Ascension of Christ as Davidic Cloud Monarch

Son of Man with the Clouds of Heaven

Many of us begin with an incorrect (even heretical) understanding of the Ascension of Christ. I’ve heard it said that Christ eventually “gave up” the use His body, as if he parked it in a garage with the idea of perhaps using His body again at the end of time to judge the living and dead.

Today we will discover the importance in Catholic orthodoxy of the presence of “the cloud” at the Ascension of Christ:

The ascension of Christ is described in Luke’s Gospel and referred to frequently in John. Christ gathers the 11 Apostles at the Mount of Olives where He commands them to remain in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit:

And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.

We receive more details in Luke’s Acts 1:8-11:

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Perhaps the most important detail here is the description of a “cloud” taking Him out of sight.

Christ did not float up into the sky like a balloon let loose by a child until it disappeared as a dot in the sky too far way to see. Rather, the Body of Christ was taken by a cloud.

Saint Peter perceives the Davidic importance of this event in Acts 2:32-36 when he cites the royal Davidic “Lord said to my Lord” Psalm 110:

The Lord says to my lord:
Sit at my right hand,
till I make your enemies your footstool.”
2 The Lord sends forth from Zion
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your foes!
3 Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day you lead your host
upon the holy mountains.
From the womb of the morning
like dew your youth will come to you.
4 The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest for ever
after the order of Melchizedek.”
5 The Lord is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
6 He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
over the wide earth.
7 He will drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.

This is a Psalm declaring that David will “ascend” to his God-appointed throne at God’s right hand and begin to rule. We find that the Davidic king is at least quasi-divine. He is:

  • “my Lord”
  • “priest”
  • “for ever”
  • “will scatter kings…corpses…over the wide earth”

This is a cosmic king. A divine Messiah. Something David could never be and this is why Christ asks how David could ever say: “The Lord says to my Lord.”

This is Trinitarian theology. We find one Divine Person (Lord) speaking to another Divine Person (Lord). For an interesting study of two distinct “Lords” in Hebrew Scripture, I highly recommend The Great Angel: A Study of Israel’s Second God by Margaret Barker.

We see the conversation between the “two Lords” in Daniel 7 with the “Ancient of Days” (first Lord) interacting with the Son of Man (second Lord). In Daniel 7:13, the Son of Man comes up to the Father. I’m not making this up or grasping at straws. Christ Himself quotes these passages as references to Himself in the future at Matthew 24:30; 26:64 and Mark 13:26; 14:62 and Luke 21:27:

13 I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a Son of Man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

It’s obvious how this passage in Daniel 7 echoes Psalm 110 with a divine-like King gaining universal dominion over all kings and kingdoms. But notice the “clouds.”

See this post for more: The Davidic Identity of Daniel

Christ purposefully includes “the clouds” in His own citation of this passage during His trial. Ultimately, it’s Christ’s quotation of this passage and “the clouds” that offends the High Priest leads Him to be “convicted” and crucified.

The cloud theme continues in Revelation as I detail in this free Catholic podcast on the Book of Revelation Chapter 14. Jesus Christ rides in “on a cloud” holding a sickle and ready to slay his enemies as described in Ps 110 and Dan 7.

Then I looked, and lo, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand.

The Ascension of Christ with the cloud is important and it shows that He is still operating through His assumed human nature. This is good news for Catholics. If Christ has “parked His body” as if to be finished with it, then we would not have the perennial presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in our churches.

Happy Ascension,
Dr. Taylor Marshall

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

PS: King David was Eucharistic. 2 Sam 6:17-19 records that when King David ascended as king in Jerusalem, he gave every Israelite a wheat cake, wine, and a cake of grapes. A type of the wheat and grapes of the Eucharist of the Davidic Messiah.

PPS: Here’s a line by line Catholic commentary on the Book of Revelation.

If you’d like to study with me orthodox Christology (study of Christ) and Mariology (study of Mary) study of Mary, please join the New Saint Thomas Institute.

Taylor Marshall is Part Jewish as it turns out

When I was 22 years old, a Jewish woman stopped me in the street. I remember her cupping my face in her hands and she said, “You are a Jewish boy.”

I said, “I’m not Jewish.”

