FROM THE PREACHER"S LENSES
|Friday, April 17, 2020|
Continued from Part 2
n the last two broadcasts, I have been talking about some dramas or scripts that were played hundreds of years before Jesus was born but which were pointers to His arrival on earth about how He would work out our salvation, so that we will not go to hell.
I spoke about the sacrifices, which the first set of children; Cain and Abel made to God. That of Abel, which he made with blood was acceptable to God while that of Cain, made with farm produce was not favoured.
I also spoke about the sacrifice made by Abraham also known as Ibrahim. Abraham spilled the blood of ram to appease God.
Next, I spoke about the escape of Israelites from Egypt who had been enslaved in the land for 430 years. God charged Moses to speak to Pharaoh to release the Israelites but the king, Pharaoh refused in spite several severe punishments, which Moses meted to the Egyptians.
God then decided that He was going to break the back of Pharaoh such that he would no longer have any option but to release the Israelites.
Each Israelite house was asked to kill a ram or a he- goat and smear the blood of the animal on the two door posts and lintels of their houses. The angel of the Lord came in the night and killed all the first born males of Egyptians and all the firstborn males of animals in any house that had no blood marking.
The event signified what Jesus was going to do when He comes to the earth. He would lay down His life and anyone who asks for the cleansing of his sins with His blood will escape hell because God has said "When I see the blood, I will pass over you" (Ex:12:13) because blood is the only antidote, remedy for atonement of sins (Lev. 17:11; Heb.9: 22).
This event in Egypt where the angel of the Lord killed all the firstborn males of humans but passed over the houses of Israel, which had blood marking, God asked the Israelites to make it an annual celebration from generations to generations and it was called "The feast of Passover"
Jesus laid down His life during one annual celebration of the feast of Passover. Jesus said as recorded in John 10:18 "18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again"
So He did not cancel the Passover event as such but His blood replaced the blood of several animals that were killed year in year out because it was not possible for the blood of goats and rams to forgive sins (Heb.10:4).
And that was why He said He has not come to abolish the laws of Moses and those of the Prophets but to fulfill them (Matt.5.17)
So in the same way, which the angel of the Lord did not kill anyone in the houses in Egypt that had blood marking, so also will the angel of the second death spare anyone who believes in the redemptive work of Jesus, perfected with His blood and not go to hell.
I also spoke about another annual feast in the Jewish calendar, called "The Day of Atonement" found in the book of Leviticus 16
For this procedure, two male goats were required for the sin offering and a ram for the burnt offering. The animals were usually one year old and with no defect.
The High Priest shall bring one of the live goats, lay both hands upon its head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people's sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. 22 As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people's sins upon itself into a desolate land.
That is why Jesus suffered and died outside the city where His blood washed our sin" (Heb. 13:11-12; Ex. 29:14).
This is why John the Baptist referred to Jesus as "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1: 29).
Note that all animals that were used for the various sacrifices must have no defect suggesting that in the real sacrifice, no other blood can be acceptable to God other than the blood of Jesus who was the only person that was sinless.
Today, I want to talk about two other incidents, which pointed to Christ which happened before He was born. These are (1) the story of Prophet Jonah who was swallowed by a big fish and remained in his belly for three days before the fish vomited him out to the beach (2) The bronze serpent, which Moses lifted on a pole in the wilderness during the travel of the children of Israel from Egypt to their home land.
Let us Pray.
Certain Foretastes, Shadows, Pointers that Revealed how God was to perfect the Salvation of Man with the Blood of Jesus (3).
We found a record of Prophet Jonah in the book of II Kings 14:25 during the reign of Jeroboam II who ruled the Northern Kingdom, Israel, between 786-746 BC before the Assyrians under King Shalmaneser conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC.
God sent Prophet Jonah to Nineveh to go and pronounce a judgement of destruction to them except they repent of their sins.
Nineveh was an old historical big city. History has it as the most populous city of the then world. It was the capital of the ancient country called Assyria now known as Iran.
Evidences abound today that confirm that a city called Nineveh once existed. The site of the then Nineveh is not too far from Mosul, a city in today's Iraq.
Biblical and historical accounts agree in their reports that Nineveh was an exceedingly great commercial city. The Bible in the book of Jonah wrote that it took three days to walk the breadth of Nineveh.
