Thursday, August 30, 2012

Video: Behind the scenes of UNCOVER

In 2011/12 we rolled out Uncover, a Bible discussion guide by Rebecca Manley-Pippert to equip students to read Luke's gospel with their friends, to give students the opportunity to see for themselves who Jesus is.

Phase 2 launches next week at Forum 2012, as 1000 student mission leaders gather to kick off a new year, and get an Uncover Luke's Gospel in their hands.

Come behind the scenes and watch this video:

Monday, August 27, 2012

We're churches together on a mission #taw2012

We did it. My family went camping for a weekend, a mere 10 minutes from our front door with 2000 others from churches across the South of England, Portugal, Spain and India.

This was the annual gathering of a family of churches on a shared mission, led by Guy Miller and his team. A people committed to reaching the people of our nations.

For me the biggest highlights were the opportunity for community with our church family. Waking up to eat breakfast with others was great, and something I'd like to think we'll do more often as part of our normal life.

The other highlight for me was Sunday morning's meeting. We sang songs about the gospel of Christ, Howard Kellett brought a word for our church and others about Jesus Christ our True and Greater Columbus who has pioneered ahead of us in this mission, and PJ Smyth who preached a wonderful gospel sermon from 1 Chronicles 11-12 (seriously!). I loved PJ's clarity about Jesus being the main plot of the Bible (with David, and us as mere subplot). We were offered Christ through a preacher and then invited to eat and drink bread and wine together.

Conferences aren't normal life but they're valuable as opportunities to catch a bigger picture. Ten years ago I'd have gone to something like this and attended everything (I made 2 out of 6 meetings this weekend and no seminars!) and filled copious pages with notes and benefitted from that...  now with family I'm learning the call to die to self, to serve my family and to treasure the moments to get to know church family better. Both are good experiences, seasons of life change. All of which is best lived with other people.

I come home from Westpoint exited for church life in the months ahead.

Photo from the Together at Westpoint facebook group.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hosea: Of Lovers & Whores

In June I preached a three week series from Hosea 2:14-23. These are wonderful gospel-rich scriptures about the love of Christ for his people.

Download MP3: Jesus wants our hearts - 2:14-15

Download MP3: Jesus wants us to know him - 2:16-20

Download MP3: Jesus wants us to be his - 2:21-23

The series was shaped by Jeremiah Burrough's commentary Of Lovers and Whores

Here's a freebie extract from Burroughs:

This is good reasoning and worth of one who professes the gospel of Jesus Christ. Again, as the inference of the unbelieving heart is grievous to God’s Spirit, as it draws its “therefore” from the greatness of sin rather than from God’s mercy; so the profane heart taking its therefore from the greatness of God’s mercy, to the hardening of itself in sin, “treasures up for itself wrath against the day of wrath.”
Shall God make his therefore from our sin to his mercy, and we make our therefore from his mercy back again to our sins?
Where sin abounds, grace abounds; but where grace abounds sin must not abound. Because God takes occasion from the greatness of our sins to display the greatness of his mercy, let us not take occasion from the greatness of his mercy to be emboldened in the greatness of our sin.

There is a wonder in his inference to occupy the thoughts of men and angels for all eternity.  “Behold”, notwithstanding all of this, yet you men and angels, behold the fullness, the riches of God’s grace.
Will God cast us away because of the greatness of our sins? No. Let us not then reject God’s ways, even if they may bring us much suffering. This is most reasonable. You should bear with any sufferings in God’s ways, and even embrace them, as God bears with sins in your hearts, and yet embraces you.

The Hebrew word translated “allure” signifies to entice. It is often used to mean deceive by subtle enticing. Some have translated it, “I will deceive her” (LXX) or “I will seduce her” (Vulgate). God uses the word to express the sweet and gracious ways in which he intends to deal with them from his gracious affection towards them.
What God means by alluring his people, when he has been reconciled to them, may be expressed in these three things:
Unfolding beauty
Firstly, I will unfold the beauty and excellency of the infiniteness of my goodness and loving-kindness and set in array before their souls the exceeding glory of the riches of my grace.
Outbidding all others
Secondly, whereas before they went whoring from me because their hearts were allured by their lovers, giving to them various contentments, and so subtly beguiling their minds; will I not dwell with them in a more powerful manner than their lovers possibly could? I will outbid them all.
Did their lovers offer to them comfort? I will bid more than they. Did their lovers offer gain? I will bid more gain. Did they offer more honour and respect? I will outbid them in this too; so that I will persuade their hearts that they shall enjoy more in me, than they possibly could in all that their lovers could do for them. [1]
And indeed, then the gospel has the true, full and gracious work upon the heart of a sinner, when it yields to its invitations, finding that all that the world can bid is now outbidden and that there is more gain in Christ than in all else besides.
You know, when one comes to offer so much for a commodity, and another outbids him, he carries it away. So when the world and sin offer to the soul such and such contents, if God comes and outbids all, the bargain is made and God carries away the heart.
Thirdly, I will come upon them even unawares, and as it were, steal away their hearts, with a holy guile. Paul tells us that he caught the Corinthians with guile, 2 Cor 12:16. I will secretly insinuate myself and draw their hearts in such a sweet and hidden way that I will take them before they are aware.
God deals thus with many a soul, taking it before it is aware, and the soul afterwards comes to understand some of the dealings of his grace.
Indeed the sinner himself sees he is not where he was before: surely, there has been something working on my heart; I find it is different with me now than it was before; but how this has happened I do not understand at present, but perhaps I will later.[2]
Or before I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Ammi-Nadib, Song 6:12. That is, the chariots of a willing people. My heart was caught and run to God before I realized. God’s grace came in such a manner into my heart, and so ravished my soul, that it ran freely and swiftly after the Lord.
It is a blessed deceit when the heart is so deceived and allured. Thus Christ sometimes sends such a glance of his eye into the heart of a sinner, as surprises the soul, and brings it involuntarily into love with the ways and with the truths of God. His grace has a subtlety in it, as also the serpent does (Prov 1:4). It is a blessed thing to be thus outwitted. The grace of God is too subtle for our sins.
When Luther was charged with apostacy he acknowledged it saying, “I confess I am apostate, but how? An apostate from the devil, falling off from the devil, and returning to God. Such an apostate I am!”
Happy is the man who can say, “Blessed be God, I am deceived indeed, but so deceived that my sin is beguiled: I am seduced, but it is out of the ways of sin and into the paths of God and of peace.”

