A few great symbolic events in the OT A few events that so typify the sacrifice of Christ, it is impossible to deny that the Old Testament does not testify and prophecy of His coming and atonement. – Abraham and Isaac – Jonah – Joseph of Egypt The Passover might exceed them all
The Passover is a symbolic Matryoshka doll The Old Testament (Old Covenant) The Life of Moses The Passover
Let’s prepare by talking about symbols Why does the Lord use symbols in the Scriptures to teach us? To crystallize in our minds the eternal verities which we must accept and believe to be saved, to dramatize their true meaning and import with an impact never to be forgotten, to center our attention on these saving truths, again and again and again, the Lord uses similitudes. Abstract principles may easily be forgotten or their deep meaning overlooked, but visual performances and actual experiences are registered on the mind in such a way as never to be lost. -Elder Bruce R McConkie
Reason #1: Symbols have no language limitations The olive tree often represents the House of Israel. One of the oldest plants ever cultivated, at least 8000 years All cultures know what a tree is, can understand the significance What other symbols are understood universally?
Reason #2: Often preserves truth 1 Ne 13:26: “for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious” It is much more difficult to change symbolism than to change or remove a word in the scriptures Ex: The Passover stays rather intact, but the account of the plagues has the Lord hardening the Pharaoh’s heart, making Him seem vengeful
Reason #3: No limitations of spiritual maturity Matthew 13:10-15 – “should [they] understand with their heart, and should be converted… I should heal them” Those who were spiritually illiterate would only hear stories. Those in tune would be converted and healed Example: Baptism – We teach it to the newest of investigators – We continue to study and renew the associated covenant throughout our life.
Reason #4: Symbols deeply affect emotions and attitudes “A picture is worth a thousand words” What is a symbol worth? There is not only meaning associated, but also experience. Examples? – The flag – Temple garments – Wedding Ring
Reason #5: Symbols take time Dealing with words can be temporary, short- lived: reading a book or passage, listening to a talk, watching a conference address Studying a symbol and finding out it’s meaning takes time The more time you ponder it, the more you may get out of it. The next time you see that symbol, all is recollected in your minds
How do we interpret symbols in the Old Testament? Look for the intended meaning. – Everything has a literal explanation. Does it also have a spiritual meaning? Do the scriptures give the interpretation themselves? – Often the scriptures will explain the symbol explicitly Think about the nature of the object/place/event – What are the natural characteristics of the thing? – What else has those characteristics?
How do we interpret symbols in the Old Testament? Look for the Savior in the symbols – 2 Ne 11:4 – “all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.” Symbols can be used multiple times, in multiple ways; don’t limit your understanding. – Christ is symbolized by the lamb, is that the only symbol that means Christ? Study and understand the principles directly as well. – If you don’t know what gospel truth is, how can you recognize a symbol of it?
The Passover http://broadcast.lds.org/visual-resources/old- testament/2011-03-018-the-passover-1000k- eng.mp4 http://broadcast.lds.org/visual-resources/old- testament/2011-03-018-the-passover-1000k- eng.mp4 Think over the weekend about this event and what it symbolizes Imprint it in your mind
Notebook Ideas What are the important symbols in your life? What meaning do they hold? Think of something you could use as a symbol to describe the gospel or an aspect of it, if you were trying to teach a non-member friend about your beliefs.