Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shepherds – Types of Christ

~ 5 Old Testament Shepherds ~

A Biblical “type” is like a word picture. It is a “foreshadowing” or image of something which is yet to come (Colossians 2:17). There are a number of shepherds in the Old Testament which the Holy Spirit uses as types of the coming Good Shepherd. Here are five examples:

Abel was a sacrificing shepherd, who gave his life and shed his blood at the hands of his own brother. Abel was rejected by his brother and put to death. This resulted in his brother Cain being banished from the land and becoming a wanderer. But God in grace supernaturally preserved him against his enemies. In the rejection of Abel, we see a type of the Lord Jesus. His death was also at the hands of His brethren, who were then scattered around the earth, but God has preserved them for centuries.

Jacob was a toiling shepherd, who left his father’s house to dwell in a distant land. He fled from the wrath of his brother. Because of the hated of his brother, he was driven into exile where he married and then returned to claim his possession.

Joseph was an exalted shepherd, who was rejected by his brethren – yet he became the savior of men. His brethren thought they had killed him. He was exiled to a distant land where he was exalted to the throne. There he obtained a bride, and later he returned to redeem his brethren who had sold him.

Moses was a delivering shepherd. He also was rejected the first time by his brethren, banished into a distant land where he found a Gentile bride before returning and being accepted by his own at his second coming.

David was a royal shepherd who reigned. David was anointed king, but rejected by his own. He was forced to flee into the land of the Philistines, where he received a Gentile bride. He returned after the death of Saul, to be accepted and acclaimed by his own nation.

In each of these Old Testament personalities we plainly see the record of the One who was rejected by His own the first time He came. While in rejection Jesus Christ is assembling His Gentile bride (the Church). When the Church (universal) is complete, He will return and be accepted by His own people (Israel), and He will set up the glorious millennial Kingdom.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

EXTRA: 1-Year Feedback

~ A Big Thank You To All ALN Readers! ~

Wow!!! It is amazing to see what God has done in my first year of blogging for Him. I am truly humbled at your response.

Biggest Surprise ~ The breadth of readers including a Buddhist and a Muslim who stated that he was “interested to know about [the] Christian way to God.” I have also been pleasantly surprised at all who have taken time to write a comment—it has been a blessing to my heart and soul. Especially encouraging have been the comments which make note of a blog that has caused a desire to study a topic further on their own.

Another interesting note is that the particular blog entries which I personally thought would generate some comments almost never did. Some of the blogs which I did not expect a comment generated multiple comments! It is one more evidence that we are only channels and it is the Holy Spirit that causes the stirrings of the human heart.

Statistics ~ Another “wow” from the depths of my being! Abundant Life Now has been read in some 68 known countries plus some unidentified ones (a listing is on the right side bar). It has been translated into at least 22 languages. Within in the United States it has been read in all but one of the states as well as the District of Columbia (no one from Wyoming unless they are in the “unidentified” category).

Schedule ~ From the start my intention was to write a weekly blog. I would like to blog more often but I wanted to be predictable and not be under the pressure of a more frequent blog. My first blog “Introduction to Abundant Life Now” was on Wednesday, October 21, 2009. By the end of that week I decided to make it a Tuesday morning blog which it has been since. When I feel compelled to insert additional blogs, I insert a prefix of “EXTRA” in the title (like this entry). During the 52 weeks of my first year there were 61 postings with 40 comments added by readers.

Miscellaneous ~ Throughout the first year the format and appearance of the blog underwent a somewhat continual evolution regarding layout and side content. On March 25 ALN underwent a major visual transformation.

Biggest Satisfaction ~ There are a handful of happenings which show that God has been pleased to use my simple words to bless others and cause spiritual growth in their lives.

Looking Forward ~ If Abundant Life Now has been a blessing to you, please pass the information along to your friends and acquaintances so that more individuals might be blessed by the simple concepts and truths presented here.

May God bless all of you as you seek His face and we seek to minister for Him together in these last days.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Christ Our Shepherd

~ A Biblical Trilogy – He Satisfies All Our Needs ~

Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd of Psalm 22, the Great Shepherd of Psalm 23, and the Chief Shepherd of Psalm 24.

The Good Shepherd (Psalm 22) ~ The Good Shepherd died to save us. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, see verses 1-18.) Psalm 22 is a picture of God’s Prophet and our Suffering Savior. It is a past event!

Psalm 22 is also a Messianic psalm—a psalm with clear prophecies of Jesus Christ. It is The Psalm of the Cross.

The Great Shepherd (Psalm 23) ~ The Great Shepherd lives to guide us. “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21). Psalm 23 is a picture of our Living Savior and Present Priest. This is current—now!

Psalm 23 is known as The Shepherd Psalm. Every angle of our needs are supplied by our Great Shepherd (note the Abundant Life Now blog on December 15, 2009).

