This is a study on Bible parallels. I have posted much of this before, but I have added a good deal more. I hope this proves that parallels are God's pattern in the Bible and that they can help us have greater insight into many passages. If you have read through my studies on Bible parallels before, you may only want to read the portions on Robert Lowth, and the connection of Jerusalem and Eden. If this is your first encounter, then I invite you to read the entire study.
The Two Feet of the Body of Christ
The Mystery of the End-Time Church…
by Bruce Baber
The two feet of the statue in Daniel's vision symbolize the end-time empire.
The two feet of the body of Christ symbolize the end-time church!
I was in the delivery room with my wife when both of our children were born. I remember how anxious and excited I was as a proud, expectant father. Both Suzanne and I were so relieved and happy when the doctor announced, "I can see the head!" In the moments that followed, there was a body and last, those two tiny feet. Our joy was fulfilled when we saw each of our children born whole and complete into this world.
Of course, the joy we felt cannot equal God's joy with the birth of His church. After all, He had waited and planned for it for so long! Is the analogy accurate? Is the comparison of a baby's birth to the church's birth a fair comparison to make? Absolutely! The church is the Body of Christ and He is the head. The Bible states this in a number of passages quite clearly. See Ephesians 4:12 and 5:23.
Here also is what Paul wrote in I Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 12:12-26
12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its p arts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
And further on in I Corinthians 12: 18-20 it reads:
18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
Knowing that we are part of the body of Christ, we may also find it interesting to go back and read Psalm 139. It certainly speaks about how God formed us in the womb and knew us before we were born as individuals into this world. However, when we view this Psalm in terms of the birth of the church as Christ's body, i t takes on both a very symbolic and prophetic meaning.
In fact, there are many places in the Bible that hint at what was to become the future birth of the church. But, once we begin to focus on the birth of the church and begin to think in those terms, we are left with a very obvious conclusion. If the church is born into this world like a baby, with first the head (Christ) appearing, followed in succession by the other parts of the body, then the end-time church would naturally have to be the feet.
We, the end-time church, are the feet of the Body of Christ! This fact is important. It allows us to see if God has foreshadowed any events which relate to this part of the church. Now that we know how to look for it, we find that the Bible has a great deal to tell us!
It seems staggering to me that so much has been written on the two feet of the image which appears in Nebuchadnezzar's dream which is found in the book of Daniel. Volumes and volumes! Daniel, him se lf, tells us that the feet of the statue represent the end-time empire. We know this is the revived Roman Empire. Much has been said in books, sermons, lectures and discussions about the feet of the statue. If the Bible gives us so much to go on regarding the feet of the image in the book of Daniel, isn't it possible that the Bible would give us at least as much detail about the end-time church? In fact, it gives us a great amount.
"That which has been is what will be... that which is done is what will be done..." (Ecc. 1:9).
God reveals Himself, His character and even His plans in parallels. Always the same pattern of parallels. Let me assert that a surface reading of the scriptures will provide all the knowledge you may need or desire, but shouldn't we want to explore deeper? The idea of studying the scriptures and looking for parallels is not new at all. Robert Lowth, professor at Oxford in the 1750's, wrote that the Hebrews composed their poetry using parallels and furthermore said, "The writings of the prophets are in general poetical." Lowth understood that the word naba in Hebrew (translated over 100 times in the Old Testament as prophecy) could equally mean prophet or poet.
The Jews understood parallels. To illustrate, here's one example of a parallel in their poetry. Psalm 119: "...Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Lowth called this kind of parallel a synonymous parallel. Lowth called opposite parallels antithetic parallels. Here's an example he used. Proverbs 15:2...The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly. I prefer the terms parallel and antiparallel (a term used in geometry to describe a parallel with lines going in opposite directions).
One of the best places to find a multitude of parallels is found in the book of Genesis where the life of Joseph has over twenty parallels to the life of Christ. Here are some of the parallels between Joseph and Jesus, some of which are actual and some are figurative:
They were both sons of a wealthy, loving father. They were both shepherds. Each was given a special coat. Joseph had a coat of many colors and Jesus had a garment sewn without seams. They were both taken to Egypt. They both became servants and were elevated to royal status. They started their ministry at thirty. They were filled with the Spirit. They gave bread to the hungry. They resisted temptations. They prophesied. They both were falsely accused and condemned between two prisoners. In each case, one prisoner was saved and one was not. Joseph married (a gentile bride) just before the seven years of famine and Jesus will take His bride before the seven years of tribulation!
A sidenote: Just as there are parallels in the Bible, there are also antiparallels (a term used in geometry for two parallel lines going in opposite directions). A familiar antiparallel can be seen when John uses the term antichrist as opposite to Christ.
