Saturday, June 28, 2014
The seventh chapter of Acts records Stephen’s message to Israel in Jerusalem. In reviewing Israel’s history Stephen made reference to “the Church in the wilderness.” Acts7:38 “This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us.
Then in Hebrews 2:12 we find a fulfillment of the prophecy of Psalm 22:22 concerning God’s Church or Congregation. Note first, Psalm 22:22 I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
And now, Hebrews 2:12. saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” The Greek word translated “assembly” is “ekklesia.” God has always had a assembly or Church so the Church is not a New Testament invention of God. “Ekklesia” is from the Greek “kaleo,” “call,” “ek,” “out.” “The Church” means “the called-out.”
PURPOSE OF THE WILDERNESS.
The wilderness experience for the Israelites was a period of trial, and testing. Deuteronomy 8:2-3 NKJV says, And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.
God also knew that the wilderness is an ideal place to test his people and to help them learn faith and endurance. There is hardly a way to travel from Egypt to the Promised Land without passing through the wilderness. We know from Deuteronomy 1:2, that it should have taken only eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea, which was on the border of the Promised Land. Yet, it took the children of Israel forty years to make the journey.
They were stuck in the wilderness because of unbelief and because God had a few things to teach them. In Hebrew, the word for wilderness is midbar. It is surely interesting that the root of midbar has the meaning of “speak” or “word.” God speaks to Israel in the wilderness.
God also humbles and proves Israel in the wilderness. Deuteronomy 8:2 And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
The Israelites were guilty on many occasions of tempting God. The children of Israel had just seen the miraculously miracle of God through Moses in Egypt. They were delivered through the sea as they escaped from Pharaoh. While in the wilderness, the children of Israel had some real trouble in the area of worship. Even while Moses was in the mountain receiving the law of the Lord, the people were busy making a golden calf to worship (Deut. 9:7-21).
While God had forth all Israel's battles for them they sill refused to enter the land of Canaan and take the land. (Numbers 14:1-38) They tested God to the point that they were finally sentenced to wander forty years in the wilderness. Numbers 14:30-32 Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. 31 But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness.
In the New Testament, wilderness in which the church finds herself is not a literal desert. But a time period of trial, and testing also. And her destination is not the literal territory of Canaan. But a “better country,” which indicates that the promised land the saints hope to enter is something other than the literal territory of Palestine. (Hebrews 11:16)
Jesus is true Israel! The church was and is the body of Christ. Likewise we believe that as the church equated to the body of Christ, it was the true Israel of God! (Gal.6:16) They like Jesus their master, had to go thru an Exodus journey where they would be tested and tried!
Just a few points to be made on Jesus and wilderness, testing, and exodus. First we are told in Matt.2:15 that it is the fulfillment of Hosea 11:1. Israel coming out of Egypt was a shadow pointing to Jesus! It was when the young Jesus was actually brought by Mary and Joseph back from their flight into Egypt to escape Herod who sought His life.
Matthew 2:15 (NKJV) “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.”
Interestingly enough, the first thing Jesus does before starting His ministry is to go into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights to be tempted by Satan. But unlike Israel who failed their testing, Jesus the true Israel passes the test! (Matt.4:1-11; Mk.1:12; Lk.4:1-13) Likewise we are told that Jesus gave the apostles commandmanents (ἐντειλάμενος) and continued to appear to them by many infallible proofs. He taught them about the kingdom of God for a period of 40 days and nights.
Acts 1:2-3 (NKJV)2 “until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
A quick application here is a link to Moses as a shadow who was on Mount Sinai for 40 days where God gave him Commandments. (Ex.24:18) Here Jesus is giving commandment or instruction to His Apostles for the same exact physical time period.
Let’s look at one more passage that speaks to Jesus preparing for His Exodus in reference to His death.Luke 9:30-31 (NKJV) 30”And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease ( Gr. ἔξοδον this is lit. the word “exodus”) which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.”
(The Greek words here are: τὴν ἔξοδον αὐτοῦ literally means ‘The exodus of Him” Notice Luke’s choice of words here? The word used for “Decease” is not the word for death which isθάνατος which Luke uses just four verses earlier! Lk.9:27) It is our belief that this word is used for a reason. The sacrificial death and offering of His prepared body (Heb.10:5) was not just about a physical death nor was His resurrection about a physical body raising up out of the tomb! That had happened before, yet we are told that Jesus was the first to rise! Lets look at two scriptures that point this out!
Acts 26:23 (NKJV)“that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”
1 Corinthians 15:20 (NKJV)“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
So knowing that His resurrection was not the first physically speaking, we know that it was something much greater. Heb. 9:27 is where we read that it is appointed for men to die! (Physical death is certainly in view here.) Man, animals, plants, as well as insects were always destined to die physically! That is not nor was it ever was the problem God sought to remedy! Let’s face it - Adam did not die physically in the day he ate, or touched the tree as God had said! He lived on to be 930 yrs old! So did God lie? Of course not!
Now the true Israel of God which was the body of Christ like Jesus needed to go thru their own Exodus and wilderness journey, and do it without failing! The truth be told, Salvation is of the Jews (Jn.4:22) It went to them first. And like God’s dealing with the Israel that came out of Egypt, He was long suffering towards the Israel of the first century! Lets compare Acts 13:17 -18 with2 Peter 3:9
Acts 13:17-18 (NKJV)“The God of this people Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He brought them out of it. 18 Now for a time of about forty years He put up with their ways in the wilderness.”
2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the period of testing and trial for Israel was for 40 years coming out of Egypt. Likewise we know that it was about 40 years from the crucifixion which took place about 30 or 31 A.D. till the parousia in A.D. 70! Now the question arises, Did the church really fulfill the type and shadow of that exodus journey thru the wilderness? Yes , it did! Speaking on this matter to the Corinthian church in 1 Cor.10:1-13 the Apostle Paul clearly wrote:1 Cor. 10:11 (NKJV) “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
Now this is something you may not have ever heard before, yet we submit this for your approval! It’s the fact that the church not only survived and was faithful in her wilderness journey, but was actually nourished and strengthened in the wilderness! The Israel of old ate manna and perished, but the church feed on the bread of life! The word of God grew, multiplied, nourished the church, and was completed in the 40 year period! When it went thru the great tribulation period, at the last hour for three and a half years they remained faithful and strengthened!
