Our procedure in “Through New Eyes Volume 2” thus far has been to lay out the general overview of history and its meaning as the Bible presents it. My hope is to fill this out in four major sections, corresponding to the four ages and the four testaments in the Bible (Ox, Lion, Eagle, Man; Moses, David, Prophets, Jesus).
My plan is discuss the Law (Torah; Sermon) of God as it structures history. Jesus is the Lord of history, and as Yahweh He gave the Law at Mt. Sinai to initiate and structure the development of human history in its initial phase: from Moses to the destruction of Jerusalem in ad 70. While Israel lived in history and made progress, the rest of humanity lived in the “world,” where there is no progress, only existence. God calls men and women out of the “world” and into history, out of bare existence and endless cycles and into His plan as His co-workers. When we leave His obedience and His plan, we fall back into the “world.”
Thus, as we have seen previously, God’s first four great Words (commandments) structured the eras of the Ox, Lion, Eagle, and Man. I am developing this aspect at length in the essays in Rite Reasons. To date, we have explored the relationship of the First Word to the era from Moses to David, and of the Second Word in the age of the Kingdoms. This year we shall move on to the Third and Fourth Words.
The second aspect of my plan is to discuss the Symbol God gives to each era, and how it relates to the era. Thus, in the pages of Biblical Horizons I hope to provide an overview of the Tabernacle, Temple, Ezekiel’s Temple, and the New Jerusalem as they relate to what God was doing during the four ages.
The third aspect of my plan is to discuss the history of each era, how God grew His people from one stage to the next, and how the people themselves grew and changed. I plan to do this also in the pages of Biblical Horizons.
Let me enlarge on the rationale for this plan. God is a Person, and also mysteriously Three Persons. We cry out to God, and thus we expect Him (One Person) to hear us. But we also relate to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit as Persons. There is no contradiction here, but there is certainly much mystery. Such formulae as “one in nature, three in person” are simply ways of dividing the question to help us come to grips with the mystery. No theologian worth his salt thinks that such formulae actually penetrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
Think of it this way: God is One Person and also Three Persons, though not in the same way as He is One Person. Thus, He is not “four persons.” Yet, if we could specify the precise way in which God’s One-Personhood differs from His Three-Personhood, we would to that extent and in that way diminish both sides of His Personhood. In other words, if we say that God’s One-Personhood means “this” while His Three-Personhood means “that,” we have cut something off from both sides. Thus, we affirm that we cannot understand the difference, while we also affirm that the difference is real. Accordingly, we leave it a mystery.
God is Father, Word, and Spirit. As Father, He is the Fountain and Archetype of all personhood. When we study the history of the four eras, we are studying the growth and development of humanity as God child, maturing from infant to human eldership (fatherhood). As young warriors we gather at the hearthfire of the Tabernacle’s altar. As kingdom administrators we gather around the King at the Temple. As senior officials we guard the doors of Ezekiel’s Temple. As mature sons of God (elders) we rule the world from the New Jerusalem. We move from being oxen, to being lions, to being eagles, to being sons (kings).
As Word, the Son gives us His Teaching (Law; Torah), which directs our paths. When we study the Law as it relates to each period, we are focussing on the Second Person of the Trinity, our Husband and Lord.
As Spirit, God prepares His daughter (humanity) to marry His Son. The Spirit organizes humanity as a halo around God’s throne. This organization is symbolized in the Tabernacle, Temple, Ezekiel’s Temple, and the New Jerusalem (the bride out of heaven). Thus, when we study the symbol of each period, we are coming to grips with the sphere established by the Spirit.
James Jordan is scholar-in-residence at Theopolis. This article originally appeared at Biblical Horizons.