Month: April 2020

Two Goats

a picture of two goats

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 

Luke 24:27

Jesus in Leviticus

“The New Testament is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed.” – Augustine

As we found last time, Jesus is THE sin sacrifice, once for all time, to conquer sin in the bloodline of Adam – It’s not surprising that Jesus is called the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). As part of Christ’s work, He fulfilled the Messianic Old Testament prophecies. Matthew 26:53-54: “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?

So, we are looking for Jesus in the Day of Atonement ceremony that God gave to Moses. We already found Jesus in the sin atonement for the high priest. Now we are looking for Jesus in the actions required for the annual sin atonement for the nation of Israel (Leviticus 16:30). 

Two Goats

On the Day of Atonement, two goats were brought to the temple. Two goats were required because the Holy Spirit showed two aspects of the single offering which Jesus made on the cross, hence, two goats.

As I understand the ceremony, here’s what happened. A man would bring two goats to the high priest. The goats were presented to Yahweh (God). “And Aaron (the high priest) shall cast lots on the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.” (Leviticus 16:8) The lots consisted of two small tablets. One was engraved with the words “For Jehovah,” and on the other, the scapegoat, the tablet had the words “For Azazel.” The sins of the nation of Israel were transferred to the scapegoat and the scapegoat was taken / sent into the wilderness.

There were three priests involved in this ceremony, the high priest plus a priest to the right and a priest to the left of the high priest (some theologians think the trinity of priests was a type for the Triune God). The high priest shook the urn containing the two tablets. Then, at the same time (this shows that Jesus fulfilled both at the same time), the high priest would bring out both tablets. The high priest would put a tablet on each goat facing him. 

The Sin Sacrifice

Let’s say that the goat to the right of the high priest received the “For Jehovah” tablet. Then, the priest to the right of the high priest would proclaim to the high priest, in a loud voice, “Hold up your right hand!” And then the priest would proclaim, “To the Lord a sin offering!” The goat given the title, “For Jehovah,” would be sacrificed as a sin offering to pay for the atonement (covering over) of the sins of the nation of Israel. Remember, sin always requires death.

The Scapegoat

The Day of Atonement also points to Jesus through the scapegoat. When the cross was laid on Jesus and He was led outside of the city, to Golgotha (Matthew 27:33), He carried our sin into the wilderness, fulfilling the imagery of the scapegoat. 

After the sin offering is completed, then the other goat, called the scapegoat, is brought to the high priest. Leviticus 16:21, “And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness.

The scapegoat was probably led into the wasteland to signify the place where the prince of evil spirits occupies (Isaiah 13:21Isaiah 34:14Matthew 12:43Luke 11:24).  The removal or pardon of sin is often represented in the Bible by its being banished into the uttermost parts of the earth and seas (Micah 7:19Psalm 103:12).

As we said, the scapegoat “carried” the sins of Israel away. The goat was a “type” for Jesus: Isaiah 53:4, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.Isaiah 53:6, “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.

Wrapping Up

If we spent more time excavating Leviticus, chapter sixteen, we would surely find many more sightings of Jesus. Sadly, we must move on for there are more sightings to come! Join me as we continue our quest to find Jesus in the Old Testament Scriptures (Luke 24:27).

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No animals were harmed during the writing of this devotional

Full of Types and Foreshadows

picture of a bull

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 

Luke 24:27  

The Day of Atonement 

We’ve got quite a bit of ground to cover in this Chapter, so grab your archaeology tools and let’s find Jesus in Leviticus!

The Scapegoat

If you have ever heard the word “scapegoat,” the creation of that word is found in Leviticus. And yes, the term is scapegoat, not escape goat. 😉 Just like true archaeologists, we have some prep work to do before we visit our dig site. 

We have chosen to venture into one of the most misunderstood and under-appreciated books in God’s Word. Leviticus is a book that demands the reader’s full attention when reading it. Taken out of context, well, let us read a quote from Dr. Charles Stanley’s InTouch Ministries: 

“A quick look at Israel’s sacrificial system can make one wonder whether all these animal carcasses point to a God who needs His pound of flesh in order to be satisfied. But we know God is hardly a malevolent carnivore with an insatiable taste for fresh meat.”