Rev. 12:5-6 (NKJV)“She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.”
Rev. 12:14 (NKJV)“But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.”
Physical Israel was also going thru the same wilderness journey, but was even worse off than those who came out of Egypt 1,600 before. She was filthy, full of abominations and persecuted the saints! (True Israel) Read Rev.17:3-6.
Yet with all this the church is described as not yet having received her promises. Not anyone prior to this time, or at this time, but soon to be a reality! The writer of the book of Hebrews (Who we believe was Paul.) after going through what has become known as “The Great Roll Call Of Faith” states this about all the faithful servants of God:
Hebrews 11:39-40 (NKJV) 39 “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”
Paul continues to exhort the Hebrews in the face of trials and persecutions to continue to run the race looking to Jesus as their forerunner and example. Remember 1 Peter 1:9-11 that spoke of “the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”? Paul in Heb.12:2-3 states the same exact purpose of Jesus in enduring His suffering so that the church (And remember now – those from the very beginning who had faith in God.) would also attain to resurrection and be partakers in His (Jesus’) holiness and receive the promises!
Hebrews 12:2-11 (NKJV) 2 “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 11b. ... that we may be partakers of His holiness.”
The resurrection is just like the cross! It was for many before it, at the time of it, and many future of it! Its purpose was for the unity of the faith! But there was an order, and no one could receive salvation and enter into heaven till the parousia!
1 Corinthians 15:22-23 (NKJV) “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.”
God used many types and shadows in the Old Testament that were found fulfillment in the antitype of the New Testament. Israel who in the 40 year wilderness journey is one of those types and shadows of the first century church’s own 40 year wilderness trek.
We will begin this study by looking at some of the many parallels we find in the Old Testament.
The Spies Sent into the land of Canaan is one that comes to mind. Numbers 13:17 states: Then Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, “Go up this way into the South, and go up to the mountains, 18 and see what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many; 19 whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds; 20 whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.
The spies came back with a bad report. Numbers 13: 26 Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”
Caleb’s report about the land. Numbers 13:30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”
The spies reply to Caleb, Numbers 13: But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
Israel Refuses to Enter Canaan. Numbers 14 So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of Israelcomplained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”
God not only wanted a people who would be in the Promised Land, but more than that, He wanted a people in whom has faith in Him. In short, God always wants relationship with Him – to equal their POSITION.
Paul notes that what was written before was written for their learning (Romans 15:4), and that many of the examples and situations in the Old Testament were mean to teach Christians a lesson (1 Corinthians 10:11-13).
In the letter to the Hebrews Paul goes into the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness after they came out of Egypt. Paul makes a connection between their experience and the first century Church.
Paul shows very interesting and direct parallels to Israel in the wilderness. To make his point, Paul quotes Psalm 95:7-11: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the (rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert), where your (fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did). That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, `Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' So I declared on oath in my anger, `They shall never enter my rest'" (Hebrews 3:7-11). [emphasis added]
Don't be like your disbelieving, disobedient ancestors, that were in wilderness he says. They refused God so many times that He set them aside and shut them out. The did not enter the promise land and God’s rest. Don't test his patience. Listen to what God is saying now.
To develop this point, he elaborates on the last part of the quote from Psalm 95: "They shall never enter my rest." Paul then concludes: "There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God" (Hebrews 4:9). Is he bringing up a new subject? No — he is still on the same subject, using different words to develop it further. He is saying, since people did not enter God's rest in Moses' day, nor in Joshua's day, and yet they are still exhorted in the Psalms about God's rest, the conclusion is that this rest still remains for the people of God. It was still available.
Why does he call this a Sabbath-rest? His exhortation throughout this book is telling Jewish people to look to Jesus. He is not urging them to do a better job of keeping Jewish customs. "Anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his." (Hebrews 4:10) Paul again draws a practical conclusion: Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. (v. 11)
Like the Israelites in the wilderness who had not attained to her permanent "land rest" but were being tested and humbled Deuteronomy 8:2-3 before her final destination, the promised "rest." The Church was being warned "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the (rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert), where your (fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did). Today here is used in a (present tense) grammatical refers to (present time) they had not yet attained their permanent “rest” but were still sojourns on the way to attain their permanent spiritual "land." Paul makes this point also when he says the rest was still available.
There is another parallel to Israel in the wilderness. The Church during her sojourn was also being tested by God James 1:3-4 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Who was doing the testing? God of course. What is being tested? Their faith in Christ as their disbelieving, disobedient ancestors, tested God in the wilderness.
Many of the Jews refused what Christ was offering and put their faith in the Mosaic covenant by returning back under that system of the law. In Galatians 5:4, the context is Paul’s warning against mixing law and the Gospel to attain justification. He says to those who let themselves be circumcised (Galatians 5:2) that they are “trying to be justified by law” and have therefore “been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”
Paul warns against setting aside the grace that comes from Christ. Those who do have nullified, or run away from, the grace that comes through His blood and attempted instead to justify themselves by the works of the Law. The purpose of Paul’s letter to the Galatians was to warn against the Judaizers because they attempted to lure born-again Christians back to justification through the Law, which is impossible (Galatians 2:16). He reminds them of the freedom they have in Christ: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1).
In the letter to the Colossians Paul noted that many of the institutions and commands revealed under the Law of Moses were, “things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” (Colossians 2:17). The same thrust is found in Hebrews 10:1 “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things”. In reference to the tabernacle in the Old Testament, Paul writer notes that the Levitical priests served, “a copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (Hebrews 8:5).
There is yet another parallel to Israel in the wilderness. Jesus was to be the subject of God’s promises to Abraham about the promise land. Abraham understood that he would not personally get literal land.
When we consider the fact that all of the land of Canaan was promised to Abraham, a land that was far greater in extent, than he would actually need, and yet he received none of it in his lifetime, the promise must have some other meaning than a literal view allows. In fact, Abraham's not receiving the land that he was promised is seen as proving the promise of his resurrection from the grave. Acts 7:5 And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him.
And he gave him none inheritance in it is true that Abraham had a field, and the cave of Mach-pelah, Genesis 23:9; but that was of no use to Abraham. When Sarah his wife died, he was obliged to buy a piece of ground for a burying place to bury her in. It could not be said to be given him as a gift by the Lord, for he bought it with his money:
The 11th chapter of Hebrews lists many of the heroes of faith, concludes with the statement that all the OT saints died, not having received the promises. Hebrews 11:39-40 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
The promise referred to here, that Abraham did not receive, was the land promise, and something far better than the literal land that was promised to Abraham’s disbelieving, descendants refused to enter. The land was merely a type, or a shadow, of the true "rest" promised by Jesus. And many were refusing to enter that promise land as well.
