The Promise (3 of 5)
God’s Book – The Holy Bible
The Word of God – the Holy Bible – is God’s special Book. It is not like other books but is a supernatural Book. It was written by many different people, who wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
The Bible is also one of the oldest books in the world. The most ancient portions of the Bible date back almost 4,000 years. Yet it is still the most modern book in the world today; for in it we find the answers to life’s greatest questions:
- “Where did I come from?”
- “Why am I here?”
- “Where will I go?”
Even though the Bible is made up of 66 smaller books, it has only one central theme: God’s loving plan to rescue mankind.
There are 66 books in the Bible. The Bible is divided into two sections:
- The Old Testament and The New Testament.
- The Old Testament tells us about God’s work with His people before the birth of Jesus.
The Old Testament:
- God as Sovereign and Universal King creates the universe and is King over all creation (Gen 1-2).
- God creates man in His own image as a son and king so man can represent God on the earth and rule over God’s creation on His behalf for His glory (Gen 1:26-28; Ps 8).
- Man fails his task of ruling the creation for God’s glory by sinning against his Creator (Gen 3); the vice-regent rebels against the King.
- The fall results in a cursed creation in which man is subject to death, the creation is subject to futility, and Satan usurps authority (Gen 3).
- God promises a future Savior, a Satan (serpent)-crusher and curse-remover from the seed of the woman who will save man and restore the creation (Gen 3:15).
- God unleashes a global flood to judge wicked mankind, but since God has promised a Savior, He chooses Noah as the means to keep mankind preserved, the animal kingdom alive, and God’s kingdom purposes intact (Gen 6-9).
- Through the Noahic covenant God promises stability of nature as a platform for carrying out His kingdom plans (Gen 8:21-22).
- Through the Tower of Babel incident God institutes ethnic diversity and nations to carry out His original plan for man to multiply and fill the earth (Gen 10-11).
- God’s plan for restoration and a worldwide kingdom is mediated through Abraham via the Abrahamic Covenant; Abraham and the developing people of Israel will be the vehicles for blessing the nations of the earth (Gen 12, 13, 15, 17, 22).
- Through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the people of the kingdom program grow in number in Egypt where eventually they become enslaved.
- God rescues His people, Israel, so they can be a kingdom of priests and a light to other nations; Israel, with its Promised Land, is the platform through which God will bless other nations (Exodus 19:6; Deut 4:5-8).
- The Mosaic Covenant is the means through which Israel could be set apart for God’s purposes, and the way the nation could stay connected to the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant (Exod 20).
- Israel is promised spiritual and physical blessings for keeping the Mosaic Covenant, and curses and dispersion for disobeying the Mosaic Covenant (Deut 28-29).
- God predicts Israel will possess the land of promise only to be dispersed because of covenant disobedience. This will be followed by a restoration of Israel from the nations with both spiritual and physical prosperity. The basis of this restoration will be a circumcised heart (Deut 30:1-10).
- God’s kingdom on earth is mediated through Moses, and then Joshua, and then through the judges and eventually the kings of Israel (Joshua-Chronicles).
- With the Davidic Covenant God promises David an eternal kingdom for Israel through David’s descendants with physical blessings and rest from enemies; this covenant will also bring blessings to all mankind (2 Sam 7).
- Israel flourishes under David and then Solomon with the kingdom promises of land, seed, and international blessings being on the verge of fulfillment (1 Kgs 1-10).
- Solomon’s idolatry (1 Kgs 11) puts the kingdom of Israel on a trajectory that eventually leads to dispersion. The tribes of Israel are taken captive by Assyria and Babylon. The glory of God departs from the temple signifying the end of the mediatorial kingdom in Israel (Ezek 8-11).
- With the end of the kingdom in Israel the prophets became the spokespersons for God to Israel, and they proclaim both judgment for covenant disobedience and a future restoration in a kingdom under a Davidic leader (Isaiah; Jeremiah; Ezekiel).
- Because of Israel’s failure to be a kingdom of priests for God’s glory, God will raise up an ultimate Israelite, a Servant, who will restore the nation Israel and bring blessings to the Gentiles (Isa 42; 49; 52-53).
- God will mediate a New Covenant through Israel that grants a new heart and indwelling Spirit to God’s people so they will obey God and allow God’s people to experience kingdom blessings (Jer 31-34; Ezek 36-37).
- The prophets reveal a coming Day of the Lord when God will judge the nations of the earth and purge His people Israel; this will be followed by the Davidic kingdom on earth, centered in Jerusalem, under the Messiah, in which both Israel and the nations will be God’s people (Isaiah-Malachi).
- The Old Testament ends with the expectation that God will fulfill His kingdom promises while His people wait for deliverance.
The Books of The Law:
There are five books of law. The names of these books are:
These books record the creation of man and the world by God and the early history of man. They tell how God raised up the nation of Israel as a people through which He could reveal Himself to the nations of the world.
When the famine came, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy food. Joseph forgave them and invited them to come and live in Egypt. Joseph realized that God had allowed him to suffer slavery and prison so he could prepare the way for his family to move to Egypt.
During the 430 years that the Israelites were in Egypt, they became slaves to the Egyptians. Moses was born to Israelite slaves, but he was raised as a son of Pharaoh. When Moses was forty years old, he tried to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Instead, he had to run for his life into the desert. When Moses was eighty years old, God spoke to him from a burning bush and instructed him to go back to Egypt and lead the Israelites out. At first, Moses thought that he was going to fail again but he followed God’s leading. When Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites leave, God sent ten plagues. The last plague killed every firstborn child and animal in all of Egypt. But none of the Israelites were killed. The angel of death passed over their houses because they had put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts. The Israelites celebrated this Passover every year.
God led the Israelites into the desert with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. But He led them back into Egypt to the edge of the Red Sea. When they were trapped by Pharaoh’s army, the Israelites were afraid and cried out against Moses. But Moses had learned to trust God. God opened a way for them through the Red Sea.
God led the Israelites through the desert to Mt. Sinai. He provided manna from Heaven to eat and a stream of water from a rock. At Mt. Sinai, He gave them the Ten Commandments and many other commands. God had them build the Tabernacle as a place to worship Him.
