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Posts Tagged ‘theophany’

The Christophany In Genesis 3:8 And Its Stunning Meaning

Posted by Job on December 24, 2010

Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

This verse has always fascinated me. How can a voice walk? There are several ways to consider this curiosity. The first and the simplest: bad grammar. By inserting punctuation and a few words, one can arrive at the idea that Adam and Eve heard God’s voice while He was walking in the garden. The problem: such grammatical issues are nonexistent in the Bible. So, one would only mentally construct such a thing because of A) experience in dealing with and interpreting mangled grammar when encountered elsewhere and B) attempting to make this verse fit into some preconceived pattern or construct. However, I will point out that the New Living Translation and the God’s Word Translation do in fact translate Genesis 3:8 in this way.

An alternative: to suggest that the translators made a mistake in translating “qowl” to be voice, and that it should instead read “and they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” That is how many other translations do in fact render it, and it is also the opinion of many preachers, including John MacArthur, who states “You cannot hear a voice walking.” Two problems: “qowl” is almost always translated as “voice.” It is translated to be “sound” ten times fewer, and in those cases it is nearly always something that is generated by a non-living or impersonal object (i.e. the sound of a trumpet or the sound of rain). And there is another problem: what does God – who is a Spiritsound like when He walks that Adam and Eve would discern the sound?

So, consider that they actually did hear a voice walking. How is that possible? Well, consider the Gospel of John. Consider in that gospel when Jesus Christ says that when one sees Him, one sees the Father. Also, consider Jesus Christ when He stated in that gospel that He only spoke what God the Father told Him to speak. And consider where the Gospel of John declares Jesus Christ to be the Word of God. The Gospel of John also stated that the Word of God became a man. And upon becoming a man, the Word of God walked among us.

So, in light of that, how far are we from rendering Genesis 3:8 to be “And they heard Jesus Christ walking in the garden in the cool of the day and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jesus Christ amongst the trees of the garden”? Now there is the issue that in His preincarnate state, the Name Jesus Christ had not yet been given to the Word of God and had not yet been exalted and glorified by God the Father. With that being the case – and also the fact that Genesis 3 is very early in progressive revelation – how else could Jesus Christ have been referred to but the voice of God? So, it is very possible, very likely that Adam and Eve encountered a Christophany in Genesis 3:8.

Please recall that the Holy Spirit was referred to in Genesis 1:2 as “the Spirit of God.” In Hebrew, it is rendered as “Ruach Elohim.” So, “the voice of the Lord God” in Genesis 3:8? Qowl Yahweh Elohim.” Genesis 1:2 = the Spirit of God = the Holy Spirit. Genesis 3:8 = the Voice of God = Jesus Christ. Is there a reason for coming to a different conclusion other than treating voice (qowl) differently from spirit (ruach) in passages that are otherwise constructed the same, and also both refer to God in action? Incidentally, that makes claiming that “qowl” should be translated as “sound” rather than “voice” the equivalent of claiming that “ruach” should be translated as “wind” or “breath” in Genesis 1:2.

Further, a few verses later, in Genesis 3:22, please recall this statement: “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us.” US. Plural. One God? Clearly. We saw how God the Holy Spirit referred to in Genesis 1:2. And it does appear that God the Son was referred to in Genesis 3:8. So, even in these early portions of God’s self-disclosure to mankind, we see unmistakable references to God’s Tri-Unity, the Triune Godhead commonly referred to as the Holy Trinity.

The significance? Well, the preincarnate Jesus Christ arrived on the scene in response to the sin of Adam and Eve. It is fascinating: even in His preincarnate state, Jesus Christ was yet dealing with sin and its consequences in mankind. With that in mind, Jesus Christ’s interactions with Adam and Eve after the fall prefigured or pointed to His later dealing with sin on the cross. Realize that Jesus Christ compassionately, gracefully dealt with the sin and resulting fallen state of Adam and Eve by giving them coats of animal skins to cover their shame (far superior to fig leaf aprons), pointing to His later ministry to mankind. This ministry was prophesied, foretold, in the messianic prophecy given by the preincarnate Christ in Genesis 3:15 – “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” So, the preincarnate Christ foretold His own incarnation and death on the cross as the result of the actions of Adam, and that this would result in the defeat of Satan!