The New Testament, wilderness in which the church finds herself is not a literal desert. But a time period of trial, and testing also. And her destination is not the literalterritory of Canaan. But a “better country,” which indicates that the promised land the saints hope to enter is something other than the literal territory of Palestine. (Heb. 11:16) God being longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance gave Israel a 40 year testing and trial period. Then came the end with the destruction of Jerusalem.
As we have pointed out in the past, the Church or ἐκκλησία / ekklesia is made up of two syllables. The Greek prefix ἐκ means “out of, or away from” and the root verb κλησίαwhich means “to call or invite.” So the word ekklesia means “to call or invite out of” or “away from.” Away from what? I think would be the logical question … As an example, the letter to the Romans was written to both Jews and Gentiles. Most church letters like the letter to the church in Rome were written to predominantly Gentile churches. Makes sense since Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. Some of them were coming out of the Old Covenant and some of them were coming out of the Adamic Covenant. Just as Israel was called out of Egypt into an exodus juorney, so were the all that made up of anyone who was responding to the gospel call.
As we have already noted and taught, Jesus Himself is Israel, and the first thing Jesus does before starting His ministry is to go into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights to be tempted by Satan. But unlike Israel who failed their testing, Jesus the true Israel passes the test! (Matt.4:1-11; Mk.1:12; Lk.4:1-13) Similarly, the body of Christ (The Church) was to be tested and come through a trial period in that first century. That first century exodus would be marked by wonders and miricales just like the time of the exodus out of Egypt. Just like the time of Jesus’ ministry! It was even alluded to approximately 700 years before in Micah 7:15.
Ex. 34:10 (NKJV) “And He said: “Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD. For it is an awesome (θαυμαστά) thing that I will do with you.”
Micah 7:15 (NKJV) “As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,
I will show them wonders.” (θαυμαστά)
Notice what God said of the exodus journey of Israel out of Egypt – that He would show them wonders! Where we read in Ex.34:10 where God said that it would be a wondrous thing or awesome thing that He will do with them, the same can be said of the first century church!
Certainly no bible student would doubt the “WONDERS” and “MIRACLES” that were taking place during that 40 year period between the Ascention and the Parousia?!
The word θαυμαστά is only used 6 times in our New Testament. I want us to note two of them found in Matt.21:42-43 & Mk.12:11 They both are Jesus’ final response in His parable of the wicked Vinedressers. They are direct quotes from the Messianic Ps. 188:22-23 (In the LXX it is Ps. 117:22-23) where the same word is used: θαυμαστὴ.
Matt. 21:41-43 (NKJV) 41 “They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.” 42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’s doing, And it is marvelous (θαυμαστά) in our eyes’? 43 “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.”
Mk. 12:10-11 (NKJV)10 Have you not even read this Scripture:‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.11 This was the LORD’s doing, And it is marvelous (θαυμαστά) in our eyes’?”
What was being done in the work of God, the Messiah, and the body of Christ during that period was awesome and marvelous (θαυμαστά) in the sight of all. Just as it was true and happened in the shadow exodus, was true in the final first century exodus! The charismata was a wondrous display of the power of God in that journey! All throughout this wilderness journey where the Law of Liberty (James 2:12) was growing the church up into the full measure of Christ, there were spies that went out who gave a bad reported! These people crept into the church un-noticed who denied God. (Jude 4) They were spots in their love feasts (The agape meal) clouds without water, twice dead, etc … (Jude 12-19) They tried to force circumcision on the church (Acts 15:1) They were called out (ἐκκλησία) so that they would not share in the wrath of the fall of these antagonizers!
(Rev.18:4)Yet the other side of the story is that they also had others calling them back! Spiritually calling them back to Egypt! (Egypt in a spiritual sense!) Members of their own family did not see the new promised land as a better land! There were to many giants to overcome like in the land of Canaan! (Speaking spiritually of course!) Sadly, many did not make it and failed to enter the promised land by turning back to the old covenant! (Heb.6:4-8; 10:26-39) The writer of Hebrews certainly knew that there were those who would not pass the test and enter the rest!
Hebrews 4:1-3 (NKJV) Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’”although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.” This exodus included great signs and wonders as Peter proclaimed was prophesied on the day of Pentecost!
Acts 2:17-19 (NKJV) 17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
God performed even scary wonders! So much so, that we have recorded for us that many within and without the church were afraid of some of the things they saw! Look at the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter 5. After we read about them being struck down dead, we read that “great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things. (Acts 5:11) In the very next verse we read that through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done. Then in verse 13 we read that these signs and wonders made many dare not to join them (would not convert) but esteemed them highly! Then there were those who did believe but turned their backs on God even after seeing and experiencing this wilderness journey. Peter says that they like the proverb states are dogs turning back to their own vomit.(2 Peter 2:20-22) But of those who would become victorious in their exodus he wrote:
1 Peter 1:9-11 (NKJV) 9 “Receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls.10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”
Here Peter plainly spells out the purpose of the suffering of Christ! For the “glories that would follow.” This self same suffering would be experienced by the “the body of Christ” as they went through their Exodus and reach the true promised land!
The number 40 is a very significant and familiar number in the Bible. Let’s take for example the story of Noah and the flood, it rains 40 days and 40 nights (Gen. 7:4,12,17; 8:6). After the sealing of the covenant at Mt. Sinai, Moses is with God on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights (Ex.24:18). Look at when the prophet Elijah is being pursued by Queen Jezebel, he flees for his life and travels 40 days and nights until he comes to the mountain of God at Horeb (Sinai) (1 Kings 19:8). The number appears also in the New Testament. Jesus is tempted in the desert for 40 days and nights; his ascension to heaven occurs 40 days after the Resurrection (Acts 1:3). These are just but a few examples and there are many more.
The Israelites are encamped in the southern desert, within easy reach of the Promised Land. Scouts go ahead to survey the land, which they do for 40 days (Num. 13:25). They bring a glowing report of the land, but also note that some of the inhabitants are large and imposing. Despite the urgings of Joshua and Caleb, the people are afraid to go up into the land. Their refusal is a serious failure of faith in Yahweh's promise to give them the land. As a punishment, the people are to wander for 40 years, one year for each day the scouts were gone.
