Sunday, January 3, 2010

Thematic Connections...And How They're Relevant

Under the heading "Teaching Websites" on my blog, I have listed Tony Robinson's website called "Restoration of Torah." Tony's main teaching emphasis, is finding thematic connections in the scriptures. The main motivation for this is that Yeshua told His disciples in Luke 24:25-27 the following - "Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself" (emphasis mine). Notice that in vs. 27 Luke explains that, starting at Moses, Yeshua showed the two disciples on the road to Emmaus the scriptures that spoke about Him.

It is written in Psalm 40:7 the following: "Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me." This verse is quoted in Hebrews 10:7, and applied to Yeshua. Notice that it says "...in the volume of the book it is written of Me." In other words, we are being told that the whole of the scriptures (and at the time of this verse being written, and even in the time when the writer of the book of Hebrews was written, the "volume of the book" referred to what we call the "Old Testament", or, as is referred to in Judaism, the "Tenakh") speak of Yeshua.

There is a problem with this however. Nowhere in the "books of Moses" (Genesis - Deuteronomy) do we read about the Messiah coming to the Earth, suffering, dying, and then resurrecting three days later explicitly. The only way we are are going to find these things are if we begin to look for the patterns that are strewn throughout the Tenakh (ie. "Old Testament"), and see the thematic connections between the narratives of the Patriarchs, and the fulfilling of the narratives, which happen to be prophetic patterns (the Hebraic and/or biblical understanding of prophecy is pattern, not just prediction with a single fulfillment - more on this another time) by Yeshua and His disciples. In the future, I hope to share many of these patterns with you.

Having said all of that, I wanted to share a "thematic connection" that I found this Shabbat, and I hope to share with others what I have found in the days and weeks to come - not only to share just how amazingly the scriptures tie together from beginning to end, but also to share how I believe these "connections" are relevant to us today (because as I said above, biblical prophecy is pattern, and I contend that ALL of scripture has prophetic implications).

(A quick word about thematic connections - it is making connections between various biblical passages based upon similar themes, or words, ideas, etc. that, when made, bring more clarity to the whole picture once viewed in it's thematic totality - in a nutshell!)

So, here we go with a thematic connection I made just this weekend.

In Exodus 12, we read about the first Passover. Within the narrative, we read about the who, what, when, why, and how of the very first Passover, which occurred in the land of Egypt, when the Hebrews were kept in bondage there by a Pharaoh that simply did not want to release them unto their freedom. Up to this point (chapter 12), the book of Exodus narrates the rise of a new Pharaoh in Egypt, the ensuing enslavement of the Hebrew people (the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), the birth of Moses (and his subsequent departure from Egypt to Midian), his calling by the God of his Fathers and return to Egypt to bring deliverance to and for the Hebrew people, and the progressive plagues that are brought upon Egypt by God for the refusal of Pharaoh to let them depart (for more info. and detail concerning these matters, read Exodus 1-11).

The points that I want to highlight here for the sake of the thematic connection that I want to share are as follows:
1) The setting/time frame is the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread (the two run together, and are thus considered basically one and the same, though they ARE technically two separate "Feasts").
2) Verse 11 says the following: "And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD''s passover." Notice in this verse that they were to have their "loins girded", and their "shoes on [their] feet", and they were to eat "in haste."
3) They were delivered shortly after having eaten the Passover meal, and were thus delivered out of bondage (cf. vs. 51)

So, to recap, it was during the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread. They were to "gird" their "loins", put on their "shoes", and eat "in haste." And last but not least, they were delivered from bondage.

Now comes the thematic connection. In Acts ch. 12 (interesting that the chapters of the two events I want to share happen to be 12!), we read about Herod having James, one of Yeshua's disciples, killed. And because he saw that it pleased some of the Jewish authorities, he had Peter arrested, intending to have him put to death as well. But here is where I want to start pointing out specifics.
1) In v.v 4 and 5, we see that the timing is the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread. It is during this Festival time that Peter is in "bondage" (v.v. 3 and4, Peter is put into chains and prison, ie., "bondage").
2) Peter is visited by "the Angel of the LORD" (who turns out to be a "deliverer" for Peter) in the prison, and told to "rise up quickly" (in Greek, "anistēmi en tachos" - Lit. "arise in haste"). So, Peter is to be "in haste." He is also told to "gird" himself, and put on his "sandals."
3) He is delivered out of the prison ("bondage").

So, to recap, we have Peter in bondage during the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread. He is told to arise "in haste", "gird" himself, and put on his "sandals." He is then delivered out of "bondage."

I believe that what we have here is a thematic connection. This "connection" shows us a link between the first Passover/Exodus from Egypt ("bondage"), and subsequent deliverence of God's people, and a later deliverence from "bondage." The narrative of the Exodus of God's people is also prophetic pattern for how God will deliver His people out of bondage again, and again. The deliverence of Peter represents the future deliverence of God's people from the bondage of this world system, of which Egypt is a biblical "type and shadow."

I hope this encourages you to begin to seek out the patterns that God wants to teach us in His word, so that we may grow in understanding.

1 comment:

Kaboom said...

Wow, that is a great way of looking at the Scriptures! Awesome connection. It is so amazing to see how God's Word is full of patterns. Thank you for sharing that with us!