We've been talking a lot about 'treasure hunting' at our church recently. It was invented (or at least publicized) by a guy called Kevin Dedmon at Bethel Church in California. Basically what you do on a treasure hunt is spend some time asking God to give you thoughts, images or promptings of things like places, names, the way a person appears and what they might need prayer for. You write these things down on your “Treasure Map” and then go out to look for people to minister to based on the clues that God gave you.
That's all great, but it's not the kind of treasure hunting I wanted to talk about. Sorry if you're disappointed.
I'm excited about treasure that I find in the bible, and by treasure, I mean types.
There are prophecy geeks out there who spend hours scouring the bible for hidden messages that might reveal something about the future, but I'm a typology geek. I get really excited about finding a new type that fits. Small, seemingly insignificant details, which then fit the meta-narrative to an astounding degree of accuracy are enough to make me want to jump up and down and and squeal with delight (genuinely, I'm not exaggerating)!
So I was particularly excited when Cat introduced me to one I hadn't spotted before in Genesis 22. It's the classic story of Abraham being called to sacrifice Isaac, but then at the last minute God stops him and provides a ram instead.
I love this passage because it's full of types:
i) Abraham - God the Father, sacrificing his 'only' son
ii) Isaac - Jesus (the willing sacrifice nb. Isaac was a young man, not a child)
iii) Eleazer - the Holy Spirit, going to gather Isaac's gentile bride
iv) Rebecca - gentile bride/church
v) 3 days between Isaac being pronounced 'dead' to Abraham and being restored/'resurrected' (heb 11:19)
vi) the place where it happens is likely the exact spot where Christ was crucified
And there's loads more, but what I had missed was that Isaac had to carry the wood, just like Jesus had to carry the cross, and that Abraham carried the knife and the fire, just as God the Father holds the judgement. Wow.
If you've never looked into it before, the bible is full of types like this, where a seemingly innocent historic event is loaded full of codes and meaning. I really recommend you get into it in your study, not least of all because Revelation makes NO sense unless you do, but because it is fascinating and complex and clearly displays evidence of God's design throughout the entire bible.
If you want to get started, try Joseph as a type of Jesus. There are hundreds of ways he can be paralleled and I'm sure I've yet to exhaust them. Lots can be found if you google it, but that's cheating
If you are looking for something a little more advanced try Numbers 21 and the bronze serpent incident (hint: John 3:14-16). Matthew Henry's commentary lists the parallels in phenomenal detail.
This is a great group assignment for your kids too if you home educate, or even in family devotionals if you don't. You'll be amazed at what other people spot that you missed and vice versa.
I can't remember who said it, but there is a quote that says the Bible is deep enough for a man to swim in, but shallow enough for a child to wade in. It works on so many levels, and is completely inexhaustable, but totally accessible.