God's nature is revealed by also understanding that the Holy Spirit is named the Paraclete. The Greek word paraclete is often translated as "Comforter." But the literal translation is "One who is called along side... or walks beside (or parallel). Our Lord Jesus taught in parables which are stories with parallel meanings. In other words you have the surface text of the story, but it has a subsurface parallel that has a deeper, richer import.
When we consider bible parallels, many come instantly to mind.
First Adam / Second Adam
Creation / New Creation
Born / Born again
First coming of Christ / Second coming of Christ
Jerusalem / New Jerusalem (and on and on)
Speaking of Jerusalem in terms of parallels, we can perhaps speculate that it was the original site of the garden of Eden. If that sounds farfetched, let me explain. Eden, we are told, is geographically associated with two rivers we now find in Iraq which was ancient Babylon. They are the Tigris and Euphrates. But they are mentioned in Genesis before the flood which would have significantly altered the landscape. There is another river associated with Eden. It is the Pison. It could be roughly equivalent to the Jordan. A fourth river associated with Eden is the Gihon whose name persists to this day for a spring located in Jerusalem.
If Eden was the site for Jerusalem, how fitting it would be that it is the very place where Jesus will rule from in eternity. Taking this thought further, we now have a satisfying and logical explanation for Melchizedek's residence at Salem (Genesis 14:18). Also, God's call of Abram out of Ur and into the promised land cannot be seen as randomly chosen, but rather as a return to the original place of blessing. Continuing a search for parallels brings us to the possible association with the ineffective fig leaves used by Adam and Eve and the fig tree cursed by Jesus in the same place.
The first Adam was tried in a garden. How fitting that Jesus would face His greatest trial in what may be the same place. The garden of Gethsemane. The place where Adam failed may be the same place where Jesus had His ultimate triumph. The first Adam slept in the garden and then received a bride taken from his side. The second Adam slept in a garden tomb and while He slept, out of His pierced side, God fashioned for Him a bride!
Consider the tree of life seen in Eden. When we see it next in Revelation, it is in the New Jerusalem which comes down to earth on the same spot.
Consider how Golgotha get its name... place of the skull? David buried Goliath's head there (see 1 Samuel 17:54). The place of Christ's crucifixion is identical with the place of the burial of the head of Goliath. This makes complete sense out of the prophecy given by God Himself in Genesis 3:15. "I will enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; and it shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel." It is interesting to speculate if the foot of the cross actually crushed the skull of Goliath there in the same place.
Some parallels are readily apparent. Some have to be searched out. For example, you would have to know the details of the Jewish feast days, new moon observances and Sabbaths in order to see how they picture Jesus as Paul shared with us in Colossians 2: 16,17.
Now then, some parallels can't even be found until you translate the original language. Let me illustrate. KJV Genesis 6:14 says..."Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch." The Hebrew word for pitch used the first time in that verse is kaphar which literally translated means to cover, or make atonement. The second time the word pitch is used it is kopher which literally means price of a life, or ransom. Both words are related to kapporeth which means lid of the ark, or mercy seat. Knowing this we can easily see that Noah's ark has a parallel. I learned that by listening to Adrian Rogers who was president of the Southern Baptist Convention years ago.
Nearly every book in the Old Testament has God's imprint on the New Testament by way of a parallel... like hidden seams of gold that can be dug out. These parallels foretell of future people and events. The Genesis story of Joseph parallels the life of Christ. The book of Ruth gives us a foretaste of the kinsman redeemer. You'll no doubt see other parallels in the Song of Solomon and in many other places.
Allow me to speculate on the book of Esther with the expectation of discovering a parallel that didn't come to light until the last seventy years, or so. I'm not the first one to see this by a long shot. This is the parallel between Haman's ten sons in the Purim story and the Nuremberg trials following World War II. In 1946, ten Nazi war criminals were hung for their horrific crimes. In the Purim story, the Talmud claims that Haman's daughter committed suicide rather than being dragged off to be hung with her brothers. Herman Goring also committed suicide rather than being hung before his scheduled execution. Thus the number of Nazis who were actually hung was ten... the same number as Haman's sons. One of the Nazi defendants even proclaimed these words... "Purim fest 1946."
The uncanny parallel to the story of Esther doesn't end there. Since the trial was conducted by a military tribunal, the sentence should have been by firing squad, or the electric chair as practiced in the U.S. However, the court prescribed hanging, exactly as in Esther's request. While I am purposely skimming over some other parallel events, let me relate this next one.