But this dealing with sin does not stop there. Please recall that Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John does not only declare Himself to be Savior, but also judge. Indeed, Jesus Christ stated that God the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to God the Son! Well, we see this judgment upon Adam and Eve given by God the Son in Genesis 3:16-19 (the curses) and in Genesis 3:22-24 when He drove them from the Garden! And make no mistake, the judgment of Adam and Eve for sin in Genesis 3:16-19, 22-24 prefigures the judgment of Jesus Christ upon sinful humanity upon His return. The nature of this judgment is given in Revelation 20:13-15, which reads: “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” More description of the punishment can be found in Revelation 14:11a, which reads “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night …”

Now in Genesis 3:22-24, the preincarnate Word of God barred Adam and Eve from the tree of life. But Revelation (verse 22:14 and similar) informs us that because of the work of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, the redeemed will have the right to the tree of life. So I ask you: are you redeemed? Make no mistake: just as it was with Adam and Eve in the garden, your sins will be called to account by God’s Voice. Regarding sin, God’s Voice serves as both minister and judge. So that your sins will be forgiven so that you will escape the terrible, eternal wrath of judgment, please

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Colossians 1:15 How Jesus Christ Is Firstborn Of Creation

Posted by Job on October 7, 2009

Arians, Ebionites, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, theological liberals, and othe pseudo-Christian cults have long used Colossians 1:15 to deny the divinity of Jesus Christ, claiming that the notion was contrived long after the apostolic period through the syncretization of Christianity with Greco-Roman polytheism. What gives these hard-hearted people (who are in much need of prayer that God would open their hearts so that they would receive in it the true gospel) the opportunity is the text “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.” Such people use that text to deny Jesus Christ’s pre-existence and divinity, claiming that it proves that Jesus Christ was the first thing that God created i.e. the chief angel. They deal with such passages as the Johannine prologue by stating that it only means that Jesus Christ existed before the creation of the world, the natural universe, or that God created Jesus Christ and then Jesus Christ created everything else. Another angle is the assertion that takes more seriously the gospel of John (and other places that identify Jesus Christ as the Word of God) is that Jesus Christ’s creation occurred the first time that God spoke or thought, or at the very least the first time that God spoke or thought with respect to creative activity. Truthfully, the doctrine of “the eternal generation of the Son”, while considered orthodox, comes very dangerously close to semi-Arianism when taken to its logical conclusion, so those who espouse this doctrine erect logically artificial and arbitrary barriers in order to keep from being counted as heretics. The only difference is that semi-Arianism (Jesus Christ was created the first time God spoke) views Jesus Christ with respect to ontological, philosophical or logical time (while realizing that actual time is a part of creation and thus does not exist in eternity) where “the eternal generation of the Son” denies, ignores or refuses to deal with ontology. You may ask “why should a Christian deal with abstract concepts like ontology anyway?” Well, that is a question that must be answered by the people who adhere to and preach “the eternal generation of the Son” doctrine, which really has no reason for existing beyond philosophy, as it has virtually no practical implications on orthodoxy or orthopraxy (right thinking and right living). If you are going to adhere to and preach a doctrine – especially one that is in and of itself not a core doctrine of the faith but still has real implications for other core doctrines of the faith (as “the eternal generation of God the Son” does for Trinity) – you had better be prepared to deal with what the doctrine implies and leads to. In any event, both semi-Arianism (Jesus Christ originated when God first thought or spoke) and “the eternal generation of the Son” (Jesus Christ exists as God speaks and does so without being a function of time in any way) pose problems for the nature of existence itself, which is that something can only exist if it exists as a unity. This is borne out in Genesis 2:7 and Ecclesiastes 3:21, which make clear that a man cannot and does not exist unless there is a unity of body and spirit. By the same token, God does not exist without a unity of the Father, the Word and the Spirit. If the Word or the Spirit or the Father require creation or generation, that negates the Unity without which God does not exists, and thus violates Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” Also, as scripture also declares God to be unchanging, God does not create or generate new parts to Himself, so what would be created or generated would necessarily be either a creature (Arianism/Jehovah’s Witnesses) or another god (what “eternal generation of the Son” would possibly lead to if its ontological implications were acknowledged and dealt with rather than simply shoved into “eternity” and ignored).