God gave the Israelites instructions on worship and on offerings and sacrifices for sins. The greatest commands that God gave were, “Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength,” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All of the other commands are based on these two.
After a year at Mt. Sinai, God led the Israelites to the Promised Land, but they didn’t trust God to help them conquer the land. They rebelled against God’s leading so God made them wander in the desert for forty years until all of the unbelieving adults had died. During all of that time, they ate manna from heaven and their clothes and sandals never got old or wore out.
But many times, the Israelites grumbled against God and Moses. One time, they grumbled because there was no water. God told Moses to speak to a rock and it would pour out water. Out of anger, Moses struck the rock and took credit for providing water. Because he did not honor God in this, Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land.
Another time when the Israelites grumbled, God sent poisonous snakes among the people and many people died. The people admitted that they had sinned and asked God to remove the snakes. Instead, God told Moses to make a brass serpent and mount it on a pole. When someone was bitten, he would not die if he looked at the brass serpent that Moses had lifted up.
When the Israelites reached the Jordan River, Moses reminded them of all the things the Lord had done for them. He explained the covenant that God had made with them at Mt. Sinai. He described the blessings they would receive if they obeyed God and the curses if they disobeyed. Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo and saw the Promised Land before he died.
The Books of History:
There are 12 books of history in the Old Testament. The names of the books of history are:
After forty years in the desert, Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land. God commanded them to completely destroy all of the people who lived there to cleanse the land of sin and idolatry. When they followed God’s plan, the walls of Jericho fell down before them. But when they devised their own plan, they were defeated at Ai. Joshua fell on his face before the Lord because of their defeat. But God told him to stop crying and go remove the sin from their camp. Achan had sinned by keeping some of the treasure from Jericho. The Israelites destroyed Achan, his family and all his possessions. Then they followed God’s plan and conquered Ai.
God helped the Israelites conquer the rest of the Promised Land. He made the sun and the moon stand still for a full day so the Israelites had enough daylight to destroy the Amorite armies. God fought for the Israelites when they destroyed the rest of the Canaanite armies. But the Israelites stopped fighting before they had completely destroyed all of the Canaanaites. Some Israelites began to worship the Canaanite idols. They did not learn the lesson that God is far greater than any idol.
For three hundred years, the Israelites were led by judges such as Deborah, Gideon and Samson. When neighboring nations attacked the Israelites, they would cry to God for help. Then God would raise up a judge to lead them. God would help them defeat their enemies. After a while, they would forget what God had done and go back to worshipping idols. Then God would raise up another nation to attack them until they turned back to God for help. This cycle repeated for thirteen judges. During this time, God showed special grace to a foreign widow named RUTH.
1 & 2 Samuel
The last judge was Samuel. The Israelites asked Samuel to let them have a king like the other nations. God chose Saul as the first king, but he didn’t obey God. So God chose David as king because David had a heart that followed God. David trusted God when he fought against Goliath, the giant. David wrote many of the PSALMS to praise God. God promised that David’s family would always be kings in Israel.
1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles
David’s son, Solomon, became king after him. God gave Solomon great wisdom and he wrote many PROVERBS.
He wrote SONG OF SOLOMON.
He also wrote ECCLESIASTES to say that all of his wisdom and riches were meaningless compared with knowing and obeying God. Solomon built a beautiful temple in Jerusalem to worship God. But he also built temples to the gods of his foreign wives. Therefore, God took the ten northern tribes of Israel away from Solomon’s son and made them a separate kingdom.
The Books of Poetry:
There are five books of poetry. The names of the books of poetry are:
Song of Solomon
These books are the worship books of God’s people, Israel. Believers still use them in worship today.
The Books of Prophecy:
The books of prophecy in the Old Testament are divided into two groups which are called Major and Minor prophetical books. This does not mean the Major Prophets are more important than the Minor Prophets. The title is simply used because the Major Prophets are longer books than the Minor Prophets. There are 17 books of prophecy in the Old Testament. The names of the books of prophecy are:
These books are prophetic messages from God to His people about future events. Many of the prophecies have already been fulfilled, but some remain to be fulfilled in the future.
Old Testament Conditions in Intermediate Kingdom
Ps 72 A kingdom reign on earth with righteous judgments for the poor, afflicted, and needy
Isa 11:4 A kingdom reign with righteous decisions made for the poor and afflicted
Isa 24:21-23 Many days between initial and final punishment of wicked spiritual beings and human kings
Isa 65:20 Increased longevity of life yet death occurs for wicked actions; childbirth occurs yet no infant mortality
Zech 8 Peaceful and playful conditions in the streets with the presence of elderly who need help, and youth who are playing
Zech 14 A kingdom reign on the earth over nations who serve the Lord, yet people can sin and face negative consequences for disobedience
The Old Testament revealed God’s plans to restore His creation that was marred at the fall. God’s plans are complete. He will restore all things material and immaterial. This includes individuals, the nation Israel, and the nations of the world. The kingdom plan will be carried out through the eternal and unconditional covenants-Noahic, Abrahamic, Davidic, and New. The Mosaic Covenant was a temporary and conditional covenant that Israel failed. Because Israel did not keep the Mosaic Covenant, God’s kingdom did not come in its fullness and there is the need for the superior New Covenant, which will enable Israel (and others) to obey the Lord. According to the prophets the restoration of all things will center upon an ultimate Israelite, the true Servant, who we now know as Jesus the Messiah.
There is a coming Day of the Lord when the nations of the earth will be judged and Israel will be saved. Kingdom conditions will follow when the ultimate Davidic ruler will reign from Jerusalem over a restored Israel and the nations of the earth will be blessed. This is the kingdom message of the OT, a message that will continue for four hundred years and into the dawning of the New Testament era.
The Festivals Ordained by God
Matthew 24:3-5 (NKJV) 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
Genesis 1:14-19 (NKJV) 14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
The way in which Jesus fulfilled the Jewish feasts is a fascinating study. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the Jewish prophet Amos records that God declared He would do nothing without first revealing it to His servants, the prophets (Amos 3:7).
