Thursday, 23 June 2011

JESUS FULFILLS THE FEASTS and THE CHURCH BEGINS THE JOURNEY


JESUS FULFILS THE FEASTS
Jesus was “..the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”  [Revelation 13:8]  When Man sinned, God provided a covering of animal skins which cost the shedding of blood. From that time onward He was working towards that Passover in Jerusalem when Jesus rode into the city on a donkey as foretold.
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,...”  Zechariah 9:9
The Lamb Chosen
The Passover lamb was to be chosen on the tenth day of Nisan [or Abib] by “all the congregation of Israel”  Exodus 12:3
When Jesus rode through the streets of Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday the crowds that had come to celebrate Passover acclaimed Him as a king.  Unwittingly they were choosing their Lamb – a Lamb for the nation and for the world.
The Lamb Examined
The Lamb was to be kept for four days and examined for blemishes.  Exodus 12:5,6
Following the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the cleansing of the Temple, Jesus taught there daily.  He was confronted by the chief priests, the scribes and the elders, who tried to trap Him in His words.  After His arrest, He was questioned by the Chief Priest Caiaphas, Herod the King, and Pilate the Roman Governor.  He was examined by every authority in the Land and none could lay blame on Him.  Finally Pilate declared, “I find no fault in Him.”  The Lamb was declared faultless.  He was “...a lamb without blemish and without spot....foreordained before the foundation of the world.” [1Peter 1:19,20]
The Lamb slain
On “the fourteenth day of the same month...the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel....” were to kill the lamb “in the evening” [literally “between the two evenings” The Jews had two evenings, the first being at the decline of the sun when the evening sacrifice was made  3pm]
After a mockery of a trial Jesus was presented by Pilate to the crowds which had assembled from all over Israel to celebrate the Passover Feast.  With one accord they cried,  “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.”  His death was by common consent.  Then, as the prophet Isaiah wrote, “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter.”  [Isaiah 53;7] Jesus died at the ninth hour or 3pm, the time of the evening sacrifice.
The Lamb was to be roast with fire and eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread Exodus 12:8
Fire speaks of the wrath and judgement of God.  “Our God is a consuming fire.”Hebrews 12:29
Jesus stood between the whole Human race and the righteous wrath of God towards sin.  The sour wine which they gave Him to drink, typified the cup of suffering and of the bitterness of our sins and which He choose to drink for our sake.  At the Last Supper, Jesus broke unleavened bread and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take eat, this is my body.”
No bone was to be broken  Exodus 12:46
Sometimes, in order to hasten the death of a victim, his legs were broken, thus preventing any upward movement necessary to breathe.  When the soldiers came to Jesus, He was already dead.  John states, “These things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, ‘Not one of His bones shall be broken.”  John 19:36

Passover was on 14th Nisan. On the 15th  at 6pm, the Feast of Unleavened Bread began.  Leaven is a type of sin.  Jesus fulfilled this Feast by taking our sins into the grave so that we can be declared holy.  We are sanctified in Him. 
On the Sunday after Passover was the Feast of Firstfruits.  The instructions for keeping this Feast were given on the way to the Promised Land. These three feasts together make up Passover.  The Feast of Firstfruits was the consecration of the first sheaf of the harvest.  Israel was to be a nation consecrated to God.  They were the firstfruits of the nations.  “Israel was holiness to the Lord, the firstfruits of His increase.”  Jeremiah 2:3  This Feast would have been the anniversary of Israel’s emergence from Egypt by way of the Red Sea.  They were “baptized in the cloud and in the sea” 1 Corinthians 10:2. 
Jesus fulfilled this Feast by rising from the dead and becoming “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”  1 Corinthians 15:20
When we receive Jesus as our Saviour, we are justified by faith in the shed blood of the Lamb.  God then declares us holy and we are baptized by the Spirit into Christ and become members of His Body.[1Corinthians 12:13]   This properly is followed by baptism in water. Baptism is an identification with Christ’s burial and resurrection.  We have been brought out of “Egypt” i.e. out of bondage to sin and death in the kingdom of darkness .

