Christianity 201

April 14, 2017

Appeasement or Deliverance?

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Mel Wild is senior pastor at Cornerstone Church and as director of Radiant School of Ministry, both based in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin USA. We’re introducing him to readers at C201 today for the first time and I was thrilled to find an article which would be a such a good fit for Good Friday.

As always, click the title below to read at his blog, In My Father’s House.

Christ, the Passover Lamb (Part One)

How is Christ is Lamb of God? Is the emphasis on appeasement, like with the animal sacrifices in the Mosaic Law, or is it about deliverance?

Yesterday marked the beginning of the Jewish Passover, but we’re going to look at the first Passover and see how that might answer the question for us.

First, here’s how Paul made the connection between Christ and the Passover:

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. (1 Cor.5:7 *)

This passage also brings up another question: in what way does it mean that Christ was sacrificed? I’ll address that question next time.

In my series, “Jesus Christ: Savior of the world,” I made the point that the Cross of Christ delivered us from Satan’s societal construct in alienation from God called “this world.” From what we learned from the series, let’s take a fresh look at how Christ fulfilled the Passover.

What are we being saved from?

We see the Passover instituted in Exodus 12, but the promise is made earlier. I want you to notice the nature of this promise. I’ve highlighted the salient points for our discussion:

And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. 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.  (Exod. 6:5-7 *)

Looking at this passage, which the New Testament says Christ fulfills as a type for our salvation, is there any mention of God needing to be paid in order to forgive us? (I’ll come back to this in part two.)

What is the context here? “I will bring you out from under the burdens”…”I will rescue you from their bondage…”

Is this not talking about deliverance from bondage? In Israel’s case, from the Egyptians? In our case, from “Egypt” as a biblical archetype for “this world?”

Let me ask you another question while we’re here. What is the difference between being forgiven and being saved from your sins?

21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matt.1:21 *)

Forgiveness speaks of forbearance. The criminal is pardoned. But to be freed from your sins is much more than this!

Israel being delivered from their slavery in Egypt is the best way to see this. But, with us, it’s a slavery of another kind.

First, we see Moses as a type of Israel’s Messiah to come:

So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to PharaohAnd 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.” (Exod.7:1, 5 *)

Notice that it says that God will bring Israel out from among them. It speaks of removal from what’s keeping them in slavery. For us, “Pharaoh” represents the “god of this age” (2 Cor.4:4), and “Egypt” represents the societal structure in alienation from God that he controls called “this world.”  The New Testament writers understood that Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment.

37 “This 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 *)

So, Jesus, as a type of Moses, came to free us from our slavery to this world system:

34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:34-38 *)

who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Gal.1:4 *)

He didn’t come just to forgive us (although we are forgiven), or even to take us out of the physical world. He came to free us from Satan’s construct in this world that has enslaved us. I go into this in much greater detail in my post, “The sin of the world.”

13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Col.1:13 *)

We will look at how we might understand Jesus as our ransom and how He purchased our freedom as the Passover Lamb when I conclude tomorrow.

* Unless otherwise noted, New King James Bible translation. All emphasis added.

 

December 12, 2016

A Meal to Remember

This blog post came to our attention through an interesting series of rabbit trails. It’s the last thing posted to a blog which is no longer active, Believing and Serving In Christ.

Mostly Mealtimes…

Recently I asked a question on Facebook. My question was simple enough: How often do you think about a meal when you think about the last time you saw somebody? A lot of people responded that they did think of a meal when they last thought of someone…

I’m led then to believe that God does some things on purpose, directly because He knows people, and He knows we like to eat too. He knows we remember special occasions by the food we eat, so He gave the Children of Israel a collection of feasts to keep, each with their meaning, each occurring in their own time. The Jews celebrate Passover, and it’s that feast that I want to look at if only briefly.

What if you were alive, as an Israelite, captive in Egypt when Moses came to lead the people out of Pharaoh’s hand? What would you make of the commands to keep the Passover described in Exodus Chapter 12? First of all, it’s a meal that is designed to separate the People of God from the Foreigner. God tells the people:

43 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, 44 but every slave that is bought for money may eat of it after you have circumcised him. 45 No foreigner or hired worker may eat of it. … 47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. 48 If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. 49 There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.” Exodus 12:43-45; 47-49.

