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The Blessed Man

Psalm 1 and the Revelation

Although the Covenant-literary “matrix” is consistent throughout the Bible, the biblical authors quite often play with it to make a point. Sometimes they leave something out.

For instance:

  • the Day 2 stanza of Genesis 1 has no central line, hinting that this is a space yet to be filled by the sun, moon and stars on Day 4.
  • the book of Leviticus has no “Succession” section, reminding us that the Levites had no earthly inheritance in Canaan; they were a human “tithe” lifted up from the Land and symbolically presented upon God’s table.
  • the description of the beastly Man in Revelation 13 is the sixth section in a sevenfold “Creation” pericope, yet the seventh is missing. The point there is very clear: there is no rest for the wicked.

In its overall structure, the book of Revelation follows the basics of the Bible Matrix with one difference. Something is added in: the Trumpets section is twofold, making it the longest part of the work. What is interesting is that the first Psalm plays with the pattern in an identical way. The Trumpets section (Maturity), which concerns the positive or negative results of Man’s response to the Law of God, is also twofold. His obedience is multiplied in either plunder or in plagues, a bridal “army” or hosts from hell, clothing or nakedness, fragrant smoke or a stench in God’s nostrils. Thus, the Trumpets are a twofold legal witness of coming judgment. Based on this legal testimony, the Man will be given a future or he will be cut off.

Psalm 1

TRANSCENDENCE

Creation: Initiation/Sabbath (Ark/Genesis)
Blessed is the man

HIERARCHY

Division: Delegation/Passover (Veil/Exodus)
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

ETHICS

Ascension: Presentation (Altar & Table/Leviticus)
and in the way of sinners does not stand, (Altar)
and in the seat of scoffers does not sit; (Table)
.
Testing: Purification/Pentecost (Lampstand/Numbers)
For lo, (Ark/Light)
in the law (Veil)
of the Lord (Altar)
is his delight, (Table)
and on his law (Lampstand)
he meditates (Incense – eldership)
day (Mediators)
and night. (Rest)

Maturity: Transformation/Trumpets (Incense/Deuteronomy)
TRUMPET 1: ABUNDANCE, PLUNDER
He is like a tree
(Day 1 – Genesis 1:1, the “head” of life)
transplanted by streams of water
(Day 2 – Genesis 1:7)
that yields its fruit
(Day 3 – Genesis 1:11)
in its season,
(Day 4 – Genesis 1:14)
and its leaf does not wither.
(Day 5 – multitudes)
In all that he does,
(Day 6 – Mediator)
he prospers.
(Day 7 – Rest)
– – –
TRUMPET 2: BARRENNESS, PLAGUES
Not so (Transcendence)
the wicked, (Hierarchy)
but like chaff (Ethics)
the wind (Oath/Sanctions)
scatters them. (Succession)

SANCTIONS

Conquest: Vindication/Atonement (Mediators/Joshua)
Therefore (Transcendence)
the wicked will not stand (Hierarchy – Covenant Head)
in the judgment, (Ethics)
nor sinners in the assembly (Oath/Sanctions – Covenant Body)
of the righteous; (Succession)

SUCCESSION

Glorification: Representation/Booths (Shekinah/Judges)
for (Transcendence)
knows (Hierarchy)
the Lord (Ethics)
the way of the righteous, (Oath/Sanctions)
but the way of the wicked
will perish. (Succession)

Notes:

  • The “earthly” or Forming sections cannot be “opened” into their own five- or sevenfold stanzas. At most, the lines in Division and Ascension are threefold: Authority, Task, Result.
  • The law of the Lord is at the very centre of the Psalm, but as its Day 4, it also refers to day and night. Notice also the progression in this stanza from external law (food) to the maturity of internal law (wisdom). Here are the two trees in the Garden of Eden, which appear at the centre of Genesis 1-3.Covenant Structure in Genesis 2.
  • The “Filling” sections are fivefold when they concern the wicked (an “opened” Covenant scroll) and sevenfold when they describe the righteous.

Of course, my main point here is to show that the Maturity or Trumpets stanza is a double witness. In Psalm 1, these are positioned to correspond to the blessings and curses pronounced in Deuteronomy, most notably chapter 28. In the progression of the Ten Words, it is at this point that we find the prohibitions against theft (stolen blessings) and against false witness (false curses) in court. You might notice that not only does the final stanza replicate the simplicity-then-complexity, or Forming and Filling, of the entire Psalm, this stanza would be fivefold if it did not divide the blessing of the righteous and the cursing of the wicked in a similar way.

Revelation

With Psalm 1 covered, we can now observe this structure in the book of Revelation. Just as the Atonement stanza in Psalm 1 divides between the Covenant Head (Adam) and the Covenant Body (corporate Eve), the Revelation works from the ascension of Christ as the “standing” sacrifice (Firstfruits) to the ascension of the Firstfruits Church in the vindication of His word. The holy head is lifted up that He might prepare a holy and safe place for the redeemed body (Genesis 6:14; Leviticus 1:8-9; John 14:2-3).

This means that although there is repetition in the Revelation, each cycle is not going over the same ground. As James Jordan notes,

There are those who say that the Seals, Trumpets and Bowls each cover the same ground, each recapitulating the same events. This is not the case… The Seals open the Book. The Trumpets are the proclamation of the contents of the Book. The Bowls are the application of those contents. Historically, the Seals concern the very beginning of the kingdom in AD 30. The Trumpets concern the events from Pentecost to the end of that period, just before AD 70. The Bowls concern the events of the end.1James B. Jordan, The Vindication of Jesus Christ, 41.

 
TRANSCENDENCE

Creation: A Vision of the Glorified Christ (Revelation 1)
(Initiation – Blameless Animal Chosen)

HIERARCHY

Division: “Passing Over” the Seven Churches (Revelation 2-3)
(Delegation – Sacrifice Cut)

ETHICS

Ascension: The Lamb is Worthy (Revelation 4-5)
(Presentation – Sacrifice Place on the Altar)

Testing: The Seven Seals (Revelation 6-8:5)
(Purification – Holy Fire Descends)

Maturity: Seven Trumpets (Revelation 8:6-11:19)
(Transformation – Fragrant Smoke)
(Post-Pentecost: the true Church, two witnesses)
Aaronic Beast Worship (Revelation 12-14)
(Response of the Jewish Rulers: a false Pentecost, sulphur and swarms)

OATH/SANCTIONS

Conquest: Seven Bowls: Harlot and Bride (Revelation 15-19)
(Vindication – Pleasing Savor)

SUCCESSION

Glorification: Sevenfold Inheritance and Blessing (Revelation 20-22)
(Representation – Reconciliation and reunion)

If you would like to read more about the structure of the Book of Revelation and the historical events it portrays, see Sin City parts 1, 2 and 3.

References   [ + ]

1. James B. Jordan, The Vindication of Jesus Christ, 41.

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