February 23, 2010

Num 28-30: Feasts of Remembrance

Posted in Foundations, Prophecy, Revelation, Sacrifices tagged , , , , , , , , , at 8:24 pm by Steve

The list of sacrifices is very detailed and for our hurried minds seems pointless and too much to remember. But for people who were much more intune with spiritual matters this was a connection to Divine. God gave people a starting point from which to grow in their relationship with Him. But before we can move very far in our relationship with God must must face the painful reality of our sin and our desparate need for forgiveness. But what can we possibly do to cover our human sin and reach for the holiness of God. Through this laundry list of sacrifices, times, amounts and patterns we can begin to feel like the depth of our sin is being covered over and we can begin to know God personally. Then we can understand Grace, but not until we know how much it costs.

Regularly scheduled celebrations and atonement to the sovereignty of God.

Daily  /  Weekly  /  Monthly

Outline of Major Festivals

Old Testament                                                              New Testament

Feast of Unleaven Bread                                        Palm Sunday (fulfilled)

Passover                                                                           Good Friday (fulfilled)

Feast of First Fruits                                                   Easter (fulfilled)

Feast of Weeks                                                             Pentecost (fulfilled)

Feast of Trumpets                                                     

And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. Matthew 24:31

Feast of Atonement                                                 

Feast of Tabernacle

When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. Hebrews 9:11

January 28, 2010

1-27-2010 Exodus 28-29 Consecrated by My Glory

Posted in Foundations, God's Character, Redemption, Uncategorized at 9:03 am by webpastormike

“This is what you are to do to consecrate them, so they may serve me as priests:”

When I met my first friends from Texas, I was introduced to a charming people with a unique turn of phrase: “fixin’ to”.  My new friends were two very attractive and sophisticated  young women from Broadway Baptist Church in the Dallas area, one of whom was performing an impromptu skit with some other friends on our weekend retreat.  Her line was ” Doctor, doctor come quick, my daddy is fixin’ to die!”  That line is all I remember from the skit except that the whole thing ground to a halt while the audience and the cast broke into uncontrollable laughter.

Exodus 28 and 29 are all about preparing the sons of Aaron for the priesthood, and all of that preparation was meant to lead up to one glorious visitation of Yahweh before the tabernacle.  God did not just show up, He ordered that preparations had to be made, and not just any activity would suffice.  These were very specific instructions that had to be followed BEFORE His arrival.

Does this not make you wonder whether we are making sufficient preparations for the visitation that we seek?  Are there conditions of the soul that He requires of us in order for His presence to meet us at the place prepared for Him?  Is there not a requirement of worship that precedes entering his courtyard?

As for me, I will be giving some more thought to ‘fixin’ to meet with the Almighty.

January 26, 2010

Exo 22-24: A Community of Justice

Posted in Foundations, Historical, Israel, The Law tagged , , , , , , at 10:09 pm by Steve

Justice — conformity to truth, fact, or reason. Correctness / Righteousness / Equity

How do you define Justice? We’re pretty good at know when something wrong has been done to us, but less so when we’ve been accused of doing something wrong. When we’re accused we usually have a string of excuses as long as your arm ready for why the action was unavoidable. “I was in a hurry and didn’t mean it.” “After all that has been done to me I didn’t think anyone would notice.” And many more.

IN these passages from Exodus what is striking is the punitive damages that God requires for a crime. They require restitution but then the matter is settled. These laws, while sometimes laborious to get through, tell of a God who is involved in the simplest of details of human life and recognizes that if we cannot find a way to forgive each other, to offer mercy, then our existence will become simply “hell on earth.”

The details of these crimes deal with slaves, animals, the poor, rulers, and every once in awhile, the holiness of God’s name. The topics cover social, religious, economic, and political life. Everything is included. It may seem a bit bizarre to cover all these topics, but for the Hebrews coming out of Egypt, this was radical stuff. They were used to living as tribes under Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and then Pharaoh. They were used to being ruled, now they would have to learn to live co-dependent and as one body.

