Challenging Literal Christianity

Here are the midrash examples in Resurrection Myth or Reality (John Shelby Spong) that the literalists in their evangelical system fail to grasp:

1. “The birth narratives are quite obviously Haggadic midrash”
2. “who was to hail from Bethlehem, like King David”
3. “The wise men came out of the sixth chapter of Isaiah, where kings were said to come to the brightness of God’s rising”
4. “they came on camels and brought gold and frankincense … combined the elements from the visit of the queen of Sheba, who brought spices (myrrh?) to honor the king of the Jews”
5. “and the story of Balaam, a seer from the east who saw the star of David rise and came to bless the king of the Jews (Num. 22-24)”
6. “The guiding star had appeared earlier in the midrashic tradition in the stories of the birth of Abraham, Isaac, and even of Moses.”
7. “The song of Mary was patterned on the song of Hannah.”
8. “The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, childless in their old age, was a retelling of the story of Abraham and Sarah.”
9. “The vision of Zechariah in the temple speaking with Gabriel was a retelling of the story of Daniel in the temple speaking with Gabriel.”
10. “Jesus’ flight to Egypt was a reliving of Israel’s history.”
11. “Jesus’ father, Joseph, was created out of the whole cloth of the ancient patriarch to whom God also spoke in dreams, and who also served God’s promise by fleeing to Egypt.”
12. “Luke’s shepherds came out of Bethlehem, home of the shepherd king David, and the tower-of-the-flocks story of Micah 2-5.”
13. “The story of the young Jesus in the temple was patterned after Samuel and his experience in the temple.”

Revelation is a book of midrashic examples in an apocalyptic universal age. It shows how ensamples become timeless and never to be taken literally in a religious dogmatic system that bonds people to controlled slavery.

The midrash way, the path less travelled, will be resurrected.

Midrash – Books of Kings and Chronicles

“What was the relationship, I wondered, of the Books of Chronicles to the Book of Kings in the Hebrew Scriptures? They both covered much the same history and material, but they did it with very different and sometimes contradictory detail. The possibility that Chronicles was an example of Jewish midrash on the Book of Kings had not yet dawned on me” p.14 Resurrection Myth or Reality John Shelby Spong.

It is time to take the story of midrash many steps forward into the timeless concept the Ancient scribes intended. Yes there are minor differences between the books of Kings and Chronicles – both written about events in pre-chronological time (Pre-Babylonian time)

John Shelby Spong to his credit highlights the concept of midrash and admits that “Clergy … they were encouraged not to use this new knowledge when speaking from the pulpit.” But Spong continued in his books “to explore my faith by looking at the Jewish tradition that had given it birth”. P 13.

There is a time for everything. That time is now. In the books of Kings and Chronicles we have remarkable consistency between the years of reigns of each king from king David right through to Babylonian captivity.

Daniel using midrashic form look back to this creation and with the help of Gabriel incorporated these past midrashic years into his vision of 490 years of Dan. 9:24-27 which accurately matches the split of the 490 years into a period of 49 years, 434 years and a final period of 7 years.

Once one grasps the concept of OT midrash the Christian projection of the 490 years forward becomes simple nonsense. One comes to revere the Hebrew way and not the Greek way which we have been drenched in. My paper on the Mathematics of Daniel 9:24-27 is an introduction of the concept of midrash unseen by progressives of this modern era.

5 posts published by maxburnett during May 2017

Available at Abbey’s Bookshop Sydney

Challenging Christianity

In an amazing original interpretation of the KJV’s Testaments the author claims discovery of a new golden thread running though the writings that neither ecclesiastical nor secular forces have perceived. The writer uses a framework of type, antitype and archetype to prise open the books and reveal a different Christ to that taught in western culture. The author states we have been drowned in a single susceptible highlight 2,000 years back. So, “leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ” – Heb. 6:1 the manuscript dares to question in Pauline fashion the very basis of our theological acclaimed morality and ethics. The writer uses the allegorical types of the Old Testament to absolutely prove we have a very superficial knowledge of the death of the Messianic and no understanding of the Ancient’s call for sacred-civil balance in thought and action.

