Copyright 1994 - 2023 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
July 7, 1997
Last Updated :
March 21, 2018
Times Of Tests And Afflictions Often Precede God's Blessings, By The Obedience Of One We Are Blessed, In The Ages To Come, God Discards The Old And Keeps The New, Evolving Towards Ever Greater Spiritual Truths, But I Say Unto You, No Longer Under A Schoolmaster, A Constant Pattern Of The New Replacing The Old, We Are God's Spiritual Temple, We Are New Creatures In Jesus Christ, Our Resurrected And Transformed Bodies, New Heavens And New Earth, Heavenly City New Jerusalem Descends, God's Long-Term Invariable Cycle Of Replacing The Old With The New, New Covenant Replaces God's Old Covenant, Abel's Righteous Sacrifice, Jesus' Sacrifice Was Better Than That Of Abel, Jesus' Blood: Basis Of The New Covenant, I Am Well Pleased, Abraham's Archetypical Sacrifice Of His Only Son
Upon pondering the various Scriptural examples and archetypes which I shared with you in previous paragraphs, I realized that each beginning and each blessing was preceded by a time of tests and afflictions. This can easily be demonstrated by the following table:
The Genesis Flood
- Beginning of a new life and a new world
Red Sea Crossing
- Free from slavery, beginning of new life
- Beginning of conquest of Promised Land
Jonah and whale
- Beginning of his Nineveh ministry
- Beginning of His public ministry
In every single case, the participants who were involved in these various events had to demonstrate faith and obedience in order to fulfill their particular mission, and to receive God's blessings, which were ultimately received by us today as well.
Noah and his family had to have the faith to believe that the rains would come, and obey God by building the Ark; even while the unbelieving world around them foolishly mocked their endeavors. Following those cataclysmic events which all but ended life on Earth, Noah and his family walked out into a brand new world. We are here today because of them.
After enduring four hundred years of cruel slavery in Egypt, Moses and the Israelites had to have the faith to cross the Red Sea, even though logically-speaking, it must have seemed like a crazy -- and perhaps even suicidal -- thing to do. If you had been in their position, would you have had the faith to do so? As a result of their obedience, they escaped from the armies of Pharaoh, while the Egyptians were all drowned.
For forty years the Israelites wandered in the desert due to their lack of faith. It must have been heartbreaking to watch their loved ones fall one-by-one as the years slowly passed. However, the time of their afflictions eventually came to an end. Then, Joshua and the Hebrews had to have the faith to cross the Jordan River -- which miraculously stood up on one side for them while the priests stood in the dry riverbed -- and to believe that God would give them the Promised Land, due to their obedience.
As we saw earlier, the Prophet Jonah wasn't exactly a willing servant of the Lord. He needed to be more strongly convinced. As a result, Jonah ended up in the belly of a whale. Imagine being trapped in such a terrible, dark, foul-smelling place with seaweed wrapped around your head; and for three days no less. However, due to his eventual faith and obedience, the people of Nineveh were spared from the wrath of God.
Jesus' baptism by John also represented a break with the old, and the beginning of His public ministry. However, before that could occur, the Lord had to pass the test by wandering in the wilderness for forty days, where He suffered hunger, thirst, taunts from Satan, and other temptations. Jesus was no doubt at His physically weakest point, and the Devil took full advantage of that fact. Thus, he repeatedly tried to make the Lord doubt His Divinity with his famous "If thou be the Son of God" dares. Consider these verses:
"And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread . . . And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone."
Matthew 4:3, 6, KJV
Thankfully, Jesus never doubted who He was, and is. Because of His faith and obedience to His Father's will, billions of people have been blessed with Redemption and Salvation since that time two thousand years ago. As the Apostle Paul writes:
"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."
Romans 5:19, KJV
"That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
Ephesians 2:7, KJV
My friends, we are living "in the ages to come". We have all been blessed with God's Grace and Kindness through Christ.
Throughout the Bible, we see an amazing pattern weaving its majestic way through the Scriptures; one story after another, and one event after another, as it slowly leads us to the full revelation of the truth. God continually introduces us to something new in order to lead His children along the way, ever closer towards faith in Jesus Christ, and towards the reality of the Spirit. Then, when something has served its purpose -- such as a particular sacrifice, ceremony, ritual, tradition or law -- He discards it in order to introduce an even greater, more eternal truth. As I explain in some of my other articles, Jesus constantly used this method in the four Gospels. He would say "Moses wrote this, but I say this." In fact, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus uses the phrase "But I say unto you" twelve times. Of course, this direct approach infuriated the Lord's legalistic enemies.
Each of these different physical representations that we find in the Old Testament -- which were still in effect during the early First Century -- was like a school lesson which was eventually replaced by a spiritual reality. As I said, they were meant to teach the Israelites about God's Kingdom, and, of course, about the Sacrifice which Christ would ultimately make for them -- and for us -- during the First Century. Thus, as we saw earlier, the Apostle Paul wrote "after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." Of course, Paul is referring to faith in Jesus Christ, and not in the Law, or in the doctrines and cold, dead traditions of men.
The truth is that the entire Bible is divided into this very same repetitive process of the new replacing the old. As I point out in a number of articles, the Old Testament -- or Old Covenant/Agreement -- was replaced by the New Testament; that is, a New Covenant or Agreement. The blood of lambs and goats was replaced by the Blood of Jesus Christ. The high priest of the Temple period was also replaced by Christ, who is the final High Priest and Intercessor for us. Furthermore, the old physical Temple was transformed into a living thing which is made up of you and me. We are its living rocks and pillars, as is made abundantly clear in so many verses, such as the following ones:
"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ . . . Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
1 Corinthians 3:11, 16-17, KJV
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, KJV
"And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
2 Corinthians 6:16-18, KJV
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
Ephesians 2:19-22, KJV
"And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end."