So, regarding “eternal generation of the Son”, the position should be that the Son is not generated but like the Father and the Spirit simply is and has always been, and this is what the meaning of the Name of God I AM THAT I AM (Exodus 3:14) refers to. Further, it is something that is not only true with respect to time (keep in mind the Arian/Jehovah’s Witness argument, which deals with the problems posed by Jesus Christ’s being a creature by simply saying that it is true by being before Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1-18) or timelessness (“eternal generation of the Son”) but ontologically as well. (Truthfully, since the ancient near eastern mindset that produced the Bible did not include ontology, which is a western construct, then God referring to Himself as I AM THAT I AM  of Exodus 3:14 is true spiritually. Where the western mindset has reduced spiritual truth to being merely allegorical, moral, ethical or abstract, the Biblical mindset recognizes spiritual truth as being as explicit, valid and relevant as is 2+2=4 or the law of gravity, or moreover that 2+2 is only always equal to 4 or the law of gravity is only always consistent because of the spiritual truth that is behind it, defines it, and sustains it, and that spiritual truth is none other than Jesus Christ. And yes, the fact that it was most definitely Jesus Christ who appeared to Moses as the flame that did not burn the bush and used the Name I AM THAT I AM with reference to Himself is not only relevant, but would necessarily preclude Arianism/Jehovah’s Witnesses or “eternal generation of the Son”, for had those been so Jesus Christ would have had to say “I am the first that was created” or “I am he who is generated.”)

So if the witness of scripture is to be internally consistent, how can Colossians 1:15 be true? How can Jesus Christ be the firstborn of every creature? The common way is to use the actual definition of firstborn, which is “first in rank” and use it in reference to Jesus Christ’s authority, dominion and rule as creation’s King. It refers to Jesus Christ as Ruler of the universe par excellence. According to this definition, the original firstborn of creation then was Adam. Thus, this is certainly not because Adam was the first thing created (because Adam was created on the 6th day, and thus temporally was actually the LAST thing created!) but because God gave Adam dominion over the earth. Adam forfeited this dominion and firstborn status, and this dominion transferred to Satan. However, Satan was only a usurper. He held the dominion but never the firstborn status, and even his dominion was illegitimately and temporarily possessed just as the pagan Athaliah was illegitimately ruler of Judah for a time (for 6 years, with 6 being the number of a man, how’s that for numerology!) before being replaced by a legitimate rightful monarch that was a son of David. Consider the typology. Athaliah: type. Satan: antitype. Joash: type. Jesus Christ: anti-type. Jesus Christ was the second Adam who not only took on the dominion legitimately but also the firstborn status that Satan could never have even by theft.

Now God gave Adam dominion, the status of firstborn, so that Adam could serve God and in this way God would be glorified through Adam’s service. Adam, of course, was disobedient and utterly failed to fulfill the purpose of his creation – mankind’s creation – which was to serve and glorify God. However, Jesus Christ did so. By way of the incarnation, Jesus Christ became fully man. Born under the law to God’s elect people Israel, Jesus Christ fulfilled the law with His perfect life, living in perfect obedience to God the Father, and fulfilling the purpose of mankind’s creation and also mankind’s destiny, which was and is to glorify God through perfect service forever. So, Adam was the firstborn of creation that failed and died. Jesus Christ is the firstborn of creation that succeeded, was resurrected from the dead and is alive forevermore, and therefore is the Head of all redeemed mankind who will fulfill the purposes mankind’s creation – to serve and glorify God – through Jesus Christ by being Jesus Christ’s own Body. This perfect eternal service is impossible for us to achieve on our own – as Adam proved – but is attainable only by being in Jesus Christ, and our being joined to the firstborn of creation. Where Adam failed to be the progenitor or head of a nation, a people, a race of perfect eternal servants (or even to be this perfect eternal servant himself) Jesus Christ succeeded and is the Head of the church, the bride, the body of Christ.

