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THE LAWS OF MENTION AND DEVOTIONAL RULE OF BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION.

The Holy Spirit gives God’s perspective on a topic at the moment it is first mentioned in the Bible..

Even a casual glance at a concordance will show that some subjects are mentioned often in the Bible. Evidently, the Spirit of God has revealed truth on a given subject in a variety of ways and over periods of time. There are three basic principles for assessing the mention of any great biblical theme.

Take, for instance, the first mention of Kings in Genesis 14. The first king named is Amraphel of Shinar, thought to be the famous Hammurabi of Summer. His legal code, though far inferior to the later law of Moses, was nevertheless, an enlightened piece of legislation for his day. Ten kings are mentioned in Genesis 14, and as we might expect, they are at war, (War is also mentioned for the first time in this chapter, so we can gather important clues as to how believers should relate to this dreadful scourge of humankind). Of the ten kings, only one is a king of righteousness, and he does not come until the end. That king is Melchizedek, who is both a king and a priest, a king of righteousness and a prince of peace. Melchizedek is one of the great types of Christ in the Old Testament. Just as Melchizedek comes in at the end of the chapter, so Christ, the true King-Priest, will come in when all other kings with their wars and wickedness have passed off the scene, there we have all of human history in embryonic form.

In the same chapter of Genesis, we have also the first mention of a priest, the first mention of the bread and the wine, and the first mention of tithes. From Genesis 14 we learn that God’s ideal priest was not a ritual priest after the order of Aaron, even though the Aaronic priesthood dominates the entire Old Testament. God’s ideal priest is a royal priest, a priest after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord Jesus could not be a priest under the Law of Moses, because that Law limited all priesthood to the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron, whereas Jesus was born of the tribe of Judah and the family of David. The Lord’s priesthood, therefore, is a superior priesthood because it derives its authority from a priesthood far older than that of Aaron’s”

The first mention of love is found in Genesis 22:2, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac whom thou lovest.” It is the love of the father for the son The second mention of love is in Genesis 24:67. “And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her.” The second mention of love is the love of the son for his bride. Taken together, these first two mentions of love spam time and eternity embracing the love of the Father for His Son and the love of the Lord Jesus for His Church.

Egypt is mentioned some 600 times in the Bible and its first mention is significant. It is mentioned first in Genesis 12:10 when we read that Abraham, faced with a famine in the Promised Land, “went down into Egypt to sojourn there.” Egypt, when used symbolically in the Bible, symbolizes the world: this world’s system, human life, and society with God left out. In its wealth and wisdom, its politics and religion, its culture and magnif’1cence, this world is a snare to the believer-just what Abraham found Egypt to be to him. In Egypt, he denied the relationship he had with Sarah, prospered at the expense of his 5piritual life, lost his testimony, and escaped covered with shame and disgrace bring1’ng Hagar w1th him to be a further snare in years to come. The first mention of Egypt thus sets before us the snare and danger of the world for the believer. Abraham in Egypt ‘out of the will of God was a curse instead of a blessing.

Likewise, the first mention of Babylon is significant (Genesis 10:10). Babylon was a city built by Nimrod, the great rebel. Its early history, given in the next chapter, shows how it became the center of the world’s first federation of nations, a planned society that excluded God and was essentially humanistic in character. God judged the whole thing. In miniature that first Babylon pictured Babylon as it appears in the Bible. the center of a God-denying political and religious system that will emerge at the end of the age to consummate human rebellion against God.

2. The law of further mention. God has evidently revealed truth progressively in the Bible, bringing men up through spiritual infancy to the advanced revelations of truth found in the New Testament. The rate of the progress of revelation varied. In the Old Testament, Progress was often slow, ending with a suspension of revelation that lasted for 400 years. In the New Testament, the process of revelation was rapid, measured in years rather than centuries. The method of revelation is stated by Isaiah: “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and they’re a little” (Isaiah 28:10).

God began the process of revelation with a race so alienated, blind, and fallen that the process had to be painfully slow. For the most part, the Old Testament Age was the picture-book stage of divine revelation. God taught His people, in a great measure, by means of illustration, model, and type. ‘The sacrifices, the tabernacle, and Temple, the ritual priesthood‘, the detailed commandments of the law, the lessons from history. the countless biographies-all these were early lessons of divine truth.

There are numerous examples of the progressive nature of divine revelation. Let us return to the unfolding truth concerning the coming seed, the Messiah, which we have looked at elsewhere. To begin with, it was 51mply revealed that He would be “the seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15). Embedded in that remarkable statement was the slumbering truth of the virgin birth of Christ.

It was then revealed that the Messiah was to be the seed of Abraham. Later it was revealed that “in Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Genesis 21:12), and the focus was narrowed. When twins struggled within Rebekah’s womb, she was told that “the elder shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:22-23), and it was leaned that the promised line would run through Jacob, not Esau. Jacob saw that of all his sons it was through Judah that the seed would come. “The scepter shall not depart from Judah‚ nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come” (Genesis 49:10).

In a later revelation the focus was narr0wed to ’David: “I will set up thy seed after thee . . . , and I will establish his kingdom . . . , and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:1 2-1 3). Along with all these progressive revelations concerning the seed came other relations concerning the Messiah’s career, prophecies that focused on His sufferings, and the glory to follow. Thus, as time went on, the Old Testament contained & a vast amount of information about the coming Christ.

The fact that revelation has been progressive presents Bible interpreters with a serious challenge. Whenever approaching a passage of Scripture, they must have what has been called a sense of historical propriety. That is, they must have some idea of what could, or could not, have been believed at any given time. For example, the people of Moses’ day knew that a Messiah was to come, but they certainly did not know that He would be born in Bethlehem. That truth was not revealed until much later. David did not know anything about the captivities and the return. None of the Old Testament saints knew anything at all about the Church. Thus, when one approaches an Old Testament passage, in particular, a sense of historical appropriateness is needed.

The same is true in parts of the New Testament. Take, for example, the classic statement of the Lord Jesus to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (john 3:5). People have gone to great lengths to prove the doctrine of baptismal regeneration from that verse. But the truth of Christian baptism was not even in view at the time of the Lord 8 to Nicodemus. In fact, it had not been revealed at all. So whatever may or may not be the meaning of the verse, it does not teach Christian baptism.

Various suggestions have been made: that the “water” is the Word of God, that the Lord was referring to Ezekiel 36:25, that it was an oblique reference to physical birth. None of these views is really satisfactory. We come back to the law of historical propriety. What would the words have meant to Nicodemus in the context in which they were spoken?

The thing uppermost in the mind of Nicodemus at that time would surer have been the ministry of John the Baptist and his water baptism at the Jordan. john’s preaching had aroused the whole nation With Messianic expectation. His baptism was one of repentance, intended to prepare the hearts of the people for the coming of Christ. The Sanhedrin had investigated the baptism of John and had rejected b0th him and his baptism. John had replied with a scathing denunciation of the Pharisees and their hypocrisy.

Now came this new teacher bringing the same message of repentance that John had brought to the nation. Nicodemus sought Him out and was at once confronted with the startling statement, “ Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. ”]ohn had baptized with water and had told of One who would baptize with the Spirit. The Lord’s ringing words must have taken Nicodemus’s thoughts right back to john the Baptist. After all, he was a member of that very same Sanhedrin that had rejected john. The Lord Jesus was surely saying to Nicodemus, “Unless you are born of all that John’s baptism signified [that is, repentance] and of all that Spirit baptism implies [that is, regeneration] you cannot enter the kingdom of God “The law of historical propriety casts light on what the Lord’s words would have meant to Nicodemus and also keeps us from reading Christian baptism into a Scripture where it is not even implied.

