Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Servant, Faithful and Nameless

It has been said that all Biblical truth can be found in seed form in Genesis.  The more I study it, the more I find it to be true.

I write about Joseph a lot.  Much of his life was a foreshadow of Yeshua our Messiah.  But we can also look at the life of Joseph's grandfather, Isaac.  More beautiful parallels begin to emerge.

In Genesis 22, we see the binding of Isaac by Abraham.  For those of us who know Yeshua as our Redeemer, the similarities to Yeshua are pretty easy to spot.  Abraham was willing to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, the Son of the Promise, out of obedience to the Lord God.  Happily, Yehovah stopped Abraham and provided a sacrificial ram instead.  This points to the ultimate sacrifice at the cross.

The Genesis story continues, but we don't hear anything more about Isaac until it was time for him to be married.  The obvious parallel is that after Yeshua was sacrificed and then rose, He returned to Heaven and will not return again until He comes back to claim His bride.

Let's look at the story, in Genesis 24, one of the most wonderful love stories in scripture.

We see Abraham, advanced in age, declaring that it was time for his son to be married.  In the same way, God Himself will one day declare the wedding day of His Son.  Abraham called on his old, nameless, and faithful servant, and gave him the task of going to find a wife for Isaac.  

Who was this guy?  The passage tells us that he ruled over all that Abraham had.  Could he be Eliezer from Damascus, mentioned in Genesis 15:2 as a faithful servant and potential heir of Abraham in the absence of children?  My guess is yes.  But I find it interesting that his name was only mentioned once, and then he faithfully does his work in the background, with no complaints that he didn't get to be the heir after all.

The faithful and obedient servant set out on the long journey to do his master's bidding, along with ten camels and probably a whole bunch of other stuff, in order to obtain the bride for Isaac.  Abundant gifts for the bride!!

When the servant arrived at his destination, he immediately asked the Lord for very specific signs.  Before he even finished speaking, the signs began to manifest, exactly as requested.  Hmm, so this unnamed servant had intercessory power and the ear of the Almighty.

The unnamed servant revealed Isaac to the potential bride.  In verse 34, just before he described his master's kingdom, he simply said, "I am Abraham's servant."  Not, "I am Eliezer, the most trusted, favored, and important servant of my master Abraham."

He went on to reveal to the bride and her family just how splendid his master's kingdom was.

What was this servant's purpose?  To lead the Bride to the Bridegroom.  To do the Father's will.  To be a faithful helper.  To deflect the glory to His Master.  To shower the Bride with gifts. To point to the Son.

He sounds a lot like the Holy Spirit.

And if that is the case, then it means that Isaac is a picture of Yeshua the Bridegroom, and Rebekah is a picture of you and me, the Bride.  What a love story!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy New Year!

A recent email regarding this blog has alerted me to the fact that I haven't posted in awhile.  I had to say, the email caught me by surprise.  (Someone actually reads my rambling thoughts?  Wow!)

So I thought I would drop in and wish you a happy new year.  No, it is not belated; I refer to the new year that nobody celebrates - the Biblical one.

When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, a new covenant was established between the Lord God and His people Israel - the Sinai, or Mosaic Covenant.  It included many precepts, which required obedience in order to stay in the land.  The sages have counted 613 of them!

The Jews refer to these precepts as Torah (a word derived from archery, meaning direction, shooting straight, hitting the mark, or teaching.  Personally, I refer to the entire scriptures from Genesis to Revelation as Torah... the whole counsel of teaching that comes from God.)

Obeying these Mosaic Covenant precepts gave Israel the right to live in the land that they already owned, according to the Abrahamic Covenant.  Disobedience would cause them to get temporarily kicked out of their land before being brought back for another chance.  Historically, this has happened twice.  We are currently in the middle of the second regathering to the land.

So what does all this have to do with the Biblical new year?  In Exodus 12, the very first thing God established with Israel when they left Egypt is the Passover.   Verses one and two tell us, The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year."

Why did Israel need a new calendar at this point?  Here is a cool insight. 

In adopting a lunar-based calendar, Israel made a clean break from Egypt’s solar calendar, which honored the pagan worship of the "sun god.”
One of the first issues that God had the people of Israel deal with just before leaving Egypt regarded the marking of time.
Why did God choose that moment to set the Biblical New Year?  
The reason is that only a free person has need of a calendar by which to order his life.  A slave rises, works, sleeps, and orders his entire existence according to his or her master’s whims.  Thus, God was saying to His people, “Now you are a free nation and have your own calendar!”

Current Jewish tradition celebrates the Jewish New Year on Rosh Hashanah, which is the first day of the seventh month of this Biblical calendar.  The actual name of that feast is Yom Teruah, meaning Day of Trumpets.  The rabbis established a tradition that the Earth was created at that time, so they renamed the day Rosh Hashanah (a term meaning "head of the year," and not found in scripture).

The ancient Roman calendar arbitrarily chose the middle of the winter for the new year, which is the date that most of the world now celebrates.  We had the privilege of being in Galilee during that day this past year.  We noticed that is not widely celebrated in Israel.  Hmmm, I wonder why?

It is interesting to note that our modern celebration of New Year’s Day stems from an ancient Roman custom, the feast of the Roman god Janus – god of doorways and beginnings. The name for the month of January also comes from Janus, who was depicted as having two faces. One face of Janus looked back into the past, and the other peered forward to the future.

The ancient Babylonians had a tradition of making promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.  The Romans carried on this tradition of New Year's resolutions by making promises to the god Janus.

So aren't you glad you stopped by?  I hope you have a happy and blessed Biblical New Year!