Now Jesus Christ only succeeded in fulfilling Adam’s original purpose and therefore becoming the true firstborn of creation because unlike Adam, He is fully God. However, Jesus Christ was only fit to fulfill Adam’s purpose, to become the second Adam, by being fully human just as was Adam. Christians can be rightfully accused of refusing to deal with the true nature and implications of Jesus Christ’s humanity because of our desire not to sin and become heretics. Of course, Jesus Christ is the eternal and self-existing God, part of the Triune Godhead. However, this same Jesus Christ was incarnated into A CREATED HUMAN BODY! Jesus Christ’s human body was born of a created woman’s created seed just as was you and I. The ovum in Mary was not eternal, but was created along with Mary, and as such Jesus Christ had a created human body just as do you or I. This body was not simply some animatronic shell, cover or mask for the true divine Person pulling the levers under the covers, which incidentally is a form of the docetism heresy. That implies that Jesus Christ was a fake human who only seemed real. But we know from Romans, Hebrews, Genesis 3:15, and elsewhere that Jesus Christ was a fully thoroughly 100% real human who experienced physical and mental growth, hunger, pain, thirst, agony, isolation, frustration, rejection, temptation and even natural death just like the rest of the human race. That is why He is able to be our priest, His identification with us. However, many of us take the scriptures that refer to Jesus Christ’s identification with us to be more of an association, an affiliation, something less than real. This thinking falls short of the truth of Biblical revelation, and is based on the modern western meaning of “identify with”, which implies merely allegiance or advocacy. For instance, it is possible for a wealthy person to “identify with” the poor through feelings of compassion, works of charity, even political and social advocacy. But unless that person literally gives all his money away and renounces any connections or privileges that he has (i.e. a title or family heritage that he may use to recover at least some of his wealth and status) he will never actually be poor. Jesus Christ did not identify with humanity in that sense, a false and ultimately superficial sense.

Instead, Jesus Christ identified with humanity in the true sense by becoming one of us! Now humans cannot in any way become God in any sense. But in the greatest miracle that ever was or will be, Jesus Christ DID become a human in every sense! And make no mistake, do not be deceived: humans are part of creation. So even though Jesus Christ is God who pre-exists creation, accomplished creation, and in every way transcends creation, when Jesus Christ was incarnated into human flesh, HE BECAME A PART OF CREATION! Now do not be offended or deceived. First off, being God and also not being born of Adam’s seed but rather being the Word of God born of a virgin by the Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ had no part in the sin and corruption that creation fell into, and it no part in Him. After all, please recall that creation was originally sinless, a fact proven by God calling it “good”, and God has never at any time called anything sinful or evil “good” except that which God justified by graciously imputing His own righteousness to it (as is the case of sinners). Second, this is not to be confused with such liberal heretical abominations as “process theology” or “death of God theology” which at times holds that God completely surrendered His divine nature. Instead, Jesus Christ became part of creation through His incarnation (becoming fully human) while never at any time ceasing to transcend creation because of His divinity (self-existing and eternal). You can call it the “hypostatic union” if you absolutely must (I do not and have even been accused of adhering to the Nestorianism heresy because of it), but that does not alter the facts.  The result is that through His becoming part of creation, Jesus Christ is given the role of both priest/intercessor/savior for creation (the part of which is elect and will be redeemed) and the judge of creation (the part which is not and will not and whose fate is destruction).

This should cause us to read Colossians 1:15 in a new way. We either read “image of the invisible God, firstborn of creation” devotionally, or we view those as two facts that while true are separate. Instead, Colossians 1:15 is a unity. It describes the incarnation! Man is made in the image of God. Jesus Christ became a man. Jesus Christ became not just any man, but the second Adam. As the first Adam was – until the fall – the firstborn of creation, Jesus Christ by virtue of His incarnation, life, ministry, atoning and substitutionary death on the cross and resurrection not only became the second Adam, but did so in a way that far transcends and exceeded the first Adam! So, not only did Jesus Christ fulfill the original intent of humanity (and by extension of creation, for man is part of creation and creation was accomplished to please and glorify God) but Jesus Christ fulfilled the original intent of mankind and creation in a way BETTER and MORE PLEASING to God the Father than we ever could have ourselves, even if we were to somehow live perfect lives! Again, even if somehow we were to live perfect sinless lives, we would never fulfill the purpose of humanity better or give more honor and glory to God the Father than did Jesus Christ! And not only did Jesus Christ fulfill the purpose of humanity to the glory of God the Father as God the Father’s Suffering Servant, but He did it FOR US as OUR SERVANTS! It is often said that Jesus Christ died for us on the cross, but He also LIVED FOR US BEFORE GOING TO THE CROSS! As a result, Christians receive the benefits of Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection!