3. The law of full mention. On matters vital to the faith and spiritual life, God invariably, at someplace in His Word, gathers the various threads of teaching together and gives a comprehensive statement on the matter. This is true, for example, of teaching relating to the tongue Games ?>), future events (Matthew 24-25), love (1 Corinthians 13), the resurrection (l Corinthians 15), the Church (Ephesians 2-3), the restoration of Israel (Romans 1 I), the nature of Christ (Hebrews 1-2), righteousness by faith (Romans 3-4), the Law (Exodus 20), and faith in action (Hebrews 11).

Look, for example, at the Lord’s summary of prophecy (Matthew 24-25). Study the passage in the light of the following outline 2

A. The Course of the Age-Matthew 24

1. Events relating to the Nations 2414-14

a. The Difficult Problems of the Last Days 24:4-8

(I) National disasters 24:4-5

(2) Natural disasters 24:6-8.

b. The Dreadful Persecutions of the Last Days 24:9-10

c. The Differing Persuasions of the Last Days 2421 1-13

(1) The false prophets 24:11-18

(2) The faithful preachers 24:14

2. Events relating to t e Jews 24115-39

a. The Tenor of the Things Foretold 24:15-22

(1) The dangers foretold 24:15-22

(2) The deceptions foretold 24:23-36

(3) The deliverance foretold 24:27-31

b. The Timing of the Things Foretold 24:32-39

(1) The fig–a parable 24:82-36

(2) The Hood–a type 24:37-39 5.

3. Events relating to the Church 24:40-51

a. The Rapture of Christians Described 24:40-42

b. The Rupture of Christendom Described 24:43-51

B. The Consummation of the Age–Matthew 25

1. For the Jews 25:1-13

2. For the Church 25:14-30

3. For the Nations 25:31-46

It is evident even from this brief analysis that this statement of future events is not only comprehensive but is arranged in sermonic form, each of its three parts looking at the future from the standpoint of one of the three divisions of humankind: “Jew, Gentile, and the Church of God.” It summarizes the entire scope of future events from the time of Christ’s first coming until His coming again. The diligent student might like to compare the first fourteen verses of Mathew 24 with the events described under the breaking of the seals in Revelation 6. The parallel is striking. Moreover, it is evident that the Lord is drawing freely on previous prophetic revelations especially those given in the book of Daniel.

The fact that events relating to the Church come at the end of Mathew 24 is to be understood homiletically not chronologically. Other scriptures make it clear that the church will not go through the great tribulation. The Lord is here dealing with end-time events in sermonic form. His first point examines the last days from the standpoint of the Gentile nations. He then drops that subject and looks at end-time events from the standpoint of the nation of Israel.

Finally, He looks at the end-time prophecy from the point of view of the church. Each topic is separately dealt with as in a topical sermon. There is no need to go to the extreme view of ruling the church out of this end-time eschatology of Christ altogether, as some do. It is difficult to imagine the Lord giving His one comprehensive statement regarding the end–time and having nothing to say about that which was closest to His heart- Church. Indeed, He keeps “the best wine until last.“ by following the order of history-Gentiles‚ Israel, the Church–as the basis for His sermon.

The Devotional Rule

The Bible richly repays devotional reading and meditation. This, however, is where many people let down their guard. roam at random through the Scriptures, looking for comfort and assurance, guidance, and blessing. Often such devotional reading is done in an unsystematic way, with the vague hope that a verse will suddenly leap from the page in bold, brilliant emphasis and will supply the comfort and direction needed for the moment.

Of course, God knows our needs and delights to meet us in His Word. Often He ‘ will meet the sincere believer with a “promise” for the day. He is very gracious. But hopping around from chapter to chapter and from verse to verse can never really produce lasting satisfactory devotional results. Sometimes, too, “guidance” derived from such a haphazard use of the Bible can be misleading.

The first rule for devotional reading of the Scriptures is that we read the Bible methodically. We take a book, begin at the beginning, and progress steadily through it a paragraph at a time, to the end. Or we take a theme and trace it out in a systematic way, never taking more than digestible portions at a time.

A second rule for devotional reading of the Scriptures is to read meditatively. Some people seem to be in a race with time in their devotions. They want to read the Bible through in a year, so off they go, day by day. at great speed, checking off the chapters like so many miles on a journey and getting frustrated if ever they fall behind. Reading through the Bible in a year or reading through a book at a sitting is doubtless a worthy goal but not if our purpose is to get a word from God in our reading.

Meditation is a lost art. Meditation actively engages the mind with the Word of God (Psalm 1:1-3). When we meditate we take a passage, preferably a paragraph or segment, not too long or short, and turn it over and over in our mind to see what that portion contains, seeking something practical and personal for our soul. We think about a passage o Scripture, asking the Holy Spirit to open it up to our lasting good. There is nothing hurried about this process. By its very nature, it takes time, patience, and thought.

The third rule for devotional reading of the Bible is to read meaningfully. Some have found it helpful to formulate questions, deliberately directed to the passage and preferably couched in the first person singular.

As I read this passage, does it bring before me a sin 1 must avoid? a promise I can claim? a blessing I can enjoy? a command I should obey? a victory I must gain? a lesson I need to learn? Is there here a new thought about God, about the Lord Jesus, or about the Holy Spirit? is there a new thought about the man or about Satan?”

As the passage yields its personal and practical message, we look for the main thought the Spirit of God is seeking to bring home to our hearts. It is a good policy to keep a notebook open and to write down the thoughts and lessons the Holy Spirit is bringing to the fore.

Such devotional reading of the Scriptures does not ignore the rules of hermeneutics discussed in earlier chapters. It does, however, personalize the Scriptures. Let us see how such a reading and meditation might work out in practice. We shall take as our portion john 12:1-11. We can compare verse 3 with verse 5 and observe what Judas had to say about Mary. Then, in verse 7 we have a clear COMMAND to obey. “Then said Jesus‚ Let her alone . . .” Applied personally, that would lay upon the reader the obligation not to criticize other people.

We can focus on verses 9-11 and observe that, because of Lazarus, many people not only came to see the miracle of this life but went away believing for themselves. Here, then is a VICTORY to gain. Living on “resurrection ground” will result in a testimony for Christ that will convince unbelievers. The new life should be evident to all.

We can focus on verse 3 again and note that Mary’s ointment was “very costly.” When her gift was presented to Jesus “the house was filled with the odor.” Here is a LESSON to learn. Worship is costly, but it results in a fragrance that not only brings joy to the Lord Jesus but also affects everyone around.

We can focus on verses 7-8 and note especially what ]esus said to. Judas. Here could well arise a NEW THOUGHT ABOUT GOD THE SON. The Lord knew Mary’s motives.

The Lord defends and vindicates His own. He knew the motive of Judas too, but, in grace, refrained from drawing attention to it.

We can focus on verses 10-11 and note the reaction of the chief priests. Here could well arise a NEW THOUGHT ABOUT MAN. The hatred of the unbeliever to the truth is deep-seated. It is not a case of “I cannot believe.” The evidence of Lazarus was beyond challenge. It is a question of “I will not believe.” Unbelief is not a matter of the mind but of the will.

