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Christ as the Scarlet Cord of Rahab

17 Nov

The Scarlet Thread

Read Joshua 2:1-24 and Joshua 6:15-25

The Bible is an honest book, stating things as they are. It says Rahab was a harlot, a woman who sold her body for money. Some people try to downplay this by saying she was just an inn-keeper. However, in those days, only men were innkeepers. In written bills of that time, the cost of the bed is listed as a girl, whose services would have been included. Rahab may have been in such a place. It was therefore natural for the spies to lodge there as it would have been the only place to stay in a small place like Jericho.

Somehow, the king of Jericho heard there were Jewish scouts in the city and called for their immediate capture. They were probably not dressed like people in Jericho, so they would have stood out.  Meanwhile, Rahab had become aware of the true…

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Jesus Christ: the Scarlet Thread of the Bible

3 Sep

This is a series of devotional studies showing Jesus Christ in all of Scripture, not just in the New Testament.  We glory in the fact that He is the Great Object of Scripture, the Scarlet Thread woven throughout the narratives within the meta-narrative of the Old Redemption story. More than just a collection of stories, the Bible has one great theme; how God worked throughout history to save a people for Himself. History really is His Story.

We’ve all heard those songs or presentations of Christ in every book of the Bible.  They are so inspirational.  He really is in every book of the Bible, and it doesn’t require a Theology degree to find Him there.  Yet, within each book, He’s often manifested to us in more than one type or shadow.

As I contemplated that, I began to write them down as I came across them in my Bible reading.  Then I thought about what I knew about each of these things
already, and how that knowledge has helped my faith-walk.  Then I researched each one and found even more depth.  I was astounded at the wonder of the
Gospel, the Holy Spirit Who has revealed these things to us, the Person and Work of Christ and the God Who planned it all.

Walk with me through the Scriptures and stand amazed in the Presence of Jesus the Nazarene.  You’ll see why the twenty-four elders in the book of Revelation, cast their crowns before Jesus in worship.  We are unworthy of the least of His mercies, and yet He gives us not only mercy to save us from hell, but grace, that brings us to Heaven, forever.  And further, He rewards us for the  works He has gifted us to do.  When He crowns us, do we deserve such favour?  No!  All glory goes back to Christ, our All in All.

“Whenever the living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne saying:

‘You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honour and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.’”

Rev. 4: 9-11

Pia Thompson

In Nehemiah, Christ is the Re-builder of Broken walls

3 Sep

Read Nehemiah Chapters 1-4.

“And they said to me, ‘The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire. So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” Neh. 1: 3,4

I really admire anyone who can build things. I appreciate my house. I love my Amish dining room table. I have no talent in that direction. Building something from raw materials is beautiful in its own way, but to restore something old and still give it a sense of the original, so you can’t tell which part is original and which is the addition, is an art.

Even harder, is to do this work with opposition and distractions or even fear for your own safety. This is what Nehemiah faced when he led the people of God to rebuild the broken down walls of Jerusalem. Given permission by Cyrus to leave his job in the palace to undertake this task, he finds many willing workers.

“…So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king,…” Neh. 2: 4b,5a

Nehemiah turns to God for strength to accomplish the task to which he knows God has called him. Prayer should always precede our work. We also shouldn’t attempt to undertake anything that we do not feel we could pray about. The task looks too big, but then he gets each person to work on one small section until the whole wall is rebuilt.  Matthew Henry says, “If everyone will sweep before his own door, the street will be clean.”

Not soon after, he is facing opposition, led by two men, Tobiah and Sanballat. These men do whatever they can to thwart the work and discourage the people.

As opposition mounts against them, he arms the people working up on the wall. They work with one hand and are prepared to fight with the other.

How is Jesus like Nehemiah, the re-builder?

Nehemiah was the cup bearer of the King. He lived a relative life of ease in the palace, yet when he heard about the situation of the city of Jerusalem, he decided to do something. He could have stayed where he was and merely felt bad about the situation.

Likewise, Jesus dwelt in Heaven, untouched by the effects of sin, enjoying the fellowship of the Father and the Spirit. He didn’t need to do anything. He was not obligated to save us.  Yet He willingly removed His royal robes and stepped into our world to redeem, remake and rebuild us.