The Feast of Pentecost was a celebration of thanksgiving for the first harvest.  It was the anniversary of the giving of the Law at Mt Sinai which as we have seen was equipping Israel to fulfil their mission.  The ascended Lord fulfilled this Feast by pouring out The Holy Spirit on the 120 disciples gathered in the upper room.  That day the first harvest of 3,000 souls responded to the Gospel and were baptized.  Every believer can and ought to have a personal Pentecost. This is a baptism from within, where the Spirit of God in the spirit of the believer, flows out into the soul area [mind, will and emotions] and brings a heightened sense of the spiritual realm and spiritual truth with deeper revelation of the Bible. The believer is then a channel for the supernatural gifts of the Spirit as in 1 Corinthians 12.  Pentecost is the Lord of the Church equipping His Church to fulfil their Commission.
The Feast of Tabernacles in made up of three Feasts – Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles.
The first mention of Israel keeping this Feast was when Solomon, the son of David, consecrated the Temple.  This was the great climax of their journey to and possession of, the Promised Land.  Their Commission had been completed. The Feast of Tabernacles was the fulfilment of all that Passover promised.   This Feast is the End time Feast.  It has yet to be fulfilled in the Church.
We will look at the fulfilment of this Feast later. 

THE CHURCH BEGINS THE JOURNEY
As the twelve sons of Jacob [later called Israel] were the beginnings of the nation of Israel, so the twelve disciples of Jesus were to be the nucleus of the Church.  Judas the betrayer was replaced by  Matthias.  On the Day of Pentecost 120 waiting in an upper room were filled with the Spirit and 3,000 were added to the infant Church.  The Early Church was a vital evangelizing force which “turned the world upside down”  [Acts 17:6]
Surviving persecution and the early inroads of heresy, the Church became acceptable when the Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity in 312AD. Many who had never had a true conversion joined the Church, swelling the numbers but reducing its spirituality, and though there have always been true followers of Jesus, the Church succumbed to apathy and error, and became increasingly institutional and ritualistic.  The Scriptures were lost to the common people and heathen practices and immorality was tolerated.  The Church went into the “Dark Ages” sometimes called the “Devil’s Millennium”
The Church, like the first generation of Israel from Egypt, failed to fulfil its Commission, but God hadn’t finished with Israel and raised up a generation under Joshua who crossed Jordan and possessed the Land. Likewise the Church is still God’s instrument of restoration in the Earth and even now God is raising up a Joshua generation who will complete the Great Commission.
When God began restoring the Church, He first raised up men like Huss and Tyndale to make His Word available to the people.  The Spirit and the Word began to bring to light again, truths that had been lost for centuries.

The first truth restored in the 1500’s mainly through Martin Luther, was Justification by faith – faith in Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  In the Wesleyan revival in the 1700’s the truth of Justification by faith was re-emphasized and the truth of Sanctification was restored.  The Baptist movement restored the need for personal commitment in baptism.  The truths of Passover [coming out of “Egypt”] were restored.
In the 1900’s in the Pentecostal and Charismatic renewals, God restored the truth of Pentecost.

For centuries God has guided the Church on its journey toward its destiny.  He brought us out of “Egypt” [the kingdom of darkness] by the shed blood of our Passover Lamb Jesus.  We were slaves of Pharaoh [Satan] but have been brought out from under his authority, sanctified, declared to be holy and set apart to God.  At Pentecost He equipped the Church to fulfil its Commission and He will bring us into the Land a conquering army.  What has been demonstrated in Israel will be manifested in the Church through the power of the Cross of Christ. 
God is restoring the Church according to the pattern in the Types. Ahead is the Feast of Tabernacles, but before we celebrate that, we have to come out of the wilderness in the power of the Spirit and cross Jordan.

