This blog explores Matthew's Grand Run using our new Harmony app. Also, a brief look at possible fulfillment for this weekend's prophetic headlines. Finally a reminder of the Tabernacles holiday that starts Saturday.
The link here is to the start of a section in the BibleTime.com website. In that section a series of stories in the Gospel of Matthew are tied back to the historical timeline of the Bible itself.
This series starts late in Matthew chapter 16. The stories are parables that map to the historical chronology. There are 14 parables in a row that map across world history. Most of them happened before the NT was written, but the parable series continues beyond the NT into Roman history and then later even into our own modern era. Once we cut through additions, that series likely continues for many more centuries.
When that series was first written I had no idea what was to come in terms of manuscript work. Some of the articles quote both Matthew and Mark. Some only Mark. These days I would only use Matthew's versions. This is because only Matthew has a complete set of parables.
That set of parables is one of the proof texts for that section of Matthew as being inspired. The entire timeline of the Bible is fractal. It runs again and again against itself. It does this using various time scales. This pattern runs even into modern headlines and is a fundamental proof of inspiration.
That Matthew sequence is also a proof text that Joshua was using this system extensively in his own era in various ways.
If you are new here and not familiar with that structural component of Matthew you may want to follow the link given above and start to understand how the Bible works.
In the days when that was written I called it the "Grand Tour" these days we often just call that section in Matthew the "Grand Run." That name echos to the 1000 year steps that so common in that run.
In our new harmony app the Book of Mathew has its own page and on that page it displays all the parallel versions of the same passages that are found in the Grand Run.
The link here is to the Matthew Supplement in our new Harmony App. Use this link to follow along in the rest of this blog.
For this exercise you will also want to be sure Filters/FA are turned on. Use the top right menu under Filters to make sure this option is checked.
Now, scroll down in Matthew until you find Matthew 16:21-28. This is the starting story in Matthew's Grand Run.
The run itself runs confidently through the end of Matthew chapter 20. It may continue, but the pace and topics are shifting at this point. So for our purposes in this blog, going through chapter 20 is enough.
When you find this section you will see that the app is showing the other versions of each of Matthew's stories. Matthew's stories show up in various modified forms in both Mark and Luke. Not all of Matthew's stories show up in other places if at all. None of Matthew's Grand Run stories show up in John.
Some readers here have probably never used a Harmony at all. So let me give 2 examples that introduce how Harmonies are generally used. These are both in Matthew 20. They are near the end of the Grand Run, so they also prophetically apply in recent world history. Both have some background application to NATO's current war with Russia, so we will start with these examples.
Wife Of Zebedee (Matthew 20:20-28)
If you look at the Harmony entry for this story you can see there are very subtle language differences between Matthew's telling of the story and the version of the story in Mark.
In Matthew's account it is the mother of the sons of Zebedee who asks Joshua for her sons to sit on his right and on his left in his kingdom.
In Mark's account it is the sons themselves who ask to sit on Joshua's right and left in his kingdom.
In both accounts the other 10 disciples get angry over the request and are mad at the 2 sons of Zebedee.
The first idea to note here is that the same story is being told in slightly different ways between these Gospels. The harmony, as a tool, lets us quickly and easily study the nuanced differences between these accounts.
All published harmonies do this for every story in the Gospels. This is the power of this class of Bible Study tool.
On the other hand, this class of tool also brings into sharp focus the fact that this story is being told in 2 different ways. This begs some basic questions. Was there one historical event that caused these 2 different written stories that have been passed down to us? Probably. Why? Because the name Zebedee is not a common name. This unusual name has 2 sons in both stories and there are 10 more who get mad. This is NOT likely to have happened more than 1 time with these details in Joshua's ministry.
So how did we end up with 2 different accounts? For that matter, is the difference between these accounts material? These questions get answered by looking at the differences between the accounts, not the similarities.
Who really asked Joshua the question about those 2 sons? Was it themselves? Or was it their mother? Does this matter? Yes. It matters. Differences will always matter. Those differences are not the fault of some oral tradition that was changing across the century after this happened.
We believe all of these differences, found across all harmonies, are the result of malicious editing on the part of Ananias and his scribes.
So for all cases, not just this one, we want to ask what was Ananias' likely motive in creating a second story. In that question we also are asking which story is likely the original, and which is likely the edited copy.
In this case there are only 2 versions. This is easier than when there are 3 or 4 versions of the same story.
Here is how I look at this story.
In Mark's telling the reason for the anger on behalf of the 10 is more rightly directed at those 2 sons. Ananias simply dropped their mother as the source of the question in order to give the 10 ten a reason for their anger.
But this overlooks what is likely the real point of the story. 'Mother' has an idiomatic meaning. A mother is like someone's religion. This is something that Ananias, the voice of the religion, would want to erase.