The Bible says, ‘The Lord's anger was kindled against Israel and He made them wander in the wilderness for forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was dead (Numbers 32:13). The reason the Lord led them around in circles for forty years, is because way back in those days, they were a stubborn, disobedient, rebellious, unfaithful, wicked, stiff-necked people, who complained incessantly and were constantly ungrateful for the good things the Lord did for them.
There are so many scriptures that expound on these facts that we can not exhaust all the ideas and or types and shadows in a study such as this. We can make numerous analogies between the 40 years of wandering for Israel coming out of Egypt as with the first century church that would be very thought provoking. Such would be, just as Israel ate Manna for 40 years (Ex.16:35). Likewise the word of God was being given by divine inspiration and written down for the true Israel of God to feed on during their wilderness first century journey! Think about this for a moment! This is why you can read your new testament today! It’s the bread of life, manna from heaven that was given to the Israel of God during the first century wilderness journey! We are mindful that on the day that the Law was given, on Mt. Sinai 3,000 died for worshipping the golden calf, (Ex.32:28).
On the day of Pentecost the Spirit was given to 3,000 who were added into Christ and received life! (Acts. 2:41) These are but a few that come to mind, we can give you a few more to look up; ‘Behold, it is a stiff- necked people’ (Ex. 32:9); ‘You are a stiff-necked people’ (Ex. 33:3); ‘You have been rebellious against the Lord... You have been rebelling against the Lord ... O Lord look not at the stubbornness of this people or at their wickedness or at their sin’ (Deut.9:7, 24, 27); ‘They were disobedient and rebelled against You and cast Your Law behind their back and killed Your prophets’ (Neh. 9:26); ‘This is a rebellious people, lying children who will not hear the Law of the Lord’ (Isaiah 30:9); ‘I send you to the children of Israel that have rebelled against Me. They and their fathers have transgressed against Me ... and they are impudent and hard of heart ... for they are a rebellious house’ (Ezek. 2:3 to 5)
The Israelites saw many miracles performed by God in Egypt and later in the desert. Firstly, there were the ten plagues in Egypt (Ex.7:17 to 12:33) then the parting of the Red Sea (Ex. 14:16 to 22). They had an incredible, supernatural cloud by day to lead and protect them, and a fire by night to lead and warm them (Ex. 13:21). Nothing was burned by this pillar of fire – it was wholly supernatural –yet the Israelites became fearful and rebelling against God.
Those same miraculous signs were to be also given to the first century church and was foretold by the prophet Micah: Micah 7:15 (NKJV) 15 “As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, I will show them wonders.”
The Lord purified bitter water (Ex. 15:23 to 25). God gave them Manna to eat (Ex. 16:14 & 15) which was angel’s food (Ps.78:25) but they complained about it (Num. 11:1 to 13). God gave them quail to eat (Ex. 16:13) then the Lord gave them so much meat it made them sick and many died (Num. 11:20 to 34). They saw God bring water out of a rock (Ex. 17:6). That Rock supernaturally followed them; the Rock was Jesus (1 Cor.10:4). They moaned against Moses (Ex. 14:11 & 12). At one point they even wanted to stone Moses (Ex. 17:2 to 4). God gave them every thing they wanted and they still complained about their hardships (Num.11:1), and finally God’s anger towards them came to a point where He disowned them and threatened to wipe them out (Ex.32:7 to 11). They ended up bringing judgment upon themselves, by kindling the Lord’s anger just by their incessant complaining.
They were still like that in Jesus’ day; ‘Jesus said, “O you unbelieving, faithless and perverse generation. How long am I to remain ...and bear with you?’” (Matt.17:17). In this passage of Matthew 12:1-14 Jesus and His disciples were traveling about preaching and Jesus does what is called or considered by the religious rulers a work on the Sabbath. This day as stated was the Sabbath, and they were traveling through grain fields. The disciples were hungry so they plucked grain and ate. This was not stealing but was expressly permitted by the law, as long as one did so only to meet an immediate need, not to carry it home and keep it for future consumption (Deut.23:24f).
The Pharisees criticized the act, not as stealing, but as a violation of the Sabbath. This was the first of a whole series of conflicts between Jesus and the Pharisees about the Sabbath. Two things must be remembered. (1) The Pharisees, as they had done with other Laws of Moses (Matt.15:1-14), had added a whole complex system of traditions about Sabbath observance. Much of this was intricate and detailed; but above all it was based on their own ideas, but not on what God's law really said. (3-5) They were motivated in their criticisms, not by sincere concern for the Sabbath, but by a desire to trap Jesus (v14).
Why do the Jews hate Jesus Christ so much? He who performed so many miracles for them, feeding them healing their sick, their blind, their paralyzed, and then, even raising their dead? Why do the Jews hate Jesus Christ so much that they stopped their ears from hearing about Him, and now stopping everyone else’s ears as well? I will tell you. ‘They were like their fathers (ancestors) – a stubborn and rebellious generation who were unloyal ... who were unfaithful to God.
Like their disobedient, rebellious, unfaithful, wicked, stiff-necked ancestors; not everyone from that generation entered the promise land! The Apostle Paul who wrote the letter of Hebrews and urged them to be faithful! (Which happens to be the belief of the authors Terry Cooper & Joe Daniels that the apostle Paul penned this letter) Paul continues to exhort the Hebrews in the face of trials and persecutions to continue to run the race looking to Jesus as their forerunner and example faithful and not without grumbling! Remember 1 Peter 1:9-11 that spoke of “the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”? Paul in Heb.12:2-3 states the same exact purpose of Jesus in that He endured His suffering (hostility towards Him) so that the church would partake of Him and of His holiness - glories to be realized in Christ at His parousia!
After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the generation of Israelites who were delivered from slavery had all died, (An interesting fact is that the very same people who placed blood on their door post and were freed from slavery died not entering into the promised land because of unbelief!) except Joshua and Caleb. It was the children who had been born during the wilderness years who were remaining now. He was not to be the one who would bring the Israelites into the promised land. It would be Joshua. (The Hebrew name Joshua is the same as the name Jesus. See the Greek in Acts 7:45 & Heb. 4:8) Yet we learn that the promised land of which Joshua led the Israelites was not the true, but the shadow! (Heb.4:4-11) If Moses would bring them into the promised land it would be by Law. But it was not to be so.
