Comparison and contrast. Scripture is loaded with real and seeming opposites, which draw our attention and invite us to make a closer examination. Examples from Gen 1:1-2:3 are light and darkness, void and filled, and work and rest.
History that prophesies. The history of Israel, recorded in Torah and the Old Testament history books, is not merely simple history, but it is a history which prophesies of things to come. The Gen 1:1-2:3 history tells of God’s labor of Creation for six days followed by the seventh day of rest.
But then we learn from prophetic Scripture that the rest the earth will enjoy under the kingship of Messiah will last 1000 years, a full millennia (Rev 20:1-4). Taking the biblical account of the history of the world as authoritative (as the tool of the plain meaning of the text teaches us we ought), we next realize that man has been on the earth laboring under the burden of sin for 6000 years or six millennia.
God labored for six days and then rested on the seventh. And the earth has labored under the bondage of corruption for six millennia and will rest on the seventh (Rom 8:19-22). History that prophesies.
Natural pictures. A similar tool to history that prophesies, is the tool of natural pictures. Yeshua made heavy use of this teaching tool by teaching us many things about spiritual truths using parables. He often began a parable by saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like …” and then proceeded to tell a story about seeds, crops, harvests, landowners, fathers and sons, or some other aspect of normal human existence or the natural world with which His audience was well aware. That picture in the natural world was meant to teach us something about the spiritual world or God or the kingdom of heaven that we might not otherwise understand.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Gen 1:26
The natural picture in this case, is man. God created man in His own image. By seeing and understanding man as a natural picture, we can better see and understand something about God that we could not otherwise see and understand. The nature of man revealed in Scripture is of a human being as a single, unique and unified individual existing in three intertwined parts of spirit, soul, and body. This natural picture, made in God’s own image, reveals that God is a single, unified, and unique Being existing in three intertwined parts of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (see the deity of messiah series for detailed explanation and Scriptural proofs).
Types. In particular the Torah, since the purpose of Torah was to write about Messiah, Joh 5:46, we find, not only historical events that prophesy of Messiah, but persons whose lives strangely contain amazing elements that mirror Messiah’s life and ministry.
Adam becomes a living being, the first son of God in His likeness (Gen 5:1-3), who is given dominion over the earth, to husband it (Gen 1:26). He is prophesying by type of Messiah Yeshua who is to come, the only begotten of the Father, the firstborn Son of God in His likeness (Col 1:15, Luk 1:32), who will soon receive the dominion over the earth.
Signs of Messiah. God has placed signs, markers, identifying guideposts in His Word to help us recognize when a person or passage is prophetic of Messiah. These signs of Messiah are consistently used, especially throughout Torah. One prominent sign of Messiah in Torah is the number three. Not every occurrence of three is a sign of Messiah, but so many are that I always look into them when I find them.
Gen 1:9-13 describes the work of creation on the third day. Interestingly enough, this is the first instance of the concept of seed, which repeats four times in this paragraph alone, and does not appear again in our reading. We find out later in Scripture that the first prophecy of Messiah is as the promised Seed of the woman (Gen 3:15), and that Messiah is the incarnate Word of God (Joh 1:1, 14), the Seed implanted in the human heart, bearing fruit (Mar 4:1-20).
Common Theme. This is one of the most powerful teaching tools God has placed in Scripture. When multiple passages reveal the same theme or topic, even if they seem dissimilar at first glance, meditation and study of those passages together often reveals amazing insight, instruction, and wisdom.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. Gen 1:3-4
Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. Gen 1:16-18
This does not fall under the teaching tool of pattern, because two instances is not enough to establish a pattern. But we do notice that there is a common theme of dividing the light from the darkness.
PaRDeS. This is an acronym for “pashat, remez, drash, sod,” the four levels of Scriptural interpretation. P or pashat (“simple”) refers to the plain or direct meaning of the text; R or remez (“hint”) refers to the implied meaning of the text; D or drash (“search”) refers to the allegorical, typological, or thematic meaning of the text, not readily apparent from its direct or pashat meaning; and S or sod (“hidden”) refers to the hidden meaning of the text, usually only understood through knowledge of Hebrew or by revelation. The foundational rule in applying this teaching tool, is that none of the higher levels of interpretation, to be correct, can ever violate or contradict the pashat or direct meaning of the text. The idea is that all the passages of Scripture can be understood at each of these four levels, so at any one time there will be four interpretations of the same text.
Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. Gen 1:16
Pashat: God made two great lights, one to rule the day and one to rule the night.
Remez: Since the sun is the greatest light we see, and shines in the daytime, we can infer that God made the sun to rule the day. Since the moon is the next greatest light we see, lesser than the sun, and shines in the nighttime, we can infer that God made the moon to rule the night.
Drash: It is God who creates greater and lesser rulers, therefore applying this passage to command honor and obedience to kings or other authorities. (I am not saying this is necessarily the most accurate interpretation of the text, but merely this is how a drash interpretation would be made.)
Sod: We find in prophetic Scripture the following amazing proclamation:
I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. Rev 6:12
Since a black sun and a blood red moon are the colors of the sun and moon in eclipse, the prophecy is saying that the power of the greater and lesser rulers of that age to rule will be in eclipse, making the sod symbolic application that the sun and moon, described as rulers in Gen 1:16, depict specific kingdom rulers.