April 25, 2012 ©Homer Kizer
Commentary — From the Margins
In Philadelphia’s Sabbath Readings, I strive to maintain narrator invisibility, but Philadelphia received a telephone call from a person in South Florida this past week that has caused me to reconsider that policy of assumed invisibility. The caller, while claiming to be a Christian and to take meaning from Scripture via typological exegesis, uttered the best expression of ancient Egyptian cosmology I have encountered. I really had difficulty believing what I was hearing: it was as if I had suddenly stepped back in time four millennia, suggesting that the fellow has access to secret knowledge that most likely came from angelic revelation—and not from an angel of God.
The fellow, a pleasant enough sort, would like to be a teacher, but it was his understanding of God that Abram left behind when Pharaoh cast Abram out from Egypt, and perhaps the best way to prevent Egyptian cosmology from ever entering into a Philadelphian fellowship is to openly disclose the link between Philadelphia and the assorted ministries of myself.
The message I have put forward for a decade is consistent: the Law moved from hand to heart, from body to mind, with the visible physical things of this world revealing and preceding the invisible things of God (cf. Rom 1:20; 1 Cor 15:46). Thus, the sealed visions of the prophet Daniel were kept secret by physical events that seemed to fulfill Daniel’s prophecies, which are about war in the Abyss between demonic kings that are a part of the Adversary’s (the spiritual king of Babylon’s) reigning hierarchy, a subject about which no human person could know anything even though this war will effect every person if not for supernatural revelation. And in a claim that I haven’t been bashful about making, on Thursday of the second full week in January 2002, I was called to reread prophecy in a manner similar to how Paul of Tarsus was called to know the things of God. I was called to reread prophecy after being initially drafted into the Body of Christ roughly thirty years earlier—and when I was drafted into the Body of Christ, I was a person more like the prophet Amos, or like Peter or John, unlettered men in 31 CE, than like the Greek philosophers who converted to Christianity in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries CE and whose writings now form the foundation of Christian orthodoxy. When drafted into the Body, I was a mill worker and custom gunmaker, building muzzleloading rifles in styles used on the Western frontier. I had a few college credits, three small daughters, an engine lathe, drill press, and many hand tools. I certainly wasn’t a writer or a scholar.
Since 1972 and that draft call into the Body of Christ, quite a lot has happened. The Yom Kippur War of 1973 left me unable to buy gas for two and a half months: I had rifles to build, so I stayed home and worked, but nobody was coming by to pick up completed rifles. Finally, to keep the electricity on, I went trapping, caught enough fur to send a shipment of pelts to a Seattle buyer, and used the check to tide us over until chittim [Cascara sagrada] bark started to slip … before beginning to peel bark, the gas squeeze broke: rifles were picked up and while we didn’t have much money, we had enough that we moved from the place we rented by Twin Bridges on the Siletz River [Oregon’s Lincoln County] to a place across the river from Elk City on the Yaquina River: the house at Abbey Creek. The covered bridge in the movie, Sometimes a Great Notion (1971), starring Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, and Lee Remick, was the end of my lane—the house was on the north side of the Yaquina, three-quarters of a mile downstream by dirt road from the covered bridge, a half mile by river or by the railroad tracks.
But we didn’t stay long at Abbey Creek [not the spelling I use in the sonnet cycle]: within a few weeks (late spring 1974) I had relocated to Kenai, Alaska. And on the Kenai, I fell timber for a gyppo, worked as a gyppo, repaired chainsaws for a local dealer, and opened a chainsaw-outboard dealership, all before 1979, when I sold out, bought a boat, and went commercial fishing, longlining for halibut, first out of Kodiak, then out of Dutch Harbor, where I began to write in December 1979 while moored to the Old Sub Dock.
At midlife (age 41) and with daughters to educate and no money, I returned to the university so my daughters could live at home and not incur indebtedness in getting their undergraduate degrees, which they almost managed to do. I returned not as a math major, what I was when I began college at 16, but as a graduate student in University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Creative Writing program: as an outdoor writer, as a fiction writer, I was thrown into mixed genre graduate writing workshops where I was exposed to more poetry than prose—and one of the aspects of poetry that both modern and ancient poets did was to teach the reader how to read their work early in the manuscript, with an example being from my sonnet cycle, At Abby Creek.