We see the significance of putting blood on the doorposts as pointing to the future shedding of blood of Christ, that protects us from judgment, just as the blood here protected the families from judgment they still were tested and failed! This very same people who had put on their door posts the blood, were the very same people who fell in the wilderness. (Num.14:35) In this we see that the cross is not the end, but the beginning of the journey! That’s not to take anything away from the cross or the blood, for without it, we have nothing! Rather, it’s because of the blood of the cross that the church was being added to, and saved in the parousia of Christ 40 years later! It certainly was not something that marked an end as those in the “Israel Only” camp teach, but rather the establishment of the kingdom in its full maturity and perfection! To this end the church wandered through a first century wilderness.
Hebrews 4:7-9 (NKJV) 7 “again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.”8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.”
We all know that the apostles pointed to the coming Day of the Lord! There are quite a few scriptures we can look at like Heb.10:25 A day of rest Heb.4:4-10 , a day of visitation! 1 Peter 2:12 The day of salvation was near and that “DAY” was at hand…. It was of the coming of the kingdom. It was the entrance into the true “Promised land”. The cross provided the means, it satisfied the sin problem by means of the sacrifice acceptable to God. Its type is the Passover lamb slain, and the blood applied.
Prior to A.D. 70 the saints had "eternal life," but not the actual access to the presence of God after they passed on. When these saved people physically died they went to a place referred to by different names: Sheol, Hades, Tarturus, or Abraham’s Bossom. There they were awaiting the A.D. 70 event. On the other hand, you had the unsaved, the eternally damned, who also waited in a different place.
No one was allowed access to the presence of God until Christ the High Priest finished His Yom Kippur duties inside the heavenly Holy of Holies. Christ now dwells in the spiritual house or church today in a never ending age! Those saved in the first century awaiting the A.D. 70 event were hidden in Christ (Col.3:3) awaiting the Day of Atonement when they would be in the full presence of the Father! (Phil.1:6)
Col. 3:2-4 (NKJV) 2 “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
This is no longer the state of those who now pass on today. The good news is that we are now in that eternal day of rest! (2 Peter 3:18 Gr.) It took 40 years to arrive from the cross, but arrive it did! The church is now living in the promised land, a spiritual land of rest that Jesus brought us into. This equates to the new heaven and earth which is here now and forever a kingdom that can not be destroyed!
The land that God has promised Israel
In regards to the land that God has promised Israel, Genesis 15:18 declares to Abraham, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.” God later confirms this promise to Abraham’s son Isaac and Isaac’s son Jacob (whose name was later changed to Israel).
Now we will learn that it was time for God to bring in a NEW leader for His people. God used Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. God had promised to lead His people through the wilderness into a wonderful land. God said the land was good and spacious, and it would be flowing with milk and honey! Exodus 3:8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.
The definition of "milk and honey" as a metaphor meaning abundance of good things. Moses had led God’s people for many years. Because the Israelites did not obey God while they were in the wilderness, God did not lead them straight into the land He had promised them. The trip from Egypt to their new home should have taken the Israelites only DAYS, but instead, they wandered in the desert for 40 YEARS.
In all that time, God PROVIDED everything the Israelites needed (Deuteronomy 29:5-6). The very people who had been delivered out of Egypt by mighty miracles soon mumbled and grumbled about God and His provision for them! God said none of those grumblers would enter the Promised Land. Only Joshua and his good friend Caleb would enter (Numbers 14:21-24, 30), because Joshua and Caleb followed God whole-heartedly (Numbers 32:12).
After forty years of wandering, the entire generation of Israelites who were delivered from slavery had died, except Joshua and Caleb. It was the children who had been born during the wilderness years who were left now. By this time, Moses was over 100 years old.
Joshua had been Moses’ helper since Joshua was a young boy (Numbers 11:28). God told Moses that Moses would die soon. Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because on one occasion he had disobeyed God in front of all the Israelites (Numbers 20:8-12). Moses asked God to appoint another man to lead the Israelites (Numbers 27:15-17).
God told Moses to lay his hands on Joshua, and Joshua received the spirit of wisdom (Numbers 27:18; Deuteronomy 34:9). God told Joshua that he would be the one to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 31:23). God warned that after the Israelites were in the Promised Land and their lives were going very well, they would turn from God and begin to worship other gods. God said He would burn with anger and many disasters would come upon the people (Deuteronomy 31:16-18).
Then God instructed Moses to climb a mountain. There he could see the land of Canaan, the Promised Land. On top of the Mountain, Moses died at the age of 120 (Deuteronomy 34:1-4, 7). Moses' role in the Old Testament was a type and shadow of the role Jesus. Moses was a deliver who lead the Israelites from captivity in Egypt and the mediator of a covenant. Moses also symbolized Mount Sinai and law therefore Moses never set foot in the Promised Land during his lifetime,
JOSHUA–called in the New Testament JESUS (Acts 7:45; Hebrews. 4:8). His name, given by Moses, JEHOSHUA (Num. 13:16), means "salvation” led the next generation of Israelites into the Promise Land. Joshua 21:43-45 NKJV So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. 44 The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.
Why was it that the literal Promise Land so important? The literal land was a type and shadow of a greater promise made to Abraham. Abraham personally had no inheritance in the land, "no, not so much as to set his foot on" (Acts 7:5) God makes it clear that Abraham and the patriarchs looked for the heavenly country, the Jerusalem which was from above that constituted the true promised land. (Hebrews 11:13–16) First the natural then the spiritual. (1 Corinthians 15:46)
There are other interesting types and shadow that relate to the Promise Land that is in the book of Ezekiel. When the Israelites were in the Promise Land they were in will of God. To be out of their land was to out of the will of God. It was a matter of life and death figuratively speaking. This two prefigured the first century church
In Ezekiel 37:1-14 The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” 4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”’” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. 9 Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’”10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. 11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, (these bones are the whole house of Israel). They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and (we ourselves are cut off!)’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, (and bring you into the land of Israel). 13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, (and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land). Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’” [emphasis added]
"What is the meaning of the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37?" This vision symbolized the whole House of Israel that was then in captivity. Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones coming to life was a directed prophesy from God of the Israel’s restoration to the promise land. ( vs 12-13)
Historical context. This vision dates to the period of Israel's history known as the Babylonian Exile. The armies of Babylon forced the capitulation of the rebellious city Jerusalem and deported the Judean king and many Judean leaders to Babylon (2 Kings 24:10-16). Ten years later, in 587/6 BCE, after Jerusalem had rebelled again, the Babylonians razed Jerusalem and its temple and deported a second wave of Judean leaders. Among the first wave of the deported was the young Ezekiel, whom God later called in Babylon to the office of prophet. For those deportees forced to live in Babylon, the future seemed a black hole into which the people were destined to disappear.
