Monthly Archives: February 2012

Was Job a lesson about King David?

Job is clearly some kind of king. He is the leader of his community. He is the Chief Cornerstone, while Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are his “three mighty men,” the other corners of the realm. It is because Job is the king that the other men arrive to try and force him to step down.

(The Hebrew word for “army commander” is “corner.” For other examples of chief corners and three other corners, consider David and his three mighty men, Daniel and his three friends, and Jesus with Peter, James, and John. On “corners” and “three mighty men,” see Biblical Horizons 121. Compare also Jesus with the Caiaphas, Herod, and Pilate, as discussed above.)

Job as king is the “greatest of the men of the east” (Job 1:3). He employed hundreds of people and fed the poor. The disaster that overcame his household was, thus, a disaster upon the entire realm. The poor were starving, and hundreds of people were either killed or out of work. The sores on Job’s body were a sign of the lesions on the body politic of which he was the head, a point no ancient reader would miss.

This realm or political “house” has fallen because the Chief Corner, Job, has fallen. The other three corners, thus, step in to try and repair it. Their fallacy is not in seeking to restore their society, but in the way they seek to do it. Their desire is for Job to step down by admitting fault, so that one of them can replace him. God’s intention, however, is to take Job and this society through judgment and resurrection, and to reconstitute a new and better society afterwards (as happens in chapter 42).

Job’s position as king or leader of his people has been skillfully analyzed by Rene Girard in Job: The Victim of His People, translated by Yvonne Freccero and published by Stanford University Press in 1987. Despite the many flaws in this book, it makes clear that the attack upon Job came not because he was an ordinary person, but because of his preeminent position in this community, which had fallen into chaos seemingly as a result of God’s judgment upon Job, their “king.”

The book of Job, then, is not just about the sufferings of a righteous man, though it is that in part, and can be preached that way. It is also about chaos in the body politic, and the position of the suffering king within that chaos.

That Job is about kingship links it with three other “wisdom” books, produced by Solomon. Job is about the suffering of the king. Ecclesiastes is about the aged wisdom of the king. Canticles is about the marriage of the king to his people. Proverbs is advice to the king’s son, that he join himself to the company of the wise (personified as Lady Wisdom in chapters 1-9 and 31), and avoid the company of the foolish (personified as Harlot Folly) – something Solomon’s son Rehoboam foolishly failed to do.

While law and obedience are associated with the Sinaitic Era, wisdom and skill are associated with the Kingdom Era. The books of Law are given through Moses, while the books of wisdom are given through Solomon. It seems very likely, then, that Solomon was the author of Job. Indeed, the 28th chapter of Job might just as well be part of Proverbs or Ecclesiastes. Thus, while we cannot know for certain, Solomon is the most likely author of Job.

via Biblical Horizons » No 130: Was Job an Edomite King? (Part 1).

I’m not going to go into details here, but if you read about David in the book(s) of Samuel, you know that he committed some serious sins as king. And these sins led to opposition and rebellion in which his kingdom was endangered.

To take one specific instance: we learn in 2 Samuel 23.34 of “Eliam the son of Ahithophel of Gilo,” Eliam was one of David’s mighty men and Ahithophel was David’s counselor who sided with his son Absalom when Absalom attempted to take his father’s throne (and, as part of that transition, kill David).

Why would Ahithophel turn against David? How about this: Bathsheba was his granddaughter (2 Samuel 11.3). Uriah the Hittite, one of David’s other mighty men, was his Son-in-law, before David got him killed and took Bathsheba for himself. This might shed light on how Ahithophel came up with the idea that Absalom should publicly take ten of David’s concubines… on the roof, where David had first spied Bathsheba.

My point in this little story is that it was no secret. And yet the congregation of Israel sang songs by David. Some acknowledged his sins (most obviously, Psalm 51). But others sounded like this:

O Lord my God, if I have done this,
if there is wrong in my hands,
if I have repaid my friend with evil
or plundered my enemy without cause,
let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it,
and let him trample my life to the ground
and lay my glory in the dust. Selah

Arise, O Lord, in your anger;
lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.
Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you;
over it return on high.

The Lord judges the peoples;
judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me.

Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
and may you establish the righteous—
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God!
My shield is with God,
who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
and a God who feels indignation every day.

If a man4 does not repent, God5 will whet his sword;
he has bent and readied his bow;
he has prepared for him his deadly weapons,
making his arrows fiery shafts.

Behold, the wicked man conceives evil
and is pregnant with mischief
and gives birth to lies.
He makes a pit, digging it out,
and falls into the hole that he has made.
His mischief returns upon his own head,
and on his own skull his violence descends.

Now I’m not sure what to make of all this. Job seems the opposite of David in that everyone knew that David could not claim to have never sinned in these ways. (Is this Psalm only allowable because it was written before Bathsheba? Or is there also a reminder of David’s own exile and the losing of the son he loved? It is interesting that the first Psalm attributed to David (Psalm 3) is explicitly about Absalom.) But certainly many took his troubles and his fleeing from Jerusalem as a sign that God was finally condemning him for his sins and removing him from his office.

But they were wrong. God vindicated David in the end, just as Job was vindicated against his “friends.”

There has to be something to that. I just am not sure how to work it out.

While I was at work on my night shift, my family had an adventure with fire…

Came home to this:

No one was hurt. Fire department came and put out the fire (which had descended from the top burner into the stove).

We need a new stove and electrical connection for it. Not sure what we’ll do about the scorched Formica counter-tops.

I heard about this as it was going on while I was at work, but there was nothing I could do to help. Hated that.

The acrid smell is noticeable every time I enter the house. I’m hoping that is not a health problem.

Prayers appreciated.

When people trade, their items are never equal

One if the biggest delusions about economic transactions is that the two traded items are supposed to be “equal” to each other. In an economy that uses money this would mean that a certain amount of money is “equal” to a good.

This is an example of an economic theory that makes no sense.

Imagine two people trade a mule for a cow. Would you expect them to trade back in the next minute?

But if the cow and the mule are “equal” then why not? Neither party loses or gains. If the items are equal then neither one is better off for the trade.

But then why trade at all? Claiming that an item or price is “equal” in a transaction makes the actual exchange meaningless and literally useless.

People trade things of less use for things of more use. They trade worse for better. In this sense trading is just another aspect of the same kind of decision-making that takes place when people choose how to spend their time, without reference to exchanging with another person. You decide you would rather post a blog than work on that book of essays on Romans you hope to finish some day because it can be finished faster and gain more immediate response. You decide that you are never going to read that history book so you taking to Vintage Stock to get credit toward that SuperMario Wii game you know your girls will like. One decision is “in” your own mind and the other is with a store that believes they are better off giving you a low price and getting your book to offer on their shelves.

For an economic theory to be cogent, it has to account for history. The economic actors need to be pursuing a new situation. If your economic theory works just as well when you “run the movie backwards” then it is probably not a theory suitable for the real world.

Who gets exploited in these decisions. Hard to say. Deciding to write the blog post may be the wrong decision from one point of view. Maybe the history book is really brilliant and you ought to read it. But then again, maybe your Romans essays are never going to be as good as you hope they will be, and will never profit you anyway. And if you’re never going to read the history book it really doesn’t matter how good it is.

Notice here that each person in a transaction is responsible for deciding what will make him or her better off. Is there a situation when this is not the case? Typically, one doesn’t allow adults to persuade children to trade with them. Parents claim the right to veto such decisions. This shows there is a case to be made for second-guessing and interfering in transactions. It also shows that doing so can be demeaning to adult persons, treating them like children.

On Gene Wolfe

In the early 90s a friend gave me four paperback volumes of “The Book of the New Sun”. He’d said that he’d never heard of this guy, but he’d made three unsuccessful attempts to start the books and had finally “pushed through” and was impressed by their originality and craftsmanship. When I got to the third volume, my wife remarked that I sure was “spending a lot of time on those books. What are they about?” I told her that I had no idea. “Then why are you reading them?”

“I have to find out how it ends!”

I didn’t know yet that Gene Wolfe stories have no ending. Nor a beginning or middle.

It was disorienting to read an author who required from me a new way of reading a novel: To read it as people read the Bible or the poems of Blake or Cummings. It was as if an adult discovered a door in the house where he grew up that led to a new upstairs wing that he didn’t know about.