JOSHUA RYAN BUTLER, InTouch Ministries

Our Expectations

Keep in mind that there’s no reason for us to enter Leviticus if we don’t look for Jesus within those pages. Leviticus is first and foremost about the cross of Calvary and the entrance Jesus made into heaven when He presented His blood for the sacrifice that ended all sin sacrifices (Hebrews 9:12). If we reject that truth, then there’s no reason to read Leviticus. 

As we saw last time, the key to understanding Leviticus is to “foresee” it at the cross of Calvary. Jesus is the key that unlocks this amazing book. “The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come…” (Hebrews 10:1). So, in our search for Jesus, we are heading into the best of the best of the book; we are headed to the center of Leviticus to discover Christ Jesus in the Day of Atonement ceremony. 

What was the Day of Atonement? 

For decades, Las Vegas has been known as Sin City. Most residents there seem to be quite happy with this moniker. If only humanity would understand the cost of sin. Sin is death. Sin demands the shedding of blood. We saw this at the beginning of humanity in Abel’s sacrifice (Genesis 4:4) and now in Leviticus the process has been codified (formal rules).  

As with the individual sin offering, God designed the Day of Atonement to make the Israelites, and us, deeply aware of the grievous cost of sin, and to show us that the Day of Atonement was a temporary “fix” that would be replaced when Father God’s beloved Son arrived.

Each year the high priest had to follow a very formal and strict process, created by God, Himself, for the “covering over” (atonement) of the sins the nation of Israel for that year. This formal process is bursting with shadows of Jesus. Not only is Jesus our eternal High Priest, He accomplished this by His perfect sacrifice. We see this in Hebrews 9:12With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. 

God deeply wants people to understand that moral justice demands the maximum punishment for even a single sin. So, in God’s great mercy, He established an escape from the eternal punishment through the sacrifice made by His Son, Jesus. Until God’s perfect timing for the birth of Jesus, God provided the Israelites with a process for reconciliation between God and the nation of Israel. That’s what the Day of Atonement did. 

Now we see Jesus

We’ve already spotted Jesus a couple of times in Leviticus. Now we will find that the Day of Atonement is full of imagery of Jesus and “Good Friday”, the day of Christ’s crucifixion.

On the Day of Atonement, the high priest had to purify himself before he could bring the nation before God. This required the death of a bull for a sin offering and the death of a ram for a burnt offering. His sin offering demonstrated the imperfection of the high priest and the ram points us back to the sacrifice by Abraham of Isaac (Genesis 22:13).  

Sacrifices were required to “cover over” the sins of the high priest and his family. This shows us that the high priest was imperfect and therefore temporary. Jesus, the eternal High Priest is the perfect solution for He is perfect.

The high priest had to wash himself in water and remove his elaborate clothes and put on simple, plain, linen clothes. This seems to point forward to the time when Jesus took off his outer garments and, in the appearance of a slave, washed the feet of His apostles (John 13:1-17).

The high priest humbled himself, setting aside his high position and authority (Leviticus 16:4). This seems to point to what Jesus did to defeat sin and death by setting aside His position in heaven. We see this in Philippians 2:5-8:

We must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Full of Types and Foreshadows

All of the children of Adam have sinned. However, by the blood of Jesus our sin is not covered over (atoned) but removed. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) This is amazing. We can approach God because Christ’s blood is better than the blood of bulls and goats (Hebrews 10:1-10); “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.” (Hebrews 10:19)

As we are seeing, every aspect of the Day of Atonement is full of types and foreshadows. The imperfect high priests have been replaced by Jesus, the perfect High Priest. The imperfect mediation between the people and God is now perfect because Jesus is the sole mediator between them (Hebrews 9:15). Because Jesus is now the High Priest in heaven we can approach God’s throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Next Time

Well, we didn’t get to the scapegoat but I promise that we will in the next installment of “Finding Christ in all of Scripture.”

