OVERVIEW OF THE BIBLE STORY
2042- Abrahams’ kid.
Yesterday I held the first ‘official’ home group meeting at our halfway house.
There are different ways to relate to people when doing ministry stuff.
Most of the times I simply listen to people- befriend them- and over time you do influence people that way [my 3 month North Bergen stay would be a good example].
But I also realize it can help to have a format.
So I spoke for about 15 minutes [I find that it’s easier for people to remember what you say if you don’t go to long]- prayed for one another- and a few people talked about their journey in life.
Let me share some of the stuff I’m teaching.
I’m talking about the main theme of the bible- Old Testament.
It’s easier to grasp the story if you follow a main theme.
In the bible we follow the story of creation- Gods intent for man to ‘be with him’- to have fellowship with God as his kids.
Man sins- this breaks that primary relationship- and God begins a dialogue with a man.
He tells him if he goes on this journey [where?] that God will bless him- make him into a great nation of people.
Wow- sounds great!
God tells him to go out into a place that he won’t even know where he is going.
Basically he has to go out By Faith- and as he begins the process- God will show him the next step.
So- he begins the journey- believing the promise ‘your seed [kids] will be like the stars of heaven- like the sand by the shore’.
As he journeys [in the Promised Land- the future land of Israel] Abraham and his wife are not having any kids.
They are getting older- and Abraham comes up with a plan [he tries to figure out a way to make Gods promise work- and of course he messes things up].
He at first says ‘you know what God- my wife Sarah is childless- how bout we count this servant who has worked for me for years- maybe we will just say he’s the kid’?
Back in bible days- you could sort of do this- use a trusted servant- and simply give the inheritance to him.
But God had another plan.
Then a few more years go by- and once again he comes up with another plan.
‘I know- I’ll sleep with the maid [Hagar] and her kid will be the one’.
He gets permission from the wife- and Hagar has a kid from Abraham.
His name is Ishmael [who becomes the Father of the Arab people].
Ahh- we did it God!
God tells Abraham ‘no- your wife will have a child- this time next year [the bible says God set a specific time for the promise- Abraham waited his whole life- he was 100 years old- Sarah 90].
Sure enough- she has a kid at her old age- Isaac- and he’s the ONE.
Ok- this story- found in Genesis-is the beginning of the Promise.
I didn’t quote the key verses- they are found in Genesis 12- 15- 17- 22.
A few things.
God tells Abraham that the whole world will be blessed thru this promised kid.
The apostle Paul tells us in the letter to the Galatians- that this specific promise was ultimately fulfilled thru Christ.
I’ll explain that in the next few days.
For today- remember these key points.
God made a promise to a man- Abraham.
He told him he would bless him and make him into a huge nation of people [the nation of Israel- later on in the New Testament the Apostle Paul will say ‘they that are simply born Jewish are not the ones the promise was made to- but to ‘all the kids’ both Jewish people who believe in Christ as well as 'non Jews’.
Abraham [and by the way- Sarah too] had to Walk by Faith.
They had to go on this faith journey- or else the promise would never get fulfilled.
That’s the same with us- often times God gives us a mission- a specific purpose in life.
You might have friends- other people- who will join you on parts of the journey.
Some stay- some are only there for a season.
But in the end- it’s up to you to keep the original purpose in mind [the Prophet Isaiah says ‘I told you the mission from the start- but it is now coming to pass’].
Don’t get sidetracked- don’t get involved in too many different tasks [it’s ok to multi-task- as long as its part of the main mission- see?]
Abraham grasped the promise- had a tough walk [which we will see in the next few posts].
And completed the mission.
How about you?
THE KID IS ON THE WAY
Ok- lets pick up where we left off the other day.
On the basic theme of the bible- that you can sum up the main story as a promise God made to a man- named Abraham.
If you remember- God told Abraham if he went out to a strange land- God would bless him with many kids- and thru HIS SEED the whole world would be blessed.
