Hints and clues

Faith & Inspiration | Andrée Seu Peterson

One of my favorite movies is the 1994 drama Quiz Show about the TV quiz show scandals of the 1950s. I have seen the film enough times to recite the lines at some parts, but oddly I missed a couple of details until the last viewing.

One was in the first scene, where the young Harvard government lawyer who is just about to stumble upon NBC and Geritol’s big fix is in a showroom fantasizing over a hot new 1958 Chrysler 300D convertible. In the background on the car radio we hear that the Russians have beat us into space with the launching of Sputnik. The news commentator remarks that “all is not well with America.”

The second detail occurred after Herb Stemple, the unappealing ex-GI from Queens, hit the jackpot on the rigged game show. He comes home ebullient and briefly tries to get his wife to dance with him around the kitchen. The tune he jauntily sings is “Dancing in the Dark,” an old Frank Sinatra hit I remember my own mother swooning to on the LPs of my childhood. The lyrics are: “Dancing in the dark, ’til the tune ends. We’re dancing in the dark, and it soon ends. We’re waltzing in the wonder of why we’re here. Time hurries by, we’re here and gone.” Duh.

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I was walking down the street one morning and suddenly made a mental connection between Bible prophecy and Quiz Show.Much academic ink has been spilled on the “problematic” New Testament use of the Old Testament, the way the gospel writers’ assertion of fulfillment of prophecies sometimes seems far-fetched, not to say downright unjustified. But what if it only looks that way to us because we have foisted a methodology on Scripture that it resists?

John Frame, in The Doctrine of the Word of God, cites the example of Matthew’s statement that Hosea 11:1 is fulfilled in Jesus’ return from Egypt with his parents after King Herod’s death. It is evident from the context in Hosea that the prophet’s words, “Out of Egypt I called my son,” are about the nation of Israel. But as Frame explains, the word “fulfill” (“pleroo”) is “not limited to predictions that come true.” It also “has the force of illumine or … reflect or fit together with.”

Like the “prophecies” in Quiz Show, God’s pointers to Jesus are often more like faint representations that foreshadow indistinctly. I like that He makes use of hints and clues and peek-a-boo adumbrations, as well as the literal and plain. I look for signs of Him everywhere, my living God.

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