June 6, 2012

Revealing Christ In The Old Testament IX: The Greater-Part II

Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge
2 Samuel

In 2 Samuel 9 we see the story of Mephibosheth which in an encapsulated form foreshadows the love God has for all sinful believers that God will bestow Jesus’ righteousness on all believers who will trust in Him. Mephibosheth lamed since childhood and crippled. Believers crippled by sin and death since birth. Even though Mephibosheth considered himself a “dead dog” and had no right to anything of the kingdom, David had compassion on him and confirmed him as the rightful owner of Saul's lands (2 Samuel 9: 1-13). Moreover, David conferred on him the position reserved for his own sons. Mephibosheth would eat at David's table. He was officially adopted into David's family. I don’t know about you the reader but this sounds and awful lot like believers being adopted in the family of God solely because of God’s mercy and grace through faith…which is by no works of our own. Mephibosheth is an exact image of us as wretched sinners coming to the King and having faith in His promises thereby having His righteousness imputed to us and gaining us a position in God’s eyes…through Christ alone.

Kings and Chronicles (History Books In General)
In 1 Kings we see the image of the Forerunner. When God was about to send the rain in answer to Elijah's prayer, Elijah sent Ahab the message:

1 Kings 18:44 "The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the LORD came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel."

And then it appears that Elijah acted the part of a runner to Ahab. In Egypt the "runner" attached to the household of kings and nobles. The same custom was in used in Israel, for Samuel warned the people that the king they so eagerly desired would exact this oppressive custom of his subjects :

"He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen ; and some shall run before his chariots." 1 Samuel 8:11

These facts lend great force to the act of Elijah, who, in an ecstasy of joy and zeal at the triumph of God, and based in the desire to "honor the King" who for a brief moment had honored God, when the hand of the Lord came upon him, girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel—that is, for a distance of some twenty miles or more across the great plain of Esdraelon the man of God acted as the sais or runner of the King, clearing the way for his chariot and announcing his arrival! He ran the equivalent of a marathon!

Does this not describe almost in detail the function of John the Baptist in all the Gospels and foretold of by Isaiah 40:3?

Mark 1:1-4~"The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”— “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins."

In another sense does this not speak of the office of out-runner also illustrate in the figure of Jesus in Hebrews 6:20?

"...here our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."

Elisha's was a ministry of blessing and healing. This too was a type of Christ. We have, moreover, in the life and miracles of Elisha just like Christ. In the story of Elisha ploughing the field. Passing by Elisha, Elijah cast his mantle upon him which was a call was to follow Elijah as a servant, pour water on his hands, perhaps to die with him. There was no time to think, the decision had to be made in a instantly.  Here we see Jesus' statements on the importance of being a disciple and its costs:

Marks 9:62~ Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

Luke 9:23~ Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny [or die] themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

In the healing of Naaman we see a picture of the Gospel in miniature. Naaman was a great man but he was also a leper. He was unclean. Just as one who has unforgiven sin is unclean/unrighteous in God's eyes. Naaman is therefore required to go through steps of humbling, low enough to receive the blessing of healing and new life from God. He accepted the testimony of a little captive maid. He found it was not the great King of Israel who was to cleanse him. He found that the cleansing could not be bought, even with money. He had to go to the house of a poor prophet. The prophet did not even come out to work the miracle, but sent a message. He was to wash in the Jordan River. say what? He had to be guided by the advice of servants. He had to obey those "beneath" him. He had to become as a little child. Then, and only then was he clean

In a similar way God had to remove, one by one, all people's preconceived notions of how they were and will saved by their Messiah. This of course brings us to the lowering to be exalted of Philippians 2:5-11...and that points squarely at the Gospel.

Additionally, 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles in general show us shadows and types of the "glory which should follow" that is greater than the Temple built by Solomon and Solomon himself… 

Greater Than Solomon

“At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here." Matthew 12:1-6

Greater Than Solomon

Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here. Matthew 12:38-42

This "Something" would be the very thing to speak these words The Greater here is Jesus (of course). Therefore Christ Himself acknowledges that both the Temple in all its types and shadows, foreshadowed Christ Himself. Just like God had laid out the plans for the Tabernacle and Temple, so too He had laid out the plan since before the foundations of the world of how He would send His Son Jesus to give Himself to redeem His people. Christ also acknowledges that Solomon as a Wise King was another foreshadowing of a King to come just has His father was before him. It wasn't until Solomon turned towards the world and apostatized that he did not act as a foreshadowing of Jesus. But then again...if we view an old back-slid Solomon as the image of a King that has heaped sin upon Himself, we then begin to the image turns really ugly. If that is the case then Solomon does then foreshadow Jesus who would hang on a cross taking on the sin of humanity...which also turns really violent and ugly. The difference between Solomon and Jesus though is an issue of forgiveness. Solomon had absolutely no authority or ability to forgive even one sin. It is to Jesus that we all will need to look to for that forgiveness.

