Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Every word is there for reason

When I study the Bible or prepare something to share with friends, the premise that I start with is that everything in the Bible is there for a reason. There is no "just because." This is GOD who ultimately wrote what we are reading. Yes, the Bible was written by some forty or more men, but they, "though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:21)

You can take almost anything - shoes, candles, house - and search for it (using the original language is best) in the Bible and discover that there is a theme that carries through. The Bible is full of symbols, yes, but most times, the key to "decoding it" is right there in the Scripture. Unlike works of human origin, God doesn't change what things symbolize. If yeast means "sin" in one place - then yeast means sin every other place, too. 

That idea will often work with phrases or concepts, too. An example is "the third day." What's the thing that immediately comes to mind with that phrase? Jesus' resurrection on that early Sunday morning, right? 

You'll find, if you search that phrase "the third day" in almost any Bible, but especially one that is close to a word for word translation, that pretty much every single one has to do with resurrection in some way.  Many of them seem to allude to the end, when we expect our resurrection. 

Here's the first occurrence:
Genesis 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the third day.

What happened on the third day? The dead, lifeless ground produced life.

Here's the next one:

Genesis 22:3 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. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad[a] and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

You know the story. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, his only son (the only son of the promise), and from that moment, Abraham considered him dead. When did Abraham receive Isaac back, "alive?"  On the third day.  You can tell that that is what Abraham was thinking from Hebrews: 
Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,”[d] 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.

What about this one?
Genesis 40:20 Now it came to pass on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants.

Do you remember the story? The chief butler (or wine steward) and the chief baker were in prison with Joseph and each one had a dream about three days. Joseph told them what they meant, and each came true. On the third day, the wine steward got his life back and was restored to service. The chief baker lost his life on that third day.  At the end of the age, what will happen? Believers will be resurrected and we will delight in serving God forevermore. Unbelievers will face a much bleaker existence.

Some of those "third day" passages sound very much like the descriptions of the "Day of the Lord," when God comes with cloud and fire - but also the time when we will get our resurrected bodies. In context, of course, this is what happened during the days of Israel in the wilderness, but is it picturing something much more? This is what I mean by symbols meaning the same thing throughout the Bible:

Genesis 19:16 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain[a] quaked greatly. 19 And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. 20 Then the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

That one is particularly fun, I think - when viewed in an "end times" sense. 

Ezra 6:15 The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.

That one is kind of fun, too - when you think about what the "temple" is now:
1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

Then there's this one, that really is prophecy:

Hosea 6:1 Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.

To make sense of what that means, you need to go back to the last verse of Hosea 5:
Hosea 5:15 I will return again to My place Till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”

Who is speaking in Hosea 5? Jesus is. When did he return to His place? As His ascension.  I won't take the space to make the whole argument here (but you can read it on your own, if you want), but many scholars believe that was April 6, 32 AD. (some argue for 33 - and some argue other dates). 

Now, I could be very precise -and someday I will (or one of you can and let me know!) - but if you take the day equals 1,000 years idea, and use 360-day biblical years, what happens if you add 2,000 biblical years to 32 AD? (To be precise, you'd start with the very day and you'd use actual calendar days, adjusting for leap years, calendar changes, etc)

If Jesus was crucified in 32 AD when will it be 2000 years (2 days)? Not 2032 if you use biblical years of 360 days each. 2000 x 360 days is 720,000 days. Divide that by 365.25 (not precise - just a good approximation) and you get 1971 years. Add the 1971 to 32 AD and you get 2003 - the year of the solar flare, (see this post) among many other things.

It would be interesting to do it precisely and see what date it fell on. 

In the next post, I'll follow through with another pattern in the Bible that will turn out to be very interesting (in my opinion, at least!)




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