temple…
And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” (Mark 5:30)
Genesis 9 does not tell us what Ham’s intention was when he “saw the nakedness” of his father, Noah. Did he steal Noah’s robe of authority? Did he sleep with his own mother? Perhaps there is a third solution, based upon clues found elsewhere in Genesis, which combines both these possibilities but offers something new.
We saw that the content of Genesis 2 is meticulously arranged as a “social” version of Genesis 1, that is, a human temple. However, the formula is triune, which brings us to the third cycle in this literary architecture: Genesis 3. Where Genesis 1 describes “being,” and Genesis 2 describes “knowing,” Genesis 3 brings humanity to “doing.” The focus moves from the physical, to the social, to the ethical: Father, Son, Spirit.
Sacred Architecture in Numbers 2
What is the significance of the placement of the tribes of Israel around the Tabernacle in the book of Numbers?
God’s choice of David from among his brothers in 1 Samuel 16 not only prefigures the baptism of Jesus, it presents David as a human Tabernacle.
The prophecies in the final chapters of Zechariah, taken in isolation, are extremely confusing. They seem to describe, very darkly, some events which took place in the first century. Yet they also describe some things which clearly did not take place. Or did they?
The key to interpreting the prophecy is its structure. It follows a formula which is second nature to Jewish people: the process of Israel’s annual feasts. If they had their wits about them, the Jews would hear these words and be able to say, “I see what you did there.” Once they are recognised as literary art, these words are not only completely intelligible, they are also brilliant and beautiful. And terrifyingly ironic.