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Jesus as the Cursed One on a Tree

15 Nov

Crucifixion
Occasionally we see an obscure directive that doesn’t seem to be something we can’t relate to. This is one of those ordinances. Under the Torah, a man proven guilty of a capital offense and put to death by stoning was displayed in public. It did not refer to strangulation or crucifixion, which were not allowed under the Torah nor practiced in Israel at the time. The reference was strictly to public exposure of the one executed. It was a grim object lesson and warning to the community that such a crime was a disgrace and not to be repeated. It also demonstrated the curse of God on the individual.
“If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.” Deut. 21:22,23
But they were not to leave it exposed overnight. They were to bury the person the same day. Leaving it longer would bring defilement on the community. Here are two examples.
“And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until evening. And as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his corpse down from the tree, cast it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raise over it a great heap of stones that remains to this day.” Joshua 8:29
“And afterward Joshua struck them and killed them, and hanged them on five trees; and they were hanging on the trees until evening. So it was at the time of the going down of the sun that Joshua commanded, and they took them down from the trees, cast them into the cave where they had been hidden, and laid large stones against the cave’s mouth, which remain until this very day.” Joshua 10:26,27
Like the rest of the Old Testament, we understand its significance when the light of the New Testament shines on it. Isaiah prophesied about the Messiah as a suffering servant.
“He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.” Isa. 53:9,10
In this chapter it says Messiah would die a cursed death with the wicked (plural in this passage). But the words, “at his death”, meaning after death, referred to a burial with the rich (singular in this passage). He would be slain as a criminal but buried as a wealthy man.
During Jesus’ time, the prophetic requirements were somewhat difficult to fulfill. Under Roman domination the Jews didn’t have the right to execute capital punishment. And the Sanhedrin as a rule was opposed to execution. Jewish criminals were executed by Rome, usually by crucifixion. But the likelihood of proper burial following such a death was very slim. Criminals were usually left unburied, disgraced by interment in an unclean place, or carted off to be cremated in the valley of Gehenna.
Nevertheless, Jesus’ death fulfilled both Isaiah’s prophecy and the requirements of the Torah. He was hanged on a tree, receiving the curse of the Torah. And he was executed between two criminals, and buried in a rich man’s tomb.
“…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Pet.2:24
“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.” John 19:17,18
“Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.” Matt. 27:57-60
“After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.” John 19:38-41
Joseph showed great courage in approaching Pilate for the body. As a friend and disciple, he desired to give Jesus a proper burial; as a Pharisee, he was obedient to the Torah’s injunction to remove the body before sundown. Nicodemus collaborated with Joseph by supplying one hundred pounds of burial spices, while Joseph purchased the linen shroud and donated his own garden tomb. Love guided them to do this for Jesus. Burial is to be with dignity because of the value of the body and belief in the resurrection. They ensured that in spite of Jesus’ illegal and cursed death, His burial was timely, according to the Torah, and richly performed. They would not have realized they were fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy.
Jesus suffered the shame of public exposure on a tree, as Peter refers to it, but His body was given burial before evening, fulfilling the Torah’s requirement. Paul makes the connection with Jesus taking our punishment, becoming cursed by God on our behalf.
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree).” Gal.3:13
He was cursed so we could receive the favour of God.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21

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Jesus is a Prophet like Moses

14 Nov

Moses
Comparison of Moses and Jesus
1. Both appeared after a silent period of about 400 years.
Abraham was told, “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they will come out with great possessions.” Genesis 15:13,14
The intertestamental period (the silent years, when there was no prophetic voice) was also approximately 400 years.
2. Jesus is a Prophet like Moses, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear,” Deuteronomy 18:15
“For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.” Acts 3:22
“This (Jesus) is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.’” Acts 7:37
Jesus was recognized as such when he gave them bread in the wilderness. “Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.’” John 6:14
3. Moses interceded for the children of Israel, even offering to take their punishment. “Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: “LORD, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.” Exodus 32:11-13, and
“Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. So now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.” Exodus 32:30-32
Jesus interceded for His people. “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.’” Luke 22:31,32,
“Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34
“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.” John 17:9
Jesus really did take the punishment for His people. “…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,” 1 Peter 3:18
4. Moses delivered his people from slavery in Egypt. “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go, get down! For your people who you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves.’” Ex. 32:7
Jesus redeemed His people from slavery to sin. “Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:34-36
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” Romans 6:16
“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” Romans 6:17
“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” Romans 6:22
5. Moses’ life was threatened by a powerful leader, both as a newborn, because of Pharaoh’s edict against all male Hebrew babies, and later when Pharaoh heard he had killed an Egyptian. “When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses.” Ex. 2:15
Jesus’ life was threatened by a powerful leader. As a young child, when Herod searched for Him and then ordered the slaughter of the innocents. “Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.” Matt. 2:16 Later, His life was taken by order of a powerful leader. “So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.” Mark 15:15