God intends for this meal to be a meal where there is a clear distinction between God’s People, and those who are not God’s people. Ponder this for a moment as we listen to another one of God’s commands for this special meal: “10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.” This meal has a special time, limited in duration. There are no leftovers from God’s Passover! The People of God are given clear instruction about the time that the Passover takes place. He tells them the month the feast is in, he tells them the day the feast starts, and then He tells them duration of the feast. Six days of unleavened bread, and then, one evening only, lamb with the bread, and bitter herbs. There’s no accidents here. All of this is for a reason. Ponder as if you were one of the Children of Israel, waiting to be delivered from Egypt. Now listen to this and consider what it could mean: 

They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts…11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord‘s Passover. Exodus 12:8, 9, 11 46 It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones. Exodus 12:46

God commanded the People of God to eat the meal in a certain manner. None of this is by accident. There’s nothing here done by chance or haphazardly. God has a certain way for doing this, and it’s for a certain reason. He’s wanting these people to remember the meal. He’s going to use it for something special. He’s looking down the road 1500 years to a time when this meal will be celebrated in this manner for the last time before His Son dies.

We know that on the night Jesus was betrayed he was keeping the Passover meal. We also know that he gave a meal to remember him by on that night. I always try to consider what it must have been like for the disciples on that night. Like the Israelites that first night, they were probably a little confused by Jesus’ new instructions. He takes the bread, and offers it to them, calling it his body. Then he lifts a glass, and calls it the blood of the new covenant. Just like the first Passover, though, this meal also has certain rules. Just like it was with the Israelites and the Passover: The Lord’s Supper is only valid for certain people. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:29 “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.” Our meal is for those who recognize that this bread and cup are given to us as the body and blood of Jesus. Also, like Passover: Our meal has a time. From early in its history, the Church has gathered on the first day of the week to celebrate the Lord in this manner. We gather for the same reason the early disciples gather: to devote ourselves to the Apostle’s teachings, for fellowship, to break this bread together and for prayer. Thirdly, God has commanded us to eat this meal together in a certain manner. We’re commanded to examine ourselves, to not use this as a time for overindulgence, and to recognize the body of the Lord. 

There’s a lot of things about the Passover that can be studied in the Light of the identity of Jesus, and the salvation he offered to us. One thing that’s worthy of another lesson is the direct symbolism between Jesus and the Passover lamb. There’s a reason why the Passover lamb had to be unblemished. There’s a reason why we call Jesus the Lamb of God, and why his bones weren’t broken on the cross, even though the other two who were crucified with him had their legs broken. Most importantly, however, there’s a reason why [the church gathers to partake of the Lord’s Supper.] It’s to eat a meal, and think about the Last Time Jesus was here, and to also think about the time when we’ll see him in person!

June 14, 2015

The Day That The Lord Has Made

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This is post # 1900 at Christianity 201.


 

One of my earliest memories of singing choruses (as opposed to hymns) was the highly repetitious “This is the Day.” I think much of its popularity had to do with the fact that we didn’t need printed or projected lyrics in order to sing it; but somewhere in the process we may have missed out on a lot of its context.

We tended to sing it on Sunday, which first left me believing that it was a song about our day of worship. But then I broadened out that thought to understand that every day is a gift from God. As you’ll see below however, there is a lot more going on in Psalm 118. To read this at source from the website aBible, click the title below:

Psalm 118:24 – God Made This Day; Let’s Rejoice In It

 Psa 118:24 (NIV) This is the day the LORD has made; let us
rejoice and be glad in it.