[1] Today we might translate: “My people pursued their lovers: They went after KPMG, PwC and Lloyds TSB, for money offered comfort and control. They went after celebrity gossip, social media status and pornography for they offer intimacy. They went after H&M and Ben & Jerrys and HDTV for retail therapy, over-priced ice-cream and Brian Cox talking Science break the numbness of life.”

[2] Burroughs insight into the workings of the Holy Spirit upon the human heart in these three ways are worthy of careful consideration. Where we might imagine that people are won by argument and brute force, it is evident that the Spirit works very differently. Seek Christ that he may win your heart again.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jesus our Bridegroom (Mike Pilavachi)

Social Media is great. On Friday 3rd of August Dan Hames tweeted from the New Wine festival. So, I paid my £3.00 for the download and thoroughly enjoyed hearing God's word.

In a half hour sermon structured around the patterns of Hebrew marriage, Mike Pilavachi paints a wonderful Espousal Gospel vision  from the pages of Exodus of the God who wants to make us his own.

Mike Pilavachi on God's Marriage (New Wine, Central & South West, Friday 3rd August)

Seems to me that Genesis tells the story of Fathers and Sons, generation after generation looking for the promised seed... with the key pictures of that seed enduring suffering and battling to find a bride.

Exodus picks up the same themes. The whole story is framed by the Father demanding the release of his adopted son Israel from slavery under Pharaoh. Then, as Mike's message shows we see Jesus leading his people out of slavery to bring them to marriage to have her for himself under the care of his Father in the presence of the Spirit.

Forget Eggs and Water, Ice and Steam or clover leafs... Fathers and Sons, Husbands and Wives are the key God-images of the Triune God for He is The Father who has a Son who seeks a bride.

UPDATE: Mike Pilavach on a similar theme, on the wedding dance and John 2 at UCCF #Forum2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pentateuch: Our Saviour is a Priest

In Exodus 6 the narrative is interrupted with a genealogy. Good for geeks like me, bad for the rest of the population... skip it?

Stop and give it a thought. It's the genealogy of Moses and Aaron - in the middle of Moses' protest that he's not the man to take on Pharaoh...

The story can continue without teh genealogy of our protagonists... but their identity matters to the story as we search for the Christ and his people..

The Israelites are shaped by the prophetic words of their father in Genesis 49. We know from Exodus 2:1 that Moses is a Levite, though we might have expected a Judahite, but this is reinforced by this genealogy.

Exo 6:12 But Moses said to the LORD, "Behold, the people of Israel have not listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?" Exo 6:13 But the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them a charge about the people of Israel and about Pharaoh king of Egypt: to bring the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 
Exo 6:26 These are the Aaron and Moses to whom the LORD said: "Bring out the people of Israel from the land of Egypt by their hosts." Exo 6:27 It was they who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing out the people of Israel from Egypt, this Moses and this Aaron. Exo 6:28 On the day when the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, Exo 6:29 the LORD said to Moses, "I am the LORD; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you." Exo 6:30 But Moses said to the LORD, "Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips. How will Pharaoh listen to me?" 

The genealogy inserted here of Reuben, Simeon and Levi does nothing directly to move the events on. It is an unexpected genealogy in that it doesn’t reach Judah: Gen 49:3 "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the firstfruits of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. Gen 49:4 Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father's bed; then you defiled it—he went up to my couch! Gen 49:5 "Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords. Gen 49:6 Let my soul come not into their council; O my glory, be not joined to their company. For in their anger they killed men, and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen. 

The genealogy doesn't focus on Reuben and it doesn't get to royal Judah... it tells us about sword-wielding Levi. A good man to send into battle with Pharaoh as the LORD fights for his people.

The genealogy does not change Moses’ confession “How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of uncircumcised lips.” (6:12, 6:30). Yet, in 7:1, Aaron (the firstborn, 7:7) will speak for Moses as Moses speaks for the LORD to confront Pharaoh. Their words will be their sword as the LORD fights for his people. As in Genesis the grace of God comes to the unexpected one. Identifying the key players in the narrative of the LORD’s Son from slavery under the tyrant of Egypt interprets the story. The Levites fight for the LORD against Pharaoh, and they'll fight for the people before the LORD as priests. Though the Christ will finally come from Judah the Levities will play a vital role.

The genealogy doesn’t merely identify Moses and Aaron as Levites, but looks beyond them to Nadab and Abihu the tragic heirs of Aaron, and to the glorious Phineas son of Eleazar (not to be confused with the later Levite, Phinehas son of Eli) who will take up the fight for the LORD.

Exodus doesn’t just record the events as they happened but provides a later theological analysis. Moses and his prophet Aaron will be the human saviours of the people, as the LORD himself leads them out, Phinehas will take the stage similarly at the close of the book. They represent the people and the LORD as he contends for their freedom. They can speak because they are his people not merely any people.

When Phinehas returns to the narrative it will be: "Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. Therefore say, 'Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, and it shall be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.'" (Numbers 25:11-13).

Here is a man after the heart of the LORD who is jealous for his captive son (Exodus 4:23), who proclaims his jealousy in Exodus 20:5 and Exodus 34:14. Here is a true Israelite, an heir to the salvation that the LORD accomplishes for his people when he brings them out of Egypt. The narrative of Exodus 1-5 doesn’t explain why we need to know about Phinehas, Nadab or Abihu, but by the completion of this three volume book they will have played a significant role. The jealousy of the LORD and the intention of his people to share his jealousy is highlighted by the genealogy that leads to the wrath-averting Phinehas (Numbers 25:11) paired with the account of his role in the narrative, the genealogy also serves to highlight the failure of Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1).

If the narrative is intended to tell the story of a people rescued to obey laws then it is hard to make sense of the extensive non-narrative material about the Tabernacle, High Priest and Sacrifices. However if the narrative can be understood to be one of a priesthood then the narrative makes sense of this material.

The rescue that brings them to the LORD (chapter 19) is for the purpose of their priesthood, as a people with whom the LORD is present (33:15). Whilst there are commands for the people to keep as part of their covenant with the LORD these seem to emphasise their LORD-liness rather than being arbitrary regulations. The main legal material in Exodus 20-23 is concerned with the poor, foreign, orphan and widow, reflecting the heart of the LORD who rescued his people from their oppressive slavery in a foreign land. They are priests to represent the LORD with whom they dwell, whose favour they undeservedly know, to the nations.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Genesis: Six thoughts on Origins

Origins stories are in. Film franchises get rebooted, and you have to start at the beginning - it is a good place to start.