6. Moses was told to return to Egypt, as it was now safe to do so. “Now the LORD said to Moses in Midian, ‘Go, return to Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead.’” Ex. 4:19
Jesus’ family was told they could return to Israel because those who sought His life were dead. “Now when Herod was dead, behold an angel of the LORD appeared in a dream to Joseph, in Egypt, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” Matt. 2:19, 20
7. Moses gave them bread in the wilderness. Exodus 16, “Our fathers ate the manna in the desert: as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” John 6:31
Jesus gave bread in the wilderness/ He was the true bread that came down from heaven from the Father. John 6:5-14 “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:33 “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’” John 6:35 “This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” John 6:58
8. Moses mediated a covenant in blood. “And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words.’” Ex. 24:8
Jesus mediated a new covenant in blood. “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matt. 26:28
9. Moses was the lawgiver.
“These are the statutes and judgments and laws which the Lord made between Himself and the children of Israel on Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.” Lev. 26:46

“Now this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel.” Deut. 4:4

“Now Moses, with the elders of Israel, commanded the people, saying: “Keep all the commandments which I command you today.” Deut. 27:1

“Moses commanded a law for us, a heritage of the congregation of Jacob.” Deut. 33:4
Jesus was the Lawgiver. As LORD, Jesus could make new law that superseded Moses. He would mention a law of Moses, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery,” Matt. 5:27 and then he’d make it a matter not just of actions, but thoughts, setting a higher standard, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matt. 5:28
10. Both spoke to the people on God’s behalf, and spoke to God on behalf of the people. Ex. 19:7,8 John 8:26,27 John 17
11. The law was given on the third day, in the morning. Ex. 19:16
Jesus rose on the third day, in the morning. Matt. 28:1
“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17
The book of Hebrews shows that Jesus is superior to Moses because He created him. Moses was a faithful servant in the house, but Jesus is the Son who owns the house and built it.
“…Jesus Christ…who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.” Heb. 3:2-6

Jesus as our Sabbath Rest

9 Nov

rest
For some of the festivals, God tells them why they are to celebrate it; for others, He just tells them what to do, when and how with no explanation. The Sabbath is one that He explains. The precedent goes back to creation week. God created the world in six days, but on the seventh day He rested and blessed the day.
He created it for our good. We need to rest from our work. We need to focus on God and be thankful. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath,” as Jesus said in Mark 2:27 But over time, like so many of the other laws, the Jews made rules to build a hedge around the law, to prevent inadvertently breaking the law. God said not to take His name in vain. So they began to call God Hashem, which means, The Name. (Kind of like how Macbeth is referred to as The Scottish play) God said not to work, so they defined what work was, i.e. pressing an elevator button. (Sabbath elevator at Mount Sinai Hospital)
This was a point on which the Jewish leadership clashed with Jesus on many occasions. He dared to heal on the Sabbath, and allowed His disciples to glean and eat on the Sabbath. (Luke 6:1-11)
He was so gentle with sinners. But He would not tolerate the hypocrisy and harshness of the religious leaders. Matthew 15:1-9 is a good example of this.
“Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, ‘Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.’
He answered and said to them, ‘Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”—then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
The Jewish leaders were upset because the disciples didn’t practice ceremonial cleansing. But Jesus was more concerned about the way the Pharisees set aside God’s law in favour of their traditions. In this case, people were getting out of caring for their parents by saying they had promised the money to God. They were practicing the letter of the law and giving the appearance of holiness while ignoring the spirit of the law and neglecting the care of their parents. God doesn’t care for lip-service, He sees our hearts and our motives.
He also pointed out that they had things turned around, being so careful to tithe even their spices, while leaving undone the important issues like mercy and justice.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” Matthew 23:23

They especially hated that Jesus healed on the Sabbath, on several occasions. (John 5:9,10,18,9:14,16, Luke 6:6-11)

“So the scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath that they might find an accusation against Him.” Luke 6:7
“Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”
The Lord then answered him and said, ‘Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?’ And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.” Luke 13:10-17

I used these New Testament examples to help explain the Sabbath because our relation to it is different from Old Testament saints. We need to take our instruction from what Jesus said about it.