Hebrews 3:5-6, KJV
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:"
1 Peter 2:5-9, KJV
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."
Revelation 3:12, KJV
"And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it."
Revelation 21:22, KJV
Furthermore, even in our own lives as born-again Christians, we see this very same pattern of the new replacing the old. We are born in the flesh, and are reborn as new creatures in the Spirit. We strive to die daily to our flesh, in order to live in the Spirit. We fight against the old man, so that the new man in us may thrive. The Apostle Paul had much to write regarding this subject. Consider the following verses:
"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
Romans 6:6, KJV
"That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;"
Ephesians 4:22, KJV
"Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;"
Colossians 3:9, KJV
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV
"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
Ephesians 4:24, KJV
"And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:"
Colossians 3:10, KJV
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:2, KJV
As many of you already know, ultimately, one of these days we will actually die in our physical flesh, so that we can be resurrected and transformed, just as Jesus was three days after lying in a borrowed sepulchre. Allow me to share with you some of my favorite Scriptures regarding this particular topic:
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"
Romans 6:4-5, KJV
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Romans 8:29, KJV
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle [our physical body] were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life."
2 Corinthians 5:1-4, KJV
"Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."
Philippians 3:21, KJV
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
1 John 3:2, KJV
"There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
1 Corinthians 15:40-52, KJV
If that isn't already enough, God's Word informs us that the heavens and the Earth pass away, so that the new heavens and new Earth may appear. As a result, the old city of Jerusalem is no more, and the majestic New Jerusalem -- the City of God -- descends to the new Earth. Here again are some inspiring verses for your personal consideration:
"For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind."
Isaiah 65:17, KJV
"For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain."
Isaiah 66:22, KJV
"Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
2 Peter 3:13, KJV
"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them."
Revelation 20:11, KJV
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful . . . And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done . . . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."
Revelation 21:1-5, 9-27, 22:1-6, 13-14, KJV
Continuing our discussion, I have now spent a considerable amount of space explaining how over a period of thousands of years, God has set in motion a long-term cycle, or pattern, in which the new invariably replaces the old. As we each recognize this pattern, and the archetypes and foreshadows which He has incorporated in it, God has drawn us closer to a clearer understanding of the true nature of His Kingdom, and His plans for humanity, the central figure of which is Jesus Christ.
As my regular readers will probably already realize, I have shared all of the previous information with you for a very specific reason. In helping you to recognize this amazing recurring pattern which we find in the Scriptures, it is my hope that you will likewise come to understand why certain things were no longer necessary, and in fact became outdated and obsolete, once Jesus had died on the Cross, and sealed the New Covenant with His own Blood. In writing about this new and better Covenant between God and man, and how it has replaced the Old Covenant, the Apostle Paul offers these comments:
"In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."
Hebrews 8:13, KJV
"And for this cause he [Jesus] is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."
Hebrews 9:15, KJV
"By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh."
Hebrews 11:4, KJV
"And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."
Hebrews 12:24, KJV
We find additional mention of this New Testament, or New Covenant, which God established between Himself and man through the Sacrifice of His own dear Son in verses such as the following ones:
"For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Matthew 26:28, KJV
"And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many."
Mark 14:24, KJV
"Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
Luke 22:20, KJV
"After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me."
1 Corinthians 11:25, KJV
"Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."
2 Corinthians 3:6, KJV
For those of you who may not fully understand the previous verses where Abel's sacrifice is mentioned, Paul is saying that while Abel's sacrifice of sheep did in fact please the Lord, Jesus' willingness to become the human sacrificial Lamb of God made His Sacrifice even better, and more pleasing to His Father. In fact, as we have already discussed, Jesus' Sacrifice became the final Sacrifice for sin; and it is upon His Sacrifice that the New Covenant is based. To fill in one of the gaps, the following verses discuss Abel's righteous animal sacrifice in the Book of Genesis:
"And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:"
Genesis 4:1-4, KJV
Regarding how God the Father was well-pleased with Jesus, following are some additional verses which we find in the New Testament:
"And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Matthew 3:17, KJV
"Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles."
Matthew 12:18, KJV
"While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him."
Matthew 17:5, KJV
"And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Mark 1:11, KJV
"And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."
Luke 3:22, KJV
"For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
2 Peter 1:17, KJV
With the previous verses regarding Abel's animal sacrifice and Jesus offering up Himself on the Cross as the Lamb of God, we witness yet another example of how an Old Testament event was actually a physical archetype and foreshadow of a much greater spiritual truth and prophetic event which would occur during the first half of the First Century AD.
Of course, if we want to take this parallel all the way to its conclusion, then it is only fitting that I should also mention how the Patriarch Abraham was likewise willing to offer up his only begotten son -- that is, Isaac -- in order to please the Lord. To my knowledge, this event is in fact the closest parallel that we find between the Old and the New Testaments, insofar as Christ's Sacrifice is concerned. Following is a group of verses which connects the dots for you:
"And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of . . . And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me."
Genesis 22:1-2, 12, KJV
"By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure."
Hebrews 11:17-19, KJV
"Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?"
James 2:21, KJV
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16, KJV
"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him."
1 John 4:9, KJV
Please go to part three for the continuation of this series.
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