Jun 022017
 

Shadows of Jesus the first sacrificeThe Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)

The issue of clothing in the bible is hugely significant.

In Scripture, clothing can symbolise righteousness or unrighteousness.

The prophet Isaiah contrasted the two. He talks about God’s righteous robes in chapter 61 verse 10 “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness.”

Later on he talks about garments that are distinctly ‘unrighteous’

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. (Isaiah 64:6) In fact other versions describe them as ‘filthy rags’.

This theme crops up again and again in the bible. In the New Testament we encounter an interesting passage about a wedding feast. In Matthew 22:10 Jesus tells the parable of the marriage of the King’s son. The King sent his servants out to invite anyone they could find, the bad as well as the good, so that the wedding hall would be filled with guests. We then encounter a very interesting bit in the following 2 verses “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 22:11-12)

Doesn’t this all sound rather harsh? A man sent to hell for not wearing the right clothes?

And how is this relevant to our theme of Jesus in the Old Testament?

In verse 7 of Genesis 3 we read that following their rebellion against God, Adam and Eve realised that they were naked and so they attempted to sew fig leaves together and cover themselves. Have you ever seen a fig leaf? They would not be very comfortable to wear and difficult to sew. They symbolise mankind’s pathetic attempts to justify themselves. Our efforts at justifying ourselves are never good enough. We simply don’t realise the seriousness or consequences of our sin.

Our sin is so serious that the spilling of blood, a sacrifice is required. I wonder if God actually showed the killing of this innocent animal to provide the clothes He made. I am sure He wanted to show Adam and Eve the consequences of their actions. It is not mentioned in the bible, but I would not be surprised at all if the animal being sacrificed, to provide their fur, was a lamb.

This all points to the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made. He was the innocent sacrifice made in order to cover our sin and make us acceptable to God. The garments we have now been given are pure white and spotless, because we have been made righteous. We see this again and again in the book of Revelation when describing the saints of God.

Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. (Revelation 3:4-5)

The clothes you wear before God are crucial to your eternal standing. The equivalent to sewing fig leaves together is ‘filthy rags’ because they reveal our own pathetic efforts. If we trust in God and take on His clothing (trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus) our clothes are acceptable to God. I’ll leave you with some sobering verses later on in Revelation 3

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen. (Revelation 3:17–18)

 June 2, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »
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 »