The thesis is very challenging to Christianity as we know it. It demonstrates what Christianity could have been. It claims the books of the New Testament support each other, with the Synoptics confirming Paul’s conversion and John of Patmos’ global application.

This tract will be challenging to any one born and raised with a modern vicarious faith background. The author appeals to Freethinkers, the Gentiles of today, and claims our modern faith is not strengthening our culture in the age of global clashes of almighty forces. The writer opens the book of Revelation verse by verse and claims the apocalyptic long awaited resurrection begins with the opening of the book.

It is an astounding work, showing great insight into all Scriptural tests, researched over years. It comes as a fresh breeze breaking down the middle wall of partition existing between the Sacred and Secular.

“They looked at an overall perspective and came to the conclusion that the events of the past were ensamples for cogitation. They foresaw similar mighty events would happen and these would be racked by almighty forces, clashes of cultures. They had experienced such traumatic upheavals time and time over. They perceived the events were local, had become national, and would in time become global. And the Messianic revealed the circularity of life’s progress to civilisation. It revealed the Messianic craving in society. It rejected “cunning craftiness”. It revealed a Christ, an anointing.

They wrote to their citizens, to Jews about Jewish political history as type. They’d seen the transition from judges, to kings and kingdoms. They’d experienced the decline of the kingdoms, and captivity again. They’d seen the rise of the Greek empire and the betrayal by their citizens to Greek mores. There had been resurrection of the earlier ideals by Hezekiah, by Cyrus, by Judas Maccabees. They’d seen Daniel’s compilation around the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (174-164 B.C.) and the description of the ten horns (Israel) and seven heads (the last seven kings of Judah before Babylonian captivity) were engraved in their memory. They’d seen the hope and faith of the O.T. characters Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sara, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, and Samson and of the prophets. As Paul stated faith has always existed, “what shall I more say?”

They’d seen the rise of the Hasmoneans and then the emergence of the Pharisees and Sadducees and the total decline into the early first century. They’d seen the rise of the Messianic breath of wind and the compromise of their leaders under a distant generally tolerant Roman hegemony. They’d experience rabbinic Judaism, the “lovers of luxury”, “seekers of smooth things” wearing their descriptive tiaras, turbans and royal diadems. They paid attention to the annual observances, Passover, Pentecost, Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). They’d experienced the landed estates of the Jewish aristocracy with the peasantry reduced to slavery, confiscation of lands, huge fines with any rebellious insurrection squashed. They’d firsthand experience of the Herodian economy. The Qumran community had rejected the Temple of Jerusalem and that corrupt priesthood. Apocalypse nationally was pending and Messianic fervour was in season. There was no escape.

The major concern at that time was protection against their own, against the warring local bandits and any nations that brought turmoil, death and brutality. They sought reconciliation between the cosmos and the conceptive being. They’d realised the written word was their sole weapon. They looked back at Daniel’s expeditious portrayal on the monumental Babylon, Media-Persia, Alexander and Antiochus Epiphanies with the Greek feet splattered by the great rock of all ages in the victory of Judas Maccabees. It was time to have this victory and flesh dry bones with the Messianic uplifting, “rise from the dead”, was long awaited to unshackle them from the yoke.”

“Embarking on such a stupendous course one has to choose specific topics that go to our beckoned heart and soul. Chapter topics explore the meaning of Virgin, Immanuel, and examine why Saul, David, Solomon, Israel and Judah are pivotal in the book of Revelation. Also the unknown Sacred and Secular Years of ancient Jewish culture are given their due prominence. The Ten Commandments to make, to build, are detected. These commands are a direct challenge to the western ten laws of ethics as taught. The debased rule of the Pharisees and Sadducees is centrefold. We will also look at why Rome was not such a villain of the Synoptic books. Roman imperialism has been made the scapegoat and placed centre stage to forge a religious Christianity that arose much later than the canonical gospels. Startlingly I explain why 70 C.E. is not mentioned in N.T. Academics have poured over every phase, ten times over, upside down and inside out, to find this conflagration in the Synoptics. They have failed. All construction is interconnected. The form of the N.T. being reliant on the Old well braced staunches of the Ancients. The Apocalypse seen by John of Patmos was to be the most heraldic explosion of all times, when the book is finally opened. It was never the logos burning of Jerusalem just forty years after the Messianic eclipse. That later age, what is now termed the Judeo-Christian age, is when the Apocalypse, the ending of the Age of Deception and lies, was to be unlocked.”