She responded, “Oh yes you are. You are Jewish. However, you just don’t know that you’re Jewish. I see it in your eyes and in your mouth. You are Jewish.”

She smiled and was so kind and sweet. It was a surreal moment.

But as it turns out, she was correct!

My uncle recently had a genealogical blood test that identified him as 19.3% Ashkenazi Jewish…which makes me 9.65% Jewish.

There have been rumors of our Jewish ancestry for years. My grandfather Philip claimed to be Swedish and Lutheran, but he had the last name of “Koppel” – a traditional Jewish last name.

“Koppel” is the Ashkenazic Jewish diminutive (little nick name) for Jakob, that is “Little Jacob.”

 

So this explains a few Jewish things in my life:

  1. My first book is titled: The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholicism
    screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-4-50-08-pm
  2. That trilogy of books is given to showing how Christianity transitioned from Jerusalem to Rome by God’s design and as a fulfillment of Jewish prophecy:
    screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-4-56-19-pm
  3. My audio series on the book of Revelation is a study on the forgotten Jewishness of the Apocalyptic signs and visions.
  4. A teach a class in Rome for Seminarians that includes the Jewish origins of the Catholic Church in Rome.
  5. A founded the Maccabee Society – a Christian fraternity for men – and named it after the great Jewish warrior and general Judas Maccabeus. I did this before I knew about the Jewish lineage.

So there you have it. My inner Jew has been discreetly speaking all along.

I’m going to anticipate an objection that I foresee in the comments: “You’re not Jewish because Judaism says that your mother must be Jewish in order for you to be Jewish.”

Some Jews may say this, but it’s not biblical and it’s not true. Here’s why Judaism has never truly been matrilineal:

  1. Ephraim and Manasseh were the fathers of two Jewish tribes. Their father was Joseph of the colored coat. And their mother was an Egyptian daughter of an Egyptian priest, that is, non-Israelite. So these 2 men were born of a non-Israelite mother. Are you seriously going to claim that 2 of the 12 Tribes of Israel are not truly Israelite?
  2. Moses married a non-Israelite wife. His children were obviously Israelite.
  3. Boaz married the non-Jewish Ruth. She has a book of the Bible named after her. Ruth was the mother of Obed, the grandfather of David. So if Obed (born of a non-Jewish mother) is not Jewish, then, neither is King David.

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-5-15-50-pm

More biblical examples could be given. Israelites are merely children of the Israelites, even if there is a mixed marriage. Michael Barber even has a cool theory that the DNA of Abraham has descended to almost of all humanity through the exile and assimilation of the ten northern tribes.

Question: Has anyone else out there discovered a Jewish heritage later in life? I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

Shalom,
Taylor Marshall

Catholic Webinar on the Book of Revelation with Dr Marshall

This Thursday night at 8pm I’ll be hosting another free Catholic Webinar on the Book of Revelation from a biblical, traditional, and Catholic point of view. If you’ve ever had questions or confusions about the End Times of the Book of Revelation, you won’t want to miss this Catholic Webinar Event.

YOU WILL DISCOVER:

  • Why the Book of Revelation was written
  • a Catholic interpretation of Revelation based on Scripture, Tradition, and Church Fathers
  • the Virgin Mary in Revelation 12
  • the Mark of the Beast and 666 from a Catholic view point of view
  • EVERYONE THAT ATTENDS WILL RECEIVE a FREE pdf worksheet of the Webinar. Dr Marshall will make available his 16 part series on Catholic Revelation.
  • Register to reserve your spot by clicking here.

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St Michael vs. Lucifer: Why St Michael Won!

Catholic Video Lesson

Saint Michael was one of the lower angels. Lucifer was the highest angel. How did Lucifer fall and how did Saint Michael get his name (Mi Cha El?).

Here’s a free video from the New Saint Thomas Institute on the subject of Satan and Michael. You’ll learn about the creation of the angels, the fall of Satan according to Saint Augustine, and the reason Saint Michael is called “Mi Cha El.”

Don’t see the video? Click here to watch it.

Are you not yet a Member of the New Saint Thomas Institute? If not, Fall Enrollment is now open. Join well over 3,000 Members of the New Saint Thomas Institute from all over the world as we study Catholic theology together.

