This article was previously published by The Lepanto Institute
‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ (John 2:10)
To understand our time in history we have to go back to the beginning. God is always in control and now He is preparing mankind for the big reunion with Him. After the fall of man, God mysteriously prepared Adam and his wife Eve for the trials to come. Adam’s act of disobedience was a grave offence because the majesty and honor of God were put into question. As a result, Adam lost his home and his original perfect nature. His acts were no longer ordered to reason, his intellect was dimmed, a fog descended on him as he became more animal-like and less God-like.
God did not abandon Adam.
The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all who live. And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:20-21)
The Hebrew word for “life” (חַוָּה ava, chavvah) became the first woman’s name because she was destined to be the mother of all mankind. The “garments of skins” perhaps symbolize the new inferior nature that Adam and his wife had so unwisely acquired. And so the long struggle of sinful mankind began. That struggle that we call history continues to this day. Every man and woman coming from Adam and Eve, had their fill of sorrows, pain, distress, and death. The garments of animal skins are also evidence of God’s interest in preserving mankind. Hidden in the story of the expulsion from Eden is God’s intention to redeem the rebellious race He had created.
You may have noticed that the Hebrew language has various levels of meaning. A thick book could be written on that subject but let us only examine a few layers.
The first and perhaps the most ancient layer is what I would call the hieroglyphic layer. Aleph, the first letter of the alphabet was once represented as the head of an ox that was later simplified to resemble a plow (like our letter A) all the way to classic Hebrew representations. The ox head represented the beginning, what goes first, the primeval power, God. The ox goes in front of the plow, it is the force that powers the plow. So there is a more complex meaning that underlies the simple representation of a sound. The second is what we can call the alphabetic layer, the letter represents a sound. For example A represents the ‘ah’ sound or some other sound as the pronunciation rules require. In Hebrew there are many more layers of meaning since the letters are also used to represent numbers.
Words like Adam, Eve, tree, garden, etc. not only represent specific things. Those words also reveal a connection between the name and the nature of the thing represented. It is a highly complex system that is revealed through Scripture as a mysterious order underlying the universe made for humans to inhabit and discover. The dizzying tapestry of meaning in Hebrew is one way to discover the awesome power and intelligence that created us.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
God speaks to us in riddles, parables, etc. He seems to be training us through the millennia to understand Him but first we must be in awe of His power and wisdom.
To understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:6-7)
That unfathomable matrix appears constantly before man’s curiosity from the tiny realms of quantum order to the majestic array of galaxies we contemplate in the depths of space. It does not take a genius to notice that before we arrived here, there was order.
In the beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
The Creator has brought everything into existence by uttering words and only He has the power to infuse those words with the creative force that He is. To humankind God has given the awesome gift of language, something that no other actor in His material creation shares with us. As we move forward in the river of history we talk with Him in many ways. History itself is a gigantic lesson designed to show us God’s love for mankind. Think of history itself as that thunderous voice that was heard at Christ’s baptism in the Jordan:
And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’ (Matthew 3:16-17)
The elements of the first account of creation are repeated here. Water, the Spirit of God fluttering overhead, the voice of God introducing His Son. Going back to Genesis 1:1 we find the Hebrew word for “in the beginning” [ בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית bə-rê-šîṯ]. That word is the composite of two words bərê and šîṯ which separated form the phrase “my Son – I put forth”. Please see this video for a short explanation. The Logos is lurking under every word, ready to assure us He is the author and He is in control.
For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one yod, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:18)
Yod [י] is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet and also the first letter of the Divine Name, the Tetragrammaton. When I think of how the Universe came to exist from a point smaller than the dot that ends this sentence, it strikes me as very apropos that the Divine Name should begin with the smallest letter. God has constructed the ultimate educational game for his children, a cosmic puzzle that will reveal one day the immensity of His love for us. Holy Scripture appears to be one of the many parts of that infinite puzzle.
Scripture tells how Adam and Eve became man and wife in rather tragic circumstances. Many centuries later, as Logos incarnate was preparing to rescue mankind, he chose a wedding to manifest Himself to man for the first time. I am sure you are all familiar with the miracle: water was turned into wine miraculously when the feast was well advanced and wine was running out. The miracle caused the banquet master to comment:
‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Canae of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (John 2:1:10-11)
The disciples were moved to believe by that great sign and yet they failed to see at the moment that Logos was building one of his ineffable parables. The end of the wedding was a type of the end of an age and a new beginning. A wedding is a new beginning for two who will become one flesh. The elements were there again: the Logos, the transforming power of God’s Spirit, and water. A time will come for all to be cleansed and Christ will finally take away the sin of the world. At that time, the bitter lesson of history will come to an end and the sweet part will begin. If the first Pentecost was glorious, this New Pentecost will exceed all expectations. The wine served last will be the best. (See Acts 2:1-13, especially 2:13)
We learned Our Lord is the Lord of history. What an awesome God we serve and how much He cares for us. We cannot even begin to approach His majesty and wisdom and yet he knows all of us personally by name. We are obliged to trust Him after all He has done for us. Now that the error of Adam has matured into a world of injustice and pain, God comes to undo the damage we so foolishly have done to ourselves. It is the end of an age, a New Passover. There is nothing to fear, nothing at all. The glorious day of liberation is coming and no one can stop it.
Fear not, little flock, for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)