Saturday, June 28, 2014

The New Testament church is compared to Israel in the wilderness. Part 5

The New Testament church is compared to Israel in the wilderness. Part 5

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."
(Acts 21:23-25)

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).

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