He finds us broken by sin. To look at man, you’d never know the beauty that was there before the Fall. Sin scars us, hurts us, makes us ugly. When He saves us, His Spirit begins the work of re-making us into His image. Yes, the task is monumental, but the process of sanctification is gradual but steady.

Is there opposition to this re-building? Of course. The world, the flesh and the devil fight it continually, and also try to discourage us or thwart the work. They may even fight to keep us where we were when the work began, or tempt us to slide back into a worse state.

But we don’t have to worry that Jesus will be thwarted in His work.   …“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:6

As the people had a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other, so Christ equips us to work and gives us the Sword of the Spirit, His Word, to fight against our enemies.  “Every true Christian is both a labourer and a soldier, working with one hand and fighting with the other.” Matthew Henry

Nehemiah appealed first to God in prayer, and then he approached the king with his petition. This gave him confidence in his task. Likewise, Jesus depended on His heavenly Father for strength to complete His work. He was often in prayer. Should we do any less?

We are often our own worst enemies. Even if we were to take the world and the devil out of the equation (wouldn’t that be nice), our own flesh would still fight to be in charge of our destiny.  I often thought about the idea of people who go into convents or monasteries. The problem is, you bring yourself in with you. You can’t escape sin, because it’s within you.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”  Romans 7:15-20

“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Pet. 2:4  This reference to believers as living stones shows our connection with and resemblance to Christ, Himself our Chief Cornerstone. This spiritual house is a reference to the temple or dwelling place of God.

“And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.” 2 Cor. 6:16 Believers are associated with the temple of God because the Spirit dwells in us.

“Now ,therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Eph. 2:19-22 In these verses, it shows that the kingdom of God is now international, and is growing through the integration of new believers into the building.

…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. 3:6 Again, a reference to believers as the house of God.

Finally, remember, they were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, the city of God. Read Rev. chapter 21:9  “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.” Here the Bride of Christ is about to be introduced. Then what happens?

  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.” Rev. 21:10-14 A city descends from Heaven, as beautiful as a bride adorned for her husband.

Wait. What? The Bride is a City? Yes, the Church, the people of God, are His Bride, and the City of God.  The earthly city was but a copy of the true one in Heaven. “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Heb. 9:24

Once in Heaven, when we are free from the presence of sin, you’ll see a beautiful city. No crumbling walls here; just majesty, beauty, security, safety.

Christ is rebuilding His city, and He will accomplish what He purposed. He did this work at great cost to Himself. He paid for His bride with His own precious blood.  “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”        1 Pet. 1:18,19

“Oh you afflicted one, tossed with tempest and not comforted. Behold, I will lay your stones with colourful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires.”  Isa. 54:11

Compare with Rev. chapter 21:19,20 ”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.

Did you notice that the foundations of the city were laid with twelve types of precious stones? Amazing. Think of how the world fights over precious stones. In the New City, they are tossed underground where no one will even see them. That speaks of the surpassing value of what is laid over it, but also shows a reversal of the things that really matter. We will walk on paving stones made of gold. God doesn’t care about precious stones so much as the city itself; His Bride.

Prayer– “Heavenly Father, thank You for purchasing me, thank You for rebuilding my broken walls. Thank You that one day I will be fully restored and beautiful and spotless for You, my Bridegroom.  Help me not to fight against Your work of sanctification in life. I know that the finished product will be perfect. Help me to submit to Your plans for my life. Help me to use the gifts you’ve given me and to fight my enemies with the sword of the Spirit.”

Questions-Is there some problem in your life or an issue in the world that grieves you, but seems too big to solve? What do you feel God is prompting you to do about it? What do you fear will happen if you begin the task? Opposition? Persecution? Failure?

Response-Purpose to pray earnestly about this issue, and ask God to forgive your  lack of response to His earlier promptings. Ask Him to show you how you can begin to make a difference. Tell others about it. It may be on their hearts as well.