If you read the Purim story in the Megillat Hebrew version (written during the Roman occupation), you will find that 4 Hebrew letters are different from the way they should appear. This is in the Megillat Esther story where the ten sons of Haman are mentioned. Jewish sages have taught that whenever there is a variation of a letter, or spelling of a word in the text, then God must have a specific meaning. Thus the four Hebrew letters were examined and made to represent numbers (which is common in Hebrew). The four letters became 5-7-0-7. Incidentally, on the Jewish callendar the year 5707 was the year 10 Nazi war criminals were hung. The year 5707 was 1946. "That which has been is what will be." (source unitedwithisrael.org)
Now lets take a look at the Hebrew word for parallel. It is "moshel." Strangely, moshel is related to empire and dominion according to Strong's Concordance. On a personal note, I first became fascinated by bible parallels and antiparallels by examining the statue in Daniel. You know the one. Head of gold, arms and chest of silver, belly of brass, legs of iron, feet of clay mixed with iron. Each successive component represents a different empire. The antiparallel to the evil empires represented by the statue in Daniel would have to have its reverse image in the New Testament by my way of thinking. I find it in the body of Christ with Christ as the head which is followed in succession by the other parts in the same order as a baby is born into the world. The last part to be born is the feet. I thus concluded that the end-time church was the feet of the body of Christ. If my understanding of God's pattern of using parallels is correct, we the end-time church are the feet of the body of Christ just as the feet of the statue in Daniel are the end-time empire. It is an antiparallel!
I remember something that happened to me when I was a young boy. I was fishing with some older boys at a pond. Sunning itself beside the water's edge was a poisonous copperhead snake. I didn't see it. I stepped right on top of it. The moment it moved under my foot, I saw it and jumped. That snake was mad! It came after me. Thankfully, my friends were there to chase it away with their fishing poles. But, had that snake caught me, it would surely have bitten me on the back of my heel. I was running from it. My heel was the only place it could have struck me. When Satan chases and persecutes the end-time, left behind church, which is represented symbolically by the second foot, he will surely bruise and afflict the heel of that foot which is fleeing from him. One foot of the church will be beyond his grasp. It will have departed.
Having arrived at the personal conclusion that the end-time church was also the feet of the body of Christ, I looked at the first time a foot appeared in the bible. I wrote my observation in a paper titled "The Two Feet of the Body of Christ". I wrote it over twenty years ago.
Here's the first time a foot is alluded to in the bible. To recap... Genesis 3:15 says that Satan will bruise the heel of the woman's seed. Bible commentators have always said this refers to the crucifixion. I agree. But I also assert that the bible doesn't make mistakes and the term used in Genesis is singular not plural. Whereas Jesus's feet were pierced, my perception was that Satan would only bruise one heel. One heel. I pondered that. Might this be a veiled reference to Satan persecuting one of the two feet ...which is a representation of the end-time church? One foot having been taken away in the rapture, leaving another foot or part of the church to be persecuted? Well, that's certainly the conclusion I arrived at.
However, doesn't the bible also say in 1 Thessalonians that we are not appointed to (God's) wrath? I can see where part of the church would have to endure Satan's persecution, but not God's wrath when He pours out the bowls of His wrath beginning somewhere around the middle of the tribulation. Would that mean that there is a second rapture? Only if there are two pictures or parallels depicting two raptures in the bible. And there are! We have the Old Testament rapture of Enoch who was taken on an ordinary day. We also have Elijah who was taken after about three years of persecution.
Enoch walked with God on an ordinary day and was taken to heaven. We don't know much else about that, but it is commonly accepted that it was a picture of the rapture. But now look at Elijah. He was persecuted and forced to go into hiding. Luke 4 says, "25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon." Second Kings says Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind.
The two parallels to these past events of the the two raptures (Enoch and Elijah) seem to fit with the raptures of the church that was ready at the first rapture preceding the seven years of tribulation on an ordinary day ...and a second rapture half way through the seven year tribulation (after three and a half years).
It's time to look at Jesus's parable of the 10 virgins. Here is the parable that Jesus taught...
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there not be enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying Lord, Lord , open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. (Matt 25).
Now compare that parable to this passage in Luke.
35 "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.
The passage in Luke refers to the Master returning FROM a wedding feast!
Did you notice that in the parable of the “virgins/brides” that the bridegroom comes at midnight? Now look at a different scripture. Luke 12:38 says... “And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.”
Does this mean that the first foot caught up in the rapture joins the others in Heaven to be the bride of Christ and join Him in the marriage supper? Does this mean that the second foot which is caught up later is not the bride, but is still considered His servants? Perhaps.
The book of Joel has a passage about the Holy Spirit being given to waiting servants…
Joel: 17 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.'
It's as if these servants receive a double portion of the Holy Spirit after the rapture like Elisha did when Elijah was taken up. 2 Kings 2:9
Perhaps you believe no one will get saved during the tribulation after the rapture. However, Revelation says there will be persecution and beheadings during the tribulation doesn't it?