The preceding has been a roundabout way to make two points: if I could do what I have done since I returned to the university Fall Semester 1988, both Peter and John could do likewise. The idea that they remained illiterate men isn’t reasonable … why did I begin to write when scratch fishing at Dutch in 1979? There was no logical reason for me to begin to write. English was my poorest subject in high school. I have an audio dysfunction that is severe enough that I cannot read or spell phonetically: even though I was a post-War student, I learned to sight read. And again, if I could do what I have done—my first degree is the M.F.A. in Creative Writing awarded by UAF—so could any of the first disciples. But I began to write because something inside me compelled me to put a sheet of paper in the manual, portable typewriter aboard the boat and begin pecking out words [not only could I not spell, I couldn’t type either].
The second point has to do with recognizing how poetry is composed, how movement is achieved, the sort of things poets somewhat instinctively do without necessarily telling readers what they are doing. Because I began to write poetry when in graduate school; because I took “Forms” classes for the major writing genres, including poetry; because I studied enough poets, especially Gerard Manley Hopkins, that my thoughts were coming in sprung rhyme—I wrote 88 of At Abby Creek’s 109 stanzas during Finals’ week Spring Semester 1990 while writing papers for the five graduate Lit courses I took that semester—I can address Hebraic poetic discourse with some authority.
But in addressing Hebraic poetry, no recognized line pattern-marking schema exists that captures the movement from physical to spiritual that is seen in the night/day cycle; so as I work through some of the passages translated into English there will be awkwardness in denoting conceptual movement. First, however, I want to demonstrate how a poet uses the beginning of a piece to teach readers how to read the piece; i.e., to establish the pattern that will be repeated, then occasionally broken for effect. In English rhymed poetry, the sound of the last syllable of the line produces phonetic movement whereas in Hebraic poetry it is concepts that move within thought-couples and expanded couplets.
From “At Abby Creek,” section four of Upriver, Beyond the Bend</i>:
The hillsides above Abby Creek, clearcut [a]
by Publishers Paper, planted the same [b]
summer with three-year-old firs, came [b]
back in blackberries and choke cherries [c/c]
anyway. Publishers sprayed the brush, but [a]
didn't kill the alders or the maples; [d]
they killed the magnolia and the apples [d]
in the orchard by the spring. The covered [e/e]
bridge at Elk City, the one in the movie, [f]
washed out while we were in Alaska— [g]
I went by boat, stood where the Light Brahma [g]
rooster attacked Kori, and saw how silly [f]
we were to clear a garden and plant potatoes [h]
when, above the brush, nothing of us shows. [h]
At Abby Creek
breeze rustled chittams, foxglove white [a]
pink purple, fireweed, thistles, roses [b]
along the tracks, meadowlarks & sparrows, [b]
yellow tanzy heads, fleece from the curly [c/c]
ram caught on berry thorns, a kite [a]
tangled in power lines, an Okie Drifter [d]
cast into an alder—a Brown Leghorn rooster, [d]
wings spread, neck stretched, bled [e/e]
from his beak as he hung beside Mrs. Parks' night [f]
gown. In Elk City, they said Vern January [g]
died as had Vern Young, names that carry [g]
memories of Abby Creek and things right [f]
with us, that era before you shut [h]
our life. We're still married, but [h]
split like the maple that shaded our spring, [a]
you remember the one there at Abby Creek, [b]
the one that hid the magnolia (a good stick, [b]
the maple was planked for gun stock blanks), [c/c]
yes, that one you could see when walking [a]
the railroad tracks, that one where Kathy [d]
found the medicine bottle, now empty— [d]
that bottle & a picture of her grandpa are all [e/e]
she has of Oregon. You kept everything [f]
else that belonged to us as a family, awards, [g]
slides, photos, even my fishing records. [g]
Kathy says they're in your shed, molding, [f]
stored next to the stock blanks I couldn't fit [h]
in (for keeping them, thanks) on my last visit. [h]
Through the park there at Elk City, [a]
down, across the concrete and mud, I slid [b]
my Zodiac into the Yaquina, warm & stained red [b]
(the pulp mill at Toledo had another spill; [c/c]
remember how lucky G.P. used to be, [a]
their settling pond only overflowing [d]
on the rising tide). The Big Elk, clearing [d]
after last night's rain, slipped past [e/e]
the stinking water, stayed against the shady [f]
bank, not mixing with the tide in the middle. [g]
I saw on the surface, under that broadleafed maple [g]
with initials carved in hearts (where we [f]
used to park by the bridge), my reflection lying [h]
across the joined waters, still and shimmering. [h]
On a landing across the Yaquina, a yarder
tooted; its mainline snapped taut, snapped
the stick up. Like a man hung, the chokered
log dangled on the rigging, dropped, swinging
past the shovel. The green steel tower,
a gyppo's Skagit with six guys, stood
erect like a bully's middle finger, stood
overlooking Abby Creek and the tanzy
filled pasture where, long ago, fallen timber
fed a whining headrig. The mill once employed
fifty men. Their sons & grandsons have moved
to Toledo, drive Hondas & Toyotas, drink beer
brewed in Milwaukee, and watch America's Team
on cable. I drive a Ford with a bent I-beam.
