Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Coming Soon: Chapter 2 – Sacred Scripture: 4 Senses… Importance of 70AD…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on November 28, 2012

Index of Terms

2Chron 7:14

The 4 Senses of Sacred Scripture and Importance of AD 70

THE 4 SENSES:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the LITERAL and the SPIRITUAL, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral, and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.(CCC§115, emphasis added)

Let’s break this down more succinctly as we continue on in the Catechism

Literal: The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation:  “All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.” (CCC§116, emphasis added)

In other words, “[t]he literal sense refers to the literary or historical meaning intended by the authors.” (Barber, 13)

The INTENTION of the Author could very well be to convey an historical fact, or to write poetry popular of that day, or maybe to recount a story and do so with a deeper meaning than the original presentation. 

“Our job in reading the Bible is to discover how the biblical writers intended their words to be understood.” (Ibid.)

***All Scripture cannot therefore be interpreted the same!***

Barber gives a good example with the poetical writing found in the Songs of Solomon as he describes his lady love.  If one were to read the passage (Songs, chapter 3) and take everything LITERALLY, then the only conclusion one could reach is that Solomon was quite out of his skull!  So it is important to REMEMBER:

“the literal sense is not always the same as the ‘literal meaning’.” (Ibid.)

But when we read the Gospel passages that catalogs Jesus’ ministry, it is then that we certainly can take what is written LITERALLY as the authors are conveying historical events, that which is recorded in other histories as well.  Thus preventing the other extreme of:

“ ‘spiritualizing’ other passages by saying that they do not describe real events.” (Barber, 14)

The Bible could be understood as “history from God’s point of view”.  He is the AUTHOR of all history, and He frequently prefigures historical events with other historical events. (Ibid.)

Passover…

CASE IN POINT:

The Passover, as mentioned in the Introduction.  It was an actual historical event, with actual ritual practices, and had an actual historical outcome.  But from God’s perspective, it was also the prefigurement of the Sacrificial Lamb – Who IS JESUS, the Only Son of God – Whose sacrificial death with the rituals of trials, scourging, crowning with thorns, carrying a cross, and crucifixion also had an actual historical outcome: Our Salvation. 

SPIRITUAL SENSE:

Which takes us beautifully into the Spiritual Sense.  Again the Catechism states:

“Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only the text of Scripture BUT ALSO the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.” (CCC§117, emphasis added)

Hence why the Spiritual Sense has three subsets:

Allegorical : refers to how Christ fulfills the OT in Himself

The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism. (CCC§117, #1)

Moral: The WAY Christ leads us to act – in Justice and Truth

The moral sense. The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly.  As St. Paul says, they were written “for our instruction.” (CCC§117, #2)

Anagogical: the WAY Christ brings all things into fulfillment both on earth and in heaven

The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, “leading”). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem. (CCC§117, #3)

John 2: 19-21

Barber gives us a really good example of this, on page 15, with the Temple that stood in Jerusalem:

First, it’s an historical fact that the Temple stood in the city of Jerusalem = literal-historical sense. 

Second, we also read in Scripture that Jesus is the true temple, that is His Body (cf. Jn 2:21) = allegorical sense.  

Third, And we are further reminded that as members of Christ’s Body, we too are temples of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 3:16, 6: 19-20) = moral sense. 

Lastly (fourth), the coming again of Jesus to establish His Father’s kingdom on earth will bring about the New Jerusalem where God Himself becomes the temple – that is the place of worship (Rev 21:22), thus providing fulfillment = anagogical. 

Pretty amazing, huh?

***Conclusion… The FULLNESS of REVELATION is FOUND ONLY in CHRIST!***

THE IMPORTANCE OF 70AD:

…there will not be left here one stone upon another… Mt 24:2

Why does the year 70AD ring throughout history?  Because that is the year that the great Temple of the Jews was leveled and the city utterly destroyed.  That’s the Literal Sense, but in order to really understand the significance of this even, we’ll have to dig a little deeper.  And this is where Barber’s research really get’s interesting.

LITERAL – HISTORICAL

In order for any of this to make sense, it must be stated that:

“To ancient Israel, the temple was a miniatures model of the world…Moses built the tabernacle (a mobile temple) and Solomon built the temple itself, [and] they did so in “sevens” – seven days, seven months, seven years…They imitated the way God created the world in seven days.” (Barber, 16). 

So to them, the destruction of the Temple was in essence the destruction of their world and all that they knew!  That included their worship of the Most High God. 

