joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
Sadly, the joy did not last for the house of Israel. The Apostle John tells us what happened: He came unto His brethren, but they despised and rejected Him: “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” (John 1:11-12; see also John 5:18) Ultimately they killed him, not knowing this was the plan all along (1 Cor. 2:7-8) so He would rise from the dead and become the perfect sacrifice and the perfect priest (Heb. 7:22-25).
The rejection and the redemption of the Messiah is hidden in prophetic shadow in one of my favorite typologies of Christ: Joseph. His brothers also despised him. They were jealous of their father’s love for his son, who was born to Rachel following many years of barrenness. They mocked his dreams (Genesis 37:18-28) and plotted to kill him, but rather sold him as a slave until the appointed time.
“And the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. The famine was in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. So when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Then Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, do.” (Gen. 41:54-55)
“Then they made the present ready for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they heard that they would eat bread there.” (Gen. 43:25)
“Now his heart yearned for his brother; so Joseph made haste and sought somewhere to weep. And he went into his chamber and wept there. Then he washed his face and came out; and he restrained himself, and said, “Serve the bread.” (Gen. 43:30-31)
We see that, eventually, the famine grew worse:
“Now there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine.” (Gen. 47:13)
“But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matt. 4:4)
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, And from north to east; They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, But shall not find it.” (Amos 8:11-12)
“Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Make everyone go out from me!” So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself knownto his brothers. And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. [H6413, peletah: “an escape.”] So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Gen. 45:1-8)
When I realized the astonishing prophetic nature of this story, these words left me in belly sobs and messy tears.
“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.” ’ Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.”
And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” (Gen. 50:15-21)
“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” 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.” (Matt. 2:13-14)
The Bread of Life
I know this is long, but please take the time to read the following several passages. They are profound and powerful and will help bring understanding for what is to come:
Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”
Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:26-58)
Notice that the Jews glorified and admired the mystical bread in the wilderness. It did nothing to bring eternal life, yet Jesus, the Living Bread From Heaven, stood before them in the flesh, offering eternal life.
But they wanted a sign. They continued in unbelief and mockery. They complained about Him, murmured among themselves, and quarreled over the message. How quickly they forgot that their fathers did the same, even about that miraculous manna!
“Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. 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 our soul loathes this worthless bread.”
So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
Therefore 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.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” (Numbers 21:4-9)
To this day I cannot hold back my adoration for God and His wisdom in giving us all things, including salvation and Scripture! For even here in the wilderness, with fiery serpents and complaining wanderers, we are given so much if we have eyes to see and ears to hear. Look at this:
“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:1-17)
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of Man must be lifted up.
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Cor. 15:3-4)
(AS…) Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the wilderness.
- The people looked at it and lived.
- The people did not look at it, then say a special prayer.*
- The people did not look at it and apply poultices to the serpent bites.
- They did not look at it and offer burnt offerings or sacrifices.
- They looked and lived.
(EVEN SO…) Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again.
- We believe He did this and receive eternal life.
- We do not believe and say a special prayer.*
- We do not believe and keep the laws of Moses.
- We do not believe and offer burnt offerings or sacrifices.
- We believe and live.
*Prayer may accompany salvation, and confession of faith (2 Cor. 4:13), but these things do not of themselves save. It is the heart that matters. “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” (Matt. 15:8)
This message is important to truly understand because it is the everlasting gospel, which tells us who God is and how we can be saved. And it offers pristine clarity for some of the more difficult passages in the Bible, which must be understood in context.
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 1 Cor. 1:21
Salvation, the free gift of eternal life, is clearly laid out in Scripture as a gift that comes by grace through faith (belief) that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day. Our works, which include how we live as believers and how we serve the Lord, are part of our lifelong journey with the Lord.
All passages of Scripture must be understood and interpreted in the light of the gospel. If there seems to be a contradiction, that just means full understanding has not been reached yet, or the passages are not being read in the proper context. This is an invitation to go deeper and pray constantly for wisdom and revelation from the Holy Spirit.
The pleasure of the Lord
Isaiah 53 tells us a mystery:
“It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lordshall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.”
It pleased the Lord? Pleasure!?
The book of Hebrews magnificently unveils this mystery!
“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’ ”
Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Heb. 10:1-10)
“He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.”
“It is finished.” (From John 19:30)
The pleasure of the Lord: one perfect sacrifice that once, for all, takes away sins and makes those who approach perfect.
What is pleasure to the Lord: faith. (Heb. 11:5-6)
What is not pleasure to the Lord: Unbelief.
“Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” (Heb. 10:38-39)
“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do [go on to perfection] if God permits. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” (Heb. 6:1-6)
“If they fall away.” Interestingly, this word (G3895) is similar to, but does not translate the same as, apostasiain the Greek. It is is used only once in the Bible. It describes falling away as falling back, as in returning to the old ways of seeking forgiveness and atonement for sin. This is why the writer urges them in Hebrews 10:20 to approach boldly, in a new and living way, through the veil of His flesh. Not the old way of burnt offerings and sacrifice of bulls and goats, with scarlet wool and ashes or hyssop.
But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.
Remember? God did not desire this; He had no pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices. But He did have pleasure in one perfect sacrifice that took away sin forever. He had pleasure in the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
Saints of the Lord in grace, this is not about you. This is not about me. It is written to testify and bear witness to the Hebrews, who were introduced to the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus, and warn them to not draw back to the old sacrificial system of atonement.
|Ariely, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)|
We are living in a day and time where this message is as relevant as it was almost two thousand years ago. On Monday, December 10, 2018, the last day of Hanukkah, Israel dedicated the third temple altar. A sheep was slaughtered and a portion burned on the altar. This altar, and the third temple, are in satanic opposition to the once-for-all sacrifice of our beloved Lamb of God. This is exactly what the writer of Hebrews warns against. He writes, clearly, “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” There was ONE perfect sacrifice; it happened around 33AD when Yeshua was crucified for you. No other sacrifice or offering will be accepted. If you reject that, there are no more sacrifices or offerings you can bring that will atone for your sin. (See Heb. 10:11-18)
Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:29)
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24
The entire context of this passage is for those whose souls, just like in the wilderness with Moses, “loathed this worthless bread.”
Remember what the Lord did when the people complained? Hundreds of years after Moses, the prophet Jeremiah declared, “For behold, I will send serpents among you, vipers which cannot be charmed, and they shall bite you,” says the Lord.” (Jer. 8:17) God does not overlook the rejection of His Son, the living bread of God who gives life to the world. The day of His vengeance is coming.
Soon, we don’t know when, but soon, once the Church has departed from the earth to be with the Lord, an angel will come with a message. It will be different than when the shepherds were feeding their flock by night and the glory of the Lord shone around. This time, the angel does not say, “Don’t be afraid.” He tells them to be afraid. He says, “Fear God.” He reveals who God is: “Worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” Another angel tells how to be saved:
Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” (Rev. 14:6-13)
Today we live during the astonishing age of grace, where we can become a child of God through believing from the heart that Jesus paid the debt for our sins through His death on the cross. It has never been, and never will be, as free and simple as it is now. “Take, eat,” Jesus says. He stands before you, the Living Bread from Heaven, offering eternal life.
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matt. 26:26-28)
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. (1 Cor. 10:16-17)
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)
This is truly good tidings of great joy! (Click to Source)