A beaver with a willow branch between its curved
orange teeth saw me, slapped the river—
the cut willow, floating on the bruised water,
rocked in my wake as I sped past stakes
marking lot lines on the subdivided
south bank. Remember that corner of blackberries
& cattails between the Grange and Vern January's
fenced garden—log trucks and garden
tractors were parked on new lawns, limed [f]
with mud from G.P.'s causticizers, sprouting [g]
satellite dishes and skirted mobile homes. [h]
My wake washed the sand bank and muddied [f]
the creek coming from the bog where, trapping [g]
muskrat, I caught mink in pushup domes. [h]
The headpiece of At Abby Creek holds the rhyme pattern more tightly than any other stanza; for it is the sonnet that teaches the reader how to read what will follow—the rhyme pattern is not typical of either Shakespeare’s or Spencer’s sonnets (if I’m using sprung rhyme, I can use a sprung pattern also). And again I ask, if I can scribble passable poetry, why couldn’t the Apostle John write the Prologue of the Gospel of John? Are you going to tell me that as a mill worker, a logger, a commercial fisherman, I couldn’t write elevated rhetoric? How about the following:
IN SEARCH OF A GRAND STYLE—
Augustine urges pious teachers to master rhetoric
so God won't receive short shrift because of who
contends for souls; urges edification in a subdued
style, persuasion in a grand style. Is this why
England's blind poet sought to justify the ways
of God in verse? My words lack the eloquence
of Milton, nor am I as ambitious. But ignored
pricks, sharp as rose thorns, now compel time
be spent giving gratis what I received gratis
what I neither sought nor wanted till I understood
it's easier to compute a tithe, to write a check,
to support a work
than to speak unwanted words. Silence is easy
as is remaining the student; yet the hour comes
when it's necessary to joust with giants:
better to try & to fail than to not have tried,
the lesson of the windmills
so I hereby step forward to speak
against the millstones of orthodoxy, knowing
my voice will be a mere sabot kicked between gears
of well-oiled machinery, but its splinters
will prick & fester long after I return to dust
if I find a grand style.
I want to drive this message home: for Peter and for John, uneducated common men (from Acts 4:13), to remain uneducated after being born of spirit is unimaginable. That is not what happens following true spiritual birth. A person cannot remain uneducated. The parakletos doesn’t permit that to happen … but the person who hasn’t truly been born of spirit wouldn’t understand the change that comes over the person who has been born of God through receiving a second breath of life (as opposed to the person who merely claims spiritual birth without evidence of such birth).
One last time before moving on: the academic practicing historical criticism—the academic who maligns simple fishermen as being uneducated, common men not capable of producing a text like the Gospel of John—are themselves the ones who are ignorant. Oh, they know nuances of Koine Greek, but none of them know Greek nearly as well as the Apostle Paul knew Greek. Their writings are parasitical texts not worthy of being long remembered; so some charity needs to be extended toward them … I once read that there are three hundred species of mosquitoes in Alaska, of which only fifty are blood suckers: does the same ratio hold for academics practicing historical criticism?
If there is no other name [onoma: authority, character] necessary for salvation except that of Jesus the Nazarene (Acts 4:10–12), then is not the character of Christ Jesus to be emulated by His disciples? Should Christ Jesus’ disciples not be fractals of the man Jesus? Should disciples not walk in this world as Christ Jesus walked (1 John 2:6)? Should disciples not imitate the Apostle Paul as he imitated Christ Jesus (1 Cor 11:1 et al)? But will disciples know how Christ Jesus walked in this world if the biographies [the Gospels] do not paint a full picture of Him?
If the biographies are read individually, not collectively, thus permitting individual authors to draw Jesus in their image and after their likeness, will disciples not splinter into many schisms, some holding that Jesus was simultaneously fully man and fully God (the position of Christian orthodoxy); some holding that Jesus was only a man and not the unique Son of the Creator-of-all-things (the position of Arian Christians); some holding that Jesus was not really a man but a spirit being posing as a man; some holding that Jesus was twice born as the Son of God, the first time when He was humanly born as the Son of the God of living ones, and a second time when He was spiritually born through receipt of the breath of the Father, the God of dead ones, with both of these conjoined deities being present in the Hebrew word transcribed as Elohim and in the Hebrew linguistic determinative YHWH, but with the dead [those human beings without spiritual life] (from Matt 8:22) knowing nothing (Eccl 9:5) and thus not able to know the God of the dead ones whom Jesus came to reveal to His disciples, but not before they were also born of spirit.