Now how many of you out there are parents? Or take care of elderly or handicapped people? In your role as a parent or caretaker, you do for those under your trust and care what they cannot do for themselves: you earn a living, you provide housing, food and clothes, you pay taxes, and in many cases you literally do the work of dressing, bathing, feeding and monitoring them or you pay for the services of someone else who does. A great part of your life is doing for others what others cannot do for themselves and allowing others to benefit from it. Well, that is the same thing that Jesus Christ did for you, except in a grander and more majestic way on an infinitely greater scale! Your purpose in being created was to glorify God, and not only did Jesus Christ do something for you that you could not do yourself, but He did it better than you could ever do even if you could!

And consider that for a second. This child that you are taking care of as a parent will one day grow up and take care of himself. Your son or daughter might do a better job! As a matter of fact, if you are a good loving parent, you hope that they will for themselves and for their own children! By the same token, what if this person who has suffered a stroke or is paralyzed gets healed by God. They go from being taken care of by you to taking care of themselves, and again a decent moral person would hope that they would receive better care from their own hand than they did from yours. And this is an example of how and why what Jesus Christ did for you is so amazing, so special. Because no matter how much you grow up, no matter how much your body (or mind) gets healed, better or stronger, you will NEVER be able to live a perfect life. You can exist for an eternity and still NEVER be able to do what Jesus Christ did for you by living a perfect life on your behalf, and you CERTAINLY would never be able to use your own perfect existence to justify someone else by imputing your righteousness to them.

But Jesus Christ did all that and more by becoming the image of the invisible God, a man in the image of God who yet is simultaneously is God. And He did not rest or be content with simply being a man in the image of God who also is God, but He also succeeded in living a life that glorified God the Father at all times and in every way. And it is because of this that God glorified His Name above every Name, that God bestowed the status of “firstborn of creation” upon Him! Jesus Christ is God who became part of creation and now sits at creation’s head as its Ruler, King, and Firstborn, and did all of this without violating that which is revealed in scripture which is part of God’s nature, which is that God is unchangeable! That is right, Jesus Christ accomplished creation, became part of creation, and became priest for redeemed creation and judge for that which is not redeemed without His Divine nature being altered or changed in any way. (Incidentally, this is something that liberal theologies – i.e.  process theology and open theism – deny.) Now again, I am not a “hypostatic union” guy, but I do acknowledge that the hypostatic union doctrine does articulate and explain this.

So the core of Colossians 1:15 is that Jesus Christ has full membership in both Deity and creation by way of the incarnation. Jesus Christ did this in obedience to God the Father, but He also did it for you! However, in order to partake of the benefits of Jesus Christ becoming a man so that He could die on the cross for your sins in your place, you must believe that these things are true, and as a result turn away from your sins and submit to Jesus Christ as Your Lord and Savior. If there are any people who do not believe in Jesus Christ as described here, I encourage you to do so right now. If there are any Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, oneness pentecostals, Muslims, Jews, Roman Catholics or anyone else who denies the Deity or true nature of Jesus Christ or His life and work as clearly revealed through scripture, I encourage you to turn away from those and submit yourself to the truth. I do not say “accept the truth” because that implies that you are in some way an entity who has a role in creating, deciding, or being an arbiter of truth. Rest assured, only God is the creator, decider, determiner, arbiter and revealer of truth, so these things are going to be true whether you accept them or not. So, your duty then is to respond by believing them through faith and following through with obedience. That is the way, the only way that you can submit to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and be saved.

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Did Jesus Christ Appear To Hagar? If So, Why?

Posted by Job on June 18, 2009

Reading Genesis 16:7-14 makes me certain of it. “And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; F77 because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; F78 behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.”

