Who are we?

The center of the Traditional Anglican Communion; adhering to the Holy Bible (KJV) in all matters of Faith and Doctrine, a strict reliance on the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, The two Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, the Two Creeds, and the Homilies and formularies of the Reformation Church of England.

Verse of the Day

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Craggy Rock – 14 November 2018

OREOVER, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ(1 Cor 10:1-4)

             Great rocks have always represented strength and security. Guarding the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea stands a great Rock whose prominence dominates the landscapes for sea vessels approaching her domain. This great Rock, from antiquity past, has been known as the Rock of Gibraltar. The strait over which it stands guard is named after it, as if it were the offspring of that great Rock.

            There are great cathedrals whose primary construction is granite stone. Such cathedrals dominate the landscape of England and Continental Europe. They have stood, unmoved, for centuries. There are other strong buildings composed of stone which have similar characteristics, but opposite purposes - the prison, and the fortress. The prison walls are made strong to keep her inhabitants from escaping; but the fortress is made strong to prevent the enemy from entering. There is a metaphoric comparison to be made to the soul of man – the lost soul being imprisoned by sin and lust, while the saint of God is securely held in the Great Fortress which is God – secure from all enemy approaches. The great Martin Luther, in his hymn, praised that Mighty Fortress his lines:

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
does seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.
            There are shades and shadows of our Lord Jesus Christ throughout the Old and New Testament. There are a number which reveal His Person, metaphorically, as a Rock. Our leading text above does so directly. It doesn’t mean that our Lord is a physical rock because that would be too small and weak; but He is compared to a great Rock of salvation and security to His people.

            He is represented at the Mountain of God (Horeb) which stands just before Sinai. It was at Mount Horeb where the Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in the Burning Bush: 2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God(Ex 3:2-6)

Mount Horeb can be considered the Mountain of Mercy since God allowed gushing waters to stream out from the stricken Rock there to quench the thirst of a murmuring band of Israelites1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD? 3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? 4 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. 5 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not(Ex 17:1-7)

            Of course, it might be deduced from this passage that we always find Living Waters when we depart from the Wilderness of Sin and seek the Mountain of Mercy.

            Here is a quote taken from the great Matthew Henry’s Commentary: To dissuade the Corinthians from communion with idolaters, and security in any sinful course, the apostle sets before them the example of the Jewish nation of old. They were, by a miracle, led through the Red Sea, where the pursuing Egyptians were drowned. It was to them a typical baptism. The manna on which they fed was a type of Christ crucified, the Bread which came down from heaven, which whoso eateth shall live for ever. Christ is the Rock on which the Christian church is built; and of the streams that issue therefrom, all believers drink, and are refreshed. It typified the sacred influences of the Holy Spirit, as given to believers through Christ. But let none presume upon their great privileges, or profession of the truth; these will not secure heavenly happiness

            If a child bears the inherited features of the parents, should not the Christian bear the features of his father and His God? When proclaiming Simon to be Peter (Petros) our Lord was naming him as a follower which would bear the identifying features of a descendent of His own Father since our Lord and God the Father are One. By the same token, if we are One with the Son, we must, by virtue of that relationship, be One with the Father and bear His likeness and image. Peter (Petros) means a stone, not a great rock; but the Rock (Petras) referred to Christ in 1 Corinthians 10:4 means a great Rock or crag of a mountain. Christ is the Rock, and we are chips of that Rock. Even a chip from the great granite Crag still bears the physical properties of the Rock from which it was hewn. So should we bear likeness to our Lord and Savior though in far lesser measure.

            Christ was the Rock of the Pillar of Fire by Night and Cloud by Day that both led and followed Israel in the wilderness. He was forever both defender and guide to the Old Testament Church just as He is the defender and guide to us of the New Testament Church. He is the place of security just as the Ark was the place of security for Noah and his family. Christ is our Ark today the door of which no man can open or close save the Lord.  The more treacherous the storms of life become below, the higher our Ark (Jesus Christ) lifts us above the fray.

            We are very much like God’s eagles as His elect: 27 Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? 28 She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place(Job 39:27-28)The safe place is not in the Wilderness of Sin, but high upon the Mountain of Mercy in the Crag of the Rock.                            