In drawing together the threads of the devotional meditation it could be said that TODAY’S THOUGHT is that this passage sets forth the work of the believer (Martha), the worship of the believer (Mary), and the witness of the believer (Lazarus). Am I working, working, worshiping, witnessing?

Numbers in the Bible

From as far back as when men first began to count, people have been fascinated by numbers. Even the ordinary, everyday numbers of the workaday world hide curiosities and treasures within their depths. Whole volumes have been written to demonstrate the mysterious and hidden significance of various numbers in our mathematical system. Sir James Jeans, the famous British astronomer, once declared that the Creator of the universe had to be “a pure Mathematician.”

Before getting down to the significance of numbers in the Bible, let us glance at some of the properties of ordinary numbers, properties rarer suspected by the person who is content just to take them at their face value.

The number 4, for instance, yields some interesting properties. Just for a beginning, it is possible to express all the whole numbers (from 1 to 10) in terms of the number 4 by just employing the regular math signs for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division:„

1 = 4/44

2 = 4/4 + 4/4

3 4+4+4/4

4 = 4(4 4) + 4

By using, in addition to the above math signs, the square root sign we can similarly express all the whole numbers from 11-20. For instance:

11 44/44 + 3/3

12 : 44 + 4/4

13 = 44/4 + \/4

if we include, also, the factorial sign and the dot (used as both a decimal point and a recurring decimal) all the numbers up to 112 can be expressed in terms of the number 4.

All kinds of interesting structures have been discovered hidden within numbers and groups of numbers. It is well known, for example, that if we write all the numbers from 1-9 in an ascending and then in a descending chain we get the following:

12,345‚678‚987,654‚321

and this number is the square of“ 1.1 1 1,111. That is interesting, to say the least. There are 365 days in the year. This number can be expressed in the chain.

102+112+122=365

Or it can be expressed as another chain:

132 + 142 = 355

Or, to express it as an equation:

102 + 112+ 122 + 132 + 142=365

Many such chains can be discerned in the wonderful world of mathematics. The simplest, of course, are:

1+2=8

4+5+6=7+8 ‚

9+10+11+ 12=13+14+ 15

Mathematicians have unearthed some very complex chains. Here is one example: _

212 + 222+ 232 + 242= 252 + 252+ 272

Here is another: ‘

362 + 372 + 382 + 39’ + 40’ = 412 + 427 + 432 + 44’

The number13‚long regarded with superstition, has mysterious properties of its own. For instance: .

13 x 13 = 169

Reverse the number 169 and we have 961 which can be expressed as

51 x 31.

It will be seen at once that these factors are the number 13 reversed. But there is more. The digits that make up the number 169 add up to 16. Now add up the digits in the number 13; the result, of course, is 4. The number 4 is the square root of the number 16. These 0ddities have no mystical significance but they are interesting least to people who are interested in numbers.

Fear of the number 13 is deep-rooted. Some airlines omit row 13 in their seating. Some hotels skip the number 13 in numbering rooms and floors. The fear of the number 13 even has a triskaidekaphobia! Franklin D. Roosevelt was superstitious of the number. He would never allow 13 people to sit down at a table.

Fear of the number 13 does not seem to hinder people from handling the dollar bill, even though the number is woven into it in various ways. The number is found in the two faces of the great sea! Of the United States. There are13 steps on the pyramid. Each of the two mottoes (Annuit coeptis and E Pluribus Unum) contains 13 1etters. There are13 stars over the eag1e’s head and15 stripes on the Shield. The eagle holds 13 arrows in one claw and an olive branch with 13 1eaves in the other. The base of the pyramid is right over the date 1776 (incidentally 444 x 4 ). The last two digits of x add up to 15. Some people see the ominous significance in all these thirteen’s and link the phenomena to a secret society known as the Illuminati. Probably much of the repetition of the number 13 stems from the fact that there were thirteen original colonies.

The number 13 does have some ominous associations in the Bible-but more of that later.

Belief in the symbolism of numbers can be traced back to the early Egyptians. What “as once perhaps a science soon degenerated into superstition and, in due course, numerology developed. The Jewish Cabalists‚ the Greek Pythagoreans. Philo of Alexandria, the Gnostics-all saw mystical significance in numbers. Modem numerologists have found all kinds of strange meanings in numbers.

We are not concerned with the semi-occultism of numerology. Satan always imitates God. Nor are we concerned with Biblical numeric’s (founded on the fact that every letter in both Hebrew and Greek is also a number), though that, too, is an area of study. Here we are concerned with the significance of Bible numbers. Although there is a diversity of opinions. Various numbers are generally associated with certain ideas. Nobody can have failed to notice the frequency with which the number 7 occurs in the Bible. The book of Revelation is full of 7s. The number 5 and its multiplies are prominent in the tabernacle. The number 40 occurs frequently and in a way that is significant.

No scheme of Bible interpretation can afford to overlook entirely the Holy Spirit‘s precise use of numbers. Here we are going to examine some of the more obvious ones. Although no doctrine can be based on the significance of Bible numbers, they will give us clues to Bible truth.

God has stamped numbers on all His creation. He has also woven them into His ‘ord. Botanists are familiar with the recurring patterns of numbers in plants. The very way leaves grow on a stern is not only according to definite law but also in strict numerical sequence. After a certain number of leaves, one will come immediately above and in direct line with the first.

The same is true elsewhere in nature. The notes on the musical scale are caused by the number of vibrations in each note. As each note climbs its way up the scale, the number of vibrations increases by eleven. Everywhere we look God has marked His handiwork this way.

In the Bible, numbers are used with great precision. They display the supernatural design in the mind of the author. Each number has its own significance‚ and its meaning is always in harmony with the subject matter presented.

The number 1 is a cardinal num her. It is not made of any other numbers and it is the source of all numbers. It symbolizes God, the great First cause, independent of all and the source of all. The number 1 excludes all differences; thus the great creedal statement of the Jewish people was “Hear. 0 Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” This does not deny the doctrine of the Trinity, but it does exclude the idea that there could possibly be any other God. The Jehovah’s Witnesses ridicule the doctrine of the Trinity. They attempt to press it mathematically as 1+1+1=3. If it is to be expressed mathematically at all, it should 1X1X1=1. The number 1 marks the beginning. “In the beginning, God” is the way the Bible begins. We have already seen the primacy of the first mention of a Biblical theme.

The number 2 denotes a difference. We think of the introduction into human affairs of God‘s “second man” (1 Corinthians 15:47) and of how different He was from the first man. As the number 1 says that there is no other, the number 2 affirms that there is another. The difference may be for good or for evil. Two is the first number that can be divided. We think of the two houses in the Lord’s parable: one built on rock, the other on sand. We think of the man who had two sons; of the two masters it is impossible to serve; of the two gates; and of the two ways. On the second day of creation, the division was made. The second bock of the circle opens with opposition. The second psalm deals with rebellion. In the epistles, the second epistles usually indicates the work of the enemy: 2 Corinthians, 2 Thessalonians, 2 Peter, and 2 John all illustrate this. ‘The second of the mystery parables of Matthew 13 introduces the enemy and the tares. We think, too, of the use of the word double in Scripture as it is applied to the tongue, the heart. the mind.

