Archives for January 2014

What God Begins, He Finishes!

GodCompletesCreation

Creation was complete—perfect even. But it was about to unravel. But then again, what was finished was really only beginning, and what God begins, He finishes.

Have I confused you? I almost confused myself.

Let me start over from the beginning. In Genesis, God created the world. On the seventh day He rested because His work of Creation was complete (Genesis 2:1-3), and He called it good.

God never looked at anything He made and said, “Oops.”

And yet, it was about to go very wrong at the foot of a tree. [Read more…]

Even Before you Called, I Answered

In the Beginning (Genesis 1:1 & John 1:1)

In the Beginning . . . (Genesis 1:1 & John 1:1)

God knows the end from the beginning,[1] and He supplies the need before we even know it exists. Before we were ever created, before we ever had a need, God filled our need. It’s right there in Genesis 1:1-5.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.’”
~ Genesis 1:1-5

~*~

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
~ John 1:1-5

Do you see it? Do you see the connections to Christ in the verses in Genesis with the verses in John? [Read more…]

The End From the Beginning

Click to read: The End From the Beginning ~ In the beginning God gives us the end . . . Redemption in Jesus Christ!

The End From the Beginning ~ In the beginning God gives us the end . . . Redemption in Jesus Christ!


How clever is our God?!

We don’t even get past the first few words of the first sentence before God gives us a clue to the end of the Bible.

Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning…” 

To recognize the clue, though, we have to jump forward to the first few words of the first sentence in the Gospel of John in the New Testament. 

In the beginning was the Word -- Jesus Christ (John 1:1)

In the beginning was the Word — Jesus Christ.

John 1:1—“In the beginning…”

The purpose of Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 is not only to record the history of the beginning, but also to point us to Christ.

“In the beginning,” God gives us the end. (Isaiah 46:9-11)

What is the end?

Redemption!

I believe it’s why God gave us the Bible. God wants us to know Him, but we can’t know Him until we’re restored to Him. We can’t be restored to Him apart from His Son, Jesus Christ. (John 14:6

Through Christ alone, all things are redeemed and restored to God. (Colossians 1:15-20)

Thus, everything starts and ends with Christ

Everything.

Not even our personal testimony starts with us!

My testimony isn’t, “When I was in junior high, this happened . . . and then I gave my life to Christ.”

Instead, my testimony is, “God began to work in my heart when I was in junior high when
. . . and then Christ saved me.”

In the first testimony, I’m the central figure.

In the second, Christ is.

I didn’t reach out to Christ. He reached out to me, and I responded.

I didn’t draw Christ to myself. He drew me to Himself, and I responded.

I didn’t save myself. Christ saved me.

Christ gives us life abundant. (John 10:10

So, why does it matter that we understand that the Bible starts with Christ?

The more we understand why something matters, the more the truth moves from our head to our heart.

The truth moves from knowledge to experience, and becomes a part of us.

There’s no better place for God’s truth to be than as a part of us. It’s the best part of us!

BrittanysLeftEye3If
we wake up in the morning
and put our eyes on Jesus before
we put our feet on the floor,
we’ll see life as it should be seen

“…so that He [Christ] Himself will come to have first place in everything. (Colossians 1:18)  

What we might be tempted to view as a hopeless situation, we’ll now see as part of God’s good plan in our lives. 

God’s plans always end with Him receiving glory, and that always blesses us.

What we might be tempted to view as a hopeless situation, we’ll now see as it really is — part of God’s good plan in our lives. God’s plans always end with Him receiving glory — and that blesses us.

We can’t see the end from the beginning, but because God does, we can live as though we do.

Click to read: The End From the Beginning ~ In the beginning God gives us the end . . . Redemption in Jesus Christ!

From beginning to end, it’s always been about Christ, and that’s why “In the beginning” God gives us the end — Redemption in Jesus Christ!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the First and the Last,
the Beginning 
and the End.”
Revelation 22:13


(Join the Journey of The Red Thread with me, starting with the first post in The Red Thread series: How is the Bible Like a Magic Eye?)

Sharing is caring! Please share this post with your favorite people. Thanks!

Prophecies, Types, & Symbols! Oh My!

The Bible overflows with prophecies, types, and symbols, which shed tremendous light into the mysteries of Scripture, but also, at times, leave us scratching our heads. Prophecy, in particular, seems to create bewilderment in a vast majority of us. I will not be unwinding the perplexity of prophecy today. My purpose for even addressing it is that prophecy–along with types and symbols–are sort of like game board pieces for our journey through The Red Thread of Jesus. 

Trivial-PursuitOne of my favorite games has been Trivial Pursuit. Everyone starts with an empty “pie,” but along the way, as you answer questions correctly, you pick up another piece for your pie. Eventually, when your pie is full, you race to the center of the board. (Of course the piece is just a likeness of a pie, not the real thing, but wouldn’t it be awesome if it was a real pie.)