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Our First Sighting

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. – Luke 24:27

Background

As we prepare to excavate our first site in Leviticus, we should know that there are two names for this book: The English name Leviticus refers to the priestly tribe of the Israelites, “Levi.” In Hebrew, the book is called Vayikra (Hebrew: וַיִּקְרָא), from the opening of the book, va-yikra “And He [God] called[1].” The LORD called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting… (Leviticus 1:1).

Often, people wonder what happened to the sacrificed animals. The answer can be found in several places in the Bible. Let’s look in the New Testament, in 1 Corinthians 9:13 we find: Don’t you realize that those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings. 

The officiating priest for the sacrifice could invite not only his family but other priests and their sons to join in the meal. There were some sacrifices that were completely burned on the altar which meant that there wasn’t anything left to eat.

Our First Sighting of Jesus

Lay your hand on the animal’s head, and the Lord will accept its death in your place to purify you, making you right with him (to make atonement for you). Then slaughter the young bull in the Lord’s presence, and Aaron’s sons, the priests, will present the animal’s blood by splattering it against all sides of the altar that stands at the entrance to the Tabernacle. (Leviticus 1:4-5 NLT)

The word atonement is the key that unlocks the book of Leviticus. God gives us this key at the very beginning of the book. If we look in Strong’s Concordance for the definition of “atonement” (Strong’s Hebrew 3722) we find that atonement means:  to cover, purge, make reconciliation, cover over with pitch, to coat or cover with pitch, to cover over, pacify, propitiate, atone for sin, make atonement for, atone for sin and persons by legal rights, to be covered over, to make atonement for, to be covered.

Hey, atonement can mean pitch! We discovered pitch when we dug into Noah’s work on the ark in Genesis. And, in Exodus, we saw that the blood applied to the doorposts and lintel for the “pass over” in Egypt protected the Israelites from God’s judgement upon the Egyptians. And now, in the very first verses of the 3rd book of the Old Testament, we find God telling Moses how atonement could be applied for the children of Israel. 

Now, this is getting interesting. We saw Jesus in Genesis, and we saw Jesus in Exodus, and, already, we’ve spotted our Lord in Leviticus. And, we should keep in mind that about 1,000 years elapsed between Noah and Moses. Still, God’s message is the same. He will provide.

Just as God provided an ark for Noah and a ram for Abraham, so Father God provided Jesus, the Son of God, as the substitution for us. Jesus was the sin offering. He was the only sinless son of Adam (man), ever. That qualified Jesus to be the one sacrifice for all eternity; the only perfect sacrifice (1 Peter 1:19), the Lamb without spot or blemish.

Why Atonement?

We’ve seen atonement in Genesis, Exodus, and now Leviticus. Let’s stop here for a moment and consider what God is doing. Atonement communicates three fundamental thoughts. These concepts are “covering over,” “propitiation (appeasement),” and “reconciliation.” We find all three meanings in Strong’s definition. The way atonement works is “covering over” + “appeasement” = “reconciliation.” Atonement by the blood of animals was always a “stop-gap” measure until God’s perfect sacrifice by the blood of Jesus.

Covering Over: Just as Noah covered over the ark, both inside and outside, with pitch so atonement covers over (paints over) sin. Why? Because God cannot look upon sin. We know this from passages such as “Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.” (Psalms 51:9) and “for you have cast all my sins behind your back.” (Isaiah 38:17). The atonement through the sacrifice of animals could not remove sin, it simply covered over it. 

Though the sin wasn’t removed by atonement it did restore access between God and man. Until Jesus was crucified there was no way for God to live in a person. Abraham, Moses, and King David were friends of God, but it wasn’t until the Holy Spirit came into the eleven apostles that God lived in a son of Adam.

