Searching out Nuggets from the Old Covenant
One of the exciting and rewarding aspects of studying the Word of God is discovering wonderful truths tucked away where you would never expect to find them. I believe the Lord truly delights in our searching out eternal truths that have been intentionally hidden away for that very purpose (It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter). This is in essence what revelation is really all about. Revelation, the Greek apokalupsis, literally means an uncovering, an unveiling. It is God’s revealing of truth to humanity, truth which we could never know for ourselves. This word carries the connotation of something having been concealed for the very purpose of being revealed at the behest of God. We see this concept illustrated in the following passages:
Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began (Rom 1 6:25 NKJV)
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Col 1:26,27 KJV)
Some form of the word “mystery” is used 27 times in the KJV of the New Testament. To our modern ear, a mystery is simply something we have no knowledge of or do not understand. To most of us, a mystery is a puzzle to be solved. However, to those in first century Palestine, mystery had an entirely different connotation. For them, a mystery was something unknown to those on the outside while the initiated or insiders were completely schooled. The initiated were thoroughly trained in all the secrets of the mystery. Many college fraternities are founded on one of the ancient “mystery religions” related to Greek mythology and of course only those who are accepted into those various societies are given the deeper understanding of their particular mystery.
In a similar way, the spiritual “mysteries,” the truths of Christianity, are only comprehended by those who have committed themselves to Christ and have become followers and imitators of him. It is disciples to whom the Holy Spirit reveals the mysteries. Jesus said to his disciples, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God…” In writing to the church in Corinth, Paul explained this concept thusly:
Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.”
But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. (1 Cor 2:6-12)
Certainly, we should read the Bible for its historic value and for all it would teach us about living our lives in Christ. But beyond this, we should also seek to discover the mysteries, the concealed deeper truths which God has purposed for revelation. Even the very reality of Jesus’ Messiahship can only be known by revelation, not by the designs of man’s intellect, intuition or the depths of his natural searchings:
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. (Matt 16:17 NKJV)
Through years of ministry, I have known many Bible-revering, devotional believers who have virtually neglected the Old Testament. This neglect basically reflected a failure to realize its richness in the total scope of God’s Word. This oversight literally robs Bible students of a spiritual dimension designed to more thoroughly enrich their lives in Christ. Part of the reason for this miscue is in not understanding the concept of “shadows” in the Old Testament (Col 2:17; Heb 8:5, 10:1).
Virtually everything in the O.T. is announcing and pointing to every truth, doctrine and teaching in the New Covenant. For example, everything related to the tabernacle, temple, sacrifice, feasts, priesthood, the law and regulations, etc. in the O.T. is rife with shadows pointing to Jesus and his efficacious death at Calvary. The same is true for every major Christian doctrine found in the N.T. Mining the “mysterious” in the O.T., uncovering the hidden for the purpose of discovery, wonderfully deepens one’s revelation in God’s Word and simultaneously leads into a more profound relationship with the Lord.
By way of illustration, I would like to highlight a N.T. truth and show a corresponding shadow in the O.T. The truth or “nugget” is given to us in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:
God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. (Eph 1:9, 10 NLT)
This passage is literally speaking of God’s eternal purpose as realized in, by, through and for his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. From eternity past God has always purposed that in the fullness of time everything in heaven and earth would be brought together under the authority and rule of his only begotten Son. Everything in all of the Father’s creation was always meant for the Son. It is beyond mind stretching that we would be included in the Father’s bringing all this to pass. To become heirs and joint heirs with Christ in all the Father has purposed for him is more than we can comprehend except through a continuing, ever-deepening walk of discipleship following Jesus to, through and beyond the cross.
Please read 1 Kings 2 prior to completing this article.
I believe we can see this eternal purpose of God illustrated in the shadows of 1 Kings 2 if we are willing to go beneath the surface of its literal and historic meaning. In this chapter we have an account of King David’s final days, his instructions to his son with regard to assuming the kingdom, Solomon’s actions and finally his coming into his rightful position over the nation. There are basically five characters in this kingdom scenario: David, Solomon, Joab, Adonijah and Shimei.
In the literal, historic account this comes off as a fairly gruesome narrative with what appears to be vengeance and retaliation in play. From a N.T. perspective, from a Sermon of the Mount point of view, this story wants to offend our sense of righteousness. However, there were different spiritual rules in vogue in David’s era which was over 1000 years before Jesus came. Once again, the truest, deepest understanding and revelation will only be discovered by looking beneath the surface and comprehending the shadow. Remember, a shadow is simply a reflection of that which is real.
In this account, David represents God the Father, Solomon represents Christ Jesus, and the three other characters (Joab, Adonijah and Shimei), who are all ultimately killed, represent those essences in the believer’s life that in some manner interdict coming into the full stature life in Christ.
We see David as a type of the Father in how he prepared the way and provided for the son to come into all that was purposed for him. David went to great length to gather materials for the building of the temple. Most of this was at his own expense. The temple—as was also the tabernacle—as the house of God was a type of the church. In building the temple, Solomon was foreshadowing a house for the Father and a body for himself. David provided all the guidance and instruction for Solomon that with full compliance would ensure a lasting dynasty, an everlasting kingdom.