 A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
(He is that Rock)
Where RIVERS of pleasure I see. 
(He is the Water of Life)

HELORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (Psalm 18:2)

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the Rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
 (That Rock stands Sovereign over the Wilderness of Sin)
He hideth my soul in the depths of His love, 
 (such depth as cannot be fathomed)
And covers me there with His hand,
(such a hand as is worn with the Carpenter’s labors and pierced with 
nine-inch roman nails)
And covers me there with His hand.

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ(2 Peter 1:10-11)Have you done this?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Hymn 331 – When Jesus left His Father’s Throne – 13 November 2016, Anno Domini

HO, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  (Phil 2:6-8)

            Here is a graceful and contemplative hymn composed in 1816 by James Montgomery, author of 400 other hymns. This hymn was written for the Hallam Sunday School near Sheffield, England. The music, KINGSFOLD, is a traditional English melody arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1906. 

            This hymn is #331 in the 1940 Hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and # 280 in the Book of Worship for United Sates Forces, 1972.

When Jesus left His Father’s Throne

When Jesus left his Father's throne,
He chose a humble birth;
Like us, unhonored and unknown,
He came to dwell on earth.
Like him may we be found below,
In wisdom's paths of peace;
Like him in grace and knowledge grow,
As years and strength increase.

Sweet were his words and kind his look,
When mothers round him pressed;
Their infants in his arms he took,
And on his bosom blessed.
Safe from the world's alluring harms,
Beneath his watchful eye,
Thus in the circle of his arms
May we for ever lie.

When Jesus into Zion rode,
The children sang around;
For joy they plucked the palms and strowed
Their garments on the ground.
Hosanna our glad voices raise,
Hosanna to our King!
Should we forget our Savior's praise,
The stones themselves would sing.

            When Jesus left his Father's throne, He chose a humble birth; Like us, unhonored and unknown, He came to dwell on earth. Like him may we be found below, In wisdom's paths of peace; Like him in grace and knowledge grow, As years and strength increase. It was decreed before the worlds were formed that Christ should come a suffering Savior to redeem God’s people from their sins. If He had appeared in royal regalia and in the company of legions of angels, His coming would have been less exceptional; but for the King of Heaven to come as a humble little child, born in a barn in tiny Bethlehem, makes a profound statement of how we should behold our blessed Redeemer. Prideful religion is no religion at all. If our Lord would deign to come as a common child, leaving the grandeur of His Father’s Home, to save us from our sins, how much less must we be prideful of our heritage in Godly faith and practice. He was born as a poor babe to be placed in a wooden manger designed for the feeding of the beast of the field. In like manner, He died on a comparable wooden cross to provide Manna from Heaven for fallen man. Peace is the way of Heaven, but wickedness must be repulsed. Our Lord grew in stature and wisdom just as His elect must do from the day of first Light in Christ. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man(Luke 2:52)We accomplish that growth by feeding daily on His Word.

            Sweet were his words and kind his look, When mothers round him pressed; Their infants in his arms he took, And on his bosom blessed. Safe from the world's alluring harms, Beneath his watchful eye, Thus in the circle of his arms May we for ever lie. Regardless the tide of years which have swept over our days before the warming call of the Holy Spirit presses us before the Throne of Grace, we are yet children in the eyes of God. We must be, at first, nourished with the milk of the Gospel; but then, as our spiritual understanding matures into seasoned followers of Christ, we must be fed with the strong meat of every Word that proceedeth from the mouth of GodIt is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.(Matt 4:4)I love the loving manner and gentle embrace with which Jesus received the little children. 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.(Matt 18:1-6)Those wicked men and women of our day who so wickedly use little children in all manner of lust and sinfulness will face a dire consequence at His Coming again. But we MUST also become as little children in the House of our Father – trusting, believing, gentle, obedient, and full of hope.

