Keep Your Eyes On Him. (Part III)
Like any good pitcher, I am going to change things up and throw a curve ball after my two previous fast balls. Instead of requesting that you pray for me- although I definitely need those prayers and ask that you continue to pray for me- I would like to start by expressing my prayer for you, dear reader. My prayer for you is that for the glory of God, by the power of the Spirit, and in the name of Jesus Christ you would confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. You and I, as descendants of Adam, are under the curse of God apart from the atoning work and salvific blood of Jesus. Because Adam sinned we all sin and we all die. Because of our sin, yours and mine, hell and the Cross are realities. Because, apart from Jesus, we are all under God’s curse for sinning against His glory, every decision we make takes us one step closer to either hell or the Cross. Let us flee from our sins and from the hell to which they would have us condemned, and let us run to the Cross and open arms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
(Continued from Part II)
I would like to start by saying something that I probably should have said previously. I do not think that Jesus and the authors of the New Testament only read the Old Testament typologically. However, I do think that there are definite examples that one way that they read the Old Testament was typologically- and that following their lead in this area is absolutely necessary in order to understand the Old Testament the way that they did. And I think that reading the Old Testament typologically is necessary in order to see Jesus most clearly, which I think is what we need in order to keep our eyes on Him.
I met a Jewish guy that I was working with at my most recent former job. I talked briefly with him about the Messiah, and my belief that Jesus was the promised Messiah. We did not have the opportunity to talk about it as much as I would have liked, but I thought a lot about the Jewish perspective on the Messiah in hoping to converse with him. The rest of this blog is basically my thoughts in preparation for that conversation that regrettably never happened.
Collectively, the key figures in the Old Testament, with a few exceptions, shared three things: God’s choice/use of them was unexpected, they were to at least some extent rejected by their people, and they failed in some way.
Some examples of those who were unexpectedly chosen/used: Abraham was basically a nobody, God could have followed man’s wisdom- i.e. that of Abraham and Sarah- and chosen Ishmael rather than Isaac, then Jacob is chosen instead of Esau, Joseph instead of his older brothers, then Judah is exalted rather than Joseph as Jacob/Israel prophesies about his sons before he dies, Moses, David instead of his older brothers, Solomon instead of Adonijah.
Some examples of those who were to some extent rejected by their people: Noah, the people often rebelled against Moses’ leadership, King David was exiled when his son Absalom led a revolt and usurped his father’s throne, the northern kingdom seperated from the rule of the Davidic line of kings after Solomon, and the major and minor prophets were largely rejected by the Israelites.
Some examples of those who failed: Adam, the first “son” of God, eating of the forbidden fruit and Israel, the “son” of God, failing to “confirm the words of [the] law by doing them” (Deut. 27:26). Moses failed just before crossing into the promised land. The judges who led the Israelites after Joshua failed in many ways, and the book of Judges says four times that, “In those days there was no king in Israel” (Judges 17:6, 18:1, 19:1, 21:25). The “messiahs” (anointed ones/kings) of the Old Testament failed: Saul failed and was rejected by God, David failed and committed adultery with Bathseba and had Uriah killed, and Solomon failed and his heart turned away from God.
These patterns pointed forward to One who, like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Judah, Moses, David, and Solomon, would seem to be an unlikely choice; One who, like Noah, Moses, David, the Davidic kings after Solomon, and the prophets, would be rejected by His people; and One who, unlike the “sons” of God, Moses, the judges, and the “messiahs” before Him, would not fail.
I said in Part II that a few facets of the exodus pointed forward to Jesus. The two most important ones were the Passover and the sacrificial system that was given to the Israelites during the exodus from Egypt to the promised land. In Romans 6:23, Paul said that “the wages of sin is death.” God promised Adam and Eve that on the day they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would surely die. From the time they ate the forbidden fruit from that tree forward, “the wages of sin” has been death.
In both the Passover and the sacrificial system, we see that a “lamb without blemish” could die a substitutionary death in the place of sinners. In the Passover, God promised to distinguish between the Egyptians and the Israelites, based on the lamb’s blood on the doors, and to kill the firstborn of the Egyptians- both people and livestock. Both the Egyptians and the Israelites were sinners, just like you and I are sinners. Similarly, the sacrificial system, with regular sacrifices for sins and the Day of Atonement, required the blood of a bull, sheep, or goat that was both “without blemish” and “perfect” (Leviticus 22:19-21).
These symbols of salvation and atonement, along with some prophecies that I’ll mention later, clearly point forward to the Christ and His Cross, as He was our Passover Lamb, without blemish and perfect.
The third facet of the exodus that pointed forward to the Messiah that I had in mind was the death of the firstborn. The firstborn and/or only son is mentioned throughout the Old Testament. Firstborn alone is mentioned 106 times. When God told Abraham to take Isaac, his second son, and to sacrifice him as a burnt offering, he said to take his only son. I think this was to signify that Isaac was the child of promise, and to point forward to God’s only son who was sacrificed on the same mountain many years later. Because Abraham was willing to sacrifice his “only” son for God, God willingly sacrificed His only Son, Jesus:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16
There are also many references in the OT to the pain of a woman in childbirth. These references, by themselves, don’t seem very significant. Childbirth brings excruciating pain, and everybody knows that. So it is an easy reference to a pain that everybody knows of, right? But, the prominence of the reference might lead us to think that they point forward to a significant childbirth. When you put this prominent reference together with the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, as well as our knowledge of the virgin birth, I think it leads us to believe that these references to childbirth pointed forward to the virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I’d like to end with some non-typological prophecies, which I think carry more weight when combined with an understanding of the typology of the Old Testament:
Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:
13Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
14As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
15so shall he sprinkle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.
1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
6 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.
7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
3Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8 “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
9Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
10On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.
12Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.
14I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet— 17I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
10″And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.“
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