Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Son of Promise--and other walking, talking prophecies

The Word for today:
Genesis 24:1-60
We're all aware of people who are biblical prophets: Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Jesus.
But are we aware of the people who are biblical prophecies???
Most of the time when we think of biblical prophecy we think of foretold events. We are thrilled by fulfilled prophetic events because they serve as documented proof of God's omniscience and the Bible's accuracy. Foretold events which have come precisely true place our faith on a foundation of verifiable fact. Micah said that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem; Isaiah said he would, somehow, be born of a virgin; Isaiah, David, and Zechariah graphically foretold his crucifixion, before that particular means of capital punishment was even devised; Daniel identified the exact year of the crucifixion; David clearly foretold his resurrection. If you've got about a week, I can go on and on. (So can you. Just google "Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Christ"--and stand back!)
But you get the point: we think of prophecy in terms of events. But the most profound prophecies are about "who" more than "what." The most meaningful and far-reaching prophecies are about the person of Christ and the eternal conditions (not the specific events) of his eternal Kingdom.
In order to help you see the prophetic significance of people, places, and things which might not, at first, seem prophetic, we are going to list some of the people we've met here in mid-Genesis, with a brief description of their prophetic implications.
You may not see all of the implications immediately, but look them over and you'll get the hang of it--you'll begin to see deep and lasting prophecy where you didn't expect to find it, and your fascination with Jesus and with the Bible will enter new dimensions!
Isaac, the miracle baby promised to Abraham and his wife Sarah (who was long past child-bearing age) is a prophecy of Jesus, who was also supernaturally born.
Isaac was "the son of promise." God promised Abraham that through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed (1). This was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, a descendant of Abraham and Isaac.
The dead womb of Sarah was a tomb—out of which comes Isaac, the son of promise. This is a pointed prophetic picture of resurrection.
Ishmael represents a prophecy-by-contrast. He was Abraham's son born to the slave-girl Hagar. In contrast to Isaac, Ishmael is "the son of the flesh." Together, these two sons depict the New Testament concept that naturally, on our own, we are slaves to sin. But supernaturally, by faith in God's Son of Promise, we are set free from sin and death (see Romans 9). Jesus Christ emphasized this concept, telling the religious Pharisee Nicodemus that "You must be born again. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
Isaac is a prophecy of Christ as the Son "obedient unto death" (Gen. 22:1-10; Phil. 2:5-8)
Isaac is a prophetic picture of Christ as the Bridegroom of a called-out bride (see Gen. 24).
Rebekah, then, is a picture of the "church" (Greek ekklesia, from a verb meaning to call out) as the called-out bride of Christ (See Genesis 24:4; Ephesians 5:25-3:20.)
Rebekah, furthermore, is a picture of every believer--with two natures (typified by Jacob and Esau) struggling within:
But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If all is well, why am I like this?" So she went to inquire of the Lord. (Genesis 25:22)
Isaac--picture of the Rapture, from Jesus' point of view.  (See Rebekah's arrival in Genesis 24:61-67).
It is natural that we look at the Rapture from the viewpoint of our expectations: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thessalonians. 4:16).
But Jesus sees it from His side. He will be calling His own. When the church comes into His presence, the angelic hosts will see one of the greatest sights that will be beheld in all of eternity. This will be the most thrilling event for us and for Him, too. Then they will say about the church,
Who is this that appears like the dawn,
fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
majestic as the stars in procession? (Song of Solomon 6:10)
As you continue to chase the heart of God through your Bible, you'll become acquainted with more and more of these walking, talking, living, breathing prophecies.
(1) Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; cf. Genesis 26:4

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