Before we move on to the next set of plagues, I want to take a quick breather here to contemplate a point that I feel gets to the heart of the question of “why it is so important we study our Bibles?“
Actually, to be more accurate, the question I want to address is “why it’s SOOOO important to study the first five books of Moses BEFORE ever even touching the New Testament?”
Recall I explained that when we closely examine the plagues of God, far from being random and chaotic strikes against Egypt, we find they occur in a very logical and predictable fashion.
There are three sets of three plagues and for every third plague Pharaoh received no warning.
It’s as if each time Pharaoh arrogantly dismissed Moses’s demand in each set, there were TWO plagues as a response…..two announced, one not.
Note also the systematic manner in how the plagues were carried out.
The attacks were first directed at Egypt’s economic well being, then moved to attack the physical health of the Egyptians and finally went on to attack the very heart and soul, the willpower of the Egyptians (which we will be studying next).
By pointing out these patterns, I’m not just engaging in some kind of intellectual exercise (as fun as that is).
Our God is a God of order.
Actually, in the Hebrew language, there is no word for our English word “coincidence” and for good reason.
Our God is NOT a God of chaos or serendipity.
The point I want to make is that the Torah establishes many PATTERNS and TYPES for us.
We are given these TYPES and PATTERNS so that as we go about our own lives, we can reasonably know the general nature of how our God will respond to us and to various circumstances.
Are you getting this?
The Old Testament (man I really don’t like the term “Old Testament”), is not some antiquated history to be read just to satisfy our love of knowledge.
It lays down those very eternal patterns and principles that establish an important pillar of our faith: GOD NEVER CHANGES.
When we study AND TRUST in the immutability of these patterns, we can be confident that in these last days, the way things will play out will be according to the same patterns established since the Creation.
And here’s the real kicker!
The patterns and principles introduced in the Torah that God established are those VERY SAME PATTERNS AND PRINCIPLES that were brought to a fuller meaning by Yeshua of Nazareth.
Yeshua DID NOT CHANGE OR OVERTURN anything.
His work was a perfect amplification of the patterns and principles introduced in the Torah.
As I’ve said before, about 50% of the statements in the New Testament are in the Old Testament.
The Old Testament sets the stage for the New Testament.
The Old Testament establishes all the premises by which we understand the New Testament.
This reminds me of a time quite long ago when I witnessed to a Japanese co-worker of mine.
This was way before I had come to a realization of the importance of understanding the Bible from a proper Hebrew perspective.
I was a “Jesus freak” at the time, and shared with her the standard “Four Spiritual Laws” as typically taught in most evangelical churches.
She was persuaded enough to the point where we went to a Japanese bookstore together to pick up a New Testament.
The problem was we had ONLY picked up a New Testament.
I’ll never forget this but one day while I was at work she called me up to discuss what she had been reading.
To make a long story short, she was very frustrated because she couldn’t makes heads or tails of what she was reading.
“Who the hell is John the Baptist?”
“What does he have to do with this guy named Elijah?”
“What exactly is a Messiah?”
“Why is the country Israel so important to God?” (Yes, she actually asked me this.)
Well, after stuttering and stammering to try an answer her questions, we both finally came to the conclusion that maybe it would be best if she read the Bible from the very beginning.
In hindsight, I completely understand why she was struggling.
It’s pretty tough to read any book or watch any movie by starting in the middle.
We might get something out of it but without the proper foundation provided by the Torah, more often than not, we’re going to be lost and come to conclusions that are totally off the mark theologically.
Just look at the more than 3000 Christian denominations in existence and you’ll see what I mean.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.”-John 5:46
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”-Matthew 5:17-19