Day 79: An End and a Beginning

Deuteronomy 33-34; Luke 1:26-56

Key Verses

Deuteronomy 34:4-5
And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.

Luke 1:30-33
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Today we read of the death of Moses and the conception of Jesus. It is the end of the law-giver and the beginning of the law-Fulfiller. It is the end of the shadow and the beginning of the full-color glory.

The end of Deuteronomy marks the end of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament). All the themes of the Pentateuch find their fulfillment in Christ.

  • The promises of the Abrahamic covenant, specifically “All the nations are blessed through Abraham and his descendants”Genesis 12:1-3), point forward to all nations being blessed through Jesus.
  • The climax of the Pentateuch, God coming down to fill the Tabernacle with His glory (Exodus 40:34-38), points forward to Christ coming to earth to reveal His glory to the world.
  • And finally, “Jesus is seen as the new and greater Moses. As Moses declared God’s law for Israel, so Jesus declared and embodied God’s word to the nations. As Moses suffered and died outside the land so that his people could enter it, so the Son of God died on earth so that his people might enter heaven” (from the article “Introduction to the Pentateuch” ESV Study Bible, Crossway).

Imagine if the people of Moses’ day could look forward and see the fulfillment of the promises in Jesus… It would have been beyond their imagination! Just as the ultimate fulfillment that Revelation describes is beyond our imagination :) It is no wonder that C.S. Lewis referred to our life on this earth as the “Shadowlands.”

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).

Day 72: A lesson in Covenant

Deuteronomy 16-18; Mark 14:1-25

Key Verses

Deuteronomy 18:18
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.

Mark 14:22
And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”

Moses continues his review of the law by following a loose pattern of the 10 commandments. Today’s reading includes instructions concerning festivals (chapt. 16) – which is loosely patterned after the 4th commandment (keep the Sabbath holy) – as well as laws concerning various leaders (chapt. 17-18) – which is patterned after the 5th commandment (honor your parents).

In today’s reading in Mark, we see Jesus eat his last meal before He is betrayed. Listen to His words…

He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mark 14:24).

He alludes to “the blood of the covenant.” This echoes Moses’ words in Exodus after the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai…

Then [Moses] took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words” (Exodus 24:7-8).

Notice that the covenant Moses institutes at Mt. Sinai is a covenant of works. The Mosaic Covenant is a conditional covenant. God promises to bless the people but only if they obey the law. The new covenant that Jesus institutes is an unconditional covenant – a covenant of grace. Jesus fulfills all the requirements of the old covenant – perfectly – and then offers to transfer his perfect record to us. This is grace.

Many Christians wonder why God gave the law if He planned to replace it with a new covenant. But the law wasn’t replaced… it was fulfilled. The law was necessary to teach us the holy standard of God. If there were no law, there would not be a need for grace!

Both the Old and New covenants flow from the unconditional promises found in the covenant God made with Abraham – that He would make for himself a great nation and through Abraham’s descendants, all of the families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3) – and that He would be our God, and we would be His people (Leviticus 26:13).

We are covenant breakers, but God is the covenant keeper. We are blessed because of the promise made to Abraham which finds its fulfillment in the work of Christ. For Jesus is the ultimate fulfiller. 

Day 351: The 7th seal and the 7 trumpets

Amos 7-9Revelation 8

Amos 7 opens with a conversation…Amos is pleading for God to show mercy and withhold judgment from Israel. Amos seems to make headway as God relents twice, but then God shows Amos a third vision which reveals how far Israel has fallen away from the “plumb-line of God’s law.” When Amos sees the depravity of Israel as compared to the holiness of God, he stops pleading. Amos knows that there is nothing that can avert God’s judgment.

“The end has come upon my people Israel;
I will never again pass by them.
The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day,”
declares the Lord God.
“So many dead bodies!”
“They are thrown everywhere!”
“Silence!” (Amos 8:2-3)

God’s judgment on Israel through the Assyrian army is a precursor of His judgment to come in the final day. This final judgment is depicted in the opening of the 7th and final seal in Revelation 8.

There is silence before the opening of the final seal and the final judgment of the earth. In this silence, the prayers of all the church, both living and before the throne of God are received by God. And He answers the prayers of the saints…their prayers for relief, for comfort, for justice, for help, for vindication, for salvation with the opening of the final seal when fire from God’s altar is thrown upon the earth in the absolute, final judgment.