Some years later, I finally got around to reading “Peace”. I knew more by then. Half way through it, my wife asked, “Is it good?” “Oh, yes!” “What’s it about?”

“Well, that’s really the point of reading a Gene Wolfe story.”

Read the rest: Drip Drip Drip: On Gene Wolfe.

How printing money can lead to deflation

Debasing currency is a form of fraud. God doesn’t like it. It makes things that are worth something lose their value. But, for a while, it goes undetected so that the first spender gets to defraud the first buyer.

In a fiat currency system it is hard to understand how mere paper can be debased. But when more money is printed it has the same effect. The new money is spent by the government and the people closest to the Federal Reserve system before most of the rest of the economic actors have realized that there is more money available.

So if you are selling pies in Flyover Country somewhere, and suddenly notice that more people are buying your pies, you think that you are becoming successful. Consumers preferences have shifted and they now like your pies more than they used to.

Of course, you have to raise the prices on your pies or else you would run out.

But you also realize you could hire another baker and produce more pies for more people at a slightly lower cost and so come out ahead of where you used to be while providing for more happy consumers.

It all seems great until you start noticing that everyone else’s prices are rising. You aren’t actually making more profit. The dollars and cents are just worth less. You were fooled. Your prices are going to have to stay high so you can pay your employers more and keep buying the more expensive supplies. You can’t afford another kitchen worker.

So that is the basic outline of how paper money or fiat currency works.

In that temporary moment when military contractors and bankers have new money they get to spend it on new things, and by the time the prices go up it hits the lower and middle and working classes as they see their cost of living rise.

But there are a couple of other factors to keep in mind.

If our banker overlord Ben Bernanke decided to print off a trillion dollars, not tell anyone, hide it in a vault somewhere, and then burn it ten years later, there would effectively be zero price disruption. In order to be “money” it has to reach some level of circulation.

On the other hand, people (if they aren’t stupid) normally try to hold cash reserves (this is rare now with zero interest rates and the fraud that “net worth” is more important than cash on hand having trained us to spend and borrow rather than save). Our overlords have decided in many cases to see cash reserves as “deflationary” and try to discourage them in favor of immediate consumption to “keep the economy going.” But cash reserves are something that, normally, consumers value as a safety net–as a market good. Companies want that safety as well and view it as a means of keeping the company going. So, to say that money in cash reserves is not “circulating” is a superficial observation. It is money used to meet a real demand.

This complicates the issues of monetary inflation and deflation related to price levels. If everyone prefers doubling their cash reserves to buying new cars, that will show up in most economic charts as price deflation. But it is not. It just means consumers are making choices about what to do with circulating money.

Now, I think sometimes printing money can lead to deflation. How does that happen? Hopefully you see now that the process of bringing new money into circulation is not simply a matter of printing it. It also has to be used. The bankers and military contractors are all partners in the inflation process.

And that process dramatically elevated since 2001.

The Federal Reserve kept lowering and lowering interest rates. This discouraged savings, encouraged stock market speculation as an alternative to saving (aka “investing”), and caused inflation. Under the system of Fractional Reserve Banking, all the debt was converted into leverage for more money. People took out mortgages that were converted into “investments” that were then used as collateral for more debt and spending.

Then the housing collapse started.

It never finished. The government has done everything it can think of to stop the decline in the housing market and then “stimulate” the economy by negative interest rates and bailouts and new money.”

So we started to hear about “quantitative easing” as the term of choice for new money printing.

At this point, people are sitting in houses in which they owe more than the house is now worth because of the price collapse. Banks are holding these mortgages as “assets” when they are in reality black holes of liability. They can only hope somehow the home “owners” will keep paying money and they won’t have to acknowledge these holdings as losses. Our banker overlord at the Federal Reserve thinks that printing new money will restart the housing bubble.

So the new money comes into circulation. What happens?

Banks, knowing that they are really bankrupt, use it as cash holdings! This is a real form of inflation since it keeps a bunch of useless financial corporations afloat that should be closed down so that the economy can heal. They are perpetual sores on the economy that we are told we must embrace. But that inflation isn’t perceived as the kind of inflation that people want. It doesn’t start a new bubble that allows us the illusion of thinking our net worth is increasing.

