Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
From prison to ReTrain: Russell’s story
Mon May 20, 2013
9 types of leaders in Scripture
Mon May 20, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
5 bits of wisdom for the professional Christian woman
Sun May 19, 2013
by Shandel Slaten
Sat May 18, 2013
by Hugh Whelchel
Reading the Bible Backwards
The Bible begins with a poetic picture of God in beautiful fellowship with his people in a garden. The Bible ends with a poetic picture of God in beautiful fellowship with his people, now in a garden-city. The Bible begins with a tree of life, a flowing river, and humanity at peace with the creation. So it ends. Genesis 1–3 has its mirror image in Revelation 20–22. These are the Bible’s two bookends.
Biblical Theology in Themes
A wonderful book helping us see this is T. Desmond Alexander’s From Eden to the New Jerusalem: An Introduction to Biblical Theology. Dr. Alexander explores five major themes that run through the Bible and converge at the very end in Revelation 20–22: temple, God’s kingship, the devil and his forces, redemption through the slaughter of a lamb, and the tree of life. All of these snowball through the Bible, slowly building in significance.
This carpenter didn’t build the temple. He was the temple.
Take the theme of “temple,” which shows up in Revelation 21:22. What is a temple? It is a place where the supernatural intersects with the natural. For a brief moment, in a small space, the barrier between the sacred and the profane is erased. The divine and the human converge. God meets man.
The First Temple
Eden, then, was the first temple. It was a garden-temple. The divine and the human lived in perfect harmony, in unbroken fellowship. Stupidity and rebellion broke the back of this harmony. God withdrew. Fellowship was fractured.
Restoring What Was Lost
The rest of the Bible is the quest to regain Eden and restore this lost fellowship. We see it in the tabernacle, the portable temple in the wilderness. We see it in the temple Solomon built. We see it in the constant refrain from God that one day he will dwell again with his people. We see it in Ezekiel’s vision of a magnificent new temple (Ezekiel 40–48), a hope that escalates with Haggai a few centuries later (Haggai 2) only to disappoint the people when Ezra does indeed rebuild the temple, but it is pathetic compared to its predecessor (Ezra 3).
We no longer enter into a temple of wood and stone to meet with God. God has entered into a temple of flesh and blood to meet with us.
Then, at the center of human history, we see the quest to restore Eden achieved when a Jewish carpenter shows up and says he’s so good at his trade he can build a temple in three days (John 2:19). And he did (1 Corinthians 15:4).
Abandon the Temple of Wood & Stone
In the Old Testament the supernatural collided with the natural in a physical building, where, with severely limited access, humans could meet with God. In the New Testament the supernatural collided with the natural in a physical body, where, with unlimited access, humans could meet with God.
We no longer enter into a temple of wood and stone to meet with God. God has entered into a temple of flesh and blood to meet with us. This carpenter didn’t build the temple. He was the temple.
Seek Deeper Understanding
On this theme of temple and others, let Professor Alexander’s book move you into deeper understanding of the Bible’s storyline, deeper awareness of the grace that has flooded your life, and deeper worship as you walk with the Lord.
Find out more about From Eden to the New Jerusalem here.