There are limited spots and our tuition sale is limited. We also have a bunch of great bonuses for this fall. Want to join? Learn by clicking here.

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How to Explain Sign of the Cross to Protestants

Sarah K, a Premium Member student at the New Saint Thomas Institute recently asked:

What is the history of the Sign of the Cross? How can I defend this practice to Protestants/atheists/other religions?

St Helen and the true cross

St Helen and the true cross

Many of our students responded with excellent answers (if you’re a student of NSTI, you can read them here), but here is my advice to Sarah:

Sarah,

When talking about this with a non-Catholic, you should be succinct and convincing. Protestants prefer “Scripture alone” but they can be swayed by quotes from the earliest Church Fathers. So I would recommend this line of argument:

The Apostles would place the sign of the cross on the foreheads of newly baptized people in fulfillment prophetic visions found in Ezekiel and Revelation. After baptism, Christians would continue to make the sign of the cross on their foreheads, and we see evidence of it in the Bible and Church Fathers. When Christianity became legal, the larger sign of the cross made from head to stomach became adopted. But the original form is simply made with the thumb on the forehead.

SCRIPTURE
Ezekiel speaks of the “mark of the t” administered by the heavenly “man in linen” on the head of the faithful. “Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.”

The heavenly “man in linen” is the Second Person of the Trinity. Revelation depicts Jesus Christ as the man in linen.

So Ezekiel describes Christ placing a saving “t” or “x” shaped letter on the forehead. The Book of Revelation carries on the description of placing the cross on the forehead.

For my in depth discussion on the sign of the cross as “the mark of the Christ” in the Book of Revelation (in contrast with “the Mark of the Beast:), you can listen for free here.

CHURCH FATHERS
For Church Fathers goes with Tertullian. Writing in around A.D. 204, Tertullian explained that Christians mark their foreheads with the sign of the cross.

In all our travels and movements in all our coming in and going out, in putting of our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupieth us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross. (Tertullian, De corona milites, 3)

My bestselling novel Sword and Serpent features early Christians often making the signum crucis on their foreheads. You can read a sample and reviews by clicking here at amazon.com.

Sword and Serpent

Catholic Video: What is the Historical Date of Mary’s Assumption?

In what year did Christ raise and elevate the body of His Blessed Mother into Heaven? Some say in the AD 40s or 50s. I argue based on data in the New Testament that Mary was assumed in AD 63. Please watch the video lesson that I’ve prepared on this topic for NSTI.

[If you don’t see the video in your browser or email, click here to begin watching.]

This is lesson 7 of Church History: Module 2 – Redemptive History: Christ of the Covenants. To sign up and watch the rest of the lessons and modules in this Catholic Church History Course (and earn a Certificate), please visit: New Saint Thomas Institute’s Certificate in Catholic History:

Question: Do you agree that dating the Dormition/Assumption to AD 63 makes the most sense? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

And here are some interesting resources for you as we celebrate Our Lady’s Dormition and Assumption:

  1. Did the Virgin Mary Die? The Answer May Surprise You (The majority tradition in Catholic history is that Our Lady did experience the separation of body and soul.)
  2. Audio: Mary as Assumed in Revelation 12 Podcast: Our Lady of the Apocalypse
  3. Did Christ receive an assumption or ascension or both?
  4. The year of the assumption according to Maria Agreda
  5. The Assumption of Saint Joseph – A forgotten tradition
  6. If you deny the Assumption – You have fallen away!
  7. Saint Gregory of Tours on the Assumption
  8. The Assumption of Mary in the Book of Psalms
  9. Does the Rosary Pre-Date Dominic?
  10. Mary’s Special Role over Purgatory
  11. Mary’s Empty Tomb Information
  12. Did Pope Pius XII Teach that Mary died? Yes he did

Enjoy!

to Jesus through Mary,
Taylor Marshall

There are Guitars in the Bible

I like the Latin Mass. I don’t like the guitar Mass. However, there are “guitars” in the Bible, and even in the Heavenly Liturgy.

220px-Guitar_latina_morisca

A medieval Praise and Worship Band

The Greek word kithara appears 4 times in the New Testament – 3 times in the Book of Revelation.

