Feeds:
Posts
Comments

The First Go’el

Good Morning!

The title of my sermon this morning is…

The First Go’el

7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then [Ruth] came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down.

8 At midnight the [Boaz] was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet!

9 He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”

10 And he said, “May you be blessed by the LORD, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.

11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.

12 And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I

13 Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the LORD lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”

Ruth 3:7-12;

Let’s pray.

Father in heaven, thank you for the privilege of coming to worship you in your house on your day. Please fill us with your Spirit this morning and cause us to see and hear wonderful things from your law. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in your sight this morning. Amen.

The First Go’el.

The word Go’el is a the Hebrew word that is sometimes translated: Redeemer

The Go’el is a person. The nearest of kin to the person in need of his Redeemer services. Therefore the word Go’el is sometimes translated Kinsman Redeemer.

Some of the duties of the kinsman redeemer are this…

First, he was to redeem (buy back) any property sold by his kin (Lev. 25:25). This law applied to the property assigned to the family at the original division of the land of Canaan among the Israelites. So if you had to sell your property to pay a debt or because you had to leave the Land for some reason, the Go’el, the nearest of kin to you, was supposed to buy your property if he was able so that the property remained in the family.

Second, the Go’el was to buy back the person of his kin. If his relative had sold himself into slavery to a foreigner, the Redeemer was to buy him back if he could. I also believe that the Go’el was to rescue his kin if they are captured and forced into slavery.

Based on these two notions that the Go’el is to redeem the property and person of his nearest kin, the Hebrew word Go’el is translated into two words in English: Kinsman Redeemer.

But the word Go’el is also translated another way in the Bible, because he has another responsibility. The word Go’el is also translated in your Bibles as "Avenger."

The Go’el as Avenger is the person who is the nearest of kin to the one in need of his Avenger services.

And that is because one of the responsibilities of the Go’el was to avenge the blood of his kin. In the event that his kin was murdered, the Go’el had the responsibility to seek after and kill the murderer.

To Avenge means to make sure justice is executed. It means to ensure that justice is carried out by properly invested authority.

It is not revenge. The Go’el is not the Revenger of Blood, in our modern use of the word revenge. Revenge is personal retaliation. Getting revenge is personally inflicting harm to retaliate for wrongs done to you or to others that you have taken up offense for. And it involves doing it on your own without proper authority.

Revenge is not what the Kinsman Avenger does in the Bible as we shall see.

Therefore, based on the notion of that the Go’el is to avenge the death of his nearest relative, the Hebrew word Go’el is also translated the "Kinsman Avenger."

The point I am trying to press here is that the Go’el is both the Kinsman Redeemer and the Kinsman Avenger. It is the same Hebrew word. The same person is both Redeemer and Avenger. His role and responsibility depends on what the nearest of kin needs from him. And if you were a believer in the Old Covenant, you could find yourself with the responsibilities of the Go’el resting on your shoulders at any point during your lifetime.

I know that when I mention the title "Kinsman Redeemer" most people familiar with the Bible think of Boaz in the book of Ruth. Boaz is known as the Kinsman Redeemer.

In the passage I opened with this morning, Ruth says to Boaz saying, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” The Hebrew word translated here as "redeemer" is Go’el.

Spread you wings over your servant, for you are the Go’el. Now she is not asking Boaz to avenger her death, she is asking him to redeem Naomi’s property.

And Boaz as the Go’el buys the land that belonged to Elimelech, Noami’s dead husband.

Ruth is also asking Boaz to take her as his wife and this is where we learn that the Go’el also fulfills the levirate law, in this case by marrying Ruth and extending the line of Naomi and her husband through Ruth. Boaz redeems both Naomi and Ruth. In fact, their first son is adopted by Naomi and is considered her descendant.

So you can see that acting as kinsman-redeemer is quite a lot of responsibility for a man to take on!

Which in this case results in the birth of Obed, who fathered Jesse, who fathered of David, whose line leads down to the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Boaz, the Go’el, the Kinsman-Redeemer saves them and restores their future. But Boaz is the not the First Go’el.

Now let’s look at the Go’el as Kinsman Avenger.

Let’s read together from Numbers 35 to get the rules for the Kinsman Avenger.

Num 35:10 "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan,

Num 35:11 then you shall select cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person without intent may flee there.

Num 35:12 The cities shall be for you a refuge from the avenger [GO’EL], that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation for judgment.

Num 35:13 And the cities that you give shall be your six cities of refuge.

Num 35:14 You shall give three cities beyond the Jordan, and three cities in the land of Canaan, to be cities of refuge.

