There is a symbolic quality to every word. "Death" means the end of physical life, but it is symbolic of final judgment. It is also a referent to loss of identity or moving on from one way of living to another. In a previous post I wrote about the end of baseball season as an image of death.
The "historical" writings of the bible can be symbolically applied to events and situations in every age. They can also be projected into the future. These events reveal God's character. They give insight into how God interacts with human beings. They give us glimpses into what we can expect in the future. With some texts this process is fairly easy. With many others it requires creatvity and openness.
If God forgives Israel for its sins (and He does, over and over) then what does that tell us about our ultimate future? It is reasonable to say that we can have HOPE for mercy, we have a foundation to trust in God's desire to deliver His people from their sin. The Bible reveals to us that this is how God acts in our world.
By reading the Bible as pointed to past, present, and future, we provide ourselves a model to prayerfully read and understand God's word. The respect for the multi-layered meaning of Scripture allows us to read the Bible with an attitude of worship. It also opens us to the Holy Spirit at work in and through the text. I hope this has been useful for some of you on your own journey in faith.