Similarly, as we travel along through the Old Testament, we pick up likenesses of Christ. By the time we reach the center of the Bible, we’ll have a full enough picture of the coming Christ that He’s easily recognizable in the New Testament as the real Messiah.

Now to the task at hand:

Prophecies, Types, & Symbols! What are they?

(My purpose and hope for this study of The Red Thread of Jesus is not to give you a doctorate thesis-worthy explanation of prophecies, types and symbols, but rather that as we pick up these game pieces, you’ll discover just enough of the marvelous mystery of Christ in the Old Testament to awaken within you an eagerness—even a passion—for God and His Word.)

PROPHECYin its simplest form, is basically two things: forth-telling and fore-telling.

In the Bible, we see forth-telling when God gave specific individuals His Word to speak forth to certain people.

Usually it was a warning concerning their behavior, which typically came after they began worshipping idols. However, In the curious case of Baalam, who was hired by King Balak to curse Israel, God told Baalam to speak His Word of blessing–not warning–on Israel.

(There’s also a direct prophecy of Christ buried in there. It’s a fascinating story! Talking donkeys and all! You should read it: Numbers 22-24.)  

 

We see fore-telling when God gave specific individuals His Word to speak concerning coming events, whether they were imminent (Jonah—“in 40 days…”) or far into the future (Zechariah—”Behold, a day is coming for the Lord…”) 

There’s much more to prophecy than that, but for our purposes, what we need to understand is that:

A Type is also called a pattern in the New Testament. (Romans 5:14) When we see a type in the Old Testament, we’re seeing the “type” of work, character, event, etc. that is actually going to appear in the New Testament. It’s like a photograph of the real thing to come. The real thing is called the antitype.

It’s easier to understand if we see the word’s origin. The word type comes from the Greek noun τύπος (typos, pron. “teepos”), which means “a blow, hitting, stamp.” The word “anti” means “corresponding.” (Yes, we’re more familiar with its other meaning, which is “against,” but when used with the root word type, it takes on the meaning of corresponding.) Therefore, antitype means the object which corresponds to the stamp.

To put it into familiar terms, imagine that a type and its antitype is a cookie cutter and a cookie. The type is our cookie cutter, showing what type of cookie we’re going to have after we stamp it into the cookie dough. The antitype is the cookie. The cookie cutter stamps its image into the cookie dough giving us the real thing–the antitype–no longer just the image of what is to come. We now have the real thing. 

For you fellow sports fans, a mascot could be considered a sort of type—without the Biblical truth. (Although, some might say I’m religious about football, particularly college, Go Tigers!  Trust me, I’ve learned a lot of Biblical truths over the years from being a college football fan, but that’s another post for another day.) 

Carolina PanthersI’m also a Carolina Panthers fan, and our mascot is a panther—shocker, I know—representing the fierceness and speed of our team. This brings up an important point—a biblical type is not an exact replica. It usually has substantially more differences than similarities to its antitype. While some of the Carolina Panthers may have long hair, not one of them has a long tail, sharp claws, or runs on all fours. 

Noah’s ark is a Type of Christ because it shows the type of salvation work Christ (the antitype) would do. Noah’s ark offered salvation to Noah and his family from the flood. Jesus Christ offers salvation from sin.

Adam is a Type of Christ not because he’s Christlike, but because “through one man sin entered into the world” (Romans  5:12) and “by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:15) the penalty for sin was paid.  

“So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’
The last Adam [Christ] became a life-giving spirit.”
~ I Corinthians 15:45 [brackets mine]

A symbol is a person, place, thing, event, story, etc. that represents a character, quality, role, etc. Within this category, I place foreshadows, similes, metaphors, and parables.

In the Old Testament days, God commanded the Jews to follow certain laws and faithfully celebrate festivals of the Lord, many of which gave a picture of the gospel of Christ. However, in the New Testament we see that Christ fulfilled those pictures, and they no longer needed to look to the foreshadows, but rather to the realityChrist.

“Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.”
~ Colossians 2:16-17

TrivialPursuitGamePiecesWith our game board now set, we’re ready to step onto the board–Genesis 1:1, to be exact–and begin our journey through the Old Testament, picking up likenessesof Christ–or as I like to call them, Red Thread Clues–as we search for The Red Thread of Jesus. 

 Join the Journey!

If you liked this post, you may enjoy the others posts in The Red Thread of Jesus series. Click on the link, and then scroll to the bottom for the first post in the series.

The Red Thread ~ X-Ray Vision Not Needed! Four Rules for Interpreting the Bible

SupermanSuperman had x-ray vision to see into the heart of the matter, or more accurately, through a wall. Too cool.