Num 35:15 These six cities shall be for refuge for the people of Israel, and for the stranger and for the sojourner among them, that anyone who kills any person without intent may flee there.

Num 35:16 "But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death.

Num 35:17 And if he struck him down with a stone tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death.

Num 35:18 Or if he struck him down with a wooden tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death.

Num 35:19 The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death.

Num 35:20 And if he pushed him out of hatred or hurled something at him, lying in wait, so that he died,

Num 35:21 or in enmity struck him down with his hand, so that he died, then he who struck the blow shall be put to death. He is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.

Num 35:22 "But if he pushed him suddenly without enmity, or hurled anything on him without lying in wait

Num 35:23 or used a stone that could cause death, and without seeing him dropped it on him, so that he died, though he was not his enemy and did not seek his harm,

Num 35:24 then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood, in accordance with these rules.

Num 35:25 And the congregation shall rescue the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge to which he had fled, and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil.

Num 35:26 But if the manslayer shall at any time go beyond the boundaries of his city of refuge to which he fled,

Num 35:27 and the avenger of blood finds him outside the boundaries of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood kills the manslayer, he shall not be guilty of blood.

Num 35:28 For he must remain in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest, but after the death of the high priest the manslayer may return to the land of his possession.

Num 35:29 And these things shall be for a statute and rule for you throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.

Num 35:30 "If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. But no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness.

Num 35:31 Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death.

Num 35:32 And you shall accept no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the high priest.

Num 35:33 You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.

Num 35:34 You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the LORD dwell in the midst of the people of Israel."

The passage strikes our ears as odd doesn’t it? This is strange stuff to us New Covenant believers living 2000 years after Christ. A strange passage where we read of blood avengers pursuing manslayers who are running to cities of refuge.

This law prescribes for an Old Covenant situation that is so different from the time we live in that it is really difficult, perhaps impossible, to imagine completely how and why this worked.

So let me illustrate with a story and then look closer at the text…

Once upon a time during the Old Covenant, in the Land of Israel, far, far away, my brother Darek Jack and Adam Macintosh are good friends and they decide to go into the woods to chop some wood for the winter. But Adam forgot to check his axe to make sure it was in good shape. So as he began to chop wood, he raised up and then brought his axe down with a mighty blow! But instead of hitting the wood, the axe head flies off its handle and the axe head lands square between Darek’s eyes and my poor brother, my dear brother Darek, falls down dead.

Covenantal conditions have now changed. Adam is now a manslayer. He has shed blood and defiled the land. The Land is now unclean and needs to be atoned, but this passage tells us that "no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it." (verse 33).

So what is Adam to do? He didn’t mean to kill Darek. Darek was his friend. This was an accident.

Well, Adam has to drop everything that he is doing and start heading to the nearest city of refuge. There are six of spread out in the Land so he is not far from one of them. He has to go there and tell the elders what happened so that they let him in and he comes under their protection until the Go’el shows up.

On his way, Adam runs into me. Shawn Jack, the nearest of kin to Darek Jack. And he says to me, Shawn, I’m sorry but Darek is dead. He explains the story to me and tells me it was an accident. Now suddenly, I realize that I am the Go’el, the nearest of kin to and the Avenger for Darek Jack. I realize that I have no choice, I am commanded by God in Scripture to kill Adam. I don’t want to kill him, but I must because I am the Kinsman Avenger.

Num 35:19 The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death.

Now I know that Darek and Adam were friends and let’s say I believe him when he says it was an accident. So I might say to him, I’ll give you one day, to go home, get your things, and get into the city of refuge but if I see you after that, you know I must kill you. And so Adam goes.

Or maybe I don’t believe Adam! I think he’s a lying son of Belial and he just killed my brother! So I try to kill him right there! Biblically speaking, it really doesn’t matter whether I believe him or not. I am obligated by God’s Word to put him to death. But Adam is younger, quicker and more handsome and so he gets away.

I go home and gather my elders together and follow after him to the city of refuge with my elders and I come to the gate and say, “Bring out Adam MacIntosh!” Then there is something like a trial where the Go’el is the prosecutor and the elders of the city are the defenders. And there are witnesses called and perhaps a jury made up of the congregation. And it is determined by the congregation of that city whether or not Adam is guilty of murder or accidental manslaughter.

If it is determined that Adam is guilty of intentional murder, then he is sent out of the city and I kill him. At least, I throw must throw the first stone.

