Bible patterns, like First and Second, exist in the Scriptures to show us Jesus. They are important on two levels. First, they actually show our intellect that there is a grand design to the Scriptures, specifically the TaNaK / Old Testament (OT), that leads to Jesus. Second, they are for learning how Jesus leads a person’s heart by The Spirit of His heart.
As to the first level, these Bible patterns I call “Jesus Pictures” are the prime evidence for me that the Hebrew God is real, Who He says He is, and only really known in the face of Jesus. Moreover, this is most gloriously realized when Jesus gave Himself on the Roman cross. Apologetics, the defensive of the faith, has been a lifetime endeavor for me since college in the 1980s when I had to chose what I believed. I was a Bible Answer Man junkie back in those days. But at the end of 2011, I had a vision of the cross that changed everything, and I realized that most people simply miss the greatest reality in their Bibles: Jesus Pictures.
When that time of clarity began, it became more real to me than anything else. In other words. I define reality according to what is most real to me. Thus, when God blended the picture of how He made Eve with a vision of the spear hole in Jesus’ side on the cross, involving me somehow, I started to know firsthand what it means to be formed as a complement to God’s Son, the Last Adam: flesh of His flesh, bone of His bone. In fact, I would be so bold to say that I have direct knowledge of Who Jesus is and “What Kind” of Person He is. This is reinforced especially now after years of His forming of this personal and relational knowledge through what Jesus Pictures in the TaNaK / OT really exist for. They are not merely for the intellect, but are designed to catch us up into the trajectory of His Being. This is best realized by mystically contemplating the flow of blood and water out the “doorway” in His side where a spear pierced His heart.
The First and Second template addresses this basic level of knowing God. The intellect can identify and learn these pairs, but since the devil has done a crack job of hiding their life-giving reality from the Church, our default intellect is skeptical, even agnostic. First ones always think they know something about God. Moreover, they tend to take the positions of leadership. Furthermore, when encountering a second one, their way is baffling to a first one, even seen as subversive. As a result, whether overtly or unconsciously, a first one naturally persecutes or marginalizes a second one. Cain, Ishmael, Esau, and King Saul all did this to their second one of the pair.
Thus, the great value in spending time with the Holy Spirit on Bible stories is that if you allow Him, He will gladly start exposing you as a first one, so that in seeing Who Jesus is being in TaNaK / OT stories, exposure to His Second Man[i] Reality is transformative. We are all born as first ones; we remain so even after becoming what passes these days for a modern Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, or other type of Jesus follower.
Where do you start? Choose the obvious pairs in the TaNaK / OT. Start with the low-hanging fruit of the OT There are many First and Second pairs in the Scriptures, and much that comes from learning the basics, including a resurrected-risen version of the second, which some people think of as a third.[ii] Once we understand the obvious stories as the root system, then the Holy Spirit will branch off from there. The five basic pairs are listed below in order of first one followed by who the second one is:
- Cain and Abel[iii]
- Ishmael and Isaac[iv]
- Esau and Jacob[v]
- First generation and Second Generation out of Egypt[vi]
- King Saul and King David[vii]
Master these five above by seeing Jesus in the second one by the Holy Spirit and then you can move on to the next level in the pairs, some of which crop up in the New Testament (NT). These are (and I am sure that I am missing some):
- Abram-Sarai and AbraHam-SaraH (Both had an H added to their names)[viii]
- Hagar and Sarah[ix]
- Leah and Rachel[x]
- The un-named, first kinsman redeemer and Boaz[xi]
- Peninnah and Hannah[xii]
- King Saul and Jonathan (1 Samuel 14-15)[xiii]
- The two callings of Jonah[xiv]
- Shebna and Eliakim (Isaiah 22)[xv]
- Vashti and Esther[xvi]
- The first leg of any roundtrip story and its second leg including Isaiah 55:10-11[xvii]
- Martha and Mary at the end of Luke 10[xviii]
- The Pharisees representing the first covenant and Jesus representing Jeremiah’s new covenant[xix]
- Anything the NT says about the flesh vs. the spirit.[xx]
From there they start to be more sublime in varying degrees, literally woven into the warp and woof of the TaNaK / OT such as Noah on both sides of The Flood and the two attempts to bring The Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem.[xxi] Moreover, what you will discover is a new appreciation for why the book we call Hebrews was written, because upon closer examination after time spent with the Holy Spirit, the overall content and goal of this letter will be obvious. You won’t fall for the typical mistranslation of Hebrews 9:28 with the extra added word “time.” Scholars only add that out of their ignorance of these Bible patterns that fed the New Testament authors with Jesus’ crucified life. In fact, you will walk away from reading the book, especially Hebrews 10:7-9 with a new understanding that the writer of Hebrews had been literally spelling out the pattern, even being overtly explicit here, and the best educated Christian minds of us were blind to it all along! That is when that first one second one starts to hit home more deeply about the personal nature of human blindness.
