Feb 13, 2011

Biblical foreshadowing?

I've been studying the life of Abram and have come to see an amazing biblical repetition.  In standard literature analysis we'd call it a foreshadowing, but I cannot see into the mind of God know if that is what our Creator is doing in His word.  Let me tell you what I've been seeing.

God promised Abram a land to possess, descendants so many they can't be numbered and that his family would be a blessing to the nations.  Of course this promise was reinforced several times ... even when that promise seemed very unlikely.  The the scenes of this promise and it's repetition didn't happen in isolation, they happened in the context of Abram's life.  What I see repeating is a divinely given victory in battle for the nation of Israel starting before there was even a nation.

Note that when Abram learns of Lot's capture by the Mesopotamian kings who were victorious in the battle of nine kings of Genesis 14, we read of an amazing victory by a small band of Abram's trained men.  The Bible records that he took 318 of his trained men and went up against the recently victorious armies of four city-states.  God gave Abram and his men the victory and returned back to the promised land with Lot and his entire estate as well as the spoils of war.  God's man going against insurmountable, overwhelming odds after hiking at least 180 miles and coming away victorious.  No other explanation can be given except that it was a divinely given victory.

Now, race centuries ahead.  Picture yourself in what is modern Israel.  You've been a nation for less than 24 hours and you are attacked.  Attacked not by one or two nations, but by five nations: Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq.  This is commonly known as the War of Independence.  Israel has regularly been attacked in major offensives by the regional peoples in each of the successive three decades.  And, beginning with that first victory in 1948 against insurmountable and overwhelming odds, God has delivered Israel and awarded victory to His people -- even when His people are rebellious against Him. Despite the numerical superiority of the Arab armies, Israel was defended by God to the degree that it not only repelled the opposing forces, but returned with blessing just as Abram did when he defeated the Mesopotamian kings.

Now, race ahead in time, after the believing church has been caught up with Christ in the air and just before His second advent.  The armies of the entire world will be poised to attack Israel once again in one final conflict.  All nations will stand against Israel (Rev. 16:12ff) with what seems insurmountable and overwhelming odds ... that is from a secular point of view.

You see, that is our weakness as men.  We usually view our situation and conditions from a human perspective.  What we face seems impossible. Yet, if God is for us, who can stand against us?  As we read on in Rev. 16 we see that God, once again delivers Israel and provides the victory when none should be seen to be had from man's perspective.  Christ is victorious and Israel will rule with Him.

Look at Rev. 16:12 as the origin of a portion of the invading armies, "And the sixth poured out his bowl upon the great river, the river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way might by made ready for the kings that come from the sunrising."  Is this the same region of the four kings who came from Mesopotamia in Genesis 14?  And, God's word reassures us of the victory in this future case too.

Was God foreshadowing the battle of Har-Magedon in the supernatural victory He gave to Abram so long ago?  Was God reinforcing His supernatural protection of Israel in the 1948 War of Independence and in the 1956 Sinai War and the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War?

I won't be dogmatic to say definitively that these are foreshadowings of the Har-Magedon conflict. And, I've come to realize that it's not nearly as critical to know if these are.  What's of much greater importance is to know that the future is already defined and our God is victorious and His plan will be executed with flawless precision and in the exact time He has defined.  Something of which we can have confident assurance.

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