Propitiation: The concept of propitiation is that once a sin has been “covered over” at the cost of the life of a substitute (bird, goat, ram, bull) then God’s judgement was appeased. You can think of it like a speeding ticket. You broke the law, so justice demands a punishment. The punishment is that your fine must be paid. The money is the “blood” that appeases the court. You are still guilty, but the court no longer holds your guilt against you. Nevertheless, you are still guilty so God cannot come and live in you. “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

Jesus not only atoned for our sins, He took the wrath of God that should have come upon us. We know this from John 3:36: Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Reconciliation: The reconciliation that was accomplished by Old Testament sacrifices reestablished an external relationship between God and a person or the whole nation of Israel – remember the speeding ticket. The court was appeased but the guilt remains, so there is still no way for God to commune with a person the way God and Adam communed in the Garden of Eden. Only Jesus can provide the perfect sin sacrifice.

[1] Wikipedia.com

Wrapping Up Today’s Dig

Isn’t it interesting that God’s sacrifices can be traced all the way back to Abel’s sacrifice (Genesis 4:4). And from that beginning point God required the shedding of blood 🩸. My hope is that we’ve seen Jesus, beginning in the very first chapter of Leviticus. And, I also hope we’ve seen God’s consistent message, traced from here back to the fall of Adam; that message is that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). There is no way to avoid this. Sin demands death. Before Jesus, God provided a way for reconciliation but not for regeneration (born again).

Jesus was the ultimate blameless sacrifice presented to God on our behalf (1 Peter 1:19). Jesus took our place, shed His blood and died as the perfect sin offering (Romans 5:81 Peter 3:18). His salvation is available to everyone, not earned by anyone, and given to no one unless they ask.

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Leviticus, The Cost of Sin

A lamb standing on a footpath

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. – Luke 24:27

We will continue our quest to discover some of the types, foreshadowings, and prophecies in the Old Testament which God created to point to Jesus. It’s been said that Genesis and Exodus are picture-books because they are full of “pictures” of Jesus and His works. Nearly everywhere we looked in those books we found Jesus. Now we are entering Leviticus. Some people are afraid to venture there. It’s as if Genesis and Exodus are “safe” places to excavate but to step into Leviticus is to step into danger.

There is a richness of detail in Leviticus, still, it’s like an avocado; it’s an acquired taste. If we simply read Leviticus without looking through time to gaze upon our Lord and Savior then Leviticus is challenging. However, when we learn the Truth behind the truths of this book then it springs alive and feeds our souls.

The Cost of Sin

Among other things, Leviticus tells us about the cost of sin. We begin to see that within the enumeration of the various sacrifices and offerings God is spiritually leading the children of Israel as well as physically leading them. We could say that Leviticus is God’s picture–book for the work of Jesus on the Cross because the sacrifices in this book point to “the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

I’ve heard people say, in disgust, that Christianity is a bloody religion. Well, underneath all of the wisdom, beauty, compassion, and love that we find in God’s Word, we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). That the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). And without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22b). So, yes, we do rejoice in the sacrifice that God made upon the cross of Christ Jesus.

They All Point To Jesus

It is important to remember that all Old Testament sacrifices were mere shadows of the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross. And that the Old Testament sacrifices were worthless, in themselves. They were all I.O.U.s, waiting to be paid by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:10–14). Now you may well ask, why animal sacrifices? We can answer this from Leviticus 17:11:

For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make an atonement for your souls upon the altar, since it is the lifeblood that makes atonement.

A Deeper Revelation

Well, we’ve entered Leviticus but we haven’t traveled far and our excavation tools haven’t left our backpacks. Still, it’s crucial that we level-set our understanding of sacrifices before we dig into the unveiling that God does in this book. As we’ve seen, Genesis and Exodus provide context as to why the children of Israel are special. In Leviticus God shows more of Himself to the family of Jacob (Israel), and God unveils types, pictures, and foreshadowings of a future, perfect sacrifice.

