The Completeness of Christ in Type and Shadow in the Old Testament …
THE BOOK JOEL
The dating of this prophecy is unknown. We know practically nothing of the prophet, other than, just as Hosea was sent to Israel, Joel was sent to Judah.
We do know that his father’s name was Pethuel.
In Joel 1:1 we also read: ‘The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.’ This gives the writing its divine authority.
Another interesting thing regarding this name is, Joel – Jehovah (is) God (Companian Bible – http://www.levendwater.org. Joel – The Lord is God (Dr. David Jeremiah).
The various titles given to Joel by these authorities, point to the strength of his name. In verse 4 of Joel 1, there are four types of locusts mentioned, according to Rev. S.L. Warren M.A. there are ninety different types of locusts. In Exodus 10:3-19 we get some idea of the destructive power of this insect. The destruction they brought on Egypt was total.
If we compare Joel 2:4-11 with Revelation 9:7-10, we get a further description, not only of how devastating this insect can be, but also of its appearance. Having consulted various authorities, we get a diversity of views regarding their appearance and none of them are appealing.
The theme of this book is repentance. Five times we get the phrase ‘The day of the Lord’ (Joel 1:15; 2:1,11,31; 3:14) always signifying judgment.
The following references in Joel’s prophecy, are a clear indication of the coming judgment of Israel. ‘The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong and executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can abide it?’ (Joel 2:10,11).
- ‘The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.’ (Joel 2:31).
- ‘The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD wil be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.’ (Joel 3:15,16).
In the midst of all these terrible events, we get the wonderful promise to Israel, that the Lord will be the hope and strength of his people. The little word ‘but’, is such an important word in the Scriptures, that it is a study in itself.
As we read Joel 2:28-32, we see the need to apply the principle of Right Division. In Acts 2:17-21 Peter quotes this prophecy of Joel. Dr. Bullinger points out that, ‘Had the nation repented at the summons of Peter in Acts 2:18-26 then Joel 2:30-32 would have come to pass’. Hence the need to Rightly Divided the Scriptures. See App. 183 of the Companion Bible. http://www.levendwater.org / http://www.bereanonline.org
Paul also quotes Joel in Romans e.g. ‘And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered … ‘ (Joel 2:32). ‘For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ (Romans 10:13).
In Joel 3:10 we read: ‘Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears … ‘. It is interesting to compare this prophecy with the writings of Isaiah 2:4; Hosea 2:18 and Micha 4:3.
- ‘ … And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks … ‘ (Isaiah 2:4). ‘ … and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely’ (Hosea 2:18). ‘ … and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn was anymore.’ (Micah 4:3).
Joel’s prophecy precedes the other three prophecies. The Lords victory had been achieved and peace was reigning.
In Joel 3:17 we read ‘ … I am the Lord your God … ‘, Elohim the name associated with the Creator. ‘In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heaven and the earth’ (Genesis 1:1).
Contrary to modern teaching we have here a Creator, the alternative is the principle of evolution. A theory which cannot be proved, in fact, the evidence they build this theory on is badly flawed and unscriptural. As Christians we do not look at the writings of man, but to the Truth of Scripture.
The question can be asked, who was the Creator? John in chapter 1 supplies us with the answer. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.’ (John 1:1:3).
The Colossian epistle is specific as to Who was the Creator. ‘In Whom we have redemption through His (Christ’s) blood, even the forgiveness of sins. Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him.’ (Col. 1:14-16).
This is obviously the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the last two verses in the book of Joel, we see the justice of God. There is only one who can administer justice fairly and without bias, we know from the Scriptures who that one is: ‘ … for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.’ (Romans 14:10-12).
- ‘That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ (Philippians 2:10,11).
What a blessing to know, that man’s flawed judgment will be no more, but Christ Himself, the righteous judge, will administer all judgment.
There will be no one who will escape His judgments. A believer will not stand before Christ regarding eternal life, that has already been settled by Christ, by His death and resurrection, but we will stand before Him regarding our walk.
THE BOOK AMOS
The name Amos means Burden Bearer.
Although from Judah, Amos prophesied in the Northern Kingdom. His occupation was a shepherd before his call to prophesy.
‘The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa … ‘ Amos 1:1. ‘Then answered Amos and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither’s was I a prophet’s son; but I was a herdman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit.’ (Amos 7:14).
As Dr. Bullinger points out, ‘Prophets were not hereditary as priests were’. To prophesy was a calling, similar to a preacher today (how important it is to be called to minister the Word of God).
We are also told Amos was ‘A gatherer of sycamore fruit’. In the Alphabetical Analysis Part 8, Mr. Welch says, ‘Apparently the fruit of the sycamore does not ripen until it is rubbed with iron combs, after which rubbing it ripens in four days. The point that Amos seems to make here and which has a typical teaching, is that Israel, like the sycamore, will not bear fruit apart from great tribulation’. http://www.levendwater.org
The tone of the prophecy can be seen in Chapter 1 of Amos. ‘And he said, the LORD will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn and the top of the Carmel shall wither’ (Amos 1:2). The same wording can be found in Joel ‘The Lord also shall roar out of Zion … ‘ (Joel 3:16).
Amos 1:1 says, ‘ … two years before the earthquake’.
