Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Promise (The Prophets)

 The Old Testament prophets cover a period of time from approximately 760 B.C. to 450 B.C. From pre-exilic, exilic, and post-exilic periods, under various kings and even various oppressors, the prophets delivered God’s message of sin, judgment, and restoration to the nation of Israel and even unto the world. The prophets cried against sin to warn the nation to repent or face the wrath of God as consequence for breaking the Mosaic covenant that was established between the Lord and His people. Their various messages were definitely meant for modern application to the troubles of the day; however, the main message of sin, judgment, repentance, and salvation is the basis of the Genesis 3:15 promise. Although sin entered the world and God passed judgment, there is salvation and restoration through the promised seed of God in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pictures of Christ can be seen in the messages of the major and minor prophets of the Old Testament. Pictures can be seen of the promised seed to come. Hints and scenes are given to prophesy the fulfillment of God’s promise.

 Isaiah

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins” (Isaiah 11:1-5).

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6).

 Jeremiah

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

 Micah

“Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:1-2).

 Zechariah

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10).

 Hosea

“After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight” (Hosea 6:2).

The prophets delivered messages and foreshadows of the promised seed that would break the bondage of sin. Foreshadows of the Lord Jesus Christ, Savior to mankind, who came to seek and save that which is lost. The fulfillment of God’s promise is the Lord Jesus Christ. So many years before the birth of Christ, depending on which prophecy was being preached, God was informing His people that He has not forgotten the original promise. The prophets preached the coming Jesus Christ as the crowning point of the promised seed. The promise never flickered, wavered, or changed from God’s intent. God’s plan is never revised because He is omniscient and therefore knows the end even before the beginning is ignited.


Monday, August 2, 2010

The Promise (The Sapiential Era)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. -Proverbs 9:10

The promise does not disappear in the wisdom writings, i.e., Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. The promise is actually strengthened by the wisdom of truth and life that are found in these books. God’s covenant of living in the promise as a sanctified people is not meant for walking blindly through this world. God gives instruction and insight for His people to obey.


“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…” (Proverbs 9:10a)

“Wisdom cannot exist apart from the source of wisdom; accordingly, it cannot be known or applied from the fear of the Lord.” Fear, or respect, of the power of the Lord is the crux of living a godly life. The fear of the Lord keeps the believer in obedience, in love, and in service as God states in Deuteronomy 10:12. Utmost respect for the Lord means to be fearful not to break His commandments and fearful not to offend Him.

There was nobody like Job. “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (Job 1:8). Even before all the calamities that befell Job, he still feared God. It was the fear of the Lord that kept Job in service to God. The fear of the Lord is the reason Job hated evil and walked upright. Fear, in our negative connotation of today, has not the same implications as God desired His people to acquire. Our modern understanding of the word fear relates to abject terror, but this fear is the beginning of truth and wisdom.

Psalm 34 tells of an angel of the Lord that is around and able to deliver those who fear the Lord. In that same Psalm, David implores God’s people to fear the Lord “for there is no want to them that fear Him” (Psalm 34:9). David exhorts the people to reverence God and trust Him for He is able to protect and deliver.

The writer of Ecclesiastes states that in the business of life, all is vain. He declares that everything in life is meaningless. Wealth is meaningless. The sun rises and the sun sets. Seasons come and go. Wisdom is better than foolishness, but both the wise man and the fool will die. All of life is vanities! “But it would go well for those who feared God (Ecclesiastes 8:12), and they would come forth victorious having taken hold of true wisdom while rejecting evil (Ecclesiastes 7:18).” The fear of the Lord leads to wisdom, which in turn leads to the knowledge and understanding of God.


“…and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10b).

Through obedience, love, and service, fear of the Lord in turn leads to the knowledge of the Lord. Knowledge is a great thing, but the Preacher in Ecclesiastes states that “he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” If one increases his knowledge of God’s ways, he increases his sorrows over seeing the wickedness of man. A man full of knowledge understands the result of sin. And when one understands the danger and destruction of sin, one sees the importance of the Genesis 3:15 promise and understands the dire need for a Savior.

The fear of the Lord led Job to his knowledge in the Lord. When Job expressed frustration on not being able to approach God in his troubles and trials, he said, “Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:33). Job understood that because he could not go to God that he needed a daysman. He understood that he needed someone to be a go-between, a mediator, an arbiter, an advocate to reach in to Heaven and touch down to earth and span the gap between man and God. Job understood the value of the Genesis 3:15 promise to mankind living in this sinful world. The knowledge of the Lord led him to understand God’s plan as he foresaw the need for the Christ.

The unified connections of God’s promise continue through the sapiential writings to show that God’s plan can be understood through wisdom in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. Within these writings, the pictures of Christ are apparent and correlate with the original promise of a seed to come that would destroy the serpent. In the midst of the troubles of Job, he said, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth” (Job 19:25). The love story in the Song of Solomon between the Shulamite girl and the shepherd king is a picture of the love of Christ and the Church. The wisdom gleaned from the fear of the Lord sheds light to mortal man on the meaning and purpose of God’s promise in Genesis 3:15.