May 262017
 

Shadows of Jesus seed of the womanWe have been looking at Jesus and where His shadow is cast in the Old Testament or in other words where He is hinted at through a person, thing or event.

We have started in Genesis which seems a good place to begin and last week we looked at the many similarities between the first Adam and the second or last Adam, Jesus.

This week we look at an important verse which comes as part of the judgement God is making when Adam and Eve committed the first sins. As part of that curse, God speaks against the serpent who has led the two astray. This is almost certainly Satan in disguise. It is a really interesting judgement because it is also widely considered the very first proclamation of the gospel in the whole bible. It is called the protoevangelium and here is the verse:

And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel. (Genesis 3:15)

Satan doesn’t like human beings. He wants to destroy us because we are made in God’s image and God loves us. He wants nothing more than to extinguish the objects of God’s affection.

Enmity means; opposition, hatred, antagonism and hostility. Satan does things to human beings that cause all those emotions in us. He’s clever enough though to blame his actions on other things and even God himself. Satan knew from this pronouncement that he would eventually be defeated by a human but he had no idea of: when, where or who.

He must have had an inkling that the child born in Bethlehem would be dangerous because he tried to destroy him through King Herods despotic attempt to kill all the male babies under the age of 2 (Matthew 2). But God was protecting this child as His plan will never be thwarted. The whole pursuit of this offspring by the serpent is described (albeit in apocryphal language) in Revelation chapter 12.

This judgement by God in Genesis 3:15 was played out at the cross. Jesus as the seed of the woman had His heel struck when His feet were nailed to the cross and was then crucified. The ultimate victory belonged to Jesus though because when He rose from death He delivered a fatal blow to Satan. No-one survives a crushed head!

He might still be around causing havoc, but his ultimate fate has now been sealed, hallelujah!

 May 26, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »
May 192017
 

Shadows of Jesus AdamWe are currently going through the Old Testament, discovering how Jesus is foreshadowed in various ways. The bible itself tells us some of the ways that Jesus is foreshadowed and today’s subject is one of those, the first man, Adam.

This is specifically mentioned at least twice in the New Testament;

Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. (Romans 5:14)

The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:45-47)

A shadow does not necessarily have to have a lot of similarities; it can also be a shadow by highlighting contrasts. That is what we find with a comparison with Adam and Jesus. Adam was the first man and Jesus is described as the second or last Adam.

Before we look at the similarities and differences of the two, it is important to consider what the term ‘federal head’ means. Both Adam and Jesus are federal heads. This is where each represents those that come after them; they are the template of all that follow after them. So for example, everybody that is descended from Adam is inclined to sin, everyone that puts their trust in Jesus is inclined towards loving and following God. The bible describes this as being ‘in’ Adam or ‘in’ Christ. Let’s look at a couple of verses:

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22)

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. (Romans 5:18)

So let’s look at how the first Adam was a shadow of the last Adam, Jesus;

  • They both had a miraculous beginning. Adam was made from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7) whilst Jesus was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:23)
  • The first Adam was created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). The second Adam is the image of the invisible God ( Colossians 1:15)
  • They are both rulers. Adam was given dominion over the created world

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26)

Adam’s rule was limited but Jesus rules over all

when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church (Ephesians 1:20-22)

  • They were both tempted by Satan (I’m assuming that ‘the serpent’ was Satan himself)
  • Adam rebelled and was disobedient (Genesis 3:8) and Jesus was submissive and obedient every step of the way (Philippians 2:8)
  • They both experienced separation from God (Genesis 3:23) (Mark 15:34)
  • The first Adam was naked and unashamed in the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:25). The last Adam was naked on the cross and bore our shame (Hebrews 12:2)
  • The first Adam turned from God in the garden of Eden, the second Adam turned to God in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:39)
  • As part of the curse of the first Adam’s sin, thorns were produced (Genesis 3:18). The second Adam wore a crown of thorns as He redeemed us from that curse (Matthew 27:29)
  • The first Adam’s side was opened to bring forth his bride (Genesis 2:21) The second Adam’s side was pierced so that He could redeem His bride (John 19:34)
  • The first Adam was the first husband, the second Adam will be the ultimate husband to His bride, the church.