The number 3 denotes completeness. It takes three lines to enclose a space and draw a geometric figure. It takes three dimensions to make a solid, three persons in grammar to express and include all of mankind’s relationships, three divisions to express time, three kingdoms to sum up things that exist (animal, vegetable, mineral), three_ forms to complete the sum of human capability (thought, word, deed). Three is evidently an important number. God, Himself is revealed as existing in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The holy of holies in the tabernacle was an effect cube, ten by ten by ten cub1ts. Christ has three offices: Prophet, Priest, and King. His resurrection took place on the third day. There are three arch-apostates in Scripture: Cain, Balaam‚ and Kore. There are three enemies of mankind: the world, the Flesh, and the Devil. There are three cardinal gifts of grace: faith, hope, and love. The Lord Jesus raised three people from the dead: a young child, recently dead; a man on his way to burial; and a man dead and buried for four days.

The number 4 has a special relation to things earthly‚ things terrestrial. It is the world number, the number of material completeness. There are four cardinal points to the compass: north, east, south, west: four divisions to the day: morning, noon, evening, and night; four seasons of the year, spring, summer, fall, and winter. God has ‘ “four score Judgments”: the sword, famine, the noisome beast, and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21). There are four women in the Lord’s genealogy: Thamar‚ Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. There are four world empires of Scripture: Babylon, Greece, Persia, and Rome. The tabernacle was God’s temporary dwelling place on earth. In the tabernacle four materials were used: gold, silver, copper, and wood; and there were four coverings: sea] skins, ram skins, goat skins. and fine twined linen. The four Gospels give us the story of Christ’s earthly life.

The number 5 is the number of grace. It is four plus one: God adding His gracious gifts and blessing to the works of His hands. The dimensions of the tabernacle and its parts are all connected with five and its multiples. The outer court was one hundred cubits long by fifty cubits wide. Its pillars were five cubits apart. The tabernacle itself was ten cubits high, ten cubits wide, and thirty cubits long. There were twenty boards on each side of the tabernacle. On each side, the boards were held together by live bars‚ four visible and one

Invisible (God, in His condescending grace, had come down to dwell among men). There were five ingredients in the holy anointing oil and five ingredients in the incense. When the Lord in grace set out to feed the hungry multitudes, five loaves fed 5,000 people. God has given five gifts to His Church: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Through them, He gives expression to the gospel of His grace. When David fought Goliath, he took five smooth stones, human weakness supplemented by divine strength.

The number 6 is the number of men. Significantly, man was created on the sixth day. The hours of his day and the months of his year are multiples of six. The list of Cain’s descendants is given to the sixth generation. Goliath of Gath was six cubits talk he wore six pieces of armour, and his spear’s head weighed 600 shekels of non. Nebuchadnezzar’s image was sixty cubits high and six cubits broad. Six instruments of music heralded the time to worship the image. The number of the Beast’s names will be 666. Since man is by nature sinful, the number 6 is frequently connected with his sin (as can be seen from the above). He was to labour six days out of seven. The sixth commandment deals with man’s most serious sin against his neighbour, murder.

The number 7 is linked with spiritual perfection. “The seventh day was set apart by God for Himself and later, as the Sabbath, was given to Israel as the sign and sea] of the Mosaic covenant. The Hebrew word for seven comes from a root meaning “to be full” or “satisfied.” There are seven “better things” in Hebrews. Christ spoke seven words from the cross. Enoch, the first man to be translated as living to heaven, was the seventh from Adam. The Day of Atonement in Israel was in the seventh month. Seven men lived more than 900 years: Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, ]ared, Methuselah, and Noah. Noah, the seventh one, is called “perfect” by God. His father Lamech, lived 777 years. Naaman the leper had to clip seven times in the Jordan River for cleansing. The opening statement of scripture, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth,” in Hebrew contains seven words. The closing book of the Bible is full of sevens. There are seven churches, seals‚ trumpets, vials, personages, dooms, and new things. In Leviticus, there was to be a sevenfold sprinkling of blood. The lampstand in the holy place of the tabernacle had seven lamps.

The number 8 is associated with a new beginning and hence with resurrection. In music, the eighth note is the same note as the first, lifted an octave higher to begin a new scale. The Lord made eight covenants with Abraham and the eighth was concerned with resurrection blessing (Genesis 1 2: 1-3, 12:7, 13: 1 4-1 7, 15: 1 3-21 , 17:1-22, 18:9-15, 21:12, and 22:15-18). The Feast of Tabernacles, the only feast kept for eight days (Leviticus 23:39; compare verses 84-36 and Numbers 29:39; Nehemiah 8:18), anticipated the new beginning of the Millennium. Eight people in the ark of Noah stepped out on the new earth. Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week, the day after the Sabbath, which was, of course, the eighth day.

In the Bible, the number 9 stands for finality and judgment. It has similarities to the number six (3+3=6 and 3X3=9). The sum of the twenty-two letters which make up the Hebrew alphabet is 4,995 (5X999) so the Hebrew alphabet is thus stamped with grace and” finality. When Christ took our place in judgment, He was nailed to the cross at nine o’clock in the morning. He dismissed His Spirit at three o’clock (that is to say, the ninth hour). There is a nine-fold fruit of the Spirit and “against such, there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). There are nine recorded stonings in the Bible, nine cases of leprosy, mine instances of blindness.

The number 10 is one of the perfect numbers of Scripture. It is the basis in the mathematics of the decimal system. It marks completeness of order, the full round of anything. There were Ten Commandments containing all necessary duties. There are ten clauses in the Lord’s Prayer. Tithes, that is, tenths, represent what was due from man as a complete recognition of God’s claims‚ on the whole. The ten plagues on the land of Egypt signify the completeness of God’s dealings with that land. The Beast’s world power will be based on a ten-nation confederacy symbolized by the ten toes of the image (Daniel 2:41) and the ten horns of the beast (Daniel 7:7,20,24; Revelation 23:8, 13:1). Abraham’s faith was tested and proved complete in ten trials. The ten virgins in the Lord’s parable symbolize the Whole nation of Israel (Matthew 25:1-13). In the Bible, ten people said, “I have sinned” (Pharaoh, Balaam, Achan, Saul, David, Sh1mex, Hezekiah, job, Micah, and Nehemiah), confessions that give a complete demonstration of the widespread nature of human sin. The ten words used in Psalm 1 19 as synonyms for the Word of God (way, testimony, commandments, sayings, law, judgment, righteousness, statutes, word, precepts) give a complete description of God’s Word.

The number 12 is another of the perfect numbers of Scripture. It stands for governmental perfection. It is found either directly or in multiples with all that has to do with the rule. We speak of twelve tribes of Israel; although there were, in fact, thirteen, God invariably counts only twelve in any given list. The Lord chose twelve apostles to be rulers over the affairs of the infant Church and one day to rule over the twelve tribes of Israel. The New Jerusalem which is to be a model of perfect government has twelve gates and twelve foundations garnished with twelve kinds of precious stones. Its length, breadth, and height will be twelve thousand furlongs. When anticipating what men would do to Him during His trials the Lord Jesus said He could summon twelve legions of angels to His aid, did He so desire? That perfection of power would have put an instant end to man’s misrule on earth. The only time the Lord is seen between His birth and His baptism is at the age of twelve, at which time He showed Himself to be perfectly ruled by God.