Who is this Jesus that is the last Adam, a life-giving spirit (1 Con 15:45; Rom 1:14)?
In Mark’s Gospel, according to critics, Jesus gets angry and He suffers great agony in silence as He is sacrificed as a criminal. But in Luke’s Gospel, at least in the earliest copies of copies, He seems not to suffer and He is quite talkative in the Passion Account. In John’s Gospel, Jesus often speaks in long discourses whereas He usually speaks in short phrases in the Synoptic Gospels. So will the real Jesus please stand up, the One that is made into a round character through a literary form of shadow stereopsis, the overlaying of slightly offset horizontal shadows presented in the four Gospels, four biographies are mere shadows of the Unique Son.
Have the Gospels been corrupted by scriptural errors and/or additions and subtractions … consider for a moment what will seem a non-sequitur: the ascension of Christ Jesus to the Father is the reality of the Wave Sheaf Offering whereas the ascension of glorified disciples is represented by the two loaves of bread baked with leaven that are waved on the Feast of Weeks (Lev 23:17–21). Leaven represents sin, defilement, corruption. Jesus, being without sin, did not need to be beaten into fine flour, mixed with oil, and baked as bread. He was accepted by the Father as He grew here on earth. However, disciples are not without sin: if disciples mimic the Jesus found in the four Gospels, they will still not be without defilement, corruption, for the Gospels have small problems, mostly inconsequential corruptions. In other words, the Gospels represent in type the perfection of disciples, which is why the Lamb of God’s sacrifice is still needed by His disciples when they are waved [presented] before God when they are resurrected and receive glorified bodies. For disciples, even when processed into fine flour still have a small amount of corruption present within themselves, with this small amount of corruption, represented by leavening [yeast] being killed by baking, by the disciple passing through fire—the non-oxidizing fire that separates dimensions and the reason why the pottery analogy is appropriate.
The Apostle Paul said that the physical things that have been made precede and reveal the spiritual things of God (cf. Rom 1:20; 1 Cor 15:46); hence, physical things—such as the man Jesus—precede and reveal the spiritual Body of Christ, the Body of the Son of Man and the temple of the Father … the temple Solomon built formed a shadow and type of the temple that is the Christian Church, with the transition form of this heavenly temple being the second temple that goes from being a lifeless building of timber and stone to being the earthly body of Christ Jesus (John 2:21). At a second level, the temple goes from being an assembly of spiritually lifeless Christians analogous to the timber and stone building to being the Christian Church born of God and filled with spirit analogous to Christ Jesus, and at a third level the temple goes from being Christians with living inner selves [raised from death by the Father] to being glorified sons of God to whom both the Father and the Son have given life.
All of Holy Writ is constructed upon the movement from death to life, from darkness to light, from community to individual, from the outside of a person to the inside of the person, from flesh to soul, from physical to spiritual. It is this movement that causes the Bible—a physical collection of narratives and prophecies—to be the shadow and type of the heavenly Book of Life, in which living disciples form epistles.
But to see what isn’t real, what isn’t tangible or physical, the outer eyes of human persons are useless: a person can only see what isn’t real through inner eyes, through the mind’s eye—and if the templates do not exist in the mind that permit the mind’s eye to see and to hear what eyes cannot see and what ears cannot hear, then the people are as Isaiah described them.
For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
You will indeed hear but never understand, [physical]
and you will indeed see but never perceive. [spiritual]
For this people's heart has grown dull, [physical/physical]
and with their ears they can barely hear, [physical/spiritual]
and their eyes they have closed, [physical/spiritual]
lest they should see with their eyes [spiritual/physical]
and hear with their ears [spiritual/physical]
and understand with their heart [spiritual/physical]
and turn, and I would heal them. [spiritual/spiritual]
But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. (Matt 13:12–17)
The prophecy that Jesus cited was written in Hebraic thought-couplets with the poetic movement functioning as a chiasmus that links hearing and understanding the words of the Lord with the Lord healing the people … no understanding, no healing from death, the disease that ravishes all living entities confined within the creation [the physical universe].
The core or heart of the passage from Isaiah that Jesus cited is,
and their eyes they have closed, [physical/spiritual]
lest they should see with their eyes [spiritual/physical]
A chiasmus is a literary device in which concepts form an “X” that when used by Christ Jesus conceptually represents His death on the cross, portrayed by the Greek letter “X” the person who has wisdom will recognize “X”.