The 10 disciples who become angry over this episode falsely place their accusations on the 2 men, and not on the mother, idiomatically, the religion that raised them.
The misplacement of blame is a fault of the 10 and why they would not even qualify to sit on Joshua's right and left. In Matthew's telling of the story the point is that Joshua showed off the general faithlessness and jealousy of those 10.
This story sits in the Grand Run of history beyond the NT era. It is a parable about the squabbles between the western (10) branches of Rome and the eastern (2) branches of Rome. It matches historical time in or soon after the split and fall in Rome. The 10 on the west were apparently angry with the 2 in the east.
The western branches of the now former Roman Empire are being called out as faithless idiots, unable to sit with Joshua. The eastern branches are called out as being accused of stuff they never did. This is the relationship between NATO and Russia to this day.
For those who may want to read more about this, the link here is to a recent article on unz.com that deals with the history of the eastern branches of the Roman empire. It especially peaked around the year 1000 when they brought Christianity to Russia. The Byzantine world started to fall with the 4th crusade around 1096, when the western branches of Rome sent an army into the east.
This explains, by the way, why Russia is quick to defend herself when the French, think Napoleon, the Germans, think Hitler with his Nazis, and now the Americans, think Biden with his Ukrainian Nazis, show up on her western frontier.
The article linked here suggests Byzantium has a better claim as being the rightful heirs to Rome than the Romans based in Italy. The same comparison needs to be made against London, as that is the prophetic western end of Rome, but I digress.
This article is interesting background for those who may not know the history of the eastern side of the Roman Empire.
Now, the Parable of the Wife of Zebedee continues with another parable. Taken together we can more readily understand why Matthew's version of these 2 stories is more likely to be inspired. We turn there next.
2 Blind Men (Matthew 20:29-34)
As a final example in the Matthew Grand series, consider the story of Joshua healing 2 blind men as he went out from Jericho.
The Harmony page for Matthew shows that the same story has been edited in details in Mark and Luke. So now we are looking at a story with 3 different versions.
Note that like the name Zebedee in the previous story tied the accounts to a likely single event in real history, in this case 'leaving Jericho' is the likely evidence these 3 stories spring from a single historical event.
In Mark it is a single named man, Timaeus, and in Luke it is simply an unnamed blind man. So somewhere in the history of the manuscripts these details were changed. Matthew has 2 blind men who are healed.
In the Matthew context, the previous story was the 10 angry with the 2 sons of Zebedee, so in Matthew these 2 men are giving an additional parable about the 2 tribes that formed the eastern reaches of the Roman empire. These 2 blind men stand in for those 2 sons of Zebedee.
So how does this apply in history? The 2 are symbolic of the eastern reaches of the Roman Empire. Russia especially. The story is telling of the conversion to Christianity of Russia about 1000 years ago. Their blindness was healed when they came to at least Orthodox faith.
So Matthew is giving commentary on them, that they are blind, but Joshua can and did heal them. The other 10 remained blind, and were angry at the men instead of their mother. The commandment that the 10 collectively break is to covet the position of those 2. NATO and western bankers who want to strip Russia of natural resources are doing the very same thing today.
When looking at the differences in the stories as found in harmonies, we should also be looking to explain Ananias' motive for making copies. We also want to look at motives behind specific changes. Those differences will show us exactly what he was thinking and what he was worried about being discovered about him.
This is how we build up confidence that we understand the construction of the NT. This is how we learn about the community that crucified Joshua and then later put their hands on the written account of what happened.
So what was Ananias' motive for making these 2 precise edits for the healing of the 2 blind men? More generally, we must always ask, how does the inspired story cause Joshua to denigrate Ananias and his friends? Joshua was always calling them out. They are the villains across the entire text. They edited the text to hide their various crimes.
Remember, that Ananias is the spiritual heir of Ezra. The main event in Ezra's era was to occupy the empty tribal name Judah, long hauled away by Assyria. The land of Judah still existed in Canaan in Ezra's day, but the tribe of people was long gone.
That tribe of Judah was basically hidden in Ezra's day. At the time it was part of Rome, out on the eastern edges. We find it later using the seal dates from the Book of Revelation.
Ezra uses the name for the lands around Jerusalem and created a new Jewish religion at the same time. This is how we even get Jews as opposed to the lost tribe of Judah living today in Russia.
The realization of this split took me months to break through years ago. It is perhaps the most fundamental lesson of any serious walk of faith.
When the kingdom split after Solomon's reign, 10 tribes went north and 2 remained in the south. The reference to the 2 blind men is an easy to understand reference to the southern kingdom of Judah. The 10 are the northern kingdom, Joseph itself renamed Israel after Ezra era edits.
