Feb 162018
 

The prophet like MosesI’ve been looking back at the blogs I’ve written in this ‘shadows of Jesus’ series and the count is currently 42!

I have generally tried to keep these blogs in the order they appear in the bible, but I realised that I have missed a couple. So after covering Joshua over the last couple of weeks, I’m now going to return to his predecessor Moses. We have covered the time of Moses with some of the Israelite wanderings and quite a bit on the tabernacle, but this week we will look at the man Moses himself and how he is a clear shadow of Jesus.

This week’s key verses are taken from Deuteronomy 18;

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen (Deuteronomy 18:15)

And a few verses later..

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. (Deuteronomy 18:18)

We now know that the prophet spoken about was Jesus, but it took His disciples a while to get it. Even the one preparing Jesus’s way, his cousin John, was not quite sure, so he sent his disciples to inquire. Here is Jesus’ emphatic response…

And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Matthew 11:4-6)

Let’s consider the following and see if Jesus really was the prophet like Moses;

  • Firstly, Jesus was born a Jew and from the tribe of Judah, so he was certainly from ‘among the brothers’
  • Moses and Jesus were both Shepherds. Jesus said “I am the good Shepherd” (John 10:11) Moses was literally a shepherd, but he also shepherded God’s people for over 40 years.
  • They both arrived, offering deliverance after 400 years of inactivity. Moses appeared a long time after Joseph had done so much for Egypt and Jesus was born 400 years after the last book of the Old Testament was written.
  • Both fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. Moses while on Mount Sinai (with Joshua as we saw last week) and Jesus when he had just been baptised and went into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan.
  • Both spent their early formative years in Egypt. If you remember Joseph and Mary escaped there to avoid the wrath of Herod.
  • Both were born at a time when the rulers were so insecure that they wanted all the baby boys killed. Pharaoh commanded that all the Hebrew baby boys were to be drowned at birth and King Herod decreed that all baby boys under two should be killed. Both Moses and Jesus were miraculously saved from this infanticide.
  • Both Moses and Jesus instituted a blood covenant to bring salvation. Moses’s was the Passover and Jesus’s was his death on the cross. We saw how the Passover shadowed the cross in a previous post http://adrianpursglove.com/shadows-of-jesus-the-passover-lamb/
  • Both were given God’s public stamp of approval of an audible voice heard by the nearby crowd. Moses at mount Sinai and Jesus at his baptism
  • Both gave up great riches to live a humble and serving life before God. Moses gave up the easy life of Pharaoh’s palace and Jesus gave up the glory of heaven. They were both noted for their great humility (Numbers 12:3, Philippians 2)
  • Both were criticised by their own families;

Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3:20-21)

Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman. (Numbers 12:1)

  • Both were willing to sacrifice their own lives for the sake of those they were leading, and to pay for the people’s sins.
  • Both were involved with a miraculous provision of food. Joshua with the Manna and Jesus when he fed the 5,000 and the 4,000.
  • Seven weeks (50 days) were significant in the lives of both men. It was this period of time after the exodus that the Israelites received the Torah. This was the same amount of time after Jesus’s resurrection that the disciples waited for and then received the promised Holy Spirit.
  • Both of them had shining faces after spending time with God. Moses had to wear a veil over his face because the glory was too radiant. Jesus also had a radiant face on the Mount of Transfiguration.
  • Moses chose 12 spies to explore Canaan, and Jesus chose 12 disciples. Moses appointed 70 rulers over Israel, and Jesus sent 70 disciples out to share the gospel.

There are many more similarities than these examples, but I think I will leave it there. Feel free to add any more in the comments section below. I must admit that I was quite surprised just how many there were as I was researching this blog.

 February 16, 2018  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »
Feb 092018
 

Shadows of Jesus joshuaLast week we looked at Joshua’s encounter with the commander of the Lord’s army, which we realised was none other than Jesus himself. This week I want to look at the man Joshua himself and consider how he shadowed Jesus.

