Sunday July 22nd 2012
The Letter to the Hebrews
Part Fifty Two
1). Heb 11:22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.
a). We will remember from our previous studies that the reference here in Hebrews Chapter 11 to Joseph?s bones and the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt pictured for us both the bodily resurrection of the OT saints as well as the resurrection of the nation of Israel as a whole following the nation?s affliction during the Tribulation and following the events pictured in the Passover, but before the nation is returned to the land.
b). We had seen this timing for Israel?s resurrection pictured within the 7 feasts given to Israel as a prophetic calendar showing them what is yet to come, where resurrection is seen in the feast of firstfruits ? a feast that comes after Passover, which shows the nation?s national conversion, but before the Feast of Trumpets, which speaks of the re-gathering of the nation to the land.
c). And in the historical account in Exodus it is after the nation has been afflicted by the Assyrian Pharaoh and following the first Passover, but before the nation leaves Egypt to go to the land of promise that Moses turns his attention to the bones of Joseph ? Ex 13:18 So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt. 19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you."
d). And this is a sequencing of events that we had seen occuring throughout scripture making absolutely certain the events that are soon to befall Israel.
2). We also saw Israel?s resurrection, which must include the bodily resurrection of the OT saints, pictured in the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel Chapter 37 ? a passage of scripture that ends with these verses ?
Eze 37:11 Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!' 12 "Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD:
"Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 "Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 "I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it," says the LORD.'"
3). And then we might also remember that this same resurrection is pictured from another perspective in the type given through the resurrection of Lazarus as recorded in - Joh 11:1 ? Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." 4 When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."
a). Lazarus pictures the spiritual condition of Israel ? he is sick ? a condition that is described by the prophet Isaiah as follows ?
Isa 1:5 Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, And the whole heart faints. 6 From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up, Or soothed with ointment. 7 Your country is desolate, Your cities are burned with fire; Strangers devour your land in your presence; And it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
b). But this is not a sickness ?unto death? ? it does not mark the permanent end of the nation because God has promised - 2Ch 7:14 "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Ho 6:1 ? Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. 2 After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.
c). And we see that on hearing of Lazarus?s sickness Jesus stays ?two more days in the place where He was?, picturing for us the Lord remaining in Heaven for the two days, 2000 years, of this dispensation before He will return again to Judea.
d). Now not only does the account of the resurrection of Lazarus give us yet another picture of Israel yet future when the Lord returns in response to their cry to call them out from the place of the dead, but it also provides detail for us on the type of resurrection that the OT saints, in conjunction with the nation coming out of the Tribulation, will experience - Joh 11:38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days." 40 Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 "And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me." 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!" 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."
e). So let?s just notice a couple of things here ? 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. ? The stone that has been placed in front of Lazarus?s tomb must be removed for a very specific reason ? to let Lazarus out.
f). Now compare this with the Lord?s resurrection - Joh 20:1 ? Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." 3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.
g). What we will immediately see here is that the stone placed in front of the Lord?s tomb has been removed not to let the Lord out, but to let others in to see that He is not there.
h). When Lazarus emerges from his tomb he came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth, which prompts Jesus to give the instruction - "Loose him, and let him go."
i). However, from the account of the Lord?s resurrection we see that the linen cloths, the graveclothes, were ?lying there? and the handkerchief that had been around His head was ?folded together in a place by itself.?
j). So to fully understand the significance of this and to understand exactly what John saw when entering the tomb that caused him to believe, let?s just back up a little - Joh 19:39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.
k). The strips of linen were coated with a thick layer of the sticky spices and then wrapped around His body ? if we can picture for ourselves an Egyptian mummy then this will give us a good visual reference as to what Christ?s wrapped body looked like. Now over the course of the time the Lord?s body was in the tomb, the spices would begin to harden around the shape of His body.
l). When Peter and John entered the tomb they saw what we could best describe as a cocoon conforming to the shape of the Lord?s body, but the cocoon was empty, leaving nothing but an empty shell ? the Lord did not need to be called out of His tomb as He is ?the resurrection and the life?; and He did not need to be loosed from His grave clothes ? He was at one moment inside that cocoon of spices and linen and the next moment He was not; the handkerchief around His head just collapsed in a place by itself when the Lord?s head was no longer in it.
m). And the reason for this? Well simply that the life giving force in the Lord?s body of flesh and bone, the same body that was crucified, is now the Holy Spirit as His blood was poured out at Calvary ? the Lord?s resurrected body then consists of flesh and bone and Spirit whereas Lazarus?s body was flesh and bone and blood.
n). And here marks the difference between the resurrection of OT saints including the Jews coming out of the Tribulation and the resurrection/rapture of Christians. The Jewish people will have bodies that the scripture calls ?natural bodies? or ?soulical bodies? ? bodies of flesh and bone and blood - whereas Christians will possess ?spiritual bodies? ? bodies of flesh and bone animated by the Holy Spirit.
o). It will be this way because the promises to Israel are earthly and the promises to Christians are ?heavenly?.
p). John in his letter that we call 1 John says it this way - 1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
q). And Paul addresses the same issue in - 1Co 15:40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 ? Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- 52 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.
r). This then is what we have to look forward to. Not only do we receive a superior blessing [we will remember Ephraim and Manasseh] because our calling is heavenly, but we shall also receive a ?heavenly?, a ?spiritual? body after the likeness of the resurrected Christ. The full appreciation of what this will be like will have to wait until the day we experience it first hand, but it is without doubt incredible to ponder.
s). One last thing, let?s remember that Adam and the Woman possessed bodies of flesh, bone and blood which were, before the fall, completely sinless and untouchable by death. The Lord Himself at His incarnation was also sinless in a body of flesh and blood and bone ? And this we need to keep in mind when thinking about Israel in the Kingdom.