Jesus as the Bronze Serpent in the Book of Numbers

30 Aug

Read Numbers 21:4-9

“So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked on the bronze serpent he lived.” Num 21:9

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” John 3: 14, 15

“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

“Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Isa.45:22

“He…broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it; calling it Nehushtan.” 2 Kings 18:4

Don’t be too hard on those wandering Israelites. I’m sure we would have complained just as much, if not more. To know you’ll be wandering aimlessly for forty years, without ever laying eyes on your destination! Talk about discouraging! Even though they left a harsh life of slavery, now they were only remembering the good things they left behind. (Ex. 16:3) They remembered the food, water, permanent lodging, variety in their diet, and more than enough flavourful food. Instead they were compiling cookbooks; 101 Ways to Cook Manna.

They had forgotten that this was a miracle. God rained bread on them from Heaven, for forty years, six days a week. The manna did not run out. They always had enough. (Ex. 16:18). Yet at this point they had only begun the steady 40 year diet of manna. They would not eat other food again until they came to the border of Canaan. (Ex. 16:35) Already they were tired of it. They did not appreciate God’s provision. They grumbled to Moses, not realizing they were really complaining to God .

“And the people spoke against God and against Moses; ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food or water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.’” Num. 21:5

Not for the first time, and not for the last time, God disciplined His people. In this case He sent fiery serpents among them and many died of snake bites. As is usually the case, punishment makes you see the error of your ways. They knew they had to approach God through a mediator. Moses intercedes for the people, confessing their sin against God, and imploring Him to stop the punishment. (Num. 21:7)

God could have removed the snakes as easily as He sent them. But instead, He has Moses make an image of a bronze serpent on a pole. He does this to further test His people. They are told that in order to be cured from snake bite, they must look at this serpent on a pole.

It was made of brass to represent judgement (see Ex. 27:2,Rev.1:15, 2:18).  It represents Christ because the judgment He endured was right and true, and came down from the God of heaven.

It required faith in what God said to do it His way. They had to have faith that God’s word was enough to save. It may have seemed ridiculous. Just look at a representative of the problem? No matter how desperate their case, one look in faith would be enough to cure them.

We know this is a beautiful picture of Christ and the simple offer of the Gospel because Jesus Himself makes the connection (John 3:1415) No matter how scarlet our sins, one look in faith will save us. He also signifies how He will die; by being “lifted up” on a cross.

How is Jesus like a serpent? Just as the image of the serpent was the cure for the problem of snake bite, so Jesus, on the cross took our sin on Himself. When Christ took the burden of our sin, He became the remedy for our sin. We can do nothing to save ourselves, just as the Israelites could do nothing to save themselves. We must look to Him by faith. God himself has provided the remedy. (2 Cor.5:21)

So is this too easy? Yes and No. Yes, because all we have to do is believe in the sufficiency of the finished work of Christ. We do not need to add any of our own works to it. Indeed, we dare not. (Isa. 45:22, Heb. 12:2). No, because a life of faith is never easy. Our tendency is always to want to add to it. We are proud of our accomplishments, our disciplined life, even our faith. Our minds are idol-factories. We must avoid that.

Look what happened as time went on. The children of Israel were so thankful for being healed in this miraculous way. So thankful in fact, they started to think the bronze serpent on the pole was the cause of their miraculous cure, rather than God. They created an idol of it, gave it a name, and began to worship it. King Hezekiah destroyed it so they could no longer worship it. (2 Kings 18:4) See what I mean? We’re idol makers.

We have to have Jesus only, not Jesus plus anything else. Only faith in Jesus is our remedy for sin.

Prayer-“Father, forgive me when I grumble against Your provision, as if it wasn’t good enough. Forgive me for trying to add to your finished work on the cross, as if my paltry deeds could improve on your sacrifice. Help me to have faith in Christ alone, and not make idols in my heart.”

Questions-There were three key areas wherein the Israelites failed. First, they complained against God’s provision. Then they didn’t believe the simplicity of the cure. Finally, they made an idol of the symbol. Do you see yourself in any of these scenarios, or even all of them? I think I would have been a grumbler, personally.

