Dark sayings Ps78:2 Allegory Gal 4:24.
Great debates have erupted over whether the Bible is (or isn't) the infallible, inerrant, literal, Word of God. Much ado that misses the point, because Scripture is also the Poetic Truth, Historic Truth, Geographic Truth, Allegoric Truth, Secret (hidden like gold) Truth, and Divine (Prophetic) Truth. No other book in the world--not the Koran or Bagavad Gita or even the Talmud -- comes close to matching it for language, literature, wisdom, philosophy, etc. and ONLY the Bible records its truth using a multitude of hidden figurative allegories.
Two Stories!We often think of an allegory as simply a symbolic or figurative story. That's correct as far as it goes, but many in the religious heirarchy are determined to discredit allegories by proclaiming them as "something which isn't true". Actually, the symbolic story is just a figurative way of telling the plain language story--in other words, the two stories are really the same.
Scripture doesn't use the word disparagingly however. The Apostle Paul uses the word "allegory" in Galatians 4:24 of the King James Bible when he writes concerning the Two Covenants, and the first two sons of Abraham. He writes: "which things are an allegory", meaning that Ishmael/Hagar were illustrating the Old Covenant and Isaac/Sarah were illustrating the New Covenant. Seeing the allegory of the two (2) covenants is just the beginning.
There are other covenants besides these two, of course, but it's important to recognize the contrasts and comparisons between the Old Covenant for the Jew under the Law, and the New Covenant for the Gentile by Faith or by Grace.
Figures of speech, like metaphors or parables, often say things which aren't literally accurate, and allegories are in the same class. The symbolic story may use outrageous or incredible features to describe an actual event, and so both may be true if that's the author's intent.
Nearly all TEACHING is done by analogy --by comparing the new subject being introduced, to a subject which the student is already familiar with--so Scripture teaches about the new life ahead with the stories of farming, building, marriage, fishing, etc. which we learn as children growing into adults. The precepts it establishes in the Old Covenant cannot be seen as a pattern or allegory UNTIL they are compared to what is written in the New Covenant.
When Samson went up against his enemies the Philistines, scripture says he "tied the tails of two foxes together" and put a lighted firebrand between them and sent them into the enemy fields. He razed those enemy fields (burnt 'em down), but in these Last Days it may take the logical explanation of God's Word (tying the tale's together) that will enable the entire Body of Christ to be RAISED to meet the Lord in the air. Sure, some will say this is "reaching", but on the other hand it deserves the thoughtful meditation required in Joshua 1:8, and recognition of how our language really has been confounded.
The Old Testament "begs the question" (what if the foxes had run the wrong way? or why did the Jews accept the incredible story of Jonah?), and it isn't until we recognize the difference between literal and figurative that the answers begin to take shape.
Classic example of Allegory.
It's the familiar story of King David and how his affair with Bathsheba led to the murder of her husband Uriah, and it's a classic example of allegory. The man of God, Nathan, comes to David and tells him about a rich man with many flocks who takes a poor man's only lamb to serve to his guests. Apparently David didn't see it coming, and declared out of his own mouth how that the rich man should die for his actions. That's when Nathan said to him "Thou art the man"!
What a shocker! David must've recognized the allegory right away -- how it was Bathsheba who was the "lamb" that Uriah loved. Nathan went on to tell him about the consequences of his action and, to his credit, David acknowledged his sin against the LORD. The story purposely leaves out motives, like 'Did Bathsheba willingly have the affair'? and 'What did she think when she learned her husband was back in town', but wasn't coming home. ?Not to justify David, but he'd wanted Uriah to come home and sleep with his wife and believe the baby would be his own. When that didn't happen it led to the elimination of Uriah the martyr. David wasn't technically guilty, but most readers all understand the hidden truth of the matter. 2Sam12
Are you hearing from a man of God? Have you confessed your sin against the Lord?? If so, then receive the "sure mercies of David", Acts 13:34, and straighten up and fly right! That's the allegory! Now we're chewing on Eagle Food instead of regurgitated buzzard food!
Allegory of the Cup.
