God Didn’t ‘Say’ That [v88]

JUNE 2006

GOD DIDN’T “SAY” THAT—Recently I was talking with a friend about what they thought about “The Da Vinci Code” movie. After discussing some of the main topics presented in the movie/book, she made a comment about how the Catholic Church, ever since the days of the Roman Emperor Constantine, had suppressed many things—especially how he and the Council of Nicaea “officially proposed and voted to establish Jesus as the Son of God”—that until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet.

She also felt that there is very little ‘mention’ of Jesus (Yeshua) in the Old Testament, and that God never “said that He would send His Son” to this earth. In addition to that, she said that God is “One,” and doesn’t even have a son.

I mentioned that there were many Old Testament prophets, like Isaiah, Micah, Malachi, Jeremiah, and Zechariah, that had ‘said’ many things about who the “Messiah” (anointed prophet, priest, and king) would be and do. [Contact me if you are interested in these references and ‘fulfillment’ of their prophecies].

I mentioned that, for me, Jesus is the ‘ultimate focus’ of the Bible—and is ‘alluded’ to in EVERY BOOK of the Bible. However, I would ‘restrict’ my references to the first five books of the Bible, which are know as the “Books of the Law,” “Pentateuch” or the “Torah,” just to show how Jesus wasn’t just a ‘last-minute ‘afterthought’ (New Testament) in God’s eternal plan. Moreover, I would try to show that Jesus is the ‘dominant’ character in this divine plot.

If there were a ‘contest’ for the “best-known section of the Bible,” this five-book ‘collection’ might very well win—especially with events like creation, the ‘disaster’ in the Garden of Eden, the great Flood, the parting of the Red Sea, and the giving of the Ten Commandments.

Even though, for many years now, Hollywood likes to take another ‘stab’ at a cinematic retelling of these old, familiar stories, we must be careful not to get caught up in the exciting ‘subplots’ that we miss the main plot—God’s cosmic plan to ‘recapture’ the glory He deserves and to ‘rescue’ the creatures He loves by sending His Son Jesus.

Right from the outset (Genesis 1:2), when God created the heavens and the earth, the ‘concept’ of the “Trinity” (three in one) was presented: “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (in the original language, this term indicates a distinct ‘part’ of God).

Then, a bit later, God begins ‘hinting’ that a “Messiah,” a Savior would be sent from Heaven to undo the terrible effects of Adam and Eve’s choices. As Genesis unfolds, this “Deliverer” (whom scholars indicate as being a reference to Jesus), is said to somehow be the offspring of Eve [v 3:15], will come ultimately from the line of Seth, will be the son of Shem, the descendant of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, and be a ‘member’ of the tribe of Judah.

Not only does Genesis contain these direct yet subtle references to Christ, it also gives us fascinating ‘glimpses’ of Jesus through assorted people and events. Scholars call this “types” (a historical fact that illustrates a spiritual truth).

Abel’s acceptable offering of a blood sacrifice alludes to Christ, and Cain’s murder of Abel parallels Christ’s murder in the first century.

Melchizedek (whose name means “righteous king”) is a strange and ‘shadowy’ figure who suddenly appears in Genesis 14. He is the king of Salem (which means “peace”) who brings forth bread and wine and announces himself as the ‘priest’ of the Most High God. He blesses Abraham and receives the tithe from him. Scholars believe that this was, in fact, Christ Himself—a ‘theophany’.

In the book of Exodus, Christ is clearly ‘seen’ in the solemn Jewish Passover—that historic event (chapters. 12-13) that required the blood of a ‘pure’, sacrificial lamb to be painted over the doorways of the Israelites’ homes to spare them from God’s judgment, and then usher them to freedom [Note: the New Testament makes it clear that Christ is our “Passover Lamb” in John 1:29, 36 and 1 Cor. 5:7]. It is His death, His blood applied, as it were, over the doorways of our lives, which rescues us from divine condemnation.

