The main focus of this BLOG, is to uphold those simple, and clearly defined truths, that are so often missing from Christian life and conversation.
(There may also be the odd film or book review along the way as well as stories from my life)
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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Parallels and Precedents.

I love the Bible, and for so many reasons. It is a book (well more accurately, collection of books) that can never be read just once. I love the overlapping stories and arcs of story. I love to go beyond the mere act of reading, I love to delve. It is not hard to unearth the treasures of the Bible. They give themselves willingly. But you must learn how to look for them and recognise them. Occasionally you will find what is commonly known as "fools gold". But careful exegesis will quickly show it for what it is. The apostle Peter, talking about  the writings of Paul warned us about this.

2Peter 3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

So before I put anything down in writing, especially on such a public platform as this. I need to be sure that what I have presented is correct. I never put up my latest "flash in the pan" pet theory. What I put here is well considered, I have given it time to sit. I have said in a couple of my posts that what I thought was correct, wasn't. For instance, while writing The "other" Uncomfortable Jesus. I came across this very thing. So I had to change from what I "thought" the Bible said. As I have had to for this post.

SO, having said all that I am going to issue a challenge. I want to see if you can prove me wrong. In this post I am going to talk about some parallels in the Bible. Parallels that are found in The Old and New Testaments. Because I have a theory, which is more of a conviction. That nothing happened in the New Testament, that did not have a precedent in the Old. Jesus did not perform a single miracle, that had not happened previously. So please, if you want to test me on this, put something into the comments section. But now, on to the subject of this post.

As I said I love reading the Bible. I love the layers of story within the Meta-Story. I love the parallels, because they give us a continuity of story between Old and New. They give us a repeating picture of how God acts.

So here are the stories of two men. One from the Old, One from the New.

Both men, were on a mission with official endorsement.
Both heard a supernatural voice.
Both were on a collision course with divine intervention and revelation.

I am talking about Balaam the pagan prophet. Numbers 22:21-35.
And Saul, a zealous young Pharisee. Acts 9:1-9.

Both men had made it their intention to bring trouble upon God's people.

Balaam, (motivated by financial earthly reward) was hired to proclaim curses over Israel, God's emerging nation.

Saul, (perhaps motivated by an eternal reward for his religious zeal) was on a mission to persecute the believers, God's emerging church.

Image result for paintings of conversion of saul on the road to damascus
image unattributed
Both men had their message changed.

Balaam proclaimed God's blessing over His people.

Saul, changed his name to Paul, and went about planting churches.

These two stories show us, how God acts on behalf of His people. Often in unexpected, unseen ways.

Here's another parallel, but one which gives us a contrast. It reveals the work of the enemy in producing counterfeits.

Once again we have two men, one from the Old, one from the New.

Both are sons of David.
Both had popularity with the common people.
Both died hanging from a tree, run through with spears. The result of treachery.

I am talking about Absalom. 2Samuel 15-18:18.
And Jesus.

There are many similarities in their stories, but the differences are glaring.

Absalom, was an usurper to the throne. He garnered favour with the people, promoting his own kingdom. He was deceitful, treacherous, murderous and a narcissistic liar. He worked against his fathers will, causing him grief and shame, while he made a name for himself. In the end, his death (as a result of Joab's betrayal) was probably well deserved.

Jesus, was the heir to the throne of heaven. He grew in favour with God and man. Yet He made himself of no reputation. He was subject to His Fathers will, promoting His Fathers Kingdom, bringing him glory and honour. His death (as a result of Judas' betrayal) was undeserved, but necessary for the benefit of all.

Do these two stories serve a purpose? Well for a start, they may help us when it comes to recognising a false Christ.

So I encourage you, read your Bible, don't rest on what you "think" it says. Dig out those seams of gold. Learn from it.

Other that that I just wanted to share some thoughts about things that interest me, and please, don't forget my challenge. Ask your questions below.

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