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Archive for April, 2012

Israel, the saints, and the number a thousand

April 30, 2012 Comments off

The use of the number a thousand, and multiples of a thousand, is characteristic in descriptions of the saints throughout the Bible. The number is applied to Israel in the Old Testament, and to the church in the New Testament, which supports the idea of continuity between the two.

When Rebekah agreed to return with Abraham’s servant to become the bride of Isaac, her family said to her, “be thou the mother of thousands of millions.” [Genesis 24:58-60] This seems to be the first time that “thousands” was used in reference to the descendants of Abraham. Read more…

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Milk and honey and believing the gospel

April 28, 2012 Comments off

In Hebrews, the promised land and the sabbath day both represent the rest that is promised to the Christian. This rest is something that has to be believed, and it is something that the saints are encouraged to labour to enter. [Hebrews 3:18-19 & 4:9-11]

Hebrews 4:11-12
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

In the verses quoted above, and as the context shows, the rest that the saints may enter is believing the word of God. This is also the symbolic meaning of the promised land. Believing the word of God, corresponds to entry into the land of promise. This is supported in other scriptures too. Read more…

Rain and rivers in Isaiah 30:20-28

April 27, 2012 Comments off

In his commentary on Isaiah 30:20, where the English translation reads “yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more,” John Calvin translated: “Thy rain shall no longer be restrained.” Calvin viewed ‘rain’ as better suited to the immediate context in the verse itself, (‘the water of affliction’) than the word ‘teachers.’ Read more…

The church and prophecy

April 22, 2012 Comments off

In the table below, several OT prophecies about Jerusalem and mount Zion are compared with New Testament scriptures, to show that after Jesus ascended to heaven after his resurrection, the church was the continuation of mount Zion and Jerusalem. The earthly city was the shadow and type of the spiritual reality revealed in the gospel.

Read more…

Sheep, green pastures, and the promised land

April 22, 2012 Comments off

In Scripture, Christians are identified with sheep who are led by Christ to green pastures, and still waters where they may drink. David wrote:

Psalm 23:2
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

In the metaphor of sheep in this psalm, Christ, who is the shepherd, leads his saints to places where they may find plenty of nourishment, and spiritual water to drink. The green pastures suggest that they are taught new things, that have an aspect of freshness and newness, rather than old, familiar things. New wine is a metaphor with a similar meaning in other prophecies. Jesus characterized his teachings as new wine. He said men do not put new wine in old wineskins. [Luke 5:37, NIV] Read more…

Rivers in high places

April 18, 2012 Comments off

Isaiah foretold a time when there would be rivers on every high mountain; he wrote:

Isaiah 30:25
And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.

These rivers and streams of water are metaphors of the knowledge of God springing forth, and watering places previously barren, meaning obscure passages of Scripture. Prophecies will begin to make sense, as if a desert were springing to life, when it is irrigated by a stream where there was none before. Read more…

On the times of the antichrist in Daniel 7

April 17, 2012 Comments off

In every generation since the first century, Jesus confirms the covenant, and the promise of God to Abraham, that in his seed all nations will be blessed. Paul called this promise the gospel, in Galatians 3:8. Throughout all the time since he ascended to heaven, after the crucifixion, and his resurrection from the grave, Jesus has been building his church, which is the heavenly Jerusalem. It is the subject of many prophecies, including the prophecy of Daniel 7, where Christians are referred to as the saints of the most high.

Read more…