Could they do it? Can we?

Exo 19-21: Freedom to Serve

Posted in Foundations, Israel, Moses, Redemption, The Law tagged , , , , , , at 9:38 pm by Steve

19:6 “Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

>> Believe it or not this verse is considered by many to be the central theme of the Exodus. We often think of the Exodus narrative as God’s freeing the slaves to live out their joyful happy lives to do whatever they want in the Promised Land. God defeats Pharaoh’s earthly rule and commands these Hebrews to follow Him to the land He promised Abraham. But God has a greater purpose for the Hebrews, just as He does for us. They are to be a people of priests before the Lord.

What does this mean to be a priesthood and holy nation? They are to be an example of a people wholly dedicated to serving God, loving one another, and living in justice, mercy, and love [see Micah 6:8].

What doe this mean for us as Christians? God did not save us through the blood of Jesus so that we could do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. We are also called to be a Royal Priesthood [1 peter 2:5], Ambassadors [2 Corinthians 5:20], and the Body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:27]. We are to live as Christ’s representatives that the world may know how good, loving, gracious, slow to anger, and merciful God really is.

So here’s the big question – how do you think you’re doing?

[19:16] “On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled.”

>> Does this sound familiar to anyone? On the morning of the third day God comes to the mountain to give the Law. On the morning of the third day Jesus comes to give new life.

[21:1]  These are the laws you are to set before them:If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years.’”

What should we make of this long list of laws from Exodus 21. What I noticed right away is their focus. Notice that the very first law laid down by God is for the proper care of slave. A SLAVE! The first thing God wants the Hebrews to be concerned about is how they care for one another and the slaves above all. In our culture the wealth are the ones we are most concerned about, but not God. God’s focus is on the poorest.

When we as a church try to decide who the church is suppose to serve, is it

(a)  The poorest in our community

(b)  The richest in our community

(c)   The silent majority who do most of the work?

Look over the rest of the laws in Chpt 21. Where is God drawing out attention? What kind of people and issues are being addressed and why?

January 24, 2010

Exo 16-18: If Only…

Posted in Foundations, Grace tagged , , , , at 7:48 pm by Steve

It was hard for me to get past the opening words “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” [16:3]

Uncomfortable Christianity is…well…uncomfortable. I know that sounds redundant, but it’s important to recognize because we prefer to live in the corollary.

Comfortable Christ is…well…comfortable, however useless that may be.

Which are you willing to choose? Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived in a time when people went along to get alone. They had a faith that didn’t demand anything of them and as a consequence they didn’t do much with it when millions depended upon them. Most of our churches are, in the words of Pink Floyd, “comfortably numb.” I suspect you are reading this blog because you want something more. We all have Bible in our homes, but how many read them? How many are joining us in this one year Bible Study? We look to the church to carry us in our faith without discipleship. If we were to trade places with the Hebrews, would we ever have made it to the Promised Land or would we all be speaking Egyptian by now?

Here are a few important quotes from The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace. Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing….p45

Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. 47

Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world’s standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin….

Seven Festivals of the Messiah

Posted in Foundations, Miscellaneous, Prophecy tagged , , , , , , , , at 7:04 pm by Steve

So much of what we’re covering in Exodus has a parallel in the New Testament. To understand Jesus’ fulfillment and the Exodus theme encountered there, we must understand the meaning of the festival to fully understand their fulfillment in Jesus. Though we see a New Testament parallel, it is important to remember these event happened almost 2,500 years before Jesus. What follows is a passage from good book on the Festivals by Eddie Chumney. You can read the entire book at this link.

http://www.hebroots.com/heb_root.html#Heritage

OVERVIEW OF THE SPRING FESTIVALSThe four spring festivals are Passover (Pesach), Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzah), First Fruits (Bikkurim), and the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), or Pentecost.