So- as you read thru the bible- the Old Testament- everything else you read- is sort of building up to the time that this Chosen kid would arrive.
Which is Christ.
A few points.
As I write this week- and follow world issues- the world in many ways is in turmoil because of the religious/political uprisings in many nations.
Much of the division is due to a divide within the Muslim faith itself [Sunni, Shia].
I have talked about what this division is all about in the past.
But for now- it would be too much to get into.
Another cause of serious concern is the present day persecution of Christians in these areas where these wars are taking place.
Ok- in the promise to Abraham- we see that God sort of joins the various peoples of the earth and says ‘yes- this blessing is for all of you- Jews, Arabs [Muslims] and Christians’.
And it is popular in our day- among politicians- to refer to the 3 great faiths of Abraham.
Islam, Judaism and Christianity do indeed find common ground- as they all look to Abraham as the father/founder- in a way- of these faiths.
What I want to offer here- is in order for my Muslim and Jewish friends to partake fully of this promise- they can only fully grasp it by seeing that the fulfillment is thru the promised Son who is Christ.
As we move along in the story of the bible- we see the various situations that these kids of Abraham went thru.
At one point God tells Abraham that this family will be in bondage 400 years in a strange land.
That’s the whole story of Moses and the famous Exodus out of Egypt [the name in the bible book- Exodus- is taken from this story].
The children of Israel are finally delivered from Egypt- and after 40 years in the wilderness- they take the Promised Land.
Now- an important- and overlooked theme- is that the Apostles in the New Testament [in the book of Acts].
Seem to see this promise as being fulfilled in a spiritual way thru the resurrection and ascension of Christ.
That is- the actual teaching from the bible is that all who believe in Christ- whether they be Jewish or Muslim or any other group- they are now receiving the promise that God made to Abraham.
It’s no longer a debate about actual physical land- or about a specific ethnic group [The Jewish people].
But no- the Apostle Paul writes the letter to the Galatians and says-
‘They are not Jews who are Jews outwardly- thru the circumcision of the flesh- but inwardly- those who are circumcised in heart’.
The apostles begin seeing the promise to Abraham’s seed- as the spiritual promise- given to all who believe in Christ.
The reason this is important to see is because some of the divisions- the religious divisions- are based upon what ethnic group will ‘possess the Holy Land’.
Though these are true- serious concerns- because lives have been lost over this.
Yet- when we see the true intent of the promise- a spiritual blessing to all nations- no longer a land issue- then I believe it will help all of us- Jews- Muslims and Christians- to find true common ground.
Because at that point we are no longer debating- having wars over who gets what.
But we can begin seeing each other as ‘heirs with him- OF THE SAME PROMISE’.
THE THRONE OF DAVID-
As we follow the main theme of the bible- and hopefully cover the whole bible in a few more posts [yes- that’s possible- and important. Many times sincere people say they tried to read the bible but got lost along the way. That’s why it’s important to kind of do a summary like this. Believe it or not- many preachers/teachers have never done- or realized- that you can sort of break it down like this- in an easy to understand way].
Let’s briefly see where we are at.
In the beginning of the story- found in Genesis- God made a promise to a man [Abraham] and his kid [Isaac- and eventually the whole nation of Israel- then the promise- that God would bless all nations thru his kid- is fulfilled thru the person of Jesus Christ himself].
The Old Testament is usually divided into 3 categories- The Law [1st 5 books of the bible] The Psalms [which by the way contain a lot of prophecies about Christ- because king David- who wrote lots of the Psalms- will have special promises made to him too- just like Abraham] and the Prophets.
So- the Law- 1st 5 books- cover this Promise to Abraham- and how it takes various twists and turns- Moses delivering the people out of Egypt- Joshua’s leading the people into the promised land- etc.
But- as you read- many of these stories are simply ‘framework’ about this promise- that Christ will come.
