Listening to the last episode of "Barry and the Boys," or 3GT as it is slightly less-informally called, was like putting a cup of golden nectar to my lips and sipping the draft with pure delight - if you haven't already, you should listen to that post: it is full of wisdom, discretion and help.
It was probably this that prompted a question in my mind at the beginning of my waking week: why was it that the Father, by the inerrant Holy Spirit, chose to scatter old-fashioned phrases and forms all over Scripture? Why did He paint this dramatic picture of Christ and His Church, for the edification and enjoyment of His flock?
Or to state the question in a slightly different way, why is so much of the Bible written in types and shadows and archaic, old-fashioned, language and symbols, in both the Old and New Testament? Why does Isaiah describe heaven as an Exodus? Why is prisoner, Patmos John, comforted by cracking the code of the Apocalypse?
Are you dying to find out why for Martin Luther, the Psalter seemed like a mini-Bible, all on its own? Or why God gave such a pop-up picture praise and prayer manual for use in public worship? Surely we do need to know why the goodness and greatness, guts, gore and glory of the Cross, of such a massive, mighty, magnificent Christ, beamed brilliant rays of Son-light on famous, Old Testament, characters, to create these shadows and imprint these types?
Are you not pressing and passionate to find out why prophets and preachers in all parts of Scripture frame many of their messages in symbols, structures and sentences in ways that are meant to echo the chants of pictures, photographs, people and places of the past - or why these are appointed by God in His Word to jog memories and meditation?
In response to this question, that I have framed in various ways - to whet your appetite and fuel anticipation - I hope that a few brief answers (I can think of at least TWENTY-TWO, just for starters) will suffice. I believe that our LORD intentioned, by providence, to record these prototypical events, men, places and institutions for the following reasons:
FIRST, and chief, for the Worship of His Name by both Jews and Gentiles who share an inter-connected, organic, progressive salvation history - when we start to ponder the depths, skill, wisdom and knowledge by which, down the ages, our God revealed Good News, we are keen to give Him glory, joy in His purpose, believe He is consistent, and know His fidelity is unquestioned.
SECOND, and next, that if Jehovah so wove the tapestry of salvation in beloved patterns of the past, the unchanging Covenant LORD is worthy of our trust: the First and Last, who has faithfully given regular updates to His work, will do it over and over again - He is the same today and tomorrow as He has been in yesteryear - as the object of our hope, He keeps and performs all details of each Word, sworn in ancient oaths and sealed in Covenant (in Jesus') blood.
THIRD, and finally, all the glory days are not over for God's Church - the Lamb and the LORD always keep best wine to last: it is not like my friends who don't know my God - perhaps this explains why much of their talk is of their heydays now long past: how gloomy not to have the prospect of more glory to look forward too! We have a God who makes Bruce Springsteen seem a bore: all our best glory days, as Christians, still lie ahead. As someone has sung "Things can only get better" to which I would add, "...and also brighter and bigger and more blessed!"
"He will wipe very tear from their eyes - for the old order of things has passed away ..Behold" says Jesus "I am coming soon" - Revelation 21.
So why, for a start, should we get into Bible prototypes? Why should adoration mark our speaking of LAST ADAM? Why get excited about the better, final, EXODUS about which Moses and Elijah talked with Jesus on the Mount? Why should we sing of the derelict SON OF DAVID? Why should we joyfully admire the oil-soaked head of the unifying AARON in Psalm 133?
Is it not a little bit like revised versions of the Psalms - those quaint little, Victorian-sounding, titles, chosen by Psalter revisers: the words were used to signal an ongoing revision process, but also an ancient connectedness that is faithful to the past! These are songs that Jews and Gentiles, Reformers and the Reformed, long and love to sing - that is true whether standing in the pews or kneeling beside beds.
Here are THREE marvelous reasons to sing as you read and let yourself be magnetized to this sumptuous, biblical, feast: to be thrilled in your heart, to deepen your faith, and in order to fire-up your hope - that you might love Christ the Antitype, the Last Adam, who in HIS accursed death, is a far greater, more glorious, infinitely better, ANOTHER OF THE SAME.