But not all the money goes into this cul-de-sac. Other money gets into the economy in food prices and energy prices. Suddenly the price of gas goes up.

And this is where the deflation might hit. Because all these people now massively underemployed are sitting in houses they can barely afford to keep. Rising energy costs and food costs are exactly what will “stimulate” more defaults and force more foreclosures. At that point, the new money that raised household expenses will further destroy the money dependent on housing values. Housing will plummet further and the net result will be further price deflation even if we are paying more at the pump.

Remember, prices vary comparatively all the time. Price deflation is when all prices taken together in an average are lower. It doesn’t mean every single price of a good on the market is lower.


The widow is the tax collector and the adversary is the Pharisee

1 He also spoke a parable to them that they must always pray, and not give up, 2 saying, “There was a judge in a certain city who didn’t fear God, and didn’t respect man. 3 A widow was in that city, and she often came to him, saying, ‘Defend me from my adversary!’ 4 He wouldn’t for a while, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God, nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will defend her, or else she will wear me out by her continual coming.’”

6 The Lord said, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge says. 7 Won’t God avenge his chosen ones, who are crying out to him day and night, and yet he exercises patience with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them quickly. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

9 He spoke also this parable to certain people who were convinced of their own righteousness, and who despised all others. 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself like this: ‘God, I thank you, that I am not like the rest of men, extortionists, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn’t even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

via World English Bible Luke 18.

Why wouldn’t these two parables be about the same thing? The widow bothering the judge is the tax collector asking for mercy. The Pharisee boasting in himself is the oppressive adversary.

The parable of the prodigal demon: When did she leave “home”?

39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign will be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, someone greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the south will rise up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, someone greater than Solomon is here. 43 But the unclean spirit, when he is gone out of the man, passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and doesn’t find it. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return into my house from which I came out,’ and when he has come back, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes, and takes with himself seven other spirits more evil than he is, and they enter in and dwell there. The last state of that man becomes worse than the first. Even so will it be also to this evil generation.”

via World English Bible Matthew 12.

This parable is told (in Matthew’s version) after Jesus has cast out a demon from a man that made him mute and blind. He then warns his hearers over how they use their speech and their eyes.

Demon possession and exorcisms are metaphors for the situation of the whole nation in that generation.

I used to think Jesus was cleansing his own generation but warning them about the future.

I now think, following N. T. Wright in Jesus and the Victory of God that Jesus is saying that they were delivered in the past and now the demons have returned. He is explaining why, now, there is so much demon possession in the nation. A spirit was once expelled but has returned with worse company.

When was it expelled? What was the historic event? Wright does not know. But I have a suggestion. When the return from exile had begun Zechariah had a vision (chapter 5):

Then the angel who talked with me came forward, and said to me, “Lift up now your eyes, and see what is this that is appearing.”

I said, “What is it?”

He said, “This is the ephah basket that is appearing.” He said moreover, “This is their appearance in all the land (and behold, a talent of lead was lifted up); and this is a woman sitting in the midst of the ephah basket.” He said, “This is Wickedness”; and he threw her down into the midst of the ephah basket; and he threw the weight of lead on its mouth.

Then lifted I up my eyes, and saw, and behold, there were two women, and the wind was in their wings. Now they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the ephah basket between earth and the sky.

Then I said to the angel who talked with me, “Where are these carrying the ephah basket?”

He said to me, “To build her a house in the land of Shinar. When it is prepared, she will be set there in her own place.”

When the first exiles went in to Babylon, Ezekiel chapter 1 records a vision of God’s presence from the Temple coming with them to the foreign land. Ezekiel sees a throne carried by cherubim described in a way that would remind readers of the Ark of the Covenant, a box with a gold lid that was carried in a similar fashion by the Levites. This “ephah basket” with a lid made of lead is an anti-Ark. The stork is an unclean bird (Leviticus 11.9; Deuteronomy 14.18; etc). The stork-winged women function as anti-cherubim taking the anti-Ark back to Babylon where the Israelites are not longer captive as exiles.

The storks are returning from the wilderness of Shinar.

The demon-possessed generation in Luke 11

A: Exorcism

He was casting out a demon,

B: Speech

and it was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the multitudes marveled. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of the demons.”