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Jesus in the Exodus

man and camel headed into desert

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 

Luke 24:27

Yesterday we dug into Moses and found a treasure trove of the power God used through Moses to make his life an example of the promised Prophet, Jesus the Messiah. Still, we have many more sites to uncover that foreshadow the coming Savior, Jesus. So get your archaeologist tools ready, ‘cause here we go!

A Change in Yokes

If we look at Exodus 6:6 we read, “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment…” 

Now read what Jesus said in Matthew 11:29-30Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Christ’s words carry great comfort to everyone, but how much more are these words of Jesus comfort and hope to the Israelites (i.e. the family of Jacob).

Next, we find in Exodus 12:12-14For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.“This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.

The Blood of Jesus

The “pass over” occurred the day before the Israelites left Egypt. So, just as God established the Passover on the day before the Israelites’ departure (i.e., exodus) from Egypt, Jesus established the “Last Supper / Communion / Eucharist” the day before the beginning of God’s perfect exodus. This is true because the next day was the day redemption was paid in full by the blood of Jesus on the cross. The great exodus of God’s children from the chains of sin and death began when Jesus called out, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

From Exodus 12:13 we find, “And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you…” And in Colossians we find, “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:20) The blood of Jesus makes reconciliation available. If we are covered by the blood of Jesus, then we are protected from God’s coming judgement.

Jesus in the Exodus

It’s also worth noting that Joseph foresaw the exodus of Israel from Egypt and was determined to be buried in God’s land, the land God gave Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. We see that “By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.- Hebrews 11:22

The exodus of the Israelites and the return of Joseph’s bones to the promised land speaks to the work of Jesus. The promised land and Joseph’s burial both foreshadow our exodus out of this world and into our home with Jesus, for we read in John 14:1-4, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.

Make This a Family Game!

Today, we’ve uncovered a few small samples of Scripture that show us Jesus in Exodus. You may want to make a family game of being explorers and reading through the book of Exodus to discover the many places where you find Jesus.

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Moses was a Preview of Jesus

Nile River - Luxor - Egypt

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. – Luke 24:27

More Than a Preview

Have you ever watched a movie trailer? Do you enjoy them? They show bits and pieces of the actual movie, often with scenes out of order. These trailers are meant to grab our interest and make us anticipate the release of the movie. We could make a good case for Moses being a preview of Jesus, except he is much more than just a movie trailer!

We find the beginning of the life of Moses described to us in the second book of the Bible, Exodus 2:1-2, “Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months.

Exodus 2:1-2 is notable for a few reasons. We see that God’s had is already at work in establishing the Levites as the branch of Israel that would be responsible for the priestly duties. Also, from this passage we know that the human lineage of Jesus WAS NOT the same as Moses. Jesus traces His “Adam” lineage from the tribe of Judah. (Matthew 1:1–6). It is important to make it clear that Jesus isn’t another Moses or the second coming of Moses. No, rather, Moses was a foreshadowing of Jesus.

Still, we should appreciate the importance that God placed on Moses for he regularly shows up Scriptures, all the way into the final book of the Bible, Revelation 15:3, “And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations.

Today, Moses continues to remain in the minds of Jews and Christians. He looms large across the pages of God’s Word and there are countless books written about Moses and The Law of Moses, Hebrew: תֹּורַת מֹשֶׁה Torat Moshe, also called the Mosaic Law. So, let’s take a look at this mighty man of God that foreshadows Jesus. Here we go!

Experiences That Point to Jesus

  • Both Moses and Jesus were known for their meekness (Numbers 12:3 and Matthew 11:29).
    
  • Both Moses and Jesus, as babies, narrowly escaped a king intent on murdering babies (Exodus 1:22 and Matthew 2:16–18).
    
  • Both Moses and Jesus spent time in Egypt (Exodus 2:1–4 and Matthew 2:13–14).
    
  • Both Moses and Jesus mediated a covenant between God and men—Moses the Old Covenant (Exodus 34:27) and Jesus the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15).
    
  • Both Moses and Jesus miraculously fed a large crowd in the wilderness. Moses: (Exodus 16:35) and Jesus  (John 6:1–13). The difference was that God did the miracle through Moses while Jesus did the miracle.
    
