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A few years ago I wrote a book called Hearing God's Voice. I have long wanted to write a sequel entitled Understanding What You Hear. But I found this sequel to be more difficult to write, because understanding combines the simple ability to hear with an understanding of the Scriptures. And this primarily has to do with understanding the symbols--the types and shadows--set before us in Scripture.
Though we may hear words from God, He speaks in pictures. The words we hear are generally the translation of the picture-language of heaven. Sometimes, the translation is not clear at all, and so we need the great Heaven-to-Earth Dictionary which we call the Bible. In understanding types and shadows, we begin to understand the basic principles on which His word is based.
Essentially, types and shadows in the Bible are truths expressed in God's picture language. Many of these are then translated into words for us in the New Testament, but many are not. Many continue to be expressed in other pictures. These types and shadows continue to be expressed all around us even today, but if we do not possess the understanding of their meaning in the Bible, we miss the voice of God all around us.
One of the great keys is knowing the law in Leviticus 16. It takes two goats to deal with the sin problem. Another great key is the law in Leviticus 14, where it takes two doves to deal with leprosy--the problem of death and mortality. These two goats and doves overlay upon each other, because Christ fulfilled them at the same time through His death on the cross.
The story of Jonah is a picture-language story of the two doves and the two goats overlaid upon each other. In yesterday's web log, I showed how they cast lots for Jonah, making him the first goat in the belly of the great fish. He was the second goat in his second call, where he preached the word to Nineveh, the City of Fish. But his name actually means DOVE, and so he is manifesting the first and second dove in Leviticus 14 as well.
In the New Testament, Jesus came as the anti-type to Jonah, the dove. When He went to John the Baptist for baptism, signifying His soon-coming death on the cross, He came as the first dove. The second dove then appeared over His head, and He was let loose into the "open field" (Lev. 14:7). In other words, the Spirit led Him into the wilderness.
But yet Jesus was baptized on the Day of Atonement, ten days after His 30th birthday, having been born on the Feast of Trumpets 30 years earlier. He was thus fulfilling the types that the priests were acting out in the temple every Day of Atonement in regard to the two goats. Jesus was baptized into death as the first goat, and then led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil at the same time that the second goat was being led from the temple into the wilderness "for Azazel."
Thus, Jesus was fulfilling the types of the two doves and the two goats at the same time. But even then, there was another layer of fulfillment when He died on the cross as the first goat and the first dove. After His resurrection, He spent 40 days teaching His disciples as the second dove and second goat (Acts 1:3).
Then this 40-day type was re-enacted on a larger scale in the next 40 Jubilees (1,960 years) as His Body went into the wilderness to be tried and tempted.
Understanding these things help to give us a handle on Bible prophecy and where we are in the bigger Plan. Those 40 Jubilees ended on the day of Pentecost, May 30, 1993, and this began a whole new thing in the earth, the transition into the Age of Tabernacles.
The first half of the book of Acts is primarily a revelation of the two goats and the two doves which manifest the first and second manifestation of Christ. In Acts 3 the two goats/doves are Peter and John. In Acts 7 and 8 they are Stephen and Philip. The first is killed, the second is "caught away" (8:39). In Acts 12 they are James and Peter. James was killed, and Peter was released alive.
In each case, these men were living pictures of revelation from heaven comparing and illustrating the two works of Christ. Knowing this brings the book of Acts to life, because we can then begin to see ourselves and others around us manifesting those same types.
We saw it on April 20, 1999 with the Columbine massacre of twelve students and one teacher, representing Jesus and the twelve disciples, His Body. Columbine means "dove-like," because Columbia means "dove." They were killed as a picture of the first dove, and who can forget the girl who was killed simply because of her witness for Christ? She was a modern-day martyr, representing Christ Himself, who was killed as the first dove.
When 13 doves were released at the funeral on April 30, 1999, they were blindly picturing the second doves released into the open field, signifying life and immortality for Christ and His Body.
Likewise, the Space Shuttle Columbia ("dove") crashed over Palestine, Texas on Feb. 1, 2003. Its captain was Rick Husband. We read in James 5:7 that the Husbandman has waited a long time for the first fruits of His labor to be given to Him. In fact, the Husbandman (in the person of Jesus) had to die in order to receive the harvest that He desired. He died in Palestine.
The day before this disaster occurred, an Israeli newspaper published an editorial cartoon about the Israeli elections that had just occurred, where Ariel Sharon had come to power. His election was widely viewed as the final end to the peace process. So the cartoon pictured a toaster with a dove being "toasted" holding an olive leaf in its mouth. The caption said: "A Toast to Ariel Sharon."
Little did they realize that the next day the "dove" (Space Shuttle Columbia) would be "toasted" just as the cartoon inadvertently prophesied. This event gave us another angle on the principle in Leviticus 14. Jesus was the Prince of Peace, and when He was killed, it appeared to be the end of Peace.
But this was not the end of the story. A year later at the Super Bowl, Josh Groban sang a memorial song to those who lost their lives on the Columbia:
When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.
It is a song about the hope of resurrection and the second dove. In that year we were already looking for the manifestation of the fifth sign in John, which is where Jesus walked on the water to the disciples in John 6. In that story, Peter went out to meet Jesus, walking on the water in the stormy sea (Matt. 14:25-32). When Josh sang this song, I was astounded, for it was the first time I had heard it sung. It is the story of Peter, who began to sink through fear, but Jesus raised Him up to walk on stormy seas.
These signs of the times occur around us all the time, but few see the word pictures in them, because they do not know the language of God. But once we begin to understand the types and shadows in Scripture, the language barrier is broken, and we begin to hear God's voice everywhere. He never stopped talking. Christians just stopped language study, so His voice was only an unintelligible and meaningless hum in the big universe.
So let us realize that this is more than just a study of the book of Acts. This is really about learning to understand the language of Heaven, so that we can see what He is doing in the earth today.