These are the main ones I could think of, but there are many more (although some that people have suggested seem a bit forced).

Can you think of any more? If so why not share in the comments below.

 May 19, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »
May 122017
 

Shadows of Jesus Genesis 1I have just started a new blog series on the subject of Jesus’ shadow being revealed throughout the whole of the Old Testament. He is not mentioned by name, but His shadow is everywhere. He is revealed through; people, places, events, prophecies and all manner of other ways that you could well miss if you are not really looking for Him. Ways that we will be investigating over the following weeks.

As in any good story, it is wise to start from the beginning, so today we will look at Genesis 1 and the creation story.

The bible starts with the line “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).

As we look at the bible as a whole we realise that Jesus is in the very first verse, because other verses make it clear that Jesus was the one who created. There is an interesting parallel with Genesis 1 verse 1 with John 1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1:1-3)

This is confirmed by the Apostle Paul in the letter to the Colossians:

For by him (Jesus) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:16)

Jesus is revealed as God in the very first verse of the bible. From the beginning it is shown that God is 3 yet one, all three distinct but still the same. It is very revealing that in verse 26 it says “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26)

Another interesting thing to notice in Genesis 1 is that God said “Let there be light” in verse 3 on the first day of creation and yet He didn’t create the sun until the fourth day.

What was providing the light until day 4? Many people have seen this as a major problem, but it is not at all.

Let’s look at the verses that follow John 1:1-3;

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)

Jesus is the light and He was the light that was radiating before the sun was there. He said it in John 8

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Jesus was the light before the sun and he will be shining long after the sun has gone. In fact in the future kingdom it says in Revelation;

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. (Revelation 21:23)

The more time we spend with Jesus, the more light will shine into our darkness. We will be able to see clearly and have a greater revelation of Him. Brilliant!

There are quite a few other shadows of Jesus in Genesis and we will look at another one next week.

 May 12, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus 2 Responses »
May 052017
 

TypologyThe whole bible reveals God’s plan throughout history. It starts with a basic plan such as the giving of the law and the necessity of animal sacrifices and continues to reveal more and more complexity of what God’s great plan of salvation is. This is called ‘progressive revelation.’ We now know what those animal sacrifices signified, but at the time they really didn’t have a clue!

Because God knows the end from the beginning, it is not surprising that He should give lots of clues of what He was up to.

for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ (Isaiah 46:9-10)

If you can imagine Agatha Christie writing one of her ‘whodunit’ novels, she knows how it is all going to end and so she puts little clues in the story which all cleverly tie up at the end of the book. God was including clues throughout Old Testament history and finally revealed in the New Testament that it was Jesus ‘whodunit!’

The study of this progressive revelation from the Old Testament through to the New Testament is called ‘Typology’. Events in the Old Testament are called ‘types’ and the fulfilment of a type is called the ‘antitype’. Just one of many examples would be the prophet Jonah who was ‘buried’ for 3 days in the belly of a fish and was resurrected by being spat out onto a beach. Jesus is the antitype as He spent 3 days in the grave and rose again to bring salvation to a people who were against Him. Typology is not just people foreshadowing Christ but it could also include; places, things, events, ceremonies, offices or institutions. I will explain a lot more as I go along from week to week.

It is important to note that these shadows and types are not allegorical. There is a subtle difference. They are real people and events which point to an eventual fulfilment.

This subject can get quite complicated but I’m just going to give 3 basic kinds of Typology;

(1) Firstly, this is where the New Testament explicitly states that an Old Testament person or event refers to Christ;

Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. (Romans 5:14)

(2) Next, the New Testament declares various Old Testament passages to be fulfilled by Christ;

e.g Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey (Matthew 21) which was the fulfilling of Zechariah 9:9

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

(3) Thirdly, the unmistakable allusions in the Old Testament that are applied to Christ.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:14-15)

John is referring to the story of the bronze snake in Numbers 21:4-9

Some people try to make every character and event into a type of Jesus, but I think that is pushing it a bit far.

Next week I will start looking at these ‘shadows’ of Jesus in the Old Testament. At the moment I have no idea where I am going to start but I know there are quite a few in Genesis so we could well start there.

 May 5, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows No Responses »