4). Now before we leave the bones of Joseph let?s remember once again exactly what he said - Ge 50:24 And Joseph said to his brethren, "I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He
swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." 25 Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here."
a). And we will remember, as we read first thing this morning, that Joseph makes the statements in v24 ?by faith? ? God had revealed to him the certainty of His visiting His people Israel and the certainty of His bringing them out of Egypt to the land He ?swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?.
b). After all, let?s not forget that which God had told Abraham ?
Ge 15:13 Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.
c). Now these statements made by Joseph come at the end of the Book of Genesis and what we may not have realized is that the Books that Follow ? Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Numbers and Joshua all form God?s own commentary on that which Joseph, by faith, had said concerning God?s visitation and the nation?s return to the land. And although the events in these Books give us an historical record of Israel from Egypt to Canaan they also remain almost entirely prophetic as they look to God?s future visitation and deliverance of His people Israel from the worldwide dispersion that is about to come.
d). And all of this of course builds on that typified in Abraham leaving the land of his birth to go to the land that God would give him as an inheritance; and that which we have seen concerning Joseph and his brothers and the years of famine ? all of which rests upon the foundation of 6 days of work followed by a 7th day of rest.
e). And it is this same prophetic sequence from affliction in Egypt to the establishment of the theocratic Kingdom in the land that is pictured in the verses that follow v22 in Hebrews Chapter 11.
5). Heb 11:22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones. 23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's command. 24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and
the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.
a). v23-29 give us a brief synopsis of the first 14 Chapters of the Book of Exodus and provide commentary for us on Joseph?s bones in v22.
b). V30, the coming down of the walls of Jericho, gives us additional commentary on v29, the overthrow of the Egyptians in the Red Sea.
c). The verses take us from the birth of Moses to the total destruction of the most powerful nation on the earth at that time, picturing that future time when this same nation upon Christ?s return will be delivered from their dispersion amongst the nations of the world, to the absolute destruction of Gentile world power in the overthrow of Antichrist and his worldwide kingdom.
d). It would be good for us to keep in mind that Exodus as a whole, with the exception of events in Chapter 2, is a Book filled with unfulfilled prophecy. It is a Book that covers the same events laid out for us in the Book of Genesis that we have studied in past weeks and the same events revealed to the Apostle John recorded in the Revelation.
e). So, let?s now take a closer look at our verses here in Hebrews Chapter 11.
6). 23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's command.
a). We see the opening statement here concerning Moses ? ?By faith Moses?, but what is dealt with in this verse is the faith of Moses? parents, Amram and Jochebed, rather than the faith of Moses per se; but what we must note is that Moses faith, which we will see shortly, is inextricably connected to the faith of his parents, that which his parents had believed.
b). Pharaoh had given a command concerning male Hebrew children ?
Ex 1:22 So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, "Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive."
c). According to our Hebrews verse Amram and Jochebed ?were not afraid of the king?s command? ? rather than acting in fear they acted in faith.
d). Now it is true that they would have known of the prophecy given to Abraham that we saw earlier in Genesis 15:13 and therefore knew that the prophesied length of time was coming to a close; and they would also have known that spoken by Joseph concerning his bones and God?s visitation to His
people, but I think we would have to go beyond this, given the explicit connection with the faith in this verse, to the realization that God had given Amram and Jochebed revelation concerning Moses and the role he was to play as the nation?s deliverer, a revelation that is not recorded in the scriptures, which gave them the foundation for the actions they took. And what they were told cannot be separated from the context of Genesis 15:13 and Genesis 50:24.
e). We will I am sure remember the account concerning the early life of Moses - Ex 2:3 But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank. 4 And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him. 5 ? Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. 6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children." 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?" 8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go." So the maiden went and called the child's mother. 9 Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed him.
a). After 3 months Jochebed put her son in an ark of bulrushes daubed ?with asphalt and pitch? [echoes of Noah maybe?] and hid him by the river bank where he is found by Pharaoh?s daughter. And in order to honor the faith of Amram and Jochebed Moses is returned to his own mother to be nursed by her under the protection of Pharaoh himself.
b). So within the sovereign control of the Lord the man who would one day deliver the Jewish people from the clutches of Pharaoh is reared by his own mother under the protection of his enemy; which gives us an intriguing example of the way the Lord will sometimes act in order to bring about His plans and His purposes for His people.
c). We can see this in - Ex 9:13 ? Then the LORD said to Moses, "Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, 'Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: "Let My people go, that they may serve Me, 14 "for at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth. 15 "Now if I had stretched out My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, then you would have been cut off from the earth. 16 "But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.
d). And - Re 17:16 "And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 "For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.
e). And finally, we would have to conclude that the revelation concerning Moses that was given to Amram and Jochebed was passed on to Moses by his mother while he was still in her care. So why would we draw this conclusion? Well, simply because when he was grown and living in the palace of Pharaoh apart from his mother the scripture records that he acted ?by faith? ? he believed that which God had said.
f). The actions he took though, by faith, will have to wait until next time, if the Lord is willing.