NEXT:-  CROSSING JORDAN







Monday, 13 June 2011

GOD'S ROAD MAP OF RESTORATION

map used with permission, courtesy of Google Earth
A PHYSICAL MAP OF A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
The Journey to the Promised Land is a map showing how to recover our Inheritance which was lost in Adam but regained in Christ.  What is that inheritance?

“For the promise that he would be heir of the world was not to Abraham or his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”  Romans 4:13 [emphasis added]

“And if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Galatians 3:29

In the nation of Israel, God set the pattern of Restoration.  Israel is the Demonstration Nation. 
God’s purposes are :-

Demonstrated in Israel
Fulfilled in Christ
Manifested through the Church.

The Feasts of Israel commemorated the great events of the Journey and the recovery of Israel’s inheritance promised to them through Abraham.

PASSOVER [Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits]  is about  coming out of Egypt
PENTECOST  Is about equipping the people of God to fulfil their Commission
TABERNACLES  [Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles] is about that Commission being accomplished


PASSOVER     The Nation comes out of Egypt in infancy
“When Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.” Hosea 11:1
Redeemed by the blood of a lamb   Exodus 12    Passover
Sanctified [declared to be holy]    Exodus 13       Unleavened Bread
Baptised “in the cloud and in the sea” [1 Corinthians 10:2]     Exodus 14   Firstfruits

Their Commission  Possess their inheritance and establish “a kingdom of priests, a holy nation”

PENTECOST   The Nation equipped to fulfil their Commission
At Mt Sinai God came down in fire and gave the Law and the Tabernacle.   Exodus 19..........

After 40 years the nation came out of the wilderness, crossed Jordan and began to destroy the strongholds of the enemy.

TABERNACLES     The Nation completes their Commission
The great climax of Israel’s history was the dedication of the Temple by King Solomon, son of David.  The enemy had been subdued and the Land possessed.  The Kingdom had been established and the son of David sat on the throne.  The Glory of God filled the Temple.  The final harvest was in and the Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated.  The Golden Age had begun. 
2 Chronicles 7

After this great time of peace and prosperity, the nation went into decline, and here the Type breaks down as all types do.  They are only “shadows” of the reality which is in Christ. But a pattern had been established which God Himself followed in the preparation of Jesus for ministry and in restoring the Church.

JESUS’ PREPARATION FOR MINISTRY
True to the type, Jesus was brought out of Egypt in infancy. 
When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt.  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.” Hosea 11:1
Like all Jewish firstborn males, Jesus was sanctified [dedicated to the Lord as an infant] according to Exodus 13:2.  As He was about to begin His ministry, He was set apart in baptism  at the Jordan

Jesus was  equipped to fulfil His Commission  by the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Him. This was His Pentecost.

His Commission:-
“For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” [1John 3:8].
And ultimately:-
“To restore the earth.”  [Isaiah 49:8]
Restoration comes as the works of the devil are destroyed.

After forty days in the wilderness  overcoming the temptations of satan,  Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit and began to  destroy the works of the devil.  After ministering for three and a half years Jesus then went to the Cross to make a way for us to begin the Journey  into Restoration when the whole Earth will be filled with the Glory of the Lord according to God’s promise long ago.
“But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the Glory of the Lord.”  Numbers 14:21

TABERNACLES   will be celebrated when Jesus sits on the throne of the Earth, then Jesus, Israel,  and the Church will celebrate the Feast together.