During the Babylonian captivity Israel was cut off from her homeland Palestine. They spent seventy years in another country. While Israel was cut off from the promised land she was in the sight of God, as dead! Why? Because Israel was not in her rightful place (the promise land) because of sin. All of these Jews were alive physically, but as the Lord showed Ezekiel they were a valley of dry bones in a grave nationally..
God in restoring His people to their own land uses the figure of graves opening and His people coming forth in national resurrection. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (Ezekiel 37:12) The Jews were like “dead men” in a grave corporately in the captivity of Babylon. Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!
If you now understand this context (when national Israel was cut off from her promised land they were figuratively dead ), then you possess a valuable tool in understanding the types. There is also a Messianic dimension to these passages that points to the resurrection of Israel in land that comes by Christ that cannot be denied. In chapter 36. God had just announced, through the prophet, that Israel will be restored to her land in blessing under the leadership of “David, My servant [who] shall be king over them” (Ezekiel 37:24), clearly a reference to the future under Jesus Christ the Messiah, descendant of David (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7; Luke 1:31-33).
So as long as Israel was outside the Promise Land they did not have life. This two was a prefigure of entering the land Christ provided. Hebrews 4:8 says that Joshua did not give them rest, although they possessed all the territory that was promised. Hebrews 4:8 (NIV) For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.
That other day was already dawning on them and the great Apostle Paul hand picked by God was preaching, teaching, and writing under the inspiration of God Himself of this fact! Paul who wrote Rom.13:11-12 tells us that The day of salvation was near and the “DAY” was at hand! (written about A.D.63) Yet even earlier around A.D. 57 he penned the words of 2 Cor.6:2 which was a quote of Isa.49:8 stating that the Day of salvation was “now” present tense. And at the same time 2 Peter 1:19 penned about the year 64 -65 A.D stated that the day of salvation was then dawning for the church & after the parousia it would raise and shine in their hearts! Need we say this is essential in understanding more clearly the solteriological life of the already but not yet complete land promise fulfillment tied up in the Exodus journey of the first century? Yet many don’t see it!
Romans 13:12 (NKJV) “ The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”
1 Thessalonians 5:5 (NKJV) “You are all sons of light and sons of the day …”
Now here is a mind twister for you! The promise given to Abraham (Abram) was said to be of course physical at the first, but became spiritual, because that is what God wanted! Notice the verse that speaks to this: Genesis 13:15-16 (NKJV) 15 “for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. 16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.”
It’s interesting to me that Abram being childless begins to panic in regards to God’s promise! He appeals to God asking Him if his gentile servant Eliezer of Damascus would be heir to the promises. (Gen.15:1-5) Notice God’s response to Abram: Genesis 15:4-6 (NKJV) 4 “And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”6 And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.”
Is this not a spiritual promise? One promise (Back in Gen.13:15-16) was certainly a physical people and land promise – and God even fulfilled it; (Read Joshua 21:43-45) but the other was to be a spiritual fulfillment! Most Christians miss this! Paul even mentions this fact in Heb.11:12 in the reverse oder putting the spiritual first mentioning the “Stars” first and the “Sand / dust” second!!!
Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. This is also exactly why the Apostle Paul wrote this in Heb. 4:8
”For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day.” those who would enter that promised land of Canaan were not the fulfillment of the spiritual! When God told Abraham to “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” He was pointing to the spiritual. This is why we have Paul speaking of those who have already passed on from this life as going to be made perfect at the same time as those living at the parousia as “a cloud of witnesses” (Heb.12:1) a heavenly Jerusalem and an innumerable company of angels (Heb.12:22) Notice the language of Jude:“… they are clouds without water, carried about[a] by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; 13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”
Jude used words like “Clouds without water”; “late autumn trees”; “raging waves of the sea”; “wandering stars”. In this verse we see a negative view of those who should inherit the promised land rest in Christ in language that pictures them as “wandering stars”! This is highly suggestive, if not plain out and out apocalyptic language!!!! The promise to Abraham was of “the stars if you are able to number them” Gen.15:5) And likewise we see a group of people who are also called stars, but they are “wandering stars” do you care to guess who these people might be? These wandering stars are the same as the dust that Abraham was promised but would not be able to enter the promised land. I think that the main point that God wanted to be grasped by Abraham was that it wasn’t just about having children (Physical children / dust of the earth), but having the right children! (Spiritual children /stars of heaven)
By Joe Daniels and Terry Cropper
In his letter to the Gentiles at Corinth, after an extensive discussion of the Old Testament account of the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness, Paul wrote about this “new exodus.”
Paul wrote about this in 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 “For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. (Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did). Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. (We must not put Christ to the test), as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. (Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction), on whom the end of the ages has come.” [emphasis added] Notice here that Paul is address in letter Gentiles at Corinth. This time everyone was going through the wilderness Israelites and Gentiles.
In this passage, the word translated "examples" is the Greek tupos, from which we derive our word "types." Thus the experiences of the Israelites were actually revealed by God to be "types" to be fulfilled the antitype the Church and its relation to Christ. Indeed, in all the Old Testament Scriptures, as Christ Himself taught, are "things concerning himself" (Luke 24:27).
Old Testament Israel’s deliverance from bondage, of Egypt was a “type and shadow.” The only difference was that Paul’s generation was the reality to which the Old Testament examples pointed. They were not put (Christ to the test), as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
Old Testament Israel put God to the test many times. Numbers 14:22-33 because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put (Me to the test now these ten times), and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. [emphasis added] David wrote in Psalm 78:41 NIV Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel. Paul as a Israelite know he belonged to the new eschatological Exodus under Jesus, the Messiah; and, in his opinion in this new Exodus of Salvation they should not put (Christ to the test) as their father put God to the test in the wilderness.
