In “Gospel Glasses- Part 1”, we looked at the purpose of Bible study: seeing Jesus. We began to look at the way we were intended to study the Scriptures, by examining texts that seem to indicate there is more to be seen than what’s on the surface.
The Psalmist asked God to “open his eyes to wondrous things” out of the law of God.(Psa 119:18) Jesus always spoke in parables, or word-pictures, in order to convey something much deeper than what was on the surface.(Matt 13:34) And we also saw the importance of using a sanctified “mind”= “imagination” when thinking about God and His Word. (Isa 26:3) We even saw that the miracles of Jesus had more significance than simply healing people. (Mark 2:7-11)
But what about the Old Testament? Isn’t that just history that’s unimportant for us today? If we have Jesus, why do we need history?
Hebrews 9:8,9. We’re told that the Old Testament tabernacle/sanctuary was a “figure” for us in the “present time.” That word “figure”= “type” or “shadow.” In the Bible, these types/shadows were placed specifically by God to be billboards for people in the future! So, the tabernacle/sanctuary of old was itself a parable! Everything inside had spiritual significance for us today- the lamb, the priest, the apartments, the offerings, the colors, etc.! We’ll delve into each one in later posts.
What about historical accounts? Aren’t they just there to record what happened? Or do they hold more for us today?
Gal 4:22-24. Abraham had 2 sons with 2 women. Was this a literal story? Absolutely. But what does Paul say it is? He calls it “an allegory“!
Was it Moses’ intent to write an allegory with these events in Genesis? No. Who’s intent was being displayed? God’s. How did Paul understand God’s intent? The Holy Spirit’s guidance. Get it?
Not convinced yet?
1 Cor 10:1-11. Paul is speaking to the Jews and recounting the events of their “fathers”(Israel). He says, “And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” Wait a minute! They were baptized? What sea? The only cloud and sea they passed through was when they fled from the Egyptians. So Paul is now telling us that that event was a symbol of baptism!
But Paul goes even further…he says they “[ate] spiritual food” and “[drank] the same spiritual drink” which came from a “spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” So Paul is trying to tell us the rock that Moses spoke to and struck to get water symbolized Christ? And later he says they “[tempted] Christ.” So who was with Israel in the wilderness experience?
Now this changes everything!
But Paul isn’t done yet. He says “all these things happened unto them for ‘examples’ (= ‘types’), and they are written for OUR admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” So ultimately who are the experiences of Israel for? Them or us?
Still need more to believe? Here’s one more example.
1 Peter 3:20, 21. Peter is recounting the days leading up to the flood and the catastrophe to follow. He says it was a “figure” (=”type”) of “baptism.” Hold on to your hats, folks! Peter is saying the flood was the first baptism! What does this teach us TODAY about the true meaning of baptism?
Jesus said, “search the scriptures… for they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39) What were the only “scriptures” around when Jesus said this? The Old Testament. So can we find Jesus in the Old Testament?
Bible study is ALL about seeing Jesus. Are you ready to wear your “gospel glasses?”