Virtual Sunday Message 7-26-09 By Rev Deb
An Allegory Study
The term "allegory" simply means a symbolic or figurative story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, usually a moral. It is a figurative way of telling the plain language - in other words the allegory or figurative story is the same as the plain language.
Allegories are descriptions of one thing under the image of another
(Ex. Rom. 11:11-29; Jo. 15:111; Gal. 4:21-31).
The term Allegory should NEVER be confused with “allegorizing.” This method of interpretation ignores the original intent of the writer and draws its own conclusion by reading into the text and placing an artificial meaning to it.
"The nation of Israel rejected the Lord their God; therefore God rejected them and has now made the Church the new Israel in their place."
In Gal. 4:24 Paul actually uses the word “allegory” when speaking of the (2) Covenants of AbraHam's first two sons. He said, “this is allegorically speaking...” Meaning that Hagar and her son Ishmael represent the Old Covenant that was under bondage to the Law; while SaraH and Issac represent the New Covenant that is under the freedom of grace.
The importance of Paul’s allegory is to recognize the contrast of the Law to the New Covenant of grace. This allegory was strategically placed in Paul’s argument to show the absolute ridiculousness of reverting back to a covenant of bondage and death.
Paul also demonstrated the point that the old covenant was for the Jews who were put under its demands (Exod. 19); while the new covenant was brought about through Christ and given to the Gentiles by faith through grace.
Side note: Under this grace period both Jews and Gentiles are welcome to Christ, but the main focus at this time is to the Gentiles.
David as the allegory:
This account of king David, his affair with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband Uriah is a classic allegorical example. Nathan, God's prophet, went to king David with a story about a rich man who had many flocks and not satisfied went and took a certain poor man's only lamb that he loved (2 Sam 12). Apparently David didn't see it coming, and declared out of his own mouth how that the rich man should die for his actions. That's when Nathan said to him "You David are that man"! How’s that for a shocker! David immediately understood the meaning of the allegory, but the one thing he didn’t recognize was WHO the allegory was about.
See how blinding sin is?!
David should have recognized right away that Nathan was speaking about Bathsheba being the "lamb" and that it was Uriah who loved her immensely .
He should have understood the allegory, because he was living it, but sin blinds the eyes from the truth and allows its actions to be justified. So Nathan, had to point out to David his sin that he was committing before God.
Notice I said “BEFORE GOD” when we do harm to another person, either by word or action we do it against God. David understood that! He truly understood the meaning of GRACE; that is why he said in Psalm 51 after his illumination of his sin-
"Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your loving-kindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge."
Our action not only effect us, but can also have great repercussions upon those we love. This is why the Lord tells us to follow his word and also what David came to realize. This is why he said - “create in me a clean heart O God, a renew a STEADFAST spirit within me.”
He then sought to memorize the word in his heart so that he would not sin Ps. 119:11 The apostle Paul echos this in the New Testament in Timothy "study to show yourself approved, a workman not needing to be ashamed, but accurately dividing the word of truth."
As a consequence of David's actions, Nathan told him that 4 of his sons had to die. This is a very hard lesson, but like I said our actions effect those around us.
Christians have an obligation both to God and to themselves. We are to recognize our shortcomings however they may be revealed and confess them to the Lord! If we do that then we have confidence before God.
This is the meaning of the allegory. David was forced to recognize his shortcomings so that he could eat the food (word) of EAGLES , rather than regurgitating the food (sinful words of the world) of buzzards!
Other Allegories Of Interest-
1. The Vine And The Branch (Jn. 15:1-6)
Main Point - Fellowship and fruit bearing
The Greek word “ he aleyhine” = “the true” indicates Jesus as being the original vine where all branches grow from. He is the origin and source of the believer’s life.
He began as the dry root out of a parched ground (Isa. 53:2, Rev. 5:5), who became the “True Vine” where branches could grow.
"Branches" in (v2) refers to the shoot that grows from the central trunk of the vine. Its life and growth solely depends on the trunk for its nourishment.
“In Me” signifies the believers vital union and communion with their life source (Jesus) and fruit producing supply. Fellowship is everything!
When a branch is nonproductive it hinders the growth of fruit on the other branches (Bad company corrupts good morals, (1Cor.15:33), therefore, the vine dresser prunes it (cleanses it through discipline) so that nourishment can feed through it to produce fruit to the other branches.
"The branch" produces the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) as it draws its nourishment from the root or Vine. As the vine dresser carefully examines "the branches", He knows which ones are producing NO fruit, the ones that are producing some fruit and even those who produce much.