  • Both Moses and Jesus contended with the supernatural. Moses with the magicians (Exodus 7:22, Jesus with evil spirits (Matthew 12:28).
    
  • Immediately before Moses led Israel out of Egypt he prepared the people for God’s passover (Exodus 12:21 — immediately before redeeming mankind, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-29).

The Prophecy From Moses

There are many, many more comparisons that we could discover with a bit more digging, but let’s change tactics. There is a centerpiece that God used in Moses to foreshadow Jesus. It is a prophecy which Moses gave. This prophecy became a benchmark for the Jews. It was the promise God made in this prophecy that Jews continually looked for. The beginning of this prophecy is found in Deuteronomy 18:15: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen…

This prophecy was on the minds of the Jews when John the Baptist was at work. The Israelites asked: “And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” (John 1:21) “Are you the prophet” meant “Are you the prophet that Moses prophesied.” But notice what John said. “John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know” (John 1:26). Among you stands one…This is just what was prophesied – from among you, from your brothers. And then, “The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

Jesus Fulfills the Prophecy

The benchmark of the prophecy of Moses was so ingrained in Jewish thought and teaching that it runs through the New Testament. When Jesus fed the 5,000, we read in John 6:14: When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!

When Peter preached in Solomon’s Colonnade, he said, “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant JesusMoses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. Everyone who does not listen to Him will be completely cut off from among his people.” (Acts 3:13, 2223)

In Acts 7:36-37 we find the martyr Stephan, during his defense to the high priest, saying, “This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.’”

Jesus is the Only One

Jesus is the Prophet that Moses declared. The whole point of this article is to demonstrate that the life and events of Moses predicted the actions and authenticity of the one true Redeemer, Jesus the Messiah.

Moses was not “another Christ,” Joseph was not “another Christ,” neither Jacob nor Isaac nor Abraham nor Noah. Jesus is the one. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

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Joseph Points To Jesus

picture of Sphinx and pyramid

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. – Luke 24:27

It’s time to renew our quest for discovering Jesus in all of Scripture. Today we’re excavating the life of Joseph. This dig site is almost too easy. It is impossible to read about the life of Joseph and not see Jesus. Still, there’s much for us to learn from this archaeological site. So let’s dig in!

A lesser known fact is that the book of Genesis has twice as much text about Joseph as Abraham. This isn’t because Joseph is greater than Abraham but that Joseph’s life is a living prophecy of Jesus as the Messiah. Here are just a few of the similarities [a]:

Joseph Points To Jesus

  • Now Joseph was Israel’s favorite child (Gen. 37:3).
  • This is my beloved Son (Jesus), in whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3:17).
    
  • When the brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more, they hated him (Gen 37:4).
  • The chief priests had delivered him for envy (Mark 15:10).
    
  • Israel said to Joseph, go and see if your brothers are okay (Gen. 37:14).
  • I will send my beloved son… (Luke 20:13).
    
  • The brothers planned to kill Joseph (Gen. 37:18).
  • But they cried, saying, Crucify him! Crucify him! (Luke 23:21).
    
  • The brothers stripped Joseph of his coat of many colors (Gen 37:23).
  • And they stripped him (Jesus)  (Matt. 27:28).
    
  • The brothers took Joseph and threw him into a pit (Gen. 37:24).
  • The Son of man (Jesus) was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt. 12:40).
    
  • The brothers pulled Joseph out of the pit (Gen. 37:28)
  • And He (Jesus) rose again on the third day according to the scriptures (1 Cor. 15:4).
    
  • Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39:7-12).
  • Jesus was in all points tempted, as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).
    
  • And they cried before him (Joseph), Bow the knee!”(Gen. 41:43).
  • That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (Phil. 2:10).
    
  • And all the countries came to Joseph to buy grain (Gen. 41:57)
  • Jesus said to them I am the bread of life whoever comes to me shall not hunger,and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35).
    
