God’s Teaching Pictures -- By: Warren Vanhetloo

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 03:1 (Spring 1960)
Article: God’s Teaching Pictures
Author: Warren Vanhetloo

God’s Teaching Pictures

Warren Vanhetloo

Dean, Central Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary

God has given to man many pictures intended to teach spiritual realities „ Man in his sinful condition tends to nullify that which God intends to teach in one of two extremes. Either he leaves out or changes parts of the picture which God has appointed, or he assigns so much importance to the picture that he speaks of it as the reality. Because of this, those who would be true to the revealed Word need to guard lest they add to the appointed pictures or take away from them such that the appointed representation be defaced, and also guard lest these appointed pictures be considered as having some magical power.

Such pictures appointed of God to teach concerning the work of the Lord Jesus Christ before His coming are called an “example and shadow of heavenly things” in Hebrews 8:5. They are the shadows only, not the reality; they are types teaching of coming fulfilment. And to teach correctly, they must accurately portray the reality, “as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount” (Heb. 8:5).

Throughout Scripture the warnings of God concerning His appointed teaching symbols are against these two directions of misuse: instructions are to be followed exactly because the symbols teach of a greater reality, and the symbols are not to be considered as automatically accomplishing the reality. Such errors can be pointed out as different incidents are examined.

Strange Sacrifice On The Altar

Certain sacrifices were appointed to be made in a definite fashion on the altar, and God warned against adding

man-conceived sacrifices to the God-ordained practices, calling these “strange” sacrifices (Exod. 30:9). Not long after, “Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not” (Lev. 10:1).

To teach in an emphatic fashion that sacrifices were not to be added to those which God had commanded, “there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them,” and they died before the Lord” (Lev. 10:2). This sin was so serious in the sight of God that relatives were not to touch the dead bodies nor to mourn for them (You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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