Patriarchs and Patterns
I would guess that most of you have seen a picture or poster like this. They were quite popular some years ago. Superficially, the part in the middle looks like a bunch of squiggly lines. But if you stand back a ways and relax your focus, it begins to resolve into three-dimensional pictures. In this poster, for example, there are several fighter jets.
A person might well be skeptical if you tell him there are images behind the squiggles and ask him to believe you entirely on faith. Unless he can see for himself, and get beyond the natural tendency to focus only on what's obvious, what you say will seem like nonsense. It might be hard to convince a person to keep looking until the 3-D images pop out at him. But once a person has seen for himself, he will know something is there. He'll henceforth be more open and more persistent to keep looking for something behind the surface.
This poster reminds me of the Bible. The Bible was written by numerous people over the course of centuries. Superficially, it might look like a collection of stories or myths, the counterpart of holy books of other religions. It may be difficult to get non-Christian friends to even take a good look at it! They certainly won't likely believe it's God's word just because you say so!
But behind the obvious, there are pictures and types and images that transcend the individual books and authors. Proverbs 25:2 says:
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter.
There is an amazing unity that underlies the whole of God's word and testifies to the fact that it is God's word, not the uninspired words of assorted ancient authors and historians. Once a person sees for himself and knows something exists beyond the obvious, he is more likely to search and study further. Once a person knows there's treasure to be found, the search becomes hopeful and directed.
The Bible contains a lot beyond the obvious and superficial. Good teachers might trace around the images and types to help others see them ourselves. The Bible contains much more depth than any computer-generated poster! It may have infinite depth! Matthew 7:7 says:
Seek and you will find.
God invites us to seek Him in His Word, the Holy Bible.
Even Hebrew numbers and names in the Bible often conceal hidden truths. For example, here are the names of the patriarchs from Adam to Noah as listed in Genesis 5. Each of these names has a meaning or sounds similar to another word with a meaning. Adam means man. The meaning for Seth is replaced. Eve named him that because he replaced Abel, who had been killed by Cain. Methuselah means his death shall bring it. Upon Methuselah's death, God judged the earth with the flood. At 969 years, he was the oldest of the patriarchs. Perhaps the reason he lived so many years was that God stayed His hand, showed His patience and longsuffering, withheld His judgment to give people one more opportunity to repent. That's happening even today.
Here are the meanings of all the names.
- Adam (man)
- Seth (replaced)
- Enosh (mortal)
- Kenan (sorrow)
- MaHalale'el (God, the Blessed One)
- Yered (shall come down)
- Enoch (teaching)
- Methuselah (his death shall bring)
- Lamech (despairing)
- Noah (rest)
If you combine these words, you get a statement of the Gospel message:
Man replaced by mortal sorrow. God, the Blessed One, came down teaching. His death shall bring the despairing rest.
I thought that was amazing when I first learned that. It's just one small example of treasure hidden in the Holy Word, God's love letter to mankind.
Go on to read Senator Bill Armstrong
Source: www.SusanCAnthony.com, ©Susan C. Anthony