When the destruction came upon the Temple, “the ritual order of the Old Testament came to a definitive end.  The temple sacrifice and the Old Testament priesthood were no longer possible.” (Barber, 16). 

The biblical writer of Hebrews confirms this:

“…if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood…what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedik, rather than named after the order of Aaron?  For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.” (Heb 7: 11, 12)

ALLEGORICAL – FULFILLING

“Truly, I say to you, this generation [40 years = 1 generation] will not pass away till all these things take place,” (Mt 24:34). 

From the time of Jesus’ ascension into heaven to the DAY of Rome’s sacking of Jerusalem, the span of time WAS 40 YEARS.  Their world had ended and their religion thoroughly destroyed.  See footnote 5 which expands on this theme.

ANAGOGICAL – FULFILLED

Jesus had warned, repeatedly, the religious leaders of His day that they were headed down the path of destruction.  Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 23 is a prime example of this.  But they did not head His warning, and instead they sought His blood. 

Yet God, who is the author of history and knew the sacrifice required to bring man back to Himself, knew that He would have to give His own blood for the forgiveness of His people (cf. Mt 26: 28b).

“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God… For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified… Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.” (Heb 10: 12, 14, 18)

MORAL – THE WAY

Would not Jesus’ warning also apply to us today?  Has not the above passages demonstrated that fulfillment occurs not just in ONE TIME and PLACE?  Could it be that:

“Jerusalem’s destruction is a WARNING to ANY CITY or NATION that rejects God and persecutes His people.” (Barber, 19)

Hello?!  United States, North and South America, Canada, Europe (eastern and western), Middle East, Asia… can this not apply across the board to ALL of us?!  If you haven’t already, read, “The Harbinger” or watch the video as it describes Isaiah 9:10, and relates Jerusalem’s destruction and the signs that happened before it, with our own destruction yet to come. 

The signs match up PERFECTLY, word for word, action for action.  We HAVE called down God’s Judgment upon ourselves by our stubbornness and unrepentant hearts.  But as with Israel, on the heels of Judgment comes the Resurrection and Redemption for those who repent because the Messiah followed and brought salvation to all who would believe.  The GREAT NEWS, He will COME AGAIN and again RENEW His People!

“The lesson God wants to teach us is that ALL ARE SUBJECT to HIS JUDGMENT.  If even the Chose People can be judged, [then] nobody is safe.” (Ibid., emphasis added)

You can read more passages in the Prophets that seem eerily familiar to our time –  Ezek 20:32, 25:8; 1Sam 8:20; 2Kings 17:15. 

“Determined is that day of JUSTICE, the day of divine wrath…”

It is safe to say that:

“The year 70 is a dress rehearsal for the real thing.  The destruction of Jerusalem symbolizes the end of the world and teaches us the lessons we need to prepare for it.” (Ibid.)

That is the end of what we know, what we are familiar with.  Just as the ancient Israelites lost their world, so too will we lose ours. 

But just like those ancient Jewish-Christians, who headed Jesus’ warnings (cf. Lk 21:20; Mt 24:15) because they paid attention to the ‘signs of the times’, they escaped the destruction because:

they, “fled to Pella just before the Roman legions arrived to besiege Jerusalem.  Not a single [Jewish-] Christian perished.”  (Barber, 17)

We need to repent and “flee” to our Savior’s Sacred Heart by running to “the desert” and seek refuge with Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.  Why?  Because she will ALWAYS bring us to her Son, AND because God has prepared a place for her “in which [she will] be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days [3 1/2 years].” (Rev 12: 6c)

JEWISH-CHRISTIANS???

And I say, Jewish-Christian because the early Christians still attended temple worship as well as breaking bread in their homes (cf. Acts 2: 46; 3:1).  The label of ‘Jewish’ disappeared gradually as persecutions picked up against the followers of Christ, thus making it necessary to distinguish between the two groups. 

Barber also makes mention of our connection with the early Jews who were also Christian, and reminds us that to hold all people of Judaism responsible for Christ’s persecution and death is completely erroneous.  Once again, God’s judgment is for ALL OF US, because “ALL have SINNED and fall short of the Glory of God (cf. Romans 3:23).

My “to-do” list

CHAPTER 3: The Liturgy of Heaven: Please read ahead if you have the book.  

If you do not yet have the book, don’t panic!  You can get the book on Kindle and download it directly to your computer.  Amazon offers free apps for reading Kindle books on computers, i-Pods, phones, etc…

Chapter 2: Discussion/Study Questions

Previous Chapter – Introduction: Discussion/Study Questions answers and reflections

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