As a type of Christ, Solomon carried out the desires of the Father. We see him reflecting Jesus’ submission to his heavenly Father in doing only that which he heard the Father say and see the Father do. Solomon was not a man of war but rather of peace. His time on the throne of Israel was one of rest and peace. As with Christ, he epitomized wisdom. The magnificence of his kingdom may never have been matched in all history.
Joab, commander of David’s army, was ostensibly committed to the king and his well-being. However, there was much in Joab’s life which reflected a deeper devotion to his own ends. He literally murdered two other fine leaders to secure his own place in the royal structure. He is a type of self-promotion and he did not embrace the ways of God as his highest end. Joab represents anything and everything in our lives which seeks to take precedence over the ordering of God’s way for us in Christ. Joab is the usurping of the absolute will of God for us. It is a coming to Christ but not a following of Christ. It is what we see in Matt 7:
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
The “Joab’s are all the ways we choose to serve self, serve our interests rather than the eternal interests of God. The “Joab’s” will ultimately prohibit one’s coming into the completeness in Christ, into ruling and reigning with him. It will deter the inheritance Christ offers to us through his death and resurrection.
Shimei was of the house of Saul and he called down curses on David as he fled Jerusalem during Absolom’s attempt to usurp the throne. Shimei wrongly accused David of stealing the kingdom and murdering Saul’s family. In our scenario here, Shimei is a type of the devastation we can open our lives to through disobedience, unfaithfulness and rebellion. We can see biblical precedence for this as early as Adam in the garden when he took Eve’s advice and ate of the forbidden fruit. Likewise, Cain brought a curse on himself when he killed his brother Abel.
Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary renders the word “curse” thusly:
To injure; to subject to evil; to vex, harass or torment with great calamities. Malediction; the expression of a wish of evil to another. To utter a wish of evil against one; to imprecate evil upon; to call for mischief or injury to fall upon;
When Shimei cursed David, David would not allow anyone to retaliate on his behalf. This was because David could see he was suffering the consequences of taking Bathsheba after having her husband killed. He knew he was suffering the consequences of his own sinful behavior.
Disobedience will bring down a curse of some nature. We see an example where the entire nation of Judah came under a curse for refusing to render unto God that which was rightfully his—”you are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me; the whole nation of you” (Mal 3:9 RSV).
Paul’s persuasion to the churches of Galatia regarding those still holding onto various aspects of the Law of Moses plainly warns them they are subjecting themselves to a curse:
For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” (Gal 3:10 ESV)
Paul argues for the full sufficiency of Christ and his efficacious death on the cross:
But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. (Gal 3:13 NLT)
In essence, we are either under the curse of the law or we are redeemed from the curse through faith in Christ. In all practicality, this truth is being worked out daily in our lives as we are constantly making decisions which either accord with faithfulness, obedience and the truth of Scripture or we are in denial and therefore placing ourselves once again under the curse of the law.
The “Shimei’s” of our lives are really all those areas wherein we confess Jesus but don’t follow him. Not following is tantamount to rejecting Jesus’ curse-removing grace. It is where we are called to take up our cross, deny self and follow Christ but fail to do so. We open ourselves to the “Shimei’s” through our unfaithful behavior, attitudes, beliefs, etc. Yes, it is true that others in our lives can curse us. However, the Word says that an undeserved curse cannot come to rest:
Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in flying, so a curse without cause does not come to pass. (Pro 26:2 LSB)
We come now to Adonijah, the third “antagonist” of our faith in this shadow narrative of 1 Kings 2. What he represents in our understanding is revealed in 1 Kings 1:5: Then Adonijah … exalted himself, saying, “I will be king” Adonijah was an attempted usurper of the throne; one who tried to illegitimately seize position and power. Everything he did to take control of the kingdom was through subterfuge and deceit.
What we see here is the temptation to build our own kingdom using the various facets of a religious system. Adonijah basically recruited all the right players and organized his own coronation. In studying the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, we can see that Satan fundamentally enticed him to do a similar thing. That is, Satan basically tempted Jesus with all the kingdoms of this world if he would forsake the Father’s purpose and surrender allegiance to Satan. Even so, we are constantly tempted to access the glories of the kingdom of God, to avail ourselves of the blessings of heaven, to secure to ourselves the saving grace of Christ but bypass the proscribed path through the cross on our way. In circumventing the ways of God, we are choosing to build our own kingdom. In essence, we are joining Adonijah in saying, “I will be king.” The “Adonijah’s” in our lives are whatever makes us the principal character rather than Jesus.
Seeing Joab, Shimei and Adonijah in this passage as spiritual antagonists, we can understand why they had to be put to death. We must continually be on our guard for any and all things in our lives that could in any manner rob us of the fullness of our inheritance in Christ. This is a constant battle because we live in a world that continually pushes values contrary to the kingdom of God.
As the body of Christ, we are part and parcel to the Father’s eternal purpose of bringing everything together under the authority of Christ. Our chapter ends with the elimination of the last antagonist and the Father’s purpose being fulfilled…
So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.