This book will shake your very foundation.

– See more at:

The Beastly Kings and Kingdoms – The Godly Theological Perception


The Lion Symbol — King Saul

Saul was described by Daniel as a lion beast.  Daniel 7:4 says, “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given it.”

Saul was a king who had riches.  Saul was polished.  Saul was lifted up, very tall and Saul was given a new heart.  Saul is confirmed as the lion.

 The Bear Symbol — King David

David was described as the bear beast.  Daniel 7:5 says, “And behold another beast, a second, like a bear, and it raised up itself on one side (or “raised up one dominion” — see margin notes in KJV), and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it; and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh” (Dan. 7:5).

David was the king who had raised up a dominion, and David held three ribs in his mouth (Moabites, Syrians, Edomites).  David devoured much flesh.  These three witnesses confirm David as the bear.

The Leopard King Symbol — King Solomon

Solomon was described as the leopard beast.  Dan. 7:6 says, the third beast was “like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl”.  Wings, as already stated, indicate wealth. “The beast had also “four heads,” illustrating much wisdom, as, “the wise man’s eyes are in his head” – Eccles. 2:14.

Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and wisdom – “Solomon exceeded…for riches and for wisdom” – 1 Kings 10:23.

The Diverse Beast Symbol — Israel (Ten Tribes) and Judah (Last Seven Kings before Babylonian Captivity)

The Ten Horn Symbol: Tribes of Israel:

– Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebuluon,  Ephraim,  Manasseh — Note: Asher, Zubuluon and Manasseh were plucked – moved permanently to Jerusalem

The Seven Heads Symbol: The Little Horn — Judah Kings after Hezekiah (Immanuel) up to Babylonian Captivity:

– Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehioachin, Zedekiah.


Written after the book of Revelation the Synoptic details the oppressive reign of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  The synoptics highlight over and over their administrative errors.  The Pharisees and Sadducees are like the two horned beast of Rev. 13:11, in the apocalyptic era, where all deception ends:

For example, the main emphasis is in the words of Mark are there for us to see:

  • “And they (P & S) were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes” – Mark 1:22
  • “What thing is this? what new doctrine is this?” – Mark 1:27
  • “And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful? … The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” – Mark 2:24–27
  • “And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him” – Mark 3:6
  • “That seeing they may see, and not perceive” – Mark 4:12
  • “For Herod feared John, knowing he was a just man” – Mark 6:20
  • “Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?” – Mark 7:5
  • “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod” – Mark 8:15
  • “And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him” – Mark 10:2
  • “and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they condemn him to death, and shall deliverer him to the Gentiles” – Mark 10:33
  • “have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner” – Mark 12:10
  • “And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians” – Mark 12:13
  • “Then come unto him the Sadducees … If a man’s brother dies …” – Mark 12:18–19
  • “And they lead Jesus away to the high priest” – Mark 14:53
  • “Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done?” – Mark 15:14


The archetype occurs in the apocalyptic age.  The two beasts – the ten horned and seven headed monster is highlighted in Rev. 13:1 and the two horned beast in Rev. 13:11.  John of Patmos surmised that the beasts of modernity would be patterned on the beasts of the past although with different characteristics.  In this era the woman sits on the beast proudly, for the past two thousand years, and without a care so cocky that her doctrines and truths are correct and true.  But the cock must crow.

But the ten horns turn on the woman and make her “desolate and naked, and burn her with fire.”   The merchants of the earth “weep and mourn after her”.  And in, “one hour so great riches is come to nought”.

