Monday, June 11, 2012

Christ our King in Leviticus 23

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

Yesterday we explored Leviticus 23 in search of specific ways in which Jesus Christ is pictured.  We noted that Leviticus 23:1-3 pictures Christ our Creator and Leviticus 23:4-22 pictures Christ our Redeemer.  Today we continue by focusing on the last three feasts or festivals of Leviticus 23:23-44, noting how they picture for us Christ our King.

1. Feast of Trumpets. Leviticus 23:23-25
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18Therefore comfort one another with these words. We also see these words in 1 Corinthians 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

2. Day of Atonement. Leviticus 23:26-32
As Christ returns the Bible promises that Israel will be saved. (Romans 11:26).  She will look upon the One who she pierced. (Zech 12:10) Since the promise for Israel's restoration still remains, we know that at His return, her destiny as God's light to the nations will culminate and begin at the same time!

3. Feast of Tabernacles. Leviticus 23:33-44
In passages such as Ezekiel 40-48; Isaiah 60-66 and Revelation 20 we see reference to a literal, visible Kingdom set up here on earth.  This particular feast was prescribed to Israel before she entered the promised land - thus its immediate fulfillment would be carried out once she conquered the land in the book of Joshua.

However the full realization of that will not occur until as a nation (not all individuals) is converted by grace at His return.  This feast is to remind Israel of all she went through and God's faithfulness in bringing to fruition her destiny as His people. 

We know that Christ's mentioning of the Kingdom first began as His domain in the heart of the saints, followed by His invisible rule over His church in this present age.  However there is a visible, earthly aspect that has yet to occur.  Once that has happened, Christ will then usher in the Eternal state as described in Revelation 21-22. 

How Christ is at the Center of Biblical Revelation as seen through Leviticus 23
Thus Christ as King is an already and at the same time "not yet" reality.  He is Creator, He is Redeemer and He is King.  The Bible's three chief themes are Creation (Genesis 1-2); Redemption (Genesis 3-Revelation 19/20); and Kingdom (Revelation 20/21-22). 

We also note that Christ occupies three offices in His current and perpetual ministry to believers: Prophet (revealing the Father, who in turn by the Spirit points to the Son with Him as Creator worthy of worship); Priest (our Redeemer) and King. 

Thirdly, each Testament in the Bible can be viewed in these three headings: Old Testament has Creation and the origin of Reality, Life, Humanity and Israel (Law); Redemption unfolded through History (Writings) and Kingdom unfolded through the activites of Kings and the writings of the Prophets. All these three sections have their own overlaps of the themes. 

The New Testament too reveals the advent of the promise of Eternal Life and the New Creation in Jesus Christ as acted out in the Gospels and preached in Acts; Redemption explained further in the Epistles and The Kingdom manifested in Revelation.  Again, the three themes are interwoven throughout the 27 New Testament Books, while seeing the distinctions can be helpful. 

Certainly these three themes overlap one another quite significantly, showing us that there is no division in neither Christ nor the revelation of Himself.