Saturday, October 3, 2015

Big Picture Parallels in the Bible

I was thinking about the big picture of the Bible yesterday on my run, specifically about the two revelatory “dark ages” in the history of the biblical story. Between the final events of Joseph’s life and the Exodus is just over four hundred years (Genesis 15:13; Exodus 12:40,41; Acts 7:6; Galatians 3:17). Between Malachi and the apostles’ writing of the New Testament is a similar period of time (depending on when you date Malachi and the earliest writings of the New Testament).

The covenant people of God were delivered through Moses (as servant in God’s house, Hebrews 3:1-6) from Egypt, the house of slavery (Exodus 13:3,14; 20:2; Deuteronomy 5:5; 6:12; 7:8; 8:14; 13:5,10; Judges 6:8; Micah 6:4).

The covenant people of God were delivered through Jesus Christ (as Son in God’s house, Hebrews 3:1-6) from Second Temple Judaism, the house of slavery (John 8:31-36; Galatians 4:1-5:1).

In the allegory of Galatians 4:22-31, Hagar is “is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children” (4:25). Remember that Hagar is Egyptian (Genesis 16:1,3; 21:9; 25:12), a native from the house of slavery.

The Revelation makes the same comparison between earthly Jerusalem and Egypt: “...the great city which mystically is called Sodom [Isaiah 1:10; Jeremiah 23:13; Ezekiel 16:46] and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified” (11:8). This is, in fact, my interpretation of the Revelation: the story of the generation that transitioned from the old covenant to the new covenant, culminating in the current Gospel age (described symbolically in chapters 20-22).[1]

Jacob’s family goes into slavery in Egypt. Parallel to this, Zerubbabel, Joshua, Ezra, and Nehemiah lead the people back into the land after the Babylonian exile. They build a second temple, one without the Ark of the Covenant or a manifestation of God’s glory at its dedication (it is an exceedingly empty symbol).

Over four centuries of silence occur both in the Hebrews’ time in Egypt and the growth of Second Temple Judaism.

God manifests His presence through His servant Moses and His Son Jesus Christ to bring deliverance.

The revelatory “dark ages” come to an end with Moses’ writing of the Law (the first five books of the Old Testament) and Jesus Christ’s apostles’ writing of the New Testament.

Interesting parallels worth some thought.

[1] I do not deny a second coming of Christ, but don’t believe the New Testament tells us much about it (many of the passages we attribute to the second coming actually describe the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and the full establishment of the Gospel/New Covenant Age) – instead, we’re told how to live in Christ on earth while longing to be with Him in heaven. “To deter all men from sin on the one hand, and to give greater comfort to the godly in their adversity on the other, Christ would have us firmly persuaded that a day of judgment lies ahead. For the same reasons He has kept the day’s date a secret so that men may shake off all confidence in themselves and, in ignorance of the hour in which the Lord will come, may be ever on the watch, and ever prepared to say, ‘Come, Lord Jesus; come quickly. Amen’” (1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, 32.3).

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