We may not have been given x-ray vision to see what I like to call The Red Thread in the Old Testament, but we weren’t left without help.

(“The Red Thread” is what I call any clues we find in the Bible of Jesus Christ and/or His finished work on the cross to pay for the sin of the world and restore man back to God.) [Read more…]

Numbers, Colors & Materials in the Bible and Their Spiritual Meaning

To help in studying the Bible and seeing some of the hidden treasures, I’ve compiled a partial list of numbers, colors, and materials in the Bible and—to the best of my ability and understanding—their spiritual meaning.

The only way we can be certain to the spiritual meaning of any number, color, or material in the Bible is if the Bible specifically states it.

Thus, some of these are absolutely the spiritual meaning. Others are merely best guesses based on biblical resources I’ve found.

I’m going to go back through this list soon and site the resources, but until then (and even after then), please know that this is NOT to be considered infallible. This is only to get us thinking.

ONLY use the Bible as your source for 100% accuracy. 

NUMBERS IN THE BIBLE & THEIR SPIRITUAL MEANING:

Possible Spiritual Meaning of Numbers in the Bible

1 – Beginning, Unity, that which is sovereign

2 – Separation, Division, Difference, Witness, Incarnation
(2nd Adam)

3 – The Godhead, Divine perfection; Divine completeness

4 – Earth, creation, world, humanity

5 – Grace, cross, atonement, life

6 – Man apart from God & Christ

7 – Spiritual perfection, completeness

8 – New beginning, super abound, salvation, resurrection

9 – Finality or judgment, (end of man & sum of all man’s works)

10 – Perfection of Divine order; Law, government, restoration, rulership, authority

11 – incompleteness, disorganization, disintegration, imperfection

12 – Divine government, governmental perfection, (3×4)

13 – Rebellion, apostasy, defection, corruption, disintegration, revolution, satan

14 – Passover, Number of David (D=4, V=6 DVD=4+6+4=14)
(Matthew: Generations of 14) , Double measure of spiritual perfection, Deliverance, Salvation

15 – Acts wrought by the energy of Divine grace.

17 – Perfection of spiritual order

19 – Perfection of Divine order connected with judgment

20 – Expectancy

22 – Double 11 — something doubled can mean either “intensified” or “certain”;
Psalm 22 Christ, the suffering Servant

24 – Priestly courses, heavenly government & worship (2×12)

25 – Square of 5 – essence of grace

27 – Cube of 3 — essence of Divine perfection

29 – Expectation and judgment

30 – Consecration; maturity for ministry, the right moment

31 – Deity

40 – Trials, testing (4×10 and 5×8); Judah (Eze 4:6)

42 – Antichrist (Rev. 11:2, 13:5), (6×7)

50 – Pentecost, liberty, freedom, jubilee

51 – Divine revelation

70 – perfect spiritual order (7×10), Restoration

120 – Perfect dispensation of time

144 – God’s perfect government (12×12)

400 – Divinely perfect period

490 – 70 x 7 Perfect Spiritual Order x Spiritual Perfection

666 – Antichrist, Satan (Rev 13:17,18), perfection of imperfection; the culmination of human pride in independence of God and opposition to His Son Jesus Christ


COLORS IN THE BIBLE & THEIR SPIRITUAL MEANING:

Possible Spiritual Meaning of Colors and Materials in the Bible

Blue: Heaven, Holy Spirit, priesthood, authority

Black: Sin, death, famine

Crimson: Sin, suffering

Gold: Divinity, glory, kingship

Purple: Kingship, royalty

Red/Scarlet: Blood, life, sacrifice, suffering, sin

Silver: Truth, atonement, redemption

White: Purity, righteousness, joy, light

Order of Colors in the Tabernacle:

     Blue, Purple, Scarlet (always in this order)
     Blue & Scarlet are opposite each other

     Purple is the blending of red and blue

MATERIALS IN THE BIBLE & THEIR SPIRITUAL MEANING:

Acacia Wood: Incorruptible, sinless humanity of Christ, not subject to death

Almond: Christ’s Resurrection

Brass/Bronze/Copper: Judgment of sin; sin; disobedience

Fire: Holy Spirit, judgment

Goat’s hair: Atonement

Gold: Divine glory

Leaven: Sin, non-biblical teaching

Linen: Righteousness

Oil: Light, divine wisdom

Precious Stones: Christ’s priestly perfections

Silver: Redemption

Spices: Christ’s fragrance to God

“Tachash” skin: Protection, Drab outward appearance (Is 53:2-3) (Uncertainty of exact translation of this type of skin)

Water: Holy Spirit, Word of God, Truth

Wind: Holy Spirit

Wine: Blood covenant, joy