After the children of Israel take the land- they go thru a history of disobeying God- and over time various countries will conquer them and they will live under enemy occupation for a time [Babylon- Syria/Persia].
We read about this in the 3rd division of the Old Testament- called the Prophets.
The Prophets are simply the stories of God reproving- correcting- the people [the people are the nation of Israel- the kids of Abraham- see how this initial promise can be seen as a structure for the Whole Story?].
But during the history of the various kings [we read about them in the books of Kings- and Samuel- found in the Old Testament].
There is special attention given to King David- whom the bible refers to as a man ‘after God’s own heart’.
God makes promises to King David- that his ‘Son’ will sit on his throne [the throne- rule of David] quote- FOREVER [how can one Son sit on the throne- forever? The Apostles in the book of Acts see this promise fulfilled- because Jesus- the Son of David- now lives forever- he has an endless life. They saw these promises as pointing to the resurrection of Christ].
Ok- we see- once again- certain special promises about a future Son [Jesus- the same Son that Abrahams promise spoke about].
But this time God will give us more details about the Son.
Some of the prophecies [promises] about David’s Son- are what we call dual prophecies.
They apply both to Solomon [David’s son] as well as to Christ- also referred to as the Son of David.
It’s interesting- in one of the many debates that Jesus has with the religious leaders of his day- he asks them-
‘Who is Christ- the Son of David? If so- then why does David him call him Lord? How can Christ be David’s Son- and the Lord of David at the same time’?
Jesus was quoting an actual Psalm of King David- Palms 110.
So these prophecies about a coming Messiah were known among the people of Jesus day.
But the deeper meaning- that Christ would indeed be born thru the Seed of David- but that he had always existed with God the Father from all time.
That truth was not known- so Jesus stumped them with this question.
We see under the rule of King David that God makes certain promises to David about a future Son.
That this Son would sit on the Throne of David- forever.
In the book of Acts- these promises are quoted from the Apostles- Peter and Paul- and they are preaching to their fellow Jewish countrymen.
And are trying to show them ‘look- this Jesus- whom God raised from the dead- he is the promised one we have all been waiting for’!
As you read the sermons in the book of Acts- this is a main theme.
It’s almost as if the Apostle Paul is frustrated that they can’t ‘see’ this!
Paul will later teach [in his letter to the Corinthians] that satan has blinded the minds of those that don’t believe.
Because to the early Jewish followers of Jesus- it was obvious to them that this Jesus- this miracle worker who lived among them.
Lived a spotless life.
He was the one.
Then he told them something one day- well- that seemed to confirm the accusations of others- that he was nuts.
He said ‘I must go to Jerusalem and die- be killed- and the 3rd day rise again’ [which would be the only way the promise to king David- and Abraham- could be fulfilled. The apostle Peter actually says this in his preaching- that God raised up Christ to sit on the throne- where he is now seated at the right hand of God- forever- like the promise said- because he has been raised from the dead].
His followers did not fully understand all of it.
But sure enough- after his brutal crucifixion at the hands of an unjust govt.
He shows up to his followers and various other witnesses [the bible tells us there were about 500 people who saw Christ alive after his death].
And yes- he himself becomes the promised kid.
The Seed of Abraham- and the offspring of David- the Root of Jesse.
Yes- in the pages of the New Testament we see the promise fulfilled.
Ok- I might do just a few more posts on this.
But as you can see- you really can cover the main theme of the bible- in a short time.
A key to remember when doing a study like this is that everything points to Christ as the ultimate fulfillment of the promises.
Of course there are lots of other details- and important stuff that you have to skip over when doing this brief overview.
But even if we get into all those other stories- they still point to Christ.
NOTE- a good passage from the bible that covers how the early Jewish followers saw that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promise made to King David is Acts chapter 2: verses 24-35. See how the apostle Peter- in one of the most famous chapters in the bible [because it is usually seen as the beginning of the church- the pouring out of the Holy Spirit].