…and all of this speaks of Jesus' glory

“The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”Psalm29:9

As best I can see Chronicles (1 & 2) reveals Christ as "the King's Son," rescued "from among the dead," hidden in the House of God, to be manifested in due time in the story of Queen Athaliah and Joash.

“When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family of the house of Judah. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Because Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of the priest Jehoiada, was Ahaziah’s sister, she hid the child from Athaliah so she could not kill him. He remained hidden with them at the temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled the land. In the seventh year Jehoiada showed his strength. He made a covenant with the commanders of units of a hundred: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zikri. They went throughout Judah and gathered the Levites and the heads of Israelite families from all the towns. When they came to Jerusalem, the whole assembly made a covenant with the king at the temple of God. Jehoiada said to them, “The king’s son shall reign, as the LORD promised concerning the descendants of David.” 2 Chronicles 22:10-23: 3

This is an obvious parallel to Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is also an analogy of the Kingdom itself in that, although Jesus is around and the Kingdom has arrived, it has not done so yet in full force…except for the hearts of true believers. Everyone else just swings with the whims of the world and culture and clings tightly to whatever new comes along. Like that witch Athaliah. The killing of the relatives or “she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family of the house of Judah” and this is akin to the stoning and killing of prophets in the Old Testament who were of the royal family of Go. It is also a picture of the Israelites persecuted or hunted down, often by their own brethren albeit removed by generations and years. Later this would be manifest in the vile hatred exhibited by Jews towards Christians after Christ.

Some other things we see in the history books of the Samuels, Kings and Chronicles is the offices of the King, the Prophet and the Priest which are in full swing during these narratives. Mirrored in these offices of King, Prophet and Priest we see the Messiah because all of them are embodied perfectly in Jesus Christ. Interestingly, it is only David that had this three-fold anointing on his life…other than Jesus Himself.

In these books we see the Lord’s zeal for his Temple which will eventually become the believer themselves in the New Testament when believers will be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Finally, I will mention the interesting story of 1 Chronicles 14:8-12 in which David defeats the Philistines. How? The Lord delivers them into David’s hands.

"When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went out to meet them. Now the Philistines had come and raided the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of God: “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?” The LORD answered him, “Go, I will deliver them into your hands.”  So David and his men went up to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, God has broken out against my enemies by my hand.” So that place was called Baal Perazim. The Philistines had abandoned their gods there, and David gave orders to burn them in the fire." 1 Chronicles 14:8-12

Here we see the Lord informing David the victory is his. In a sort of way we see the Lord acting as a military advisor. He is the Lord of Hosts (Armies). It would be Him that would know the weakest point at which to engage the enemy. It would be Him that would come out to wage war on the forces of evil and darkness when He submitted to the will of the Father by allowing Himself to be crucified and laying down His life on the Cross. For this he would be raised by the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit. God knows how to defeat our spiritual enemies and has already done so…its victory He has already won and we need only step forward to claim it as our own.

We no longer need to have any fear of our enemy(ies), Jesus Christ has overcome them all.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:28-32

…as Hezekiah  exhorted in 2 Chronicles 32:7…

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him”

A “Power” clearly greater than the Temple and greater than Solomon that will come as the “Son of David”.  He will be a Lion that conquers as a Slaughtered Lamb. He was more because He was less. Lowered so He could be exalted by the Father. He suffered so we could escape the penalty of God's wrath an eternal condemnation. In so doing he will accept those into the family of God crippled by their sin and unable to do anything about it…because He is the King…and can do whatever He wants…even being merciful and bestowing unmerited grace.

Finally we see the image of Temple being filled with Glory of God. When the work of the house of the Lord was finished, Solomon assembled all the elders of Israel to bring up the Ark of the Lord out of Zion the city of David.

Then...1 Kings 8:10-11 "When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple."

This is an amazing picture of the Holy Spirit coming to fill the heart which has been prepared for His coming, the heart cleansed. So much so that

1 John 3:9 "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God"

So it is by the blood of Christ and surrender to Him, that we, clay vessels are made fit to become a temple of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own"

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