But the real southern kingdom of Judah was usurped in Ezra's day. In Ananias' day any parables referencing those 2 tribes are now a reference to his own community.
So Ananias would take the 2 sons of Zebedee and the 2 blind men as parables against himself and against his people. They are being called out as blind, not the future Russians.
So Ananias had considerable reason to edit both stories. He gets rid of the wife of Zebedee to make the 10 jealous of his people. Then he changes key details of the healing of the 2 blind men. All he need do here is mess up that count.
In Ananias' edits, there is either just 1 blind man healed, or some other named blind man. Either of these versions deflects from the Jews of Ananias' day.
In telling this story 3 times in 3 ways Ananias can plant the idea that 1 of the 2 was named Timaeus and that there was some other blind man forming the 2 in the inspired story.
So the 2 parallel accounts for the healing of blindness while Joshua was leaving Jericho are likely the edits, Matthew's version is likely inspired.
I hope you can see why published harmonies are usually reserved for Master's level course work. These are the riddles that must ultimately be solved to understand the text. But these riddles are hard to frame and hard to solve. They tend to be mind-bendingly complex. There are many, many similar riddles across all of the Gospels. This is where Ryan is spending all of his time. And this is just a simple use of this new tool.
Advanced Uses Of The Harmony App
By organizing this in a supplement style format, you can also watch context. In this case in Matthew, the page is showing all the stories in Matthew, so we can see the order of the stories too.
We used this mildly in the 2 examples above when we linked off to Bible Time and from there hinted at how these stories apply in modern world history. In that case the 10 are blindly angry with the 2. Then only the 2 are healed of blindness. So there was context that pointed into the Matthew story as inspired just by the story order.
If you scroll through the Grand Run in Matthew you will see that there are 3 places where Matthew has a story that is not matched in any of the other Gospels. So these 3 stories provide context to their adjacent stories that is unmatched in the other Gospels.
At these 3 places we are confronted with a question. Are these 3 stories additions themselves? Or can we establish that they are inspired? If inspired, then why did Ananias not copy them around and mess with them? Did he only mess with details?
If we can establish inspiration on these 3 stories, then we can begin to reasonably conclude that Matthew was the original text for all of this inspired series and that the copies in Mark and Luke are just that, editor's copies, which were never inspired.
To study these questions, we look at each of these 3 stories in turn.
Head Tax (Mathew 17:24-27)
In this story someone who collects head tax comes around and asks Joshua to give tax, for himself and also apparently for Peter.
Joshua then asks Peter a question. From whom do the kings of the earth collect tax? From their own sons? Or from strangers?
Of course the answer is from strangers.
Joshua affirms that sons are free.
Joshua then goes on to explain that they will give the tax, but only so as not to offend. In other words to not cause trouble to themselves.
This particular parable has a very important application in terms of kingdoms generally. Sons of the king are not taxed. The US Government, for example, does not tax state governments. State governments do not tax county nor city governments. They are part of the same kingdom/empire family.
Other organizations, called in the modern US Tax code tax-exempt organizations, are also of the same family as the government itself. All charities as well as organized churches fall into this category. See how organized church, even to this day, is a branch of the government as setup in Ezra's commissioning letter.
I digress, but tax exempt organizations exist to fix problems created by government itself, thus they are not taxed. Tax exempt organizations relieve pressure on government who creates problems while otherwise standing in for god himself.
The Head Tax story in Mathew is teaching that when a tax collector comes around, as in this story, that tax collector is crossing out of his own family. Joshua and Peter are not in the same family. Being asked to pay tax is proof. It also teaches to pay taxes so as not to offend.
Remember that organized religion and government are wedded together. Ezra was commissioned by the king to build a state religion. By the early 300s Christianity had become the state religion of Rome.
In Joshua's day the high priest in Jerusalem is the effective state religion. Ananias is the chief agent behind the local head-tax collectors. (The census count at Joshua's birth was likely an empire based property tax collection. Show up and defend your property and pay tax, or else Rome would sell it.)
Joshua's kingdom stands independently. If you are in his kingdom, then he does not demand tax from you. You are his child, and in his family, and thus in his kingdom. He will take care of you as a member of his family if you let him.
Now Ananias as the chief temple tax collector will not want this story to be floating around. Joshua and his disciples are in a different kingdom than Ananias.
So Ananias would not want to invent it, nor copy it, when he had his hands on the NT. He probably could not find a way to twist it to his own end. So Matthew is likely inspired and probably in its original location.
We can check this by looking at the Bible Time Grand Run. Does this match anything in historical prophetic order? The previous story, 3 days until crucifixion, is pointing at 3,000 years ahead of Joshua's era, or roughly 8,000 AA on the calendar. We know this as the Tower of Babel era.