The very name ‘Joshua’ connects him to Jesus. In Hebrew, Joshua is Yehoshua or Yeshua meaning “Yahweh is salvation”. It is the same name as Jesus. Joshua was actually the name given him by Moses.

These were the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua. (Numbers 13:16)

Let’s look at some of the other similarities between Joshua and Jesus;

They both had the role of ‘leader of Israel’

Joshua – Even with me the Lord was angry on your account and said, ‘You also shall not go in there. Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. (Deuteronomy 1:37-38)

Jesus – “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:6)

They both had the same mission of bringing peace

Joshua – So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them. (Joshua 9:14-15)

Jesus – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

They both had 12 appointed men

Joshua – Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. (Joshua 4:4)

Jesus – He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (Mark 3:16-19)

Joshua mirrored Christ as a virtuous man. He was not sinless but there are no recorded major sins or unrighteous character flaws.

Joshua was a man of faith who gave a positive report as one of only two men out of the 12 who spied out the promised land.

And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” (Numbers 14:6-9)

Joshua thrived on fellowship with God. He delighted in God’s presence

Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. (Exodus 33:11)

I had never seen this before but if you read the whole passage in Exodus 24 it appears that Joshua was with Moses for the whole 40 days he was up the mountain and would have been in God’s presence all that time. A life changing experience!

So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. (Exodus 24:15)

There are too many places to mention where Jesus enjoyed times in the father’s presence but here are just a few!

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days (Luke 4:1-2)

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35)

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. (Luke 6:12)

Joshua succeeded Moses as Israel’s leader (Joshua 1:1). Moses symbolised the law (as the one who brought the law to the people) but the law could not lead the people to victory or bring peace to the Promised Land. A saviour had to come and do what the law could not do. Joshua was the one who led the people into the Promised Land but that was only a shadow of all that Jesus would achieve for us. He won the ultimate victory, cleansing our lives from sin and bringing salvation beyond the Promised Land and into the whole world.

 February 9, 2018  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »
Feb 022018
 

Commander of the Lord's armyThe people of Israel had been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.

They had been moaning and complaining to Moses all that time until they all died out. It was time for the next generation to emerge and take the land that God had promised their forefathers.

God had chosen Joshua to take Moses’s place and he is ready to go; young, keen and impetuous and up for the challenge. But just before he launches into battle, God has a lesson for him in case he is in doubt who is really in charge.

This story can be found in Joshua 5:13-6:5

Suddenly, in front of Joshua, appears a man with a drawn sword in his hand. Just to be sure, Joshua asks him if he is friend or foe.

“No” the man replies “but I am commander of the Lord’s army.” It must have been immediately obvious to Joshua that this was no ordinary man, because he falls on his face before him.

The man standing before Joshua was none other than Jesus himself, God in the flesh. This appearance in the Old Testament is called a Theophany or Christophany where Jesus appears in human form, before His full incarnation as a baby in Bethlehem.

It is clear that it is not an angel standing before Joshua because an angel would never accept worship. To make it even clearer, Jesus tells him to take off his sandals because He is standing on Holy ground (the immediate presence of God himself).

Jesus then demonstrates His authority by giving Joshua precise instructions of how he is to lead the people in the defeat of the city of Jericho.

The strategy of marching round a city numerous times, blowing trumpets and shouting would have seemed extremely odd to Joshua, but I think that Jesus was testing Joshua’s obedience. Would he follow, to the letter, some seemingly foolish instructions or would he trust in his own power and that of his soldiers and storm the city in the tried and tested military way?

It is clear that Joshua made the right choice.

How about you. Has Jesus asked you to do anything you don’t understand or comprehend?

Obedience, mixed with faith, is a very powerful tool in the ranks of Jesus’s army.

 February 2, 2018  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »
Jan 272018
 

Cities of refugeThe cities of refuge can be found in the bible in Numbers 35, Deuteronomy 19 and Joshua 20. They were cities that God provided for His people as a form of protection.

In ancient biblical times, anyone who killed someone else accidentally or unintentionally could legitimately be tracked down and killed by members of the dead person’s family or someone they employed called the avenger of blood.