This is the last of the “Hallel” or “praise” psalms (Ps.
113-118), which were sung at the Passover. This was probably the hymn sung
by Jesus and the disciples in the Upper Room before they departed
for the Mount of Olives (see Matt. 26:30). [New Bible Companion]

Psalms 113-118 are sung yearly by devout Jews at the celebration
of Passover, the first two ( 113-114) before and the last four
(115-118) after the Passover meal. Thus it is possible that Psalm 113 was
one of the last songs our Lord sang before His crucifixion (Mark
14:26). [Your Daily Walk SB]

This psalm of jubilant thanksgiving was sung by worshipers in
procession to the Temple. It contains an acclamation of praise (vv. 1-4),
an acknowledgment of past distress, petition, and deliverance by
God (vv. 5-21), and an anticipation of the future day when the
Foundation Stone will bring salvation (vv. 22-29). [Ryrie SB]

Look back to see ahead. Turn to yesterday to see tomorrow.
It’s almost a paradox. But it’s true. When Israel looked back
each Passover season at the redemption won for them from Egypt, they
were in fact looking ahead, and viewing the ministry of the Messiah.
What will His coming mean? A shout of praise, that “His love
endures forever” (vv. 2-4). Freedom found by taking refuge in the LORD
(vv. 5-9). A fresh awareness of our desperate need, relieved by the
fact that the LORD “has become my salvation” (vv. 10-14). Shouts of
joy punctuating the realization that “I will not die but live” (vv.
15-18). Endless praise, as we enter the gates of heaven to give God
thanks for our salvation (vv. 19-21). And in it all, the exaltation of
Jesus who, rejected by the builders, became the cornerstone of God’s
plan of salvation (vv. 22-23).

Then comes the stunning realization that “this is the day that
the LORD has made”–a day that spills over into eternity; a
never-ending day throughout which we will give God thanks, exalting Him for
He is “my God” and because “He is good; His love endures forever.”
Today when you and I turn to look back, we see our tomorrow in
the cross of Jesus, our Passover sacrifice. In the shadow of Calvary
we sense the dawn of the day that the LORD has ordained for you and
me. When we turn again after looking back at the cross, and look
ahead, we can see just beyond the horizon of tomorrow the return of
Christ.

What will that return mean? How clearly this majestic psalm
tells us. For you and for me, Christ’s return will mean freedom,
shouts of joy, and endless days of praise. [The 365-Day Devotional
Commentary]

When you look back to the cross, look intently until you see
tomorrow. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]

Saying this verse to ourselves each morning can be a great way
to remember the practice of living one day at a time. How valuable
to remind ourselves that God made this day, with all its blessings
and opportunities, and gave it to us. We can thank him for it and
enter the day with anticipation. [Life Recovery Devotional SB]

God’s ways are not the same as our ways. What people may cast
aside as unfit for use, God uses to do awe-inspiring work. This can be
true for us, too. We may feel that our life has been ruined beyond
repair. We probably think that we will never be used by God for anything
significant. God often uses the most unlikely people to work his greatest
miracles, proving to the world that God is at work. As willing vessels of
God’s power, we can be transformed to make an impact on others that
goes far beyond our wildest dreams. All we have to do is entrust our
life to God. [Life Recovery SB]

We have the assurance that in the storms of life today, Jesus
Himself will be standing just outside the door waiting to be invited in.
He is waiting to share a meal with us, waiting to share our
sorrows, to renew our courage, to come in and talk intimately.
We are not alone. We never shall be. He has to be there; all we
need do is open the door to Him. What is your need today? Do you need
comfort in your personal trials? Christ is waiting. Do you need
forgiveness for your sins? He is knocking. Do you need to make a new
commitment to serve God with your life? Whatever your spiritual need, right
now Christ is knocking at the door of your heart. He is Lord of the
universe, and He wants to be Lord of your life as well. (Stern Warning by
Billy Graham) [Inspirational SB]

Click here to read the full Psalm.

September 11, 2011

A Day Set Aside to Remember

September 11, 2011

Seen enough of the TV specials? Tired of hearing of “9/11?” You should know there’s a good reason why we need those programs and magazine features and internet tributes:

People Tend to Forget

Jesus understood this. Scripture tells us that on the night he was betrayed he took bread and broke it and said, “This is my body, broken for you; this do in remembrance of me.”

