Midrash – as Perfection

All Jewish writing in the OT concerns the construction, destruction and reconstruction of the Temple – from David’s decree, Solomon’s construction, its destruction by the invading Egyptians under Shishak, its reconstruction under Hezekiah to the destruction at the time of Babylonian captivity.  This is followed by its reconstruction in the post-exilic era, destruction under Antiochus Epiphanes and the reconstruction by Judas Maccabees.  To the Ancient scribes the Temple’s two witnesses were symbols of the trials and tribulations of each soul temple.

John in Revelation knew that the Bible had been destructed.  The book had not been opened. If the book had been understood the nation would not be facing pending destruction.  Paul as a Pharisee had not understood the Ancient script.  His epiphany was a realization that Daniel perceived the role of midrash. In the books of Kings and Chronicles. Paul grasped Daniel’s vision from David’s decree to Judas Maccabees’ victory.  That was the light of the open book. He therefore began Revelation with the plea to hear the “knock at the door”, to “open the book”.  But John knew Revelation would not be opened for a long time.  The nation was oppressed, illiterate and had no regard to the midrash lessons of their forebears.

Christianity has failed to open the book concentrating on just the four gospels.  Christianity being ethnocentric has never taught the concept of midrash.  Midrash is the great pedagogical weapon the Ancients bequeathed to us.

So here is an example of midrash:

And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. (Rev. 17:11)

This apocalyptic beast, the beast that has failed to open the book, is likened to the last seven kings of Judah. The beast led the innocent into capriciousness, often unknowingly, stupefied.

Why is this beast described as “he is the eighth, and is of the seven”?  Why does this beast go into perdition? How does this statement “he is the eight” fit the picture?  You may well ask. If you don’t ask, will anyone else?

Jehioachin and Zedekiah were the last two kings of Judah.  The beast of the later Judeo-Christian age is said to be the eighth but is of the same caliber as the seven (last seven kings of Judah after Hezekiah’s restoration). This beast “was” as if the end had come, “and is not” as the end had not really come, because the book was still to be opened.  And “he is the eight”, as he is additional to the seven.  And this final beast of beasts goes into perdition.

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. (Rev. 17:12)

Here the scribes were predicting that, when the book is finally opened, but not before, the power of the beast will remain in force only for a very short time — “one hour with the beast.”  By this stage, the ten horns (ten tribes of Israel) are simply symbolic of the latter power structure. Opening the book removes all the influence of the beast. The beast is caught out with nowhere to turn, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

So, among the last seven kings of Judah, we need to find one that was “wounded to death.”  One king and one only, must be mortally wounded.  Otherwise, there would be an aberration, a puncture in the tube.  Astonishingly, there is only one of the last seven last kings of Judah who was so wounded.  No doubt this is on the tip of your tongue.

Wounded means “a victim” or “maimed,” and death, from thanatŏs means “made deadly silent” and “having no defense.”  Now for the phrase, “and his deadly wound was healed.”  Healed is from therapěnō, meaning “to wait upon menially.”  (It is always best to refer to lexicons to extract the precise meaning.)  Which king of Judah, before Babylonian captivity, was deadly silent without defense, wounded?  Who was this king?  Distinction students would know.

Jehoiachin was the sixth of the seven last kings of Judah before total captivity by Babylon.  “At that time Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came against Jerusalem … And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes … And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon. And Nebuchadnezzar made Zedekiah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king” (2 Kings 24:8–17). What a setback to Jehoiachin’s reputation.  Jehoiachin’s dignity was maimed; deadly silence wafted.  There was no defense for Judah’s dethroned king.  So, astonishingly, we have one king of the last seven kings that precisely fits the “wounded” model of Revelation 13:3!

So it is time to lift the veil, raise the standard, and resurrect these midrashic ensamples.  The red horse rider is again awaiting his bride.

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