This installment is part of the work of updating Part 2 of The Sign for the Bride, one of the core studies on theopenscroll.com. You can find the study being updated here: When Will the Lawless One be Revealed? (The Sign for the Bride - Part 2.
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Of the biblical scenarios that picture the signal event of 2 Thessalonians 2, this account where Jesus dips the bread and gives it to Judas is a motherload of riches! It's the demonstration of the baptism and anointing with pneuma antichristos, and there are many other key aspects of the revealing of the lawless one featured in even more subtle ways. In the naming of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, we noted an impression of a counterfeiting of the voice that came out of heaven praising the son, making the observation that this son has the contrasting heritage of Satan. In that naming we also noted a hint of the materializing throne of Zion. I'm about to give attention to one of the most important reasons for the dramatic revealing of the lawless one, perhaps even the single most important reason. I'm also going to highlight the heritage aspect, the genetic or reproductive elements. Before I go any further, though, the matter of timing should be visited due to conflicting interpretations that are not easily resolved.
When was the “last supper”?
Arguments can be made that there are contradictions in the Bible, and while most folks see that suggestion as an assault on the integrity of the Bible and a questioning of divine authorship, that's not necessarily what's at stake. Efforts made to harmonize Gospel accounts often involve some sleight-of-hand. Instead of insisting that there are no contradictions in the Bible and blindly setting out to force what won't fit in defence of what does not require our help to defend, it is better to acknowledge that there actually are contradictions and seek to understand why.
I trust that the scriptures have been provided and maintained perfectly by a sovereign God who is capable of communicating effectively with us. I've learned that the biblical text conveys several layers of meaning at once that are woven together like a tapestry. Sometimes an element is inconsistent with another because it's applicable to one layer but not to another. These points of contradiction are not meant to be reconciled but to convey truth. A perspective that sees only a single layer is not mature and neither is it correct. I've often heard it claimed that God just wants to make the truth plain to everyone. Liars. The Lord conceals and reveals by many means. Is the Author allowed to take such liberties with the written Word? A mature student with a seeing eye and a hearing ear is comfortable answering in the affirmative. When it comes to the records of Y'shua's final week in his earthly body, we're provided with options regarding the schedule of events. There's no other honest way to see it.
Much has been written about the timing of the last supper and whether or not it's the seder called the Passover meal. By some accounts, sure, that interpretation is hard to deny. On the other hand, it's not, because John's Gospel is consistent with the presentation of Jesus as the Paschal lamb of God, sacrificed for us. The prophetic holy day Pesah established according to Exodus 12 dictates that the sacrificial lamb must be slain on the 14th. Then, the sacrifice must be prepared and eaten in what is called the Passover meal, which is done early on the 15th day of the 1st month. We note from the following verse how that, even after our Lord's arrest, those who concerned themselves with the appearance of strictly observing the Mosaic Law had not yet eaten the feast.
Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover. ~ John 18:28
Tracking the activity and doing the math, the Pesah meal followed 2 days after “the last supper,” at the time when Y'suha was already dead, sacrificed as the Lamb of God. His blood must be on the door frame and His body eaten as the main course, according to the essential legal work of substitution taking place in the spiritual realm. When Judas went out from the feast at Jesus' command, it was night, according to John 13:30. The 13th day of the 1st month had begun at sunset, which was perhaps the cue for what transpired in the account of verses 18-30. This is one of the options granted us for the schedule of this event, and this is where the valuable message of the timing of the baptism revealing the lawless one is concealed and revealed.
With the essential particular of timing for the sign established (“so that in his time he will be revealed” - 2 Thes. 2:6), I'm going to show how John 13 illustrates what is probably the most important reason for the dramatic revealing of the lawless one, which is the sign that will indicate that the harvests of the age will subsequently follow in sequence!
“Tell us who it is”
When Jesus dips the bread and gives it to Judas to identify His betrayer, this symbolic action takes place in the midst of intrigue.
21 When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” 22 The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. 23 There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.” 25 He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” ~ John 13:21-25
The disciples were curious. It's a bit of a twist on the who-done-it genre. It's a segue into the party game of Charades, but the twist here is that it's all deadly serious and entirely real, in real time and in the future. If Jesus knows who is going to betray Him, why doesn't He just say who He means? If He's pausing to build drama and intrigue it seems to be working! If Simon Peter has a question to ask, why doesn't he simply direct it to Jesus? Why involve another mystery disciple in the cryptic reference of verse 23 by directing his question to him? Answers have been provided in this study, The Twenty-First Chapter of John. While I recommend becoming very familiar with that work, here's a survey of the essentials.
You have to have the big picture in view as context. The sign for the Bride is relative to the gathering in to the barns of the Lord of the Harvest. Consider the harvest allegory. When it comes to each harvest of the age, the triggering action or catalyst involves a certain kind of interaction between the branches of the natural olive tree, as described in Romans 11. (What Will Their Acceptance be but Life from the Dead?) The natural branches of this tree are Israel and the wild are not. Both kinds may be broken off and grafted in, and this breaking off and grafting in is the seasonal work of The Farmer as he brings His tree to full fruit-bearing health and maturity at the end of the age. The crops are taken in three harvests in sequence, and with each there is pruning and grafting that is managed strictly according to the season appointed. Now, the signal that it's time to harvest requires the kind of interaction that results in a natural branch recognizing the identity of the one genuine Olive Root, that one whom their fathers had rejected.
For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? ~ Romans 11:15
“Their acceptance” describes when a natural branch comes by faith to accept the one they had formerly rejected, and “life from the dead” describes a literal resurrection event, which is a harvest. What will their acceptance be but life from the dead? What is concealed and revealed in that expression is how the catalyst or trigger for a resurrection is the coming of a natural branch to accept Y'shua as their Messiah.
This is beyond the matter of individuals because it's a branch grafting operation, a corporate determination. The triggering instances of corporate acceptance come in succession at the times appointed for harvest. It's strictly ordered, elegant and simple. And, the activity is well hidden from most.
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More to follow, Lord willing.