  1. Passover (Pesach) occurs in the first month of the religious calendar (Aviv, also called Nisan), on the fourteenth day, Leviticus (Vayikra) 23:5.
  2. Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzah) immediately follows the first day of Passover (Pesach). It is observed in the first month (Aviv/Nisan) from the fifteenth day to the twenty-first day (Leviticus [Vayikra] 23:6-8).
  3. The Feast of First Fruits of the barley harvest (Bikkurim) is observed during the week of Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzah). Anciently, on this day, sheaves of barley were waved before the L-rd in a prescribed ceremony. Today, this festival is not observed in traditional Judaism.
  4. The Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) is also known as Pentecost. Beginning on the Feast of First Fruits (Bikkurim), we begin to count 50 days. This is called the counting of the omer. On the fiftieth day following the Feast of First Fruits (Bikkurim) is the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) or Pentecost (Leviticus [Vayikra] 23:15-21). (Note: Pentecost is a Greek word that literally means “fiftieth.”)

 

The Exodus Story: From Pesach to Shavuot

Pesach (Passover) begins in Egypt (Mitzrayim) (a type of the world), where the children of Israel had become slaves. When the children of Israel cried out to G-d to remember the promises He made to Abraham (Avraham), Isaac (Yitzchak), and Jacob (Ya’akov), G-d called forth a deliverer named Moses (Moshe). G-d told Moses (Moshe) that He was going to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt (Mitzrayim) to the Promised Land (Exodus [Shemot] 3:8). When G-d sent Moses (Moshe) to Pharaoh, G-d did not tell Moses (Moshe) to ask Pharaoh to allow the children of Israel to leave Egypt and go to the Promised Land. Instead, G-d only instructed Moses (Moshe) to ask Pharaoh to allow the children of Israel to take a three-day journey into the wilderness to make a sacrifice to G-d (Exodus [Shemot] 3:18). Moses (Moshe) obeyed G-d’s instructions exactly as can be seen in Exodus (Shemot) 5:1-3. Pharaoh’s first deviance of the Almighty One of Israel was his refusal to allow the people of G-d to observe a feast and to sacrifice to Him!

After a remarkable series of plagues inflicted on Egypt (Mitzrayim) because of Pharaoh’s continued stubbornness, the children of Israel were finally released to leave Egypt laden with the spoils of the Egyptians. The children of Israel came to the banks of the Red Sea on the seventeenth day of Aviv/Nisan, which is three days after the day of Passover in the first month of the religious calendar. The Passover Lamb was slain on the fourteenth of Nisan and the people left Egypt (Mitzrayim) before midnight in the evening of the fifteenth after the death angel struck the firstborn of Egypt (Mitzrayim). When Pharaoh saw that the children of Israel were trapped against the sea, he foolishly decided to pusue them with his army (Exodus [Shemot] 14:1-9). The children of Israel became afraid, but Moses (Moshe) rose up and said, as it is written, “…Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation [Yeshooah in Hebrew], of the Lord…” (Exodus [Shemot] 14:13). Jesus (Yeshua) in Hebrew means salvation or Savior (Matthew [Mattityahu] 1:21).

At this point, the sea divided and the children of Israel crossed the floor of the Red Sea on dry ground while the Egyptian army, along with Pharaoh, pursued the Hebrews into the Red Sea and were drowned (Exodus [Shemot] 14:26-28; 15:4,19). The Bible says that the L-rd’s right hand destroyed the Egyptians (Exodus [Shemot] 15:6,12). The right hand is a term for the Messiah, Yeshua (Psalms [Tehillim] 44:3; 48:10; 63:8; 74:10-11; 89:13; 98:1; 110:1; 118:16; 138:7; Isaiah [Yeshayahu] 41:10; 53:1-5; 62:8; Acts 2:32-36; 5:31-32; Hebrews 1:3).