            When Jesus into Zion rode, The children sang around; For joy they plucked the palms and strowed Their garments on the ground. Hosanna our glad voices raise, Hosanna to our King! Should we forget our Savior's praise, The stones themselves would sing.What a reception did our Lord receive when entering Jerusalem for the last time before being crucified less than a week following. It was a reception ‘fit for a King’ and indeed, He was King of Kings! The children were especially joyous in their innocence, but the fickle-hearted adults who threw down palm branches shouted, in unison, for His crucifixion five days later. These did forget their praise, but His death offered a remediation to those who heard the Voice of the Holy Spirit calling their dead ears to life in Christ! Yes, if we say nothing of His glory and righteousness, His redemption and Salvation, the very stones would cry out. Stones own no personal qualities, and neither do we apart from Christ. The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ bears the same authority whether spoken by a seasoned minister, or else a little child. It is not the distinction of the human voice that gives it power; it is its own authority! There is a mysterious power in the reading of Holy Scripture. One meal of bread and water each week is not sufficient to sustain our physical strength to labor and to move about. So, neither does one hearing of the Word preached from a pulpit once per week suffice to feed our famished souls on the Manna of Heaven. We must daily resort to the reading and study of God’s Word if we will grow strong spiritual bones and muscles.

            Have you had your three meals today in God’s Word?

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Sermon Notes - Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity - 11 November 2018, Anno Domini

The Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity
The Collect.

 LORD, we beseech thee, absolve thy people from their offences; that through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins, which by our frailty we have committed. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Y little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  2.And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.  (1 John 2:1-2)         

This COLLECT is one of the more interesting and inspirational of all of the Prayer Book. It encapsulates succinctly the mighty truth of salvation and forgiveness made available in Christ our LORD. As with the other Collects, it rightly bases its petitions upon those sure promises made firm in Holy Scripture. Herein lies the power of the Collects – that is, their biblical soundness which never presumes, but bases the petition upon those promises made full in Jesus.

            Though God is ever ready to absolve those who truly repent of their sins in Christ, He nonetheless desires that we make petition for the grant of absolution. Even in worldly judiciaries, pardons are not granted except by formal petition. God is like many loving fathers of this world who dote upon their children. His joy is made full when they ask for those things He is anxious and desirous to grant.

            Who are those people who are privileged to receive this absolution from God? Who are those referred to as “thy people?” Concerning the Articles of Religion, the catechumen is asked their meaning:

Question. What dost thou chiefly learn in these Articles of thy Belief?

Answer. First, I learn to believe in God the Father, who hath made me, and all the world. Secondly, in God the Son, who hath redeemed me, and all mankind. Thirdly, in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me, and all the elect people of God. (1662 BoCP)

            This Collect is not the prayer of the profligate sinner, but the elect child of God. It is a prayer to be addressed communally in Church among those who know Christ as Lord and who petition for absolution of those sins which they have committed through a prevailing weakness of the flesh. These are NOT intentional sins, but sins performed in absent-mindedness of duty to God. Sins of both commission AND omission fall into the categories for which we pray absolution.

            Herein lies an extremely important truth – only God can forgive and absolve sins. It is not the priest or Bishop who absolves, but simply pronounces the will of God to absolve and forgive all who truly repent. The Absolution is simply a confirmation by the celebrant of those promises made sure in Christ to forgive all who appeal to Him. The absolution as contained in the Order for Holy Communion reads: 

LMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who of his great mercy hath promised forgiveness of sins to all those who with hearty repentance and true faith turn unto him; Have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all your sins; confirm and strengthen you in all goodness; and bring you to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our LordAmen.

            The absolution for Morning Prayer reads:

LMIGHTYGod, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness and live, hath given power, and commandment, to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their sins. He pardoneth and absolveth all those who truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel.

Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance, and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him which we do at this present; and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy; so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

            Of course, we seek absolution in the Collect for one purpose: to clean our consciences and to remove guilt of sins. It is intended to reflect a conscious effort on the part of the believer to amend constantly his sinful ways through the sanctifying efficacy of the Holy Ghost. We are not perfect creatures. We are subject to the same desires and temptations of the flesh as all men have been from the Garden Gate at Eden. But when we have come in to the family of God, our spirits do constantly battle with the vulgar and profane promptings of the flesh to overcome and to put our bodies under subjection to the Spirit.

            Every sin committed is like a rope binding our flesh and subduing our spirits. Once repented and absolved, those ropes of bondage are cut from us, and we are free in Christ. through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins, which by our frailty we have committedOnly by the goodness, and not the judgment, of God can our sins be remitted and absolved. Were justice to be dealt every sinner, no sins would ever be absolved. We stand convicted and deserve the fires of Hell, but Christ has paid our sin-debt for us by His sufferings and passion of the cross. This opens the flood-gates of mercy for all who will receive. Have you?