The city of refuge was a place someone could run to and be protected and safe, until they faced a proper trial by the elders and wise men of that city.

There were 6 cities in all and these were strategically placed throughout Israel so that they were within easy reach for whoever should need them.

There are a number of points to make about these cities;

  • They were God’s idea, they were a provision of grace. They showed His mercy and loving heart for justice and mercy and indeed an ordered society.
  • Anyone could access these cities; Israelites, strangers and sojourners. As mentioned earlier, they were spaced out throughout the land so that they were easily accessible. God even commanded that decent roads should be provided into them for easy access (Deuteronomy 19:3).
  • It is also mentioned in Jewish literature outside the bible that these roads were to be repaired every spring after the rains and the bad weather of winter. Special signs were also placed at crossroads, clearly indicating where the nearest city of refuge could be found. Bridges were also built, to cross ravines etc to further enable easy access. The doors of these cities were never locked day or night. They were also stocked with plenty of food.

How do the cities of refuge relate to Jesus?

  • Jesus is easy to reach! He has made himself available to all, the invitation for safety is on offer to everybody, Jew and gentile alike.

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (Revelation 22:17)

Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:22)

  • Jesus never locks His gates! He is accessible all the time. He accepts us whatever we have done and Paid the punishment for our sin on the cross.
  • His refuge (salvation) is completely sufficient. We are totally safe as no-one can snatch us out of His hands.

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (John 6:37)

  • Jesus is better than any shadow. He won’t turn us away no matter what we have done.
  • He is nearer than any city, we can ‘access’ Him immediately.
  • The cities only protected the innocent, Jesus died for the sinful and the guilty, which is great news because we all fall into that category!
 January 27, 2018  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »
Jan 192018
 

bronze serpentOne of the most widely known verses in the bible is John 3:16 For god so loved the world…etc. The context was Jesus being approached at night by Nicodemus, one of the main religious leaders.

Everyone focuses on that famous verse 16, but in His discourse, just two verses earlier, Jesus mentions our subject today and clearly equates it to himself;

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)

Jesus was referring to an interesting time in Israel’s history where the people had left Egypt but had been stopped from entering the Promised Land because of their constant bickering. How ungrateful! God had miraculously provided food on a constant basis but they were still unhappy. Here is the account:

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” 6 Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”9 So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. (Numbers 21:4-9)

This whole account clearly points towards Jesus in a number of ways. Let’s consider this further;

  • The bronze serpent was God’s plan for salvation. He gave them a way to live despite their rebellion. This foreshadowed God’s ultimate plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.
  • We looked at a great word the other week – propitiation (http://adrianpursglove.com/shadows-of-jesus-sin-offering/) which basically means the diverting of God’s wrath. The bronze serpent represented the diverting of God’s wrath. Jesus took our sin upon himself on the cross and successfully diverted the wrath that was heading towards us.
  • Whoever looked at the serpent was healed, whoever looks to Jesus and believes is saved.
  • The bronze serpent served as a reminder to the people of the serpent in the garden of Eden. A curse was proclaimed against the serpent. Jesus bore our sin and became a curse for us.
  • The bronze serpent was lifted up so that the people could look to it and live. Jesus was lifted up on the cross so that anyone who looks to him and believes will live forever.

Salvation is simple, it’s not a magic formula. We look to Jesus, trust and believe in Him and we are saved

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

There’s one more lesson I want to bring out of this passage, which is an important warning to us all. The Israelites turned a good thing into an idolatrous thing. In 2 Kings 18:4 we read of how they actually started to worship the bronze serpent itself. We live in a day where too much attention is placed on religious objects and paraphernalia rather than on Jesus himself. This can be very easy to do, but we need to trust in Jesus alone. Have your eyes become fixed on something else? Let me encourage you to look to him

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)

 January 19, 2018  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »
Jan 122018
 

Feast of first fruitsThere are seven major festivals which were instigated at the time of the tabernacle, some more famous than others. These festivals are all set out in Leviticus 23.