In addition to these ‘hints’, the feast prescribed for Israel in Exodus (and more fully described in Leviticus) all ‘point’ to Christ—each portraying some aspect of His ministry.

The Passover lays the foundation for the substitutionary death of the Lamb of God. The Feast of Unleavened Bread illustrates the holy ‘walk’ expected of the follower of Jesus. The Feast of Firstfruits foreshadows Christ’s Resurrection as the ‘firstfruit’ of the resurrection of all believers (Note: Christ rose fro the dead on the Day of the Firstfruits). The Feast of Pentecost speaks of the descent of the Holy Spirit after Christ’s Ascension. The Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles ‘connect’ to events associated with the second advent of Christ (This may explain why these three are separated by a long gap from the first four in Israel’s annual cycle).

We then come across those chapters in Exodus devoted to the plans for the Tabernacle—detail that shows the Tabernacle as a picture of perfection in God’s ‘eyes’, and that there is only one, perfect way we can be made right with God—through Jesus His Son (Note: The tabernacle is Christian theology in a ‘physical’ form).

Lastly, we are introduced to the concept of the priesthood—more than just costumed religious figures, they foreshadow the ministry of Christ, our great High Priest (Hebrews 4 and 9).

The next book, Leviticus, is replete with types and allusions to the person and work of Christ. The burnt offering typifies Christ’s total offering in submission to His Father’s will. The meal offering typifies Christ’s sinless service. The peace offering alludes to the fellowship that believes have with God through the work of the Cross. The sin offering typifies Christ as our guilt-bearer. And the trespass offering pictures Christ’s payment for the damage of sin.

Only when we ‘see’ Leviticus for what it is—a ‘manual’ or guidebook for how sinful people can approach a holy God—can we fully appreciate its message. Leviticus points vividly to Jesus. He alone is the spotless Lamb who can make an eternal and final payment for sin. He alone is the perfect High Priest who can represent human rebels before the holy Judge of the universe.

Perhaps the clearest ‘portrait’ of Christ in Numbers is the incident of the bronze serpent on a stake (chapter 21). A number of Israelites were bitten by snakes in the desert, and God ‘instructed’ Moses to fashion a bronze serpent on a pole and to lift it high. All who looked at the serpent in faith recovered. Here we have a stunning ‘picture’ of the Crucifixion [While the serpent or snake symbolized sin and its deadly effect in the Old Testament, the brass serpent symbolized the bearing away of the curse and judgment of sin. Furthermore, the metal itself was figurative of the righteousness of God’s judgment. In case you were wondering where you might have seen the emblem of a serpent wrapped around a pole, it has been adopted by society as the symbol of the medical profession]. (NT note: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (John 3:14)).

Other examples in Numbers of a ‘type’ of Christ include the desert rock that miraculously poured out water to quench the thirst of the multitudes, and the miracle of the manna, provided faithfully for the entire 40-year period of ‘wandering’.

At one point in Numbers, the ungodly prophet Balaam exclaims, “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult” [24:17]. This referred to the coming kingdom of God’s Messiah.

The last book in the Torah, Deuteronomy, has probably the most obvious reference to Christ—and is found in 18:15, 17-18: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him…The LORD said to me…I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him” (NT reference is Acts 7:37).

How then was Moses a ‘type’ of Christ? Well, he was the only biblical figure, other than Christ, to fill the three ‘offices’ of prophet (Deut. 34:10-12), priest (Ex. 32:31-35), and “king” (Deut. 33:4-5) [Note: Although not ‘technically’, Moses essentially functioned as ruler of Israel]. Both Moses and Christ were in danger of death during childhood. Both were saviors and intercessors. Both were rejected by their brethren.