Now “the angel of the Lord” is a common term for the preincarnate Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. However, there are incidents in the Old Testament where references to angels – and other appearances of supernatural beings – are just that … angels (whether fallen or not). So, I came up with a system where if the supernatural being is worshiped i.e. Moses and the burning bush or Joshua on the plain of Jericho, then it is a theophany, an appearance of God in the Old Testament. However, if the supernatural being is not worshiped, then it is an angel. However, this is not foolproof, as Jacob apparently did not worship Jesus Christ, but wrestled with Him and demanded (?) to be blessed by Him, and we only know that it was God whom Jacob wrestled with because A) Jacob said so, B) God warned Jacob that day was breaking and that it was not meant for Jacob to clearly see His face and C) God refused to tell Jacob His Name upon Jacob’s request.

This appears to be a similar incident. In Genesis 16:10, the angel of the Lord states “I will multiply thy seed exceedingly …”.  The angel speaks in first person of an action that he will personally take, not in second person regarding an act of God, or of knowing the intentions of God (in contrast with, say, how Gabriel spoke of God’s actions to Mary in second person i.e. “and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David” in Luke 1:32). As obviously no angel has the power or authority to perform this deed, it had to have been God speaking to Hagar.

More evidence still? Genesis 16:13. “And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me.” So this verse makes it plain: Hagar knew that she was speaking to God, and called God by Name. The Hebrew makes it more explicit: “qara shem Yĕhovah dabar ‘el ro’iy.”  Qara shem means “[She] called the Name.” Yĕhovah is Jehovah, Yahweh, YHWH, or the Name of the Holy Trinity. “Dabar” means “word.” “Dabar” is what the apostle John translated directly into “Logos” in the prologue of the Gospel of John … “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In that verse and elsewhere in reference to God, “the Word” = “Logos” = “Dabar” = “Jesus Christ” are  interchangeable. So not only was it the God of Abraham that Hagar was speaking to, but Hagar knew that she was speaking to the God of Abraham, and – whether knowingly or not – by including “dabar” in her speech, actually addressed the Person of the Trinity that she was speaking to!

Still more evidence: “Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi” of Genesis 16:15. In Hebrew Beerlahairoi is  “Bĕ’er la-Chay Ro’iy”, which basically means “well of the Living One seeing me.” Or in other words, the well where God saw me.

Now the Geneva Study Bible notes on http://bible.cc seems to dance around the issue. Which is strange, because the idea that the Old Testament people knew of the Person and office of Jesus Christ is a major part of Calvinism. However, the Matthew Henry and John Wesley notes that appear on that same site arrived at the same conclusion as did I.

But neither of them deal with the obvious question: what was so special about Hagar (or more truthfully Ishmael) that there was an intervention on Ishmael’s behalf by way of a Christophany? And why was Ishmael the father of 12 tribes, just as Jacob (Israel) was? It is still more curious when you consider the type-antitype regarding Ishmael and Isaac. Isaac was the son of the free Hebrew woman, which generally means salvation and the people of God in scripture. Ishmael was the son of the slave Egyptian woman, with slavery representing bondage and Egypt representing sin in scripture. Also, Isaac represents the church because he was resurrected from the dead (meaning born to a barren womb). Meanwhile, Ishmael was conceived naturally. Isaac = son of God, the supernatural order where Ishmael = son of man, the earthly sinful order?

In a way, it recalls Adam and Eve, with the Godly line originating with Seth (type) and the evil line originating with Cain (antitype). And yes, just as Adam and Eve were the direct father and mother of both Seth and Cain (this isn’t an “obviously” sort of thing, because it would have been very possible for the ungodly line to have originated a generation or three from Adam and Eve), Abraham and Sarah were the father and mother of Isaac and Ishmael. So … Abraham was not just the progenitor, the ancestor of Israel and ultimately the church. He was quite literally the father of “many nations”, including the ungodly Ishmael line! (Incidentally, Israel was not the only Godly line that Abraham started … he also started the Midianite line, who apparently were Godly at least for a time, as Jethro, the father – in – law of Moses, was the Jehovah worshiping priest of Midian, and thus it was acceptable for Moses to marry Jethro’s daughter, and Miriam was punished for speaking against the marriage.)

