Series: The Finished Works; The Church in the Wilderness
Sun am 28 May 2017 – Kobus Swart
(Ex. 2 & 3); Ex. 4:22; Ex. 12:1-13; Jude 5; (Josh. 14:12); Col. 1:13-20; John 19:28-30; (Rev. 13:8); John 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; Isa. 61:1-3; Luke 4:18-21; Eph. 2:13-17 (Msg); 1 Pet. 4:17; Jer. 50:28; Jer. 51:20; Rev. 2:26-28; Rev. 11:1-6
The best way to read the Old Testament is to do so through the eyes of the New Testament. Then you will go beyond the story; you will go deeper and catch the principles. The New Testament is hidden in the Old Testament and the Old Testament is explained in the New Testament.
There are principles in the exodus from Egypt that we have to look at afresh. In that story is the “exodus” that the Church is involved in at the moment. The Pharaoh of Egypt is a type of satan, the ruler of this world. The people of God became slaves in the land of Egypt for more than 400 years. I am always fascinated by the way God prepared the man to lead the exodus. Do not miss the ways that God is shaping you for your assignment in life. God uses strange ways. Moses, whose name means ‘drawn out of the water’, was taken into Pharaoh’s palace. Initially, he was trained in the palace of Pharaoh. Then the burning bush experience while in Midian happened to him, and God gave him his assignment (Ex. 2 & 3). God instructed Moses, Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn..”’ (Ex. 4:22). Then followed the ten plagues, one after the other to convince Pharaoh to let God’s people go, but He did not let them go.
The tenth plague contains deep lessons for where we are today in our spiritual journey. Each household of the Israelites had to kill a lamb and put the blood on the doorposts and lintels of every house. They then had to eat in haste. God visited every house in Egypt and killed the firstborn of every family in Egypt. Where God saw the blood on the doorposts He passed over and Israel’s households were saved (Ex. 12:1-13). Before Israel left, after partaking of the Passover lamb, He told them to plunder the Egyptians. They received gold and silver and clothes before they left the land of Egypt.
When we partake of the Passover Lamb, in Him we are given the right to become sons of God, to whom belongs the world and all it contains. All of the world’s riches are as nothing compared to the spiritual riches that are in Christ. Today in the Church world, there are teachings about material riches. God inspired and anointed men over the last generation to bring teachings about prosperity. However, in many cases, people have left their “Egypt”, but Egypt has never left them. When we walk in the light, we will allow truth to remain at the point of Divine tension between two extremes, in this case, poverty and extreme wealth. Somewhere in the middle, we have to stay in the Divine tension.
What was the purpose of Israel leaving Egypt with all that wealth? What does one do with gold and silver in the dessert? To build the Tabernacle of Moses, so that God might dwell among them! Then the wilderness journey started. It took them forty years to cover a distance of just 612 kilometres. Some say it should have taken only eleven days, but there were 1,5 million people walking together. If they had followed the instructions they could have done it in say, a few months. Because of the hardness of their heart and them not letting go of the land of oppression, they circled around, complaining to Moses because they missed the flesh pots of Egypt. Forty years in the wilderness instead of a few weeks! There were forty-one encampments in the wilderness where each camp was a reflection of their moods, where they stopped, looking back, murmured and complained. Just before they crossed over into the land of promise they had to circumcise a generation that had not been circumcised before. A whole generation had died in the wilderness (“…the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe” Jude 5). Nevertheless, two fathers made it; Joshua and Caleb. Caleb, at the age of 85 said, “Give me the mountain Horeb (where the sons of Anak lived!), my sons and I will take the mountain” (Josh. 14:12). That was the inner spiritual stature of men like Joshua and Caleb.
In a similar way today, as generations come and go, God always saves mature fathers that can take the young generation through to the next level. If a father had experiences in his walk with God, a son can learn from his father, and he does not have to repeat the mistakes of his father; he could instantly walk into something new. God saved Joshua and Caleb in order to take the new generation further, but they had to be circumcised first. Circumcision for us means to be circumcised in mind and ears, circumcised in heart, to be ready to receive fresh truth to take the ‘land of milk and honey’ (the kingdom).
