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Patterns and Prophecies
Prophecy - Signs
Tuesday, January 05, 2016
Wendy Wippel

“Hermeneutics” is the stuffy theological term for the lens through which we see Scripture. Western evangelicals, for example, see the  Bible as a self-help book, with  every verse a promise to claim. The Bible, however, was not written by Joel Osteen (Can I get an amen?), but by Middle Eastern men, who wrote out what God breathed. Their hermeneutics?  Similitudes.

Jesus Himself told us that: “'These things in similitudes I have spoken to you, but there cometh an hour when no more in similitudes will I speak to you, but freely of the Father will tell you.”  (John 16:25 Youngs Literal Translation)

Similitudes being the translation of the Greek word paroimia, A word also translated symbol or allegories. God speaks to us in allegories.

Scripture, thankfully, defines some of these specific allegories for us.

Adam was an allegory of the Savior promised after the fall. (Romans 5:12-21)  

Abraham offering up Isaac was an allegory of the crucifixion of Christ. (Hebrews 11:17-19)

Moses striking the rock in the wilderness was an allegory of God in the form of man being smitten for our sins. (II Corinthians 10:4)  

To name a few.  

In fact, Jesus tells two of His disciples --on the Emmaus road --a rather astounding thing, namely, that all of the Old Testament scriptures speak of Him. And He followed that up with an impromptu Bible study in which He explained to them, again, that “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25)

In other words, He explained to them that all of the Old Testament was about Him.

In context, obviously, meaning foreshadowings. Patterns that become prophecies, also known as “types” (short for prototypes).

Essentially meaning that the type is a foreshadowing that will eventually be fulfilled by the antitype -- Christ Himself.

Essentially a prophecy by analogy.

Exhibit A: probably one of the most widely recognized foreshadowings in Scripture, Abraham and Isaac on Mt. Moriah.

We all know this story:

"Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”And he said, “Here I am.”

2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the ladand I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”

And he said, “Here I am, my son.”

Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

So he said, “Here I am.”

12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide;[b] as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which isbut  on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba. (Genesis 22:1-19 NKJV)

It’s pretty hard to miss, in this passage, that Isaac is a type; a prophecy by analogy of Christ. It’s a whole lot easier to miss the details that confirm and validate the type unless you’re paying real attention.

For example:

  • Isaac carries his own wood to the place of sacrifice.
  • Isaac as a child specifically promised by God, just like Jesus. (Jn 15:4
  • Isaac was born to a women who physiologically couldn’t have children, just like Jesus.
  • The  moment that Abraham purposed to obey God’s command to sacrifice Isaac, the young man was essentially dead to him.  Isaac was therefore “resurrected” and reunited with his father on the third day (Genesis 22:4) just like Jesus.
  • Isaac was accompanied by two witnesses, just like Jesus. Isaac went on to have many many spiritual descendants, just like Jesus.
  • Isaac cried out to his father (Gen 22:7), just like Jesus.
  • God provided a ram for the sacrifice by ensnaring the ram’s horns in thorns. Just like Jesus, who wore a crown of thorns to His sacrifice. Still skeptical?

Notice that God specifically tells Abraham to “go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” And that God is going to show them an exact place to stop.  (Gen 22:2)

Notice also that, after they travel a ways, Abraham sees the place far off. And that he had to look up to see it. (Verse 4) 

Finally (verse 9) they arrive at the specific place Abraham was instructed to sacrifice his son, Mt. Moriah. Specifically, up high on Mt. Moriah. Where thousands of years later a temple would be built-a temple  in which other rams would be sacrificed for the sins of Abraham’s descendants.

Still not convinced? 

You may have missed a very interesting omission in Abrahams’s happy ending: 

…18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.

Here’s my question. What the heck happened to Isaac? 

Remember, this is a prophecy by analogy. So isn’t it interesting that the next time Isaac appears in the narrative is when he shows up to claim his bride Rebecca at the well.

Just like Jesus. Who will next appear to claim us as His bride.

About Wendy Wippel

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