Sunday, 5 October 2014
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 1 Corinthians 10:11
“Now all these things” is referring to the examples that Paul has cited from verse1-10. But it is also certainly referring to all of the body of Scripture which comprises the age of the law. God chose examples from the life of Joshua, Samson, David, and others as well as from the time during the captivity with Esther and Mordecai, from the post-exilic times with Nehemiah and Ezra, and so many more examples for our learning and instruction. Ellicott notes that, “The verb “happened” is plural, referring to the multiplied occurrences which the Apostle has just mentioned; but ‘written’ is singular, referring to the sacred record in which the historical facts are handed down.”
The lessons to be found in the Old Testament serve “as examples” for our instruction and edification, and “they were written for our admonition.” We are to read them and learn from them, not simply ignore the Old Testament nor to read it as a mere curiosity of times gone by. God selectively chose these stories to teach us. It needs to be understood though that this was not the sole purpose of why “these things happened to them.” Rather, they literally happened to the people as they lived out their own lives. A zillion other things happened to them as well, but these were selectively chosen for our learning. Therefore, there is the reality that God used the events of real people’s lives to assist later people in how to conduct their own lives.
The word “happened” is in the imperfect tense to show the slow and successive unfolding of those events in history in order to reveal exactly what God determined we should know. And there is another, unstated, reason for these selected moments. They are given to reveal Christ. Paul alluded to that earlier and Jesus says it explicitly in John 5:39 –
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
Lastly Paul notes that these things occurred and were then recorded and given to us “upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” This phrase shows us that the Church Age is the last age before the end times will be ushered in. The previous dispensations were leading to Christ; Christ has been revealed; and now that He has been revealed, we are living in His age of grace. Everything has worked in the past to bring us to this point in history, after which will come the tribulation period. Paul goes to great lengths in the book of 2 Thessalonians to show us this is true.
The sequence of events then is 1) the rapture which ends the church age; 2) the tribulation period where the world will be judged for rejecting the grace of Christ; and 3) the millennial reign of Christ. The fact that the church age has lasted 2000 years shows us the great harvest which has been on-going during all of that time. When it ends, the world will be ripe for judgment. Why? Because they have rejected the very words that we are looking at now – examples for our learning and admonition.
Life application: Don’t just pick up the Bible and flip through the pages for something curious to read. Rather, pick it up and read it with fervent desire to know Christ and to learn from the past!
Lord, You have chosen specific people and events of the past and recorded the details of their lives in order to instruct us on how to live rightly and how to avoid the terrible pitfalls of being outside of Your favor. Help me Lord to think on these wonderful passages and to apply them to my life, looking for Christ in every detail and also looking for the moral lessons that You would have me to learn. What a great God You are for having given us such a precious word! Praises be to You. Amen.