The Gospel

HILEhe spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. 19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. 20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. 23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, 24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. 25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. 26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land. ()

            There are two miracles in the text that are remarkable for timing and self-assessment. First of all, the timing. A ruler of the local synagogue comes to Christ with heartbroken appeal that Christ will come and raise her up. First of all, he waited a bit late to come to Christ in the human conception of urgency. The girl had been seriously ill, and yet the rabbi waits until she is dead before coming to Christ. Had his faith been exceptional, that would have been a compliment to it; however, he was a Jewish rabbi and had yet to accept Christ as Lord. So he may have lingered late from a matter of pride. Regardless, the main point is that he came to Christ at last. Christ knew full well that a lady whom He had known from before the world was made was approaching Him stealthily, but, still, He made as if to go with the synagogue ruler. 

            At that very moment, a woman with a serious issue of blood was approaching. She, too, had lingered long in pain and suffering before making the only move that could heal her. She sought Christ out of desperation. I remind you that she had spent all her life’s savings on physicians for the past twelve years and was no better. In fact, her illness grew worse. (see Mark 5:25,26)It is noteworthy to each of us personally that we often wait until a matter becomes desperate before we seek out the Lord’s blessing on our condition. But, again, the important point is that she came to Christ at last. Though there were throngs around Christ – many bustling and touching Him in random incidence – He nonetheless felt a different kind of touch when the woman touched the hem of His garment. It was a touch of faith, and the Lord felt it. When we pray in faith, the Lord is keen to hear our prayer. The woman was healed of her physical incapacity, but more importantly, she was made whole in body AND soul! Jesus does not do half-way healings. 

            I have wondered why this seemingly incidental second miracle took place at the very moment the Lord was proceeding to the house of Jarius. I believe it must have been to instill a greater faith in the heart of Jarius who was still steeped in the Jewish religion devoid of grace. For God to perform miraculous healing, there must be a lively faith in the subject of that miracle. And once Jarius saw the woman healed, his faith was multiplied.

            Once the Lord arrived at the house of Jarius, many Jews were gathered weeping bitterly. This outburst is often as much show for some, but a true expression of grief to those who know and love the maiden. When the Lord asks them to make way for His entry, and tells them the maiden is not dead but sleepeth, their presumed grief turns to scornful laughing – not so much grief at all. They know death, but the Lord knows LIFE! He goes to the young girl, takes her by her tiny hand, and says, “Talitha cumi” which means “young maiden, or little lamb, arise!” (see Mark 5:41)42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. 43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat(Mark 5:42-43)Sick people doe not eat! Why did Jesus tell the company present to tell no one about the miracle.   Did He honestly believe the astonished observers could keep such a secret? I do not believe so. I believe He often gave such counsel to remind each of us of what a wonderful thing He has done in our own lives. Can we keep that secret? No, we will go out and tell every soul we meet of the great mercy and grace God has extended to us even if He bids us keep it secret! 

Have we done so?

Friday, November 9, 2018

First Death on Earth as a Type of Christ – 9 November 2018, Anno Domini

NDthe LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I wasnaked; and I hid myself…………. 21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God MAKE COATS OF SKIN, and clothed them. (Gen 3: 9-10, 21)

            In reading this verse from Genesis 3:21, we must bear in mind that which has transpired most recently in the Garden at Eden. A full reading of the third chapter reveals that Eve was beguiled (deluded) by Satan (in the form of a serpent). She convinced Adam to share of the forbidden fruit from the cursed tree. Suddenly, Adam and Eve realized that they were naked. Such a consciousness had never occurred to them prior to partaking of the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. So why were their eyes opened to their nakedness at this point? Disobedience is sin, and sin opens our eyes to our nakedness and depravity. But the answer to our hopelessness, sin tells us, is to cover ourselves with our own good works. “Go ahead, Adam, and sin. You can always cover your sins from the eyes of God!” But Adam could not cover his nakedness before God. It was a permanent condition, and only a temporary remedy, through the first death on earth, could be obtained from God.

