Besides their sacral meaning, the Scriptures also have a lot of practical meaning. As Christianity is not simply a way of worshiping God, but is a way of life, the practical side is perhaps more important.
The Scriptures tell not of phantasies, but of certain events. The New Testament is very informative as well as very instructive because the Son of God came to the world not without a purpose, but with a certain message. There is no need to search for hidden meanings in what is quite clear.
Or what hidden meaning can be found in Jesus’ words? The Lord explicitly formulated what the purpose of Christianity is. It is the Heavenly Kingdom. In addition, everybody’s task is to produce the fruits of a spiritual life. It is clear and understandable to all.
This, however, may disagree with the traditional approach according to which the Scriptures were always considered as having a sacral and hidden meaning.
Let us remember from the history of Christianity that to interpret the Bible was a prerogative of the clergy. Christianity was so dependent on scholarship that for the masses it was difficult to get access to the message of Christ. The situation improved when the spread of God’s word in the masses lessened the domination of the clergy.
I once talked with a priest who was offended by what I said. In our conversation I said that the Bible tells not only about God, but also about the history of ancient people. And I noticed that my words a bit offended that man. He did not say a word. I could suppose what his views were on that. Nonetheless, I did not feel sorry because I knew I was right.
The Truth is greater than all concepts invented by scholars and has to do with real life, which is why I insist that the context of the Biblical events should never be ignored. The traditional approach is flawed in that it does not show much wisdom and discernment in interpreting the Scriptures when the Biblical context and events are extrapolated on the modern world.
There are Christians who praise Abraham, Moses, Job and others without paying enough attention to Jesus Christ. They look at the Biblical history with admiration, pretending they would give everything for the opportunity to travel in time in order to be there.
However, the sainthood of those great men who lived long before the virgin birth of Jesus is not the same as Christian sainthood. They did not know God as well as Christians know Him or at least have an opportunity to know Him. Although the Biblical patriarchs and prophets were men of God, it appears that John the Baptist is greater than them. Jesus Christ said:
“I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Mat 11:11)
What does this verse mean? Those who lived before John the Baptist knew nothing about baptism, knew nothing about the spiritual birth. They never saw Jesus Christ and did not know Him. Even though they were great as men of God, Christians have an opportunity to surpass them.
Those scholars who admire the patriarchs and prophets and put them forward as examples of virtues and of great faith should see the difference between them and Christians.
Then, there are questions I want to ask those admirers. Would any of you like to be a wanderer, such as Abraham was? Сould you feel the depth of Job’s desperation when he lost everything? Or would you like to live a life like that of the prophet Jonah? Are you much fascinated by the story of King David and his ordeals? Is all that experience attractive to you?
The stories of the patriarchs and prophets are full of challenges, dramatic, even tragic at times. Perhaps something like that is awaiting those who do not know Christ and whose faith is far from perfect. Let us believe God spared us from that. Christianity unfolds a different kind of story.
Christians, being God’s children, know what the spiritual birth is, but those who lived long before the Christian era knew nothing of it. For this reason there is no much sense for Christians to imitate those whom they surpassed.
Surprisingly though, those who research the Bible miss out its direct meaning. The Scriptures are very informative. In many cases discernment is needed because, for example, there is a difference between what Job spoke and what Jesus Christ spoke. Perhaps there is no contradiction, but their words are not the same.
It is traditionally believed that in such Old-Testamental persons, as Samson, Joshua son of Nun, King David and some others, is foreshadowed the Messiah, that each of them is a sort of Christ’s image (theophany). Well, but in reality none was the Messiah, only Jesus Christ was the true Messiah in whom were fulfilled the hopes and aspirations of God's people.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is the Lord. Neither Abraham, nor Job, nor Moses, nor Joshua son of Nun, nor King David, nor Isaiah, nor Jeremiah, nor anybody else is the Lord, except Jesus Christ. And God is greater than all.
Rather than imitating the prophets, we should imitate the Lord. Sometimes Biblical imagery is used in vehement speeches to impress the audience. For example, the names of Sodom and Gomorrah are a commonplace in regard to the fall of moral standards in the modern world; today this usage seems to be stale.
Every word in the Scriptures matters, but the words spoken by God in the first person matter most of all (the colored verses in the KJV-BRG edition that is very helpful).
The New Testament is different from the Old Testament in that it vividly portrays our Lord and Teacher. According to what the Teacher stated, the purpose of Christians is the Heavenly Kingdom, and their task is to produce the fruits of a spiritual life. The new sainthood is greater than that of the patriarchs and prophets because Christ's followers know their purpose and their tasks much better.
Then, Jesus Christ is absolutely unique. Christians ought to love and imitate the Lord (read The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis) as the embodiment of the highest Good. The effect of it is very, very positive in that the Lord imparts His qualities, such as uniqueness, holiness, glory, power, to those who imitate Him.
Christians are God’s children. Just think about it. We are greater than Abraham, greater than Moses, greater than King David. The patriarchs and prophets were great men of God, but they did not know Jesus Christ, and if they lived today, it would make sense for them to imitate us together with Jesus.