The people of Israel closed their eyes and stopped their ears and begged Moses not to let the Lord speak to them again at Mount Sinai (Ex 20:18–19) … God tested them (v. 20), and they failed the test. God tested them in that by permitting the people of Israel to overhear what He told Moses, He brought sin to life in them (see Rom 7:8) so that they might not sin. He brought sin to life in them so that sin might devour them if they did not believe His words, spoken with authority from atop the mountain.
The Law give sin life so that unbelief [sin] can kill the person who chooses not to serve obedience that leads to righteousness as a willing slave (Rom 6:16). Before the Law came, sin was not counted against unbelievers (Rom 5:13), but with the coming of the Law and Moses entering into the presence of the Lord, sin has been counted against Israel, the firstborn son of the God-who-created-all-things (Ex 4:22).
Paul writes, “Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the spirit have even more glory?” (2 Cor 3:7–8)
The visible glory that shown from Moses’ face formed the shadow and type of the invisible glorified inner selves of disciples who are foreknown, predestined, called, and justified while these glorified inner selves remain housed in tents of flesh awaiting Christ Jesus causing their mortal bodies to put on immortality … the Creator-of-everything-made was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God of living ones and not the God of dead ones (again, Matt 22:32). The unique Son of the Creator-of-everything, the man Jesus the Nazarene, came into this world to reveal to His disciples—men whom the Father, the God of dead ones, would raise to life while they still lived physically—the previously unknown existence of the Father (John 17:25–26).
Jesus came into this world to turn it upside-down, and it was apparently the intention of the Adversary to re-right the world through causing the world to continue to worship its Creator if he couldn’t convince the person to worship the creation itself. Either way, the Adversary would keep his slaves from even accidently worshiping God the Father.
So that there is no misimpression given: the Father is not the Creator. To worship God the Father as the Creator is to commit blasphemy against both the Father and The Son. And it is in the worship of the Father as the Creator that endtime sons of God can know that the Christian Church is the spiritually dead corpse of Christ: Jesus said, “‘And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’” (John 17:3). The Christian who doesn’t know that the Father is not the Creator has no indwelling eternal life, said without caveat.
The visions of Daniel were sealed and kept secret until the time of the end (Dan 12:4, 9; 8:26): Daniel’s visions were for the latter days (Dan 8:17; 2:28). But a sealed and secret text is of no value to anyone: to be of value, the text must be unsealed—and unsealing the text requires production of another text like the first, but a text that supplies the intended signifieds for the signifiers of the first. Unsealing Daniel’s vision involves more than interpreting his visions, assigning physicality to the princes of Media and Persia, and to the prince of Greece. Even a small child or a historical critic can declare that the bronze belly and loins of the humanoid image King Nebuchadnezzar saw in vision represents Greece, but where is the image’s penis? The image wears no clothes, not even sandals. And if the great horn, the first king of Greece, protrudes from between the eyes of the he-goat, but is suddenly broken (Dan 8:8), and if the he-goat is the king of Greece (v. 21), the bronze belly and loins of Nebuchadnezzar’s image, then with hip sockets appearing like eye sockets, does not the image that Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel see—the image that reveals what will happen in the latter days—appear in vision to them after the great horn, the first king of Greece is broken and four horns emerge from around the stump of the first, one horn being the false prophet who is given the mind of a man and comes to earth as a man, and another horn being the king of the bottomless pit and hence not visible, leaving just two horns, neither stronger than the other, these two horns being the kings of the South and of the North, Sin and Death, the two iron legs of the humanoid image? The preceding is true. So without a penis being present (i.e., with the first king of the federated King of Greece being broken and no more), how can the head of gold be earthly King Nebuchadnezzar, unless this human king of Babylon is a shadow and copy of the spiritual king of Babylon (see Isa 14:4), that old serpent, Satan the devil?
Even a historical critic can read what seals Daniel’s vision; i.e., the affairs of state that extend from Nebuchadnezzar through Antiochus IV Epiphanes. But as a small child too young to comprehend dual referents, the historical critic studies the text as if the critic believes knowledge can be lifted off the scroll or taken from a papyrus as if knowledge were like this morning’s biscuit crumbs that are carefully brushed into a pile and picked up before the butter on the biscuits soils the parchment/papyrus.
The prophet Isaiah records,
Astonish yourselves and be astonished; [physical/physical]
blind yourselves and be blind! [physical/spiritual]
Be drunk, but not with wine; [physical/physical]
stagger, but not with strong drink! [physical/spiritual]
For the LORD has poured out upon you [spiritual/physical]
a spirit of deep sleep, [spiritual/spiritual]
and has closed your eyes (the prophets), [spiritual/physical]
and covered your heads (the seers). [spiritual/spiritual]
And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, "Read this," he says, "I cannot, for it is sealed." And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, "Read this," he says, "I cannot read."