            A fig leaf is bloodless and inadequate, for there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. ….without shedding of blood is no remission.(Heb 9:22). The leaves of fig Adam and Eve made for the covering of their nakedness (sin) fell far short of the serious and bloody sacrifice necessary. If the wages of sin is death, the sacrifice must be by death of one not guilty of the sin if a covering is to be provided. At the very moment of Adam’s Fall, it became necessary for Christ to come unto us and die a humiliating and painful death on the cross at Calvary. The loving heart of God was crushed at that moment of Adam’s Fall. Of course, the provision had already been made, for all who would accept it, in the Councils of Heaven long before the Creation, yet, the actual event of Adam’s careless sin, leading to the necessary sacrifice of Christ, must have been a moment of great despondency in Heaven. It is doubtful that Adam was aware of the great price that his sin would entail, but his disobedience of a direct Commandment of God was gravely serious and one which Adam should have realized….and he did! Despite their every cunning effort to cover their nakedness with the flimsy inadequacies of a fig leaf, their labors were futile and hopeless. Hiding in the bushes availed no cover, either, from the penetrating eye of the Lord. We, too, often feel that we can sin more freely once we are outside the Garden Enclosed (the physical structure of the Church), but the Church is everywhere the people of God go, and there is no hiding from God.

            Adam had proven his inability to remain faithful to God. Now, God must teach Adam the terrible consequences of sin. He did it so that hope could be consummated thousands of years in the sending of a Savior. But there must be a school of learning to be attended before that salvation could be understood and realized. Just as God had commanded the sacrifice of that first Passover Lamb in old Goshen, He would now teach Adam that a blood sacrifice was necessary to cover his nakedness. God found it necessary to sacrifice the first animal to die upon the earth (probably a lamb) to cover the nakedness of the two backslidden progenitors of the race.

            21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them Here begins the bloody sacrifices that would foreshadow and typify that once-and-for-all blood sacrifice of the Son of God upon a cross. If Adam could not keep ONE Commandment, God would give him TEN more, plus many entangling ordinances, to cause him to know that he was incapable of righteousness and needed a Savior to redeem him. That law of God, laid down in the Old Testament, became our school teacher to show us that we cannot be righteous – that we need a redeemer. That Law, owing to its demands of perfection, is a curse to all men. In fact, the very last word of the Old Testament (Books of the Law) is the word CURSE! We, like Adam, can never cover our own nakedness (sin). Someone guiltless of the smallest sin must be found to pay the sin penalty, which is death. That One and Only Person was Jesus Christ. He was the only One who was perfect in all of His ways, pure and sinless. Only such a One could bear our sins on the cross – and He did! Will you now turn in your fig leaf for that priceless Robe of Righteousness which Christ purchased for you at Calvary?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Passover Lamb as a Type of Christ – 8 November 2018, Anno Domini

URGEout therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth(1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

            The typical aspects of the Passover Lamb to Christ are multitudinous. The extensive marks of similarity and exact congruence is beyond the scope of a single devotion, so I urge the Reader to please digest the beauty and grandeur of this Type through deeper study.

            The Passover, inaugurated in the Land of Goshen in Egypt while the Children of Israel were subject to cruel bondage, was a signal Light from the Great Lighthouse of God to the Hebrew people, as well as to you and me, of His promise of Redemption to be made available in Christ. The effulgent beams of that Light swept the near and troubled Sea of the Hebrew people and beyond to the Pacific and Atlantic Waters of all races and tribes of people – even to those in the Islands of the Sea (who today sing praises to His Holy Name).

            God often turns the assaults of the Devil back against him (by using the very means the Dark Prince employs) as a means of grace and salvation from it for His people. Due to the greed and cruelty of the Egyptians, Pharaoh had ordered all male children of the Israelites to be cast into the river Nile. The mother of Moses did, indeed, cast Moses into the River Nile, but in a small ark of bulrushes daubed with pitch and slime in order to save him. Pharaoh’s daughter was of a kind and loving disposition and, when she saw the baby in the ark, she took him for her own. Moses became the choice man of God, raised even in the very house of Pharaoh, to save His people from Pharaoh’s oppression. Moses became God’s ‘man for the time’ and obeyed God in his walk.

            After sending forth nine terrible plagues against Egypt to persuade her king to release God’s people, God dictated new terms and a final plague for Moses to report to Pharaoh. Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. (Ex 11:4-7)This would be the final plague God would send against Pharaoh, his household, and all of Egypt. But God always makes special provision for His people, and this time is no exception.