Yet, just as God directly intervened to preserve the Ishmael line, He marked Cain to prevent him from being killed! So, Seth = Isaac = Jesus Christ = church. Cain = Ishmael = _______ = ______. Now precisely who or what is the opposite of Christ who persecutes – or will persecute – the church? (See Galatians 4 for more of this type/antitype involving Sarah/Isaac and Hagar/Ishmael, and for the direct statement that Ishmael and his seed persecutes the church.) Anyone want to fill in the blanks? It seems clear – to me anyway – that Ishmael and his line were intended for a prominent role in salvation history, and his being the father of a nation/people of 12 tribes plus the contents of Galatians 4 verifies this fact. So, the only mystery is A) who the descendants of Ishmael are (my guess … it isn’t the Roman Catholic Church or some new Roman Empire, nor is it the Jews, although nothing precludes Ishmael’s seed from using one or both) and B) what that role in salvation history will be.

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Joshua 5:13-14 And Christians Taking Sides

Posted by Job on November 11, 2008

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?

The man that Joshua encountered in Joshua 5:13-14 was the pre – incarnate Jesus Christ. It could not have been an angel, for angels are not allowed to accept worship, and this man clearly did. Please note: there is not one instance of men worshiping angels in the Bible. The one instance where a man attempted to worship an angel, the angel would not allow it or receive it.

So, then, this is the question. When Joshua (unknowingly at least initially) asked Jesus Christ “whose side are you on” to paraphrase, Jesus Christ said “neither.” How can God say that? Were these not God’s people? Was not God fighting on their side? Did not God take them up out of Egypt and deliver for them the promised land? Is this an example of an inconsistency in the Bible, or where the Trinity is divided against itself?

Simply, no. In replying “neither”, Jesus Christ did not provide a complete answer to Joshua’s question, but rather answered the question that Joshua THOUGHT he was asking of Him. Joshua did not presume himself to be asking the eternal Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth Israel’s place in His divine providence. Rather, Joshua saw a man with a sword, felt that He had to be a human soldier in a human army, and was asking “when we meet the people of Canaan on the field of battle sometime in the very near future, will you be fighting in their army or in ours?” (Curious that from His earthly appearance, Joshua identified nothing unusual about Jesus Christ as He appeared to them. Jesus Christ apparently LOOKED as if He could have been either Israelite or Canaanite in this instance, meaning that He appeared to Joshua visually resembling a person of Semitic or ancient near eastern stock, just as He did later in His incarnation as the natural child of the Semite Mary. Take from that what you will.) So it was to that question and in that context, Jesus Christ answered “neither” and then revealed His true identity, whereupon Joshua immediately worshipped Him. 

And it was an appropriate answer. God is a Spirit. So, it was not appropriate for Him to simply join Israel’s army and fight as a soldier, even if He had been in place of Joshua as the leader and general. Being a holy high and lifted up Spirit, God works in spiritual ways, not according to the physical or the flesh. Even when Jesus Christ took on humiliation, utterly condescending Himself to become a mere fully human being via incarnation rather than merely appearing as one, He did not work according to the flesh. He did not defeat the Roman Empire, the corrupt Jewish leaders, or any of the wicked worldly systems by raising an army and going to battle, and upon victory set Himself up on a human throne. That is precisely what the people waiting for the Messiah were expecting, and they would have followed Him had He done so. (Incidentally, this was precisely the sort of human conquest in the natural realm that Satan offered Jesus Christ in the desert temptation.)

Instead, Jesus Christ defeated the rulers – and ultimately the ruler – of this world by going to the cross to pay for its sins. It was an utterly, completely spiritual battle and victory, not a human one. So when asked to pick sides between the current order and be a loyal subject of the Roman Empire and the Jewish state therein, or join with the rebels and be their political – military leader, Jesus Christ, acting as the Jewish Messiah and King of the Jews in that time just as He came to deliver instructions to Joshua in Joshua’s time said “Nay. I come to do the Will of the God the Father” and went to be crucified, die, and be resurrected. Jesus Christ did have to labor, struggle and overcome. That was in Gethsemane. But after He had suffered those things, He submitted to the Father and chose victory of the spiritual by the spirit instead of victory in the natural by the natural.