And the Lord said: [linguistic determinative: intended to be read silently, not vocalized]
Because this people draw near with their mouth [physical/physical]
and honor me with their lips, [physical/physical]
while their hearts are far from me, [physical/spiritual]
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, [physical/spiritual]
therefore, behold, I will again [spiritual/physical]
do wonderful things with this people, [spiritual/physical]
with wonder upon wonder; [spiritual/spiritual]
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, [spiritual/spiritual]
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden. [spiritual/spiritual] (Isa 29:9–14 emphasis added)
Human wisdom shall perish. Discernment shall be hidden. Why? Because the people go through the motions of worshiping the Lord, but to this people the Law is merely a commandment taught by men: the Law is not written on hearts or placed in minds, but is a small thing, something that can be taught to children like how to split kindling is taught to young sons or how to spin is taught to daughters.
To the wise men of Israel, the visions of Isaiah shall be a sealed book, meaning that regardless of intentions and learning the learned men shall be prevented from knowing the things of God. But this prophet Isaiah, a man who would seem to live after Jerusalem has been razed, such are his words, says more about the house of Jacob:
And now, go, write it before them on a tablet [physical]
and inscribe it in a book, [spiritual]
that it may be for the time to come [physical]
as a witness forever. [spiritual]
For they are a rebellious people, [physical]
lying children, [spiritual]
children unwilling to hear [physical]
the instruction of YHWH; [spiritual]
who say to the seers, "Do not see," [physical/physical]
and to the prophets, "Do not prophesy to us what is right; [physical/spiritual]
speak to us smooth things, [physical/spiritual]
prophesy illusions, [spiritual/spiritual]
leave the way, turn aside from the path, [spiritual/spiritual]
let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel." [spiritual/spiritual]
Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, [linguistic determinative]
Because you despise this word [spiritual/physical]
and trust in oppression and perverseness [spiritual/physical]
and rely on them, [spiritual/physical]
therefore this iniquity shall be to you [spiritual/spiritual]
like a breach in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, [spiritual/spiritual]
whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant; [spiritual/spiritual]
and its breaking is like that of a potter's vessel [physical]
that is smashed so ruthlessly [spiritual]
that among its fragments not a shard is found [spiritual/physical]
with which to take fire from the hearth, [spiritual/spiritual]
or to dip up water out of the cistern. [spiritual/spiritual] (Isa 30:8–14)
The poetic movement found in Hebraic thought-couplets is sometimes easily seen as in the following example from Amos, a man who was not trained as a priest or a scribe [a literary writer], but who was a herdsman and dresser of trees; however, as King David used thought-couplets in his verse, often omitting the linguistic determinatives, the form can be complex, but usually functions as prophecy, yoking what happens or will happen physically to what happens spiritually.
The prophet Amos eight times used simple formulaic thought-couplets:
For three transgressions of Damascus, [physical]
and for four, I [YHWH] will not revoke the punishment [spiritual]
because they have threshed Gilead [physical/physical]
with threshing sledges of iron [physical/spiritual] … (1:3)
For three transgressions of Gaza, [ physical]
and for four, I [YHWH] will not revoke the punishment, [ spiritual]
because they carried into exile a whole people [physical/physical]
to deliver them up to Edom [physical/spiritual] … (1:6)
For three transgressions of Tyre, [physical]
and for four, I [YHWH] will not revoke the punishment, [spiritual]
because they delivered up a whole people to Edom, [physical/physical]
and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood [physical/spiritual] … (1:9)
For three transgressions of Edom, [physical]
and for four, I [YHWH]will not revoke the punishment, [spiritual]
because he pursued his brother with the sword [physical/physical]
and cast off all pity, [physical/spiritual]
and his anger tore perpetually, [spiritual/physical]
and he kept his wrath forever [spiritual/spiritual] … (1:11)
For three transgressions of the Ammonites, [physical]
and for four, I [YHWH] will not revoke the punishment, [spiritual]
because they have ripped open pregnant women in Gilead, [physical/physical]
that they might enlarge their border [physical/spiritual] … (1:13)
For three transgressions of Moab, [physical]
and for four, I [YHWH] will not revoke the punishment, [spiritual]
