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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

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Jesus as the Star/Scepter of Jacob

13 Nov

scepter.png
The narrative recorded in Numbers 22-25 sounds like a fanciful story because of the talking donkey. But it’s no more difficult for the God who created the universe out of nothing to make one of his creatures speak than it was for Him to produce a child in the womb of a virgin.
In this account, we see a king (Balak) who is terrified when he sees the children of Israel approaching. He had heard that they had come up out of Egypt (Num.22:5), were numerous, “they cover the face of the earth” and were too close for comfort; they were settling next to him. (Num. 22:5) They were camped in the plains of Moab on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho. (Num. 22:1) He had heard what Israel had already done to the Amorites, in defeating them and taking their land. (Num. 22:2, 21:21-35) This made him “sick with dread.” (Num. 22:3)
So, desperate, he calls for a famous seer named Balaam. “Therefore, please come at once, curse this people for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed and he whom you curse is cursed.” Num. 22:6
As a side note, in 1967 archeologists unearthed an Aramaic inscription from the 8th century B.C. that cites Balaam the prophet, thus showing that he was known broadly in his day. (What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About Jason S. DeRouchie p. 122)
Although in this story we see that a dumb animal sees the Angel of the LORD and knows enough to bow in His presence while the ‘seer doesn’t see.’ We also understand that the money-grubbing prophet acknowledges the superiority of Israel’s God, while the children of Israel were blind to God’s plan. (Ex. 19:5, Deut. 7:6)
Hope shines brightest in the oracles of the pagan prophet. He is a prime example of how God can draw a straight line with a crooked stick. Even though he is wicked, God uses him to further bless His people.
The Angel of the LORD
Balak offers Balaam money to come and curse the children of Israel. He agrees, but God intervenes to make sure he will “not curse the people, for they are blessed.” Num. 22:12 He seems to refuse to go, but it’s probably a ploy to try to get more money to tell Balak what he wants to hear. When it appears Balaam is determined to go to Balak, God intervenes again, this time physically as the Angel of the LORD. We studied the idea of theophanies in a previous study. This seems to be the case here. It’s not merely an angel who appears but someone whose word is used interchangeably with the word of God. (Num. 22:20, 35) Also, both the donkey and eventually, Balaam bow down before him. He also has the power of life and death in His hand. He is armed with a sword, which is similar to the Commander of the army of the LORD who appears to Joshua (Josh. 5:13-15) and He tells Balaam that if the donkey hadn’t turned aside, He would have killed Balaam and let the donkey live.
There are three rounds between the donkey and Balaam and the Angel of the LORD. There are three oracles from the prophet, three location changes by Balak, thinking that the probable reason Balaam blessed Israel instead of cursing them was because he didn’t have a good enough view of them. After the first two prophecies, Balak protests.
“Then Balak said to Balaam, ‘What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and look, you have blessed them bountifully!” Num. 23:11
“Then Balak said to Balaam, ‘Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all!’” Num. 23:25
After the third, he just walks away, defeated. (Num. 24:25)
The Bible consistently portrays Balaam as a false teacher, greedy for profit. His life provides a warning against covetousness and immorality and reminds us to seek God’s glory above all else.
“Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” Jude 1:11 This verse condemns murder,(Gen. 4)greed,(Num.20) and rebellion.(Num. 16)
“They have forsaken the right way, and gone astray, following the way of Balaam, son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity; a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.” 2 Peter2:15,16
“But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.” Rev. 2:14
The Substance of His Prophecies/ The Star and Scepter of Israel
Some key verses:
“How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how shall I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced.” Num. 23:8
“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.” Num. 23:19, 20
“For there is no sorcery against Jacob, nor any divination against Israel. It now must be said of Jacob, and of Israel, ‘Oh, what God has done!’” Num. 23:23 This is an interesting comment considering that for his first two prophecies, he had used sorcery. When he realized God was giving him the messages, he didn’t do it for the third. “Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness.” Num. 24:1
“I see Him, but not now;
I behold Him, but not near;
A Star shall come out of Jacob;
A Scepter shall rise out of Israel,
And batter the brow of Moab,
And destroy all the sons of tumult.” Numbers 24:17
This is agreed to be a Messianic prophesy. We see the star in relation to the birth of Jesus in Matt. 2:1,2 “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came from Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East, and have come to worship Him.’”
This refers both to the star as a marker pointing to the Messiah, and the Scepter, relating to his reign as King of the Jews.