Response-Consider and list at least 50 things in your everyday life that are blessings from God that you take for granted. Thank Him in prayer, naming them.

Christ and the Sign of Jonah

3 Jun

Christ and the Sign of Jonah

Read Jonah chapters 1-4.

I’ve always loved the story of Jonah. I enjoy sea adventures and missionary stories. I like that the Bible records people as they really are, with their
failures, weaknesses, biases, bad moods, and sins.  It reinforces the truth of Scripture and gives hope for someone like myself.
Jonah was a type of Christ in two ways; in the ways they were dissimilar and in the ways they were similar.

First in the ways they were dissimilar.  Jonah was called to preach to the Ninevites because of their great wickedness.  He was a prophet. Prophets prophecy. Instead he ran in the opposite direction and hitched a ride on a ship going to Tarshish, hoping to hide from God.  Jonah 1: 1-3

Whereas, Jesus, knowing what was awaiting Him in Jerusalem, did not shrink back from His mission, but, “He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem…” Luke 9:51

Christ was perfect, whereas Jonah was far from an exemplary character.  He was a disobedient prophet who thought he could hide from God.  He appears to be cowardly.  That’s our first impression of him because of his reluctance to go to the Ninevites, who were a feared people and enemy of Israel.
Yet, later on, we see his real reason for running.  It wasn’t fear of the Ninevites.  It was fear of the mercy of God on them.

“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.  So he prayed to the LORD, and said, ‘Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country?  Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish: for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.’” Jonah 4:1, 2

To Jonah, who knew the character of God, it was just as he’d feared.  God would spare the Ninevites from wrath.  He would show mercy.  The last thing Jonah
hoped for was that God would show mercy to Israel’s most hated enemy.  They didn’t deserve it.  (But Jonah, that’s why it’s called mercy!) We are saved from
getting what our sins deserve.  I am saved from getting what I deserve, and you, Jonah are saved from getting what you deserve as well.  No one merits salvation by the works of their hands.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph. 2:8

Jonah was a type of Christ in relation to his judgment.  The scribes and Pharisees were asking for a sign, even though He had just healed a blind, mute,
demon-possessed man right before their eyes. Jesus did not do miracles on command. So He told them,

“An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Matthew 12: 39, 40

Christ was like Jonah in that He suffered the judgment of God, and separation from Him for three days.  As Jonah was in his fish-prison for three days, so
Christ was in his tomb-prison for three days. Jonah realizes his watery grave is equivalent to being in hell.

“…Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice, For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me; all
your billows and your waves passed over me.”
   Jonah 2:2,3

For Jonah, the worst aspect of death was separation from the presence of the Lord.

I have been cast out of your sight.” Jonah2:4

For Christ, the worst aspect of the cross was the separation from His father.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34

Jonah now longs for the presence of God that he earlier sought to escape.

“Yet I will look again toward your holy temple.” Jonah 2: 4b

Jonah recognizes he is in the realm of death and only God can save him.

“Yet you have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God. Salvation is of the LORD.” Jonah 2: 6b, 9b.

Jonah was as good as dead and restored to life again.  He fulfilled His mission and it resulted in the salvation of his enemies.  In the same way, but on a much
grander scale, Christ’s fulfillment of His mission, dying on the cross, being buried in the earth and resurrected resulted in the salvation of His enemies.
“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”   Romans 5:10

When Jesus gives this cryptic message about the sign of Jonah to the scribes and Pharisees, he adds a condemnation.

“The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a
greater than Jonah is here.”   
Matthew 12: 41

Jesus is commenting on the efficacy of Jonah’s preaching. The Ninevites recognized the message of divine authority, even in the absence of miraculous
signs, and they responded with genuine repentance.  Christ does signs that no one has ever done, i.e. healing the blind and deaf, and yet the people of His
generation would not believe.  Therefore, their punishment is greater.

P– “Lord, give me the courage to share the gospel with others and not judge whether they ‘deserve’ to hear it or not, or whether I think they’re likely to accept my message. Soften my heart and help me to see them as You do, as You saw me when I was lost.”

Q– Do you ever feel that someone doesn’t deserve God’s mercy, like a child molester who repents before they die? Do you resent that they get that they will be in Heaven along with you, who have served God your whole life? God forbid! Don’t be like the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son. Rejoice whenever you see God’s mercy to sinners, because He has extended it to you, too. If you feel this way, it may be that you think we are saved by                              works, or condemned because of our actions. No, it is all of grace. Our good works don’t merit Heaven for us; God’s grace does. The child’s molester’s sin doesn’t exclude him, because God’s mercy reaches the vilest sinner.

R– Ask God to help you to truly see both His holiness and your sin, and you’ll be amazed at His grace. If a superior attitude has kept you from witnessing to someone you feel is beyond the reach of God’s grace, repent and pray for that person. Ask God to save them. It’s hard to hate someone for whom you’re praying.

Christ as the Plumb Line in Amos

7 May

Read Amos Chapter 7

“Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand.  And the LORD said to me, ‘Amos, what do you see?’  And I said, ‘A plumb line.’  Then the Lord said: ‘Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore.” Amos 7: 7, 8

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.  He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17: 30, 31

 “For there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:23-26

I’ll never be accused of being a carpenter; not enough evidence.  I’ve been known to hammer a screw into a wall.  But I’m told that when you’re building a structure, you need a few tools to ensure that your structure won’t topple over.

One tool you need is a level.  That’s the yardstick thingie with a bubble in the middle.  It makes sure your cross beams are straight and not sloping ever so slightly to one side or the other.  It will ensure your roof is sitting on straight and won’t fall on you, and your floors are level.  Hence the name.   It deals with the horizontal plane.

The other tool is a plumb-bob.  (Yes, that’s really its name.) It deals with the vertical plane.  It is basically a weighted string that you suspend in front of your wall at the ceiling. It uses gravity to test what is true, or plumb. It makes sure your wall isn’t leaning backward or forward.  I’m told the Leaning Tower of Pisa is leaning because of the ground it’s on, and not poor building practices; nevertheless, if you used a plumb-bob in it, you’d see how far off it is from being straight.

In this passage, Amos refers to a plumb line let down from heaven into their midst.  This will be the new way to judge ourselves, whether we’re off the mark or not.  Christ was the perfect God-man who came down from Heaven to set the standard, showing us duty, devotion and love for God.  His holiness is our standard.

We use these two “moral tools” as we judge ourselves and others. The problem is that people would rather use a level.  We look at the person next to us and say, “I’m not as bad as he,” or “I’ve never murdered anyone.”  When you use a level, you can always come out on top of someone else, morally, because there are plenty of despots, dictators and criminals in the world.  You can convince yourself you’re not so bad.  You may even convince yourself you’re quite an upstanding person.

Consider, though, that the level that God uses is not within the reach of man.  If you tried to jump to the moon, you wouldn’t reach it.  Even if you started on the highest mountain, you still wouldn’t reach this standard.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”   Romans 3:23 Comparing ourselves horizontally doesn’t work, since we all fall short of God’s standard of perfection.  “There is none who does good.  No, not even one.”  Romans 3:12c

But we see the Perfection of Christ.  Horizontally, compared to all men, He alone met God’s standard.  He was “holy, blameless, and undefiled, separate from sinners.”  Heb.7:26  We are not.

But there’s more.  Not only are we ‘not level’, but we’re not ‘plumb’.

And then vertically, He came down from Heaven, into our midst.  He was morally upright and pure: the standard which shows how much we are teetering and about to fall, like the leaning tower of Pisa.  We are blind to this in ourselves as well, especially the average person.  But you don’t ask a skunk if he smells.

Christ lived the perfectly obedient life we could never live.   He is our righteousness.  Since we have none of our own, we must cast ourselves on His mercy; hide ourselves in Him, so that when God looks on us, He sees the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.

Since Christ has come into the world, God will no longer overlook sin.  He dealt with it once and for all. The Old Testament saints looked forward to the Passover Lamb to come, we look back on Him. Since God has now provided a better sacrifice, there is no going back to the old way.  It won’t do. The standard is set, and since we cannot meet it, we must flee to Him as our Substitute.  The vertical and horizontal planes are met perfectly in the Cross of Christ.

Prayer– “Forgive me Lord, when I look at others and compare myself to them. Help me to see You as my standard, so I won’t be critical of others, or haughty or proud. Thank You for living a perfect life as my Substitute, so I have no reason to be discouraged in my failures.”

Questions-Do you find that even as a believer, you compare yourself to others? Do you find yourself prone to be proud, envious or critical of others?

Response-Contemplate the following verses:  “Who makes you to differ from one another? And what do you have that you did not receive?”1 Cor.4:7 “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Phil. 2:4

Do something to encourage or build someone up today.

Christ as the Veil in Exodus

4 May


Read 

Exodus 26:31-35
Hebrews 10:19, 20
2 Cor.3:14-16
Matt.27:51
Luke 9:28-36
 
A veil covers, hides, obscures, separates. The veil spoken of in the O.T. was not a flimsy, sheer veil, but a very heavy curtain. It was one curtain, not two halves. The High Priest would have had to push it to one side to enter the Holy of Holies, once a year on the Day of Atonement.

Because he could not be certain that God would accept the offering of blood on the Day of Atonement, he would have a rope secured around his ankle. That way, if God didn’t accept the offering, and instead struck the High Priest dead, no one would have to go in to collect his body and possibly suffer the same fate.
The rope would allow them to drag his body out. This rope was not actually prescribed by God, but it showed they feared God and knew they were required to do things His way.

This curtain signified separation between God and man. We are separated or estranged from God due to our rebellion and sin. We cannot just saunter into
God’s presence. He must be approached His way, in the manner He has prescribed. He must be approached with blood, to remind us that sin equals death.

Likewise, veils cover and obscure. Christ’s glory as the second Person of the Trinity was veiled in flesh. It was hidden from view. The transfiguration peeled
back the veil slightly, to allow the disciples a glimpse of the glory of the One Whom they followed. (Luke 9:28-36).

Because Jesus looked like an ordinary Jewish man, there was nothing in his appearance to make him stand out. (Isaiah 53:2). He did not have a halo of light around His head; not in the stable, not in the garden, not on the cross. In fact, when they came to arrest him in Gethsemane, they had to have a pre-arranged sign (Judas’ kiss) in order to recognize him.

A veil also hides or conceals. Like a veil worn over a face conceals beauty or reflects modesty, or a veil on the head shows submission, it can also signify
blindness.

“But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” 2 Cor. 3:14-16

 The Jews read the Old Testament and yet they don’t see what we see. We see Christ throughout Scripture. They don’t. Paul says the reason is that they have a veil over their heart. That veil is unbelief. When the veil is taken away, they see that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah.

Christ is like the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, in the Tabernacle and Temple. His glory was veiled, or covered in a body made of flesh. When that flesh was torn on the cross, He provided a way to end our estrangement with God, and be reconciled to Him.

“Therefore brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way consecrated for us, trough the veil, that is, His flesh.” Heb. 10:19, 20

While He was on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, and a way was made to approach God.

“Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.” Matt. 27:51

We can approach without fear of death! We don’t need ropes around our feet, just in case He won’t accept us.

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me, I will by no means  cast out.” John 6:37

We are welcomed into His presence. I like to think that tearing the veil in the temple would have given God the Father some satisfaction, much like Jesus’ victory cry on the cross, “Finished!” God tore up the record of offences against us; the sins that separated us were no longer a threat. The debt was paid in full. If you’ve ever burned a copy of your mortgage when it’s paid off, you get the idea.

“…having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Col. 2:14

Since the veil was torn from top to bottom, this signified that it was done by God, not man. He, Himself provided the solution to our problem.

Prayer- “Lord, forgive me when I take for granted what it cost You, so that I may approach You without fear, and commune with You as friend to Friend.”

Questions- Put yourself on the mount of transfiguration. How awesome would that have been? You’d think the disciples would never doubt again. Yet such are our hearts, that we would’ve deserted Jesus in the garden, too.

How do you feel about the fact that most Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah?

Response- Research some ministries to Jews. Pray that God will lift the veil from their eyes to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

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