The Chief Shepherd (Psalm 24) ~ The Chief Shepherd will come for us and we will be glorified at that time. “When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:4). In that day He will truly be the Sovereign One and exalted King of Kings. This is still future!

Psalm 24 is one of the royal psalms. It is a Psalm of Praise to the King of glory.

These three psalms can be thought of in the following additional ways:
22 a Dying Savior ~ 23 a Living Shepherd ~ 24 a Coming Sovereign.
22 our Savior’s Cross ~ 23 our Shepherd’s Crook ~ 24 the Sovereign’s Crown.
22 a soldier’s Sword ~ 23 our Shepherd’s Staff ~ 24 our King’s Scepter.
22 gives His Life ~ 23 gives His Love ~ 24 gives His Light.
22 God’s Grace ~ 23 our Shepherd’s Guidance ~ 24 our King’s Glory.
22 God’s Provision ~ 23 our Protection ~ 24 our Prospect.
22 yesterday / past ~ 23 today / present ~ 24 forever / future.

SUGGESTED FOLLOW-UP: Read John 10:1-30.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Christ in the Pentateuch

~ Jesus Christ is the Theme of the Entire Bible ~

The Bible is a book of the progressive revelation of Jesus Christ (John 5:39) and contains many “types” of things to come. Biblical types are metaphors or symbols of something else. Types are not only interesting but are part of the reason why the Bible is such an integrated whole. While a collection of 66 books, the Bible is in a very real way one book, one story, and one integrated package. For example, there are many amazing parallels between the Old Testament contents and that which is found in the New Testament writings.

Jesus Christ can be seen in every book of the Bible. Consider for example the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament.

Genesis ~ In chapter 22 (many consider it one of the top ten chapters of the Bible) we see a father (Abraham) offering up his mature son (Isaac was not a small boy but was in his 30s) as an offering for sin. It took them three days to arrive at the place of sacrifice. Isaac was dead in Abraham’s mind for three long days! Isaac carried the wood for his death and Christ carried His own cross. Isaac was spared after the three day journey. Christ rose from the dead after three days.

Exodus ~ In chapter 12 we find the lamb slain and its blood sprinkled upon the houses as a shelter for men who are facing the judgment of God. The blood of the slain lamb is a type of the future blood of the Lamb of God. Each individual family member was required to receive a part of the lamb (12:4)—a picture of how every individual must accept the sacrifice of Christ for themselves—it is a personal decision. No one was saved because of being in the right house. Today no one is a child of God because they have Christian parents or live in a “Christian nation.” The fire (12:8-9) represented judgment which is still ahead for those of us living today. Bread made without yeast (yeast symbolizes sin) represents Christ, the bread of life. It is important to note that no one was saved because of “doing good” or “doing the best they can.”

Leviticus ~ Chapter 16 presents the ordinances of the Day of Atonement, which is a type of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament God did not remove sin but covered it, waiting for the only truly acceptable sacrifice—Jesus Christ. Only the high priest could provide this atonement and in doing so he laid aside his beautiful garments. Christ our great high priest laid aside His glory in heaven to come to earth to provide a sacrifice for us.

Numbers ~ The serpent of brass which is lifted up for all to see in chapter 21 is a picture of Jesus Christ who would be lifted up on the Cross of Calvary for all to see. To be saved they were required to look up at the serpent in faith just like today we must look up to the Cross in faith. To be saved one must begin by acknowledging their need if a Savior because of their sin.

Deuteronomy ~ In chapter 21 we find a man who was murdered outside the city—Jesus Christ was murdered outside the city of Jerusalem. You and I and the entire human race are responsible for His death. He died in our place so that we might live eternally.

Additional Comment ~ Jesus Christ while on earth quoted from all five books of the Pentateuch.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

7 Symbols of God’s Care

~ God Cares for YOU ~

We serve a caring God who meets all our needs.

Like a hen He gathers and protects ~ Our Lord stated in reference to His chosen people, “How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37).

Like an eagle He protects and leads ~ “As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the LORD alone led him” (Deuteronomy 32:11-12).

Like a shepherd He watches and delivers ~ “As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day” (Ezekiel 34:12).

Like a father He pities and shows compassion ~ “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:13).

Like a mother He consoles and comforts ~ “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13).

Like a nursing mother He is gentle and provides ~ As His disciples we are also to love others as He loved us (John 13:34). We are to gently care for and provide for the needs of the Christian community. “But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7).

Like a bridegroom He delights and rejoices ~ “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:5). One day Jesus Christ will return to gather His bride, the Church, to be with Him forever!

SUMMARY: “So be content with who you are, and don't put on airs. God's strong hand is on you; He'll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you. Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ — eternal and glorious plans they are! — will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, He does” (1 Peter 5:6-11, The Message).

QUOTE: Being in church does not make you a Christian any more than being in a garage makes you a car! (Original source is unknown.)