NEXT 
JESUS FULFILLS THE FEASTS AND
THE CHURCH BEGINS THE JOURNEY INTO RESTORATION

Saturday, 4 June 2011

BRINGING THE WORLD BACK TO GOD

                                  
In this post there will be some statements that may be new and even radical to some of you.  You are most welcome to leave your comments or insights and even your objections.  
What are the dynamics at work in our world today that determine the direction and future of planet Earth?  As Christians it is vital that we have a Biblical worldview if we’re going to “hasten the coming of the day of God” and the “new [renewed] earth in which righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:12
In the last post “Whose World” [which I hope you will take the time to read] we saw that:-
* God gave Man in right relationship with Himself to have authority in the Earth to execute His will.  It was a perfect Creation and the Kingdom of God was on Earth as it is in Heaven.
* Man rejected God’s rule and gave allegiance to satan who is “the ruler of this world.” John 16:11
Jesus came to change all that! The Cross brought a whole new dynamic into play, the full extent of which we have yet to see. Jesus didn’t come just to take us to Heaven when we die, but ultimately to bring Heaven back to Earth. 
                I will preserve You and give You as a covenant
to the people to restore the Earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages  Isaiah 49:8

Jesus came to restore the Earth, to reclaim all that satan stole. At the Cross, Jesus paid the penalty for all sin for all time and thus stripped satan of his authority over us.
And you.....He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us.  And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.  Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”   Colossians 2:13 - 15.
.  Having completed the work which the Father had given Him to do, Jesus commissioned the disciples saying:-
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.....” Matthew 28:18,19

All authority belongs to Jesus and, in His name, [as representing Him] the people of God have authority in the Earth to execute His will, as was God’s original intention. The authority we have is over the principalities and powers and all the works of darkness which hold the people of the Earth in spiritual blindness and bondage.
It is now almost 2,000 years since the Resurrection, and though millions have been redeemed and multitudes have been helped through the love of God in action through the Church, it has to be said that the powers of darkness are more active than ever.  Though, since the Cross, satan has no legal authority in the Earth, he continues to hold people in bondage through deceit and accusation.  Revelation 12:9,10  He retains dominion over the Earth by default.
The Commission which Jesus gave to us is a mandate to reclaim the Earth for God. It looks impossible, but “impossible” isn’t in God’s vocabulary.  Through the pattern nation Israel, He demonstrated how it could be done. 
* God rescued Israel from bondage in Egypt [the kingdom of darkness] by the blood of a lamb.
* He gave them an inheritance – the Promised Land, WHICH THEY HAD TO POSSESS
* He commissioned them to claim their inheritance and establish “a kingdom of priests, a holy nation”  Exodus 19:6  This involved overcoming the giants who were resident in the Land and overthrowing their strongholds.
* He equipped them at Mt Sinai [afterwards celebrated as Pentecost] to fulfil their commission.

At the borders of the Promised Land, God made a vow. “As truly as I live, all the Earth shall be filled with the Glory of the Lord.”  Numbers 14:21 That was dependent upon the people of God possessing their inheritance.  After years of wilderness wanderings Israel finally crossed the Jordan to find that the hosts of Heaven were waiting to do battle with them.  Israel did possess their inheritance and eventually Solomon [Peace] son of David sat on the throne.  The Land experienced a Golden Era – a faint earthly demonstration of what Earth will be like when Jesus the greater Son of David sits on the throne of the Earth.

“Now all these things happened to them as examples [types] and they were written
 for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come.”  1 Corinthians 10:11. 

All of this was a demonstration for us “on whom the ages have come” to show us how to claim our inheritance.  When we do the Glory of the Lord will fill the Earth as was promised long ago.

What is our inheritance?

“For the promise that he would be heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”  Romans 4:13

This is a "thumbnail sketch" of what I have written in “The Other Bible Code.” I hope you will get the book and study it through.  Israel’s sojourn in the wilderness was prolonged because:-

* They didn’t really understand what they were supposed
to do
* When they finally saw what God wanted them to do,
they didn't believe they could.
* They didn’t really know who they were.  God called
them "My Son, My firstborn” Ex. 4:22 but in their eyes
they were “grasshoppers”  Num.13:33

and good Christian Friends in the Journey the Church is on
THAT’S ABOUT WHERE WE’RE AT!
 
"For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fulness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.  Colossians 1:19,20 [emphasis added]

Please leave a comment, or question, or an insight.  These may determine what the next post will be about.    Val