because he burned to lime [physical/physical]
the bones of the king of Edom. [physical/spiritual] … (2:1)
For three transgressions of Judah, [physical]
and for four, I [YHWH] will not revoke the punishment, [spiritual]
because they have rejected the law of the LORD, [physical/physical]
and have not kept his statutes, [physical/spiritual]
but their lies have led them astray, [spiritual/physical]
those after which their fathers walked. [spiritual/spiritual] … (2:4)
For three transgressions of Israel, [physical]
and for four, I [YHWH] will not revoke the punishment, [spiritual]
because they sell the righteous for silver, [physical/physical]
and the needy for a pair of sandals— [physical/spiritual] … (2:6)
Elsewhere Amos, a man such as myself—not reared as a prophet but as a herdsman, a dresser of trees (Amos 7:14)—wrote,
Do two walk together, [physical]
Unless they have agreed to meet? [spiritual] (3:3)
Three will have one walking alone; whereas four  will have two walking below and two walking above in a manner repeated throughout Scripture. What is three will be physical as in a writer describing three attributes of a thing to establish the reality of physical things, but for a non-tangible thing such as “insurance” the writer needs to describe a fourth attribute of the thing to establish its reality, this being knowledge that came to me when writing a first novel in the cabin of a small vessel tied to Old Sub Dock at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, in 1979. I then wondered how it was that a person could make black marks on white paper come alive—and I knew the first time I read back a successful scene I wrote … I could give existence to what I did not describe through what I had described if my descriptions functioned as rotational matrices. That realization then brought to mind the prophet Amos’ odd expression, For three, and for four, and I began to understand what I did not then have words to well express. Even today, more than thirty years later, I don’t know how to simply express what is truly easy to see. However, in the Endnote, In the Case for Primacy, I began what will probably be a beginning of many efforts to temporarily turn rigid and solid what is ephemeral.
Did Amos understand what he wrote, or was Amos merely employing a literary convention of his culture as the expression translated as, Thus says the Lord, used throughout the Old Testament is a leftover linguistic determinative from orality’s attempt to mimetically reproduce in inscription knowledge a hearer of an utterance would have had from being present when the utterance occurred. As a linguistic determinative, the expression would never have been vocalized. The Tetragrammaton YHWH would, because it was a linguistic determinative, never have been pronounced—not because it was too sacred to utter, but because it was a determinative.
Now, returning to where I left off in section 1: because I cite Isaiah often, and because I will cite David’s psalms, permit me to look at what functions as the headpiece for each—
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; [physical/physical]
for YHWH has spoken: [physical/spiritual]
"Children have I reared and brought up, [spiritual/physical]
but they have rebelled against me. [spiritual/spiritual]
The ox knows its owner, [physical/physical]
and the donkey its master's crib, [physical/spiritual]
but Israel does not know, [spiritual/physical]
my people do not understand." [spiritual/spiritual] (Isa 1:2–3)
Blessed is the man [physical]
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, [spiritual]
nor stands in the way of sinners, [physical]
nor sits in the seat of scoffers; [spiritual]
but his delight is in the law of YHWH, [spiritual/physical]
and on his law he meditates day and night. [spiritual/spiritual]
He is like a tree [physical/physical]
planted by streams of water [physical/spiritual]
that yields its fruit in its season, [physical/physical]
and its leaf does not wither. [physical/spiritual]
In all that he does, he prospers. [spiritual/physical]
The wicked are not so, [spiritual/spiritual]
but are like chaff that the wind drives away. [spiritual/physical]
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, [spiritual/spiritual]
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; [spiritual/spiritual]
for YHWH knows the way of the righteous, [physical]
but the way of the wicked will perish. [spiritual] (Ps 1:1–6)
In poetry, patterns are established to be broken; for the breaking of a pattern calls attention to itself, either consciously or unconsciously. And King David is a very good poet, far better than his translators.
Unsealing a book that cannot be read requires realizing why the book cannot be read: why can’t learned men of Israel read the words of King David and understand what he had written?