The number 13 is held in ill repute among men. An ill-omened number in the Bible too, it frequently stands for rebellion and apostasy. Its first occurrence is significant. “Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled” (Genesis 14:4). Of the twenty successors to Solomon on the throne of David, seven were good and thirteen were given to apostasy. Ahaz, one of the worst of them all, was the thirteenth from Solomon. Uzziah, a good king at first, had reigned fifty-two years (4X13) when he rebelled and was smitten with leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:3,21). Ishmael was thirteen years old when he was circumcised. (Although he submitted to that religious rite, it did him no good since he remained a rebel at heart.) There were, in actual fact, thirteen tribes of Israel- a significant fact, since throughout their entire history the tribes were stubborn, rebellious, and often apostate. There were twelve divine-appointed judges. The detestable Abimelech, who added himself to the list, spoiled the picture by making the total thirteen. Solomon, who became a rebel against God, spent seven years building God’s house but thirteen years building his own. Most of the names given to Satan have a numerical value in multiples of thirteen: dragon (75X13), tempter (81X13), Belial (6X13), the serpent (60X13).

The number 40 occurs frequently in Scripture. It is the number of probation and testing. As the product of eight and five, it combines the features of grace and renewal Israel wandered in the wideness forty years (Deuteronomy 8:2-5; Psalm 95-13). The life of Moses is divided into three periods, each being forty years long. He spent forty years learning to be somebody in Pharaoh’s courts forty years learning to be nobody in the backside of the desert, and forty years learning that God was all in all as he guided Israel from Egypt to Canaan. Saul was given forty years to prove himself fit to be Worthy to be king of Israel. During that time he sinned so frequently and with such high-handed rebellion against God that he was rejected. Jonah was to preach to Nineveh that the city had forty days to prepare itself for the coming of God’s wrath. The Lord Jesus was tempted by the Devil for Pony days. He tarried on the earth forty days after His resurrection to prove to all that He was truly alive. Moses Was on the mount for forty days receiving the Law, and. during that period Israel turned to idolatry.

The number 666 has ominous significance since it is the number that will identify the Antichrist. There was quite a flurry of speculation when Henry Kissinger, a Jew, became the American secretary of state. By some numerical gimmickry, people were able to read the number 666 into his name. But that is nothing new. Sensationalists have been doing that kind of thing for years, With the Pope, Ellen Gould White‚ William Gladstone (& Victorian prime minister of England), and Adolf Hitler.

There can be no doubt that the number 666 is a curious number, quite apart from its spiritual significance in Revelation 13. With a base of 36 (6×6) a perfect triangle can be formed with 666 dots. All the digits between 1 and 36, when added up, likewise yield the number 666. The first 6 Roman numerals (I, V‚X, L, C‚D) when written in the reverse form (DCLXVT) yield the Arabic number 666.

But nobody should call that kind of thing Biblical exegesis. It savours more of numerology, one of the many pseudosciences popular in an age (like ours) that is addicted to the occult.

The number 666 will have significance to people living after the rapture of the Church. The false prophet, having created an image of the Beast, will command everyone to worship the image of the pain of death. As a badge of loyalty to their ire and as a means of economic control, everyone will be required to bear the name of the Beast or the number of his name. That number is given as 666. Presumably, when the Beast’s name is at last revealed and when it is written in Hebrew or Greek characters, it will yield this number.

Not many people today are familiar with the name of Ivan Panin, an outstanding scholar and literary critic in his day. In 1890 he discovered that a mathematical structure lay beneath the surface of the Biblical text. Panin‘s work was based on the simple fact that every letter in both the Hebrew and Greek languages has a numerical value. Thus any given word in either of those languages is not only a collection of letters; it is also a collection of numbers. By regarding the characters in a word as numbers instead of letters and by adding up those numbers, Panin determined the numerical value of the word. Panin discovered that there were thousands of patens and designs woven into the Scriptures– that words, sentences, and whole paragraphs contained repeating and consistent patterns of 7s of 13s or 45, and so on, depending on the subject matter of the text itself. Panin used his discoveries to authenticate the Biblical text and to display the Wisdom of God.

Today his work is regarded by some as a Biblical curiosity. Those who disparage him, however, ignore the fact that Panin was a very real scholar in his own right. He was a Harvard graduate. a renowned lecturer and an agnostic of such repute that his conversion made newspaper headlines. He devoted half a century to a painstaking and diligent study of the mathematical structure underlying the text and vocabulary of the Bible. In the process, he prepared a concordance of over 1‚000 pages for the Greek New Testament and another concordance that contains over 2,000 pages for the forms Of the New Testament Greek words. He also prepared special manuscripts for the vocabulary words of the Greek New Testament. Having prepared his tools he went to work and accumulated 40,000 pages of data on Bible numerics. He also translated the New Testament into English so that ordinary readers could benefit from his clarification of the Greek text.

While such explorations into the original text of the Bible are doubtless beyond most of us, we can all benef1t from the systematic use made of numbers generally throughout the Word of God.

Names in the Bible

The Bible is full of people and places. It is a book of names. The first person ever to live on this planet was named by God Himself (Genesis 5:2)Adam’s first recorded duty in the garden of Eden was to name the animals God brought to him for that purpose (Genesis 2: 19). We can be sure that the names he gave them were significant and were based on an intelligent appraisal of their functions, appearance, peculiarities, and habits.

In Old Testament times particular names were not arbitrarily given. They were often associated with an event, hope, the exercise of faith, or some such source of inspiration. For instance. Enoch called his son “Methuselah’” (Genesis 5:21). Enoch was a prophet (Jude 14) and we can be quite sure that the name Methuselah was not arbitrarily given-especially since the text implies that the birth of that child had something to do with the fact that thereafter Enoch “walked with God.” The name means “when he dies, it shall come.” In other words, Methuselah’s name was actually a prophecy and a testimony to every person who heard it: “When he dies, it [the Flood] shall come.” And so it did. Methuselah lived for 969 years, almost a full millennium, longer than any other human being. God, in His mercy, thus lengthened out the “day of grace.” And hard on the heels OF Methuselah’s death, the judgment waters came surging across the world. The day of grace was over.

If prophecy insp1red the naming of Methuselah‚ perplexity inspires the naming of Jacob. Jacob was a twin. The Bible records in some detail the circumstances surrounding his birth (Genesis 25:2125). During her pregnancy, Rebekah was much troubled by the turmoil taking place in her womb. Then the Lord told her, ”Two nations are in thy womb, and on the manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stranger than the other people; and the elder shall serve t e younger.” When the twins were on, “the first came out red, all over like a hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel, and his name was called Jacob” (verses 5-26).

Esau means “red.” And red indeed was the history of that person which came after him. The history of Edom climaxed in the person of Herod the Great, who set himself to murder the infant Christ and who, when that object was foiled, sought to accomplish it anyway by the massacre of the male children of Bethlehem.

Jacob’s name means “supplanter” or, as some have suggested. “one who twists you by the heel”–“a heel,” as we would say today, or “one who twists your arm.” There has something prophetic about his name. 0r was it, perhaps, that saddled with a name meaning “cheat.” Jacob decided that he might as well live up to it?

We trace Jacob’s scheming and plotting and double-dealing through chapter after chapter of his dealings with his brother, his father, and his Uncle Laban, although. in Laban‚ Jacob met a man who was a bigger schemer than himself. [I. went like that. until Peniel. where God met Jacob and mastered him, broke him and blessed him, and changed his name to “Israel,” which means: “Prince of God.”

The nation that sprang from Jacob is called by both names. The twelve tribes are characteristically called “the children of Israel,” since all of God’s sovereign purposes for the planet are bound up with the history and destiny of his people. Yet what a stiff-necked and rebellious people it has been. Imagine the condescension. the astonishing grace, of God who said: “The Lord of the host is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Psalm 46:11). Imagine God calling Himself the God of Jacob! No wonder the psalmist follows the announcement with resounding selah–“There! What do you think of that”?