Three of these festivals fell on the week that Jesus was crucified and are very significant. The first festival, and one we have looked at before, was the Passover. This is the feast that Jesus was celebrating just before he was betrayed and arrested. At the same time was the feast of unleavened bread and the day after the Sabbath was celebrated the feast of firstfruits (actually Easter Sunday).

The feast of firstfruits was a special feast, ordained by God, in which the Israelites would acknowledge the fertility of the land that God had graciously provided for them. It was not like the pagan rituals where the people would try to appease their gods in the hope that there might be a good crop. No, this was a faith filled celebration that God would supply and provide a good harvest just as he had promised.

It is a great principal for us today. We don’t owe God anything, we can never repay Him for what He has done, but what we can do is offer our best, our first fruits of all He has provided. The most obvious is the first fruits of our money, not whatever we have left over. But it also includes every other part of our lives; our time, energy and talents. God should always get the first and the best of us.

So how does this shadow Jesus?

It is very significant that the feast of firstfruits was celebrated on what we now call Easter Sunday. The apostle Paul saw the resurrection of Jesus as a ‘firstfruits’ of a greater resurrection day in 1 Corinthians 15:20–23.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

Jesus described Himself as the grain of wheat that was to fall into the ground and die, which would then spring to life and bring forth much fruit. He said to his disciples;

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (1 John 12:24)

Jesus was the ‘first fruits’ of the resurrection which in time we will all enjoy. The tomb is empty! Jesus rose from the dead! He is alive. He is the first to rise from the dead in expectation of a greater harvest.

What a fantastic hope! And on top of that there is another great ‘firstfruits’ promise, the gift of the Holy Spirit. The day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was first poured out is often described as the ‘firstfruits’ of the Spirit. It was just a taste of what Jesus will increase in the earth until His return.

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)

We have received the first part, the deposit of the Holy Spirit. Just imagine what it will be like when we stand before the face of God in our resurrection bodies and experience His overwhelming love for all eternity. So far we have only had a taste. Then we will enjoy the full sumptuous meal!

 January 12, 2018  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »
Jan 052018
 

scapegoatWe have been looking recently at The High Priest and how his ministry and office shadow the office of ‘The great high priest’ – Jesus himself.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the ‘Day of atonement’ one of the most significant days in the Jewish calendar. This was the day (once a year) when the high priest would enter the Holy of holies and represent the people before God, making sacrifices for sins.

This day is set out in great detail in Leviticus 16

One of the aspects of this day was ‘the scapegoat’ a highly symbolic act which, as so many other things did, looked forward to the ministry of Jesus.

After the high priest had sacrificed a bull for himself, he would then make sacrifices for the people. He was to take two perfect male goats and present them before the Lord. He would cast lots to choose which one would be slaughtered and which one would be set free. After the first goat had been sacrificed for the sins of the people, the second goat (the ‘scapegoat’) was taken to the high priest where he placed his hands on the goats head. He would confess the sins of the people over the goat and it was then led out into the wilderness where it was released, symbolically carrying the sins of the people with it.

Actually, for us, Jesus represents both goats. He was the ultimate sacrifice that paid for our sins and He is our scapegoat, the innocent goat who took upon himself the weight of our sin.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Our sins were laid on Jesus who bore our sins just like the scapegoat bore the sins of the Israelites;

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)

The goat, having taken on the sins of the whole community, was cast out of the city and the presence of the people. The same thing happened to Jesus on the day that He was crucified. He was taken outside Jerusalem and crucified on the hill at Calvary.

..and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all…. he bore the sin of many and makes intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:6,12)

Because what Jesus did was a ‘once and for all sacrifice’ there is no need for any further sacrifices, we don’t need to place our hands on a goat and send him away. Jesus has not only forgiven us, but he has removed our sins, as the bible says, as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12)

we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all….. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:10,14)

 January 5, 2018  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »
Dec 292017
 

High priests clothesAs we saw last week, the High priest in the Old Testament was a shadow of Jesus, the Great High Priest who was to follow.

This week we will see that even the clothes that the High priest wore had aspects and shadows of the life and ministry of Jesus.