My focus on parallels is merely a curious study if I can't back it up with more examples. We have two examples of raptures happening to two different people in two completely different circumstances. Enoch and Elijah. Enoch. We find him raptured way back in Genesis. He is the first one to have ever been taken away. But, he isn't the last one! There is further foreshadowing of a second Rapture. Elijah. He foreshadows the Rapture of the second foot of the persecuted end-time church. Elijah's life perfectly represents the church of the persecution during the Tribulation. At various times he had to go into hiding. He was persecuted by King Ahab and his wife Jezebel who participated in the vilest forms of idolatry. Of special interest is the fact that during a period of about three years, there was a severe drought and famine. He had to leave his country and live with a widow who miraculously supplied him with food. On another occasion, Elijah was supplied with food by ravens. Later, he was helped by an angel who provided food and water. At various times, Elijah would say he was the only believer left.
Taken together, all these instances make a dramatic parallel to the events which transpire for the Christians who have to go through the persecution. Not being able to buy or sell, they will be forced from their homes and depend on miraculous provision from God. They too may feel like they are the only true believers who are left. However, they are not alone. God will not abandon them just as he did not abandon Elijah. Moreover, the persecuted Christians will have the same source of strength that Elijah had. They will receive the Holy Spirit. Remember what the Amplified Bible calls the Holy Spirit? He is called the Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby.
Do I Have any Other Proof?
Up to this point, if you only believe there is one rapture and that it occurs before the tribulation, then how do you reconcile your belief with Genesis 18:22-33? Read this passage directly from the New International Version.
Genesis 18:23-33. "Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" 26 The Lord said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake." 27 Then Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?" "If I find forty-five there," he said, "I will not destroy it." 29 Once again he spoke to him, "What if only forty are found there?" He said, "For the sake of forty, I w ill not do it." 30 Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?" He answered, "I will not do it if I find thirty there." 31 Abraham said, "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?" He answered, "I will not do it if I find thirty there."32 Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?" He answered, "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it." 33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.
If God won't even destroy a city such as wicked Sodom, how can you accept an unchangeable God destroying the world unless you accept that no one will get saved after the rapture of the Bride? I contend that people will get saved. They will endure persecution and death. They will be caught up to Heaven in a second rapture.
The story of Abraham leaving the area of Sodom would parallel the first rapture. Read the story about Lot. He is warned to leave Sodom too. But not until moments before God’s wrath is poured out on the city! This would be the parallel to a prewrath rapture which presumably occurs at the midpoint of the tribulation.
I have compared the end-time church with the two feet of the body of Christ.
On two separate occasions, Jesus' feet were anointed with a costly perfume. Luke 7:38 and John 12:3 describe two separate, but similar events. In each case, Jesus' feet were anointed with costly perfume. Read the passages and compare them for yourself. They are two separate events! One occurs in the house of a Pharisee and other event occurs in the home of Mary and Martha. Here is what John Wesley said in his commentary on Luke 7:37. "A woman - Not the same with Mary of Bethany, who anointed him six days before his last Passover. "
The perfume is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. What a perfectly harmonious analogy! The church which goes in the first Rapture has the Holy Spirit. Later, the remaining church is given the Holy Spirit! This brings me to an important point. The very reason that part of the church is left behind at the first Rapture is because they are living without the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives right now! They will be left out of the first event and have to live through a terrible persecution because they are not living for Jesus in the present. What a terrible tragedy!
I believe that for a period of time, the church of the persecution (symbolized by the second foot of Christ) will have to endure without the Holy Spirit. They will be like Jeremiah, who in Lamentations 1:16, said, "For these things I weep; my eyes flow with tears, because a comforter, one who could refresh and restore my soul, is far from me..." (Amplified Bible). But, please remember that God will not abandon this church. They will be sent the Holy Spirit. After all, it was ten days after Jesus departed this world before the Holy Spirit was sent.
Two Trumpet Calls
When the Jews were wandering in the wilderness, before entering the Promised Land, there were two trumpet calls in the morning to prepare the people to move out. The first one called the leaders of the tribes. The second one called the remainder of the people. Just as with the ancient Jews, there will be two trumpet calls for the church. Both trumpet calls are to the two coming rapture events.
The Bible is composed of parallels. It is revealed in Jewish poetry. It is revealed in prophecy. It is revealed in God's nature and the very name of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. I believe the end-time church is represented by the two feet of the body of Christ and that there is a pre-tribulation rapture for those who are ready and watching for it and filled with the Holy Spirit. I believe there will be also a second rapture during the tribulation for those who are left behind. Meaning they will undergo persecution for their belief, but be taken out before the wrath of God is poured out.
At the risk of repeating myself, God over and over again uses parallels to reveal Himself, His character and His plans. We see the patterns... His patterns... in the parallel lines drawn in dozens, perhaps hundreds of places. I would agree that a surface reading and comprehension of the Bible is sufficient. Afterall, one only has to grasp John 3:16. However, there is tremendous benefit in understanding the original language and the implications of the hidden parallels. I conclude by again repeating Ecclesiastes 1:9 which reveals the pattern... "That which has been is what will be... that which is done is what will be done."