Theological threads and themes in the Bible Part 2

By Atheist Answers (Facebook Page)

"Jesus, who was faithfully living out Israel's story as God had intended it, was actually enduring the curse of exile and alienation so that God's new community could receive blessing." - Dr Paul Copan, "Is God A Moral Monster"...

Dr Copan hits on an important truth found in Scripture (and particularly I will focus on a couple of parts found in Matthews Gospel to highlight this).

That truth is that Jesus was living the covenant Israel had with God for them and in their place, then He suffered the covenants wrath of failure to keep it on their behalf also (thus fulfilling and ending the obligation of the Covenant in Himself).


In the Gospel of Matthew we see Matthew sets up the narrative to show this. When Jesus is in the wilderness every time He quotes Scripture He quotes from Deuteronomy (the question is why). The reason the Lord does this is to show this truth spoken about above. So the Scripture of Matthew's narrative of Christ and Israel in Deuteronomy compared, looks like this below:

(Deuteronomy - Tanakh)

(1) Israel comes out of Egypt after a wicked Leader is judged (Pharaoh).

(2) Israel goes through the red sea (a typological picture of baptism; as the New Testament epistles mention twice) and is called God's Son.

(3) Israel is led by the Holy Spirit in the wilderness.

(4) Israel is tested 40 years.

(5) Israel fails it's tests and breaks it's covenant obligations with God.

(Matthew's Gospel)

(1) Jesus comes out of Egypt after a wicked leader is judged (Herod).

(2) Jesus is baptized and called God's Son.

(3) Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness.

(4) Jesus is tested 40 days.

(5) Jesus passes all the tests Israel failed on (thus the Lord quotes Deuteronomy to show this).

The first point covered in some more detail from a specific verse found in Matthew below (taken from a teaching by Moriel Ministries on eschatology)...


Let me continue with another example: When Matthew writes his Nativity narrative he says of Jesus,"Out of Egypt I have called My Son," (Matt. 2:15) quoting from Hosea chapter 11:1. The problem with this is that when you read Hosea chapter 11, you find that Hosea was talking about the Exodus, when the children of Israel came out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Yet Matthew takes this, seemingly out of all context, and applies it to Jesus. However, the problem is not that Matthew took it out of context, but that the Western church has taken a Jewish book and constructed its own rules of context. Matthew thought midrashically; he thought of prophecy as pattern. Let me explain:


It begins with Abraham. God judged Pharaoh, and Abraham came out of Egypt along with his descendants in Genesis; Abraham is the archetype, the father of all who believe. Then, in Exodus, God again judges Pharaoh – the wicked king gets judged – and once again Abraham's descendants come out of Egypt. Thus the pattern begins; what happened to Israel replayed what happened first to Abraham. Just as Abraham received money from Pharaoh, so the Israelites plundered the Egyptians in Exodus.Next, Jesus comes out of Egypt, after once again the wicked king – Herod this time – is judged. Midrashically, Israel alludes to Jesus. When you see things in Scripture such as "Israel My glory, Israel My first-born son", (Ex. 29:43) it is a midrashic allusion to the Messiah as even the rabbis know. Therefore Jesus, the embodiment of Israel, also comes out of Egypt.

Just as the church is the Body of Christ, so is Israel in some sense. Then, in 1 Corinthians 10, we come out of Egypt ourselves! Egypt is a figure of this world; Pharaoh is a figure of the devil, who is the god of this world. And just as Moses goes onto the mountain and makes a covenant with blood on behalf of the people, so does Jesus. Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, through the water, and into the Promised Land. Jesus leads us out of the world, through baptism, and into Heaven. One is a type of the other; we all have an Exodus experience.

But the ultimate meaning is the resurrection and rapture of the church: the same judgments that take place in the book of Exodus are replayed in the book of Revelation. In the same way that Pharaoh's magicians were able to counterfeit the miracles of Moses and Aaron, the Antichrist and his False Prophet will be able to counterfeit the miracles of Jesus and His witnesses. Why is the song of Miriam (“I will sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously – the horse and the rider are thrown into the sea!”) – sung in Revelation? (Ex. 15:1; Rev. 15:3) The book of Exodus shows us that the destruction of Pharaoh was a typology of the destruction of the devil. Why did the Israelites bring Joseph's bones with them out of Egypt at the front of the procession? As the scriptures tell us in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, "the dead in Christ will rise first", and we will shall come out together.

Once again, the Hebrew idea of prophecy is that of a pattern being recapitulated. It is not a prediction, but a pattern with an ultimate fulfillment. That is the Hebrew concept of eschatological prophecy.