It nearly goes unnoticed in Genesis 44 when Joseph ordered that his own silver cup be "planted" in his younger brother Benjamin's sack -- no explanation is given anywhere in the Old Testament concerning why he would want to frame him and have him labeled as a thief. Joseph and Benjamin were full brothers; born of the supposedly barren Rachel who had died giving birth to Benjamin. In hindsight, their names: Joseph ("the Lord will add a son") and Benjamin ("son of the right hand") are clearly applicable to Jesus who wouldn't be born in Bethlehem for another two thousand years.
The psalms tell us how "my CUP runneth over", Ps23:5, so that we aren't ignorant of figurative "cups", but the allegorical clincher is when Jesus declares in the Garden of Gethsemane: "The CUP which my Father has given me--shall I not drink it"?
GOD gave Jesus the cup, just as Joseph gave the cup to Benjamin! That's the allegory! Now we're chewing on Eagle Food instead of regurgitated buzzard food!The scripture "He was numbered with the transgressors", Isa53:12 & Mk15:28, reminds us that Benjamin wasn't really a thief (the cup had been PLANTED in his sack, and he wasn't involved in the bloody coat event) and of how Jesus was different from those he was crucified with... Joseph didn't reveal himself to his brothers on their first visit, but he told them they must surely have the little brother Benjamin with them when they returned. Likewise, the Jews didn't recognize their King, and if you don't have Jesus in your heart when He returns, you won't be going with Him!
Allegory of DAMASCUS. Based on Isaiah 17 record of Damascus (capital city of Syria) becoming a "ruinous heap", and how Saul of Tarsus was on that road, intent on persecuting Christians, when he was interrupted by that Great Light (the Bible) and the voice of Jesus, when others thought it was thunder. In this allegory we're ALL traveling the Road to Damascus and/or sailing the Sea of Life. Allegory of the Bread.
Genesis is chock-full of precepts and analogies, all the way from Abraham as Father God and his son Isaac as a "lamb" sacrifice, and especially how Joseph with the coat of many colors is like Jesus who brings salvation to all races and colors of mankind.
As we read the Scriptures, the first real glimmer of insight into this amazing truth comes when Jesus claimed to be the Living Bread! Jn6:35. Who would have suspected such a development?
Then, when we arrive at 1Cor10:17 and understand that We the People are "one body and one BREAD", it adds fuel to the logic of this revelation. Sooo, not just Jesus alone, but his followers are also termed "bread" and we're forced to acknowledge that this isn't just the usual bakery bread we need for strong bodies, but is spiritual bread for mankind who is "spirit, soul, and body" according to 1Thes5:23.
The Pharisees, Sadducees, and various other denominations refuse to acknowledge this truth, even to this very day, and it's a shame because the analogy doesn't stop there. We have to recognize how the Old Covenant emphasizes the Flat Bread (without leaven) which did NOT rise, and compare it to the improved New Covenant "bread" which is going to "rise and meet the Lord in the air" according to 1Thes4:16.
Does that mean that everyone is going to rise and meet the Lord in the air?? Nope. The allegory requires that we be filled with this hidden (Matt 13:33) leaven which is "Christ in you, the hope of glory", Colossians 1:27. The allegory demands that only those who really are following after Christ, and ready with their oil, will be like the five wise virgins of Matthew 25.
For more on this same subject of the "Bread", click here...
Allegory of the Lamb.
It was John the Baptist who introduced Jesus "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world", Jn1:29. The Jews knew about the Passover Lamb, but this concept of how a "person" could be a lamb would not have set well with them.
In their thinking, the Passover Lamb was for the saving of the Jews (Israel), and definitely wasn't for a world full of pagans, infidels, and gentiles.
It had all began with the obstinate Pharaoh in Egypt who refused to allow the Israeli's to depart for their "promised land". The final plague called for all the "first-born" to die, except for those who selected their "Lamb" and then killed it and smeared the blood over the doorways to their residence. Those living at that time couldn't see this as a precept, of course, but once Jesus was identified as the "Lamb", then the allegory re-inforces the "born-again" doctrine because of His spilled blood at Calvary.