Speaking of the return of our Lord, we read in Zechariah 14:5, ‘ … ye shall flee, like as ye fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.’ The judgment we have just read about, was due to the corruption of the nation.
The catastrophe as a result of this flood is seen in Amos 8:8 and 9:5. The cause of these dramatic events can be seen in the fifth chapter of Amos, ‘I hate, I despite your feast days, and I will not smell your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beast.’ (Amos 5:21,22).
The expressions ‘they take a bribe’ in Amos 5:12, both Dr. Reynolds and Prof. Whitehouse say, ‘This was a ransom which the poor and defenceless were obliged to pay a tyrannical judge’. This assessment is questions by many other scholars.
One thing is clear, the behaviour of this nation is corrupted and one day judgment will fall on these people.
Despite the corrupt behaviour of this nation (which had gone on for centuries), we read the remedy for this way of life can be seen in the fifth chapter of Amos, ‘Seek good and not evil, that you may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate thee evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of hots will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.’ (Amos 5:14,15).
For justice to be just, is followed by restoration. Amos 7:8 speaks of ‘a plumbline’, something which is used in building construction, to see if anything is true. Lasers are now often used in building work. The principle here is to see if anything is misaligned. This has to do with the nation of Israel. Dr. Bullinger refers us to the following references: Isaiah 28:17, 34:11 and Lamentations 2:8.
The restoration of Israel can only come about by the finished work of the Messiah. As we read of the disciples, ‘When they therefore were come together, they asked of him saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?’ (Acts 1:6).
The time for that restoration had not yet come, it had been promised in Amos, ‘In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.’ (Amos 9:11,12).
In Acts 15:13-17 we see James quoting these verses from Amos. The possibility of that restoration at that time was delayed at Acts 28:28, when the administration of the Body of Christ came into being. This is not to say, that Israel will not be restored to its former glory. The book of Zechariah confirms this, ‘Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, … then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, … and his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, … and the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.’ (Zechariah 14:1-9).
Coming to the New Testament, 2 Thessalonians gives us a description of the return of our Lord, ‘And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: … when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all then that believe … ‘ (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).
Alan Schofield *
THE BOOK MICAH
Micah is a shortened form of Micaiah meaning – Who is like Jehovah?
Micah was a patriot and foresaw the invasion of the Assyrians.
It is interesting to see that the writer of 1 Kings concludes his prophecy with the words ‘Hearken O people every one of you’ 1 Kings 22:28. Micah begins his prophecy with the words ‘Hear, all ye people; ‘ Micah 1:2. He continues this theme in Micah 3:9, 6:1,2.
As the Rev. S.L. Warren points out, the styles of Isaiah and Micah are similar. The word that Isaiah the son of Amos saw, concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
- ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it … And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up swords against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.’ (Isaiah 2:2-4).
- ‘But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it … And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.’ (Micah 4:1-3).
One cannot fail to see the similarity between the writings of the two prophets. Isaiah’s writings are more protracted than the writings of Micah. The critics accuse Micah of copying Isaiah’s writings. We would not entertain this claim for a moment.
The state of Israel’s worship at this time was one of decadence. Pagan worship was commonplace and some of the details of their practices are horrific. Idolatry was everywhere, even in the temple itself, Baal was worshipped more than God, heathenism was at its height. 1 Kings records that the worship of Molech had taken hold in the days of Solomon.
- ‘Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice.’ (1 King 11:7-9). See also: http://www.elshaddaiministries.us / Decoding the Antichrist and the end times / by Mark Biltz.
When one considers the wonderful blessings that the Lord showered upon Solomon and then for Solomon to have been sucked into depravity, should serve as a warning to all. It is shocking to read in 2 Kings and Jeremiah just how evil these practices in worshipping Molech were.
- ‘And (king Josiah) defiled Tophet which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.’ (2 Kings 23:10).
- ‘And they built the high places of Baal, … which I commanded them not neither came it into my mind … .’ (Jeremiah 32:35).
This brings into question the traditional doctrine of hell. (For a more in dept study on this very important doctrine, see the booklet ‘Hell pure from blood of all men’ by Charles H. Welch). Available from the Berean Publishing Trust in London. http://www.bereanoneline.org
The book of Micah looks forward not only to the judgement, but the coming of the Messiah.
- ‘But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose going forth have been from of old, from everlasting.’ (Micah 5:2).
This verse is giving the people hope and is confirmed in both Matthew and John’s Gospels;
- ‘And they said unto him, In Betlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Betlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.’ (Matthew 2:5,6).
- ‘Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, were David was?’ (John 7:42).
There is a similar thought in both Micah 5 and Isaiah 14.
- ‘And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty in the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.’ (Micah 5:4).
This is a glorious picture of an assured sovereignty of a tender Shepherd. See Psalm 78:70-72.
The theme of a shepherd guiding and looking after his sheep is found in this psalm.
For the many wrongs in this world to be put right, it will take a firm hand. It is obvious that no politician or leader can put right the many problems in the world. The only One who can achieve this, is the Lord Himself.
- ‘ … The LORD has said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thy inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession … ‘ ‘Thou shall break them with a rod of iron; thou shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ (Psalm 2:7-9).
For the fulfillment of this prophecy, see Revelation 2:27, 12:5 and 19:15,16. The One to accomplish this is the One whom they pierced.
- ‘Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so Amen.’ (Revelation 1:7).