Amos 3:7 (NKJV) Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
From the Old Covenant to the New, Genesis to Revelation, God provides picture after picture of His entire plan for mankind.
One of the most startling prophetic pictures is outlined for us in the Jewish feasts of Leviticus 23.
The Hebrew word for “feasts” (moadim) literally means “appointed times.”
God has carefully planned and orchestrated the timing and sequence of each of these seven feasts to reveal to us His story.
The seven annual feasts of Israel were spread over seven months of the Jewish calendar, at set times appointed by God.
The Feasts of Israel
Passover (Leviticus 23:5) – Pointed to the Messiah as our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover at the same hour that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening.
Leviticus 23:5 (NKJV) On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’S Passover.
1 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV) Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6) – Pointed to the Messiah’s sinless life (as leaven is a picture of sin in the Bible), making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.
Leviticus 23:6 (NKJV) And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6) – Pointed to the Messiah’s sinless life (as leaven is a picture of sin in the Bible), making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.
Leviticus 23:6 (NKJV) And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
First Fruits (Leviticus 23:10) – Pointed to the Messiah’s resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the “first fruits from the dead.”
Leviticus 23:10 (NKJV) “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.
1 Corinthians 15:20 (NKJV) But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Weeks or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:16) – Occurred fifty days after the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and pointed to the great harvest of souls and the gift of the Holy Spirit for both Jew and Gentile, who would be brought into the kingdom of God during the Church Age (see Acts 2). The Church was actually established on this day when God poured out His Holy Spirit and 3,000 Jews responded to Peter’s great sermon and his first proclamation of the gospel.
Leviticus 23:16 (NKJV) Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD.
Acts 2:1-2 (NKJV) 1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24) – The first of the fall feasts. Many believe this day points to the Rapture of the Church when the Messiah Jesus will appear in the heavens as He comes for His bride, the Church. The Rapture is always associated in Scripture with the blowing of a loud trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:52).
Leviticus 23:24 (NKJV) “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NKJV) 13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Corinthians 15:52 (NKJV) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27) – Many believe this prophetically points to the day of the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth. That will be the Day of Atonement for the Jewish remnant when they “look upon Him whom they have pierced,” repent of their sins, and receive Him as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10 and Romans 11:1-6, 25-36).
Leviticus 23:27 (NKJV) “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.
Zechariah 12:10 (NKJV) “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
Romans 5:8-10 (NKJV) 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Revelation 20:15 (NKJV) And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Tabernacles or Booths (Leviticus 23:34) – Many scholars believe that this feast day points to the Lord’s promise that He will once again “tabernacle” with His people when He returns to reign over all the world (Micah 4:1-7). John 1:14 And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.
Leviticus 23:34 (NKJV) “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the LORD.
John 1:14 (NKJV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Colossians 2:16-17 (NKJV) 16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
The Jewish Sabbath was the last day of the week, or Saturday; however, Christians normally worship on Sunday because it is the first of the week and the day of Christ’s resurrection. According to the apostle Paul, the day was observed “in honor of the Lord” (Rom 14:6). For the apostle, this was no longer about the law but about personal conviction. But keep in mind that the day was instituted for man, and a day of rest is good for the body and soul.
Exodus 31:15 (NKJV) Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
Exodus 20:8 (NKJV) “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Mark 2:27 (NKJV) And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
Is there a day which believers should set aside to worship the Lord? There is one day – the first day of the week. That is the day on which Jesus rose from the dead, and it is also the day He chose to meet with His disciples after His resurrection. This was not a Sabbath day, or a rest day, it was a day of ceaseless activity.
The Lord Jesus was very busy on the resurrection day. The false conception of so many is that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath, and since the Sabbath is a day of rest, the Sabbath laws are applied to Sunday. This has resulted in untold harm.
The average Christian, instead of making the Lord’s Day one of service, has made it one of rest and feasting. That is not the purpose of the Lord’s Day. Christians need to wake up and to grasp the meaning of this resurrection day. Souls need to be rescued from darkness, and only the gospel of Jesus Christ can accomplish this. “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
The Jewish Temples
The Exodus tabernacle was “the dwelling place” of God for almost five centuries, 1450-960 B.C. It was built a few years after the Exodus from Egypt and was the central place of worship until it was replaced by Solomon’s temple.
Exodus 26:1 (NKJV) “Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine woven linen and blue, purple, and scarlet thread; with artistic designs of cherubim you shall weave them.
1 Kings 6:1 (NKJV) And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.
1 Kings 6:38 (NKJV) And in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished in all its details and according to all its plans. So he was seven years in building it.
It was the portable, scared-tent-dwelling-place of God, where the holy God
Manifested His special glorious presence with the children of Israel, while at the same time maintaining barriers and separating Himself from sinful defilements;
Provided a sacrificial ritual for individual and national cleansing from sin;
Taught His people theological lessons and truths concerning sin, forgiveness, and His will;
Prefigured the person and work of the Messiah to come, namely, concerning Christ and His atoning death on the cross for sinners.
The tabernacle’s unique design and exact dimensions, as well as the choice of materials to be used, were completely dictated and specified by God to Moses, while he met with God for the forty days and nights on Mount Sinai (Ex. 24:18- 31:18). The specifications for the tabernacle are found in seven Old Testament chapters (Ex. 25-31), and its construction is described in six additional chapters (Ex. 35-40). One chapter (Num. 4) deals with transporting the tabernacle. The epistle to the Hebrews further devotes three New Testament chapters to the tabernacle. It further clarifies that the earthly tabernacle built by Moses, and its service and ritual, were copies of heavenly things (Heb. 9:23,24). The priesthood consisted of one high priest, Aaron, the brother of Moses, and Aaron’s sons (Ex. 29:1-9). It was a hereditary office.
The Mosaic tent-dwelling-place of God represented visually, to the children of Israel, the unseen, heavenly tabernacle, wherein God truly manifested His glorious, divine presence and remained totally apart from sin, and wherein He later received the blood of Christ as the everlasting sacrifice of sin. Therein Christ, as the eternal High Priest, sits at the right hand of the Father and always lives to make intercession for believers.
Hebrews 7:25 (NKJV) Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 9:11 (NKJV) But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.