The following story is about asking who is the greatest in the kingdom. A little boy is used to illustrate that story. This would be Joseph, imprisoned as a boy in Egypt. He becomes the greatest of his family and eventually the greatest in Egypt. Joseph was around 9,100 AA on the calendar. So we are looking at history between Babel and Joseph in order to find a head tax match.
So if this head tax story is inspired it points at something in Abraham's life. We need to look around in the text to find it.
The head tax story in question is likely Abraham paying head tax to Melchizedek, a priest of god most high. There are no other candidates in this era in history so this is the only possible historical/textual match.
So Matthew's account is giving commentary. Abraham paid tax to Melchizedek even though that priest was not of the same family, so not the same religion, as Abraham. This is just like the local tax collector in Joshua's day. Abraham paid tax simply to keep peace, and in so paying he demonstrated that he was NOT of the same spiritual kingdom.
Ezra may have edited Melchizedek to hint at something else, but this story in Matthew says that Abraham saw Melchizedek as outside Abraham's family of faith.
I have gone long here to suggest Ananias did not invent this story because it speaks against his institution. He did not copy it for the same reason. In this case he probably did not want to bring up the story any more.
So I am making the case that the entire set of stories in Matthew's Grand Run are the likely inspired versions of those stories. The other Matthew stories, those with parallel accounts, are gaining evidence from context that Matthew's versions are inspired and that all other parallel copies in Mark and Luke are just that, editor's copies and not inspired.
Let me do this again with the next story unique to Matthew.
Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:21-35)
Let me keep this example shorter. The story is advancing up the timeline. The bulk of this is likely commentary on events in Solomon's reign. His temple construction was to prepare for the millennial break at the year 10,000 AA. That year is being called out in this story with the reference to 10,000 Talents.
Ananias is in Solomon's tradition. This story is in order and is against Solomon and his evil works. So Ananias had no reason to copy it nor embellish it. He left it alone in its original location in Matthew.
This story is suggesting again that Matthew's list of Grand Run stories are likely the original versions. The Matthew versions themselves perhaps were slightly tampered, but more likely to be original than the others which are missing some of these stories.
Note that from the perspective of the Law of Babel, the copied stories are seen as additions, and thus legal by that law. Those copies need not be complete. They can omit details as Ananias willed because they themselves are not removing anything inspired.
Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16)
The Vineyard parable is not copied around into the other Gospels. Ananias probably did not like it, and could not see a way to twist it, so he left it alone. He may not have any trouble with the parable, thinking it might apply to himself.
The parable itself is built on workers called at various hours of the day.
Given the historical application of Matthew's Grand Run, this is likely starting at the time of the Babylonian Captivity. It is likely overlaying the 7 times intervals that are defined in Leviticus 26.
Remember that hours break down into 7 smaller blocks of time. So 12 hours of the day are 84 such units long. Remember also that 7 years break down into 12 months each. Not counting the leap month, there are 84 common months in 7 years. This parable overlays the 2550 or so years from the loss of Jerusalem to Babel until the recovery of Jerusalem, by Babel, soon after World War II.
So the parable itself can be mapped out across history.
This story is like the others in that it points at Matthew's complete list of stories as being the original. All the parallel accounts of the other stories are likely Ananias era copies and edits.
We are on the cusp of the start of a plagues gap that spans out to late October, 2023. Headlines so far in this series have centered on NATO's war to conquer Russia, of course using Ukraine as proxy.
It will take another couple days to completely pass this mid-month prophetic date, so there may be other headlines...
But as I was scanning news this morning there was a note on Hal Turner, linked above, that indicates there are at least 3 different western media reports that strongly suggest NATO is giving up with this round of the war against Russia.
This headline suggests the 3 month gap in the charts will see a 3 month period of regrouping before we see the next prophetic date in October. This greatly reduces the risk of nuclear war with Russia in the immediate future. This is the best news I have seen in many months.
Watch this weekend for any more surprises.
Saturday, July 24, 2023, is the first day of Tabernacles week for this year. This is a Sabbath year so the week is 8 days long. Check the calendar app for details.
Ryan and I have picked out a place along a local river to visit during each day of the holiday. We are not planning on traveling far, nor camping. Our plan is to read through the Testimony as usual. We will also be doing daily lots.
If you are able, consider doing something similar across this once every 7 year version of the holiday. Reading the Testimony on this holiday is only called out in these Sabbath years. The table of contents in the TT app shows off the 8 day reading plan. Each scroll matches 1 day. Front and back match morning and afternoon reading sessions. It is also possible to shift some of the reading and/or lots into the evening before.
We will return to normal work after this year's Tabernacles week is over.