Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation
The Bible is so rich in messages. I’ve been reading about the tabernacles construction and the Holy Spirit has been showing me how prophetic the whole thing was. You can check out the last two articles about the tabernacle construction too if you’re into that sort of stuff. Anyway, today’s message is double-pronged; which is oddly appropriate.
Today’s part of the tabernacle (the Tent of Meeting) construction process focuses around its framework; and for us specifically, the bases of said framework. Thus sayeth the Lord:
Make twenty frames for the south side of the tabernacle and make forty silver bases to go under them- two bases for each frame, one under each projection. For the other side, the north side of the tabernacle, make twenty frames and forty silver bases- two under each frame. Make six frames for the far end, that is, the west end of the tabernacle, and make two frames for the corners at the far end. At these two corners they must be doubled from the bottom all the way to the top, and fitted into a single ring; both shall be like that. So there will be eight frames and sixteen silver bases- two under each frame (Exodus 26:18-25).
The entire framework of the Tent of Meeting must to have two bases. Why not one large-sized base instead of two? Architecturally there may be a reason, but it is beyond me. However, from a prophetic stance, there’s a great message for the Jews hidden in their doubled-based framework. Now, keep in mind, the Lord actually has told Israel that he has been showing them their futures since the beginning. He even notes it through the prophet Isaiah,
Remember this, fix it in mind,
Take it to heart, you rebels.
Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
From ancient times, what is still to come (Isaiah 46:8-10).
Now, if you’re not paying attention, this sounds sort of like God is just posturing and making sure everyone remembers how awesome he is. But this passage is about his ability to see the end from the beginning, and he specifically tells the Israelites to look to things from long ago. Well, some hundreds of years before Isaiah, the Israelites were given the blueprint and laws; all of which are absolutely filled with messages and prophecies. Today’s prophecy though? The Lord, by giving the instruction that all framework must be built on double-bases, was telling his people that Scripture would eventually be divided into two parts (and theoretically, for them to keep an eye out for it). As it turns out, Jesus and the New Testament represent the second part. Jesus made it pretty clear when he arrived on the scene that the Old Testament had been prophesying his coming; we read,
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
But a body you prepared for me;
With burnt offerings and sin offerings
You were not pleased.
Then I said, ‘Here I am- it is written about me in the scroll-
I have come to do your will, O God’” (Hebrews 10:5-7).
“But wait!” you argue, “That quote was actually from the Psalms, not the Gospel!” That is true, but the scene did actually happen in which Jesus said it was about him that the prophets prophesied. And even beyond that, Christ himself taught, “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” (Matthew 5:17). Therefore, as far as the Jews are concerned, the Old Testament has been pointing its way to Jesus and there have already been hints that their Scriptures aren’t the whole package- as the Old Testament is only one big base for their faith, not the prescribed two.
There is also a lesson in the double-bases for Christians. Let’s jump ahead a few chapters to the actual building of the tabernacle. History records,
They made twenty frames for the south side of the tabernacle and made forty silver bases to go under them- two bases for each frame, one under each projection. For the other side, the north side of the tabernacle, they made twenty frames and forty silver bases- two under each frame. They made six frames for the far end, that is, the west end of the tabernacle, and two frames were made for the corners of the tabernacle at the far end. At these two corners the frames were double from the bottom all the way to the top and fitted into a single ring; both were made alike. So there were eight frames and sixteen silver bases- two under each frame (Exodus 36:23-30).
Hmm….that reading feels extremely familiar- almost like we read it two paragraphs ago. The reason you feel that way is because we did…sort of. In case you haven’t read these parts of Scripture before, know that the building of the tabernacle is also doubled; first God gives the instructions, and then a few chapters later the Israelites follow the instructions word for word; hence why it looks so familiar and also why the end of Exodus is a bit of a drag to read. The message to those already in Christ is that we should build our lives on all of Scripture, not just the New Testament. As we already read above, Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill them. The Old Testament is still important in a post-Christ world. Our Lord Jesus explained it like this, “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” (Matthew 5:18). And, as it turns out, the Law is still around in our Bibles, so apparently there is still a divine relevance to its existence. Isaiah had already prophesied this though when he wrote, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8). Keep in mind that Isaiah’s passage is from the Old Testament, and he says that the OT is here to stay. Well, what of the New Testament? Jesus says the same: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Luke 21:33). So it seems that we are stuck with a double-Bible, because neither Old nor New are going anywhere. Therefore, Christian, as you read the Word of God, don’t just focus on the red letters or the New Testament, because the whole Scripture is for us, New Testament and Old as well. Paul even wrote on this topic; he tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). This should be a foundational Scripture in your Bible-reading; because God hasn’t left any worthless parts in the Bible (even if many parts are hard to figure out). So how do we read the Old Testament? Well, there are different ways to approach it. First off, you should look for Jesus, or how the pre-Christ parts point the way to him (since he claimed they do). Secondly, Paul tells us of the historical aspects, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). So we can approach many of the stories from a moralistic perspective, finding out what did and didn’t work for folks of long ago in relation to the Lord. Romans 15:4 explains yet another way to look at the Scriptures of old, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). For those of you who pump Jesus’ miracles for inspiration to make it through your day- you’re missing out! The Bible is a book filled with miracles, lessons of faith, and inspiring words; but a very large percentage of that is in the Old Testament, so don’t skip over it just because you’re afraid of getting damned by God!
All Scripture shares a common property (just as both bases in the tabernacle share the same material): it all points to Jesus. Therefore Christ should be the foundation of our lives. Paul is with me on this one; for he wrote:
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-11).
It doesn’t matter who you are, what nationality you are, or what Bible you grew up with; the foundation of our life should be built on Christ Jesus; utilizing the double-base method given us through both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Read your Bible- or if you don’t own one, buy one or try to get one free from the local church- but anyways get one. Do not ignore the base you don’t like, for we have two bases that both are made of Christ and will support us through the good times and bad. Are you utilizing your full Spiritual foundation?
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
-Jesus (Matthew 7:24-25)