Jesus as the Water from the Rock

11 Nov

water from the rock
Read Numbers 20
This event is to be set in contrast to Exodus 17:1-7, when God specifically told Moses to strike the rock, to provide water for the people. God provided this event as a type of our Lord Jesus Christ from whose sacrifice flows pardon, cleansing, eternal life and daily sustenance. This represented the stroke of God the Father on Jesus at Calvary. “The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isa. 53:6b That Rock is Christ (1 Cor. 10:4).
In this instance, the children of Israel complain yet again. They contend against Moses and Aaron, yet God sees it as contending against Him. (vs 13) Their complaint included longing for death with their brothers (probably referring to the rebellion of Korah in chapter 16). They forget God brought them out of Egypt, but instead say, “Why have you brought up the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here?” (vs 5)
They feel they were compelled. “And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink?” They forget they’re not in the Promised Land yet. And God had given them a foretaste of what is to come with the example of the fruit (grapes, pomegranates and figs) brought back by the spies. (Num. 13:23)
Moses and Aaron leave them and go to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, where the LORD usually meets with them. The door also signifying Christ, who is the Door through whom we access the Father. (John 10:9) They fall on their faces in humility. The glory of God appears to them (probably in the form of a cloud).
Although Moses is instructed to retrieve Aaron’s rod from before the Testimony (Num. 17:10), and go with Aaron before the congregation, he is specifically instructed to “speak to the rock before their eyes; and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals” (whom they were concerned about in verse 4). So far, so good.
Moses and Aaron gather the people together before the rock (still ok), but then instead of speaking to the rock as ordered, he reacts angrily, referring to the people as rebels, and saying, “Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” as if he and Aaron were responsible for the miraculous provision, instead of God.
Moses then strikes the rock twice, (oh-oh), water flows out of it, and they and their animal drink. God still provided for them. This also shows God’s concern for their animals as well as the people. The judgment from God is swift and the sentence is pronounced; to be carried out soon for Aaron, later for Moses.
“Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron” (both were guilty). “Because you did not believe Me to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you (both) shall not bring this assemble into the land which I have given them.” (Num. 20:12) This is the first and last time Moses is disciplined by God.
Aaron is further singled out just before he is brought up onto Mount Hor to die (vs. 25,26). The reason is the same, “Aaron shall be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word, at the water of Meribah.” (Num. 20:24) God calls them the actual rebels, even though that was what they called the children of Israel.
Does this punishment seem harsh to you? Do you feel God ‘over-reacted’ to the situation? You would think that if you didn’t understand the reason God was giving this picture to us.
Christ, our Rock is not to be smitten again. His death was sufficient. He said, “It is finished” (accomplished). Speaking to the Rock is equivalent to prayer. We don’t re-sacrifice Him, as the Roman Catholics do in the mass. This resulted in Moses being shut out of Canaan/the Promised Land.
God was determined to give us these two pictures of faith. We first trust in the Rock smitten for us (Isa. 53:4, 1 Cor. 10:4) and then we approach Him by faith in prayer. Even though it would seem that Moses frustrated God’s plan to teach us this, we see by God’s response that the lesson will be taught regardless.
A further reason why Moses could not enter the Promised Land is because he represented the Law, and the law cannot inherit the promises of God. It had to be Joshua, who represented Yeshua/Jesus, who would bring His people into the Promised Land.
“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17
“But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” Rom. 7:6
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Rom.8:3,4
“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Acts 13:38,39
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Rom.10:4
Jesus is the Rock, and He is the Water from the Rock. In the book of Isaiah 55:1,2 prefigures the free offer of the gospel.
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.”
Jesus applies this to Himself and the Holy Spirit when he says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me, and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39
“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” Rev. 22:17
Jesus is the water of life. He provided a way for us to have this water when He, the Rock was smitten on the cross. Now that we have this living water in us, we speak to the Rock in prayer.

 

Jesus as the High Priest

7 Nov

High Priest
The first High Priest was Moses’ brother, Aaron. All subsequent priests were to come from the tribe of Levi only and the High Priest from among the sons of Aaron. For their duties, they were to be consecrated (set apart) and sanctified (made ceremonially clean and holy) through some rituals like washing, wearing priestly garments and being dabbed with blood from the sacrifice.
The priestly garments were designed “for glory and for beauty.” Ex.28:2 Two articles of clothing contained the names of the twelve sons of Israel; the ephod had 2 memorial stones set on the shoulders, Ex. 28:12 and the breastplate had the names engraved over his heart.
“So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel on the breastplate of judgment over his heart, when he goes into the holy place, as a memorial before the Lord continually.” Ex. 28:29
This represented Jesus’ cross-work where He died specifically for His people and His future intercession for us before the throne as our Advocate. His death wasn’t to make salvation theoretically possible if only someone would believe. Jesus said, “I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:15b
The High Priest was consecrated as holy. He had to offer sacrifices first for himself, because he was a sinner, and then for the people. But Jesus, because He was sinless, only offered up the sacrifice of Himself on our behalf.
“…who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.” Heb. 7:27
The High Priest had bells on the hem of his garment. This way people could hear him. They were never sure if God would accept the sacrifice and forgive them.
“And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe all around. And it shall be upon Aaron when he ministers, and its sound will be heard when he goes into the holy place before the LORD and when he comes out, that he may not die.” Ex. 28:33-35
Side point. It’s believed the pomegranate was there to remind them of the first sin of eating the forbidden fruit.
“He had bells and a rope attached, because the experience could be so overwhelming that those outside listened to the bells ringing, meaning that the priest was moving about; but if the bells stopped ringing, they would pull him out, not daring to enter themselves.” Vladimir Berzoonsky
But we know that Jesus’s sacrifice was accepted. The evidence of this was His resurrection from the dead. If He was a false teacher He would have stayed dead. God vindicated both His life and His work. “…who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” Rom. 4:25 and “…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 17:31
The High Priest was charged with keeping the light burning at all times. He also burned incense, which represented prayer.
“Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning; when he tends the lamps, he shall burn incense on it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.” Exodus 30:7,8
Jesus not only intercedes for us in prayer, but the oil in the lamp is often compared to the Holy Spirit, which Jesus sent after He had ascended to Heaven. This oil now lights our lamps continually.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt. 5:16

The High Priest/priest/people would lay their hand on the sacrifice to identify with it/lay their sins on it, and then witness its’ death. This showed them the penalty for sin. They probably wouldn’t appreciate how serious and heinous sin is by giving a piece of fruit.
“And he brought the bull for the sin offering. Then Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull for the sin offering, and Moses killed it.” Lev. 8:14,15a
Jesus identified with us, taking on our sins even though He was the innocent Lamb 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

“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 Pet. 3:18

Jesus is a better High Priest because He lives forever.
“Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Heb. 7:23-25
”But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Heb. 9:11,12
Jesus is considered our High Priest even though He was from the tribe of Judah, rather than the tribe of Levi, because He was a priest after the order of Melchizedek. We studied this in Genesis. See also all of Hebrews 7.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
“And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” Rev. 5:10
So if we believers are priests, what kind of sacrifices do we offer to God?
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Heb. 13:15
“But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Heb. 13:16
So our sacrifices are our lives, daily, our praise and thanksgiving, and our good works.

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.

Christ as the Seed of the Woman

4 Nov

eve
Read Genesis 3

Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.

Effects of the Fall
Immediately after they ate the fruit, the lights went on, or should I say, out. (Gen.3:7) The loss of innocence led to a feeling of shame. Their guilt is expressed in the awareness of nakedness. This is in contrast to before the fall when they were naked and unashamed.

Redemption is linked to God providing a covering, or Atonement for sin. Gen.3:21 Even the mercy seat is a covering of the ark, which contained the law, which we broke. It was the place where estranged parties were reconciled. Ex. 25:7

They were also now afraid of God. Whereas before, they had fellowship with God, now they saw Him as their Judge. “I was afraid,” Adam admits in Gen. 3:10

There was a change in their relationship; blame and lack of trust; Gen.3:12

They realized they were naked, and went about trying to make themselves presentable, covering themselves with fig leaves. We often do this, too. Many people won’t come to God until they feel they’ve cleaned up their act. They try to cover themselves with the fig leaves of good works, hoping God won’t see that they’re spiritually naked.

The Blame Game
As the head of the family, Adam must give an account of what has been done. He is questioned first, even though God knew Eve ate first. As I said, it’s forever referred to as Adam’s sin, not Eve’s, although they are equally guilty, and equally fallen. He was the representative for all mankind yet to be born, and the head of the family.

“They show their allegiance to Satan by distorting the truth, accusing one another, and accusing God. Their efforts to conceal their sin only expose it.” Geneva Study Bible notes.

Imagine Eve’s shock when he blames her, as if he wasn’t responsible for his own actions. I can imagine her standing there staring at him with her mouth hanging open. Notice he doesn’t try to say he was deceived; that much at least is true. She handed it to him and he ate it. He also subtly blames God, “the woman You gave me.” Gen. 3:12 He implies it was God’s fault for giving Eve to him in the first place.

The Sentence
The Supreme Court of the Universe is now in session. The Judge has heard the testimonies (i.e. excuses), and He is ready to pass sentence. There is no question as to whether He can do this; it is His right as Creator.
For Satan, God doesn’t even ask for his side of the story, but just assigns judgment on him. God knows his motives and what he has done. The first part of the sentence is on the serpent itself, which is a symbol of Satan (Gen. 3:14). The second part is on the Devil, himself.

“Humanity is now divided into two camps: the redeemed who love God, and the reprobate, who love self. This is seen as soon as the next generation in the hostility of Cain against Abel.” Geneva Study Bible notes.

But see the grace of God. Even as He is passing judgment, He is giving us the first promise of a Redeemer. He does not leave them without hope. The woman’s Seed will gain the victory. As sin entered the world through the agency of a woman, so the Saviour of sinners enters the world by way of a woman. Jesus is Mary’s son. He had no human father. The reference to “her Seed” is a clue, as biology teaches us that men have seed, women; an egg. Yet this future Redeemer is “her Seed”, which is contrary to nature. This hints at the Virgin Birth, or rather, the Virginal Conception. It was a normal birth, but a unique conception.

This verse in Gen. 3:15 is referred to as the Protevangelium, or first gospel. We understand it by later revelations, as they unfold and God’s plan of salvation becomes clearer as history unfolds. Yet we know that the theme of redemption is the Bible’s main story line. Even Jesus said as much after His resurrection, when it’s said on the road to Emmaus, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27

It’s been understood that the Seed of the woman is the Redeemer, and crushing the serpent’s head is His ultimate triumph over Satan and his kingdom. We see hints of His human nature as the Seed of the woman, and yet because He is able to defeat Satan, He must be God. He must participate in the nature of those He will redeem, while at the same time he must have the power to subdue all evil. From Genesis to Revelation, this God-man Redeemer is held up as the object of worship. Without this beautiful, life-giving promise, Scripture would be a dull record of historical facts and laws.

This Seed of the woman is more than just a way of saying that mankind will triumph over sin. It’s a particular person, her Seed. Later we’ll also learn He is the Seed of Abraham, (Gal. 3:16) again referring to an individual, but now hinting that He’d come through the Jewish line. Then later we learn it’s in the line of Judah, and later in the family of David.

This promise of the Redeemer was repeated and amplified until He came, so they’d recognize Him.

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.

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