HISmonth shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: 4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. 7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.  And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.  And thus shall ye eat it; withyour loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD'S passover.  For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.  And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.  And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.  Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.  And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.  In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.  Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.  Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread. (Ex 12:2-20)

            That unblemished and innocent lamb, slain at first Passover, foreshadowed that innocent and perfect Lamb of God: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.(John 1:29)  This Passover was authenticated in Christ for He has become our Passover that we observe in the Lord’s Supper. If we are, like the Israelites in Goshen, covered under His blood, we shall not perish. The Cup (wine) of which we partake represents His warm and living blood that was shed for us. The unleavened bread (for the symbol must comport with that symbolized) represents His Body in all parts. The Passover Lamb was also foreshadowed by that animal which was the first death to cover the shame and sin of Adam and Eve eastward in the Garden at Eden. Christ was, like the unblemished lamb, without sin and an acceptable sacrifice for our sins.

            The Passover Lamb was to be taken from the fold of other sheep just as Christ was made man and dwelt among us, and was taken from among us for the sacrifice at Calvary.

            The Passover Lamb was to be one year old signifying its peak maturity. So was Christ at the peak of manhood slain for us. The Lamb was roasted whole just as was Christ crucified, pierced and recipient of the fire of God’s wrath. Our Lord, though wholly crucified, did not suffer a bone of His body to be broken.

            The blood of the Passover Lamb was not to be allowed to spill upon the ground illustrating the preciousness of the blood of Christ which is to be revered. Just as the blood of the Passover Lamb was to be sprinkled upon the lintels and doorposts, so must Christ blood not only be shed wholly for us, but our consciences must be sprinkled by the notice of that blood. All who enter the house must see the blood of Christ as evidence of our salvation.

            The flesh of the Passover Lamb was to be eaten in its entirety. So, must we feed upon Christ spiritually as our Bread of Life and drink His blood as a sacramental form and grace of His sacrifice. The Passover Lamb was to be eaten in one house symbolic of the ONE-NESS of the Body of Christ at the Communion, and at all times.

            The sprinkling of the blood of the Lamb was to be done by dipping a cluster of hyssop into the blood to afford the sprinkling. Hyssop has many symbolic features. It will grow even on rock. The Christian will remain faithful even under hard oppression. Hyssop was used as a purgative to cleanse the inward body just as the blood of Christ first cleanses the inward heart, and then the outer.
                The unleavened bread of the Passover symbolizes sinlessness, pure doctrine, and sincerity. Leaven symbolized the hypocrisy and false doctrine of the Pharisees. Christ is sinless, pure, and true. The symbol of bread we consume in the Supper should also reflect those qualities of Christ.  O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees(Matt 16:8-12)

            The Passover symbolizes the coming of God’s people out of Egypt, or the spiritual bondage to sin. Christ, being our Passover, has freed us, too, from the yoke and bondage of sin.

            The Passover Lamb was not to be eaten until all leaven (sin, hypocrisy, hate, impure hearts, grudges, etc) were removed from the house. We, too, should cleanse our hearts of all sin, ill-will, personal animosities – when we observe Holy Communion.

            Next when you observe the Holy Communion (our present Passover) remember the first Passover in Egypt. Remember the blood over the doors and upon the door posts. Remember that we are spared the Angel of Death when we are in that blood-covenant relationship with Christ. Are you?

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Adam as a Type of Christ– 7 November 2018, Anno Domini


HEREFORE, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:12-17)

            There are many who take the Bible without the seriousness of discovering that the whole of the Word is of Christ and not just those words of the New Testament.  It would be quite impossible to realize the full import of that first Easter (Paschal Feast) without knowing of that earthly Passover given in Goshen wherein the Angel of Death passed over all who were under the blood of the lamb, smeared over the lintels and upon the door posts. That innocent little lamb of Egypt was a type and figure of the true Lamb of God who was prophesied in that first Passover. All who are sealed under the Blood of the Lamb of God shall be passed over by that second death of the Judgment. As the beloved Matthew Henry (a true hero of the Word) has said: “Let us beware that we do not forget that the Old Testament and New Testament alike tell of Jesus. It can be truly said of the Bible: ‘The glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the Light thereof. The name of Jesus, the supreme personality, the center of the world’s hope, is on every page.”

            The TYPES that we are studying in no way measure up to that great Savior whom they represent in figure and example. They are given as lesser lights for us to understand that Greater Light that was to come in the process of time. If we are able to understand the brilliance of the sun, we may know that our God is comparable in extremity of light therewith. As Confucius once said, “Do you need proof of God? Does one light a candle to see the sun?”