Finally, I will leave you with some last words on this post about First and Second. This is just one pattern designed to operate with the other key Bible templates: the Doorway, the Roundtrip, and the horizontal line that divides what is above from below and represents the covering. Taken together, these reveal to us the Nature of Jesus’ Own Crucified Life. And what I mean by that is: He is living. Eternal Life is knowing Him (John 17:3). Exposure to Who He is in these stories is transformative when the Holy Spirit, Who is the stories’ Main Author, breathes on them. Jesus is as living now as He was 2,000 years ago. Moreover, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That includes Who He was showing Himself to be through a chosen people in TaNaK / OT Bible stories. Jesus put the first away in a cosmic sense, and the TaNaK / OT is filled with a many classroom dealings where we can learn the reality of our co-death with Christ on that cross as Galatians 2:20 says. After all, this is all the early church ever had. They were mostly Jewish background believers who only had memory knowledge of the TaNaK / OT they heard read to them on Saturday.
Thus, our time on this earth should be filled with time spend with the Lord where the early church spent time with the Lord revisiting these stories in our hearts and minds throughout our days with each other. Each discovery of Jesus as He is BEING in that record of old is a gem most precious today, and forever! Once you have seen Him, you can not unsee Him, for truly these are the gifts upon which He adorns His bride. Avail yourself of this precious time with Him where He is.
[i] 1 Corinthians 15:45-47
[ii] Seth and King Solomon are two examples.
[iii] The key is in what kind of offering. These two represent the foundation that all other pairs rest on. Moreover, you do not need to believe me, just believe Hebrews 12:24.
[iv] The key is on what happens if we try to help God out with generating the Promised Son reality with our good ideas. Not yet convinced? Read the end of Galatians 4.
[v] The key is in their descriptions as what kind of sons they are. Who else despised their birth right?
[vi] The key is in Joshua-Jesus’ view of how to enter the finished work of what God gives in the form of the Promised Land. Where did the water cease from when they crossed the Jordan? Think of Jesus’ view on the cross.
[vii] The key is in what it really means for David to be flowing by God’s heart. Pay attentions again to their physical descriptions. Moreover, pay attention to how David treats Saul in the cave and later when Shimei was casting rock at him. How did David gain or keep power? Who else had close companions who didn’t understand his view?
[viii] “H,” hay, as a letter in Hebrew has a meaning in and of itself. “H” means beholding in a full-spectrum way, from what is terrifying to what is joyfully wonderous. The old script depicts a stick figure with arms raised.
[ix] The end of Galatians 4 even tells you why Paul called Christians brothers.
[x] How does Jacob see them? The flesh easily cranks out more flesh, because they-we have a seeing problem.
[xi] A key is the names of the dead and their inheritance. There are so many in Ruth! Simply listen to Naomi’s advice to Ruth when she sends her to Boaz’s threshing floor. Take her advice to heart and contemplate that most glorious picture of the cross. It is rich like a treasure trove! Stay there until He speaks.
[xii] The song of the second will tell you all you need to know about what happens when we allow What Kind He is to rule in and through us.
[xiii] A key is seeing that the first one has all the power, can even detect when God is moving, and takes over movements of God, and in the process, he condemns the one living the flesh crucifying reality of Jesus life. By the way, here is a freebie, all staffs and wood poles in the Bible are pictures of the cross and the crucified life reality on display on the cross.
[xiv] The key is the “doorway” trajectory in this story. Jesus spoke about it in terms of three days and nights in Matthew 12.
[xv] The key is pondering the motivations and what people are watching from the rooftops as Assyria destroys Israel.
[xvi] The key is knowing what your Husband the King of kings wants. Who is the real bride? What phrase best in the book characterized her motivation?
[xvii] Line up John 12:24-33 with Isaiah 55:8-11 and consider Moses leaving Mount Sinai and returning to Mount Sinai.
[xviii] The key is realizing that Martha really is trying hard to serve Jesus! What do Martha’s words do to Mary? What is the one needful thing? My recommendation to you is do that one needful thing!
[xix] The key is realizing this is the culmination and all the TaNaK patterns. Hebrews 1:1-2 is real, especially verse 2 because of verse 3. But you would likely not see it unless you read it in Greek at Biblehub’s interlinear. For the text actually says God speaks to us today within Son. That is the context, sphere, and realm now for wherein God speaks. Why? Because of what we can see in verse 3.
[xx] The key is realizing that the NT authors had in mind the very things I am sharing here (2 Corinthians 3:15-18).
[xxi] The default issue with Adam as humanity’s forefather is woven in us from natural conception and birth in the same way. Only He Who from nothing is hidden can be the sword in us (Heb. 4:12-13).