For example, the New Jerusalem is described thus:

Revelation 21:9-21 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

Any contemporaneous listener with a Jewish background would immediately recognise this description (notwithstanding that it was framed as a city), as the priestly breastplate, which had 12 different precious stones, embedded in a square of gold, and quite likely had pearl decorations around the edge, and the names of the 12 tribes of Israel engraved into it. However, it did not have the names of the 12 apostles, and it was not 3-dimensional, but like a flat square in shape. There are more contrasts of course, but this serves to illustrate my question.

What is the term for this re-worked idea that aims to teach through the use of contrast and surprise?

  • I am not sure that I am understanding exactly what you are asking based on this example because in my mind your example is an illustration of progressive revelation and typology even, rather than that which I think is described by the term you are looking for in your question.
    – user49416
    Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 19:50
  • @Andries Stander Ah, no I would tend to disagree here because typology would require the priestly breastplate to represent ‘old Israel’ and ‘new Israel’ (spiritual Israel) if you like.. It certainly represents old Israel - but the twist is to have it represent both. And by making it cuboid, not flat, a new dimension (quite literally) is added to its character. Turning it into a gold cube then references the Holy of Holies, backed up by references to God’s presence in the city. This ‘metaphor with a twist’ occurs repeatedly in Rev, e.g. the heavenly throne room (the ancient seat of …
    – user36337
    Commented Apr 2, 2022 at 1:45
  • … judgement) is simultaneously filled with temple elements (the seat of worship), highlighting that God is both judge and God. The Lion of Judah is suddenly also a slain lamb..
    – user36337
    Commented Apr 2, 2022 at 1:48
  • I think I see what you mean Ashley but I am not sure. In everything you have said so far I just want to ask a clarifying question. How much have you factored in all of this the fact that the book of Hebrews clearly teach the existence of the heavenly sanctuary and that the earthly sanctuary was only typological? Remember, the sanctuary that Moses built was built off a pattern God showed to Moses. That pattern is the temple in heaven. It is to this sanctuary that texts like Daniel 8:14 refer. Both Daniel and Revelation rely heavily on the readers awareness of the heavenly sanctuary.
    – user49416
    Commented Apr 2, 2022 at 17:40
  • @Andries Stander I agree that Earth is just a type of Heaven, but I would disagree that Revelation is intended to describe heaven accurately, as it’s apocalyptic in style? It’s primarily symbolic in nature, not trying accurately to portray heaven, or even earth, but rather to show or affirm truths behind the symbolism. I sense your caution at seeing things this way, as this kind of.. distanced stance is what characterises critical thinking. I wouldn’t suggest this approach for a more straightforward book, but I feel it’s not only welcome in the case of Rev, but even required, to understand it.
    – user36337
    Commented Apr 3, 2022 at 10:32

1 Answer 1


In Jewish tradition, a teaching based on a scripture is called a drash, which is the D in PRDS. See also https://nazarenejudaism.com/?page_id=93 for more detail.

A parable is a short story that displays a pattern, provides comparisons, or has a parallel to a deeper truth and it might include a surprising twist at the end. A parable is similar to an analogy, but a parable wraps a short story around the analogy. A parable is also similar to an allegory, but a parable is much shorter and more focused than an allegory, which might be a complete book or a movie that presents a longer story in more detail.

An allusion is an indirect, parallel, figurative, or symbolical reference. The book of Revelation has hundreds of allusions to people, events, and elements presented in the Tanakh. For example, "the Lamb of God" is an allusion to the Passover lamb required in the Tanakh.

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