But look how much of Peter’s famous sermon talks about this very thing- the promise of God made to king David- that a Son would sit on his throne- and how Peter saw this as being fulfilled thru the death and ascension of Christ to the right hand of the throne of God.
I’ll give you just a few examples from the pens of the Apostle Paul and John - ‘Concerning his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh’. Romans 1:3.
‘Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel’. 2nd Timothy 2:16.
‘And one of the elders saith unto me- weep not: behold- the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book and to lose the seals thereof’. Revelation 5:5.
‘I Jesus have sent my angel to you to testify these things in the churches, I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star’. Revelation 22:16.
Raised to walk in newness of life [‘Abrahams kid’ conclusion]
Today let’s finish our study ‘ABRAHAMS KID’.
This last month we held about 5-6 home group meetings in various cities.
I have been trying to teach along the same lines of our weekly posts.
So for those who are in our groups- when this post is done I will post the entire study [which covers all the meetings].
I’ll post it as a page to the web site.
One more note;
Over the last few years since we have been on-line.
I find it interesting to see the various nations that log on to the site.
I used to make a list-but over time we have had so many that I stopped keeping track.
The other day I saw one that surprised me.
It said HOLY SEE [VATICAN CITY].
Either the Pope- or someone from inside the Vatican logged on.
Truly an honor.
Ok- the last few weeks we have discussed the main theme of the bible.
God promising man that someday he would send a deliverer- a Messiah.
We follow this promise thru the story of Father Abraham- and down thru the Son of King David.
We read in the New Testament that Jesus Christ is indeed the promised one that was to come.
As I started this study- it was right during Christmas.
I usually try and do a chapter about the Christmas story.
In Matthew 2 we read that when the wise men came from the east looking for the King of the Jews.
They showed up in Judea and it was King Herod who asked the priests and scribes where Christ should be born.
The wise men followed the star from the east- but it was the Jewish religious leaders who looked in the scriptures [Micah 5] and gave the directions to the wise men.
‘In Bethlehem of Judea’.
The point is- all Israel was waiting for Jesus- for this promise.
They were in expectation of a Savior to come.
Even though we started this study with the story of Abraham- yet the promise in seed form goes all the way back to the garden.
In Genesis we read the first prophecy- sometimes called the First Gospel [Protoevangelion- in scholarly terms].
In Genesis chapter 3 we read of the fall of man.
God says to Eve ‘the serpent will bruise his heel- and he will bruise the serpents head’.
It was the original prophecy that someday a son born from woman would engage in battle with the Devil- and yes- this battle would leave a permanent mark/scar on this Son [wounds of the Cross].
But thru these wounds the Son would finally bind ‘the dragon’.
When the angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would give birth to Jesus- this was Gods sovereign choice to pick Mary as the one who would give birth to ‘the hope of Israel’.
The people of Jesus day- including his disciples- initially thought that Jesus would be a sort of political deliverer.
That he would lead the Jewish nation in a revolt against her oppressors- Rome- sort of like the 5 sons of Maccabees did a few hundred years before- when they rose up against the wicked Seleucid empire and threw off their rule [we read about this in the Catholic book of Maccabees. The Jewish people till this very day celebrate this victory when they observe the feast of Hanukah]
But Jesus showed the people that his kingdom was not a violent in- in which he would lead a literal rebellion in which people would be killed.
No- he would instead go to the Cross- and thru his death- burial and resurrection- he would finally ‘bruise the serpents head’.
Yes- Jesus would become the new king of this new kingdom of God.
He would be raised from the dead- and as the promise made to king David said-
‘This Son would rule from David’s throne- world without end’
2- HOW DOES GOD BLESS THE WORLD THRU THE PROMISED SON?
This week I have been concluding this study in our house churches.
I want to end by making the Promise clear.
Remember- we started this study with the promise that God made to Abraham [Genesis 12- 15] that if Abraham obeyed God and went on this tremendous journey.