John of Patmos’ remarkable vision awaits fulfilment for the “true marriage of the Lamb is come”.  Restoration, after two thousand years of pitched darkness.

Finally Jubilee when Daniel’s Highly Sophisticated Godly Vision is Apprehended –

Type Accumulation to match 490 years (70 weeks Dan: 9:24)

 Jubilee is celebrated after 49 years (7 * 7) as all is fully complete.

This Ancient model shows that also after 7 * 70 or after 490 years all was complete in symbolic terminology.  There was two witnesses, one Pre-exilic and one Post-exilic.  Judas Maccabees great victory allowed old men to sit in the street and sing again a new song.

  1. 483 Years Pre-exilic

The record of the years of reigns in the texts of King and Chronicles ads up to 483 years out of 490 years.  This is Daniel’s most intricate advance of the Ancestor’s tale and shows a pilgrimage to a higher level of DNA and genes.

Let’s count the years of kings recorded from David’s decree to construct the Temple: 49 ( -5) + 17 + 3 + 41 + 25 + 8 + 1 + 6 + 40 + 29 +52 + 16 + 16 + 29 + 55 + 2 + 31 +1/4 + 11 +1/4 + 11 years + 50 years of captivity = 483

Year BC Kingly Reign Referenced from Books of Kings and Chronicles
1021 David David’s command to restore and build Jerusalem 49 years (D/Y principle) 7 weeks = 49 days 1021 BC to 972 BC according to Daniel 9:24.  David was said to have reigned 40 years.
976 Rehoboam – 17 years 1 Kings 14:21 Rehoboam “reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem”
972 Rehoboam Shishak, King of Egypt, against Jeroboam of Israel in 972, in fifth year of Rehoboam – reason for -5 above) –Shishak pillages Temple was a key event as it represents disruption.
959 Abijah – 3 years 2 Chron. 13:2 Abijah “reigned three years in Jerusalem”
956 Asa – 41 years 2 Chron. 16:13 Asa “died in the one and fortieth year of his reign”
915 Jehoshaphat – 25 years 2 Chron. 20:31 Jehoshaphat “reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem”
889 Jehoram – 8 years 2 Chron. 21:5 Jehoram “reigned eight years in Jerusalem”
885 Ahaziah – 1 year 2 Chron. 22:2 Ahaziah “reigned one year in Jerusalem”
883 Athaliah – 6 years 2 Kings 11:3, 21 Athaliah reigned for six years in Jerusalem
877 Johoash – 40 years 2 Kings 12:1 Joash “forty years reigned he in Jerusalem”
838 Amaziah – 29 years 2 Kings 14:2 Amaziah “reigned twenty nine years in Jerusalem”
808 Uzziah – 52 years 2 Chron. 26.3 Uzziah “reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem”
756 Jotham – 16 years 2 Chron. 27:8 Ahaz “reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem”
742 Ahaz – 16 years 2 Chron. 27:8 Ahaz “reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem”
726 Hezekiah – 29 years 2 Chron. 29:1 Hezekiah “he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem”
697 Manasseh – 55 years 2 Chron. 33:1 Manasseh “reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem”
642 Amon – 2 years 2 Chron. 33:21 Amon “reigned two years in Jerusalem”
640 Josiah – 31 years 2 Chron. 34:1 Josiah “reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years
Josiah’s good reforms, 625 B
609 Jehoahaz – ¼ year 2 Chron. 36:2 Jehoahaz “he reigned three months in Jerusalem”
609 Jehoiakim – 11 years 2 Chron. 36:5 Jehoiakim “he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem”
606 Captivity 70
606 Captivity 70 years Captivity
599 Jehoiachin – ¼ year 2 Chron. 36:9 Jehoiakim “reigned three months and ten days”
599 Zedekiah – 11 years 2 Chron. 36:11 Zedekiah “and he reigned 11 years in Jerusalem”
588 Partial captivity
585 Captivity, completed by 585 BC Starting point to work backward with dating of kings’ reigns
538 Jews commence return under Zerubbabel 434 (62 X 7) years – 62 weeks = 434 days, 972 BC to 538 BC
538 Darius took the kingdom (Dan. 5:31) Total 483 Ceremonial Years according to Bible 483 (69 X 7) years – 69 weeks = 483 days (D/Y principle) 1021 BC – 538 BC
535–536 Cyrus’s (the anointed) decree (Ezra 1:1)