Micah’s conclusion of his prophecy pays homage to the God of gods.
- ‘Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He deligteth in mercy.’ (Micah 7:18).
These glorious promises are all centred in Christ, the wonderful words of Mary (Mirjam), at the realisation of her pregnancy (by the Holy Spirt) with Christ, affirm this. See Luke 1:46-55.
THE BOOK JONAH
Jonah – the Dove. He was a successor of Elijah and Elisha. Jonah has a unique place in the Scriptures.
The book has come under severe criticism from many theologians down through the years, as being myth, legend or fantasy.
We are told in Jonah 1:1 that his father’s name was Amittai, this is confirmed in 2 Kings.
- ‘He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He spake by the hand of His servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher.’ (2 Kings 14:25).
The fact of Jonah was confirmed by our Lord. If we compare Jonah 1:17 with the words of our Lord in Matthew, we see the Lord put His divine stamp on the book of Jonah. ‘But He answered and said unto them, an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah: for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’ (Matthew 12:39,40).
Can we ever consider throwing doubt on the Lord’s words? John in his gospel gives seven occasions where the Lord testifies to the truth of His words. (John 7:16; 8:26,46,47; 12:49; 17:8).
The question to be addressed is, why Jonah, a prophet refused to go to Nineveh? Was it through cowardice? The cruelty of the Assyrians brought fear and dread to other nations at this time. One can hardly accuse Jonah of cowardice, as he offered his own life to save the crew of the ship. ‘And he said unto them, take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.’ (Jonah 1:12).
Another significant statement is found in Jonah 1:14 ‘ … and lay not upon us innocent blood … ‘. What a wonderful type of Christ Jonah was. See Matthew 27:4. Jonah had offered his own life to save others and the testimony by others of the ‘innocent blood’ being offered.
Jonah’s refusal to go to Nineveh is summed up by Jerome: ‘The prophet knew, through the inward suggestion of the Holy Spirit, that the repentance of the Gentiles would be ruin of the Jews. Therefore a lover of his country, he was not so much displeased at the thought of Nineveh’s salvation, as he was adverse to the destruction of his own people’.
The disobedience of Jonah is there for all to see, but the reason for that disobedience is not obvious. Jonah 1:3 is partly answered in 4:2. He knew that God’s displeasure, which resulted in refusing to go to Nineveh would be upon him. ‘ … I am cast out of Thy sight; yet I will look again unto Thy holy Temple.’ (Jonah 2:4).
Jonah’s patriotism at the expense of God’s will and purpose for Nineveh, led to the most wonderful type of Christ that can be found in the Old Testament. ‘Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.’ (Jonah 1:17).
Was this for a period of seventy two hours? Many critics point out that part of a day be reckoned as a full day. Therefore it is possible that Jonah could only have been in the fish for twenty six hours, one hour before the end of one day and the first hour of the third day. Dr. Bullinger points out that the three nights must have resulted in three full days, as Matthew 12:39,40 point out.
Another question which arises is did Jonah actually die in the fish? Again Dr. Bullinger says: ‘If he had not died, he could not have fulfilled the type of Christ.’
Jonah 3:3 describes Nineveh as ‘a great city’. Many scholars say the walls were so wide chariots could be driven at three abreast along the top of the walls. The actually size of the city can be judge by what is written by various people, some conflicting with another. Heroditus reckons a day’s journey at about eighteen or twenty miles. Rev. Aglen M.A. states most commentators measure a city by its circumference, the time taken to walk around the city would take three days according to many scholars. ‘ … forty days … ‘ Jonah 3:4, a period of probation. The number forty plays a significant part in Scripture.
In verse 10 we read where God repeated. ‘And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil that He said He would do unto them; and He did it not.’ (Jonah 3:10).
We see where this word repentance is ascribed to God in Genesis 6:6. If God is perfect in all His ways, it would be both impossible and unnecessary for Him to repent. We turn once again to Dr. Bullinger for the answer to this query. It is what is known as a ‘Figure of Speech’, meaning also ascribing to God what belongs to human and rational beings. There are many such instances of this ‘Figure of Speech’ in the Bible. See Appendix 6 in the Companion Bible for a more detailed study on this subject.
In Jonah 4:5 we read of a booth (soeka/sukkot) which Jonah had made and in verse 6 we see where ‘the LORD God had prepared a gourd’. Rev. Aglen M.A. says it is a large shrub having palmate leaves with serrated lobes. In vers 7, ‘God prepared a worm’ (Deut. 28:39 and Isaiah 14:11), the worm is associated with dead and destruction. In verse 10 and 11 one can see the turmoil that was in Jonah’s mind, he had more pity for the gourd than for Nineveh.
The prophecy suddenly finished, it exhibits God’s care for all people and His creation.
THE BOOK NAHUM
Nahum means consolation, or full of comfort. Although only three chapters long, it conveys to us that the believer will go through difficult and unfair times, but God is ultimately in control!
Dr. David Jeremiah points out that three principal themes stand out in this prophecy.
- Judgement. God allows sin (which is never excused) but even uses it for His purposes. ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.’ (Romans 8:28).
- Oversight of the Nations. He raises up kings and He also removes kings. ‘And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.’ (Daniel 2:21).
- Comfort. ‘Behold upon the mountains the feet of Him that brings good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pas through Thee; He is utterly cut off.’ (Nahum 1:15).