Then God would make him into a multitude of people [initially applied to the nation of Israel- but in the writings of the apostle Paul- Galatians/Romans- Paul teaches that this promise is made to ‘all the seed’ [people] not just to natural Jews].
Ultimately the promise- that we can all be blessed [Jews- Christians- Muslims- etc.] is achieved thru simply believing God- about his Son [that he was crucified- buried- and on the 3rd day rose again from the dead].
All who believe are saved.
In Genesis 15- when God told Abraham to go outside and look at the stars.
The bible says ‘Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness’.
The apostle Paul uses this singular statement in his letters found in the New Testament to teach that all peoples of the earth can too receive the blessing of Abraham- thru faith.
Yes- just like ‘father Abraham’ believed God.
We too can believe God about his Son- and be declared righteous [be saved].
In the letters of the New Testament Paul says ‘when did God justify [declare forgiven- saved] Abraham- before or after he was circumcised’?
The rite of circumcision in the bible means a lot more than a simple medical procedure.
It was a sign that people entered into the old covenant with God- called the law.
So- Paul says ‘see- Abraham was declared just BEFORE he was circumcised’.
Showing that Abraham is truly the father of all nations- not to the Jew only- but all- even those who were never circumcised [meaning even those who were outside of the Jewish covenant of law].
Ok- I don’t want to make this study too hard to get.
The purpose was to show- in a simple way- the main story of the bible.
And one of the main themes in the New Testament is the reality that all the nations of the earth have this blessing thru the ‘Son of Abraham- the seed of David’.
Yes- that’s the blessing- the promise made to these ancient people who lived thousands of years ago.
This message was liberating to the Jewish people at the time of Jesus.
The apostle Paul himself was a strict religious teacher- a Pharisee.
But we read about the struggle with sin he had [Romans 7] even though he knew- and tried very hard- to obey the law [to not sin].
But he shows us that no matter how hard he tried to keep the law- he [and all men] could never keep it.
Paul teaches us ‘thru the law is the knowledge of sin’.
But man- in his sinful nature- could never keep it.
Jesus instead died in our place- paying the penalty for sin [all the acts of man breaking the law from the start].
And thru faith [see how important this initial promise is- the way we can be saved is only thru faith- Paul also says ‘thru the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified in Gods eyes’].
Paul says ‘if we could be saved by obeying the law- then Christ died in vain’ [Galatians].
Think about that for a moment.
If we could achieve salvation thru any other way- then Christ would have died in vain.
But the historical reality of the Crucifixion of Christ is in itself a testimony that we can only be saved thru Christ- thru faith in him.
Ok- a few simple words from the New Testament-
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son- that whosoever believes in him should not perish- but have everlasting life’ [Jesus himself].
‘For by grace are we saved thru faith- not of ourselves’ Paul
‘Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God’ John
These promises were never meant to give a license to sin.
They simply show us that men could never justify themselves before God.
Paul says ‘do we continue in sin that grace may abound? GOD FORBID- how shall we that are dead to sin live any longer in it’?
‘Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin’ John
‘He that says he is in him- ought himself also to walk as Jesus walked [lived]’ John
‘Abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul’ Peter.
‘Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son upon the altar’ James.
These are just a mix of verses from the various writers of the New Testament.
They show us that when we do receive the free gift of God- with that gift comes a lifestyle change.
‘For this purpose was the Son of God manifest- that he might destroy the works of the devil’ John
I want to end our study this week.
Just last night we had another house church meeting- at a beautiful beach front home- a few blocks from where I live.
We sat on a great pier overlooking the intercostal waterway here where I live.
A friend of mine owns it- and we are going to do another home group here as well.
When I first got back from New Jersey- I didn’t plan on starting them so fast.
But we now have them all over the region.
In our meeting yesterday- I had some good friend with me who I have known for years.