Scripture has so many instances of names having significance that it is no wonder we conceive the notion that perhaps all the names of the Bible have some kind of spiritual significance‚ if only we knew how to interpret chem.

What is true of the names of people seems to be equally true of the name of places. We think. for instance‚ of Jerusalem. Its name enshrines the thought of peace. The first time the city is mentioned in Scripture it is called Salem (Genesis l4:18), which means “peace”. The characteristic Jewish greeting to this day is “Shalom”-peace. The Writer of Hebrews capitalizes on the fact that Melchisedec‚ the king of Salem, who met Abraham after the triumphant battle with the kings of the east, was actually king of Salem. “This Melchisedec. King of Salem . . . met Abraham . . . first being by interpretation King of righteousness. And after [hat also King of Salem, which is. King of peace” (Hebrews 7:1-2). The point is U12! Melchisedec was: the type of Christ in whom “mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10).

The city of pace–but how little it has known pace in its stormy history. Has ever a city been so besieged. Embattled, burned. And ravished? Yet one day 1! is to be truly my city of pace. The capital of Christ’s millennial kingdom on an};

As we might expect, the names of God in Scripture are used with

Great precision. In the Old Testament God revealed Himself largely by means of His names. “There mc three primary names for God.

The first off this is Elohim, sometimes contracted in El ox Elah. Its first occurrence (Genesis 1:1) links it with the creation and gives it the essential meaning of creator. It is a uni-plural pronoun derived from Eli (strength) and Allah (to swear or to bind by oath, hence implying faithfulness). The uni-plurality of God is dearly stated in Genesis 1.26, where we read and God said, let us make man……. “The concept of the Trinity in this revealed in the opening revelation of God in scripture.

The second primary name is Jehovah. The name means the eternal, the self-existent one. Literally, it means “He who is who He is“{as in Exodus 5:14). The word Jehovah (from Which the word Yahwah is formed) means ‘to become, that is, “to become known.” thus indicating continuous self-revelation. It is the name of God in His covenant relationship to these He has created. Significantly the name makes its first appearance in Scripture after l e creation of man (Genesis 2:4).

The third primary name for God is Adon or Adonai, generally translated as” Lad.” Its primary meaning is “master. ‚ Adon is the Lord as ruler on the earth. Adoniram carries the thought of the Lord as owner, the ruler of His own people. Adonia is the Lord carrying out His purpose of blessing the earth. Ru1er‚ owner and blesser are all nouns associated with this name.

Along with these primary names for God the Old Testament gives us several compound names for God, names joined either with Eli or Jehovah.

For instance, He is El Shaddai (Genesis 17: 1 ), the strong one. But He is the strong one in the sense conveyed by the word Shaddai (“the breast,” the common Old Testament word for a woman’s breast). God is Shaddai because He nourishes, gives strength, satisfies, pours Himself into the life of the believer. He is God all-sufficient.

He is EL-Elyon (Genesis [4:18). Elyon means highest. He is God Most High. The name is especially associated with God as “the possessor 015 heaven and earth.” The name is appropriately associated With Christ as the Son of “the Highest” (Luke 1:35).

He is El-Olan (Genesis 21:53). “the everlasting God.” The Hebrew word alarm is used in connection with secret or hidden things of ancient times. The two ideas of secret, hidden things; and matters of indefinite duration combine in the title. He is the everlasting God, the God who has control over everlasting things.

He is Jehovah Elohim– God‘(Genesis 2:4). It was God as Elohim said. “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26). One a man is brought in and given hit n acc of dominion over the earth scene it is the Lord God Jehovah-Elohim) who acts. In other words God, in other words, God in His Jehovah character, is especially related to man.

He is Adonai Jehovah (Genesis 15:2). This compound name gathers together the distinctive meanings of each, but usually, the emphasis is on Adonai.

He is Jehovah-Jireh (Genesis 22:14), the Low who sees and provides. He is Jehovah-Ropheha (Exodus 15:26). the Lord who hea1s. He is Jehovah-Mehaddishkem, the Lotto who sanctif1es (Exodus 31:18; Leviticus 20:8; Ezekie1 20:12). He is Jehovah-Shalom (Judges 6:24), the LORD who sends peace. He is Jehovah-Sabaoth (1Samuel 1:8), the LORD of hosts. He is Jehovah-Tsidkenu (Jeremiah 23:6;33:16), the Low our righteousness. He is Jehovah-Shammah (Ezekiel 48:85), the LORD who is there. He is Jehovah-Elyon (Psalm 7:17; 47:2), the Lord our most high, and He is Jehovah-Roi (Psalm 28:1) the Lou» our Shepherd.

This revelation of God by His names is inherent in the Old Testament. No scheme of Biblica1 1nterpretation that ignores it is complete. God has revealed Himself by these names in response to the needs of His people. There can be no human need not thus met by God.

Equally important are the names and titles used for God in the New Testament.

First, there is the general word, God (them), which corresponds more or less to the Old Testament Elohim and its contractions. It is used by God the Father (John 1:1; Acts 17:24), by God the Son

(Matthew 1:23;john 1:1; 20:28), and of God, the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3, compare with Acts 5:4).1tis even used of false gods (Acts 7:43).

‘The Old Testament title “I Am” is used by Christ to describe Himse1f (John 8:58), making direct reference to Exodus 3:14.

The name Father (path) is the name for God particularly revea1ed by the Lord Jesus. It is used to depict the unique relationship Jesus had with God and to describe the relationsh1p with which we are brought when we are born into the family of God by the new birth (john 3:16, 20:17; Romans 8:15).

He is referred to as the Almighty (pantokratör), a title that speak£ of God as creator and Lord of all creation (2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 1:8, 4:8, 21:22).

The name Potentate (dynasties) occurs once (l Timothy 6:15) in relation to God. Describes Him as a mighty prince, or ruler. The word itself shows up in our English word, dynasty.

The name Lord is used frequently in the New Testament for God. It renders three words from the original, two of Greek origin and one of Aramaic. The first of these is Kurios, which means “owner” (as in Luke19:33). To speak of the proprietorship and authority belonging to an owner. It is used by Jehovah (Matthew 1:22, 2:15; Luke 1:6. 10:2; John 1:23, 12:13). It is used by Christ (Matthew 21:3; Mark 2:28; Luke 1:45; John 6:34, 8:11). It is rendered “sir” six times John 4:11,15‚19‚49; 5:7; 20:15).

The second word rendered “Lord” is Apostle. Like its compamm1 word, this one speaks of ownership but it implies more absolute and num1tea authority and power both on earth and in heaven. It comes from des (to bind) pous (the foot). It occurs ten times in the New Testament and is translated half the time as “Master.” It is used by Jehovah (Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; Revelation 6:10) and of Christ (2 Peter 2:1; Jude 4).

The Aramaic word translated as “Lord” is rabboni (Mark 10:51; John 20:16). It means “master” or “teacher.”

The name Emmanuel (God with us) is used by Christ (Matthew 1:23). It is taken from Isaiah 7:14 and is further evidence of Christ’s deity.