In the first chapter, in the book of Nahum, verse one reads ‘The burden of Nineveh’. This evil godless city, brought misery and death amongst its enemies. The Assyrians had terrorised the known world, but the great redeeming feature is: God will only allow His people to suffer so much, then He puts a stop to their persecution.
- ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.’ (Isaiah 40:1,2).
What a blessed word this is, it takes us immediately to the New Testament. ‘And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever (John 14:16). Verse 26 of this chapter identifies Who the comforter is: ‘The Holy Ghost’. John 15:26 ‘He shall testify of Me.’ The question of Nahum 3:7 is answered in Acts 2:1-4, were the disciples ‘ … were all filled with the Holy Ghost … ‘.
The word ‘Comforter’ figures greatly in the prison epistles. Writing to both the Ephesian and the Colossian churches, the word ‘comfort’ is stressed. See Eph. 6:22; Col. 2:2 and 4:8. No matter which calling we are in, we need the Comforter to encourage and strengthen us.
God’s name has a twofold character, as seen throughout the Scriptures. ‘And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and thruth, … and that will by no means clear the guilty … ‘ (Exodus 34:6,7).
The mercy God is demonstrated in Jonah 3:10-4:2,11. In Nahum 2:11-13, God’s anger and power is demonstrated here against this city of Nineveh, where the city was destroyed completely. Rev. A.C. Jennings M.A. points out that the image of the lion figured greatly on Assyrian monuments. This of course points to the power and strength of their nation.
This prophecy of Nahum shows Nineveh was partly destroyed by fire and partly by water from the Tigris. (Nahum 2:2-6; 3:13 and 15).
Jeremiah records the mercy and judgement of God:
- ‘Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place and I will cause them to dwell safely: And they shall be my people and I will be their God: … And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, and I will not turn away from them … For thus saith the LORD; like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.’ (Jeremiah 32:37-42).
This proves that God’s judgement and mercy is everlasting and that He has not forgotten His people. These everlasting covenants with His people are unconditional. The fall of this great city Nineveh, caused great rejoicing among God’s people. Compare Psalm 47:1-10.
In the third chapter of Nahum we read, ‘Art thou better than populous No, … ‘. Nahum 3:8 No = Thebes (See – Companian Bible – E.W. Bullinger) http://www.levendwater.org
Scholars tell us that Thebes is the city of the pagan god Amon. (Dr. David Jeremiah). Thebes, the capital of upper Egypt, perhaps the house of the god Amon. (Rev. A.C. Jennings M.A.).
The judgements of God are terrible, but just.
- ‘The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him.’ (Jeremiah 46:25).
The lesson here is that no matter how prosperous and strong a city is, or nation, if they are openly hostile to God’s people and His word, judgement will fall.
In the last verse of this prophecy of Nahum we read, ‘There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?’ (Nahum 3:19).
The fall of this nation (Assyria) was a joy, not only to Israel, but to many other nations. The cruelty of the Assyrians was legendary. No wonder there was a clapping of hands with joy, at the destruction of Nineveh.
THE BOOK HAGGAI
Although the background of this prophecy is not recorded in Scripture, we do know that Haggai was one who receive the Word of God. See Haggai 1:1,5; 2:1,10,20.
It is interested to note that the name Haggai means ‘My Feast’ and although there are only two chapters in this prophecy, there is a wealth of truth contained in these writings.
Like all biblical prophecies, its displays the uniqueness of God’s Word. In fact it never becomes obsolete.
- ‘For whatsoever things were written afore time were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.’ (Romans 15:4).
Once again this is showing the reliability of the Old Testament.
The Jewish scholar, David Baron says: ‘The aged figure of the prophet Haggai stand prominently as the last group of three prophets after the restoration from Babylon.’ Haggai’s prophecy was of short duration, possibly as short as four months. See Alphabetical Part 8 page 298. http://www.bereanonline.org / http://www.levendwater.org
In Haggai 1:4 there is a word of rebuke to the people and a great lesson to us all, to put the things of God first. The word ‘consider’ is a word that Haggai uses five times in his short prophecy. We find it in the following references: Chapters 1:5,7; 2:15, twice in verse 18.
The rebuke in 1:4 continues to verse 11. These people had built their own houses with expensive woods, cedar, etc., at the detriment to the house of God. Haggai was angry at the attitude of these people as they had their priorities wrong. The joy of the old men at having seen Solomon’s temple in all its glory turned to sadness as the work of their temple almost came to a halt.
- ‘But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy.’ (Ezra 3:12).
- ‘Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do you see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?’ (Haggai 2:3).
The sentiments of Haggai 2:7-9 are also seen in Malachi. ‘Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even te messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.’
The question of ‘peace’ seen in Haggai 2:9 is also seen in Isaiah 9:6 and Zechariah 9:9,10. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who can bring everlasting peace to this world. Man has tried over centuries to achieve a lasting peace and it has always failed and will continue to do so.
Chapter 2 in Haggai speaks of the glory of God. ‘And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.’ (Haggai 2:7).
In both Matthew and John’s gospels, we see how the Glory of God in the temple was being corrupted by the behaviour of those trading in the temple.
- ‘And Jesus went into the temple of God and cast out all of them that sold and bought in the temple and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.’ (Matthew 21:12,13. See also John 2:16).