John’s vision then moves to watch seven angels herald seven trumpets. The trumpets are essentially a repeating of the same judgment described in the seven seals, but according to P. Gardner, the trumpets describe the judgment from the perspective of the unbeliever. The trumpet is used as a symbol of judgment and the final coming of Christ throughout Scripture, so “this helps us understand this trumpet sound that issues from the seven angels. God is declaring holy war on Satan and those who follow him. He summons people to repentance, and announces the final judgment day and the coming of Christ.” (P. Gardner, Revelation, pg, 127).

The plagues of Egypt form the backdrop for the seven trumpets – further supporting the position that the trumpets are from the perspective of the unbeliever. With the plagues in mind, we must remember that God preserved the Israelites through the plagues. And so he will preserve His church through the tribulations of these last days!

Also important to note is that the devastation brought by the heralding trumpets is limited to “one-third.” God restrains his wrath so that all are given an opportunity to repent!! For… His judgment is revealed in the context of His faithfulness to redeem his people. 

We see this at the end of Amos…after God judges Israel, he promises to preserve a remnant and restore “the booth of David” (Amos 9:11-12). And then God describes a future where His people will enjoy a land that is fruitful beyond imagination (Amos 9:13-15). He describes our future in the New Heaven and the New Earth!!

Disclaimer: I humbly and cautiously offer an interpretation of the book of Revelation based on my Reformed understanding of Scripture, an Amillennialist eschatology, and a heavy reliance on the book,Revelation, The Compassion and Protection of Christ by Dr. Paul Gardner.

Day 79: An End and a Beginning

Deuteronomy 33-34; Luke 1:26-56

Today we read of the death of Moses and the conception of Jesus. It is the end of the law-giver and the beginning of the law-Fulfiller. It is the end of the shadow and the beginning of full-color glory.

The end of Deuteronomy marks the end of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament). All the themes of the Pentateuch find their fulfillment in Christ.

  • The promises of the Abrahamic covenant, specifically “All the nations are blessed through Abraham and his descendants” (Genesis 12:1-3), point forward to all nations being blessed through Jesus. 
  • The climax of the Pentateuch, God coming down to fill the Tabernacle with His glory (Exodus 40:34-38), points forward to Christ coming to earth to reveal His glory to the world.
  • And finally, “Jesus is seen as the new and greater Moses. As Moses declared God’s law for Israel, so Jesus declares and embodies God’s word to the nations. As Moses suffered and died outside the land so that his people could enter it, so the Son of God died on earth so that his people might enter heaven” (from article “Introduction to the Pentateuch” ESV Study Bible, Crossway).

Imagine if the people of Moses’ day could look forward to see the fulfillment of the promises in Jesus… It would have been beyond their imagination! Just as the ultimate fulfillment that Revelation describes is beyond our imagination :) It is no wonder that C.S. Lewis referred to our life on this earth as the “Shadowlands.”

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).

Day 72: A lesson in Covenant

Deuteronomy 16-18; Mark 14:1-25

Moses continues his review of the law by following a loose pattern of the 10 commandments. Today’s reading includes instructions concerning festivals (chapt. 16) – which is loosely patterned after the 4th commandment (keep the Sabbath holy) – as well as laws concerning various leaders (chapt. 17-18) – which is patterned after the 5th commandment (honor your parents).

In today’s reading in Mark, we see Jesus eat his last meal before He is betrayed. Listen to His words…

And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mark 14: 22-24).

He alludes to “the blood of the covenant.” This echoes Moses’ words in Exodus after the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai…

Then [Moses] took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words” (Exodus 24:7-8).

Notice that the covenant Moses institutes at Mt. Sinai is a covenant of works. The Mosaic Covenant is a conditional covenant. God promises to bless the people but only if they obey the law. The new covenant that Jesus institutes is an unconditional covenant – a covenant of grace. Jesus fulfills all the requirements of the old covenant – perfectly – and then offers to transfer his perfect record to us. This is grace.

Many Christians wonder why God gave the law if He planned to replace it with a new covenant. But the law wasn’t replaced… it was fulfilled. The law was necessary to teach us the holy standard of God. If there were no law, there would not be a need for grace!

Both the Old and New covenants flow from the unconditional promises found in the covenant God made with Abraham – that He would make for himself a great nation and through Abraham’s descendants, all of the families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3) – and that He would be our God, and we would be His people (Leviticus 26:13).

We are covenant breakers, but God is the covenant keeper. We are blessed because of the promise made to Abraham which finds its fulfillment in the work of Christ. Jesus is the ultimate fulfiller. Moses prophesies of Jesus in Deuteronomy 18…

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him (Deuteronomy 18:18).

Because of Jesus, we can call God “our God” and He can call us “His people.” For this, I am grateful :)