One of the rules of allegory is that the stories must agree; i.e. the symbolical tale cannot contradict the plain text. As with all analogies, there will always be parameters which are NOT part of any comparison. Just because Jesus called himself a "Door" doesn't mean that he's made of wood or swings on hinges -- just because believers are called "sheep" doesn't mean they have a fleece or four feet.The Hebrews had no way of knowing how their Passover Lamb was a type (or pre-figure) of Christ to come, any more than they could recognize the "Rock" that Moses smote to get water for them was also a "figure" of Jesus being crucified (smitten) to bring us the Living Water of God's Word.
The things written in the Old Testament were "for our LEARNING", Rom15:4. If the Pharaoh hadn't been so obstinate, but had said "goodbye and good riddance" instead, then we would never have had this very critical allegory and sacrament of the lamb.
Allegory of "The Bride".The church is called the "body" of Christ in 1Cor12:27 and elsewhere, and many in the church also consider themselves as the "bride" of Christ because of Matthew 25:6 and perhaps 2Cor11:2.
Question is: Are the Body and the Bride one and the same?
Adam & Eve were not only created different (viva la difference!), but they were created DIFFERENTLY as well. Matrimony is positively a Bible doctrine and Adam's "bride" was taken from his own "body"--from his rib.
Seen as an allegory, King Solomon is representing our incredibly wise and diversified GOD and bridegroom with many wives and the ONE special Son!
Allegory of Amalek.
Amalek (means "warlike, or dweller in the valley") was the son of a concubine of a son of Esau, and his mother's name was Timna: Gen36:12. Several scriptures
about him stand out as though high-lighted as we use hindsight after reading about Satan in the New Testament.
Amalek is a precept of Satan! He's disguised in this account because it wasn't time yet to reveal our spiritual battle, but the Lord has left us enough pertinent details to recognize his devices. We'll be fighting him forever, through all generations, until Jesus returns, and we do it with prayer and uplifted hands, encouraging one another. These are the weapons of our warfare, and it's God who is our shield and buckler, and who gives us the victory!
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL? Will we be in the generation that gets to see a mushroom cloud for ourselves? Someone has noted that the "gourd" which gave shade to Jonah (4:6) has a root which means "mushroom". He was angry that his dire prediction hadn't come to pass, and all those multitudes who didn't know their right hand from their left didn't get blown away. And "also much cattle" is a conclusion which bodes well for our pets, don't you think?
Jonah had warned that "Great City of Nineveh", but the New Testament speaks of the mighty city, Rev18:9, which even the ships at sea will be able to see burning.
The figurative interpretation is more revealing than the literal, illustrating how the trip to the Promised Land for Israel is like the promise of Heaven for the NT believers, and how the 'rescue' of the Israelites from Egypt is a disguised way (allegorical) of how the NT salvation rescues us from a life of slavery to sin (Egypt) and enables us to become 'new creatures' living in Babylon! That is, surrounded by unbelievers, but feeding on the 'pulse' (Word of God) like Daniel and friends. Dan 1:16 KJV.
Two Sons: From Cain/Abel and Esau/Jacob to the N.T. John/James Boanerges and the "prodigal son", the Bible abounds in stories concerning brothers; often a comparison illustrating the old man of the flesh and the new 'born-again' hidden man of the heart. In the Book of Ruth the two sons of Naomi die and are replaced by Ruth who is "better than seven sons", Ru4:15. The pedigree of Jesus goes father-to-son for sixty-three generations until the second Jacob (name means supplanted: Gen27:36) had a son Joseph who had a daughter, but no sons (like Zelophehad of Nu26, 36). The Bible doesn't say so plainly, but Mary must've had a father and a husband both named Joseph! Jesus really is the Son of God, and God is really a Father and a Husband IAW Isaiah 54:5.
Don't worry, God loves horses too, but HE uses animals as a teaching device--the Old Covenant characters are portraying "the oxen who grind out the corn of scripture" (our spiritual food) and the horses are those of us who get to CHOOSE to whom we give our reins.
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