He [I won’t mention his name] is really an outstanding Christian- yet homeless.
He has been a good friend for many years.
When I got back from N.J. others told me ‘John- have you seen …. He looks bad’.
I just recently started taking him with me to our meetings.
He has talked with me- and is struggling with sin- but he is so knowledgeable of the scriptures that it seems like the devil has brought upon him tremendous condemnation.
I spent lots of time counseling him- gave him some printed copies of my web posts that I felt might be helpful.
But because my friend confided in me- I know that the thing that is effecting him is simply sin- and the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness that comes with addiction.
He has convinced himself he has committed the sin unto death- and I have assured him he has not.
But that’s the destructive nature of sin.
In this study I wanted to emphasize the reality that freedom comes thru faith in Christ.
But that does not mean we can continue to go out and practice sin.
The apostle Paul said ‘if we build again the things that are destroyed [meaning the sin that Christ died for] we become transgressors’.
So- as we end- I want to encourage all of you.
Sin is destructive- it destroys the soul of man.
The death of Christ- the promised Son who was to come.
This enables us to die also- to our old ways.
‘Mortify therefore the deeds of the flesh’
‘Buried with him by baptism into death- we are raised to walk in newness of life’
‘Set your mind on things above- not on the things of the earth- for we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God’
His resurrection allows us to be ‘raised together with him- seated together in heavenly places in Christ’.
Yes- we can all have this promise.
God bless you all.
2069- This week in our house churches I’m teaching on the Pass Over.
We read the story in Exodus chapters 11-12. Let me do a quick background.
A few months back I did an overview of the bible- traced the promise God made to Abraham ‘if you leave your land and go to a new place I will bless you and multiply you’.
Abraham obeyed God and over time God kept his promise.
At the time of the Exodus- when God delivered the Israelites from Egypt- there were about 600 thousand people who came from the lineage of Abraham.
Over time a new leader arose- a pharaoh- who oppressed the people.
God raised up Moses- and this is where the story begins.
God told Moses to go back to Egypt [where he fled from] and that he would use Moses to deliver the people from Egypt.
Moses goes back to confront pharaoh- and tells him ‘let my people go’.
Now- at the time the Jews were the slave labor for pharaoh- he did not want to lose his workers.
Moses is used of God to bring judgment upon Pharaoh- God sends 10 plagues on the land.
The last plague is the firstborn of each house will die- from Pharaoh to the lowest servant [even the firstborn of the cattle!]
But God gives a way out for his people. He tells Moses to tell the people that they should take a lamb- a spotless one- with no blemish- and to sacrifice the lamb- cook it- and eat it.
They are to take the Blood of the Lamb and put it on the doors of their homes.
They put some on the top and both sides of the door- like a sign of the Cross.
When the Death Angel passes thru the land and sees the Blood on the doors- he will ‘Pass Over’ those homes- and they will be spared from the plague.
That’s where the name Pass Over comes from.
Sure enough that night the judgment fell- and all the homes with the Blood were spared.
Now- Pharaoh and all the Egyptians call Moses and tell him ‘go- leave- keep your feast to God- leave- before we all die’.
Ok- eventually God parts the Red Sea- and most of you know the rest of the story.
God told the people to keep the feast- called the Pass Over [also later referred to as the Feast of Unleavened Bread] thru out all their generations.
Every year- at the time of Pass Over- they repeated this feast.
This story happened about 1400 years before Christ.
So- at the time of Christ- this story was already engrained in the Jewish mind- it was a regular holiday- sort of like Christmas or Easter- they had this down as a routine.
At the time of Christ- as his Crucifixion drew near- he sat with his disciples and had what we call The Last Supper.
This was the Pass Over meal.
We read about it in all 4 gospels.
Jesus had this final meal with his men- and he told them ‘take eat- this is MY BODY broken for you. Drink- This is MY BLOOD shed for you’.
What was he saying here?
