|From the Pastors Desk|
|Tabernacle||Putting the Pieces Together||Lesson 49|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|1 February 2004||Bible Lessons
In our present study,our "baseline" is the book of Exodus, commonly referred as the "Book of Redemption"
The storyline for most of the Old Testament is that God promised Redemption through a very special Descendent, often referred to as "The Seed" or "The Messiah", Etc. Most of the Biblical accounts of God's redemption and His promised fulfillment centers around one family. That one family was Abraham and his descendants, known as the Israelites.
God reveals the plan and extent of His redemptive program for mankind, stage by stage. To Adam and Eve there was a simple and somewhat confusing promise of the Redeemer, but few details as to Who He would be, how He would come, when He would come or the extent of the redemptive program.
More and more details, of this eternal plan, were given as time progressed. This was not because God was planning on the "fly", BUT because this type of revelation was part of God's wisdom and plan.
Let's take a look back to the first time humans were told about this redemption, and then focus our attention on the consummation of the redemptive program. In that way, I trust we can have another bird's eye concept of our study of Israel in the Wilderness and the Tabernacle.
Genesis 2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
Even before sin, God's instruction to mankind
It was, as it always had been. God does the impossible and mankind is to do the possible. However, mankind DID and still DOES have a responsibility in the redemptive process.
That human responsibility is non-meritorious, and the human activity connected with that responsibility does not and can not produce holiness. The human responsibility is, simple obedience to God's Word.
Over and over again in the Scriptures, we find the "If - Then" phrase. IF they obeyed, THEN they had Spiritual life and/or blessings. IF they disobeyed, THEN they died Spiritually and/or lost the blessings. (This reference to "dying Spiritually" is not directed to our "New Birth", that is eternal)
God has always supplied ALL that mankind needs to be Spiritual. If God didn't supply all the Spiritual quality, there could not be any Spiritual quality at all.
However, for mankind there is always the "IF - THEN" phrase. IF we obey, THEN we receive the Spiritual blessing as a gift. IF we disobey, THEN we receive only what the flesh can provide, and we remain outside the realm of the Spiritual blessings.
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 "but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' " 4 And the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
Even before sin, Satan's tactics were and always have been to cast doubt on the accuracy of God's Word. "Did God really mean what He said?" Satan's methods have never changed, nor has the reason for the failure of mankind to live according to the Word of God.
Notice vs 6. "SO when the woman SAW…"
God gave us eyes to see, ears to hear, and they sure come in handy. Our human senses can and should be used to live and properly exist in this physical world, BUT the moment we substitute the human sensory system and logic for the pure Word of God, in the matter of Spiritual things, we will ALWAYS draw the wrong conclusion. That fact was true in regard to Eve's "Systematic Theology" in the Garden, and it is equally true today.
Genesis 3:8 And they (Adam and Eve) heard the sound 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 among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." 11 And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?" 12 Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." 13 And the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
Sin ALWAYS keeps us from the "presence" of God. Sin separates man from God, and God from man. God was willing and able to come to the presence of man, because the penalty for Adam's sin had ALREADY been paid.
The Bible tell us that Christ was the "lamb" or sacrifice for sin "slain before the foundation of the worlds". How could that be??? After all, Christ did not die on the Cross for another 6 - 9 thousand years after Adam's sin.
Oh, that's an easy answer.
In this day and age, we can grasp this wonderful truth of God's great plan of redemption, far better than they could in the Old Testament. Many of us buy things long before we pay for them.
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which is according to godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, 3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;
Long before time began, in what I like to call the "Eternal Life Conference", the Godhead made a plan for and a promised of a redemptive plan for humanity, even though mankind had not been created, NOR had they sinned, thereby causing the need for redemption. At that Eternal Life Conference, the Second Person of the Trinity became God's Elect to be the One sent, or the Messiah to provide redemption.
Isaiah 42:1 "Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
The promise was made by God, through Jesus Christ for redemption from sin, to righteousness in Christ, in a similar manner as when we present a credit card to make a purchase.
In our credit card transaction, the price of the purchase is taken care of, BUT we really haven't paid anything for that purchase UNTIL the due date on the credit card bill.
In a similar manner, God atoned for the sins of the whole world, before the worlds were formed. Yet, the price for the sins of the whole world was not "paid" until Christ died on the cross.
1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
As we see in Titus 1:1-3, the promise was made before time began, but was not manifested until the coming of Christ to the earth, and the truth of that redemption is understood through preaching (the orderly proclamation of the truth of God's Word).
Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
God planned and assured redemption before time began. Then after time began, "in the fullness of time", Christ came.
There is yet another phase of this redemptive program that will take place at a future time. This coming phase will take place in the future "in the fullness of time", in like manner as Christ's coming was just at the right time.
This coming phase is called the ADOPTION. Hang in there, we will look at this phase a little more later in the lesson.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
Let's bring these scattered bit of information into a smaller package, before we continue on in Genesis.
Back to the account in Genesis. We'll pick up the story after God pronounced the curse on Adam and questioned Eve as to her part in this transaction of sin. God then turns His attention to the serpent, BOTH as an animal and as Satan, who had used the body of the serpent to talk to Eve.
Genesis 3:14 So the LORD God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." 16 To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."
In this rather obscure and clouded statement, God puts into action this Plan of Redemption that had its beginning before the foundations of the world, and will not be completed until this world passes away and the new earth and new heaven are brought to pass by God in the future.