The name Messiah (anointed) occurs twice (john 1:41 . 4:25). It is a transliteration of the Hebrew Messiah, the Greek translation of which is Christ Jesus (the Old Testament Jehoshun, or Joshua) means “salvation of Jehovah” and is the human name of our Lord. 1t conveys the relation of God to the Lord Jesus in His incarnation (Philippians 2:8). It was given to Him by divine direction (Matthew 1:21). His people never addressed Him as “Jesus” but always as “Master” (John 13:13‚14; Luke 6:46). Only the demons addressed Him directly as “Jesus” (Matthew 8:29) or His enemies. It is noteworthy that He always silenced the demons when they so addressed Him.

The name Jesus is often associated with the title “Christ” in the New Testament. Sometimes it is Christ Jesus; sometimes it is Jesus Chris: The order of the names is always important. In the New Testament “Jesus Christ” gives primacy to the name “Jesus,” the title “Christ” being subsidiary. In the Gospels, it simply means “Jesus the Messiah.” In the epistles, the emphasis is on Jesus, who once hunb1ed Himself but who is now exalted and glorified as God’s anointed One. When the two names appear in the opposite order, priority is given to the title “Christ,” the name Jesus being subsidiary. The thought then is always of the exalted, glorified One who once humbled Himself. The phrase “Christ the Lord“ occurs only once in the New Testament (Luke 2:11). It means “Jehovah’s anointed.” Its companion name, “the anointed of Jehovah‚” occurs in Luke 2:26.

The title “Master” occurs frequently in the New Testament. It translates eight different Greek words, the first three of which are also translated as “Lord.” These are kürios (Mark 13:35; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1); despotes‚ and rabboni’. Other words translated “Master” are oikodespotes (Matthew 10:25; Luke 15:25, 14:21), often used In the parables by the Lord to depict Himself (the word means “master of the house“); epistates (Luke 5:5; 8124,45; 9:33,49; 17:13) Which means “commander”; didaskalos, which occurs some fifty or sixty times and which means “teacher” or, as we would say today, “Doctor” (Matthew 8:19; Mark 4:38; 14:14;Luke1

The title “Son of God” expresses the relationship between the Father and the Son (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:31,55) and also speaks of our Lord as the heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2), the One who is the conqueror of the tomb (Romans 1:4).

The great title of Jesus in the Gospels is “the Son of man.“ It occurs 88 times and is a highly specialized title. It proclaims Him as the One who has dominion over the earth, which dominion Adam, the first man, threw away. The title first occurs in the New Testament in Matthew 8:20, where we discover that “the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.” It occurs for the second time in the next chapter where we learn that He was both God and man and that as “Son of Man” He had power on earth to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6). Nearly all the references to Jesus as the Son of Man are in the Gospels. The definite article is always used with the title (to distinguish it from the Old Testament expression “son of man,” used of a mere human being, especially in Ezekiel).

Elsewhere, Stephen saw Him as “the Son of man” standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:56). He is referred to twice in the Apocalypse as “the Son of man” (Revelation 1:13; 14:14), where He is seen as coming back to claim the earth for God. What a contrast exists between the first reference to the Son of man, where He had “not where to lay His head,” and the last, where He is seen with the sharp sickle in His hand. and a golden crown on His head.

From this, we can see how important it is to pay special attention to names and titles in the Scriptures, especially those that relate to God

But what about the hundreds of names, both of people and places that occur in the Bible and are not so clearly defined for us by the circumstances surrounding them? Here we must proceed with caution.

With most names we have to rely on their etymology, so most of us are driven back to concordances, Bible dictionaries, and lexicons for help. Even so we have a problem, as anyone will know who has ever tried to find out the exact meaning of a given and especially a rare name. Often the dictionary or other source will suggest a meaning for the name and then suggest alternate meanings. The problem arises from the fact that the Hebrews used only consonants when writing their language. In reconstructing words it is necessary to supply the appropriate vowels. In a sentence this is usually a mechanical procedure because the sentence itself will give clues as to which vowels to supply for a given word. But with names it is different. Names do not usually derive any meaning from the context. Therefore, where a given series of consonants can be supplied with alternative vowels, the spelling is unclear.

Because a Bible name can sometimes render a number of different meanings we must be careful when we try to build some kind of “Point” around a given name. Where the meanings of names are c car and unambiguous they are often shed light on the passage under study. But where there is room for doubt we should say so.

Christ the Ultimate Key

The ultimate key to all the Scriptures is Christ Himself. On the road to Emmaus, the Lord Jesus warned the hearts of two of His disciples by showing them in all the Scriptures “the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). Everything centres on Him. God has no programs, no plans, no purposes for this Planet, which do not ultimately come to rest in the person of His beloved Son. He is hidden in scores of Old Testament types. He is the subject of hundreds of prophecies. He is the great central figure of the Bible.

I saw once in a country novelty store a copy of the Constitution of the United States of America. It had been written longhand by an artist. ‘The spacing of the words, however, was unusual. Some of the Words and letters were cramped together. Others were spaced out, some of them quite far apart. There seemed to be no reason for the haphazard way the penman had written out the words. That is, there seemed to be little sense to it until one stood back a little way, then the artist’s purpose was clear. He had so written that copy of the Constitution that the cramped areas provided shaded areas on the paper and the spaced-out words provided light areas. The result was that he had not only written out a copy of the Constitution, he had also drawn a portrait of George Washington. It was a very effective piece of work.

That is how the Spirit of God has written the Bible. Why, for example, should He dismiss the creation of all the suns and stars of space in five brief words–“He made the stars also–yet devote 21 about fifty chapters to telling of the tabernacle? The history of some 1,500 years is disposed of in nine verses in Genesis 4:16-24 yet a quarter of the book of Genesis is devoted to the story of Joseph, a man who was not even in the Messianic line. The rise and fall of great world empires are barer mentioned, yet God dwells long and lovingly on the stories of men like Abraham, Jacob, and Moses. The great world figures who strutted across the pages of history are mostly ignored or are mentioned in an offhand way and then only when their careers touched on the history of Israel. Yet God will spend chapter after chapter writing down the requirements of the offerings, going into the smallest detail, even saying the same thing over and over again. There has to be a reaction. There is God who is writing into the pages of His Word a full-length portrait of His Son.

We will do well, when interpreting the Scriptures, to keep a sharp eye open for details that speak of Christ. We see Him in Genesis as the creation, as the seed of the woman, like the star that will rise out of Jacob, as the lion of Judah. We see Him in the story of Abel’s lamb, in the ark of Noah, in what happened at Mount Moriah, m the story of Joseph. We see Him in Exodus in the Passover lamb, in every part of the tabernacle, in the Shekinah glory cloud, in the manna, and in the riven rock. We see Him in Leviticus in the offerings and as the great high priest‚ in the ritual for cleansing the leper, in the goats of the Day of Atonement, in the entire annual feasts. We see Him m Numbers in the red heifer. in the serpent on the pole, in the preambles of Balaam. in the cities of refuge.

In Deuteronomy, He is the prophet like unto Moses. In Joshua, He is the captain of our salvation. In judges, He is the deliverer of His own. In Ruth, He is the kinsman-redeemer. In Samuel, He is the ark and the rejected king brought at last to the throne. In Kings and Chronicles, He reigns as Solomon in splendour and glory. In Ezra, He is the ready scribe. In Nehemiah, He is to be seen in every city given. In Esther, He is the One who provided salvation.