And so we open up Genesis 1 and run into the origin of origins "in the beginning" and immediately a clash of worldviews and theories and assumptions.

Any statement about origins has to come from outside of our own experience. None of us were there in the beginning, there were no human eyewitnesses.

What we find in Genesis 1 has the appearance of contradiction with today's popular scientific theories about things began (even if you can synchronise a big bang and "let there be light"). In the beginning God is a long way off anything Professor Dawkins is going to find acceptable.

What to do about it? Six Thoughts.

Firstly - The Bible wasn't written to answer our questions, even our very good questions about origins. In Jesus' words: Moses wrote about me. That doesn't mean Moses only wrote about Jesus but if you want a big overarching theme for Genesis 1, Genesis 1-50, the Pentateuch - then Jesus is a better summary than our questions about origins.

Secondly - Genesis 1 is literary before it is controversy. Genesis 1 is written in a rhythmic/poetic style - which doesn't mean what it describes didn't happen just as it says but it's worth noting... taking a belief that God didn't create the world is senseless Christianly...  but whether or not a "day" is 24 hours in Genesis 1 is realistically more open. Not least because there are THREE different uses of the word "day" there - day as in the first day, day as in opposed to night, and day as a summary of the whole period (more like days).

Thirdly - Theologically speaking there is a lot more at stake over whether Adam is a real man who sinned than when and over what period of time the events of Genesis 1 took place. If you've not got a real Adam then you'll struggle to have a real Jesus.

Fourthly - Genesis 1 isn't everything that the Bible has to say about origins. Just as The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises fill out more about Batman's origins than was seen in Batman Begins so too you can turn to John 1, John 17, Ephesians 1, 2 Timothy 1, Revelation 13 etc. And when the Bible returns to the beginning of things it tends to look before the beginning and always talks in terms of a personal reality, a relational reality, in the loving relationships of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and their salvation plan to bring us into their life. Six days or six billion years might feel like a clash of worlds - but mere chemistry vs. community is far more the issue when it comes to the question of origins.

Fifthly - Genesis 1 is the opening of Genesis so we ought to notice what its saying that the book develops - Batman Begins talks about all kinds of things but if we missed Bruce falling down the well we'd really struggle to make sense of some of the later themes in The Dark Knight Rises. Third day and Seventh day events carry later significance in the Bible, the sense of God's spreading goodness is introduced in Genesis 1, the idea of men and women as God's image bearers, bringing his life giving rule to the whole world starts here, the triumph of light over darkness, the movement from evening to morning, the journey from Adam's commission to Joseph's global influence and so on.

Sixthly - Genesis 1 says that we can know about origins, by revelation. Those who were there can tesify, and that's what Christians are convinced has happened. That should stack up with our observations of the world and I'm not going to pretend there aren't some hard questions to ask on that... but if we've ruled out the possibility of divine revelation - probably because we've ruled out divine existence, then it should be little surprise if Genesis 1 seems implausible... if on the other hand we're prepared to consider a Universe in which God is who we know when we know Jesus... then all kinds of wondrous things open up.

The God who was "in the beginning God" is in the end whoever Jesus was with in the beginning... and the Scriptures concerning him can make us wise for the salvation which is sharing in his life.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Introduction to Deuteronomy

Lest we forget. There are stories that need to be told because forgetting them would be harmful and remembering them is fruitful. Sit down and hear the story again. Deuteronomy says that the Triune God wants your heart. The God who is one in the plural has affection for you. He carried his people, even though they were hard hearted, like a father carries a son. He is for his people. He is kind. He is overflowing and he will gather his people to himself.

Deuteronomy wraps up the Pentateuch in the form of sermons by Moses to the people just before his death, before their new Saviour Joshua (same name as Jesus... Trying read The Book of Joshua with but calling it The Book of Jesus!) takes up the mantle and .

It's a book of transition that looks back and says again what has happened. It's often referred to as the second law (which is what its title means) or called Words in Hebrew, after its opening line 'These are the words..'

There are sections that retell the story of the people from the Exodus, and also their future - up to and beyond exile from the land they're about to enter. This makes some put a late date on the book (suggesting it comes from the reigns of King Hezekiah or Josiah) but this simply isn't necessary. The middle of the book is roughly shaped around an opening up of the 10 commandments thematically.

Chapters 13-17 speak of priests and prophets and a king but this doesn't seem to describe a king like 2 Samuel 7, this is a king who is a brother, one of the people - and of a people who are the LORD's assembled people, served by a king. Prophets don't stand over the people, but again serve them and are accountable to the people under God.

Chapter 30 points the people beyond exile to a return to the land with new hearts. And the famous section on blessings and curses, life and death seems to be less a fork in the road and more of a necessary path... they will pass through curse to life, as is the way of the gospel. They will be scattered, then gathered and their hearts will be circumcised. A people born as light triumphed over darkness, through going down into water and rising up will pass through curse to blessing - for that is the way of the True Israelite.

"The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ Yet in spite of this word you did not believe the LORD your God..." (Deuteronomy 1:30-32 ESV)

Their story is ours, their God ours:

 “And you shall make response before the LORD your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. And the Egyptians treated us harshly and humiliated us and laid on us hard labor. Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders. And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O LORD, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God and worship before the LORD your God. And you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you. (Deuteronomy 26:5-11 ESV)

This our God, and it is he who raised Jesus from the dead. Read Deuteronomy, in three days, and have your heart refreshed by the God who carries, who wants your heart, and who though he sentence you to death in Christ will gather you to himself in resurrection.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Introduction to Numbers

Numbers is a book for those on the journey. A book for any Christian, living as a stranger in this world. It's evidence that every day is a day to believe the gospel and that Christ is being continually held up for us to believe in.

Numbers, or In The Wilderness, feels far more dramatic than Leviticus. There is plenty of legal material but also plenty of action.