Hebrews 9:24-26 (NKJV) 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another– 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
Although He was not from the tribe of Levi like Aaron, Christ (of Judah) was independently appointed by God as our High Priest; and He was so anointed, as was Melchizedek to whom Abraham gave tithes (Heb. 7:11-17; cf. Gen. 14:18-20). See Christ here as our true eternal High Priest.
The First Temple
The First Temple was built in the 10th century B.C. by King Solomon, according to the Hebrew Bible (1 Kings 5-9).
1 Kings 5:3-5 (NKJV) 3 You know how my father David could not build a house for the name of the LORD his God because of the wars which were fought against him on every side, until the LORD put his foes under the soles of his feet. 4 But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor evil occurrence. 5 And behold, I propose to build a house for the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spoke to my father David, saying, “Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he shall build the house for My name.”
The land on which Solomon built the temple had been acquired by King David, Solomon’s father, who thought to build a grand temple himself. But the Lord rejected David’s ambition because of the king’s sins and the job passed to the son.
The land David chose, a threshing floor, was associated with Moriah, where the patriarch Abraham brought his son Isaac for sacrifice (Genesis 22:14).
Genesis 22:14 (NKJV) And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided.”
(In the Bible, the mount is also referred to as “Zion,” a name that eventually came to encompass the entire Land of Israel.) That too is a tradition shared by the three great monotheistic religions. Other than that, and a few other minor references to the site in the Bible, however, there is no obvious explanation why Solomon built his temple here.
What is clear is that the Temple was meant to be a permanent residence for the Ark of the Covenant, which held the stone tablets of the law Moses received on Mt. Sinai, and which traveled with the Israelites during their journey through the desert.
The precise location of Solomon’s Temple, the First Temple, on the mount is not known. Large numbers of items that date to the First Temple period have been found.
The Temple was meant to serve as a single facility for the United Monarchy, where sacrifices to God would take place, and where, in the Holy of Holies, an elaborate chamber in the innermost sanctum of the Temple, God’s presence was said to dwell. After the single monarchy split into the distinct kingdoms of Judah and Israel, which happened, according to the Bible, under Solomon’s son Rehoboam, there was again a duplication of temples, as new unauthorized altars were erected in Israel, at Dan, in the north, and Bethel, in the south.
After Israel was conquered in about 720 B.C, and its 10 tribes driven into exile, Solomon’s Temple sustained several attacks by foreign powers before finally, in 586 B.C, being totally destroyed by the army of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king. The residents of Judah were sent into a short-lived exile, in what is present-day Iraq.
With the fall of Babylon, the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great allowed the Jews to return to the Land of Israel, beginning in 538. A rebuilt temple was dedicated in 515 B.A.D.; a little-known precursor to the grand structure called Herod’s Temple.
The Second Temple
The Second Temple or ‘Herod’s Temple’, as culturally known, was an expanded and significantly upgraded structure whose construction was led by the half-Jewish, half-Edumean Herod, the Roman-appointed king of Judea.
Finished in about 20 B.C., the extravagant edifice stood less than a century. The first Jewish Revolt began in 66 A.D. and in 70 A.D., the Roman general (later emperor) Titus looted the Temple and leveled it.
Luke 2:41-48 (NKJV) 41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it;
44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
Mark 13:1-2 (NKJV) 1 Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!”
2 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
Following the destruction of the Second Temple during the First Revolt and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem itself, accompanied by the exile of its inhabitants, during the Second Jewish Revolt, in 132-135, Judaism made a sharp turn from being a temple-based religion that relied on daily sacrifices. It became a mobile faith that revolved around law and prayer, and whose members soon spread out around the Mediterranean basin, and later to more distant points. The synagogue replaced the single Temple, but recalled the sanctuary by always being physically oriented in the direction of Jerusalem. Prayer took the place of animal sacrifices.
Jews still mourn the destruction of the Temple, principally on Tisha B’av (the Ninth of the month of Av), the date traditionally associated with the destruction of both the First and Second Temples, and other catastrophes that befell the people.
There is absolute proof that the present site of the Jewish “Wailing Wall” in Jerusalem is NOT any part of the Temple that existed in the time of Herod and Jesus. In fact, that particular location that the Jewish authorities have accepted represents the Western Wall of an early Roman fortress (finally built and enlarged by Herod the Great). King Herod called it Fort Antonia, after the famous Mark Anthony who lived at the end of the first century before Christ.
The Third Temple
Jeremiah 33:14-18 (NKJV) 14 ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: 15 ‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David A Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.’ 17 “For thus says the LORD: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; 18 nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually.’ ”
This passage speaks about the Messianic Age when all Israel will be saved and restored to the Land of Israel. At that time, a righteous descendant of David, the Messiah, will sit on the throne in Jerusalem, and the Temple will again stand complete with its Levitical priesthood. If this is to be a future reality, is there any sign of preparation for a third Temple in Israel today?
The New Testament tells of several important episodes in the life of Jesus that took place in the precinct of the Second Temple. It is the very spot from which the Prophet Muhammad is said to have begun his Night Journey to Heaven, in the 7th century.
Since the temple was reduced to rubble in 70 AD, the City of David was then lost to weeds and abandonment. As time passed, no one knew where it really was. And since the Stronghold of Zion was in the City of David, Zion had vanished as well. The City of David was gone; its walls were no more-and the huge clue for the temple being located by the threshing floor was erased from history as well. And when something has vanished that held such huge importance, people will stick a flag of indelible proclamation in the ground and make said declaration purely out of need. When you go to the Holy City today, road signs will point to the upper city and the signs read “Zion,” with an arrow pointing away from the real, original location of Zion in the City of David.
With no Temple in Jerusalem, the Jewish people now worship the God of Israel in their local community synagogues and in the study of Torah. Instead of offering animal sacrifices, they now offer Tefillah (prayer), Teshuvah (repentance), and Tzedakah (charity).
Many think that animal sacrifices have been done away with forever, but according to Bible prophecy, this simply isn’t so. The Lord tells the Prophet Ezekiel that in a future Temple, the prescribed sacrifices will be offered:
Ezekiel 42:13 (NKJV) Then he said to me, “The north chambers and the south chambers, which are opposite the separating courtyard, are the holy chambers where the priests who approach the LORD shall eat the most holy offerings. There they shall lay the most holy offerings–the grain offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering–for the place is holy.