Let us look at the ‘New Exodus” in Jesus Christ. When Jesus was baptised in the Jordan, it is the equivalent of going through the Red Sea. Then He is led by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days, just as the Israelites were led by the pillar of cloud into the wilderness for forty years. Jesus undergoes temptations relating to those confronted by Israel in the dessert, to which He replies to the devil quoting Moses’ rebuke of Israel. Jesus went through a similar experience. In the Old Testament Moses climbed the mountain and came back with the Ten Commandments. Jesus, after He called His disciples, climbed the mount and gave the constitution of the kingdom, called “the Sermon on the Mount”, which was to be written on the minds and on the hearts of His followers. Finally, on the cross where the New Covenant was inaugurated, and this deeper obedience made possible, Jesus becomes the Passover Lamb, sacrificed for the sin of the world.
Do you see the type and shadow of the Old Testament acted out by Jesus in the New? Israel was brought out from under the rule of satan, the god of this world. For us today, …He rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col. 1:13). There is our exodus in one sentence! In Christ provision has been made for us to come out from under the rule of satan. Remember the last words of Jesus before He was crucified, After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfil the Scripture, …. He said, “It is finished!” (John 19:28-30). What does that mean? Where is the Church? Where is humanity after the words of Jesus, “It is finished”? This Jesus, we know was the first-born Son of God. Israel – called the ‘firstborn son’, was only a type of Jesus who was the first-born Son. John the Baptist saw it by revelation. He saw Jesus coming to him as he was baptising, Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29). Not sins, but sin, the nature, the root, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
What was this crucifixion, this death and resurrection of Jesus all about? What is this new exodus all about? And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven (Col. 1:20). This is confirmed in 2 Cor. 5:18-19. He gave us the ministry of reconciliation, not the ministry of condemnation. How do people respond to the gospel? Where is the Church today in terms of what we just read? What is the gospel that prevails in church pulpits? Would you say that His blood was put on the doorposts of the universe? He came to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven. Was the blood put on the doorposts of all of creation (See Rom 8:19)? If we can answer this question we will get an idea why this exodus is taking so long to come to its final destination. It seems to me that the Church is still stuck in its wilderness wanderings …. For how long will this continue? How many are in the land of promise who have not yet taken possession and they still feel like aliens?
Listen to the words of Jesus:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified (Isa. 61:1-3). This Messianic prophecy was quoted by Jesus in Luke 4:18-21 but He stopped in the middle of this prophetic Scripture; He did not complete it. He proclaimed the favourable year of the Lord and stopped. He said Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing (vs. 21). The next verse (in Isaiah) said, And the day of vengeance of our God (Isa. 61:2b). Why did He stop there? Because it was not the time for judgement yet.
We have heard that it is all finished, so why is it not coming together? Jesus was buried in the tomb owned by Joseph. After 3 days the stone was rolled away but Jesus was not there. They found the head cloth neatly folded and put aside, but the rest of the body’s wrappings were scattered all over the floor. What is the prophetic message in that? Jesus was saying, “My job as the Head is finished. Your job as the body is still not complete.” The Body of Christ still has to come together and flesh out what Jesus died for. He is the once-for-all sacrifice, He is not going to come back and die again. All that was lost in the Garden of Eden is being redeemed by this first-born Son of God.
Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything (inclusive). The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.
Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father (Eph. 2:13-17-Msg). The firstborn Son had something bigger in mind than what we have heard over the years. The Church should be this new humanity on display. We should live out this new humanity, of which Jesus is the Head.
The day of vengeance, the time of judgement must wait until the Body of Christ has come into full stature and is ready to come forth in mighty power. That is why judgement must begin in the household of God (1 Peter 4:17). Judgement will begin, and is busy happening in the household of God. There is a sound of fugitives and refugees from the land of Babylon, To declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, Vengeance for His temple (Jer. 50:28). Of the overcomer He says, “You are My war-club, My weapon of war; And with you, I shatter nations, And with you, I destroy kingdoms (Jer. 51:20). God is looking for a people in the day of vengeance. He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall [b]rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star (Rev. 2:26-28). Remember Moses and Elijah appearing on the mountain of transfiguration with Jesus? What prophetic significance does that have? Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “…And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky (Elijah), so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague (Moses), as often as they desire (Rev.11:1-6). The two witnesses in one, we are waiting to see those days play out in the earth. Jesus declared the favourable year of the Lord and stopped from saying “the day of vengeance” because it is still ahead. But judgement has started in the household of God to purify an overcomer company that God will use to speak into fulfilment and flesh out the prophecy of Isa. 61.