The Sabbath represented our rest from trying to work to earn our salvation. That’s why for most of the holidays, like the Day of Atonement, even if they weren’t on the Sabbath, they were instructed to do no customary work. This wasn’t just so they could enjoy the holiday, but so they’d understand that while the High Priest was in the Holy of Holies making atonement for the people, they could do nothing to aid him. Their part was to afflict their souls, and think about their sin, and hope God would accept the offering and forgive them.
Likewise, since Jesus has provided atonement for us, without our aid, now we no longer work for our salvation, because we are in our Sabbath rest. The way we afflict our souls is to repent.
There is a sense that the Sabbath, like many things, has the component of now and not yet. We are now in our Sabbath rest because the work is done for our salvation, and yet the fullness of our rest will be realized in glory when we are free of sin. Then we will be finished from our labours.
So why were the punishments for some laws seemingly lax compared to the death penalty for gathering sticks on the Sabbath? It’s because of what the Sabbath represented. An example is a wedding ring. It represents our commitments, vows, promises and love. If we take it off and throw it at our spouse’s feet, that is a powerful image of how we feel about the marriage. Likewise, when an Israelite broke the Sabbath, they were rejecting the future promised rest.
From Sabbath to Lord’s Day
The important thing is to know that because Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday (the feast of firstfruits) John 20:1 and appeared again the following Sunday, John 20:19, sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (also a Sunday), met to break bread and hear preaching, Acts20:7, the early church began to refer to it as The Lord’s Day, and met to worship on that day, even while their culture still had Saturday as a day of rest. Paul also said to set aside our offering on the first day of the week. 1 Cor. 16:2 The Apostle John also saw his revelation of end times when he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.” Rev. 1:10 Because of these reasons, we worship on Sundays.
As for how much you should or shouldn’t do on Sundays, Paul said we must be fully convinced in our own minds and not judge our brothers and sisters on these secondary issues. We shouldn’t major on the minors.
“One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.” Romans 14:5,6
The problem with Seventh Day Adventists is more than just on which day they meet to worship. Included in their beliefs are a rejection of the finished work of Christ as sufficient to secure our salvation and a subsequent religion of works, including an attempt to follow dietary laws. However, they only pick and choose which laws to follow, since we are not in a theocracy, nor do we offer animal sacrifices. James says that if we go the route of trying to obtain salvation by the works of the law, we are obligated to keep it all perfectly, because like a chain, it doesn’t matter which link you break, the chain is broken.
“For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10

Furthermore, they also have unorthodox views about what happens when we die, with a belief in soul sleep until the resurrection, rather than being “absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Cor. 5:8
You can always know a cult or religion is wrong when you examine what they think about Jesus.

Jesus in the Offerings/Festivals in Leviticus

8 Nov

Wave-offering1

Jesus pictured in the various offerings/festivals in Leviticus
We already looked at the Passover lamb and the feast of unleavened bread when we studied Exodus. We also just studied the sin offering and scapegoat on the Day of Atonement. However, there were many other offerings required of the children of Israel, established by God through Moses at the birth of the nation.
Wave offering/feast of Firstfruits: The literal meaning of firstfruits refers to the first portion of the harvest which is given to God. They are the first crops to come in, a pledge or hope of the greater harvest to follow, and they are specifically dedicated to God. It also referred to setting aside the firstborn, whether of man or beast.
“You shall not delay to offer the first of your ripe produce and your juices. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me. Likewise you shall do with your oxen and your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.” Exodus 22:29,30
While there is no New Testament admonition for Christians to give firstfruits, we know that God loves a cheerful giver and that we are supposed to set aside our offering on the first day of the week as God has prospered us. It is supposed to be purposeful, not haphazard.
“On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.” 1 Cor. 16:2