What Does the Bible Say?
Below are three of the many Bible verses which proves that the temple was in the City of David.
2 Samuel 5:7: “Nevertheless, David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.”
Zion is undoubtedly within the City of David.
Joel 3:17: “So shall you know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain.”
My holy mountain, (temple) is in Zion within the City of David.
Joel 2:1: “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain”
There is also Hezekiah’s Tunnel, which was discovered in 1880 by some adventurous boys.
2 Chronicles 32:30 (NKJV) This same Hezekiah also stopped the water outlet of Upper Gihon, and brought the water by tunnel to the west side of the City of David. Hezekiah prospered in all his works.
The Bible clearly teaches that a new temple – which will be called The Third Temple – will be built in the future. The First Temple was the one that Solomon built and which was destroyed in 586 BC. The Second Temple (516 BC to 70 AD) was built after the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity. The platform on which it sat was greatly expanded and beautified by King Herod, as was the temple itself, but since the sacrifices were never stopped during this renovation and expansion, the new temple was still considered to be the Second Temple.
‘The Third Temple will exist during the Great Tribulation. Daniel refers to this temple when he says that “the prince who is to come” (the Antichrist) will enter it and stop the sacrifices in the middle of the Tribulation.
Daniel 9:27 (NKJV) Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”
The Apostle Paul mentions it when he declares that the “man of lawlessness” will profane the temple by entering it and declaring himself to be God.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NKJV) 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
The Third Temple is also mentioned in the book of Revelation when John is told to measure it.
Revelation 11:1-2 (NKJV) 1 Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. 2 But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.
To summarize, there is definitely going to be a third temple. The Antichrist will desecrate this temple in the middle of the Tribulation.
The Third Temple will be destroyed at the Second Coming of Jesus. The great earthquake at that time will radically change the topography of Jerusalem and all the earth (Revelation 6:12-17).
Revelation 6:12-17 (NKJV) 12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
In Jerusalem it will result in the provision of a very large level area where the Millennial Temple will be constructed. This is the temple from which Jesus will reign over all the earth. (Ezekiel 40-46)
Old Testament Sacrifices
In the Old Testament order, God made the shedding of animal blood a picture of Christ’s New Testament payment for man’s sins. Only Christ’s unique sacrifice would be sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of all who trust Him through the ages (Heb. 9:11-14).
After Adam and Eve had sinned, they made aprons of fig leaves to cover the shame of their sin (Gen. 3:7; cf. Gal. 6:7). However, God replaced those aprons with coats of skins (Gen. 3:21). It is thus shown that human works are not an acceptable covering for sin; blood must be shed, and that blood eventually would be Christ’s.
Cain and Abel also brought their sacrificial offerings; but Cain’s self-grown vegetables were unacceptable, while Abel’s offering of a lamb was accepted (Gen. 4:1-7). All of this pointed to the coming of Christ who would give His life and shed His blood for the sins of the world, inviting all to partake, by faith, in the benefits of this offering. John the Baptist saw and understood this when he said, pointing to Jesus, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
God’s law pertaining to the offerings are filled with spiritual lessons and benefits for the believer. These lessons and the patterns of the offerings constantly point to Christ and His offering of Himself on the cross (1 Pet. 1:18-20).
Offerings to the LORD
Whole Burnt Offerings: Devotion
Grain and Drink Offerings: Thanksgiving
Peace Offerings: Fellowship
Sin of Ignorance Offerings: Righting Wrongs
Trespass Offerings: Forgiveness
Offerings to the LORD (Leviticus 17:1-12)
As we meditate upon the sacrificial order which God laid down in the Old Testament Law, we fall on our knees anew to worship the Lord, to beg His forgiveness, to seek His approval, to await His sending us forth, and to expect His future blessing. We enter the court of His tabernacle, having His praises on our lips and Christ as our Lamb.
God’s regulations for worship by sacrifice applied to all members of the covenant community of Israel (vv. 1,2). The high priest was specifically included, as were the other priests. No one was above God’s law in Israel, unlike Egypt, where Pharaoh was a self-declared god. The worship of God is to be performed by all, according to His revealed will.
God’s ceremonial worship was coupled with His call for obedience to His law, both ceremonial (Lev. 17) and moral (Lev. 18). The sacrifices, coupled with faith, made atonement for the broken law of God.
Sacrifices had to be made at the tabernacle (vv. 3,4,8,9). God desired that Israel’s worship be focused on His requirements for the forgiveness of sins. Their energy was not to be consumed by endless arguments as to where and how they should worship. It was clear that all sacrifices would take place at the tabernacle. This requirement also kept the Israelites from the temptation to join in idolatrous Canaanite sacrifices at the Baal groves.
God’s worship system brought peace to the human heart (v.5).
Those coming to God came through the divinely appointed agent (v.6). God had appointed a priesthood to sprinkle the blood on the altar and to burn the sacrifice.
Idol worship was forbidden (v.7). The Lord clearly and forever forbade mixing His sacrifices with sacrifices made to idols, animals, and demons: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex. 20:3).
The shed blood made the “atonement for the soul” (vv. 10-12). Prefiguring the death of Christ by fourteen centuries, the Mosaic Law made it clear that this life-giving substance was to be the means of man’s atonement.
Whole Burnt Offerings: Devotion (Leviticus 1:3-17)
The Hebrew words for the whole burnt offering (v.3) are olah and kalil (Deut. 33:10). The former means “that which goes up,” and signifies that the burnt offering entirely ascended up to God, except for the skin of a bull or the discarded crop and feathers of a bird (vv. 6,16). The latter means “that which is complete or perfect,” and speaks of this offering as being devoted wholly to God. In case of other sacrifices, the meat went to the priests and Levites. This offering thus represented complete devotion.
God clearly prescribed that even this whole burnt offering must be offered only at His tabernacle, by His priests, and in accordance with His instructions (vv. 3-9). True religion cannot be invented by man.
