To scratch or not to scratch, that is the question.
Don’t ask the Swiss perfectionist in me why I just can’t think of a nose itch and move on. No, I have to consult the Internet and promptly fall “down a rabbit hole.” It’s an allusion to Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland and means to encounter a bizarre world. You wouldn’t believe all the cyber ink devoted to just the problems of meditating while an itch is tormenting you. Alice met the White Rabbit down there, and I ran into a messianic Jew who was born in Siberia.
Lest you wonder if the Mad Hatter got to me, let me backtrack and attempt a rational explanation. Having learned that out of the 404 verses of Revelation, 278 contain references to the Old Testament, I developed an itch to look some of those up. But I realized quickly I’d scratch a surface that would have a ruinous effect on my time and energy. So, I googled existing lists and who would pop up first but Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, the Russian-born American theologian? Founder of Ariel Ministries, his organization prioritizes the evangelization of Jews in order to lead them to Jesus, their Jewish Messiah. Here is the kicker: I attended a lecture of his perhaps 20 years ago and have zero recollection of the church that sponsored it, or the place where we met. I’m embarrassed to admit that while I respected his scholarship, I found his talk dry and his persona totally lacking in charisma. Still, grateful for his exhaustive research that would scratch some of my itch, I eagerly dug into his list of OT parallels to verses in Revelation 21.
21:1 Isaiah 65:17; 66:22 21:3 Leviticus 26:11-12; Ezekiel 37:27 21:4 Isaiah 25:8; 35:10; 51:11; 65:19 21:9 Leviticus 26:21 21:10 Ezekiel 40:2 21:11 Isaiah 60:1-2; Ezekiel 43:2 21:12-13 Ezekiel 48:31-34 21:15 Ezekiel 40:3,5 21:19-20 Exodus 28:17-20; Isaiah 54:11-12 21:23 Isaiah 60:19-20 21:24 Isaiah 60:3-5,16 21:25 Isaiah 60:11; Zechariah 14:7 21:26 Isaiah 60:5,16 21:27 Isaiah 52:1; Ezekiel 44:9; Zechariah 14:21
I printed out just 10 references and my head is still spinning. Feel free to give it a whirl without falling into a rabbit hole of your own, where inexplicably 500 of those are stored. (Perhaps Dr. Fruchtenbaum was “splitting hares” while there.) I’m climbing out with three keepsakes. Isaiah 65:17: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.” Isaiah 25:8: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces.” Zechariah 14:7: “It will be a unique day – a day only known to the LORD – with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.”