The vine dresser’s objective is that his "branches" produce the largest most healthiest fruit possible. “Pruning” is a way of cleansing the vine of any unhealthy diseased fruits.
There are 2 distinct types of branches mentioned on the vine (1) those that produce no fruit - and are relieved of fruit bearing duties (v6, fire, see also 1 Cor. 312-15 - Loss of reward.) (2) And those that are pruned -disciplined - in order to produce much fruit (Heb. 5:12-14).
Spiritual cleansing is a process. Jesus’ disciples were exposed to His word over a period of time. As they heard and received His teachings, the sin in their lives were exposed and pruned.
An important side note: Never at any time did Jesus' disciples cease to be believers or saved... The pruning cleanses us from the our old self and allows fresh nourishment (ie. the word) to enter the spirit, which in turn causes fruit bearing and a healthy walk in the Lord.
This kind of pruning prepared them for the growth of Jesus’ life (the Vine) in them, thereby helping other branches to grow and bare more fruit for God.
This is true fellowship!
It is abundantly clear that the main point of this allegory is “godly fellowship” that produces godly “fruit bearing.” Because verses 4 and 5 show the branch as already having a relationship with the Vine by the use of the word “ABIDE.” Abide implies that the believer is already “In Christ.”
What Christ beseeches the believer to do is to remain in an unbroken fellowship with Him in order to experience the deep communion that comes from abiding.
The word “Abide” is in the continuous tense and brings with it the idea to “STAY”, or “REMAIN”.
2. The Sheep - (Jn. 10: 25-32)
Main Point - Security in Christ
Jesus’ credentials were made abundantly clear. Several times He pointed out that His works were the evidence of who He is (Jn. 5:19; 7:31; 9:33).
Jesus’ works were done in His Fathers name, because the Father was made known by the miracles He performed. Jesus’ purpose was to reveal God to man. Miracles were intended to grab the attention of the people. they revealed the true reality of who God is, His purpose and plan... Anyone who stopped, looked and listened would be able to see His Father clearly.
The identifying marks of being one of His sheep was (1) hearing His voice, (2) and following Him. As the Jews were questioning Jesus about His credentials,(v 24) Jesus, continues right into the allegory that He had previously been speaking to them 3 months earlier (v 1-18).
(V26) “You do not believe, because you are not of MY sheep.”
The stress is on the word “MY.” Jesus had told them earlier that anyone who does not hear His voice is not of His sheep, but are thieves and robbers (v1,4).
So His point was to show that they were not true sheep, because they cannot hear His voice.
He told them the same thing back in Jn 8: 43,44, He said that they could not hear His voice because they had a different father - Satan -
Jesus also told them that claiming Abraham as their father was not enough to become a part of His flock; it took believing in His name and accepting Him as Divine. Jn. 8:1-59 *(44)
In Matt. 3:9 Jesus said that God was able to raise up children to Abraham from the rocks. So how could Abraham save them?
So when Jesus said that “they HEAR His voice” He means that they “believe” in Him (Jn. 10:27).
The 3 verbs that are used - “hear” ,”know”, and “follow” in verse 27 are in the present continuous tense. “Hear” and “follow” are the actions of the sheep, and “know” is the progressive action of the Shepherd (Jesus).
Notice the 3 distinct marks of the sheep in verses 27, 28 - (1) they “hear” His voice as the one who speak the words of truth. (2) The sheep depend on His knowledge of them individually, - “I Know Them”. (3) They “follow” Him, signifying their obedience by submitting to His claims and His will.
As vulnerable creatures in need of great care, Jesus gives 3 of the greatest needs of life - (1) The Gift Of Eternal Life [v 28a]. (2) The Assurance Of Complete Security “ They shall never PERISH” [v28b]. (3) And Complete Protection From The Enemy, A Total Security - “Pluck” is from the Greek “harpasei” and is used in (v 12) of the wolf trying to snatch the sheep.
In these Verses (28c,29) - Jesus cements the promises that He had just given in the previous verse by making another duel promise - (1) “... No one is able to snatch them out of My hand - Security
Of Life (1 Jn. 2:25; 5:11,12). (2) “... and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand - Security Of Protection (Ps.32:7). All because He and the Father are ONE and the same in essence and purpose (Jn. 10:30).
The word “snatch” in verses 28 and 29 is the same Greek word “harpasei” that was translated in verse 12 as “pluck.”
So you can see that the main point in this allegory is “The security of the believer.”
These are just a few examples of an allegory and are by no means thoroughly explained. I have given short explanations of each as a way of peeking interests.
Allegories read in there proper context will prove to be great blessings of great knowledge. So read, study and pray away... And Be Blessed