The offering of a male without defect reminds us that we ought to give our best to God. The perfect male represents Christ (v.3).
The offerer laid his hand on the head of the sacrifice and it became an atonement on his behalf (v.4). The Hebrew word kippur, “covering” or “atonement,” shows that here too there is a covering of sin by the sacrifice of the animal. The atonement of Christ for the believer was vicarious – one suffering in another’s place (2 Cor. 5:21).
The blood was offered up to God by sprinkling it around the altar (v.5) The blood was not to be thought of as discarded, for it made the atonement for sin (Lev. 17:11). Thus, Christ saw His own bleeding at Calvary as “the new covenant in My blood” (1 Cor. 11:25).
The burnt offering, by being consumed entirely, symbolized one who desired to be entirely consecrated or rededicated to the Lord (vv. 7-9; cf. Rom. 12:1,2). It reminds us of this goal and need in our lives to be wholly His.
Every morning and evening a whole burnt offering of a lamb was to be offered up to the Lord for the congregation (Num. 28:1-4). This speaks of our need to rekindle daily our devotion to the Lord.
A choice of burnt offerings could be made – bull, sheep, goat, turtledoves, or pigeons (vv. 2,5,10,14). Here we remember that God sees our limitations, and provides for the lowly and the one too poor to bring a great gift. Whatever we give, however, it is to be wholly given to the Lord.
Grain and Drink Offerings: Thanksgiving (Leviticus 2:1-16)
Grain and drink offerings expressed gratitude to God for His life-giving provision for His people. The Hebrew word minchah is best translated “grain offering.” The King James Version rendered it “meat offering,” meaning “food offering.” Today people may inadvertently take this to be animal’s flesh, which it is not. This offering consisted of flour, usually baked into unleavened cakes with olive oil, incense, salt, and wine added. Psalm 104:15 singles out these three items in singing praises to the Lord’s bounteous and all-wise provision for mankind’s needs and refreshment.
The grain was the staff of life for nourishment.
The olive oil had many uses, including fuel for light and use in cooking.
The juice of the grape provided a pleasant, sweet drink.
We could have survived on grain and water, but God in His kindness ordered a better menu for His human creatures. These sacrifices thank Him for this. Grain and drink offerings were not given as atonement for sin, but as an expression of gratitude by the people for God’s provision of food.
The three national annual grain offerings were:
The showbread. Twelve cakes representing the unity of the tribes were baked fresh each week and placed in the tabernacle (Lev. 24:5-9).
The first fruits.
The first sheaf of the early barely was waved before the Lord on the second day of Passover. The Feast of Pentecost was celebrated on the fiftieth day after the second day of the Feast of Passover (Lev. 23:10-14).
Two baked loaves.
At Pentecost they gave thanks to God for the full and now complete harvest (Lev. 23:15-18).
Note the following lessons for our time:
The oil on the flour symbolizes the Holy Spirit giving unity; the frankincense imparts a pleasing aroma to it (vv. 1,2). such unity in His children is indeed a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
This gift from God’s people provided the physical food for God’s servants to live (v.3). Such provision is still made today.
That it was to be unleavened (vv. 4,11) spoke of separation for sin, which characterized all that was done on behalf of God.
Man himself was forbidden to offer up his own gift at the tabernacle; it had to be offered by the priests (vv.8,9). Even to thank God properly a mediator is necessary, and that Mediator is Christ (1 Tim. 2:5).
Note that even the portion that went to the priests is called “most holy” (v.10). It would have been easy for the donor to think that this portion, not offered by fire to the Lord, was a wasted portion. Thus we learn that what we give to His servants is given as if to Him directly (Matt. 25:40).
The salt is said to be “the salt of the covenant” (v.13), a reminder that thanksgiving to God, merely for His bounty in rains and harvests, is not enough. Thanksgiving to God must be connected always with heartfelt gratitude for God’s deliverance for sin, and for His taking those who are forgiven into covenant relationship as His people (1 Cor. 11:25).
Peace Offerings: Fellowship (Leviticus 3:1-17)
“Sacrifice of peace,” zebach shalomim (v.1), literally “sacrifice [singular] of peaces [plural],” refers to various offerings presented by loving and thankful hearts, grateful for the peace and blessing that God has bestowed upon individuals and families. The blood was sprinkled around the altar, and the fat and entrails were burned for the sacrifice. Then the meat was shared by the priests and the family of the one making the offering, as a love feast of contentment for the Lord’s blessing. It expressed the believer’s fellowship with God. Peace offerings could be of several types:
Thanksgiving (Lev. 7:12). Gratitude to God was expressed for some recent blessings.
Vow (Lev. 7:16). This offering commemorated the making or completion of a vow made to Jehovah.
Freewill (Lev. 7:16). The offering was without any specific reason, but out of the sheer delight in being in fellowship with the Lord and knowing His peace.
Lessons which can be applied to the New Testament believer include the following:
The sacrifice of joy was not restricted to a male animal, since it did not directly portray Christ on the cross (v.1).
The blood sprinkled around the altar signifies today that even our peace and prosperity in daily life depends first on Christ’s blood having been shed for our sins (v.2).
God, who demanded a sacrifice without defect (v.1), called for the burning of only the inedible portion, and left the good meat to be eaten by His people. This shows that peace and fellowship here flow two ways. God is good (Lev. 2:3).
“A sweet aroma to the LORD” shows that the Lord delights in the well-being of His people, and in their proper expression of love and gratitude to Him for His care (v.5).
“Male or female… without blemish” (v.6) demonstrates that, despite certain sacrifices specified as male, femaleness was never regarded by God as a defect.
Sin of Ignorance Offerings: Righting Wrongs (Leviticus 4:1-35)
The Mosaic Law consisted of both moral commandments and ceremonial directions, which were often given in great detail. It was not difficult for even the sincerest of God’s followers to violate one of these ceremonial laws occasionally. In lovingkindness God made special provision for the forgiveness, cleansing, and restoration of one who inadvertently broke His law.