He was telling them that he was the ultimate fulfillment of the Pass Over feast.
That is on this night [on a Thursday- he would be crucified the next day] he would be the final Lamb- the Lamb of God- who would put an end to the whole sacrificial system- and thru his one time sacrifice- all men would now partake of the benefits of his death.
In essence- all who believe in Christ would escape the judgment of God- God would see the Blood of Christ applied to our hearts- and he would Pass Over us- in judgment.
A few notes.
The Lambs used for the Pass Over were spotless- The apostle Peter writes that Jesus was a lamb without spot [1st Peter 1:19].
The lambs could not have any broken bones.
In the gospel of John [chapter 19] we read the crucifixion account- the bible says the Roman soldiers went to break the legs of Christ- but he was already dead- so they had no need to break his legs.
And John says ‘this happened so it would be fulfilled- that a bone of him would not be broken’.
John quoted Psalm 34- a prophetic Psalm that spoke of Christ.
The reason the soldiers would break the legs of those on the Cross was it would speed up their deaths.
Crucifixion was a common form of execution in that day- and often the one being crucified would extend his life by using his legs to push himself up- so he could breathe.
It actually takes a while for someone to die on a Cross.
When they broke their legs- they could no longer push themselves up- to breathe- and they would die.
But in Jesus case- his death came fast- because he was dying for the sins of the world.
They did not need to break his legs- and just like the lambs used for Pass Over- no bones were broken [see Exodus 12:46, Psalm 34:20, John 19:31-36].
Christians today celebrate the fulfilment of the Pass Over every time they receive Holy Communion.
We no longer need an ongoing sacrifice of many animals- but we partake of the one time death of Christ for all men.
During the time of the Exodus- when this feast was first established- they would eat no leaven [yeast] for 7 days following the actual meal.
Leaven represents sin- and the apostle Paul told us to keep this feast- this new way of life in Christ without the leaven of sin [see 1st Corinthians 5:6-8].
When the lambs were brought to be killed- they were silent- they made no noise.
When Jesus stood before Pilate- Pilate was surprised that Jesus gave no defense- the bible says he was like a lamb- silent before his accusers [Isaiah 53:7, Matthew 27:12-14].
Jesus fulfilled the Pass Over feast for all generations to come- all who believe in him today will be ‘passed over’ when the final judgment comes- they will escape the wrath of God because by faith they have the Blood on them.
He offered himself one time by the Spirit unto God for us- that we should be free from sin and death- and be alive unto God.
Yeah- John the Baptist spoke one of the most profound prophecies we find in the bible- BEHOLD- THE LAMB OF GOD- WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD’-
Exodus 11:4 And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt:
Exodus 11:5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.
Exodus 12:3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
Exodus 12:4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
Exodus 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
Exodus 12:6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
Exodus 12:7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
Exodus 12:11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD's passover.
Exodus 12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
Exodus 12:13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
Exodus 12:14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
Exodus 12:15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
Exodus 12:16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
Exodus 12:17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.
Exodus 12:18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.
Exodus 12:19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.
Exodus 12:20 Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.
Exodus 12:21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.
Exodus 12:22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
Exodus 12:23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.
Exodus 12:24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
Exodus 12:25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
Exodus 12:26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
Exodus 12:27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
Mark 14:12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?
Mark 14:13 And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him.
Mark 14:14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
Mark 14:22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.
Mark 14:23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.
Mark 14:24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
Matthew 27:12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
Matthew 27:13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
Matthew 27:14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
1Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
1Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
1Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Matthew 27:12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
Matthew 27:13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
Matthew 27:14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
1Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Hebrews 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Psalm 34:20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
John 19:32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
John 19:33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
John 19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
John 19:35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
John 19:36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
NOTES- In Christianity there are different views of the Lords Table [Holy Communion]. There are many divisions in the church today- this one dates back to the earliest centuries of the church.