1:1-10:10 Law at Sinai. Preparations to enter the land, census.
10:11-12:15 From Sinai to Kadesh
13:1-19:22 Law at Kadesh (40 years)
20:1-22:1 From Kadesh to Moab
22:2-36:13 Law at Moab

Some Gospel moments
There are major moments in the story of God's people.
  • We see the failure to enter the land, just a couple of years out of Egypt leading to a 40 year delay as the rescued generation, including Moses, are sentenced to die. In the middle of this rebellious Korah is swallowed up, yet the Sons of Korah will rise to sing great resurrection songs in the Psalms.
  • We see salvation through judgement, such as the people afflicted with snakes and called to look to a bronze snake for salvation... that LOOK being a picture of trusting in Jesus who would be lifted up on the cross. Jesus teaches this to the Old Testament expert Nicodemus who visits him one night.
  • We see the Levite Phinehas, a footnote in Exodus 6 in Moses & Aaron's genealogy - but deliberately mentioned, rise to become a judging saviour for the people, turning aside wrath from them. Exodus-Leviticus-Numbers would originally have been one scroll, and perhaps even to be considered as one book - with the story of Phinehas being a prominent picture of the Saviour we need.
The story completes a 120 year arc from the beginning of the book of Exodus, 40 years from the Exodus itself, through the lifetime of Moses. Moses is still alive at the end of the book and will have his final moment in the great sermon of the book of Deuteronomy.

The census data is likely to cause the modern readers some struggles - lists of names don't feel very appealing... consider each name as a real person just like you. See the completeness and growth of the people. At the end of Genesis just a large family, increasing and multiplying by the start of Exodus... now a vast nation with all her tribes. See the distinction of the Levites - and so much of the focus at Sinai (Exodus 19-Numbers 10) has been on the priests and the Tabernacle... and on the leading Levites, Moses and Aaron... and Phinehas.

There is a strong theme of judgement upon the people for their spiritual whoredom, prostituting themselves to the gods of the nations - as prophesied in Exodus 34... and yet salvation remains in view, overwhelming grace mediated by humble Moses and Phinehas. All this is set in the context of a journey 'in the wilderness' - the formative years of the nation as their children prepare to enter into the promised inheritance in The Book of Joshua.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Introduction to Leviticus

Leviticus is a story of how sinful people enter into the life of God. It's a book for seeing salvation more sweetly than ever before, against the darkness of sin. A book to redefine what you thought matters - showing us how death and resurrection is the way to unimaginable life.

Leviticus tells a story, a story of what is pleasing to the LORD. Not so much through action but through sacrifice and community life.

It sings the song that Hebrews laments, priests never at rest but always offering sacrifices for sin. The only way to life is through death - the human race cannot be reformed it must be condemned to death and then resurrected. The flesh can't try harder, new life must come through the Spirit.

The book picks up where Exodus leaves off - the LORD has made his dwelling with his people in the Tabernacle, and now the priests ministry on behalf of the people is laid out.

Leviticus is the guide to the cross. The gospels can, at first, appear light on explanation of the cross. Partly, they're narrative and narrative works by winks and nudges more often than by voiceovers, but the big exposition is found in books like Leviticus. Here we see what sacrifices and tabernacle (and temple) are all about. Here we see why a death is necessary, why blood is shed, how bad sin is, how great Jesus is.

The book reads like a list of laws, but it's the transciption of conversation - between the LORD and Moses - don't miss the action.

Jewish children would read Leviticus before anything else (Wenham's commentary). This is gospel basics.

Leviticus fits in the story of the Exodus and is well connected to the life of Israel as they do and don't practice the sacrificial system they've been given - it makes sense of much of Ezekiel and is widely quoted in the New Testament.

The big landmarks in Leviticus are the Day of Atonement in chapter 16 and the Jubilee celebrations in chapter 25, when the trumpets sound that atonement is achieved and jubilee rest is on. It's worth slowing down here to take things in.

Chapter 23 tells of the main feasts which retell the major movements in the salvation story of God's people which helps to interpret Jesus' attendance feasts and their place in the life of Israel... each of them remembering the grace of God and so singing of the gospel.

Broadly the book splits into two parts -- chapters 1-16 dealing mostly with rituals and 17-27 with ethics, but this isn't a divide to mark too strongly. The whole book is about holiness and what is pleasing to the LORD, and the whole book has to do with the coming of a final priest and sacrifice.

The best way into Leviticus I've found is this: (1.) Read it. (2.) Listen to these four sermons by Mike Reeves on Leviticus from a student leaders weekend. Yes, Leviticus is so gospelicious that we'd have it preached to 19 year old leaders to equip them for mission. (Free mp3 downloads after registering at

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Introduction to Exodus

Exodus is a book for those enslaved to sin, it's a book for those needing to know salvation, it's a book for those who need a Saviour.

Exodus picks up the plotline in Moses own generation, just before his birth. Several hundred years have passed since the end of Genesis and the people have become numerous in Egypt, but then oppressed by a Pharaoh who has forgotten their legacy as Egypt's Saviours under Joseph.

The plotline moves from the birth of Moses, advancing quickly 80 years forward by chapter 4, with the rest of the book taking place over the subsequent weeks. The clock will barely advance until Numbers 10 when the people depart Sinai and begin to wander for 40 years in the wilderness up to the death of Moses at 120 years old, at the end of Deuteronomy.

Exodus 1-4 Prologue, in which Moses is born, grows up in the royal household, flees and then encounters the Angel of the LORD who calls Moses to lead the liberation of his people.
Exodus 5-14 Confrontation between the LORD and the Serpent-like Pharaoh.
Exodus 15-19 Journey to Sinai
Exodus 20-40 At Sinai
- 20-23 Law
- 24 Meal with Jesus
- 25-31 Tabernacle
- 32-34 Golden Calf and Moses' seeing the LORD
- 35-40 Tabernacle

Main themes?
The storyline is about setting slaves free to bring them to  close relationship with their Saviour. Having come to Egypt under Saviour Joseph the good is forgotten and now oppression comes... the Pharaoh is striking at the people of God. A great battle is staged between The LORD and the Pharaoh. The climax, a dark night when The Angel of the LORD passes through in judgement but houses daubed in blood are spared... a magnificent and explicit picture of what is achieved through the death of Jesus - he who judged Egypt will be the slain lamb.

The LORD fights for their freedom but they'll quickly grumble on their way to meet with him. The centre of their meeting with him will be a meal to which the elders are invited to represent the people... and then instructions are given for the dwelling of God to be among his people in a tent at the heart of their camp.

They betray their Saviour but are spared as Moses intercedes for them face to face with the LORD - as with a friend, marked by the meeting with a shining face. Notice, in chapter 33, what makes the people distinctively "holy" - it's that the LORD goes with them. They're instructed to live differently through the law, whose main focus is on protecting the widow, foreigner and orphan - but it'll be the presence of God with them that marks them out. Anyone can care, but it's God's gift to make his home with his people.