It is important to note that Pharaoh, along with his army, drowned in the sea. In the days of Joseph (Yosef), there was a famine in Israel and the children of Israel went down to Egypt (Mitzrayim) and gave themselves to rulership under Pharaoh. Because of this, Pharaoh had legal ownership over the people. This ownership could be broken only by the death of Pharaoh, thus freeing the children of Israel to go to the Promised Land. Because of this fact, G-d did not violate His word to Pharaoh through Moses (Moshe) when he asked Pharaoh to let the people go on a three-day journey into the wilderness, but later continued to go to the Promised Land. When Pharaoh died, his rulership over the children of Israel was legally broken and the people were free to go to the Promised Land. For this reason, the season of Passover (Pesach) is called “The Feast of Our Freedom”.

Spiritually speaking, Pharaoh is a type of satan (Ha satan). Until you accept the Messiah (Yeshua) into your life, Satan (Ha satan) has legal ownership over you. By the death of Yeshua (Jesus), the legal ownership that satan (Ha satan) has over our lives is broken and we are free to enter into the spiritual promised land of G-d and receive all the promises that He has promised us.

Fifty Days From the Red Sea: Shavuot (Pentecost)

From the crossing of the Red Sea (Nisan 17) to the day Moses (Moshe) met G-d on Mount Sinai were 47 days. For 47 days the children of Israel traveled through the wilderness before they came to Mount Sinai on the third day of the third month (Sivan) (Exodus [Shemot] 19:1). G-d instructed the people through Moses (Moshe) to sanctify themselves before He visited them three days later on Mount Sinai, which would be the sixth day of the third month of Sivan (Exodus [Shemot] 19:10-11). This day would be the fiftieth day following the crossing of the Red Sea; it came to be known as the revelation of G-d at Mount Sinai. This day being the fiftieth day from the crossing of the Red Sea on Nisan 17 would be the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), or Pentecost.

Therefore, from the Exodus story, we can see that the Lamb was slain on the fourteenth of Nisan, the day of Passover (Pesach). On the fifteenth of Nisan, the day of Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzah), the people left Egypt; on the seventeenth of Nisan the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea; and 50 days later on the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), or Pentecost, G-d gave the Torah (instruction) on Mount Sinai. In the following chapters, we will see how Yeshua (Jesus) died on Passover (Pesach) (Nisan 14), was in the sepulcher on the day of Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzah) (Nisan 15), and was resurrected on the day of First Fruits (Bikkurim) (Nisan 17), and the Holy Spirit empowered the believers 50 days following Yeshua’s (Jesus) resurrection on the day of Pentecost (Shavuot). We will also discover what these feasts mean to the individual believer and how they relate to our personal relationship with G-d.

From the book “Seven Festivals of the Messiah” by Eddie Chumney

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Hebrew Name for Jesus

January 23, 2010

Exo 14-16: The Hard Hearted

Posted in Choice, Foundations, Moses tagged , , , , , , at 7:45 pm by Steve

When God intercedes in the affairs of men, He does so with a unique perspective of time and outcomes. When Exodus states that God “hardened Pharaoh’s heart” the form of verb suggests a future orientation such that God is viewing a process that is occurring not necessarily a consequence God is causing to happen by divine force. There appears to be an interesting progression in the use of the verbs from one in which Pharaoh’s heart is strengthened and therefore becomes unyielding because of growing pride, to one of burdensome and weariness that reflects the problems associated with positions of power and authority.

The struggle between God’s foreknowledge and Pharaoh’s free will is ultimately at stake in understanding these passages. According to Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch, God is long-suffering toward Pharaoh until he showed himself to be intransigent. While others in Egypt responded to the plagues as signs and wonders, Pharaoh remained obstinate and became more of what he already was.