  • Joseph knew his brothers, but they didn’t know him (Gen. 42:8).
  • Jesus said to them, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me…?” (John 14:9). 

a] Thanks to Jews of Jesus for their article, “The Gospel of Jesus in the Story of Joseph” for providing the comparative verses between Joseph and Jesus.

Another Prince

In closing, I’d like to quote a small passage Sally Lloyd-Jones wrote in her book, “The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name.” March 1, 2007, Jago  (Illustrator)

One day God would send another Prince, a young Prince whose heart would break. Like Joseph, he would leave his home and his Father. His brothers would hate him and want him dead. He would be sold for pieces of silver. He would be punished even though he had done nothing wrong.

But God would use everything that happened to this young Prince – even the bad things – to do something good: to forgive the sins of the whole world.

Closing

So far our biggest challenge is to limit how much of Jesus we should excavate from the Old Testament books. Please join me tomorrow for a watershed moment in world history. We’re going to tackle Jesus in the life of Moses!

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Jesus and Jacob, the Wilderness and More

Ein Gedi, Israel

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. – Luke 24:27

It is common knowledge that God renamed Jacob to Israel. The name of “Israel” has been found, as is generally believed, in the inscription of the Egyptian king, Merneptah (circ. 1230 b.c.), as Ysir’r; and in Assyrian inscriptions as Sirlai.

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Jacob’s Wilderness

Genesis 32:24-28 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (emphasis added)

Especially notice that this event occurred when Jacob was left alone. He had sent his family and all his tribe ahead of him. So he was alone. And in this God-ordained time, a great transition took place that echoes through thousands of years and into our present day, for Israel is often in the news. By the way, like a good dad, God let Jacob win. 😉

Christ’s Wilderness

Mark 1:12-13 The Spirit immediately drove him [Jesus] out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

Now notice Jacob’s experience was a foreshadowing of Jesus. Jacob was out in the wilderness, as was Jesus. Jacob was tested, as was Jesus. Jacob prevailed, as did Jesus. Jacob was a changed man after this event. He was Israel. He is included, throughout God’s Word in the phrase, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 3:6). Jesus was on spiritually fire when He came out of the wilderness.

We read in Genesis 32:24-28 that Jacob wrestled with a unique person (“you have striven with God”). Many theologians believe the person Jacob wrestled with was the pre-incarnate Jesus. This seems likely as Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, very likely entertained the pre-incarnate Jesus. (Genesis 18:2)

When Jesus came out of the wilderness, after being tested, He fully began His ministry. He declared, “The time is fulfilled,” He said, “and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe in the gospel!” (Mark 1:14-15)

Jacob Foreshadows Jesus

Here are a couple of additional aspects of Jacob being a “type” or “foreshadowing” of Jesus:

Jacob suffered from his brother Esau, who hated him enough to kill him. Therefore, Jacob was a man of suffering and troubles (Gen 47: 9).  Likewise, Christ suffered from His fellow Jews, who planned many times to kill Him, and finally did so. Therefore, Christ was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isa 53: 3)

Isaac, Jacob and Esau’s father said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” (Gen 27: 22). We see this demonstrated by Jesus, for He carried our sins although He is sinless.  His voice was the voice of the beloved, only begotten Son of God, while His hands are ours; He carried our nature in Him (Isa 53: 6) and it was His hands and feet that received the nails on the cross.

Wrapping Up

Recently, I read a powerful statement concerning Jacob and Jesus, but I’ve lost the citation. This person wrote, “To be alone with Christ is the only way to arrive at a knowledge of ourselves and our ways. Jacob was a wrestled-with man, and until the seat of his own strength was touched, he did not reach the place of blessing.

Sometimes we dare to wrestle with God. When we do so, we should find a place of solitude, for it is in solitude, with Jesus Christ, that our greatest victories come.

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Isaac and Rebekah

small camel caravan

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. – Luke 24:27

(Info) The name Isaac is from the Hebrew word Yitschaq meaning “he laughs.” The meaning of his name was certainly a reference to Sarah’s laughter when she overheard the pre-incarnate Christ tell Abram that Sarah would become pregnant (Genesis 18:12).  