Issues in Exodus?
The fast moving drama of Exodus 1-19 probably wont throw up two many issues. The challenges come mostly between Exodus 20-23 when the "ten commandments" and others laws are given. To frame our reading we need to keep in view that these are words given to a rescued people - there is no sense in which the people are saved by doing these things, but rather these are how to live as a community once you've been rescued... and particularly, how these people who were rescued from Egypt should live. Their way of life will reflect God's jealous affection for them, and his concern for the orphan, foreigner and widow who ordinarily would be unable to provide for themselves... so provision is made for them. One of the hardest verses calls for a rapist to marry his victim. The initial situation is unthinkably horrible, and there aren't easy answers here...  what we can see is that this acts both as a deterrent... rape someone and you have to give them all the privileges and benefits of marriage, and as a provision to protect a victim by ensuring they're not destitute. Any attempt to smooth this over probably fails. It's ok to have questions and sometimes we have to live with unresolved issues, saying: I know this and this, but not this.

As a whole Exodus tells the story of salvation - a people rescued from slavery to live in the presence of God. A story that tells us we're not slaves but sons, we're not meant to be oppressed but to be welcomed.

More:  Exodus Series - blog series

Exodus Overview

Another introduction to Exodus

Exodus studies

Monday, August 13, 2012

Introduction to Genesis

Genesis is a book about the God who comes to us. It's a book for those who long for God. It's a book for those who are waiting. It's a book of grace for villains. It's a book for those who need food. 

Genesis is the first book of the Bible, one of the five books in the Pentateuch, the first of the books of Moses.

It's an epic narrative that follows a family line with lots of genealogies and a focus on geography. There's a global story being told but its constructed by localised family stories about marriages and childbirths and the threats and opportunities as families collide.

1-11 From Adam to Babel via Noah.
12-25 From Abraham to Isaac.
26-36 Isaac's sons, Jacob and Esau. Jacob is a deceiver trophy of grace.
37-50 Jacob's sons, Israel - centred on Joseph. Joseph is a picture of Jesus in remarkable detail, even though Jesus comes from Joseph's treacherous brother Judah.

Structurally the phrase "these are the generations of" marks out sections and sub-sections - or Acts and Scenes in the story.

The goodness of the Triune God forms and fills the world, creating a good world - but humanity quickly betrays their Maker and Husband, the LORD. The LORD enters into the garden to search for his hiding people, a betrayed lover asking "where are you?" Curse replaces blessing and the stage is set for a great drama: the woman will have an offspring, so will the deceptive serpent..  the serpent will strike but will be crushed... will it be Abel vs. Cain.... Abraham vs. the Pharaoh... Jacob vs. Esau...

It's worth watching the three events around a man lying about whether his wife is his sister - with Abraham twice, and with Jacob. Famine strikes and the man finds himself in the territory of another. He lies to his host - assuming him to be a villainous tyrant (a serpent). The first, a Pharaoh is a tyrant and Abraham does well to deceive him. But Abimelech (twice) certainly isn't...  he's a godly man. The repetition isn't bad editing but there for a reason... There's also two trips to Egypt... the first with Abraham and then with Joseph - again both times in famine... the first sees Abraham have to deceive the Pharaoh, second time around Pharaoh makes a seed of Abraham his right hand man... and things turn out very differently.

The plot-line follows a search for the seed who will defeat the serpent's seed and bring his people back into the fellowship of Eden. Geographically we begin in Eden, moving eastward before the flood, then to the plains of Babylon and then to Canaan before the story ends not in Eden (the land promised to Abraham's Offspring) but in Egypt with great favour (that will transition to slavery by Exodus).

The question sharpens as we consider Noah, and then Abraham's promised son Isaac, and then onward to Jacob and seemingly to Joseph - though the legacy beyond his generation seems to lie more with Judah "from whom the sceptre will not depart" and Levi, from whom Moses the central human figure of Exodus comes. The New Testament makes explicit that Jesus is this seed.

We also see 'The Word of the LORD' walking in the garden, the Angel of the LORD who meets with Hagar, the Word of the LORD who leads Abraham outside and is believed in, the LORD on earth who eats with Abraham and cals down fire from the LORD in heaven, the LORD who wrestles with Jacob. This is not the Incarnate Israelite Jesus, but it seems to be a walking, eating divine person - surely the same Second Person of the Triune LORD present with his people, not permanently but turning up at significant moments and being called upon by many.

Salvation, in the terms of Romans 10 by "calling upon the name of the LORD" is Genesisian... salvation by being counted righteous by faith is Genesisian - Noah and Abraham are righteous... the worship of Abel is accepted as by faith. These are not primative people but perhaps more rightly should be called the earliest church fathers. The foundations of the gospel are laid in Genesis.

A controversial opening?
Genesis inevitably prompts questions about the origin of the world vs. modern scientific theories. This tends to circle around a) the age of the earth - which could be as little as 6400 years if you add up the genealogies (Abraham lived around 1800BC)... b) whether Genesis 1 is a literal account of the creation of the world in one week.

Christians differ on how they read Genesis 1 and there is room for interpretation here. What's certain is that it's a very structured account of creation that emphasises a theme of forming and filling what is formless and unfilled, as the goodness of God spreads into his creation. The non-negotiable is that God is the creator - we're warned in 2 Peter that those who don't believe God created the world or deluged it at the flood will inevitably not believe in his final judgement. Get the big stones in place and then move to the details.... also note that Genesis 1 wasn't written to engage with modern scientific debates, it's literature that isn't designed to answer those questions. Some think it's written to interact with other theories of creation in the ancient world, but perhaps it's mostly a revelation of the God we know when we know Jesus...

Whilst there are issues at stake in Genesis 1 there is probably more to say "theologically" about needing to believe in Adam in Genesis 2-3, because the Bible portrays him as the head of the human race, leading us to death in the same way that Jesus is a second Adam who leads us into life...  if Adam wasn't real it's hard to hold to a real Jesus...

Other issues in Genesis?
Polygamy seems common in the world of Genesis, but as you read ask whether it turns out well for people or not? Because the patriarchs (as they're called... the fathers of the nation) did things that doesn't mean that they're being endorsed. Abraham lying to Pharaoh and Abimelech... is he faithless or is he deceiving a perceived enemy? Is Abraham asked to practice child sacrifice in Genesis 22 -- or are we given a picture of what our Father in heaven will do for us as Jesus dies as a "burnt offering" on the slopes of the same mountain in Moriah...