The garments were designed and skilfully put together under God’s specific instructions as described in Exodus 28 and other passages.

They remind me a lot of the ‘Armour of God’ as set out in Ephesians 6 especially as each piece represents a different quality.

The garments were also to “consecrate the priests” Exodus 28 3. Here is a real application of the saying “it is clothes that make a man”. Neither Aaron nor his sons would dare to appear before God in their own clothes which in God’s sight would be as filthy rags. The only things he could receive them in were His own designed clothing. In the same way we can only appear before God clothed in the garments of Salvation which Jesus has provided for us.

Let’s have a look at each piece in turn;

Breastplate

You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, in skilled work. In the style of the ephod you shall make it of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen shall you make it. (Exodus 28:15)

The breastplate is a shadow of Jesus representing us before God. It contained twelve precious stones, four rows of three in a row, which represented the twelve tribes of Israel (all God’s chosen people).

There shall be twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel. They shall be like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes (Exodus 28:21)

So the High Priest carried the names of God’s people on his heart when he went into God’s presence to intercede for them. This of course typifies Jesus Christ our Great High Priest bearing our names before the Father.

For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. (Hebrews 9:24).

The Urim and Thummim of the high priest typify the guidance we receive from Jesus through the Holy Spirit

And in the breastpiece of judgment you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron’s heart, when he goes in before the Lord. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the Lord regularly. (Exodus 28:30).

The word Urim means “light,” and the word Thummim means “perfection.” These were a part of the breastplate and were the means of determining God’s will.

By following Jesus; praying, reading His word etc, we find out what God’s will is for our lives.

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).

This guidance is received through the work of The Holy Spirit.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (John 16:13).

Ephod

The ephod, or outer garment, of the high priest typifies Jesus’s qualifications for being our Priest.

He made the ephod of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. And they hammered out gold leaf, and he cut it into threads to work into the blue and purple and the scarlet yarns, and into the fine twined linen, in skilled design. (Exodus 39:2, 3).

The fine twined linen, picturing Jesus’s holiness, was the first essential of His high Priesthood. As we have seen before, the various colours have significance in their symbolism;

The gold pictures His divine glory; the blue, His deity; the purple, His royalty; and the scarlet, His humanity and death.

The ephod had two shoulder pieces or straps which joined the front and back parts together. There was an onyx stone on each shoulder piece, and on each stone was engraved the names of six of the tribes of Israel. The names of the tribes were therefore carried on the shoulders of the high priest when he went into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies. This is a shadow of believers today being carried on the shoulders of Jesus Christ our great high priest, who is the one responsible for our salvation. Shoulders symbolise power and responsibility.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder (Isaiah 9:6)

Of Benjamin he said, “The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.” (Deuteronomy 33:12)

Robe

The robe of the ephod of the high priest is a shadow of Christ interceding for us.

You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. (Exodus 28:31).

It was worn between the coat and ephod. The material was of blue, with a hole at the top for the head, like a jumper. Around the lower hem were balls of blue, purple, scarlet—shaped like pomegranates —and also there were small golden bells. The pomegranates typified fruit, and the bells typified testimony. The bells were to let the people know that the High priest was still alive when he entered the Holy of Holies and that his offering was accepted.

Because Jesus rose from the dead, we know His sacrifice has been accepted. He now stands before the father and represents and prays for us.

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25).

Coat

The embroidered coat or inner garment of the high priest represents the inner life of Jesus, which was pleasing to God.

You shall weave the coat in checker work of fine linen (Exodus 28:39).

This garment was made of fine linen woven in checker work. It was the first garment to be put on so served as an undershirt. The fine white linen typifies the righteousness of Christ. The checker work, which was well pleasing to the eye, indicated that the inner as well as the outer life of Christ was well pleasing in God’s sight.

Jesus said: And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him. (John 8:29).

Turban (mitre)

The turban typifies the holiness of Jesus as our Great high Priest.