He is to be seen in almost all the psalms. He is the blessed man of Psalm I, the Son in Psalm 2, the shepherd in Psalm 23. He is the suffering Savior in Psalm 22 and Psalm 69. He is the King of glory in Psalm 24. He is the perfect man of Psalm 8 and the mighty God of Psalm 45. Almost every one of the psalms has a prophetic overtone, many of them plainly Messianic. ln Proverbs He is Wisdom incarnate. In Ecclesiastes‚ that sad book of worldly wisdom, He is the forgotten Wise man who saved the city. In the Song of Solomon, He is shepherd who won the Shulamite’s heart and who triumphs over all the blandishments of the world.

In Isaiah, He is the Lamb, led to the slaughter in Chapter 53 and the One who treads the winepress in chapter 63. He is the glorious Messiah of a hundred hopes and longings in stanza after stanza of the book. ln Jeremiah He is the great sufferer and the Lord our righteousness. ln Lamentations He is again the One acquainted with grief. In Ezekiel, He sits on the throne. In Daniel He is the One cut off and the stone cut without hands.

In Hosea, He is the forgiving, longsuffering husband and David’s far greater king. In Joel, He pours out His Spirit of all flesh. In Amos, He stands on the altar. He sifts the house of Israel, and He brings millennial blessing at last. In Obadiah, He ushers in the dreaded day of the Lord” and stands on Mount Zion. In Jonah‚ He is prefigured in His death, burial, and resurrection. In Micah He is seen as the One to be born at Bethlehem and as the One who will bring millennial blessing to all humankind; also He is the great shepherd and the One who pardons iniquity. In Nahum, He is the great avenger before whom the mountains quake, but a stronghold and a refuge to His own. In Habakkuk, He is the Holy One of Israel and His people’s strength and song. In Zephaniah, He brings in the kingdom Messing. In Haggai, He builds again the Temple of the Lord, shakes the nations, is the chosen of the Lord. In Zechariah He brings in the apocalypse‚ is the great high pries’, pours out the Spirit of the Lord upon men, is the headstone of the corner. He is a great judge. He rides into Jerusalem on a colt, is sold for the price of a slave, opens a fountain for uncleanness in Jerusalem, is the branch and the coming king of kings. in Malachi, His coming is heralded by a forerunner and He is the sun of righteousness.

In Matthew, He is the king of the Jews. In Mark, He is the servant of Jehovah. In Luke He is the Son of man; and in John, He is the Son of God. In Acts, He is the ascended Head of the Church. In Romans He is our righteousness; in Corinthians -He is the first fruit from the dead. ln Galatians He is the end of the Law, and in Ephesians, He is all in all to His Church-foundation for the building, head of the body ‚ bridegroom of our hearts. In Philippians, He is in the form of God and the One who supplies all our needs. In Colossians, He is the creator‚ sustainer, and owner of the universe, preeminent overall. 1Thessalonians He comes again for His Church, in 2Thessalonians He comes to judge the world. In 1Timothy He is the one mediator between God and man; in 2 Timothy He is the judge of the living and the dead.

In Hebrews, He is the great antitype of all the types son, Priest, sacrifice, heir, greater than Aaron or Melchisedec, greater than Moses or Joshua. greater than the angels, Son of God and Son of man. In James, He is the Lord of Sabaoth and the One who heels. h 1Peter He is our inheritance and the shepherd of our souls. In 2Peter He is the One from the excellent glory. in 1John He is the incarnate Word; in 2John He is the One who prospers our souls and in whose name’s sake the gospel goes forth. in Jude He is the preserver. The only Lord God, the only wise God. Our Savior, glorious in majesty, in Revelation He is the king soon to come, who even today upholds all things by the word of His power. the One who stands astride all the factors and force; of space and time and who bends all things to His sovereign will.

We meet Him in PROPHEC‘Y. The very first prophecy in the Bible is of Him and speaks of both His comings. The last prophecy in the Bible speaks of Him and of His coming again. The prophets spoke of His Virgin birth, a son of the royal house of David, of the tribe of Judah, in Bethlehem. They spoke of His forerunner; they spoke of His sinless life, His betrayal for thirty pieces of silver. His death by crucifixion, His burial in a rich man‘s tomb, His resurrection, and His coming again to reign in power and glory.

We find Him in PICTURES. In many Old Testament stories, He is pictured in type and shadow. The story of Noah’s ark is a case in point. God offered salvation, full and free to all who would make the decision and enter the ark by faith. All that was required was‚ that step of faith. The ark was to be a refuge from the wrath to come. It was the ark that bore the brunt and fury of the storm. Those who accepted the salvation God had provided were safe. Not a single drop of judgment water fell on them. The ark carried them safely to the shores of another world on the other side of judgment. All this, of course, pictures Christ as the hymn writer says.

The tempest’s awful voice was heard

O’ Christ, it tells on Thee,

Thine open bosom was my want,

It braved the storm for me.

The Passover, the various offerings, stories from the life of David. Ruth, countless other Old Testament histories all contain these pictures of Him.

We meet Him in PERSON. We read the Gospels and trace the story of His coming, His character, His career, His cross. We see Him as God manifest in flesh-never less than God but ever and always Man as God always intended man to be: man inhabited by God. We see His miracles, listen to His parables, marvel at His goodness, thrill to His love. We see Him as Prophet, Priest, and King.

We End Him in PARABLE, in story after story He told about Himself. He is the Good Shepherd in the story of the sheep that went astray and the King in the parable of the sheep and the goats. He is the Bridegroom in the story of the wise and foolish Virgin‚ and the Sower in the story of the seed and the soil. He is the Merchant seeking goodly pearls, the man who found treasure hidden in his field, the Son sent to negotiate with the keepers of the vineyard. He is the Good Samaritan on the Jericho road and the King who went to a distant shore to receive a kingdom. ‘

We meet Him in the PREACHING of Peter, James, and John, in the reaching of John the Baptist, in the preaching of the apostle Paul, and in His own preaching. He is the true Vine, the Door, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Light of the world, the Bread from heaven. His is the only name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. He is the stone rejected by the builders. He is the lamb led to the slaughter, the One who so intrigued the Ethiopian eunuch. He is the unknown God of the Athenians. He is the Lord from heaven who met Paul on the Damascus road, and the One on whom the Philippian jailor believed.

We meet Him in POWER in the Apocalypse which from first to last is “the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:1). He is seen standing in the midst of the lampstands, stepping into the spotlight of eternity to receive the seven-sealed scroll. Heit is who rides the star-strewn pathways of the sky on a great white horse to make man meet his Maker at Megiddo. Heit is who sits on the Great White Throne and holds the Last Assize. He is the Lamb who is all the glory of Immanuel’s land. He is the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star.

Turn where you will in the sacred library, and the Holy Spirit will point you to Jesus. So look for Christ in the Bible. To meet Him when striding down one of the broad, well-beaten highways of the Word‚ to come across Him while exploring the seldom-travelled path Of truth. will be the most rewarding experience of all.

 

 

 

From this part of the world, It is all thanks and be rupturable, from pastor Godstrong.

 

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4 Comments

  1. anas

    HI

    thank you for this article that you share with us about THE LAWS OF MENTION AND DEVOTIONAL RULE OF BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION, I have read that article. Words cannot describe how much information I found there. Seriously, we should read it again step by step for can use all this information in our life 
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  2. AL. S.

    There is a lot of information here. It is a very well-researched and in-depth article. I was very interested in the mention of the order of Melchizedek and the higher priesthood. This is something that has always been taught in my church, that there are two priesthoods, the Aaronic priesthood and the high priesthood of Melchizedek. Interesting to see it mentioned here.

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