Lessons to be learned include the following:
God, the moral judge of the universe, makes a distinction between those who unintentionally violate His statues and those who intentionally trample them (v.2).Thus, the one who willfully gathered sticks on the Sabbath, who defied God openly soon after the commandment was issued, was stoned (Num. 15:25-36). By grace, however, in the trespass offering (see Point 36- F, Leviticus 6:1-7, “Trespass Offerings: Forgiveness”) there is mercy for the penitent (Heb. 12:5-11).
Even unintentional violations of God’s law are still regarded as sin, for which there must be atonement.
Even God’s faithful people sin, whether intentionally or unintentionally (v.3). God knows their limitations, but does not lower His holy standards. Nor does He make exceptions for His specially anointed people. On the contrary, their liability is greater (James 3:1); but He provides for their cleansing and restoration (1 John 1:9).
The requirement to sprinkle the blood seven times before the veil, and to place blood on the horns of the altar of incense referred particularly to a sacrifice for an unintentional sin of the high priest – for example, if he defiled himself by touching a dead body or by eating an unclean item. The mediator-priest of the people had to be cleansed before he could serve.
The enormity of the sin of the high priest would be dramatized to the people by requiring that the flesh, head, legs, and entrails be burned outside the camp (vv. 11,12). These were totally unclean, and, as a symbol of sin, had to be utterly removed from the presence of God and His people. Thus Christ our High Priest carried our sins outside the camp (Jerusalem) at Calvary. Unlike the Old Testament high priest, He was without sin, but He was made “to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21; cf. Heb. 13:11-13).
A whole congregation could sin corporately (vv. 13:21). When this was discovered – looking back over the past year or years – the elders had to take the necessary steps for forgiveness, and right the wrong.
Leaders (v.22) and common people (v.27) were not exempt from the consequences of unintentional sins. It is not enough merely to forget about it, and turn over a new leaf; forgiveness must be sought, and amends must be made.
Trespass Offerings: Forgiveness (Leviticus 6:1-7)
Trespass offerings pertain to acts committed willfully against one’s fellow man, while are also against the Lord – such as robbery, fraud, embezzlement, theft, extortion, or retaining property unlawfully. All of these sins involve apparent guilt – plainly breaking God’s law, whether willfully or through yielding to temptation. Observe also.
Sins of cheating one’s spiritual brother are also trespasses against God (vv. 2,6).
Not only must divine pardon be sought, but God demands that restitution to be made, plus one-fifth interest and penalty (vv. 4,5)
From the dual requirements here presented, that is, to seek forgiveness from both God and man, we conclude:
One who makes restitution to one’s neighbor, and who does not make peace with God, remains unforgiven.
One who offers sacrifice to God, but fails to restore the loss to his brother, remains unforgiven.
True inward conversion, such as in the case of Zacchaeus, is expressed by a sincere outward effort to make amends for wrongs (Luke 19:8-10).
Having made restitution and sought God’s forgiveness, one must then by faith accept God’s forgiveness, and should no longer harbor feelings of guilt (Eph. 1:7).
How kind God is to His people to provide for forgiveness of even willful sins! Therefore we also are to forgive one another (Eph. 4:32).
How available Christ is today to forgive, cleanse, and give a new life and new direction to those who flee to Him for forgiveness of their trespasses and guilt (Rom. 4:5-8; cf. Ps. 32:1,2).
Special Offerings (Leviticus 12:6-8)
The following special sacrifices are of particular interest, and convey vital and touching lessons to the believer:
Mary and Joseph, according to Luke 2:22-24, offered a pair of turtledoves or pigeons, after the birth of Jesus, to comply with verse 6. While in Leviticus both a lamb and a bird (turtledove or pigeon) are commanded, if one had no lamb or could not afford one, one could instead bring a second bird. This was the case with Mary and Joseph, as described by Luke. Their poverty was evident in that they were only able and required to bring turtledoves.
The sacrifice of the red heifer, a female cow (Num. 19:1-13), required that the ashes of this offering be placed in water. This water then become the water of cleansing, and was sprinkled on anyone who became ceremonially defiled by touching dead body. We note that even cleansing by water must be based on prior sacrifice of blood (Heb. 9:22).
The Passover Sacrifice, on the fourteenth day of the first month of the religious calendar – March/April (Lev. 23:5) – was to be a lamb for a household (Ex. 12:3). This was a family sacrifice. The blood of the lamb was applied to the doorposts of each family dwelling to save the firstborn from the plague (Ex. 12:7-13). This slain lamb was a type of Christ (Rev. 5:5-13).
The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur, “Day of Covering”) occurs on the tenth day of the seventh month of the sacred calendar – September/ October (Lev. 23:27). On this day two goats were brought before the high priest and the congregation.
One was selected, by lot, for death. Its blood was sprinkled within the veil, upon the ark, as an atonement for the sins of the people.
The second was the “scapegoat.” The sins of the people were confessed over it. It was then led off to be lost in wilderness, showing that sins confessed and atoned for were now removed from God’s sight (Lev. 16:7-10; cf. Ps. 1-3:12).
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39). In the King James Version this verse reads like a command, “Search the Scriptures”; in the New King James Version and other versions it reads like a statement of fact, “You search the Scriptures.” Both the translations are valid. We may perceive it as both command and a statement of fact. We are to search the Old Testament books; for in them Christ is revealed unto us in type and prophesy. He is the theme of the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi.
Christ is the center and principal subject of this messianic psalm, and it is so interpreted by the Lord Jesus Himself. Matthew tells us that, on one occasion, He entered the temple and drove out the religious commercializers. Jesus said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it ‘a den of thieves'” (Matt. 21:13). After cleansing the temple of merchants, He brought in the lame and blind, healed them and blessed them. Now when the children saw the miracles, their voices rang out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matt 21:15). Hosanna means “Save now” (Ps. 118:25). In other words, the children in the temple were calling upon the Messiah to deliver them now. The chief priests and scribes looked on in religious silence and contempt, ignorant of the fact that this was the fulfillment of verse Psalm 8:2. They said to Jesus, “Do You hear what these are saying?” (Matt. 21:16). They were shocked because children proclaimed Him to be the proclaimed Messiah. Then Jesus quoted verse Psalm 8:2: “Yes, Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of the babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?” (Matt. 21:12-16). God used the children in the temple to exalt the Messiah and fulfill the messianic prophecy.