You shall make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet, ‘Holy to the Lord.’ And you shall fasten it on the turban by a cord of blue. It shall be on the front of the turban. It shall be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall bear any guilt from the holy things that the people of Israel consecrate as their holy gifts. It shall regularly be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord. (Exodus 28:36-38).

This was a headband wound around the head. It had the words engraved “Holy to the Lord” This symbolises the holiness of Jesus in representing believers. His holiness becomes ours, “that they may be accepted before the Lord.” Without the holiness of Jesus we would not be able to enter into the presence of God.

For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. (Hebrews 7:26).

Sash (girdle)

And the skillfully woven band on it shall be made like it and be of one piece with it, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. (Exodus 28:8).

This girdle was made of the same material and of the same piece as the ephod.

In biblical times, the sash symbolised a readiness for service. Jesus was the majestic king who became a servant. He delights to serve us and do all he can for us. He typified this by serving His disciples and washing their feet on the same night he was to be betrayed;

He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:4-5).

 December 29, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus 1 Response »
Dec 222017
 

the high priestIf you’ve ever read the book of Hebrews you will immediately realise the connection between the office of High Priest in the Old Testament and the Great High Priest in the New Testament.

The High Priest in the tabernacle (and later the temple) was set-apart by God. He was from the lineage of Aaron from the tribe of Levi. The tribe of Levi produced all the priests who were to minister day and night before God.

There was only one High Priest in the nation at any one time. He was chosen and consecrated in an elaborate ceremony. He oversaw all the priests and had many duties. One of the ways he shadowed Jesus was to act on behalf of men in relation to God. He represented the people by offering gifts and sacrifices for sins. But the most important role was a key one on the ‘Day of atonement’ (also called Yom Kippur).

The ‘Day of Atonement’ was the day in which sacrifices were made to cover the sins of the people and restore their relationship with God.

The High Priest would sacrifice a bull to cover his own sins and then, with great trembling, would pass through the curtain into the holy of holies, into the very presence of God and sprinkle the sacrificial blood. Would his gift be accepted? Would he make it out alive? This would be repeated every year by the High Priest of that year.

This whole procedure was clearly looking forward to the Great High Priest who would deal with sin once and for all time. As I mentioned earlier, this is set out in the book of Hebrews;

And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:11-14)

Jesus made the perfect sacrifice, one that never needs to be repeated. We now have access to the very presence of God. We can enter more than once a year. We can come boldly, without fear and trembling, any time we like, because of His ultimate sacrifice.

 December 22, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »
Dec 152017
 

Guilt offeringThis is the last of the 5 main offerings of the tabernacle which, as we have seen, all shadow the; life, death, ministry and character of Jesus.

The offering we are looking at today was also called the trespass or reparation offering. The meaning of the word reparation sums up what the offering is about; “the action of making amends for a wrong one has done.” This offering was the seed of the biblical doctrine of repentance.

It is set out in Leviticus 6:1-7

The offering was for when a person committed deception, robbery or swore falsely in a deliberate manner. It was not imposed by the high priest or the authorities but came from the guilty conscience of the perpetrator when they subsequently felt guilty for what they had done.

The guilty person had to refund everything they had stolen, plus a further 20%.

God has graciously given us the gift of a guilty conscience so that we can feel bad about our sin and come to Him for forgiveness, otherwise we would just descend further into the ravages of sin.

When we sin against others we still need to attempt to make restitution. Jesus taught this himself when He said…

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)

Making restitution to each other is essential to good relationships and living together in a spirit of forgiveness and being at peace with one another whenever possible. We may never be able to make full restitution for the wrongs we have done but our attitude should be to do as much as we can.

However, our debt to God is something we could never even begin to pay back, let alone add 20% on top.

By His sacrificial death on the cross, Jesus took our guilt and paid for it completely. We no longer need to feel guilty for our sin. Sorry, repentant and remorseful yes, but not guilty, because the sacrifice has been made once and for all.

So in summary, we need to make restitution wherever possible for our sins against other people, but the debt we owed to God has been paid for, we can now live in right relationship with Him because of what Jesus has done.

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »