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No. 58: Through New Eyes, Volume II (conclusion)

BIBLICAL Horizons, No. 58
February, 1994
Copyright 1994, Biblical Horizons

(The first part of this essay is found in Biblical Horizons 57, January 1994.)

Spiral I: Summary

The first sin is the sin against the Father. It is impatience. The Father has promised that if we eat of the Tree of Life and hold off from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (the Tree of Rule), we will in time be admitted to the Throneland and sit at His right hand. Adam chose to try and make himself a god equal to God. Abraham showed true patience, and became a "prince of God" to the people (Gen. 23).

The second sin is the sin against the Son. It is the sin of murderous intent against other people. It takes place in the home or homeland: We harbor our most murderous feelings towards those closest to us. Cain murdered Abel. Jacob wrestled with Isaac, Esau, and Laban, and through them the Son was wrestling with him to make him mature. As a result, Jacob came to have peace with Esau and for a time enjoyed the land.

The third sin is the sin against the Spirit. It is the sin of lust, of marriage with the world. The Spirit strove with the Sethites before the Fall, but they hardened their hearts and married the daughters of the Cainites. When Joseph was thrust into the outer world, he was soft to the Spirit and rejected Potiphar’s wife, so that Pharaoh confessed that he possessed "the Spirit of God." The result was the conversion of the Egyptians.

There is a fourth sin (against the sabbath), but it does not become explicit until the next Spiral, the Spiral of the Son. The theme of the fourth period, however, is the sabbath, something provided by Noah and Moses. The sin against the sabbath committed by Moses’ people was their refusal to enter the land (Heb. 4).

Now, all of this revelation concerns the interaction of persons with persons, not man with Law. Of course, because God is God, the Law is in the background all along, but it is in the background. What is in the foreground is persons.

The revelation we have just summarized, however, points to the Law in its central expression, the Ten Words:

1. No other gods equal to God – affirm the Father.

2. No bowing to manmade things – affirm the Son, bowing to God and to other persons only.

3. Do not carry about and exalt God’s name in an empty fashion – affirm the Spirit’s true uncompromised witness before the world.

4. Sabbath – when God says "Go in", go in!

5. Recaps 1: Honor God’s authorities – affirm Father.

6. Recaps 2: Do not kill – affirm Son, don’t murder brother.

7. Recaps 3: No adultery – no false intermarriage.

8. Recaps 1: Do not steal – keep your hands off the Tree of Rule! Be patient when you seem to be powerless, and wait for God to reward you.

9. Recaps 2: No false witness against neighbor (brother) – don’t lie, as Cain did.

10. Recaps 3: No coveting – don’t lust after the world.

Thus, Words 1, 5, & 8 focus most pointedly on the first phase; Words 2, 6, & 9 focus most pointedly on the second phase; Words 3, 7, & 10 focus most pointedly on the third phase; and Word 4 points to the sabbath.

Our summary and overview thus far has provided a reason why the sabbath Word is fourth and not tenth: The sabbath sets in motion the next spiral. Moreover, the sabbath is given by God, not earned by man, and thus fits after the three God-affirming Words, not after the entire set.

Volume II, Part 2

Spiral II focuses on the Son, the Word or Torah of God. It is the Age of the Law. The Torah "comes" at Mount Sinai, and Yahweh is enthroned as King through His Law.

Spiral II is made possible by extensions of circumcision from the central horn to the three outer horns of right earlobe, right thumb, and right foot. These correspond to Spirals IIA, B, & C, the age of hearing, the age of action, and the age of witness (travel).

Spiral II:A (Age of Ox-Priest; Age of Circumcised Ear)

God’s Name to the Patriarchs was "El Shaddai, the All Powerful God, so you and trust His Promises." The new name, Yahweh, means "The God who Keeps the Promises made to the Fathers, so you can trust His Law." The first phase of Spiral II reveals God’s Name simply as Yahweh.

The issue in Judges is not the worship of Yahweh through icon shrines on high places, nor is it the abuse of God’s name through Pharisaism. Rather, the issue is in the area of the First Word: worshipping other gods. Thus, we shall have to take a close look at the First Word.

Also, this is an age of tribes. Israel wars against other tribes (Ammonites, Canaanites, Philistines), not against other nations. We shall have to consider the characteristics of tribal order, and how the Sinaitic period presents the true form of the tribe.

The tendency of tribes to worship their fathers is countered by the worship at the Tabernacle, a symbol of the heavenly cloud of God. Ancestor-worship is countered by heaven-worship.

We can see some mini-spirals within this period. For instance:

1. At the golden calf, Israel rebelled against God as God.

2. In the Korah incident, Israel rebelled against Moses and Aaron as older brothers.

3. With the Midianite women, Israel committed the sin of Intermarriage.

Or again, in the three climax stories in Judges:

1. Gideon sets up an ephod, false worship.

2. Jephthah must deal with his brothers.

3. Samson wrestles with true and false intermarriage.

Or again, with Saul:

1. In 1 Sam. 13 Saul commits Sacrilege.

2. In 1 Sam. 14 Saul attempts Fratricide against Jonathan.

3. In 1 Sam. 15 Saul attempts Intermarriage with Agag.

Spiral II:B (Age of Lion-King; Age of Circumcised Hand)

The Kingdom is the second phase. God’s Name shifts to Yahweh Adonai, Yahweh the Master, who must be acknowledged always as High King over the kings of Israel.

During this period, brother murders brother in David’s house, and eventually the kingdom splits between two large brothers: Israel and Judah. The sin in focus is against the Second Word, as both nations pretend to worship Yahweh, but use icons and shrines on high places. Thus, we shall have to make a study of the Second Word.

We shall also have to study the nature of Kingdoms, for during this period Israel is a Kingdom, and wars against other Kingdoms (Syria, Tyre, Assyria, Egypt, Babylon).

The tendency of Kingdoms to worship heavenly bodies in the privacy of silent temples and shrines is countered by the worship at the Temple, a symbol of the halo of corporate praise enthusiastically sung in the Psalms by the Levitical choir and orchestra around God. Silent shrine worship is countered by sung corporate praise.

Here again we shall see some mini-spirals:

1. Saul primarily rebels against God.

2. In David’s reign, it is brother against brother that is the problem (Joab’s behavior; David and Uriah; etc.)

3. Solomon’s main sin involved intermarriage with 999 too many women.


1. David’s first sin was to ignore God’s laws regarding the treatment of the Ark of the Covenant.

2. David’s second sin was the murder of Uriah.

3. David’s third sin was to number the people as his own.


1. Solomon’s first sin was to multiply gold.

2. Solomon’s second sin was political: selling his brethren into slavery for horses.

3. Solomon’s third sin was women.

Spiral II:C (Age of Eagle-Prophet & Emperor; Age of Circumcised Foot)

The Restoration is the third phase. God’s name transforms to Yahweh of Hosts, the International God.

During this period, intermarriage is the issue, as seen in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi. True witness and proper intermarriage is seen in Esther. True witness like true marriage is the work of the Spirit, and the prophets promised that in the Restoration there would be a greater outpouring of the Spirit. True to this promise, the Jews took their witness worldwide in the centuries before Christ.

Carrying God’s name, in worship and life, is the main Word in focus, so we shall have to make a study of the Third Word. The Pharisees claimed to bear God’s name faithfully, but God gave them a curse of verbal anorexia so that they would not even say it aloud!

The scene is international, so we shall have to set out the characteristics of an imperial or cosmopolitan social order, a combination of tribe and kingdom. The tendency of imperial worship to pomp and circumstance is countered by the rather "invisible" worship is a small temple and the synagogue.

During this period, there is no longer a political order closely tied to God’s kingdom. The priests rule. Also, the church becomes fragmented into sects. The Sadducees compromise by adopting Greek philosophy. The Zealots compromise by adopting Roman political methods. The Pharisees refuse to compromise and are the best elements (which is why Jesus engages them), but many bear false witness to God’s name. The Essenes refuse to compromise and drop out of society. Nobody does true witness and nobody engages in proper intermarriage with a converted world. (Remember that Peter sinfully refused to enter the house of a converted gentile Cornelius!)

Perhaps there is at least one mini-spiral in Nehemiah:

1. First they try to get Nehemiah to stop building God’s city (ch. 4).

2. Second they use the power of the new order to oppress the poor (ch. 5).

3. Third they commit the sin of intermarriage (ch. 13).

Spiral II:D (Age of Man-the Son of God; Age of Full Circumcision)

Which brings us to Christ, the Greater Noah and Moses, who brings rest. Yahweh is now fully revealed as Lawgiver and Lord. Sending the Spirit, Jesus inaugurates the third and final age of world history. The four gospels present Christ as New Moses (Ox; Matthew), New David (Lion; Mark), New Prophet and World Emperor (Eagle; Luke), and New Man (Man; John).

With Christ’s entrance into the true Throneland in heaven, all tribal, national, and cosmopolitan orders are severely relativized.

Spiral II: Summary

Rather than summarize, let me point out a couple of other features to this progression as a whole.

First, in the Tabernacle, we are told that the cherubim have faces, but not what they were. Only oxen (not lions or eagles) are found in the Tabernacle.

Second, in the Temple, we are still not told about the faces of the cherubim, but ox and lion stand side-by-side in the decor of the Temple: priest and king.

Third, in Ezekiel, we are told of the four faces, but the man face is obscured. The eagle face comes into prominence now, representing both the emperor and the prophet.

Fourth, in the Gospels we see all four faces, with the man face ruling over all.

Additionally, this four-fold progression can be seen not only as A-B-C-D, but also as A-B-A’-B’. In Zechariah, the crown is put on the high priest, and the Davidic kingship of Zerubbabel goes out of the picture. The high priests rule Israel. In a sense, we are back to a priestly ministry in a society without an official "Christian" king. When we get to Christ, we see once again King and Priest, as Christ fulfills the priestly role and is elevated to be King. Thus, the progression from Aaron to David is recapitulated in the progression from Jeshua to Christ.

Volume II, Part 3

This is the Age of the Spirit, made possible by the circumcision of Christ, His complete death. His complete death is given to us, that we might live as dead people, living sacrifices, fully circumcised in all of life. The old creation in its entirety is cut off, and the new creation comes.

Spiral III:A

The first Age of the Spirit is the Early Church. Here the issue is: Who is God? The great councils and creeds hammer out the doctrine. Worship and sacrificial living become important virtues. The temptation is to worship other gods. The good news is the new community of the Church. While the empire overshadows all, the basic social order is tribal: many ethnic groups which are replaced by the Church as true tribe. The institution developed in this period is the Church. The evil influence is Plato. Worship gradually declines and draws the tribal faces from totem poles and the "house of masks" into worship, replacing the big eyes of the watching ancestors with the big eyes of the watching spiritual fathers (the saints). We dare not depart from the fathers! History, thus, must stop developing.

Spiral III:B

The second Age of the Spirit shifts to Northern Europe for the Medieval Church. Here the issue is: How did Christ work out our salvation? The doctrine of atonement receives attention. Charity to fellow believers becomes an important virtue. The temptation is to worship through icons and sacraments, things made by human hands. The institution developed in this period is the state. Kings on thrones rule nations that are explicitly Christian, and the Davidic monarchy is the standard symbol. The evil influence is Aristotle. Worship becomes beautiful, citified, cathedralized, regal, as in the days of Solomon. Gradually the Church leans more and more on the state to enforce Church doctrine, and uses the state to kill those who disagree with the Church.

Spiral III:C

The third Age of the Spirit shifts somewhat to the West again for the Protestant Church. Here the issue is: How does the Spirit apply the work of Christ to us? The answer is justification by faith. Witnessing becomes a very important virtue. The temptation is to carry God’s name emptily as a result of ideology. The institution is the university. The Church breaks up into denominations: some sadducean (liberal), some zealotic (political: fifth monarchists etc.), some pharisaical (conservative for good pharisees; and legalists), some essene (the anabaptists and other dropouts). The social order is cosmopolitan: many nations with common cultures, but no longer explicitly Christian. The evil influence is Nominalism. Worship becomes intellectualized, universityized, seminaryized, ideological. Gradually worship disappears pretty much altogether.

Spiral III:A’

Western Civilization is over, and so is the Protestant era. Men no longer know the law and they no longer fear God, so the doctrine of justification by faith falls on deaf ears. We are moving into a period of international neo-tribalism as the present cosmopolitan orders collapse. The gospel must once again be the community and worship of the Church. But this time, the spiral will be much bigger than merely the Mediterranean world, and this time, thanks to Van Til, we shall deepen our first doctrine, the doctrine of God, without Plato.


Well, there you have a summary, overview, and foretaste of Through New Eyes Volume II. As I polish my research, do more research, and as I write up the newsletters this year, we shall fill in the details and refine the argument.