From Adam to Christ, humans were given little snippets of information concerning this redemptive program. It was not until Christ's death on the Cross, as the redemptive price for the sins of mankind, that God gave any real understandable outline of the events of this Plan of Redemption, that was conceived and assured before the foundation of the worlds.
Ephesians 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles - 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I wrote before in a few words, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,
In the ages from Adam to Christ, a great deal of information was given about redemption. However, that information was given a little bit here and there, to this person and to that person. Even the prophets, who proclaimed this information directly from God, did not understand what they were giving, or the time sequence of those events.
1 Peter 1:10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven - things which angels desire to look into.
Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors - not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die (Spiritually); but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live (Spiritually). 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
In the first part of this passage, Paul by the leading of the Holy Spirit gives us information on how we should live between two of the phases of this redemptive program. Paul is talking to those who have been part of one phase of redemption, we often call this phase "Salvation" or being "Born Again". He refers to these who have been partakers of this phase of redemption, as "Brethren".
It would be helpful to spend some time on these verses, but time, itself, is not that generous. I want to direct your attention to a future phase of the Redemptive Program.
In verse 15, Paul speak of the moment of our Salvation or New Birth, and says at that time we receive the Spirit of adoption. We know by context and other passages that this is a reference to the Holy Spirit. Because we have this Spirit, we can call God, "Abba Father". We can only claim God as our Father, because we have been Born Again into the Family of God.
Don't confuse this "Adoption" with the very admirable practice of present day adoption. The Adoption, referred to in this passage, was a custom of the upper class Romans. It was a time when their male child was openly declared to be a full fledged son with all the privileges of close partner in business.
As we establish the Biblical facts of this yet future event, for those who are in Christ, look at the essence of the facts presented by the Holy Spirit.Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
In the Ephesians 1 passage, it is stated that we are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the worlds. Ephesians goes on to tell that we have been…
(1) Predestined to the ADOPTION AS SONS
Even though this adoption is a yet future event, as we will see in a little while, it shows that EVEN in the planning and first phase of redemption that took place before the foundation of the world, God had thoroughly planned and determined all aspects of His redemptive program, including all future events.
Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
In the Galatians 4 passage, we see that Christ had to come at the appropriate time, so we might be redeemed, AND that we might receive the adoption as sons.
It is difficult, from English, to see if this adoption is received at the time of redemption, or at a future time. We could spend some time showing from the Greek structure that it was intended as a future event. BUT let's not spend our time in that manner today.
We can easily establish whether this was a past or future event, AND we can do it in English. For right now, let's establish that Galatians 4 states that one of the reasons for Christ's coming in the fullness of time was so…
(2) We might receive THE ADOPTION AS SONSRomans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
The Holy Spirit, through Paul, gives us more information concerning the future aspect of redemption in Romans 8. In Romans 8:15, it is stated that at Salvation..
(3) We received the SPIRIT OF ADOPTION
These two passages in Galatians and Ephesians along with Romans 8 are the only passages dealing with the subject of Adoption for the Christian. The only other reference to adoption is found in Romans 9, which speaks of Israel's place in this event of adoption, but that is a study for another time when the ground work is laid for the covenants.
The three main facts, we've seen so far, concerning Adoption are:
Let's look again at the most extensive Biblical portion on this future event of Adoption.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself (reference to the Spirit of Adoption vs 15) bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
Please note. Paul, in his presentation, makes a transition from the PAST aspect of redemption (vs 15 "you received.."), to the PRESENT aspect of redemption (vs 17 "if we suffer with Him.."), to a FUTURE aspect of redemption (vs 17 "that we may be glorified together..").
In the whole passage, Paul presents the past, present and future aspects of the redemptive program. From verse 16 on, Paul toggles back and forth from the present/past to the future of redemption.
We can't study each phrase, but look at the passage as a whole. The tempo of going from present to future continues until vs 23, when there is the crescendo of this whole presentation.
Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 And not only they, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
Even in sketchy outline form, the redemptive program is extensive and quite complicated. Yet, the Word of God says that as a good workers for God, we will evaluate that information and properly categorize it.
God, knowing the complexity of the material and the difficulty of the human mind to perceive Spiritual truth, has given us several "tools" to use to help us evaluate the information and draw proper conclusions.
1 Corinthians 10:5 But with most of them (Israelites in the Wilderness) God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust (greed) after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor murmur, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
2 Timothy 2:14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort,
1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
It matters not how many degrees you have, how many doctors of theology are behind your name, or how long you've studied and how much Biblical information you have gained. It does not matter how many books you have written, or how many followers you have to your theories.
If you have not compared all Scripture with all Scripture and rightly divided it, you CANNOT see the whole picture of God's redemption, and your teaching will only be the teaching of men, NOT the precepts of God.
Let me try to illustrate with a little drawing. All of the little marks in the box below are a part of a picture. Unless a person carefully categorized and harmonized these marks, when they are put together, they will not make the appropriate picture.
I'm sure these lines and marks could be arranged in a manner that would depict an object or several objects. But unless they were put together just right, they would not depict the right object.
In like manner, a person can take the "bits" and "pieces" from the Bible and string them together, and come up with some kind of theology. However, it would not be a proper theology.
Unless we have properly placed each "line" and "precept" of the Scripture in a proper order, we have only the teaching of humans, NOT the mind of God. Whether or not a person puts these strange pieces together properly, and comes up with the proper picture, is of little consequence.
However, if we don't put the "pieces" of God's Word together properly…, we are playing with the eternal destiny of a soul or many souls. May we each be workmen that do not need to be ashamed, because we have rightly divided the Word of God.
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2004|