Genesis is an epic adventure. If you read 10 chapters a day you can finish it in five days, or perhaps take it in four and follow the four main Acts of the storyline outlined above... rejoice that the Seed of Abraham has come, that God's grace has triumphed and villains and fools like us can walk with God.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Jesus in Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy sums up what has happened in the Exodus and prepares the people for what's to come. A lot of the material recaps what has been read before - much of the legal material of Exodus is repeated and expanded, for this new generation to hear as they head into the land under Joshua.
There is minimal action so you can forget seeing Jesus on stage in person - except as the one speaking to Moses, but its a great place to see how the events of the Exodus and the detail of the law finds its fulfillment in Jesus... a world where a tiny insignificant group of people hadn't had these words wouldn't have had the categories to interpret vast amounts of what the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection were about.

Here is light by which to see Jesus...

Jesus in Deuteronomy is:
1v6 The word spoken by the LORD that it's time to go
1v8 The Yes and Amen of the promise of inheritance of the land
1v10 He who increases and multiplies is his people - he is life.
1v30 He who fought for his people to set them free
1v31 He who carried his people as a father carries his son, as his own Father carries him
1v32 He who was not believed
2v7 He who was with his people for 40 years in the wilderness
3v22 He who fights for his people
4v7 The God who is near his people - always with us by his Spirit
4v8 The one whose words are supremely righteous
4v10 He who called for his people to be gathered before his Father
4v24 He who, like his unseen Father, is jealous
4v31 He who is merciful and will never leave us
5v4 He whose unseen Father spoke at Sinai, face to face with his people from the fire
6v4 He who is one with his Father and the Spirit
6v5 He who sought the hearts of his people
7v7 The Chosen One who chose his people because of his love and promise
8v5 The Son disciplined by his Father, and by whose discipline we become sons too
9v6 He who gives to the stubborn
9v14 He who doesn't blot out our names, but blots out our sin - giving us his name
9v29 The outstretched arm of the LORD by which he saves his people
10v16 He who wants our hearts circumcised
12v5 He who chooses to make his home with his people, where he can be sought
14v1 The true Son of God who makes us sons
15v2 He who proclaims release and freedom, true Jubilee
18v15 The prophet like Moses whose word comes to pass
20v4 Our victory
21v10 He who plunders his enemy and finds a marred slave and takes her to be his wife forever
21v18 The son who always obeys his Father, and yet was treated like a rebel for us
21v23 The righteous one who hung on a tree to bear our curse
23v1 He who redeems lifeless men and fills them with joy, as with the Ethiopian
23v3 He who invites us to his assembly, for we are his people
24v5 He who won the war to take his bride, and so is free to be happy with her
26v7 He whose Father sent him to rescue a people from Egypt through him - and raised him from the dead to save us
30v1 He who brings his people to blessing through curse

Deuteronomy tells the story of salvation, and shows what is to come as the people, as the LORD's assembled people, come into the land... before a certain exile, through curse and into life.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Jesus in Numbers

Numbers picks up the plot at Sinai, before tracking a journey that almost gets into the promised land before failing to do so. A book called Numbers is a turn off to most people and is based on the Greek name for the book because it opens with census data - members of the people of God who are as real as the people in your church... the original Hebrew title is more like "In the wilderness" which probably reflects better the story... of a people tested for 40 years who fail, whose Saviour the True Israel would be tested far more intensively for 40 days in the wilderness.

@John Hindley offers some gospelicious tweeting from Numbers:
  • "Numbers 5 - the bride of Christ would fear being filled with holy water, except that her husband has taken the curse already on himself"   
  • "Numbers 15 - Israel's clothes reminded them of the Lord's commands. We wear the Lord's himself (Galatians 3:27)"  
  • "Numbers 18 - the High Priest has no inheritance, the Lord is his inheritance. Our High Priest leaves us his Father as our inheritance in him" 
  • "Numbers 21 - odd for princes to dig, not labourers. Odd to sing to a well. Unless you know the Prince will give you his well of living water" 
Where is Jesus in the book of Numbers - present, pictured or prophesied?
1v2 He is the true Israel who loses none of those given to him
1v53 He is the true Levitie who protects his people from wrath
2v2 He is the one who gathers us around him, and he is the one who is able to enter in boldly
Listen -- Peter Mead: 2 minutes on Hebrews
3v13 He is the true firstborn - not just of Israel but of all creation
5v3 He, though he was clean, touched the leprous and became unclean for us, going outside the came to suffer
5v22 He bears the curse of our spiritual adultery, so we can drink the holy water and live
6v25 He always knows the smile of his Father
6v26 He is our peace
7v89 He speaks from the mercy seat, his throne, where his own blood is sprinkled,
9v2 His salvation is remembered as the people eat the Passover meal, until he comes
9v10 He welcomes even the defiled to the passover meal... if he didn't, who could come?
9v14 He welcomes the foreigner to the passover meal, with no favouritism
9v21 He calls his people to move when he moves, to stay when he stays
10v24 He went with his people, making them distinctive
10v35 He rises to scatter his enemies
11v3 His fire burns, even among his people, a consuming fire of judgement
11v6 He is the bread provided for the people, and despised by them
11v25 He comes down to speak and to put his Spirit on his people
12v3 He is meeker than Moses and truly blessed
13v27 He prepares a land flowing with milk and honey
15v39 He clothes us not just with tassels but with his righteousness to remind us of his word, and to keep us from whoring after other lovers
16v31 He swallowed by Korah in judgement, but resurrected his sons to sing marvellous songs
17v12 But for him, we would all perish
18v23 He is the true high priest, who leaves us his Father as our inheritance
20v6 He appeared to them at Meribah, and speaks also to us. Let us not harden our hearts.
20v11 He is the rock that need only be struck once, not twice.
21v8 He is the true bronze serpent, lifted up - to die - that we might look on him and live
21v18 He is the prince who gives us waters from his well
22v27 He appeared and blocked Balaams way and opened the mouth of a donkey to speak
25v1 He was betrayed by his whoring people at Shittim... from there the people went to the house of Rahab, a Canaanite woman of far greater faith than they... prominent in Jesus' genealogy. (Their spiritual whoredom btw, is with the gods of Moab... trace the thread of misery from Lot heading to Sodom in Gen 13, to its destruction and his daughters actions in Gen 18 and on... good news will come when Boaz redeems Moab's Ruth, one of Jesus' ancestors)
25v11 He is the true and greater jealous Phinehas who turns back wrath from the people
27v11 He is our brother, so we inherit from him
30v2 He is the man who does exactly what he says he will do
35v12 He is our refuge from vengeance, flee to him sinner!