If it is determined that Adam is guilty of accidental manslaughter then what? He has to stay in that city of refuge and not leave. He will most likely have to lease his land to someone else. He will probably have to pick up another trade to make a living. Libby and his little girls move into the city with him (I’m assuming Libby will do this, because she, you know, doesn’t mind living with an axe murderer!).

We assume all this happens because Adam cannot leave the city until the current high priest dies. And if that high priest is a 30 year old that was just anointed as high priest, he could possibly be there for a very long time.

As far as we can tell, he can’t come out to go worship at the Temple, he can’t go to Jerusalem for any of the feasts, not First Fruits, not even the Feast of Booths. He cannot go anywhere! He has to wait until the high priest dies before he can leave.

But once the high priest dies then all the manslayers that were confined to the cities of refuge are free to leave. In this case, the death of the high priest atones for the land so those guilty of involuntary manslaughter are free.

Now let’s say, Adam is sneaky. He has been in the city of refuge for several years now and he has heard that I am gone on a business trip down to Egypt to buy some Egyptian cotton. So he leaves the city to go check on his land or something.

But he’s wrong! I’m not on a business trip in Egypt. I am just out checking my fields, my vineyards, and my olive orchard.

Minding my own business, eating some figs. When suddenly, someone runs up to me and says I just saw Adam MacIntosh walking around Bethlehem. He is outside the city of refuge!

You know what I have to do? I have to drop everything and go after Adam and try to kill him. I am still the Go’el, the Kinsman Avenger and it is my job to kill Adam if he is not inside that city. If Adam finds out or sees me coming after him he has to high tail it back to the city of refuge.

What if I have died while Adam is still confined in the city? Is he free? NO! Not unless I happen to be the high priest! It doesn’t matter that I died. That just means the Go’el responsibilities fall to the next nearest kinsman of Darek Jack. Josiah Jack, my son, will have to step into the role of Kinsman Avenger on the event of my death. Adam would have to worry about him or after he dies, Darek’s cousin Leo, or cousin Robbie, or whoever is next in line.

That is how the Go’el, the Kinsman Avenger works according to this passage along with Deut 19 and Josh 20.

Why set up this whole system of cities of refuge and the Go’el? Why did God set this up? What does it mean?

One reason given here in Numbers 35 is in verses 33 and 34…

Num 35:33 You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.

Num 35:34 You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the LORD dwell in the midst of the people of Israel."

These verses use the same language as the uncleanness laws of Leviticus.

The laws that made the Old Covenant believer’s life the most different from ours in the New Covenant were these laws concerning uncleanness found in Leviticus 11 through 15.

These laws guided your behavior and your relationships regarding marriage, child birth, your diet, and how to handle a death in the family or on the farm. How to respond to a stroke of leprosy in your clothes, your house, or on your body.

You would also be concerned about whether the Land of Israel was made unclean through bloodshed.

That is the reason given for the Go’el as Kinsman Avenger. His job is to atone for the land when it was defiled by bloodshed. Bloodshed is what defiles the land. Verse 33 says, You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land"

Therefore, the job of the Go’el is to keep the land in a judicial state of cleanness in regard to bloodshed.

Why keep the Land clean? The answer is in verse 34, "You shall not defile [UNCLEAN] the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the LORD dwell in the midst of the people of Israel."

God dwelled in the midst of their land in the temple and therefore the land shall be kept clean.

This concern about the Land being defiled was serious business. Because if the Land was judged unclean by God, then you and the whole of Israel were in danger of the curses of the covenant. In danger of Yahweh removing his presence from the Temple because He will not dwell in an unclean land among unclean people. In danger of the heavens being made like iron and the earth being made like bronze so that your strength would be spent in vain trying to grow food because the unclean land would not yield its strength to you.

How do we atone the land?

verse 33 again says, "and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. "

Therefore in order to make atonement for the Land to keep it clean, God set up the role of the Go’el, the Kinsman Avenger whose responsibility is to kill the manslayer and thereby cleanse the land.

The person that shed blood has to die to make atonement for the Land. No other sacrifice will do.

Except for the death of the high priest! His death also makes atonement for the Land and resets everything regarding the cities of refuge and the responsibility of the Kinsman Avenger. Imagine after the death of the high priest, all these families packing up, leaving the cities of refuge, and going back to their land.

In my example my little story, Adam shed blood and became a manslayer. He is now a father of uncleanness. That means he is a source of uncleanness whose presence in the Land is making the Land unclean. He must either be killed to make atonement for the Land or get out of the Land by entering in the city of refuge and becoming a captive there. While he is in the city of refuge he is outside the land and not defiling it. He is in a sense, away from the presence of the Lord.