But you already know that. Those words from I Cor. 11 are often the most-repeated words in most churches during the course of a church calendar year. “For I received from the Lord that which also I delivered unto you;” is somewhat how I think the KJV renders it. The section from verse 23 to approx. verse 30 forms what is called “The Words of Institution” for the communion service aka Lord’s Supper aka the Eucharist. Even if you attend a church where things are decidedly non-liturgical, these verses probably get read each time your church observes “the breaking of bread;” and even if your pastor leans toward the New Living Translation or The Message, it’s possible that he lapses into King James for this one.

Why did Jesus institute this New Covenant, Second Testament version of the Passover meal?

Because people tend to forget.

Want proof?

Let’s look at the section we almost never read when we gather around the communion table, Luke 22. In verse 19 and 20 he tells them to remember. He tells them his life is about to be poured out for them. What a solemn moment. A holy moment. But unfortunately, a very brief moment.

In verse 24, Luke makes it clear that he’s trying to capture an accurate picture of what happened that night. Even if it makes the disciples look bad. It’s the kind of stuff that you would never include in your report to Theophilus if you were merely trying to make Christianity look good. If you were writing propaganda.

24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.

I don’t want to be disrespectful here, but Luke might as well have written, “At this point, one of the disciples looked out the window of the upper room and announced, ‘Guys, you gotta come here for a minute; there’s a girl out there that is totally hot.'”

I’m serious. It’s that much out of place with what’s just happened. Jesus is telling them — trying to tell them — all that he is about to suffer in order that a plan laid out from before the foundations of the world will be fulfilled. And they’re arguing about who is Disciple of the Month. How could they go from one extreme to the other so quickly? In a matter of seconds?

Easily. People tend to forget.

Whether it’s what happened in New York City, Washington, and that Pennsylvania field ten years ago; or whether it’s what happened in Roman occupied territory in the middle east two thousand years ago; we need to continually rehearse these stories in our hearts and pass them on to our children.

This is a day that is about remembering and like the upper room disciples, we can get so totally distracted. September 12th comes and everyone moves on to the next topic or news story. We must not let ourselves lose focus so easily. We must not forget.

Deuteronomy 4:9
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

June 14, 2011

After That He Took The Cup…

While reading through the Psalms, Cindy at Cindy by the Sea gets some new insights into Passover…  There’s much more than that here as well, you might want to click the link at the very bottom and catch up on previous installments of this study…

“Who shut up the sea behind doors, when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment, and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it, and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther, here is where your proud waves halt?’”  Job 38:8-11

God separates light from dark, sea from land and the righteous from the unrighteous.

————————————

Yesterday afternoon, I went out shopping and when I returned to my car, I found the following hand written words scrawled in blue pen on a white sheet of paper and attached to my windshield –

“Please do every one a favor and learn how to park!’  Signed, “the public.”

Indignant, I looked at the note and then at my tires and sure enough, I was parked a little over the line; well, maybe just a little more than a little, but, not that much!  I then glanced around at the cars parked near me and wondered who had the gall to write such a note and who would make such a big deal out of such a small thing.  After all, I had only gone a little over the line.

It didn’t occur to me until this morning, that my little parking episode had provided the perfect opening for today’s post.

————————-

When I started researching these Psalms, I came across a foot note in my Bible that really excited me, a foot-note, which at least for me provided the key to understanding the prophetic implication of this particular group of Psalms.

According to my foot-note, Psalms 113- 118, (the Egyptian Hallel)  is broken in to two parts, when read at Passover. The first two Psalms (113 & 114) are recited before the pouring of the second cup and the last three Psalms (115-118) are recited before the filling of the fourth cup.  Now this is very important. As someone who loves Passover and has taught on it many times, I was blown away, when I understood the implications of this.

Let’s start here:

There are four cups of wine at a Passover Seder.  In order, they are:

The cup of Sanctification, the cup of Judgment, the cup of Redemption and the cup of Praise.

If Psalms 113 and 114 correspond with years 2013 and 2014, then, we would expect to see someone or something sanctified (set apart) before judgment (wrath) falls.  *not to be confused with the chaos of 2012, which is a type of judgment, but, is not the wrath that falls during the last 3.5 years of the seven-year period.

Now, Sanctification is a big word which simply means to “set apart”. 