Don't be afraid to read parts of Numbers quickly - the census data should be read but its probably not necessary to read very slowly... see the way the LORD deals with his grumbling and faithless people, to judge them - and yet on the other side of judgement is life...  Korah is succeeded by the Psalmist Sons of Korah... snakes bite the people, but a serpent is lifted up as a symbol for salvation... the people prostitute themselves but salvation itself will come through the house of a Canaanite prostitute.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Jesus in Leviticus

People say Leviticus is where people stall when reading the Bible... I suspect it's probably at the Tabernacle in Exodus (though that's tragic because Tabernacle is so gospelicious). Either way, Leviticus arrives as a different kind of book to the previous two. The action largely stops as this book sits in the middle of the scroll between Exodus 19 and Numbers 10 with the people camped at Sinai..

It's a book to read quickly to pick up the feel and themes, though it also rewards those who take time to meditate upon it. The recurring phrase of the book concerns sacrifices that have aromas that are pleasing to the LORD. Every sacrifice that Israel is taught to offer points forward to the sacrifice of Jesus at the cross.

Andrew Bonar: "None but a heavy-laden sinner could relish this never-varying exhibition of blood to the eye of the worshipper." (on Psalm 84 in his Leviticus Commentary). On which Tim Chester comments: "we see in the blood God’s love, God’s justice, God’s holiness, God’s grace, and God’s welcome." 

"[Christ is] perfuming the world with the health-giving odor of his grace... quickens souls by [the] very odour [of the gospel]" (Calvin)

In Leviticus Jesus is:
1v3 The true burnt offering, an offering for guilt and sin. 1v3 The Sacrifice without blemish
1v3 The one who represents the people to make atonement for them - we lay our hands on him.
1v5 The one who is killed as a sacrifice
1v5 The one offered before the LORD
1v5 The one whose blood is spread to cover us
1v9 The Sacrifice utterly taken apart and consumed
1v9 The Sacrifice with an aroma pleasing to the LORD
1v10 The Sacrifice without blemish.

Leviticus chapter 1 is one of the Bible's high peaks from which to survey the wonder of the cross.

1v17 The offering torn open but not severed completely
2v2 The offering with an aroma of frankincence
4v1 The true atonement for even unintentional sin
4v3 The true priest who never sinned
4v31 The one who brings atonement so that we can be forgiven
6v7 The one whose atonement brings forgiveness where relationships are damaged by sin
10v1 The priest whose worship is acceptable
10v3 The one who should be sanctified and glorified by those near him
11v4 The one who defines cleanness and uncleanness
11v45 The one who brought his people out of slavery
12v6 The one who teaches his people about purity through the patterns of their lives
13v1 The one who cares even about things that are only skin deep... much more about the heart
15v1 The one who says that what comes out of a man can make him unclean... much more the heart
16v7 The one exiled to take sin away from us, and the one killed for our sin
16v29 The one whose death is the true Day of Atonement

Leviticus establishes by detail and repetition that people are sinful and that atonement and forgiveness is possible by the actions of one person on behalf of another (a priest) and through the destruction of something (a sacrifice), tracks that come together in the death of Jesus.

17v15 The one who offers atonement for his people and for those of other nations
18v3 The one who will will not tolerate his people being like those who aren't his people
18v6 The one who does not want nakedness uncovered, he would have our shame covered
18v20 The one who takes marriage really seriously, because his gospel is at stake
20v1 The one who will not tolerate child sacrifice
21v8 The one who equires those who draw near to be pure... and will make us pure!

"Leviticus 22 - non Priests can't eat their food, but their slaves and children can. We were bought & made children of God to feast with him"  @John_Hindley

23v46 The light shining at the end of the feast of booths
25v9 The one for whom the trumpet will sound on his return - signalling atonement and Jubilee!
25v23 The owner of the land
23v35 The provider for the poor

"Leviticus 25 - if you are Christ's servant, no other man can be your master (and Christ's servants eat without sowing or reaping!)" @John_Hindley

26v34 The one who will bring rest through judgement

Leviticus feels like one of the hardest work books in the Bible - but keep the cross in view, and probably read the whole thing in three days - 9-10 chapters a day, and it will feed your soul richly. Leviticus is a book for contemplating the death of he who died to give us life, that we might know and enjoy the smile of God, because our Saviour's death sends up a pleasing aroma.

Bob Kauflin wrote, adapting from John Newton:
Forever etched upon my mind, is the look of Him who died
The Lamb I crucified, and now my life will sing the praise
Of pure atoning grace, that looked on me and gladly took my place

Taste more: Four sermons on Leviticus by Mike Reeves from a student leaders weekend

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Jesus in Exodus

The Exodus is perhaps the greatest prophecy of the gospel, the event in which we see "Jesus led a people out of Egypt" (Jude), the defining story of Israel and that which shapes the story of Jesus from his Incarnation to his Crucifixion and beyond, he himself makes an Exodus (Departure) in his death, after feeding his people and being seen to be the true bread from heaven etc.

How does that show up in The Book of Exodus? Where is Jesus in Exodus?

The Father has not been seen but Jesus makes him known - so The Seen God is the Son. Seems to me that we see Jesus on stage in Exodus, and we see him foreshadowed in the events of the Exodus. He is The Exodus and seen in many of its components... and then there's The Tabernacle that sets almost the entire grammar for understanding the cross.

In Exodus Jesus is
1v17 The true midwife, protecting the people of God...
2v10 The true Moses drawn up out of the water...
2v23 The true answer to the salvation cry of God's image bearers...
3v2 The Angel of the LORD who appeared to Moses
3v6 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
3v15 The I AM
3v18 He who calls his people out of slavery to meet with him
4v22 The true son, foreshadowed by Israel God's Son
4v25 The bridegroom of blood
6v9 He who will rescue a people whose spirits are broken by their slavery
6v25 The True and Greater Phinehas... 
7v1 Pictured by Moses and Aaron, God and prophet to Pharaoh
7v17 He who contends with tyrannical Pharaoh, decreating Egypt
10v23 He who puts his enemies in darkness, and shine light on his people
10v27 He who hardens Pharaoh, as he also softens us
12v5 The true passover lamb, without blemish, whose blood was shed for his people
12v12 He who passed through Egypt in judgement
14v14 The one who fights for his people
14v24 He who was in the fire and cloud
14v30 He who saved his people
15v1 The triumphant one
15v13 The loving redeemer
16v4 The true bread of heaven
17v6 The struck rock, from whom life flows
17v15 Our Banner, whose name is love...
18v21 The truly trustworthy man, model for every other leader
19v11 The LORD who says the LORD (his Father) will come to the mountain on the third day
20v5 He whose name is jealous
22v22 He who will not have widows, orphans and foreigners mistreated
24v8 The blood of our covenant
24v11 He who was seen by and ate dinner with representatives of the people
25v9 He who would offer himself not in the model tabernacle but in the heavenly one. Much as Sinai is about the giving of law it's the Tabernacale that dominates Exodus - this is a story about God dwelling with his people and Jesus is on stage at the heart of it all...
Not to mention, that Jesus is the one who came and Tabernacled among us... 
28v29 The true priest who has our names on his breastplate and carries us in on his heart
33v11 He who met with Moses face to face, as with a friend
33v16 He whose presence makes his people distinctive
33v19 He whose glory is his goodness
34v14 He whose name is Jealous
34v19 He who made Moses face shine

