Merrill points out the story of David bringing the ark to Jerusalem on the second attempt (p. 469), and how he told the priests to consecrate themselves and carry it in the way the Torah commands, is a great illustration on how the book of Chronicles differs from Samuel and Kings. There are parts where the chronicler chose to give details that were not a part of any other book. And even this even brings to mind David’s spiritual leadership of the nation – though I would not yet go as far as to say David assumes he is like Melchizedek, he was at least a spiritual leader. Even the omission of the reference to punishment if David’s sons were disobedient (in the Davidic Covenant), Merrill points out, it most likely because of the postexilic period in which the book was written (p. 470). David’s sons had already rebelled, and so the writer was looking to the ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah to come – therefore the misbehavior part was not needed, for his emphasis. I had never really thought about the timing of the books, and it really is an important feature in order to get the right interpretation.
Because of the information in the book of Hebrews, I have always thought there was some type of visible temple in heaven that the temple on earth was modeled after. But I think Merrill is right, we should not take the “shadow” concept too far. The temple was to be the house of God – so I do see the heavenly model in that – but since the idea of earthly things being a “pale reflection” of what exists in heaven comes from a Platonic idea, it is most likely wise to do more study in this area before saying there is a mirror copy of the temple in heaven (p. 473). But I am not sure if I would go along with Merrill in saying that the temple, “must be a metaphor for paradise itself” (p. 475).
The nature of the historical writing in Scripture is important to look at, as Merrill points out (p. 477). Though some secular scholars (and probably “Christian” ones as well) would say the history of the Bible cannot be trusted because it is biased, Merrill has a good point in saying it can be both historically accurate as well as being “biased” or rather filtered through a theological grid (p. 477). It makes sense the writers would be writing with a purpose, and therefore would omit some things, because they did not fall within the purpose. It really is the story of God – not a nation. Though at times a nation fits in with his story.
Looking back into how much criticism has fallen on the Bible it really is amazing that anyone still criticizes it. I remember reading at how no one thought the Hittites existed, but now everyone knows they did. And in Ezra-Nehemiah in regards to letters recorded written by pagan kings, Merrill refers to the fact that “Skeptical scholarship refuses to take the texts of the letters of these pagan kings at face value” (p. 484). You would think scholars would have learned their lesson by now, the Bible is true! But it seems the fight will continue to go on. For me, I agree with Merrill, that even though, “to this date no extrabiblical evidence exists to corroborate the biblical testimony…that by itself should cast no doubt as to the authenticity of the biblical record” (p. 485).