However and unfortunately, as big as the city of Nineveh was, so also is the enormity of the wickedness of the people. They had no fear nor regard for the laws of God. The rulers oppressed their subjects. The subjects themselves were unkind to one another and cheated one another. Human life was not sacred to anyone, just as we have it in Nigeria today.
So, God decided He could no longer tolerate their wicked practices and He resolved to wipe them off.
Like a last chance, Prophet Jonah was sent by God to go and announce to Nineveh that destruction awaited them barely in 40 days.
For political reasons, Jonah was happy with the decision of God to destroy Nineveh because Jonah's country and Nineveh were enemies. So Jonah refused to go so that they will not repent and escape God's judgement.
So Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the LORD by sailing to Tarshish.
4 But the LORD hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart.
5 Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship.
But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the lower deck.
6 So the captain went down after him. "How can you sleep at a time like this?" he shouted. "Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives."
7 Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit.
8 "Why has this awful storm come down on us?" they demanded. "Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?"
9 Jonah answered, "I am a Hebrew, and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land."
10 The sailors were terrified when they heard this, for he had already told them he was running away from the LORD. "Oh, why did you do it?" they groaned.
11 And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, "What should we do to you to stop this storm?"
12 "Throw me into the sea," Jonah said, "and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault."
14 Then they cried out to the LORD, Jonah's God. "O LORD," they pleaded, "Don't make us die for this man's sin. And don't hold us responsible for his death. O LORD, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons."
15 Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once!
16 The sailors were awestruck by the LORD's great power, and they offered Him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.
17 [a]Now the LORD had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.
[a]Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from inside the fish. His prayer is recorded in the book that bears his name in chapter 2and10 the LORD ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach
How does this incident point to Jesus?
For this we turn to the book of Matthew 12.
Verse 38-40 reads:
38 One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, "Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority."
39 But Jesus replied, "Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.
40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
And that was exactly, what happened to Jesus, He was crucified, died and was in the belly of the earth for 3days and 3 nights, then He rose.
The other incident that pointed to Christ, which happened long before He came to the earth and which dramatized how He would save us is found in the book of Numbers 21.
The children of Israel were still on their journey from Egypt to their promised land and the journey was taking too long in their estimation.
So they started to grumble against God and Moses.
5 "Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?" they complained. "There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!"
6 So the LORD sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died.
7 Then the people came to Moses and cried out, "We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take away the snakes."
So Moses prayed for the people.
8 Then the LORD told him, "Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!"
9 So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!
Again, How does this incident point to Christ?
For this, we turn to St. John 3
Nicodemus, a respected Jewish leader visited Jesus to ask about the way of salvation.
Jesus told Nicodemus among other things:
"no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life"
Jesus was referring to the cruel death He was going to go through on the cross in a very near future such that anyone who believes in Him and His redemption plan with His blood, will be saved from hell just like those bitten by the poisonous serpent in the desert who looked at the bronze serpent, which Moses raised on the pole and got healed.
The Pole, which Moses erected in the desert, was the symbol of the Cross on which Jesus was crucified and the bronze serpent, which anybody lifted his eyes to look upon when bitten by the poisonous snake and lived represented Jesus.
With all these dramas that occurred thousands of years, which gave foretastes, shadows, pointing to Jesus and His redemption plan, it will be unfortunate for anyone who hears me or read this sermon to ignore them and do not accept Jesus and go to hell.
I can hear you say that "But all the pointers happened to the Israelites, so Jesus's plan of salvation must be for the Jews alone"
Hear what Jesus said with His own mouth as recorded in the book of St John 10 vs 14.
14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold, I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd"
My friend, we; all none Israelites are the other sheep, which Jesus talked about. So, though you are not a Jew, you are included in His plan of salvation.
All you need to do to have the salvation is to confess Him with your mouth with thanks that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead and you will be saved and escape the danger of hell (Romans 10:9).
Let me tell you one more thing. Though His earthly father was a Jew, Jesus had the blood of all races in the then world, flows in His vein, just like many of us. For example, I am Yoruba but along the line flows in my veins Nupe's blood. Jesus intentionally made sure that He had all the blood of all races of the then world in Him so that no one will have excuse that Jesus is only for the Jews.
Let us pray.