{Here’s my audio Catholic commentary on the book of Revelation: click here.}

And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and twenty four presbyters fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them kitharan, and golden vials full of incense, which are the prayers of saints. (Rev 5:8)

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the kitharas of God. (Rev 15:2)

In English, it is sometimes translated as “harp,” but chordophone or “guitar” is actually a better translation.

The Greek word kithara comes into Latin as cithara and from Latin into Spanish as guitarra. The biblical guitar is a chordophones of 4-18 strings. 

The saints in Heaven are playing the kithara. Why? It’s the instrument that King David played. In fact, the word psalm means in Greek means “to pluck [a string].”

The problem is that the guitar is associated with rock n roll and rock n roll is not suitable for divine liturgy. The guitar or chordophone might find liturgical use, but in the meantime, let’s keep it out of the liturgy.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

4 Constellations in the Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation makes references (structures itself) to a pattern of constellations. I’ve been discussing the role of constellations in my audio commentary on the Book of Revelation.

The books of Ezekiel and Revelation both describe cherubim guarding God’s throne. They have the attributes of:

  1. Pasted_Image_9_1_15__10_42_AMMan’s face
  2. Bull
  3. Lion
  4. Eagle

Saint Irenaeus associated these four creatures with the four Evangelists in his book Against Heresies:

  1. Man = Matthew
  2. Mark = Lion
  3. Luke = Bull
  4. Eagle = John
WARNING: I’m about to talk about constellations, but I am not endorsing the mortal sin of astrology (Deut. 18:9-13; 2 Kings 23:3-5; Isa. 8:19-20; 44:24-25; 47:8-15). Constellations and their cycle through the year are natural occurrences set up by God at creation. The Bible often refers to constellations.

Very few are aware, however, that these four celestial cherubim are references to the four constellations at the change of each season:

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  1. Man = Aquarius (the human water carrier)
  2. Bull = Taurus
  3. Lion = Leo
  4. Eagle = Scorpio (Babylonians considered Scorpio to be an Eagle constellation)
For a Catholic exposition on the zodiac, see Saint John Damascene On the Orthodox Faith, Book 2. The “zodiac” are the 12 constellations through which the sun moves over our 12 month cycle of a year. God placed them there but they don’t have power over us.

These twelve constellations correspond to the way that the 12 tribes were arranged around the Tabernacle in the Old Testament (Numbers 2), because the 12 tribes were like the cherubim guarding the tabernacle of God’s presence. Each tribe corresponded to one of the 12 constellations surrounding the earth. The four principle directions were given to the following:

  1. Reuben (Aquarius)
  2. Ephraim (Taurus)
  3. Dan (Scorpio)
  4. Judah (Leo) – “Lion of Judah”

As you know there, are 12 constellations in the zodiac and these four are the “four corners” of the 12 constellations:

  1. *Aquarius – human water carrier
  2. Pisces – fish
  3. Aries – ram
  4. *Taurus – bull
  5. Gemini – twins
  6. Cancer – crab
  7. *Leo – lion
  8. Virgo – virgin
  9. Libra – scales
  10. *Scorpio – scorpion (eagle for Babylonians)
  11. Sagittarius – archer
  12. Capricorn – mountain goat

Saint John in Revelation gives the four constellations in reverse order because he is viewing them not from earth but from above in Heaven. Saint John mentions these four living creatures and the Revelation of Christ to Saint John seems to be based on a series of constellations:

  • Revelation Chs. 2-3: Seven Stars of the Pleiades (the seven stars of Pleiades in inside Taurus)
  • Revelation 5: Lion of Judah (Leo)
  • Revelation 8: Eagle flying in midheaven (Scropio)
  • Revelations 9: Scorpion warriors (Scorpio)
  • Revelation 12: Virgin Mother (Virgo)
  • Revelation 15: Pouring out Chalices (Aquarius)
  • Revelation 22: River of Life (Aquarius)

The interplay of constellations in the structure of Revelation shows us that this is a heavenly vision. Saint John is above the heavens and seeing celestial mysteries as they are revealed by Christ. Moreover, the pattern from Taurus to Aquarius is God taking us through a heavenly liturgical year as we watch the destruction of the Great City (Jerusalem in AD 70) and the consecration of the New Jerusalem (the Catholic Church – from then until now).