This feast was instituted when the nation of Israel was still wandering without land or crops. It was observed in faith that God would lead them to the land He promised.
Three holidays incorporated the giving of firstfruits; the Passover on the 14th, the Feast of Unleavened Bread from Sabbath to Sabbath beginning on the 15th, and the Feast of Firstfruits on the 16th of the month of Nisan. These were the dates that Jesus was crucified (Friday), in the grave (Saturday) and raised again (Sunday/Lord’s Day).
In Paul’s great chapter on the Resurrection, Jesus is referred to as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” 1 Cor. 15:20-23
“Christ rose as the first to be resurrected, but all who trust in Him will also rise from the dead in the final ‘harvest.’” Leon Morris
Similarly, Israel is referred to as the firstfruits, and the greater harvest is the ingathering of the nations of the world. “Israel was holiness to the LORD,
The firstfruits of His increase.” Jer. 2:3a
“Yet the number of the children of Israel
Shall be as the sand of the sea,
Which cannot be measured or numbered.
And it shall come to pass
In the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’ There it shall be said to them,
‘You are sons of the living God.’ Hosea 1:10
Paul also referred to the gift of the Holy Spirit as a firstfruit, or down payment of even greater blessing to come. “Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” Rom. 8:23
Christians are also referred to as firstfruits. “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” James 1:18
This reminds us that all we are and have belong to God.
“Under the old covenant, sacrifices merely ‘covered’ sins, but in the new covenant, these sins are taken away entirely. Heb. 7:27, 9:12,25-28 There is no more need for continual sacrifices, because Jesus provided a once-for-all sacrifice for all our sins forever.” Heb. 9:11-14,24-28, 10:11-20 John J. Parsons
“The substitutionary shedding of blood, the life-for-life principle, is essential for the true at-one-ment with God.” John J. Parsons
The Feast of Pentecost: Leviticus 23:15-21
The Israelites were to count 50 days or seven Sabbaths from the day they offered the firstfruits on the day after the Sabbath (Sunday), to another Sunday. This feast was called the Feast of Weeks, later called Pentecost. They were to offer two loaves of fine flour made with leaven, along with seven lambs of the first year, without blemish as a burnt offering, with a grain offering and a drink offering. They were to sacrifice a kid of the goats as a sin offering and two male lambs of the first year as a peace offering.
The two loaves made with leaven, represented the inclusion of the Gentiles in the family of God. See Eph. 2:11-22,3:6, Gal. 3:28,29, 1 Cor. 12:13
Fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday (the Firstfruits), the disciples were in an upper room. The promised gift of the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues (15 known languages) Acts 2:6,8,11
The Spirit was given freely as a gift to those who already believed. This one Spirit unites all believers, Jew and Gentile alike, so we are now partakers of Abraham’s blessing that all the world would be blessed through him. Gen. 12:3
“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” Acts 11:15-18
“Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.’” Acts 10:34,35

Jesus is our Exodus

6 Nov

moses_parting_red_sea_resistance2010
The account of the Exodus of the Israelite slaves out of Egypt is not just an epic story of how our great God brought His people out of slavery with a mighty hand, although it is that.
In many ways, we see echoes of the Exodus in the New Testament, as Jesus again and again demonstrates He is a better Israel.
Israel came out of Egypt.
“Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the LORD.’” Ex. 6:6-8
Jesus comes out of Egypt. “When he (Joseph) arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son.’” Matt. 2:14, 15
This refers to Israel as God’s son, His firstborn.
“Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.”’” Ex. 4:22, 23
It also refers to Jesus as His beloved Son. “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” Matt. 3:17 “And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” Luke 9:35 Jesus is also called the firstborn. “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence.” Col. 1:18 Not only was Jesus God’s Son, He was a true and better Israel, who obeyed and didn’t test God with unfaithfulness and disobedience.
The children of Israel were baptized when they passed through the Red Sea. “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” 1 Cor. 10:1-4
Jesus was baptized in the Jordan. “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.” Matt. 3:13
God gave the children of Israel manna to eat in the wilderness. “So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, ‘This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.’” Ex. 6:15
Jesus spoke of Himself in this way, as “the bread that came down from Heaven”, to draw His hearers ‘minds back to the wandering in the wilderness; to the manna God fed to His people. Manna was ‘angel’s food’. There has never been anything like it since. He even rebuked those who asked for a sign, like Moses gave manna. This was the day after He had just fed the five thousand in the wilderness. He said, “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” John 6:49-51
He was demonstrating His superiority both to Moses, and to the manna, itself. It was merely a picture, He was the real thing. It could sustain for only a day, He feeds us and we never hunger again. Manna was bread that rained down from Heaven on the Israelites during their sojourning in the wilderness. They ate it until they reached the border of Canaan.
The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years. “And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.” Numbers 14:33, 34
“Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness.” Heb. 3:17
Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for forty days and nights. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.” Matt. 4:1,2
God gave the Israelites water from the rock. “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.” Ex. 17:6
When Jesus, the Rock was smitten (on the cross), water and blood came out. “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” John 19:34 The blood was for covering and the water was for cleansing.
Finally, overall, this is the story of the exodus, or going out, of Israel.
“And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.” Ex. 7:5
Jesus death on the cross was His exodus. At the transfiguration, we are told, “And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.” Luke 9:30,31 Some versions refer to it as His decease (NKJV), His departure (ESV), His death (TLB), His leaving the world (WYC), His going out (YLT) , His exodus (NLT), or the way He must take and the end He must fulfill in Jerusalem (Phillips). Coupled with the phrase of accomplishing His decease, it gives the impression of a great work. Usually death is not referred to as an accomplishment.

Finally, Jesus is our exodus, or way out of our slavery to sin. “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” Romans 6:22
So through all these images, we see Exodus Replayed in the life of Jesus.

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