The greater and true Glory of God is in the Lord Jesus Christ. The corruption of the old nature in man, leads to judgement, which can be both swift and terrible. ‘I smote you with blastings and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD’ (Haggai 2:17).
We find similar words in both Deuteronomium 28:22 and Amos 4:9.
It is impossible to divorce the principle of a temple from the believer. The temple was an essential part of Jewish worship. The believer today is associated with this principle.
- ‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?’ (1 Corinthians 3:16).
Just as the temple of old was the dwelling place of God, so the believer should be likewise.
- ‘Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple of the Lord.’ (Ephesians 2:19-21).
Here the temple in question is of believers. ‘Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.’ (1 Peter 2:5).
The Scriptures are full of encouragement for the believer. ‘Then spake Haggai the LORD’s messenger in the LORD’s message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.’ (Haggai 1:13). ‘Yet now be strong, O Zerrubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts.’ (Haggai 2:4).
This truth of God’s abiding presence with us is clearly seen in the New Testament. ‘Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.’ (Matthew 28:20).
Paul stresses this recurring doctrine in Ephesians 1:1-5; 2:6; Philippians 1:6 and Colossians 3:3. Those wonderful words of Romans 8:35-39 are the quarantee that the believer has today regarding the Lord’s abiding presence with all who love the Lord Jesus Christ.
We get the types and shadows in the Old Testament and the fulfillment of those types and shadows in the New Testament.
THE BOOK ZEPHANIAH
Zephaniah means ‘hidden of Jehovah’ or ‘protects’. Some says ‘The watchman of Jehovah’. There is some dispute amongst scholars regarding the second title.
In verse one Zephaniah traces his pedigree back some four generations to Hezekiah. He was probably the great, great, grandson of Hezekiah. (According to Dr. Bullinger, Hizkiah and Hezekiah is the same Hebrew word) See: Companion Bible / http://www.levendwater.org
Such is the language of chapter one, that terrible judgement will befall this nation. Throughout the nation’s history, we see that it has been contaminated by pagan worship.
- ‘I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims (black-robed priests / Companian Bible) with the priests;’ (Zephaniah 1:4).
Both 2 Kings 23:5 and Hosea 10:5 make reference to these black robed priests. Coming to Zephaniah 1:5, we read of those who worshipped upon the housetops. Rev. A.C. Jennings M.A. says, ‘The last half of the verse should be rendered, and the worshippers who swear to Jehovah and swear (also) to Malcham, those who divide their allegiance between the true God and the false.’ Malcham was a pagan god, as Baal was a Canaanite god of fertility. In 1 Kings 11:5 we have reference to the goddess Ashtoreth and Milcom, the one Malcham of Zephaniah 1:5, has been suggested that this deity is identified with the planet Saturn. Ashtoreth is often mentioned in the Old Testament, as one of the many gods that led Israel away from the true God. Zephaniah 1:14,18 strong emphasis is laid upon ‘The Day of the Lord’. The first chapter of Zephaniah is one of judgement. In Zephaniah 1:7 we read:
- ‘Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, the hath bid his guests.’
The day of the Lord, is seen in the fulfillment of the prophecy in Revelation 6, at the opening of the six seals. ‘For the great day of his wrath is come; who shall be able to stand?’ (Revelation 6:17).
Coming to the second chapter of Zephaniah we read of the judgement that will fall on those nations which have corrupted the Lord’s people, these nations are Moab, Ammon, Ethiopia and others, but also the correction for His people.
We read many passages in Scripture referring to the judgements associated with God, but many view these judgements lightly. The reality is vastly different as we see in Revelation 6. The reading of Matthew 24 shows gravity of those days.
Turning out attention to chapter 3 of Zephaniah, we read God’s of displeasure to His people. The first two verses portrayed the sinful condition of those who are disobedient.
- ‘She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; shew drew not near to her God.’ (Zephaniah 3:2).
The sentiment of verse 7 is echoed in Matthew 23 verse 26. A.M. Hodgkin points out in Zephaniah chapter 3:5-7 that the Lord comes as a judge, ‘every morning’. A similar thought can be seen in Psalm 101:8. The behaviour of these people, particularly from their leaders, the Pharisees, caused much distress to our Saviour.
- ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathered her chicks under her wings, and ye would not!’ (Matthew 23:37).
This is a very touching verse, as we see the Lord’s concern over His people. In Zephaniah chapter 3:8, He speaks of ‘with the fire of my jealousy’ see Deuteronomy 4:24, also Zephaniah 1:18 speaks of this jealousy. The judgements of God are a terrible thing. Many believers get the mistaken idea that the all consuming love of God is at the expense of the judgements of God. Verse 9 refers to a pure language in contrast to Isaiah 6:5. Paul also stresses the need for purity.
- ‘Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever tings are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.’ (Philippians 4:8).
Some scholars say, ‘the reference to a pure language means, that one day that which was created in Genesis 11:9 was the confusion of languages, so the Lord will one day unify the nations under one language, when the worship of many gods shall yield to the pure service of Jehovah, when men shall, with one mind and one mouth glorify.’ – A.C. Jennings M.A.
‘The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth … ‘ (Zephaniah 3:13). What contrast to Micah 6:12.
As Dr. Jeremiah points out, in Zephaniah verses 18-20 of chapter 3, the statement ‘I will’ occurs six times and that the prophet concludes his prophecy with the words, ‘saith the LORD.’
