Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

Parallel Patterns in the Bible

Look at the following similarities between different aspects of Biblical narrative and teaching.

Genesis-Joshua versus the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ

There is a parallel between the first six books of the Bible and the life of a true follower of God today as follows:

Genesis, the first book of the Bible, records first of all, God's creation of this universe, and then the fall of man - that is, man's rebellion against God that led to his sinful condition. Similarly, the first step in becoming a true follower of God is to acknowledge that you are sinful - you have violated God's standards (see Romans 3:23), and thus have an infinite liability towards your Creator.

Exodus, the second book of the Bible begins (in about 1500 BC) with a scene of absolute despair and helplessness. The people of Israel, God's chosen nation are enslaved in Egypt, powerless to free themselves. But God sends Moses, and with great power, liberates the people of Israel from Pharaoh's clutches. God institutes the Passover, in which each family would kill a lamb and splash the blood on the door posts of their house. God split the Red Sea so that the Israelis could cross over. Once they did, there was an unsurpassable barrier between their former land of slavery and their present location. They now had a new life as a redeemed people.

In the same way, the second step in becoming a follower of Jehovah is to admit that you are absolutely helpless to remedy your sinful condition. Instead, we need to receive God's liberation - He has sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins; Jesus took the punishment that we deserved when he was crucified (Passover, AD 32). If we receive his free gift of salvation by believing into him, we are saved - we become children of God (John 1:12) , no longer slaves to sin. This is a one time event. We are now new people (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Once you are redeemed and saved, (and only then) you can be a true worshiper of God. [Why is this? Because those who are not redeemed deserve only wrath at God's hands. They should be wailing in fear, not worshiping. In contrast, those who are redeemed are overcome with gratitude] Thus, the third book of the Bible, Leviticus, focuses on the worship that God instituted for the people of Israel. If we have become children of God, a changed life is becoming. Surely enough, Leviticus records ceremonial purification rites and rules of cleanliness that are symbolic of the moral change that happens in the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Being a child of God does not mean life is all hunky dory. This is a world that crucified Jesus - that hostility to the God of the Bible has not changed, and so the world is hostile to true followers of Jesus Christ. Its entertainment does not provide the Christian with spiritual nourishment. Thus, the fourth book of the Bible, Numbers, records the wanderings of the Israelis in the inhospitable, barren deserts of (what is now) Saudi Arabia, and all the consequent struggles they had.

As a Christian matures and nears the end of his life, he is mindful that he is about to go to heaven, the place God has promised to him. This only spurs him on to prepare himself for the occasion (1 John 3:2-3). Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Bible, records Moses, the leader of Israel, advising them on how they should conduct themselves as they enter and begin to live in the land that God has promised them. He tells them to obey the word of God that has been delivered to them and be grateful to God for all that He had done for them.

The sixth book of the Bible, Joshua, records how the Israelis crossed the river Jordan, and entered into the Promised Land under the guidance of Joshua. In the same way, death for a Christian, far from being a terrifying experience filled with fear of the unknown, is merely a river to be crossed from life on earth to life in heaven, which God has promised us (see 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 and John 14:1-3). What is the way to heaven? Jesus himself (John 14:6). Note that Joshua and Jesus are actually the same name, meaning Jehovah's Salvation - the former is Hebrew, the latter is Greek, both anglicized!

How is it possible that the record of the experiences of the Israelis 3500 years ago should closely parallel the biography of modern Christians? Only God could plan such an analogy. Thus, the Bible originates from God.

Psalms and the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ

The central book in the Bible is Psalms, or Songs. This is actually a collection of five books:-

 Book No Chapters Central Theme
 11 to 41 Creation: "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1) 
 242 to 72Redemption: "Have mercy on me O God..." (Psalm 51:1)
 373 to 89 Worship: "How lovely is your dwelling place O God..." (Psalm 84:1) 
 490 to 106 Pilgrimage: "Teach us to number our days..." (Psalm 90:12) 
 5107 to 150 Obedience to God's Word: "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of Jehovah" (Psalm 119:1) 

Notice that these five books, whose content was mostly developed ~1000 BC, are parallel in their themes to the first five books of the Bible described above. Again, such a parallel is inexplicable unless a sovereign, all-knowing God himself shaped both history and the Bible. 

The Names of Ancient Human Beings and the message of the Bible

The Bible records the names of some of the first human beings (see Genesis 5:1 onwards). The first man was Adam. One of his sons was Seth, his son was Enosh, and so on. Here are the names of the first ten ancestors before Noah's Flood.

 NameMeaning
 Adam Man
 Seth Compensation/that which is incurred
 Enosh Man (as one who is weak)/helplessness
 Kenan Possession
Mahalaleel  blessed God
 Jared Descend
 Enoch Dedicated
 Methuselah His death will bring
 Lamech Sorrowful
 Noah Comfort

Put all the meanings of the names together: Man has incurred for himself helplessness as his possession, but the blessed God will come down, dedicated to the mission that His death will bring the sorrowful comfort. That's the message of the whole Bible! To have a book that records the names of the first 10 people on earth is remarkable. For these names to reflect the message of the book is downright incredible - except when we accept that God was shaping both the book and historical circumstances.

The Seven Churches of Asia Minor (Turkey)

Revelation 2 and 3 contain messages that the Lord Jesus sent in the first century AD to seven churches in seven cities in (what is now) Turkey through John the apostle. Each church is identified by its city and given certain commendations and warnings. These warnings include veiled references to things that the inhabitants would be familiar with. For example, the drinking water in Laodicea was lukewarm and thus unpleasant. The Lord Jesus warned this church that they were spiritually lukewarm and he would spew them out. These connections are remarkable, but capable of being constructed by the human mind. The real kicker is that the last two thousand years of church history can be divided into seven phases that parallel these seven churches in the same order!

Conclusion

For a book to be written by various authors spread over thousands of years of time and thousands of miles of distance and yet be coherent is remarkable enough. But to show parallel patterns that are too long to fit into the plan of a single author - this is a stamp of divine authorship that the Bible -and no other book- has.