Passover, of course, did exactly that. By bringing his people out of Egypt, God separated them unto himself.  In the last days, there will be another group of people sanctified or “called out”.  We find these people listed in Revelation chapter 7, and they are the 144,000, 12,000 Jewish men from each tribe. 

Starting with Psalm 114 and working backwards –

The 114th Psalm opens with a recounting of the Exodus events –

“When Israel came out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of foreign tongue, Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion.  The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back; the mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. Why was it, O sea that you fled, O Jordan that you turned back, you mountains that you skipped like rams, you hills, like lambs?” Psalm 114:1-6

Now, why would it be important for the 114th Psalm to start out this way?  If God is going to call out this great group of people, who will be instrumental in bringing a remnant to faith in Christ during this period, what better way than recalling the great events of the Exodus.  Don’t you just love the wording used, this was a time of incredible joy for the Father, “the mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs!”  This was marvelous, this was incredible, God had chosen a people for himself and called them out of Egypt.

Life in Egypt was darkness, life in Egypt was slavery, life in Egypt was hopeless – but, God delivered them!  Out of the chaos of 2012, a light shines, God raises up 144,000 spirit filled dynamos that will powerfully preach the message of the cross.  And, people will be saved!  A remnant to be sure, but, nevertheless, people will be saved!

Psalm 114, therefore, serves as a reminder that God is not yet finished – even in the midst of chaos God has set apart, chosen and sealed a people for his purposes. 

The Psalm ends with these words:

“Tremble, O earth at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turned the rock in to a pool, the hard rock in to springs of water.”  Psalm 114:8

The indication here I believe, that the same God who brought water out of the rock, will turn even these terrible events of the tribulation period in to springs of living water for those who will hear and believe.

How many will be saved during this period, I don’t know. But, I do know that we are told in the book of Zechariah that 2/3 of the population of Israel will die, while 1/3  will survive – therefore, of the estimated six million people living in Israel today, at least two million will come to faith in Jesus Christ at some time during this period. (Zechariah 13:8)

Backing up to Psalm 113 – the year that follows on the heels of the opening of the six seals during the year 2012.  The Psalmist opens with these words:

“Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord. Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forever more. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.”

God has begun a mighty work; world-wide in scope which will culminate in triumph over his enemies. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, THE NAME OF THE LORD IS TO BE PRAISED!

The Psalmist reminds us in verses 4-6 that God is exalted ABOVE the nations, enthroned on high, he stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth.

“The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth.” Psalm 113: 4-6

Can you imagine? God stoops down to see who is making such a fuss. The nations raging against Israel are really raging against God. In their vain imaginations and their pride, they think by defeating Israel, they can defeat God. They don’t want their ten commandments and they sure don’t want their Messiah. They want their self-made, man-made religion without any restrictions, without any boundaries and without any responsibilities. And, as long as Jews and Christians are around, it’s a sore reminder of a God who says otherwise.

During this chaotic time period, those who are poor and needy ( in other words, those who see their spiritual need and respond to the call of Jesus) will be lifted from the ash heap and the dust to be seated with princes.

“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people.” Psalm 113:7-8

Every Passover Seder begins with an invitation to Passover. A call for any one who is hungry or thirsty to come to the table. The implication, that what ever your needs, they will be met at the Passover table.  And, of course, in a very large sense it is true, as the Passover Seder is a wonderful picture of the redemptive work of Christ. Jesus, who also said, ”Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” To be seated with the princes, is to be seated with Christ.

And, the Psalm concludes –

“He settles the barren woman in her home, as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord!”  Psalm 113:9

The barren woman (Rachel) matriarch of the Jewish people, was the mother of Joseph and Benjamin; Joseph, a type of Christ. Israel, will never be moved from their land. And, Jew and Gentile believers, their happy-off spring of whom there are many, will share in this blessed inheritance.

I started todays post with my little parking incident and though minor and of no real consequence, I have to admit, how quickly, I took offense at being shown the error of my ways. There are laws and boundaries that govern even nature itself. Only man has the choice and the capability of defying the creator. Humbleness is not easy to come by and without the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit, not one of us would see our sin and how desperately in need of a Savior, we really are. 

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper who love thee” Psalm 122:6   Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus!  

~Cindy