This theology was understood by Daniel – Dan. 9:22, thanks to Gabriel.  Daniel portrayed the transposition of natural evolvement from local, to national, but he had to complete a 1 week 7 days = 7 years according to day-for-a-year principle = 7 X 360 = 2520 days – to total 490 years.  Daniel knew that the world was round and that the original Ancient philosophy was based on 30 days a month or 360 days a year.  Daniel understood the intercalary adjustment necessary to fully synchronize with the cosmology.  5 months of Gen. 8 had 150 days and twelve represented the diversity of life and the cosmos.  Dividing the year into two equal proportions of 1260 days was stating the civil had to be synchronized with the cosmological.  The divine sacred that was beyond comprehension, and unnameable but civil governance was very real and their protective force.

  1. 7 Years Post-exilic – completion of the 490 years model

 Daniel had compiled an amazing colourful histogram in numerical form and entwined it to complete his 70 weeks (490 years) symbol of Dan. 9:24:

1. 2,300 days — “in the midst of the week” — plunder (Dan. 8:14, 9:27)
2. 10 days       — of intense persecution — mourning (1 Macc. 1:54–64)
3. 210 days    — of burying dead — reconstitution (Ezek. 39:12)
Total 2,520 days (2,300 + 10 +210)

The words “midst” at Dan. 8:14 need to be understood from the numerous types already set up. The word “midst” is traced to mean “about”, “among”, and “within”, “part” or “therein”:

  • “in the midst of the Red sea” – Exd. 14:29 – this never meant right in the middle.
  • “in the midst of the seventh day” – Exd. 33:3 – this never meant right in the middle
  • “in the midst of Egypt” – Exd. 24:16-18 – this was a generalized descriptive
  • “midst of the land”- Deut. 19:2 – genalized descriptive
  • “in the midst of Jordan” – Josh. 4:3 – another generalized descriptive

This is a little background for new readers.

Linking Hands

“Beginning at least with Polycarp and Justin Martyr in the second century, the typical Christian understanding of this tradition was that the Jewish prophets had simply predicted concrete events in the life of the messiah who was to come, and Jesus had fulfilled these predictions in an almost literal way as a sign of his divine origin” p5 Resurrection Myth or Reality John Shelby Spong. This is a great quote showing how Daniel 9:24-27 was thrown forward whereas the Ancient scribes looked back to Kings and Chronicles to establish their agape philosophy of 490 years.\

“When scholars poured over the Christian Scriptures, the language they worked with was Greek, not Hebrew. When they studied the biblical roots of Christian theology, they inevitably looked through the lens of Greek philosophy” p 4 Resurrection Myth or Reality John Shelby Spong

Midrash is never presented as a method by which the Bible was written and not, hence, as a method by which the Bible was to be understood. Same yesterday same today. Why are Christians so introverted?

Midrash comes in three forms: “Halakah, Haggadah, and Pesiqta.  Halakah is an interpretation of the law – the sacred Torah.  Haggadah is the interpretation of a story or an event by relating it to another story or event in sacred (pre-chronological) history.  Pesiqta is the whole sermon or exhortation written midrashically to capture themes of the past to enable them to be perceived as operative in the present.

Midrash is the Jewish way of saying that everything to be venerated in the present must somehow be connected with a sacred moment in the past. p8

Christianity is Out of Fashion – Institutionalised – Unbelievable.

Christianity is Out of Fashion – Institutionalised – Unbelievable.

It is time to press refresh and move on – Paul said this at Heb. 6 – “leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ”. Of course our churches can’t move on.

by John Shelby Spong
Five hundred years after Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses ushered in the Reformation, bestselling author and controversial bishop and teacher John Shelby Spong delivers twelve forward-thinking theses to spark a new reformation to reinvigorate Christianity and ensure its future.