Glory in Our Midst (Kline)

Kline, Meredith.  Glory in Our Midst: A Biblical-Theological Reading of Zechariah’s Night Visions. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2001.

This isn’t a technical commentary or even a popular verse-by-verse one.  It is more of a structural reading of Zechariah’s night visions.  It also functions as theological meditations, though I am not sure Kline would have seen it that way.  In many ways Kline’s scholarship has held up quite well in Middle Eastern studies (more on that below).

Before beginning on the focus of the book, I am going to analyze, or at least mention, the appendix where Kline gives the structure of Zechariah’s night visions. One should note that there are some lacunae in this review. Part of that is because I didn’t see all the chiasms matching up. Maybe they did, but without some visual picture it is hard to see. Kline argues that “the book of Zechariah is a diptych with 6:9-15 as its primary hinge…and that the main part of each side panel of this diptych is itself a diptych formation with 3:10 and 11:1-17 respectively” (Kline 241). In chiastic form it would look something like this:

Overall structure:

A (1:10ff) World Mission of the Lord of Hosts
B (Visions 2) Focus on holy land/remove unholy elements
C (Vision 3) Focus on divine presence/theocracy
C’ (Vision 5) Focus on Divine presence/theocracy
B’ (Vision 6) Focus on holy land/remove unholy elements
A’ (6:7ff) World Mission of the Lord of Hosts

Diptych 1

A
B (2:1-14)
C (2:5-17) Divine summons to return
D  (3:1-10)
A’
B’
C’

Diptych 2

A
B (10:1-14)
C (10:5-12) Divine summons to return
D (11:1-17)
A’
B’
C’

The real value in the book is Kline’s keen attention to thematic elements that are often lost in discussions on eschatology.  First, The Deep.  The Deep is the chaotic danger to Yahweh’s creation. It first appears as the unstructured chaos.  As revelation progresses, it becomes an active antagonist. It later became a synonym for Sheol (Pss. 18:4ff; 69:1, 2, 14, 15). Indeed, “the deep represented the world power which had subjugated Israel and terminated the Davidic dynasty” (31).

Following his discussion of the myrtle trees (Yahweh’s people?), Kline states, “The actual character of the process of redemptive eschatology is such that heaven breaks into the history of this world beforehand, particularly in the reality of the Spirit, re-creatively fashioning God’s people in the image of his glory (20).

The Mount of Assembly

Armageddon isn’t a specific location.  It is the war for Yahweh’s assembly. It is Har Mo’ed, Yahweh’s enthronement mountain. At the end of time, Antichrist, the Gog-warrior, comes from Zaphon, “the heights of the North,” “to attack Zion, the true mountain of divine assembly” (49).

Along these lines, Kline gives a fascinating discussion of ziggurats and altars.  A ziggurat represented a mountain.  It was “the cosmic mountain, the axis or access between heaven and earth” (61).

Cool point: the Hebrew for the riders who are going to destroy evil is “Harashim.”  Kline calls them dragon-slayers (63).

Building the Temple-City

Yahweh’s temple-city is a metapolis.  It is the Beyond-City of eternity. It doesn’t need walls because God’s fiery presence fills the eternal city to its unwalled limits (76).  Building this temple is a covenantal, royal task (149ff).  Kline outlines some covenantal language and structures:

  1. Matt. 28:18-20.  Covenantal pronouncement; has elements of presence, authority, and continuation.

Judicial Sanctions

Consistent with the covenantal language is Kline’s connection of baptism and judgment waters, particularly as they destroy the Egyptian army (109).

Imagers

Our image is one of ethical purity, dominion, and eschatological luminosity (114).  The latter is our receiving an investiture from Yahweh as he re-creates us in his Glory-Spirit.  Moreover as imagers, we bear God’s Name (Rev. 22:4).

The Spirit and the Church

We are the Menorah (Rev. 1:20). We are the ectype of God’s archetypal temple.

Key quote: “The field of history is a courtroom in which God’s people give testimony to his name over against the blasphemies of the idol-worsipers” (138).

Conclusion

This can’t function as one’s primary commentary on Zechariah.  It isn’t an exegetical commentary.  It is valuable, however, in giving the big picture, structure, and biblical theological overview of Zechariah.

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