One of the first lessons a student of types and shadows will learn is the lofty place given to the Exodus out of Egypt. It is this event which presents the clearest correspondences to the redemptive work of Christ and the time-frame of its fulfillment.
To be more specific, the exodus out of Egypt and into the promised land by the children of Israel under Moses is a direct shadow of the exodus of the New Testament generation from the cross to the entrance into the eternal land of rest 40 years later.
Let's look at some comparisons between the two. The first was preceded by physical slavery- the bondage of the Hebrews in Egypt. The second was preceded by spiritual slavery, man's bondage to sin and death. Jesus go into this in John 8:31-33 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” They claim they have NEVER been in bondage! The Jews do not want a Saviour. They do not believe they have ever sinned. They do not see any need to repent of anything. The Jews simply abhor the idea of getting down on their knees.
Clearly these men had in mind their ancestry ("We are offspring of Abraham..."), but they "forget" that their ancestors were slaves (and they themselves slaves of sin). Then Jesus points them to his meaning. Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. Jesus is uses the analogy of a slave and his master to make the point that a slave obeys his master because he belongs to him. Slaves have no will of their own. They are literally in bondage to their masters. When sin is your master, you are unable to resist it.
During this two forty year exodus periods there were many Jews, and Jewish Christians alike that were zealous for the law of Moses and Paul posed a problem for James and the elders. He had a bad reputation with those zealous for the law. Acts 21:20-22 "You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed and all of them zealous for the law. They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs.
The elders obviously have quite a bit of concern about the reputation that Paul is garnering among the Jewish believers in Jerusalem, due to stories circulating that Paul is turning Jews living outside of Palestine away from the Law. There seems to be concern not only for Paul’s reputation, but for his safety: “What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come.”
It is interesting that earlier, in Acts 21:11, a prophet named Agabus had warned that Paul would be in danger from “the Jews in Jerusalem,” and Paul’s companions strongly urged him not to go. Their misgivings would, unfortunately, soon be borne out. Fearing for his safety, the elders prescribe a course of action for Paul to take which will publicly demonstrate to all that he is in fact loyal to the Law of Moses:
We have four men who are under a vow. Join these men, go through the rite of purification with them, and pay for the shaving of their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself observe and guard the law. But as for the Gentiles who have become believers, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication."
More interesting developments. Paul is advised, as a public demonstration of his orthodoxy, to financially sponsor some men who are apparently taking what was known as a Nazirite vow. The Nazirite vow, which appears in Numbers 6:1-21, has five features. It is voluntary, can be done by either men or women, has a specific time frame, has specific requirements and restrictions, and at its conclusion a sacrifice is offered.
In any event, Paul does as the elders urge him, sponsors the men, and goes into the Temple with them to undergo the rite of purification. So we see the change over to the New Covenant from the Old Covenant of bondage did not happen over night. There remained even Jewish Christians still zealous for the law of Moses. There was forty year exodus periods from the Old Covenant of bondage of death and sin, into the New Covenant eternal land rest in Christ. After 40 years from when Christ died Gods everlasting covenant of grace was established..
All of these types and shadows, displayed in the Exodus, found their fulfillment in the exodus of God's people from the bondage of sin to the eternal rest in Christ. The natural and then the spiritual. It makes sense that natural Israel made a exodus out of the slavery when they left Egypt. And spiritual Israel believing Jew and Gentile were making exodus out of the slavery of sin by the blood of Christ.
Second Peter 3:9 explains why God is so patient: "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." However at end both periods, the wicked were severed from among the just and not allowed to enter into the land of promise. Hebrews 3:11 So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ Hebrews 3:17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?
The exodus for those New Testament saints started at the Cross (30 AD) and ended at the Parousia (70 AD), exactly a 40 year period just as with the wilderness wandering of the Old Testament exodus.The end of the age came upon that generation, and we are now in the everlasting age (Ephesians 3:21).
After Israel left the Egyptian bondage God immediately set into motion a priest hood to minister to Himself. God chose Aaron, brother of Moses, to be his first high priest, and Aaron's sons to be priests to assist him Exodus 28:1 “Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest, Aaron and Aaron’s sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Garments were to be provided for them,
As we read through this eighth chapter, Moses emphasizes each particular act that is to be done in the consecration of Aaron and his sons. Remember that this book of Leviticus takes place before the forty year journey through the wilderness, and these laws and instructions for the priesthood was given to Moses while he was up onMount Sinai communing with Yahveh. The complete Mount Sinai revelation actually begins at Exodus 19:1, runs through the entire book of Leviticus, and continues until Numbers 10:10.
Aaron is anointed and sanctified. Leviticus 8:12 "And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head, and anointed him, to sanctify him." Not just touching the head of the Aaron, but actually pouring much over his head as we read in Psalms 133:2, 3 "It is like the precious ointment upon the head, That ran down upon the beard, Even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments: As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion. For the Lord commanded the blessing, Even life for evermore." This marked him in public as being the priest.
To reveal Himself as a merciful God, He provided a way for the Israelites to escape death. His way of escape was through the Passover which started in Egypt. ( Exodus 12:7; 13) When Aaron made sacrifices in the tabernacle, he acted as the representative of the people of Israel. Leviticus 9:7 And Moses said to Aaron, “Go to the altar, offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people. Offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them, as the Lord commanded.”
When Aaron and his sons put their hands upon the head of the sin sacrificial animal, it transferred the sins from them to the sacrificial animal. Leviticus 8:18 "And he brought the ram for the burnt offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram."
Once each year, the High Priest, in this case, Aaron, would offer the sin offering for himself and the people. In Leviticus we read were Moses called Aaron the High Priest to going into tabernacle to make atonement for yourself and for the people sins. So they brought what Moses commanded before the tabernacle of meeting. And all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD. Then Moses said, "This is the thing which the LORD commanded you to do, and the glory of the LORD will appear to you. "And Moses said to Aaron, "Go to the altar, offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people. Offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them, as the LORD commanded." (Leviticus 9:5-7)
According to the pattern of the Old Testament, forgiveness of sins (was not realized when the High Priest went into the tabernacle) but when the (High Priest came out of tabernacle and blessed the people of Israel). In Leviticus 9: 22-23 we read. Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, (and came out and blessed the people). Then the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. [emphasis added]
Notice here that the Israelites did not know their sins were forgiven until Aaron the High Priest (came out of the tabernacle to bless the people). Question how could the people of Israel have known their sins had been forgiven if Aaron had not came out of the tabernacle to bless them with the good news that God had accepted their atonement for sin another year? No one dear go into the tabernacle to see what happen because they know they would die on the spot. So Aaron had to come out of the tabernacle and blessed the people of Israel with the good news.