C: Sight

Others, testing him, sought from him a sign from heaven.

A: Exorcism

But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. A house divided against itself falls. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. But if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore will they be your judges. 20 But if I by the finger of God cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come to you. When the strong man, fully armed, guards his own dwelling, his goods are safe. But when someone stronger attacks him and overcomes him, he takes from him his whole armor in which he trusted, and divides his plunder. “He that is not with me is against me. He who doesn’t gather with me scatters. The unclean spirit, when he has gone out of the man, passes through dry places, seeking rest, and finding none, he says, ‘I will turn back to my house from which I came out.’ When he returns, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes, and takes seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and dwell there. The last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

B: Speech

It came to pass, as he said these things, a certain woman out of the multitude lifted up her voice, and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts which nursed you!” But he said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and keep it.”

C: Sight

When the multitudes were gathering together to him, he began to say, “This is an evil generation. It seeks after a sign. No sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah, the prophet. For even as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will also the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and will condemn them: for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, one greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, one greater than Jonah is here. No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, that those who come in may see the light. The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore when your eye is good, your whole body is also full of light; but when it is evil, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore see whether the light that is in you isn’t darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly full of light, as when the lamp with its bright shining gives you light.”

Why I hated the movie Insidious

I knew nothing about the movie,  but as we watched (one of my children begged me to view it with him or her!) I came to think it was a more intense version of Poltergeist with a variant explanation. The nerdy techs and the psychic woman and the gifted child desired by unnatural forces all seemed familiar.

So, for almost two hours, I grew to side with the family and root for them as they dealt with horror.

I like horror sometimes. I can even enjoy stories where the main character “gets it” in the end. Some Twilight Zone episodes were like that. Typically, those stories show us a person who deserves it or close to it.

And typically such stories or episodes are short.

I don’t spend two hours watching an epic conflict between a family and evil forces to see the family get destroyed in the last three minutes after thinking they had triumphed.

Oh yeah, there are spoilers in this post.

I hated Insidious. I feel like it was a personal attack.

The pre-Christian new covenant

From Haggai 2:

In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’”

Zerubbabel is from the line of David, though he is only a governor in the empire now.

That and many other things don’t seem as grand as David and Solomon. In fact, even the construction project on the Temple suffers in comparison even to the last state of Solomon’s Temple before the exile. Thus, from Ezra 3 (which is background to the prophecy of Haggai above):

And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.

(Note, “Lord” is often YHWH and should be in all caps. I’m too lazy to hunt and change it.)

So no independent kingdom and no grand Temple. Solomon’s Temple had been far grander than the Tabernacle, just as the Davidic Covenant was grander than the Mosaic economy we read about in Judges. And there had been promises made that the New Covenant would be even grander. As we read in Jeremiah 16:

Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers.

But what happened during the first Exodus? God made a covenant with Israel on Mount Sinai, gave them the Law, and had them build a house for him to dwell in their midst.

So also Jeremiah, having promised a new and greater Exodus, must promise a new and greater covenant:

Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

So what is God saying through Haggai? (“Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.”). Despite the fact that “this house”  is incomplete.. Despite the fact that it will never be as grand as Solomon’… Nevertheless, it is greater and the covenant is greater. God is dwelling in their midst just like in the Tabernacle and in Solomon’s Temple.

If you read the description of Ezekiel’s visionary Temple, you will see something that surpasses the the capabilities of human architecture. The Tabernacle pictured the Mosaic Covenant and the Temple pictured the Kingdom Covenant but the Imperial Covenant surpasses the possibility of architectural representation.

But what about the prophecy? (“Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts.”)

Read the book of Esther. It ends with an international worldwide Holy War in which the people refuse to take the plunder when they are given victory. (God had declared Holy War on the Amalekites and Saul the Benjaminite lost his throne because he didn’t kill their king Agag. Esther is about a Benjaminite confronted by an Agagite.) So where does this plunder go?

It would seem obvious to me that it goes to the Temple, just like the Israelites were earlier restricted from taking the plunder of Holy War and gave it to the Tabernacle.

So Esther isn’t just some story, but fulfills the pattern and the prophecies of the earlier “New Covenant.”