In Zephaniah 3:17, four times we read ‘he will’, in verse 20 it states ‘ … for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth … .’
This nation of Israel which down through the ages, suffered persecution from nations of the earth, will one day be free. All the enemies of God’s people have always been defeated and will continue to be so until that day when the Lord returns to His people.
THE BOOK ZECHARIAH
This prophecy is of great wealth in bringing to light the types and shadows of Christ in the Old Testament. Zechariah, more than any other prophet demonstrated this truth.
Much controversy surrounds the dating of chapters 9-14. This is dealt with in an exhaustive and thorough way by the Rev. W.H. Lowe M.A. in Dr. Ellicott’s bible commentary, the result being that the criticism is faulty and unreliable
It would appear that Zechariah like Ezekiel and Jeremiah combined the two great offices of prophet and priest, ‘The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest … ‘ (Ezekiel 1:3).
One of the best examples of combining two great offices is seen in Melchizedek, meaning ‘king of righteousness’. ‘And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all’ (Genesis 14:18-20 compare with Hebrews 7:1).
Referring to Christ, John 1:49 ‘ … thou art the King of Israel’. Also, ‘But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.’ (Hebrews 7:24).
In Zechariah 3:8 and 6:12 referring to the Messiah, Dr. Bullinger points out how the Lord is portrayed in this book and how the four gospels fulfill that portrayal.
Matthew – presents our Lord as ‘the King’. ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem, behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.’ (Zechariah 9:9).
Mark – The servant. ‘Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.’ (Zechariah 3:8).
Luke – The man. ‘And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the LORD.’ (Zechariah 6:12).
John – God (Jehovah). ‘Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee’ Zechariah 14:1. ‘ … and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.’ (Zechariah 14:5).
We see the Lord as the Good Shepherd. ‘And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of His people … ‘ (Zechariah 9:16). ‘I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep’ (John 10:11).
Zechariah 9:11 speaks of ‘by the blood of thy covenant.’ ‘For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’ (Matthew 26:28, see also Hebrews 9:20-22).
- ‘And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.’ (Zechariah 11:12). Thirty pieces of silver is the price of a foreign slave. ‘Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, what will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.’ (Matthew 26:14,15).
We realise from the prophecies in the Old Testament, how vital it is to see these many links with our Lord.
In Zechariah 14 we have a graphic account of our Lord’s return to the earth. ‘And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north and half of it toward the south.’ (Zechariah 14:6). Acts 1:10 and 11 will be the fulfillment of this prophecy. There can be no doubt that our Lord’s return will be to the Mount of Olives. The geography of that region will be radically changed.
A graphic account of the return of our Lord is clearly seen in Matthew. ‘And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.’ (Matthew 24:30,31).
The book of Jude records the following: ‘And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with the thousand of His angels.’ (Jude 14).
Dr. Bullinger points out that ‘saints’ (A.V.) here in Jude should read ‘angels’ which radically changes the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. See: http://www.bereanonline.org / http://www.levendwater.org
The Scriptures clearly teach that the return of our Lord brings judgement and cleansing.
THE BOOK MALACHI
Malachi – the messenger of the Lord. What a privileged title to have, to be the Lord’s messenger is to be one who is reliable.
- ‘Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me … ‘ (Malachi 3:1).
John the Baptist is the one referred to here. We find in all four gospels that John is indeed a messenger of God preparing the way for our Lord Jesus Christ. See Matthew 3:1-3, Mark 1:1-8, Luke 1:13-17, John 1:6-8. What a testimony to this great servant of God was John the Baptist.
In Malachi we find that there are at least four practices which are dishonouring to the Lord.
a/. The corruption of the priesthood. – ‘And now O ye priests, this commandment is for you‘, Malachi 2:1. – ‘Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law‘, Malachi 2:9. – This has been a recurring problem. See Nehemiah 13:29.
b/. Alliance with strange wives. See Nehemiah 13:23-27 also Malachi 2:10-16.
One might ask why is this practice condemned in the Scriptures? There are several passages in the Old Testament where this is brought to the fore. The result of these practices led to the introduction of pagan worship. A prominent example of this is seen in the life of Solomon. Here was a man who was given a gift from God of great wealth and wisdom.
- ‘In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, ask what I shall give thee … give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great people? And the speech pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing … Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and understanding hearth; so that there is none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee … ‘, 1 Kings 3:5-14.
As we continue to read Solomon’s life, we realise that his heart was turned. ‘But king Solomon loved many strange women, … and he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.‘ (1 Kings 11:1-3).
What a lesson to us all, here was the wisest man that ever lived, received multitudes of blessings from the Lord, riches etc. Yet he turned away from God and embraced the pagan life. Oh, the power and influence of the old nature in man.
c/. The disobedience of this nation of Israel, led to some very plain speaking by Malachi.
A.M. Hodgkin points out that this led to the people giving an immediate response. Malachi 1:2, 6-7; 2:17; 3:7-8, 13-14. ‘A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? And if I be a master, where is my fear? Saith the LORD of hosts unto you. O, priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?‘ (Malachi 1:6).
We learn another lesson from this verse. One can stray far away from God’s truth, that the truth itself can be blurred. As Exodus 4:22 makes it clear that God was indeed their Father.