These types and shadows are of vital importance, to understand how complete salvation was accomplished by the antitype – the High Priest Christ Jesus in the New Testament. Indeed, in all the Old Testament Scriptures, as Christ Himself taught, are "things concerning himself" John 5:39 (NKJV) “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
Let's look at some comparisons between the priest hood of Aaron and Christ. In Hebrews 9:24-26 we read, 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); 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. [emphasis added]
This is a picture of Christ our High Priest (going into the Holy place to appear in the presence of God. This fulfilled the type and shadows of Aaron the High Priest (going INTO the earthly tabernacle). (Leviticus 9:5-7)
Then we read in Hebrews 9:27-28 were it says, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him (He will appear a second time apart from sin, for salvation). (Hebrews 9:27-28) [emphasis added] This fulfilled the type and shadows of Aaron the High Priest (coming OUT of the earthly tabernacle to bless the people). (Leviticus 9: 22-23)
The Apostle Paul understood this simple as a fulfilment of the Old Testament types and of Aaron’s Priesthood and his writings reflected that truth. Paul understood the Parousia or reappearance of Christ was the fulfillment of all the types and shadows of Aaron’s priest hood coming out of the Holiest of all during the same generation but unto complete salvation. Paul tells us that Christ is the substance of all the shadows that were under the Old Covenant. Colossians 2:17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
The New Testament was not written to introduce a new concept of the work of Jesus as “High Priest” into salvation that is totally alien to the teaching of the Old Testament. God introduced his plans of salvation, to Israel in the types and shadows of Aaron’s priesthood under the old covenant system. Notice how Paul described in the Old Testament priesthood of Aaron, then how Paul associates that work to Jesus as our High Priest unto complete salvation.
First the work of the priesthood of Aaron. Hebrews 9:6-7 NKJV Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance
Now the work of the priesthood of Christ. Hebrews 9:24 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; The priest hood of Aaron under the Old Covenant of the law was a type and shadow of Christ’ priesthood. Hebrews makes this fact abundantly clear.
The Apostles know they had not received all that was to be theirs until the Parousia of Christ and their writing reflect that truth. The Day of Atonement was a complex series of events—including the Parousia. The Cross of Christ is the power to save us but the fullness of salvation was not complete until the Parousia. (Hebrews 9:28) That day was already dawning on them and the great Apostle Paul that was hand picked by God was preaching, teaching, and writing under the inspiration of God Himself of this fact! Paul who wrote Rom.13:11-12 tells us that The day of salvation was near and the “DAY” was at hand! (written about A.D.63) And at the same time 2 Peter 1:4-5 penned about the year 64 -65 A.D stated that the day of salvation was then dawning for the church. 1 Peter 1:4-5 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for (salvation ready to be revealed) in the last time. [emphasis added] This was written years after the cross. Yet many don’t see this or refuse to!
Where would Israel have been if God had not immediately set into motion a priesthood to minister to Him. They could not approach God directly. Even the high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. (Hebrews 5:1). The high priest was a great thing for Israel, but it was also not without problems. First of all, he was a sinner. Jesus, on the other hand, was sinless. Second of all, the person selected as high priest had a way of dying on a regular basis: but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.? (Hebrews 7:24,25). No more getting used to a new high priest. No more is there a revolving door involved. Our high priest is a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek! (Hebrews 7:17)
Isn’t it interesting that the author of Hebrews notes that Melchizedek was “made like unto the Son of God” Heb.7:3 he is said to have no mother or father! He cannot be a Theophanie of God the Father. But certainly is said to be: "made like unto the Son of God” “ He was made like the Son of God” but not “The Son of God because Christ was born of the virgin! There was only one “Incarnation”! Melchizedek was not that! (Terry and I have covered this topic in past studies.) But notice that in verse 15, the Son of God was seen to be in the likeness of Melchizedek”. Some claim this as evidence that the person of Melchizedek is in fact an example of a Christophany. We agree! We have pointed out in previous studies that Melchizedek had no genealogy and per the law you would be disqualified for priesthood even if it meant simply that your genealogy records were lost!
(Ezra 2:62) Now some have shouted to us that since this was prior to the Law we can not appeal to yet we will state emphatically that it holds true because this all ties into the types and figures of law & freedom of the law both prior & after! As a matter of fact – if this isn’t true why is the author of Hebrews even making a contrast between the high priest , Jesus, and even speaking of Melchizedek … And if he is in fact a Christophanie as many have believed even in the early church in regards to Heb. 7:4why do so many today not grasp the high priesthood duties fulfilled in the salvation at the second coming as a result of the cross?! (Heb.9:28) It’s not about the cross without the second coming or vise a versa!
Jesus taking his seat on the throne is as He always was before His incarnation – God and now God and forever on the throne! The Father himself states this:
Hebrews 1:8 (NKJV) 8 But to the Son He says: Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.”
Truly we present to you that the Gospel is eternal. (Rev.14:6) Truly the priesthood of Christ is eternal as well as we have already noted! Concerning His Deity in many of our studies both together and singularly we have affirmed this truth! Concerning the church, it is to give God glory through Christ in all generations forever. (Eph.3:21) The church at His coming had entered into an eternal Day. (2 Peter 3:21) This kingdom of Christ came, His will was done, on earth as it is in heaven! It is and was to be an eternal kingdom. (Dan.7:14; 27) At His coming it was foretold that the overcomer’s (The faithful church) would have power/ authority over the nations! Not come to an end! And of course salvation would be completed due to the cross and the coming as a type – antitype of the Day of Atonement
Revelation 2:25-29 (NKJV) 25”But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’
Or our ultimate favorite scripture where Peter understood that they were entering the eternal day … our English versions are not clear, but if you read the Greek its clear:
αὐξάνετε δὲ ἐν χάριτι καὶ γνώσει τοῦ κυρίου
Grow but in grace and knowledge of the Lord
ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα
of us and savior Jesus Christ t o Him the glory
καὶ νῦν καὶ εἰς ἡμέραν αἰῶνος ἀμήν
and now and into ( the) day of eternity. Amen