So, in examining just the first five books of the Bible, I hope you now have a better idea of what the ‘focus’ of it is: that Christ is the ‘star’ of God’s drama, and He is the central character, the protagonist, the ‘hero’—and that if the Torah gives much of a remarkable ‘glimpse’ of Jesus, the coming Messiah, just imagine what the rest of the Old Testament has to ‘say’ about Jesus (specifically Isaiah 11/22/28/42/53/59/62, Micah 5, Malachi 3/4, Jeremiah 23/31, and Zechariah 2/3/6/9/12 for ‘starters’)—not to mention the whole of the New Testament!

Jesus said it Himself, telling the first century Jews that, “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

“I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?”

“But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” [John 5:36-47].

A day is coming when all Israel will ‘mourn’ because they did not know the One who had been pierced (Zechariah 12:10-11). They will mourn because so many generations will have passed and missed the “Promised One,” God’s “Anointed.”

So, you need NOT BE among the ‘mourners’. Whether you are Jewish or Gentile (that means everyone), the “Light of the world” waits for you to acknowledge that He is the one true “Messiah” (Savior), Who was ‘pierced’ and Who is coming again for His ‘children’.

The LORD God directly “said” very few things (only 44 times throughout the entire Bible), but ‘spoke’ to His creation through people and events. In the Old Testament, it was primarily through ‘selected’ prophets—and today it’s primarily through His Word, the Bible.

A few years ago, a publisher came out with a wildly popular series of children’s books featuring a tall, bespectacled traveler in a striped shirt and a red hat named “Waldo.” Every page in these books featured a highly detailed picture of some famous event or popular place. Millions of children (and adults like me) carefully studied these busy drawings asking repeatedly, “Where’s Waldo.” Why? Because somewhere in the midst of all that clutter, Waldo could be found…but only if you looked long and hard enough.

Well, let me encourage you to ‘dust off’ that ‘all-time bestseller’, the Bible, and read it with a new viewpoint—constantly asking yourself, “Where’s Christ?”

[Excerpts from: Kenneth Boa; Mark Water]

“Blessings”… Mark

[P.S.: If you would like to investigate further the “reliability” of the Bible, visit the following link:
http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q4_d1_1of10.html ].

[P.P.S.: If you would like to investigate whether Jesus is the only way to God, visit the following link:
http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q6_d1_1of10.html ].

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v88) for JUNE 2006
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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DA VINCI CODE OPPORTUNITY

DISCUSSION GROUP:
SUNDAY NIGHTS IN JUNE (4/11/18/25) — 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Four sessions will address the following questions:
What Can History Really Tell Us?
Can We Trust the Four Gospels?
What’s the Role of Women in Christianity?
Is Jesus the Son of God?

So, give me a call if you are interested (or if you know someone that might be),
and I can give you/them more details (248.788.1758)—or just visit the following link:
http://www.faithcovenantchurch.org
(Location: Faith Covenant Church, 14 Mile and Drake Roads)
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FROM THE INSIDE OUT
How does a worm get inside an apple? Perhaps you think the worm burrows in from the outside. No, scientists have discovered that the worm comes from inside. But how does he get in there? Simple! An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom. Sometime later, the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, then eats his way out. Sin, like the worm, begins in the heart and works out through a person’s thoughts, words, and actions.

All humans have a sin nature, and we are capable of self-serving, self-centered, sinful behavior. Romans 5:12 says “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” How you are inside will reflect out to the world through your actions.

If not for the mercy and grace of God, our entire lives would resemble the apple that might look good from the outside, but is rotted and bruised on the inside. Guard your walk with the Lord. Stay in fellowship with Him in order to keep on the right path.
[David Jeremiah]
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CAN YOU READ THIS?
Cna yuo raed tihs? fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mind. Olny 55 precnet cna.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm.

Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it.

It’s amazing that your mind ‘guesses’ based on proper sentence structure.
[Received from Randy Besh]

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DEEP THOUGHT
Be really nice to your friends and family. You never know when you are going to need them to empty your bedpan. [Received from Michelle Jones]

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I hope you enjoyed some of these insights. Share them with your friends and colleagues, so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from—and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” especially if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’ ”
[Hebrews 5:5].

Mark
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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright is used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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