Most Protestant churches teach a symbolic view of the Bread and Wine- that is they believe that when Jesus said ‘take eat- this is my Body- drink, this is my Blood’.
They see this as a sort of symbolism- that Jesus was not literally saying ‘my Body- Blood’.
Catholics- as well as some of the more ancient traditions [Orthodox- etc.] they take a view called The Real Presence- also technically called Transubstantiation.
Meaning they believe that thru a miracle of God- the Bread and Wine are indeed changed into the actual Body and Blood of Jesus.
Are there any biblical references that support this view?
Yes- there are [I’ll paste them at the bottom].
Ok- you also find this literal view in the earliest writings of the church- the Didache [the earliest teaching we have today- outside of the bible] makes references to this- as well as some of the early church fathers- dating back all the way to the 2nd century.
During the time of the Protestant Reformation [the 16th century] the issue came up again.
The 3 main Reformers- Luther- Calvin and Zwingli- did not agree on this.
Zwingli [Swiss Reformer- I actually visited Geneva Switzerland years ago- this was a famous spot during the Reformation] taught the view that most Protestants hold today- that the bread and wine are symbolic.
Calvin took a view that is just short of the Real Presence view [though at times his view is called this].
Calvin taught that the actual presence of Christ- in Spirit- is there when the sacrament is observed [I believe this myself].
And Luther took a view that was very much like the Catholic view- it’s called Consubstantiation- basically meaning that yes- the real Body and Blood are in the bread and wine- but the bread and wine are also there.
Isn’t this the Catholic view?
Actually no- now- I don’t want to get too deep here- but in the 13th century the great Christian thinker- Thomas Aquinas- defined the Catholic view- using what we call Aristotelian methods.
Aquinas was a big fan of Aristotle [who we will get to in the current Philosophy teaching I am doing].
And Aquinas attempted to use the ideas- words- of Aristotle in defining Christian teaching.
So- Aquinas taught that the bread and wine are not there- it just looks like bread and wine on the outside- but it’s really the Body and Blood of Jesus- only.
As of this day- this is still the official teaching of the Catholic Church.
Ok- I do believe that those who hold this view are most certainly Christians- though I don’t hold the view myself.
Many of my Evangelical friends do not see the more traditional churches as Christian- which in my view is a big mistake.
The verses I’ll paste at the bottom- if taken literally- do indeed teach the Catholic view.
Much of the harshest criticism of the Catholic view comes from the Fundamentalist’s- who are notorious for taking the bible literally- even in places where it’s speaking symbolically.
So- if you take the strict- literal view- you do indeed arrive at the older belief- the Catholic teaching.
So I find it sort of ironic that the more literal Fundamentalists criticize the Catholics- for taking the literal view!
There are many divisions in Christianity today- and I’m not saying that doctrine is not important- no- I try my best to teach well balanced doctrine.
But Jesus also prayed [John 17] that the church would be one- as he and the Father are one.
Would Jesus reject an entire branch of Christianity- because they took his words too literal?
I think not- because then he would have to reject the strict Fundamentalists too.
No- even though I do not hold to the doctrine of Transubstantiation- yet many of the most profound Christian Fathers- dating all the way back to the earliest days of the church- did hold this view.
And they were without a doubt Christians.
As I end this week’s post- I would encourage all my friends- from both Catholic and Protestant backgrounds- to remember that at the Last Supper Jesus gave us an example.
He put on a servants towel- and began to wash the disciple’s feet.
They were shocked at this act of humility.
Peter himself tried to stop it.
Jesus said he was giving us an example- showing us that we are to prefer others better than ourselves.
I think in this debate- as well as the many others that go on in Christian circles- we would do well to remember Jesus example.
John 6:30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
John 6:31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
John 6:32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
John 6:34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
John 6:52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
John 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
1Corinthians 10:16 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?
1Corinthians 10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
1Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
1Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
1Corinthians 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
1Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
1Corinthians 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
1Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
1Corinthians 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.