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 Red Heifer

13 Nov

red_heifer
Read Numbers 19:1-10
On the surface, this is yet another sacrifice and ceremony. But on closer inspection we find hints of Jesus. It’s another Scarlet Thread.
First, like other sacrificial animals, it had to have no defect and be without blemish. This points to the sinlessness of Christ.
Second, it was given to Eleazar the priest, taken outside the camp and slaughtered before him. It was also burned there. Likewise, Jesus was crucified outside the city of Jerusalem at Golgotha (Calvary). Some of its blood is sprinkled in front of the tabernacle of meeting. After it is burned, a ceremonial clean person gathers up the ashes and stores them outside the camp in a clean place, kept for the congregation, to make the water of purification for the purifying from sin.
This statute was not only for Israel but also for the stranger who dwells among them, pre-figuring the worldwide nature of the gospel.
If the water of purification is not applied, “his uncleanness is still upon him.” It must be applied. Likewise we must be cleansed by Christ. When His side was pierced on the cross, blood and water flowed out. Blood for covering (atonement) and water for cleansing.
As with many types and shadows in the Old Testament, it’s only when the light of the New Testament shines on it that we understand its significance.
Hebrews 9:11-15
“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. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”
This is a comparison from the lesser (blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer) to the greater (the blood of Christ). Also from the lesser (the purifying of the flesh) to the greater (to cleanse your conscience). Because of this difference between the old and new covenants, (for this reason) he is the Mediator of the new covenant.

Hebrews 13:11-13
“For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.”
As the heifer was slaughtered outside the camp, Jesus also suffered outside Jerusalem. Since He identified with us in our sin, we ought also to identify with Him in His shame.

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 in the Year of Jubilee

10 Nov

Jubilee
After seven Sabbaths of years, meaning 7 X 7 or 49 years, the 50th year was to be celebrated as the Year of Jubilee. This was a year of restoration of lands and people out of bondage. If land hand been sold due to poverty, in this year it was restored to the original owner, so that the land remained with the tribes as originally allotted to them. If a person was sold into servitude because of poverty, in this year, if not redeemed earlier, they would be set free.
They were also not to sow their crops every Sabbath year, or 7th year. They also were not to sow crops in the Jubilee year, but only eat what grew on its own. Just as God provided extra manna on the sixth day to feed them on the Sabbath, so He would reward their faithfulness in this.
God states the reason for the Year of Jubilee. “For they are My servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves.” Lev. 25:42
It is a beautiful picture of the release we receive from Jesus from our slavery to sin.
“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? 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. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” Rom. 6:16-18
Jesus applied a prophecy from Isaiah to Himself, in Luke 4:16-21
“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
‘The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.’
Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” Luke 4:16-21
We are free from the requirements to keep the law, we are free from the penalty due us because of our sin and rebellion, because He paid the price, we are free from the power of sin over our lives because the Holy Spirit lives in us, enabling us to obey, and one day we will be free from the presence of sin, in Heaven.
“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

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

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