The Encourager

The Encourager

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Moses and Christ

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Moses and Christ

by Jeff Curtis

The lives of Moses and Jesus Christ have several similarities. The Bible invites us to compare the two, especially in view of the fact that Moses said, “God will raise up for you a prophet like me” (Deut. 18:15), a passage fulfilled by the coming of Jesus (Acts 3:22; John 1:21-25; 6:14; 7:40). What can we learn from these comparisons?

Both Moses and Jesus were born at times of persecution. When we read about the decree of Pharaoh to kill all the male babies in Egypt, our minds jump to another time that this happened – the time when Herod issued an order to have all boys two years and under be put to death (Matt. 2:16). In both situations, God’s messenger – with God’s help – escaped death. When Moses was born, the Egyptian ruler was attempting to kill all the Hebrews’ baby boys. Not long after Jesus was born, the Judean ruler Herod attempted to kill all the male children of Israel. Both Moses and Jesus escaped death, with God’s help.

Both Moses and Jesus lived exemplary lives. Both are spoken of as “humble” (Num. 12:3; Matt. 11:28-30). Both loved their people, gave up personal glory for them, and interceded on their behalf (Exodus 32:11-14; Matt. 23:37-39; John 17).

Of course, there are differences. While Moses lived an admirable life (Heb. 11:23-29), he was guilty of sin (Exod. 2:11-15; Numbers 20:1-13). Jesus, in contrast, lived a sinless life (Heb. 4:15). Moses offered to bear the guilt of the people – an offer the God refused (Exod. 32:32). Yet, Jesus could and could and did bear the sins of people. He did this not for the Jews only, but for all people (Matt. 26:28; 2Cor. 5:21).

Both Moses and Jesus were God’s Spokesman. Through Moses came the Law (John 1:17); but when Jesus came, He became God’s spokesman (Heb. 1:1-2; John 3:34; 7:16-18). In one sense, Christ is the giver of a new law (Gal. 6:2), even though He didn’t institute a “legalistic” system. The two laws were given in different ways; one came through Moses, from a mountain on fire (Heb. 12:18-24); the other was given as Jesus taught quietly from the top of another mountain (Matt. 5-7). Today, we hear Christ rather than Moses (Matt. 17:15; John 1:17; Heb. 1:1-2).

Both Moses and Christ delivered God’s People. Moses came as the great deliverer, the messenger God used to deliver His people out of slavery. Christ also came as a deliverer, to free mankind from the slavery of sin (Luke 19:10; John 8:32). Moses accomplished his task (in part) by sacrificing unblemished lambs (Exod. 12); and Christ accomplished His work by sacrificing Himself (John 10:15-18).

Both Moses and Jesus received a heavenly reward for faithful service. We can’t doubt Moses’ eternal salvation, since he appeared with Jesus at His transfiguration. In a similar way, Jesus, after His death and resurrection, was glorified (Acts 2:36; Philippians 2:9-11). A further difference between Jesus and Moses is that God never promised that anyone would share Moses’ eternal salvation by following him, but Jesus is able and willing to share His glory with those who follow Him (Rev. 3:21).

Finally. Just as many followed Moses and were loyal to the Law, we should be determined – to be loyal to – our Lord Jesus Christ and the revelation that came through Him. If we fail to do so, we are in greater danger than those who failed to listen to Moses’ words (Heb. 2:1-4).

A Kingdom Made Without Hands

Saturday, July 31, 2021

A Kingdom Made Without Hands

by Jeff Curtis

 

After Daniel had described the four kingdoms made with hands – that is, with physical military might – he then describes a fifth kingdom made “without hands” (Daniel 2:44-45). It would become a reality in the “latter” or “last days” (Daniel 2:28). While Rome, the icon kingdom, was very much in control, Jesus built on Daniel’s teaching, announcing, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15).

 

The establishment of the kingdom that Daniel had prophesied about was, in fact, so close “at hand” that Jesus said some bystanders would live to see the kingdom of God “come with power” (Mark 9:1). That power came on the day of Pentecost, about 30 A.D., in the city of Jerusalem (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4).

 

On that day, for the first time, came the announcement that Jesus had gone to heaven to be seated on David’s throne (Acts 2:30). That throne had become spiritual, a kingdom made “without hands,” is not of this world (John 18:36).

 

Distinct even from David’s kingdom, Jesus’ kingdom is invisible, “within” its citizens (Luke 17:21). Essentially, it is in no way external, but wholly inward, a kingdom of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

 

At the very moment penitent believers in Jesus are “buried with Him in baptism” (Colossians 2:12), they are “transferred” into “the kingdom of God’s beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). Their “citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20), but they are recognized in this world as “God’s family” (1Timothy 3:15), called “the church of the living God” (1Timothy 3:15).

 

The church is the fruition of the “eternal purpose” of “the only wise God, through Jesus Christ,” the realization of “things into which angels long to look” (Ephesians 3:10; Romans 16:27; 1Peter 1:12). It is glory to Him and joy to the angels when they look down from heaven and see lost sinners born again and saved, being added to the Lord’s people, the church (Ephesians 3:21; Luke 15:10; Acts 2:47).

 

A British historian understood Daniel’s iron age to refer to Rome:

The arms of the republic, sometimes vanquished in battle, always in war, advanced with rapid steps to the Euphrates, the Danube, the Rhine, and the Ocean; and the images of gold, or silver, or brass, that might serve to represent the nations and their kings, were successively broken by the iron monarchy of Rome.

 

Isaiah and Micah had preceded Daniel in writing that “the mountain of the house of the Lord” would become a reality in the “last days” (Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1). Their prediction coincided with Daniel’s announcement that a stone “cut out of the mountain without hands” would become “a great mountain” and would fill “the whole earth,” and that this would occur in the “latter days” (Daniel 2:28, 35, 45).

 

The phrase “latter” or “last” days has become a description of the time span of Christianity. Peter quoted Joel as saying that what happened on the day of Pentecost (when the kingdom, the church, was established) was in “the last days (Acts 2:17). Later, Peter wrote that what Jesus did on this earth was “in the last times” (1Peter 1:20).

 

Also, the inspired author of the book of Hebrews wrote that “in these last days” God speaks to us by “His Son” (Hebrews 1:2). If he meant the days of Judaism, up to AD 70, after the “last days.” Obviously, he was referring to the Christian dispensation.

 

The fifth kingdom spoken of by Daniel is unique. (1) It was made without hands; (2) it was established and maintained without military force; and (3) it is invisible. Also, (4) it is indestructible. Even “the gates of Hades” cannot prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). So, really, Christians have received a kingdom that “cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28). It is established “with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore” (Isaiah 9:7). God has determined that “it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 244).

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