In David’s later psalms, he understands what it is that John reveals in the prologue to his Gospel:
Praise YAH! [physical]
Praise YHWH, O my soul! [spiritual]
I will praise YHWH as long as I live; [spiritual/physical]
I will sing praises to my ELOHIM while I have my being. [spiritual/spiritual] (Ps 146:1–2)
Praise YAH! [physical]
Praise YHWH from the heavens; [spiritual]
praise him in the heights! [spiritual/physical]
Praise him, all his angels; [spiritual/spiritual]
praise him, all his hosts! [spiritual/spiritual/spiritual]
Praise him, sun and moon, [physical]
praise him, all you shining stars! [spiritual]
Praise him, you highest heavens, [spiritual/physical]
and you waters above the heavens! [spiritual/spiritual]
Let them praise the name of YHWH! [spiritual/spiritual/physical]
For He commanded and they were created. [spiritual/spiritual/spiritual]
And He established them forever and ever; [spiritual/spiritual/spiritual/physical]
He gave a decree, and it shall not pass away. [spiritual/spiritual/spiritual/spiritual] (Ps 148:1–6)
Praise YAH! [physical]
Sing to YHWH a new song, [spiritual]
His praise in the assembly of the godly! [spiritual/physical]
Let Israel be glad in his Maker; [spiritual/spiritual]
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! [spiritual/spiritual/physical — the couplet continues in v. 9b] (Ps 149:1–2)
Little work has been done on David’s poetry because of the complexity with which he used the inherited form that has physical things revealing and preceding spiritual [heavenly] things. Much more work needs to be done; for as disclosed in Psalms 148:4, there are figurative waters above heaven, with <waters> representing living beings created by the conjoined God of the living ones and God of the dead ones: YaHWaH … these are the two that walk together above all others, the two that functioned as one, with Israel as the firstborn son (Ex 4:22) of the God of the living knowing its Creator but with the dead ones knowing nothing (Eccl 9:5), certainly not their God whom the man Jesus came to reveal to dead ones before these dead ones received indwelling eternal life through receiving a second breath of life, the breath of God [pneuma Theou] in the breath of Christ [pneuma Christou] when the glorified Jesus breathed on them (John 20:22).
Concerning the dead, Solomon declared:
But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun. (Eccl 9:4–6 emphasis added)
Again, unsealing a text that requires the production of another text, one that uses the same signifiers but with a differing set of signifieds will produce a hypertext in the mind of the reader … this hypertext has about it the permanency of memory—and when the dead know nothing and even the memory of them is forgotten, the hypertext is lost. But the living that produced this hypertext will never die so the hypertext will not be lost.
Although there is a remembrance of the dead in the Book of Life (Rev 20:12; Mal 3:16), those things that the dead knew but that the dead had not inscribed as text while they lived will be lost to posterity. For the memory of the dead—the scriptural hypertext produced in the minds of human sons of God as they came to understand the mysteries of God before they died physically—cannot be accessed by other living human persons: the fleshly bodies of 1st-Century saints returned to dust long before the oldest surviving New Testament manuscript fragment was written. Hence, what Paul knew, what John knew, what James knew, what Peter knew, except as inscribed, died with each of these early disciples. Paul and John wrote more than the others, but King David, a man after the heart of YAH, wrote even more and wrote in a form that conceals from secularly learned and unlearned man what can be deciphered by the spiritual man [or woman].
With the text of David’s psalms but without their context [the music], the best that endtime disciples can do in wrestling meaning from David’s psalms is to figuratively view these poetic verses as black and white images of an orchard in bloom.
The Apostle Paul writes in his treatise to the holy ones at Rome, “For although they [who?] knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Rom 1:21–23) … the Who is unrighteous men who knew God because God had shown Himself to them through the visible, physical things that had been made (vv. 18–20).
Egyptian cosmology will have men who knew God, men who today claim to be Christians, returning to worshiping the things that have been made when the majority of the Old Testament and most of the New Testament are devoted to disclosing that the things that have been made reveal to the Believer things that cannot be seen … the man who gazes at the sun goes blind even though a case can be made that the sun reveals the unique Son, the light and life of men (John 1:4), with this punning having special importance to medieval English speakers who were overly superstitious.
A Christian must not—and this cannot be overly stressed—worship the sun as ignorant worshippers of the Queen of the Heaven do when they rise before dawn on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox and mock Christ Jesus’ resurrection with a ceremony borrowed from Egyptian cosmology. This cannot be permitted to enter any Philadelphian fellowship. For if I have to exercise the type of authority Paul exercised when he commanded the holy ones at Corinth to deliver the man who was with his father’s wife to the Adversary for the destruction of the flesh (1 Cor 5:5), sobeit. It is perhaps time the unwanted authority that came with being called to reread prophecy is expressed; for as Christ Jesus wanted no part of judging men but left His word with His disciples as the judge of doubters and mockers (John 12:47–48)—as Paul didn’t want to deliver a person to the Adversary but did so to save the whole—I have absolutely no desire to exercise authority over anyone or any fellowship, but I will not permit someone posing as a teacher of Philadelphia to attach spiritual significance to the cracked Liberty Bell, or to the Statute of Liberty, or to the sun. I will move against the person.
The significance of physical things is, as Hebraic poetry reveals, to disclose spiritual things. Beyond this use, the physical things of this world are of no importance to Philadelphians.
Again, the one who gazes at the sun is spiritually blind and soon will be physically blind.
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."