In a larger sense the relationship between God and Pharaoh is best reflected in light of Romans 1:24-25 “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”

The hardness of Pharaoh’s heart was the consequence of his choices and his stubborn attitude toward any authority other than his own given the life into which he was born. The problem with Pharaoh’s position of absolute power is that it doesn’t allow for a lot of wiggle room when things don’t work out the way they should. Pharaoh is boxed in and his hardness of heart becomes a burden rather than a strength. In the face of God’s authority and sovereignty, Pharaoh goes down the wrong path and each step make his life and heart harder and harder. It’s all about choices.

The verbs that are most commonly used in Exodus to describe the state and or action of Pharaoh’s inner being as growing sense of strength, pride and arrogance that builds in Pharaoh over time bringing about certain events. The debate over whether God interferes with Pharaoh’s ability to freely choose is somewhat alleviated by looking at the form of the verbs, the process of development, and the context in which they are found.

tae: the mark of the accusative, prefixed as a rule only to nouns that are definite.

ble n.m. inner man, mind, will, heart

qzx  [to strengthen, strong, to grow firm]

Exodus 4:21 – action God takes on Pharaoh’s inner being [verb piel imperfect 1st person] future oriented. It suggests what is foreshadowed based on Pharaoh’s past history.

7:13  – describing the state of Pharaoh’s heart

7:22 – remained in its current state

8:19 – Pharaoh’s hardness of heart was resolute and established

9:12 – Action God takes toward Pharaoh [piel waw consec imperfect 3rd person]

9:35 – the state of Pharaoh’s heart such that he took action and would not let the people go.

10:20 — verb piel waw consec imperfect 3rd, seems to be concerned less with the causation of the event than the final state of being

11:10 — verb piel waw consec imperfect 3rd person, “the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart” Consequential action, the logical outcome of the preceeding events

14:4 — piel waw consec perfect 1st person, Consequential, because of the nature of God and the nature of Pharaoh, hardness and stubbornness is the logical result.

14:8 — piel waw consec imperfect, consequential action, because the Israelites were out of Pharaoh’s hand, his heart became stubborn and he pursued them.

 To be hard, severe, fierce, make hard, stiff, stubborn, fig. of obstinacy.

 Exodus 7:23 – action God takes toward Pharaoh’s heart

 To refuse, refusing to obey commands;

Exodus 7:14 – describing the state of Pharaoh’s heart (perfect tense, is unyielding, or stubborn)

dbeK’ vb. be heavy, weighty, burdensome, honored,

Exodus 8:11 – Pharaoh’s heart became burdened and weighted down

8:32 – the action of Pharaoh toward his own situation

9:7 – in response to the death of the animals, pharaoh remains unyielding

9:34 – because of Pharaoh’s sin, his heart is burdened even more and therefore unyielding

10:1 — verb hiphil perfect 1st person, the subject brings about a state of being, in this case heaviness of heart brought about by God.

John Goldingay in Old Testament Theology: Israel’s Gospel provides a helpful discussion of this:

To soften or harden something impersonal such as butter or jelly, we use physical manipulation, heating or cooling it, but to soften or harden a person, we present them with facts or images or stories so that they can do their work in generating a response on the part of the person. Similarly, Yhwh’s softening or hardening need not involve some equivalent to physical manipulation, as if God reaches into the brain and directly changes the way it works. To judge from other aspects of God’s working with human beings, more likely God softens and hardens in the same personal way that human beings adopt in personal relations. God makes things happen by influencing people. To soften people, God presents them with facts or images or stories of divine love or power, or of human possibilities of action or achievement. These do not force them to a positive response, but give them, for example, extra stimulus and opportunity to trust or love or worship. To toughen people, God presents them with other facts or images or stories – for instance, perhaps, reminding the Pharaoh of the loss he will incur through letting the Israelites go. That, too, does not force or manipulate Pharaoh to decide to hold on to Israel. What happens depends on how Pharaoh responds to the facts or images or stories—on whether he himself toughens his resolve. (353).”