Sunday, June 10, 2012

Picturing Christ the Creator and Redeemer

Leviticus 23:44 So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the LORD.

God is a God of perfect timing.  In no less than five places we see mentioned here in Leviticus 23 - "the appointed times of the Lord".  Why is God so concerned about time? For what end did He prescribes these festivals here in Leviticus? Certainly they aided the Jewish people in not forgetting the One who had redeemed them.  Some five times does He address them as "sons of Israel" in this chapter. 

However the grander purpose in all this was to prepare the people for the "appointed time" in which the "Appointed Person of all time", Jesus Christ, would come on the scene.  As we consider these seven festivals in Leviticus 23, I want to give you three headings by which you can see more clearly the Person and work of Jesus Christ: Our Creator; Our Redeemer and Our King.

1. Christ our Creator. Leviticus 23:1-3 
In Leviticus 23:1-3 we are hearkened back to Genesis 1-2 when God created the Heavens and the earth.  I find it interesting that in Genesis 1:14 we see this phrase "appointed times and seasons" being used to describe the purpose of God placing the stars, moon and sun in the heavens.  The whole universe would be required to communicate the immensity of God's glory to puny tiny man. 

Was Christ present at creation? Consider these New Testament Texts:
a. John 1:1-3 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

b. 1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

c. Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.

2. Christ our Redeemer Leviticus 23:4-22
a. Feast of Passover - Christ was crucified on the day the passover lamb was sacrficed. (Mark 14:12; John 19:14)  He also functioned as the passover sacrifice for us. (1 Corinthians 5:7)

b. Feast of Unleavened Bread - Living for Jesus is like celebrating the unleavened feast. (1 Corinthians 5:8).  Christ of course was the spotless sacrifice without sin. (1 Peter 1:17-18)  Leaven often, but not always, pictures sin in the Bible. (Again compare 1 Cor 5:8)

c. Feast of First Fruits - First fruits were the first stalks of grain taken from the Barley fields of Israel and brought to the temple.  They were a foretaste of things to come.  Christ raised from the dead is the firstfruits of the resurrection that He will bring about of all the saints at the end of the age. (1 Corinthians 15:23)

d. Pentecost - This was the ingathering of the the remainder of the Barley Harvest that occured 50 days after the festival of firstfruits.  When Jesus told His disciples to wait in the upper room in Acts 1 after His ascension, He had already been raised from the dead 40 days.  According to Acts 1 into 2, they waited an additional 10 days.  In Acts 2, God the Father sends the Holy Spirit in Christ's name, verifying that Christ is ascended and enthroned over His church.  That event occured 50 days after Christ's resurrection.

Tomorrow we will continue this study by noting how Leviticus 23 pictures Christ our King.

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