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hearing the echoes

Hearing the echoes.  Each year I read the Bible at a slower pace, but then about every third year I read through the entire Bible at a faster pace.  (I often use an audio version, which helps me hear the Word while I drive or take walks.)  The change of pace is good, but there is also another purpose: you cannot clearly understand any part of the Bible until you understand the whole of it. There are many details you may not fully grasp until you know how to connect them to the whole. There are themes, images, commandments, events, types, etc., that won’t make sense until you see how it fits into the whole testimony of God.  Hence, flying over the whole body of Scripture gives us a larger view.  So also you can then “hear the echo” of any these themes or images elsewhere in Scripture. There are many authors to the books of the Bible, but there is one divine Author behind it all.

There are two examples of this in Numbers chapter 10…

The trumpets. God ordained for Israel that trumpets should be sounded for alarm (defense against enemies, call to battle) and for gathering together his people. Trumpets will show up again throughout the Bible, and finally, angelic trumpets have a major role in the book of Revelation (sounding at the end of history) when the Lord gathers his people and brings judgment upon the whole earth.

The light and glory.  Another example is the pillar of cloud and fire, often called the Shekinah glory. (“Shekinah” is Hebrew for “that which dwells”.)  This light radiated over the tabernacle and guided the people of Israel on their journey to the land God promised them. It represented to them the presence of God and his “dwelling place”, that is, the location where he revealed himself and invited them to commune (fellowship) with him. Sometimes it shone over the tabernacle, and at times, filled the tabernacle — and later the temple — with light and glory.

Imagine then what the three disciples thought when they went up on a mountain once with Jesus to pray. (See Matt. 17:1-8.) Jesus was transfigured: “his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light” (17:2). And then, “behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.'” (17:5)  The disciples with Jesus would understand not only that this event was remarkable in itself, but that it was also signifying to them that Jesus Christ is the place of God’s dwelling, that he is the true Tabernacle, that he is the place where God is revealed and through whom we draw near to God. The Lord Jesus is the Word who “dwelt among us” (John 1:14) and the true and living Temple (John 2:19-21).


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