As Jesus Christ is our role model, we are to do so likewise. We are to heed Ephesians 6:11-13, which states

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Now do not be deceived by the fact that Joshua was still a man working in the natural realm who had to go out and fight a human enemy with a human army using natural weapons. It was still a spiritual battle for Joshua because he was fighting according to the Lord’s instructions. By virtue of his following God’s instructions, God was on his side. That made the battle spiritual. This made victory inevitable. Had he fought apart from the will of God, outside of God’s grace and favor, it would have been a natural battle for whom the outcome would have been in dispute and very likely would have resulted in the better armed and situated Canaanites winning! So in a spiritual sense, God did fight on the side of Israel, and God did prevail for them. But only because Joshua and the Israelites obeyed. Later, when Israel disobeyed in the case of Achan, they went out in battle and lost.

Also, not only did Achan sin, but in addition Israel got a bit arrogant. They did not even consult the Lord before they went up against Ai. As we see in Joshua 7:2-3, they said “Hey, these people are easy pickings! We can just send a few soldiers, go and take it! Easy as pie!” So even apart from Achan, they were beginning to believe in and trust in their own strength. They were beginning to push God to the side and to the back of their minds already. Now had Ai been this huge well defended nation, they almost certainly would have sought God from the outset. But because the fight seemed to be so easy, they took on the attitude “that is OK, God. We don’t need you now. We can handle this ourselves in the natural, in the flesh. We only need to get spiritual for the big things, the crisis times. For everything else, we can rely on our intelligence, our banks, our educations, our churches and religious systems, our values and culture, our militaries with their weapons of mass destruction.” But they found out that it wasn’t true, didn’t they? They discovered that without the favor of God they were NOTHING and that their notions of being self – sufficient and self – reliant because of whatever virtue that existed in their flesh were LIES.

So just as Jesus Christ fought a spiritual battle by submitting to the Father’s will and going to the cross, Joshua fought a spiritual battle by obeying the commands of Jesus Christ. Victory was inevitable in both cases, just as victory is inevitable for the obedient Christian. Instead of relying on the natural and trying to do things ourselves, we need to be supernatural and do things God’s way. We need to always walk in God’s grace and favor by always being obedient. In order to do this, we need to know what God’s commands are, so we need to read our Bibles. We need to have the strength to choose good over evil, so we need to pray without ceasing and often fast, praise, and worship. And we also need wisdom, which according to the Bible is developed by good works. That way, when we are urged to pick sides in a natural fight between two more more parties, we can say “Nay.” After all, why do we feel the need to pick sides all the time in every single battle anyway? Why are we so intent on being partial? If we are to be partial with our own desires and interests on the line, how can we be the mediators that the world so badly needs for peace and order?

That is one of the reasons why we are to remember that we are sojourners. We are in this world but not of it, and we are preparing, running a race, to be taken out of it. We are like the Levites, whom God called the firstborn, and gave no inheritance because HE was their inheritance. If we have a stake in the world, we forget or ignore that we are supposed to be spiritual people with our minds on eternity in favor of temporal people with their minds on the here and now, often trying to weigh and discern and choose for ourselves whether to put on one form of corruption of the flesh for another. Even if we choose a just and righteous cause to side on by wisdom, that is not a proper use of the wisdom that God gave us. (King Solomon proves that it is possible to misuse wisdom, just as Samson, Saul and the various judges showed that it is possible to be called and empowered by God and still act very unwisely.) If we choose a just cause and try to serve it in the flesh out of our faithlessness or disobedience, it makes our service even in pursuit of the righteous cause in vain. The kingdom of God is only advanced when when we are obedient so that we fight God’s battles God’s way. The reason is that it is only when we fight God’s battle God’s way that God Himself is actually doing the fighting, and that is the only way that the victory is to the glory of God. 

So Christian, do not pick sides in the natural just because “everyone has to pick a side.” Instead, abide in Christ Jesus always. Follow in Christ Jesus’ ways and walk in His path. Both in His appearance to Joshua on the plains and when He went to the cross, Jesus Christ already showed us the way.

Posted in Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Resurrection Body of Christ the Lord

Posted by Job on November 19, 2007

A nine part series from Sharper Iron.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, and Part 10.

Posted in Christianity, Jesus Christ, Moshiach, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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