"Exodus 38:8 Jesus kindly uses our gifts to make his church beautiful like Bezalel used those women's mirrors to make the tent beautiful" @John_Hindley

40v34 He who was always with his people in the wilderness.

The book of Exodus tells the gospel story in its drama, foreshadowing what Jesus would do in his incarnation, when he became an Israelite - a member of the nation he rescued, and set them free to be free forever through his life, death and resurrection, which makes his dwelling with us by his Spirit possible.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Jesus in Genesis

Christ casts his shadow over the whole of the Scriptures, and can be readily seen there as the Spirit shine his light into our hearts.

Is it anachronistic to seek Jesus in the Pentateuch? Perhaps by the name Jesus which he was given in his incarnation, but Jesus himself said that Moses wrote of him. The Scriptures aren't latterly about Jesus and formely about something else - they've always been speaking about him.

We don't know exactly in what sense Moses testifies about him, but the church has long searched the Scriptures to encounter Jesus, in various methods, sometimes fanciful sometimes faithless...  In the book of Genesis Jesus can be foundby type, analogy, appearance, prophecy, allusion, allegory etc...

In Genesis Jesus is....
1v1 There in the beginning before, being loved
1v3 The Word that the Father spoke, to shine into the world
1v5 The light overcoming darkness to bring morning
1v12 The true third day seed, bearing fruit according to his kind
1v16 The true light ruling over the day and the night
1v26 The true Image of God, after which humanity is made
1v28 The one who truly has dominion over all things, which will in the end be under his feet
2v1 At rest, with his Father and the Spirit, the rest we strive to enter
2v15 The true gardener
2v18 He who should never be alone, and yet would be for our sake
2v23 The true husband who will be wounded to take a wife to himself
2v25 The one in whom we will find freedom from all shame
3v6 He who was betrayed when the lies were believed
3v8 He who came walking in the garden seeking fellowship
3v14 He who spoke curse upon Adam's race, but would bear it for us
3v15 The true seed of the woman who would be crushed for us
3v21 The true clothing for ashamed people
3v24 He who will be able to get past the cherubim and bring us back to the greater Eden
4v3 The true worshipper whose sacrifice is acceptable
4v10 The one whose blood speaks a better word than Abel
4v16 The better Cain, driven from the LORD not for his sin but for ours
4v17 The better Lamech who builds a true city
4v25 The better Seth, the true substitute for his brothers
4v26 The one upon whom Enosh and his generation called
5v3 The better Adam who made us in his likeness
5v24 The better Enoch who walks with his Father, tells of judgment and takes us to be with him
5v29 The better Noah who will truly give us relief
6v7 The one who blotted out man, who will blot out our sins by his own death
6v9 The true Noah, blameless and righteous
6v17 He who didn't spare the ancient world and will judge the whole world finally
6v22 The one Noah trusted
7v16 The one in whom we hide when judgement comes, who shuts the door
6v21 The one whose word, having created, deluged all and will judge by fire
8v1 The head of the new humanity, who stands while the wind of the Spirit blows
8v20 The true burnt offering for sin, a pleasing aroma
9v23 The true and better Shem and Japheth who covers our shame
1032 He whose people will cover the earth and be gathered to himself
11v4 He who builds not for himself but for his Father and his people
11v7 He who confused but will one day unite all things
11v30 The true Abram whose wife was barren but will bear many sons
12v1 He who appared 'the God of glory' to Abraham
12v7 The true singular offspring of Abraham
12v18 He who deceived the true tyrant to protect his sister, his bride.
13v14 The true inheritance for the people of God
14v16 The true victorious king who defeats his enemies and rescues those who've loved the world
14v18 The true Melchizedekian priest, king without genealogy, greater priest than Levi
15v1 The Word of the LORD who came to Abram
15v5 He who brought Abram outside and showed him his future
15v6 The one Abram trusted, who counted him righteous
15v16 He who would bring Abram's offspring back to their land
16v13 The God of Seeing who appeared to outcast Hagar to bless her
17v14 The one who was truly cut off for us
18v1 The one who came for dinner with Abraham and Sarah, with two angels
18v32 The true mediator, and the one righteous man for whose sake city can be spared
19v24 The LORD on earth who called down fire from the LORD in heaven on Sodom
19v26 The true redeemer of Moab, foreshadowed by Boaz

"Genesis 19 - Lot is the perfect Christian, lingering in the place of sin, doing nothing to save himself but dragged out by God's love" @John_Hindley 

22v2 The true loved son who would be offered as a burnt offering on Moriah
22v12 The true Isaac not just figuratively resurrected but truly raised
22v14 The answer to the promise The LORD will provide
24v60 The true offspring who possesses his enemy's gate
24v67 He who loves the church and is comforted by her
25v23 He whose purpose of election chooses graciously
27v27 He who clothes us with his aroma so we gain what he is due
28v12 The true ladder between heaven and earth, the true Beth-El
29v29 He who wrestled with Jacob and blessed him
37v4 The true Joseph, loved by his Father, hated by his brothers
38v26 The descendent of unrighteous Judah
39v20 The innocent one who suffered
40v23 He who many forget
41v45 The true Joseph, Saviour of the World, fruitful through affliction
41v57 The one to whom all must come to escape the curse

"Genesis 44 - Guilty, prostitute-using Judah offers himself in Benjamin's place. He clearly grasps the gospel of his great descendent" @John_Hindley

45v1 He whose heart overflows for his brothers
45v27 He whose words revive the spirit
49v1 The true Israelite, one of us by his incarnation
49v10 The Judean from whom the sceptre will never depart
50v20 He to whom men did evil but through which God did good
50v21 The true comforter, true second Adam