Jacob at Jabbok | The story of Joseph | I will make it again | The Shout of a King | Cyrus and Christ | Esther and our times | Be Still and Know | Arise into Thy Rest | Close your eyes for a moment
Bible study (West Wickham. England.)


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Patterns for the last days

In 1914 headlines in newspapers in England would be relating to the dramatic turn of events in Europe, events that were altering the course of history. These were stirring times for Bible students who had been led to anticipate these events for decades. In terms of time prophecy, this was zero hour.
Another item too was finding mention in the press, one of the greatest witnesses to Truth ever presented in this country. The Photodrama had reached England, and was being shown in towns to audiences of thousands throughout the land. Sufficient truth-tracts inviting attendance had been circulated for every adult in England. The result was a turnout of public so large that the halls were inadequate. Deacons were sent along the queues pulling out the brethren to leave more room for others. Two million in England alone saw the Photodrama during those months. What a witness! Elsewhere it was the same.

Long, long before this happening the Lord had engaged His own "actors", and provided a strong supporting cast of angelic hosts to enact the original version of the Photodrama. This consisted of a great scenario of the entire plan of God, and it was enacted through the lifetimes of four generations. In Abraham's life we glimpse the age of faith leading up to the coming of the seed of promise. First stage was from Eden to the flood, suggested by the death of Terah, when Abraham passed over the river from the old order and began his walk of faith as a stranger and pilgrim until the seed appeared. Then the scene of the offering on Moriah of that dear and special child of promise, and his receiving, as it were, from the dead. Then Isaac's experiences and the depiction of the call of the church in the mission of Eliezer. Finally, Joseph, again a special and dear son of his father, after his release from the prison-house (of death) and exaltation and his finding of a bride, is seen with his blessings of life for mankind. What a scenario indeed of the whole plan of the ages! Yet something would be missing but for Jacob filling that gap. Jacob was to highlight for us in particular the restoration of Israel and her preparation to fulfil all the Lord has purposed in and through His people.

According to the pattern.

Num 8:4. And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick.

As Moses was directed by the Lord to make the Tabernacle and its contents according to the pattern he was shown on the mount, so the Tabernacle itself became a pattern of a greater and more perfect one. Likewise was it written of David concerning the Temple that Solomon was to build.

1 Chr 28:11-12 "Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things:"
Again, this Temple would itself become a pattern of a greater Temple.

Thus do we see illustrated the deliberate choice of the Lord to make use of patterns as recorded in His Word to point towards greater realities yet to be manifested in the course of His great plan. There are numerous such examples of situations and events foreshadowing others yet to be.
It is our objective in this sequence of articles to particularly concentrate upon such portions of the Word of God that appear to illustrate the days in which we are so privileged to live, these days of the winding-up of the work of the Gospel age as it overlaps the age of kingdom development. The concept that some of these patterns even exist would have been a matter for speculation before 1914. It is because we can now look back over a period exceeding 120 years since 1874, the time of Our Dear Master's return, that these patterns are now discernible, no longer as speculations, but as the emerging succession of historic events showing interesting comparison with former times and periods in the plan of God.

From Jacob's wrestling at Jabbok with its bearing on the present situation in Israel, to the sense of great joy and rejoicing as the Ark of God enters its eternal resting place, the Christ complete, in consideration of each parallel there is a sanctifying message for our day. Joseph, Moses, even Balaam, each tell much to confirm our understanding of the times in which we live. Joshua, Cyrus, Esther and Nehemiah, each have something to add, and David not least.

What a privileged people we are with such a vantage point, and what responsibility too with such light upon the path, to take comfort from the reassurances and give heed to the exhortations...so much the more... now that we are living in the day so long prepared of the Lord!

1 Cor 10:11 "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."

The story has been told of Queen Victoria visiting a paper mill near Windsor castle. To illustrate the process involved she was led into a rag-sorting shop where men were picking out rags from the city rubbish. What was to happen to that dirty heap of rags, she asked, and was told that those rags would be processed to make the finest white paper. Shortly after her visit the queen received a package of the most delicate white paper bearing her own image as water mark, and with it a letter explaining that this was the paper made from those very rags she saw before. Quite aptly does this sum up the story of the Lord's processing of Jacob from what he was to what the Lord had in mind when first He brought him forth from the womb clutching to the heel of his twin brother Esau.

It is a story of greatest encouragement to us all, for the process is not peculiar to Jacob alone. It applies equally to the church, and ultimately will apply also to the whole world of mankind. All one day will confess, in the words of Psalm 146, verse 5, "Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God." Sooner or later, everyone is to find this out for himself, but remember, he saw it first in the life of Jacob.