- ‘Anyone or anything that spoils the image of Christ is to be condemned. The nation of Israel was doing exactly that at this time, ‘Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, the table of the LORD is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? …, (Malachi 1:7-8).
Rev. W.H. Lowe M.A. brings to our attention, the word ‘Bread’ means flesh in Arabic, and food generally in Hebrew.
The insistence in the Scriptures of the unblemished state of the Lord is stressed in Exodus 12:5, 29:1; Leviticus 22:19-24. It is heartbreaking to the believer to hear how the world regards Christ. [Jesjoea Masjiach] – http://www.hadderech.nl
We have the divine assurance that we worship a God who is unchangeable. ‘For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.’ (Malachi 3:6).
This theme runs through the whole of Scripture, both the Old and the New Testaments. What a blessing this is, to know we worship an unchangeable God, not a God who repeatedly changes his mind. See Numbers 23:19 and Psalm 102:27. This clearly shows that the God of the whole of Scripture is one and the same. ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever‘, (Hebrews 13:8).
In Malachi 3:16 we read of a book of remembrance. See also Psalm 56:8 and Daniel 7:10. It was the custom of Persian kings to have records written in a book of remembrance. This is seen in Esther 6:1 and Revelation 5:1-5.
To entertain the idea that God needs a book of remembrance to bring to mind various happenings is unworthy of the God we worship. If God has no beginning or ending and is not limited by time and space, why should He require written records to remember anything? Surely the present is always before Him. It is only human beings that are limited to time and space.
In Malachi 4:2 we read ‘Sun (fem) of righteousness’. Dr. Bullinger says, ‘It is connected with righteousness (fem) which Messiah the righteous one along can bring.’ http://amen.nl/artikel/1072/100e-sterfdag-bullinger-geen-religie-maar-christus?highlight=Bullinger%20
This prophecy ends with a day of judgement. ‘ … before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD‘, Malachi 4:5.
A.M. Hodgkin points out that the Old Testament closes with the word ‘curse’. The new Testament closes with a blessing, Revelation 22:21.
It has been an interesting exercise to see from the Old Testament the many types and shadows of our Lord in those writings, appreciating that only a fraction of those types we have looked at.
The hope is that many may have been stimulated to pursue for themselves the many types which have been missed in this series of articles.
FULFILLMENT OF CHRIST FROM TYPE AND SHADOW FOUND IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Having looked at Christ in type and shadow in the Old Testament, we now look at His earthly life in the four gospels, particularly from John’s gospel.
Many teach that there is a certain amount of copying, especially Mark copying some of his writings from Matthew’s gospel. Most of us are familiar with the fact that our Lord is presented in four different ways in these four gospels.
- Matthew – presents our Lord as a king.
- Mark – presents our Lord as a servant.
- Luke – presents our Lord as a man.
- John – presents our Lord as Jehovah.
Having seen these basic truths, enables us to appreciate our Lord’s work while on earth.
Most people have no problem with the first three gospels and what they teach regarding Christ. John is a very different story. We are not interested in the testimony of man, but what the Scriptures teach on this vital doctrine of The Deity of Christ. Immediately we see the status of the One of Whom this gospel is speaking. ‘And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.’ (John 1:14).
With the above statement in mind we turn to the first verse of this great gospel.
- ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ (John 1:1).
We now come across a problem when we read in Genesis 1:1 ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’ Yet when we come to John 1:18 it reads ‘no man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.’ There is no contradiction here, it was at Bethlehem that He became flesh. We then read a staggering statement in John. ‘All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.’ (John 1:3).
This is repeated by Paul in his epistle to the Colossians. ‘For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist (are held together).’ (Colossians 1:16-17).
To get some appreciation of these words, we only have to look up on a cloudless night and see the vastness of the heavens, then look through a microscope and see the amazing life forms which cannot be seen with the naked eye. Considering that ‘God is spirit … ‘ John 4:24, if God is a spirit, therefore He is unknowable to mankind. For God to fulfill His purposes for mankind and to eradicate sin which has spoiled creation, it necessitated coming in the flesh to correct that deficiency. The one who died must be sinless, otherwise he himself would need s Saviour. As only God is sinless, then it follows that Christ Himself must also be sinless, ‘And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.’ (1 Timothy 3:16).
One name He gave Himself was I AM and its significance is found in Exodus 3:14. Some argue that when Christ used this name (ego eimi) it merely meant He was expressing Himself, this borders on blasphemy and is not worthy of our time.
We are given a very interesting list of this title by A.M. Hodgkin from John’s gospel. It is as follows: John 4:25-26. ‘Jesus saith unto her, I (I AM) that speak unto thee am He.’ That meets our needs of a divine Saviour.
- John 6:35. ‘ … I am the bread of life … ‘ Meets our soul – hunger.
- John 8:12. ‘ … I am the light of the world … ‘ Meets our darkness.
- John 10:7. ‘ … I am the door of the sheep … ‘ Meets our homelessness.
- John 10:11. ‘ … I am the good shepherd … ‘Meets our helplessness.
- John 11:25. ‘ … I am the resurrection and the life … ‘ Meets our death.
- John 13:13. ‘ … Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am’. He meets our dependence.
- John 14:6. ‘ … I am the way, the truth, and the life … ‘ He meets our need for salvation.
- John 15:1. ‘ … I am the true vine … ‘ Meets our need of union with Himself..
