Friday, February 22, 2013
Hebrews 1:1-2 "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world."
The width of God's Word is only exceeded by its depth
As we consider this opening verse of today's blog, we can note how much time and history is covered in a span of two verses, as well as the central Person. In Hebrews 1:1 we see mention being made of God revealing His word to His people in the Old Testament. From Adam back in Genesis to Malachi, the final Old Testament Book, represents well over 3000 years of time. The text tells us in the Greek that God spoke in a "multitude of parts and a multitude of places, by way of the prophets". Through the types or shadows of institutions (such as the tabernacle), people (such as David), events (such as the Passover and the Exodus) God spoke, pointing the way to what would be the accomplished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Hebrews 1:2 we see reference to God the Son speaking through the New Testament scriptures. Christ of course is the central Person, introduced to us in the Gospels. There we see the accomplished work of which the Old Testament predicted. However following the Gospels portrayal of the accomplished work of Christ, we see need for and explanation of Christ's active work. When Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven, His active work of functioning as the believer's Prophet, Priest and King was well underway.
With this wide sweep of the drama of scripture, covering millennia of time and over 2,000 named individuals, we see it all exceeded only by the depth of the Person and work of Jesus Christ. His Person and work began before time began and His Active work will continue on well after the last period of the last sentence of the book of Revelation is completed.
Christ's Accomplished Work Pictured, Predicted, Portrayed & Explained
Christ's Accomplished work Pictured in the Passover lamb
As the writer in Hebrews 1:1 notes, God spoke in various times and portions to His people prior to Christ's first coming. One of the greatest illustrations used in the Old Testament to picture and predict the accomplished work of Jesus Christ is that figure of the Lamb of God. In Exodus 12 and 13 we see God prescribing the blood of the lamb to His people in order to exempt them from the wrath of the death angel on the first born in Egypt. The blood of that lamb was to be smeared on the doorposts and the gates of every Israelite living in Goshen beside Egypt. This prescribed festival was called the "Passover", commemorating how God made provision for His people so that the Angel of death could "passover" the people. Every year the Passover was to be celebrated by the Jewish people to remind them of who they were and whose they were. They were redeemed by God, Jehovah, from the clutches of Pharoah and the slavery of Egypt.
Christ Predicted as God's lamb
From the picture of Passover we see God centering the focus on the lamb. Passages such as Deuteronomy 16:1-2 reitterates this: “Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night. 2“You shall sacrifice the Passover to the LORD your God from the flock and the herd, in the place where the LORD chooses to establish His name." The picture of Christ's Accomplished work, the lamb, is central to the predictions of His work. Isaiah 53:7 "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth."
Christ portrayed as the lamb of God
As the Old Testament gives away to the New, we see the final prophet of the Old Testament era, John the Baptist, proclaim in John 1:29 "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." Of Whom did He speak? John spoke of Jesus. Jesus had come to him to be baptized. As the Lamb of God Jesus Christ was spotless, without sin and lived perfectly before His heavenly father. As He neared the day of His crucifixion, Jesus gathered together for His final meal with His disciples. That meal of course that Jesus was celebrating with His disciples was the Passover. Mark 14:12 states plainly - "On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?” This Jesus came to be the lamb of God.
Christ Explained as the Lamb of God in His Accomplished work
So how do we know that Jesus Christ, in His work on the cross, accomplished it as the Lamb of God? How do we know that Old Testament images such as "The Lamb" or "The Passover Lamb" were pictures and predictions of Christ's Accomplished work as our Passover Lamb? Consider Phillip's conversation with the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:32-35 "Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: 'HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH. 33“IN HUMILIATION HIS JUDGMENT WAS TAKEN AWAY; WHO WILL RELATE HIS GENERATION? FOR HIS LIFE IS REMOVED FROM THE EARTH.” 34 The eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.
The amazing thing about our New Testament is that it takes 21 Bible books (Acts to Jude) to explain all that Jesus accomplished in a span of six hours on the cross. Central to this explanation of what He acheived is this figure of "The Lamb". 1 Corinthians 5:7 - "Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed." Also take note of 1 Peter 1:18-19 "knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ." Or consider the vision of the Apostle John in Revelation 5:12 - "saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
So what has Christ Accomplished in His work as the Lamb of God?
In considering all of these passages, let me draw today's blog to a close with two thoughts about what Christ accomplished as the Lamb of God. First, Christ has saved us from the wrath of God. Just as the Passover Lamb was the Divine provision for the Israelites to protect them from God's wrath on the first born of Egypt, so see Jesus Christ saving us from the wrath of God. Romans 5:9 "Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. " Second, Christ as the Lamb of God saved us from our sins, as we already witnessed in 1 Peter 1:18-19.