Volume One: Foundations
The Parables of God
“Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of Yahweh, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” (Psalm 78:1-4)
“With many such parables [Yahshua] spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to His own disciples he explained everything.” (Mark 4:33-34)
Yahweh declared that He speaks to us in parables, symbols, and metaphors, but the extent to which He does this may surprise us. Although what He tells us in His Word is literally true, the significance of His written message often runs deeper than the overt historical record might indicate to the casual reader. There’s more to this iceberg than what we can see on the surface.
Some of these symbols are obvious. That is, it should be clear to anyone with his eyes open that their meaning isn’t intrinsic, but metaphorical. You’d have to be comatose to miss, for example, the concept that such God-instituted rites as circumcision, baptism, and the removal of yeast from one’s home for one week every spring are pictures of some greater truth Yahweh wanted His people to learn. If these things aren’t symbolic—if they don’t have life beyond their own literal rites—then our God truly has a twisted sense of humor.
But if these things are so obviously metaphorical, then what about the hundreds of things that aren’t so obvious? Why are lambs specified for one type of sacrifice, goats for another, and bulls for another? Why was sacrificial grain always to be mixed with olive oil? Why was wine to be poured out on the ground? Why was God so obsessively specific about the design of the Wilderness Tabernacle? For that matter, why did He allow the Temple to be destroyed, while arranging to preserve the instructions concerning its layout and furnishings? There’s more going on here than meets the eye.
Upon reflection, I have come to the conclusion that virtually everything in our universal human experience is there, by God’s design, to point us toward a larger reality—an eternal reality. Birth, death, and everything in between; love, marriage, sex, and procreation; the physical world in which we live: plants, animals, minerals, weather, and our place in the cosmos—all of these things and more were created by Yahweh as teaching tools so that we might come to know Him, and know Him well.
Please join me on what promises to be a fascinating voyage of discovery—a voyage through the very mind of God.
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (ESV) or the New King James Version (NKJV).
(First published 2016)