            We will turn our attention to the very first Type given of Christ in Scripture – the first man, Adam. Adam is almost a negative type of that which is represented in the Holy Jesus – but there are a number of overlapping characteristics in which they are the same. 

HEREFOREas by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.Condemnation came upon the entire human race as a result of the sin of the first man, Adam, our Grand Patriarch of the Race, and federal head of it. We, all being descended from Adam, inherit the DNA chromosome of sin we received from him. We are guilty for the blood in our veins for it is poisoned with sin. If our blood is poisoned to death, there is only one hope – a complete blood transfusion which is available only through Jesus Christ. We are told in the above passage that Adam is the FIGURE of Him who was to come. That One to come was Christ – the sinless One who was obedient unto the death of the Cross. 

            In what points does Adam prefigure our Lord Jesus Christ? 
1.     Adam had no Father but God. There are two only genealogies of Christ given in Holy Scripture by detail. The first is found in Matthew 1 which begins at our Type for God in Abraham and descends DOWN to Christ. This signals that Christ is the Promised Seed who CAME DOWN. The second genealogy is found in Luke 3. In this genealogy, the author begins with Christ and goes through all of his progeny all the way back UP TO GOD. Christ is the only One who came DOWN from the Father and He is the only One who has ascended UP to the Father as clearly presented in these two genealogies. Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God. (Luke 3:38) Adam, though the son of God, fell from that privileged place through willful sin. Adam was a son by creation – Christ by eternal generation.

2.     Adam was given dominion over the created world while Christ is given all power both in Heaven and in earth. Adam is the natural father of all humankind, lost in sin. The sin of Adam has been charged to all of his children born of woman. “….Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”Christ is the spiritual Father of all who have believed to the salvation of their souls. These are the children of the Promised Seed (Christ) whose righteousness is an “IMPUTED” righteousness belonging to Christ. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ I only desire ministers would have revealed these mysteries to my young mind while I was a lad. I was eager to know but was a victim of the adult mentality that believes such matters are beneath the understanding of children. We often sell our children short in failing to teach them at a challenging level.

3.     The first man, Adam, earned death for all mankind. Disease, death and sin came upon our race through Adam. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming(1 Cor 15:22-23)Though Adam did not fall down dead before the wretched Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, his death was sealed at the moment he partook of the forbidden fruit (whatever it was). Though not physically, Adam was the first man to die spiritually. The second man, Christ, who died the same death for us (for He tasted death that we might live), is the first to arise, and He made it possible for all who believed to live eternally. This makes it possible for each believer to rise in Christ at the last trump. 

4.     This fourth characteristic of Adam, in common with Christ, may set some aback. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. (1 Tim 2:14) I am sure we have all read this verse before, but have we considered the ramifications? ADAM WAS NOT DECEIVED! So why did Adam partake of the forbidden fruit if he was not deceived? Could it be that Adam, like Christ, loved his bride so much that he was willing to share her fate and die the same death he knew she would suffer? Eve was the ONLY darling of Adam’s heart. Life in the Garden would have seemed near to meaningless without this precious gift that God had given. So Adam partook of the same deadly fruit as Eve, and perished with her! Adam sinned to join his bride in death. Christ, the all-righteous, was the sinless One who died in our stead to purchase an eternal life for His Bride, the Church.
I should make one point very clear: We actually inherit the sin NATURE from Adam. We are actually guilty by right of birth; but the IMPUTATION is valid insofar as righteousness is concerned of Christ. We are actually guilty as descendents of Adam, but we are only deemed righteous under the blood of Christ. We have no genuine righteousness on our own right, but we are privileged to lay claim to the righteousness of Christ through that righteousness being imputed to us. It is the righteousness of Christ that gets us into heaven. Our own sinful nature, inherited fromAdam, drives us into hell.

            God, through  His foreknowledge and perfect prerogative of predestination of all things, has brought to pass wonderful and true pictures that point us to His spotless, sinless, and glorious Son through the lives of those who have preceded Him. He has done so through the medium of types, figures, metaphors and allegories. Do you see the unsurpassed beauty of Christ in comparison with the desperate fall of Adam?

To which family do you now belong, Reader, for we must all belong to one or the other os these two?  – Adam or Christ