- John 18:5. ‘ … Jesus of Nazareth … I am he.’ He meets our need of a human Saviour who is also divine.
Looking back to John 5:18, it was His claim to be equal with God, that provoked the Jews to accuse Him of blasphemy, John 5:19–23.
The penalty for blasphemy was death by stoning. See Leviticus 24:16. This is further evidence of our Lord’s claim. See John 10:30. ‘I and my Father are one.’
The Levitical law is criticized by some as being too harsh. Let us just remind ourselves of what the Lord had to say on this subject.
- ‘Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words’? (John 5:45-47).
Finally, after all the scriptural evidence that has been looked at, along with Thomas, we can say: ‘Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and My God.’ (John 20:28).
No longer doubting Thomas, but now he was totally convicted that He was the one Who was God manifest in the flesh.
In the last article we saw how Christ in the four gospels fulfilled all that had been prophesied of Him in the Old Testament. This of course is only half the story, for we find that in the rest of the New Testament even more of the Truth is revealed in Christ.
We are all well aware of the work of the twelve disciples, especially of Peter starting in that wonderful chapter two of the Acts. Care must be taken when we interpret chapter two. In verse 5-11 we are given a list of those who were listening to Peter’s sermon. It is often believed that those foreigners which are mentioned include Gentiles. There is no evidence of this from what we read; ‘And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.’ (Acts 2:5).
These Jews were assembled from the Dispersion. Dr. Bullinger says in verse 5, ‘not sojourners for the Feast, but Jews of the dispersion who had taken up their abode at Jerusalem, perhaps because of the expectation of the Messiah’ cf Luke 2:38. Whatever the reason, these men heard Peter loud and clear in their own language (Gr. Dialektos) even in their own dialect. Every region has its own dialect, and we know from our own experience the difficulty we have on occasions to understand others. No such difficulty was encountered here. What a miracle that was in itself.
Peter had already been chosen by our Lord during the Lord’s earthly ministry. ‘And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. And he said unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and follow him.’ (Matthew 4:18-20).
It was in resurrection glory that Christ chose Paul. ‘And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me? And the Lord said, I am Jesus [Yeshua] whom thou persecutes: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.’ (Acts 9:3-6).
Paul’s immediate response to his call to the ministry, was one of complete obedience, not what he wanted to do, but he put his life in the hands of the Lord.
It is principally these two great apostles, Peter and Paul that we need to consider. It is obvious that these two men were of different temperament, Peter was very impulsive, see Matthew 14:26-31; 26:30-35 and John 18:4-11. Their sphere of work was also different.
Peter’s commission was principally to the Jews and Paul was instructed to minister primarily to the Gentiles. ‘But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter.’ (Galatians 2:7).
There is plenty of scriptural evidence that Peter was reluctant to go to the Gentile. Acts 10:28 ‘And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; But God hath shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.’
It wasn’t a natural thing for a Jew to alienate himself from another Jew and embrace a Gentile. Here we see how God overruled the prejudice of Peter on this occasion to further His purposes. It is interesting as we study the Acts period, that Paul although the minister to the Gentile always went to the synagogue first, whenever he entered a town of a city. See Acts 18:4 and 6, just to give an examples. It was during this period in Paul’s ministry, that the apostle was able to perform miracles. His learning and energy was there for all to see. Paul’s training was under one of the finest teachers (Gamaliel) in Israel at that time. Acts 9:1-3 tells us something of Paul’s energy and dedication to what he believed to be right.
Paul’s courage is displayed in Galatians 2:11-12, challenging Peter about his behaviour. There was no such reluctance from Paul in fulfilling his commission to go to the Gentiles.
Acts opens with the ministry of Peter to the Jews, beginning at Jerusalem, Acts 2:1-5, and ends with Paul preaching to the Jews in Rome, Acts 28:14-29. Rome was the centre of the world at that time.
The Jews were given many opportunities to come to Christ [Messiah], with the preaching of these two apostles. The dominance of both Peter and Paul during the period of the Acts, is pointed out by Dr. Bullinger in the Companion Bible. http://www.levendwater.org
[Zie ook: HET BOEK HANDELINGEN / Hoite Slagter / http://www.everread.nl
There were seven addresses or speeches given by each apostle in this great book of Acts. The remaining four were given by James, Stephen, Gamaliel and Tertullus. When we get to Acts 28:28 the whole picture changes, no doubt the ministry of Peter and others continued, but from this point (Acts 13), it mainly concentrates on Paul’s ministry.
After Acts 28 we find an absence of miracles. In the Acts, Paul was able to perform miracles, e.g. raising the dead. ‘And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.’ (Acts 20:7-10).
Many other miracles were performed through Paul, for example see Acts 19:11-12. After Acts 28:28 there is an absence of miracles by the apostle Paul, in fact we find the apostle unable to cure both Epaphroditus and Timothy. ‘Yet I suppose it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.’ (Philippians 2:25-27). ‘Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.’ (1 Tim. 5:23).
Much more could be written regarding these changes, but I trust enough has been written to make us look further into these important doctrines. One book to be recommended is ‘Dispensational Truth’ by C.H. Welch, this book can be obtained from the Chapel of the Opened Book, 52 A Wilson Street, London EC2A 2ER. Other publications on these vital doctrines can be obtained from the above address. http://www.bereanonline.org
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