If you’re interested in learning more, please begin the free audio commentary of the Book of Revelation by clicking here.

 

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Catholic Apocalypse: Book of Revelation Audio Commentary by Taylor Marshall PhD

Here is a free audio commentary by Dr. Taylor Marshall on the Book of Revelation, line by line. The episodes are arranged by chapter:

Book Of Revelation

  1. Revelation Ch. 1 Apparition of Fiery Christ (Catholic Apocalypse Part 1 – TM076) 
  2. Revelation Chs. 2-3 Seven Churches and Seven Ages of Salvation (Catholic Apocalypse Part 2 – TM077) 
  3. Revelation Chs. 4-5 The Lamb and Liturgy of God (Catholic Apocalypse Part 3 – TM079) 
  4. Revelation Chs. 6-7 Four Horseman and Seven Seals (Catholic Apocalypse Part 4 – TM081) 
  5. Revelation Chs. 8-9 Seven Trumpets against Jerusalem (Catholic Apocalypse Part 5 – TM082)
  6. Revelation Chs. 10-11 The Giant Angel and Two Witnesses (Catholic Apocalypse Part 6 – TM083) 
  7. Revelation Ch. 12 Our Lady of the Apocalypse (Catholic Apocalypse Part 7 – TM084)
  8. Revelation Ch. 13 The Sea Beast and the Land Beast and the Mark of the Beast (Catholic Apocalypse Part 8 – TM085)

 

The Covenant Theology of the Rainbow and Why the Homosexual Community Uses It

In a recent New Saint Thomas Institute video lesson the 7 Covenants, a religious sister who is one of our new Student Members in NSTI asked about the rainbow.

In the video lesson I explained how the “rainbow” was the covenantal marker or seal of the Noahic Covenant or Covenant with Noah. In the Hebrew, it’s not “rainbow” but simply “bow” as in “bow and arrow.”

For my review and theological reflections on the Noah movie, click here.

This covenantal sign is a seal of peace between God and humanity, but oddly enough it is a weapon designed for death. It’s really a strange sign when you consider it.

It makes sense when you realize that this “bow” is pointed not at man but toward God. God has established a symbolic weapon in the sky prophesying that He will be killed for the sake of humanity’s sinfulness.

Which way is the bow pointing:

Double-alaskan-rainbow_-_Rainbow_-_Wikipedia__the_free_encyclopedia

The bow and arrow point to God, not humanity.

The weapon is pointing to God. The human generation of Noah sinned and rebelled against God. God in turn made a covenant never to destroy mankind again. He saved a remnant with Noah and then established a sign that God Himself would take the arrow – not man. God would die. Man would be saved. This is the Covenant of Noah.

Militant Homosexuality and the Rainbow Logo

You can probably now guess why militant homosexual groups (and now everyone on Facebook!) uses the rainbow as their logo.

The rainbow denotes God’s promise to not drown again the earth’s inhabitants on account of their sexual perversions (as in the days before the flood). The rainbow is God’s promise of protection and God’s humble willingness to take on death for humanity’s sin.

The homosexual community’s “rainbow” logo is merely flaunting the benevolence, mercy, and sacrifice of God. The rainbow, Satan knows, is there armor against the wrath of God.

It’s worth noting that the rainbow is an important feature in God’s appearance in the Book of Revelation (I explain the rainbow in Revelation ch. 4 here and the rainbow in Revelation ch. 10 here) and the rainbow also appeared at the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

Application:

Teach people about the Covenants of God. Teach them about the meaning of the rain-bow. Thank God that He took our penalty so that we might know Him and enjoy Him forever!

The New Saint Thomas Institute will make will open enrollment to a few new students on Monday morning (9am) August 17. If you want to get deep in Catholic theology, philosophy, and Scripture and study with me by taking online classes and earning your Certificate in Catholic Theology, tomorrow at 9am is the time! Click here to learn more: newsaintthomas.com.

Mark you calendar and set a reminder on your phone for Monday Aug 17 at 9am. These spots will go quickly as they always do.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.