Picture taken at Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum
Please read Part 1 before continuing….
We have been saying that the full meaning of scripture is found in Christ. Yet this doesn’t abolish historical or literal meanings. For example: Isaiah saw the Lord “seated on a throne,” and prophesied that the Israelites would be “ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving” (Isaiah 6:1-9). This passage is about a vision that Isaiah had “in the year when King Uzziah died,” about God warning that Israel would go into captivity, and about the promise of redemption through the remnant left in the land. Isaiah predicted actual events: Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and took Judah captive; a remnant returned to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple in about 458 BC. Nevertheless, John says Isaiah saw Jesus’s glory and sees the passage as a prediction that Israel would reject Him (John 12:40, 41). The fact that there are two views of Isaiah six does not mean we must choose one or the other. We can understand Isaiah to be rebuking Israel for rejecting their true King, whom he saw seated on a throne. We can also see that the fullness of the Israelites’ rejection occurred when they spurned Christ—God’s King of kings.
Another aspect of interpretation that will not be abolished by seeing Jesus is that of scriptural principles. Sowing and reaping is a good example. Genesis 8:22 establishes sowing and reaping as a law of this creation: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest…will never cease.” Paul picks up this principle and applies it to financial giving: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Cor. 9:6). Paul also uses this principle to explain the connection between our present behavior and eternal destiny:
God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7, 8).
Sowing and reaping is a real law that God established for this creation. We can learn about it from the scriptures, and applying it can help us live godly lives in this world. Nevertheless, the full understanding of sowing and reaping is found in John 12:24—“I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself, alone. But if it dies, it brings forth a harvest.” Jesus said this in relation to His death and resurrection. God established sowing and reaping as a natural parable about His Son. It is a law because God designed everything in creation after the pattern of Christ (Rom. 1:20). It is possible to understand the principle but not grasp its full meaning in Jesus. But if we know Jesus, we will know all principles through Him.
Finally, the Lord may use the scriptures to address present situations or guide our decisions. God used verses from two psalms to show Peter the disciples should choose someone to succeed Judas (Acts 1:20-22). Seeing Jesus in the scriptures will not abolish the Lord’s ministry in this way. But ultimately, the Bible is not about us or our plans. It is about God’s plan in Christ. God will direct our steps, but He wants to do so within the context of His eternal vision. If Christ is not revealed in the scriptures, we risk using the Bible as a divination tool, and empty it of divine meaning.