The Messiah Exalted Psalm 8:1-9
The Messiah Rejected Psalm 118:22-29
The Messiah Forsaken Psalm 69: 1-21
The Messiah Crucified Psalm 22:1-31
The Messiah Resurrected Psalm 16:1
The Messiah as High Priest Psalm 110:1-7
The Messiah as King of Kings Psalm 2:1-12
The Covenant God
A contract or agreement between two parties. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word berith is always thus translated. Berith is derived from a root which means “to cut,” and hence a covenant is a “cutting,” with reference to the cutting or dividing of animals into two parts, and the contracting parties passing between them, in making a covenant (Gen 15; Jer 34:18, 19).
The corresponding word in the New Testament Greek is diatheke, which is, however, rendered “testament” generally in the Authorized Version. It ought to be rendered, just as the word berith of the Old Testament, “covenant.”
The word is used with reference to God’s revelation of himself in the way of promise or of favor to men. Here is the first mention of the word Berith.
Genesis 6:18 (NKJV) But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark–you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.
This is the covenant God made with Noah.
Genesis 9:12 (NKJV) And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
Then God makes a covenant with Abraham
Genesis 15:18 (NKJV) On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates-
The God makes a covenant with Moses and with Israel.
Exodus 34:27 (NKJV) Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”
There are more covenants, but we are just covering a few to get the foundation for what I need to teach you next.
Leviticus 26:42 (NKJV) then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.
Let us study the covenant God made with Moses and Israel now.
Deuteronomy 5:2 (NKJV) The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.
Mount Horeb, is the mountain at which the book of Deuteronomy in the Hebrew Bible states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God.
It was also the place that they made and worshipped the Golden calf.
Psalm 106:19 (NKJV) They made a calf in Horeb, And worshiped the molded image.
As far as the overarching narrative in the Hebrew bible is concerned, Mount Sinai and Mount Horeb are the same mountain; they each identify the location where God formed his covenant with Israel after their escape from Egypt.
Exodus 34:27-28 (NKJV) 27 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 31:18 (NKJV) And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.
The Lord told them over and over not to break this covenant, or to make any other covenant with other Gods.
Exodus 19:5 (NKJV) Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.
Exodus 34:12-15 (NKJV) 12 Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. 13 But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice,
Leviticus 26:15-16 (NKJV) 15 and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, 16 I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
Deuteronomy 17:2-5 (NKJV) 2 “If there is found among you, within any of your gates which the LORD your God gives you, a man or a woman who has been wicked in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing His covenant, 3 who has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, either the sun or moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded, 4 and it is told you, and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination has been committed in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has committed that wicked thing, and shall stone to death that man or woman with stones.
So as you can see, our Heavenly Father was serious about His covenant. This particular covenant was like a marriage covenant to God. Unfortunately, it was not a happy marriage as the old testament reveals and as was acted out in the life of Hosea. God often had to put away his unfaithful wife, in fact God divorced her. This effectively ended the covenant He made with her. Then the Lord spoke through Jeremiah through a prophecy,
Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NKJV) 31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah– 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
This is the only time a new covenant is mentioned in the Old Testament. Let us look at this passage in the new testament.
Hebrews 8:8-13 (NKJV) 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah– 9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Who is the covenant made with? The house of Israel and the House of Judah. This is very important. Then how do you and I, those who are not the biological offspring of Israel fit in?
Romans 11:11-24 (NKJV) 11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! 13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
The Apostle Paul likens Israel to the natural branches of a cultivated olive tree. This symbolizes the first covenant. You and I, the Gentile believers, are likened to the branches of a wild olive tree.
The natural branches (Israel) were broken off, and the wild branches (Gentiles) were grafted in (verse 17). You and I, through this, have been made partakers of the promises and inherit the blessings of God’s salvation. So, we are “grafted” into the “olive tree” and nourished by the “root”, the promises to Abraham.
The tree thus signifies the collective people of God; the “wild branches” grafted in are Gentile believers; the “natural branches” that are cut off are the Jews in unbelief. Jewish believers remain in the tree but are joined with Gentiles and “made” into a “new body,”.
Ephesians 2:11-22 (NKJV) 11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh–who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands– 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone,
21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ
so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace
members of the household of God,
We will end by going to a portion we read from Hebrews.
Hebrews 8:13 (NKJV) In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
This will vanish away when both houses are reunited and gathered to Him. Once we orient ourselves to see the history of man through God’s covenant of marriage with Israel,
About how their unfaithfulness caused a split; the house of Israel and the House of Judah,
About how God divorced the House of Israel, and not Judah, although Judah was not much better
About how God without breaking His own laws of divorce found a way to restore His marriage through a New Covenant.
How we who were Godless, are now adopted to God’s family.
How He will gather both us along with them, a process we call rapture.
In other words, from God’s point of view, He is gathering us and them to him. If you are alive at this time, then the process is called Harpazo, which can mean “to carry off by force”, “to snatch out or away”. This is commonly called the rapture, but as we shall see in our further studies, rapture is the process God uses to gather those who are living at the time of His gathering.
Revelation of God in the Old Testament
The Eternal Creator (Genesis 2:4-25)
The Lord our Sovereign; Master Jehovah (Genesis 15:2,8)
The Lord will see or provide (Genesis 22:8-14)
The Lord our banner (Exodus 17:15)
The Lord our healer (Exodus 15:26)
The Lord our peace (Judges 6:24)
The Lord our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; Jeremiah 33:16)
The Lord our sanctifier (Exodus 31:13; Leviticus 20:8; Leviticus 21:8; Leviticus 22:9,16,32; Ezekiel 20:12)
The Lord of hosts (1 Samuel 1:3; etc., 284 times)
The Lord is present (Ezekiel 48:35)
The Lord Most High (Psalm 7:17; Psalm 47:2; Psalm 97:9)
The Lord my Shepherd (Psalm 23:1)
The Lord our Maker (Psalm 95:6)
The Lord our God (Psalm 99:5,8,9)
The Lord thy God (Exodus 20:2,5,7)
The Lord my God (Zech. 14:5)