PURITAN NEWS WEEKLY

www.puritans.net/news/

2/24/03

 

 

PARALLEL HISTORIES :

THE OLD TESTAMENT CHURCH, THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH, AND JESUS CHRIST

 

By J. Parnell McCarter

Puritan News Service

 

In my book Let My People Go, I wrote this:

 

“In reading commentaries on the book of Revelation, in sources ranging from Matthew Henry to Patrick Fairbairn, I became impressed with how frequently they noted the connection between elements in ancient Israel’s past and elements in the account of the church’s history as it is related in the book of Revelation.  It then hit me how remarkably the history of the church outlined in the book of Revelation retraces the history of ancient Israel, not only in its elements, but also in its chronological order.  So we read of earthly Jerusalem equated with Egypt (Revelation 11:8) which the church escapes, we read of a wilderness experience of the church (Revelation 12:6)  [lasting 1260 "days" and beginning in 70 AD when the earthly Jerusalem was trodden under foot (Revelation 11:2)] , we read of a "Promised Land" experience at the completion of the wilderness years (Revelation 11:15), we read of a "Babylonian" oppression on God's people (Revelation 17:5), we read of a Beastial kingdom that destroys this “Babylon” (Revelation 17:16), we read of a restoration period after the church comes out of its “Babylonian” captivity (Revelation 20:3), we read of a foreign attack on God's people from a Gentile “Magog” (Revelation 20:8), and we read of an Advent of Christ when Christ comes down to earth to be with man (Revelation 21:3).   These elements in this order most certainly re-traces the history of ancient Israel.  And since ancient Israel’s history in many respects fore-shadowed the life of Christ during His First Advent, this means the church’s history corresponds not only with ancient Israel’s history but Christ’s incarnate life as well.   In considering this fact, I realized how very consistent it is with scriptural principle that the new Israel of the church should walk in the footsteps of old Israel and with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

 

I believe right now we are still in the era of “Babylonian” oppression, but I am optimistic that God will bring down the “Babylonian” oppressor, and eventually deliver His people into the millennial restoration.  This will be a renewed Protestant Reformation, but grander in scale and more thorough in effect.

 

In order to assist in showing the parallel nature of the histories of the Old and New Testament church, as well as the life of Jesus Christ, I have provided the table below:

 

 

Event

Old Testament Church

New Testament Church

Life of Jesus Christ, in His First and Second Advents on Earth

Humble Birth and Stay in an Egypt

The beginnings of the church are in Egypt, where it is in an oppressive and humble condition (Exodus 1).

The church began with few in number under difficult and oppressed conditions in Jerusalem (Acts 1), which Revelation 11:8 calls “Egypt”.  The earthly Jerusalem is described as a place of bondage (Galatians 4:25), even as ancient Egypt had been a place of bondage for the people of God in Moses’ day.

Jesus was born in the humble setting of a stable in a family of humble means (Luke 2:1-38), and in His infancy His family had to flee the oppression of Herod (Matthew 2:13), residing then in Egypt (Matthew 2:14-15)

Escape from an Egypt

The church leaves Egypt, crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 13-14).  The army of the Egyptian pharaoh is destroyed.

The church flees from its “Egypt” of earthly Jerusalem, before Jerusalem is destroyed by the Roman army in 70 A.D. (Luke 21:20-21; Revelation 11:8b, 12:14)

Jesus and His family leave Egypt (Matthew 2:19-20) and settle in the Galilee region of Israel (Matthew 2:21-23). Jesus began his public ministry by being baptized (Matthew 3:16), baptism being comparable to crossing the Red Sea according to I Corinthians 10:2.

A Wilderness Experience

The church endures 40 years in the wilderness (each year for a day the spies were in Canaan [Numbers 14:34]), before they may enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14:28-38)

The church endures 1260 years in the “wilderness” (Revelation 11:3), according to the year-day principle of a day representing a year in prophetic time.

Jesus is tempted in the wilderness for 40 days by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13)

Time of Great Spiritual Prosperity and Blessing

Entry and establishment in the Promised Land (Joshua 3:1-4:24, 11:23, 22:4)

Protestant Reformation at the end of the 1260 year “wilderness” experience commences with the birth of John Wyckliffe 1260 years after 70 A.D.  His public ministry began 1290 years after 70 A.D. (Daniel 12:11).  The Protestant Reformation is marked by many nations turning to Christ according to the true gospel which is preached (Revelation 11:15, 14:6-8)

At the height of His public ministry Jesus has multitudes of followers (John 7:31), especially owing to the miracles they see Jesus perform (John 10:41-42).

Spiritual Decline

Despite the many blessings it has known, Israel forsakes true religion, becoming corrupted by false and idolatrous worship (Isaiah 1, Jeremiah 2).

Many nations and people fall away from the reformed Protestant faith, enticed by the whoredom of a mysterious “Babylon” who rides upon the Romish Beast (Revelation 17:1b-3).  This mysterious “Babylon”, which I believe is Washington, DC and the nation it represents, is profane as well as wealthy (Revelation 18). 

Many disciples abandon Jesus Christ as they consider the harder doctrines taught by Him (John 12:37-38 ) .

“Babylonian” Oppression of God’s People

Ancient Babylon destroys Jerusalem and oppresses the Jewish people, taking them captive to Babylon (Jeremiah 39).

This mysterious “Babylon” oppresses God’s people (Revelation 17:4-6).

Satan enters into Judas Iscariot (Luke 22:3).  Jesus is apprehended through the treacherous machinations of Judas Iscariot- the Son of Perdition- with the Jewish leaders (Matthew 26:14-16), and He is crucified.

Defeat of the “Babylonian” Oppressor by another wicked Beast

Ancient Babylon was destroyed, just as the prophets had foretold (Isaiah 47, Jeremiah 50).  It is another Beast (Medo-Persia) that destroys her, and takes her place.

The mysterious “Babylon” is destroyed by the Romish Beast in alliance with the nations (Revelation 17:16, Revelation 18:2,19).  The Romish Beast takes her place (Revelation 17:17).

Judas Iscariot commits suicide due to Satan’s destructive influence over him (Matthew 27:3-5).

Restoration / Resurrection

The Jews are restored to Israel during Persian rule (Isaiah 44:24-45, Jeremiah 50-51), in what is compared to the rising of dry bones from the dead (Ezekiel 37).

The church enjoys a “millennial” restoration (Revelation 20:1-3), following the overthrow of the Romish Beast (Revelation 19:20).

Jesus rises from the dead (Luke 24) and ascends to sit at the right hand of the Father in power (Ephesians 1:20).

Attack by a Satanic Beast

Antiochus Epiphanes attacks Jerusalem, as prophesied in Daniel 8:9-14.

Satan attacks Jerusalem and the church on earth (Revelation 20:7-9a)

As Satan attacks, he is confronted and cast to hell by Jesus (Revelation 20:9-10)

Advent of Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ’s Coming to Israel (His First Advent), which had been prophesied in Daniel 9:24-27, and elsewhere in the Old Testament.

Jesus Christ’s Coming to administer the Day of Judgment, as prophesied in Revelation 20, and elsewhere in the New Testament.

Jesus Christ’s Judgment of the world (Revelation 20:11-15) and His eternal reign on the New Earth (Revelation 21)