How Isaac is a “type” of Jesus  

Rebekah

Certainly, Isaac and Rebekah had a dysfunctional family, due to Rebekah playing favorites with her kids. The twins, Esau and Jacob, also seemed to run wild, plus Rebekah helped Jacob deceive her own husband. Still God used them, and their meeting is the stuff of romance novels (I assume, having never read one).  

Genesis 24:63-67And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel and said to the servant, “Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. 

There was a lot of “eye lifting” going on between Isaac and Rebekah. 😉 Notice that Isaac was a Godly man. He had gone out to meditate. No doubt Isaac was thinking about what God was up to. His mother had died, his father was exceptionally old, he was the only heir, but he had no wife, and without a wife, God’s promise would be lost. 

Rebekah, as with Jesus, willingly and with great enthusiasm left her glorious home to take on a nomadic life, to live with and adopt a people that didn’t know her, and, within these backward people, she allowed God to use her to bring forth God’s chosen son, Jacob (Genesis 25:21-26). Jacob was not THE chosen son but it was through Jacob that God birthed the nation of Israel and, in God’s perfect time, birthed THE chosen Son, Jesus, God’s beloved Son.

We know there was concern within Abraham’s camp. Abraham’s oldest servant, being concerned about Abraham’s plan to find Isaac a wife asked, “Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” (Genesis 24:5) There was no going back. “Abraham said to him, ‘See to it that you do not take my son back there…’” (Genesis 24:6)  There’s a whole sermon in these two verses, but we’ll not go off on that rabbit trail.

As we’ve seen in our excavations, Abraham is a type for Father God, and Isaac is a type for Jesus. With Isaac representing Jesus, then the bride of Isaac represents the bride of Jesus, the Church! The marriage of Isaac and Rebekah points to the marriage of the Lamb (Jesus) to His bride, the Church. Here’s a relevant passage in Revelation 19:7

Let us rejoice and exult 
    and give him the glory, 
for the marriage of the Lamb has come, 
    and his Bride has made herself ready;
 

Isaac and Rebekah had twin boys, Esau and Jacob. God chose Jacob to receive the blessing of the first-born son. Later, God renamed Jacob to Israel. As God so often does, He took a remnant of Abraham’s lineage and established His bloodline for Jesus. It wasn’t Ishmael, it wasn’t Esau, it was Isaac and then Jacob.

With Jacob, Christ’s human bloodline was confirmed. How perfectly God directs history to move His will forward. No matter what we come up against, we can find rest in God for His ways are perfect and He cares for us. “This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” – Psalms 18:30

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Abraham sans Isaac and Rebekah

picture of a cross in a sunrise

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. – Luke 24:27

Ok, we’ve got several dig sites for our quest to find Jesus in the Scriptures. Before we take out brushes and trowels to discover Jesus in the lives of Isaac and Rebecca, let’s consider one more sighting of Jesus in the life of Abraham. As you remember, when we first met this man, his name was Abram.

Abram | Abraham — 

If we just take a cursory look in Strong’s Concordance, we learn in Strong’s Hebrew 87, that Abram means “exalted father.” This meaning is a vertical metaphor – exalted, lifted. Abram was above others. Abram was raised up, as was Jesus. We see in John 12:32, Jesus declared, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”  

Therefore, we have a foreshadowing of Jesus in the original name Abram, a vertical component. Now, when we look at the name God gave him, we see that Abraham (Strong’s Concordance Hebrew 85) means exalted father of many nations” (Genesis 17:5). 

Now in Abraham’s name we see Christ’s great commission in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” 

So, we see a horizontal component in Abraham’s name. No longer is he just vertically exalted but, by the new name God gave him, Abraham is horizontally exalted. When you put the vertical and horizontal components together, we get a cross, a foreshadowing of the Cross of Jesus Christ. The deeper you dig into God’s Word, the more you see Jesus.

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