You see the Go’el, the Kinsman Avenger is not getting revenge for his family. This is not family feuding like the Hatfields and the McCoys. The Go’el is God’s agent called up to cleanse the Land.

I now want to turn to Genesis 4, to look at a more ancient picture of this concept…

Gen 4:8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.

Gen 4:9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?"

Gen 4:10 And the LORD said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.

Gen 4:11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.

Gen 4:12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth."

Gen 4:13 Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is greater than I can bear.

Gen 4:14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me."

Gen 4:15 Then the LORD said to him, "Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.

Gen 4:16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

I am hoping that you are recognizing some connections between our passages… let’s look at it closely.

First notice the ground…"The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground." The ground has a mouth that receives Abel’s blood. The ground executes the curse toward Cain so that he cannot get food from it. No more vegetable offerings from Cain. He won’t be able to grow anything.

This is related to the warning in Numbers 35, don’t pollute the land of Israel with shed blood or Israel will become like Cain and the Land will not yield its strength.

Next notice the blood…

When someone’s blood is shed, the voice of that blood cries out to God and He rises up to take Vengeance on the one who shed it. Here we find that shed blood calls up the original Kinsman Avenger, the First Go’el. The first Avenger is, of course, God himself.

I saw a movie poster the other day. It was for the first Captain America movie and it said in big letters "Captain America, the First Avenger." No, he is not!

Yahweh, the pre-incarnate Christ, is the The First Avenger, The First Go’el, the Original Kinsman Avenger. The Avenger of Blood.

And when blood is shed it calls out to God for vengeance and Yahweh, the Go’el arises and executes vengeance.

The human Go’el of Numbers 35, therefore is imaging God by acting as the Avenger of Blood. He is, as we say "Doing the Lord’s work" by killing the manslayer and making atonement for the Land.

God curses the ground for Cain’s sake and forces him to be away from His Presence. Cain’s wandering is like being kept in a city of refuge away from the Land of Eden, away from God’s presence at the Garden of Eden.

And so, in this way, Abel’s death is avenged.

Gen 4:13 Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is greater than I can bear.

Gen 4:14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me."

"… and whoever finds me will kill me." Sound familiar? Sounds like Numbers 35. I believe that Cain is afraid of other Go’els taking on their role of blood avenger and trying to kill him.

Gen 4:15 Then the LORD said to him, "Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.

Gen 4:16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

You see this is about vengeance. Abel has been avenged by God, the Avenger of Blood and Cain’s mark is to prevent further vengeance being taken on him. The mark stops other would be Go’els.

You will say to me, but Shawn, Numbers 35 and Deuteronomy 19 and Joshua 20, all passages of scripture about the Go’el, have not been written yet. Cain couldn’t have read them. How would he know? Ah but I say unto you, that he did know. God explained it to him either right here or God instructed Adam and Adam taught his offspring (which is more likely).

God did not leave those in the world before the Flood without his Word. He gave them light to live by. Just as Cain knew better than to bring the vegetable offering before a blood offering, he knew the consequences of becoming a murderer.

The same is true in the world just after the Flood. Genesis 26:5, God tells Isaac that his father…"Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." None of which had been written down yet. And we see evidence of that in the book of Genesis and Exodus. Evidence that the fathers of our faith were obeying several of the laws of God before they were codified for the new nation of Israel. Judah follows the law of the levirate in Genesis 38 with Tamar for example. I believe when Abram rescues Lot, he is fulfilling his role as Kinsman Redeemer-Avenger.

Nevertheless! We have discovered in the passage The First Go’el.

Yahweh is our Kinsman Redeemer and Avenger and the blood of the slain cries out to him from the ground calling out for vengeance.

Are there other places in Scripture that show us this. Yes!

Fast forward from Cain, to Israel in Egypt after the time of Joseph. A Pharaoh has risen that did not know Joseph and enslaved the Hebrews. And then Pharaoh gave the order to his people that if they see a baby boy born to the Hebrews, they must grab him and throw him into the Nile.

When an Israelite family had a baby boy, they had to try and hide him and keep him quiet until he was older. For any Egyptian passing by their house could hear the baby, come in and take him by force and fling him into the Nile with authority from the Pharaoh.

You have a situation here where God’s people are suffering oppression. There is slavery, murder, and bloodshed.

I believe from what we have learned in Genesis 4 that the blood of those baby boys cried out from the ground and called up Yahweh the Kinsman Avenger of Blood, Who rose up to take vengeance for Israel. That is why the first plague was turning the Nile to blood. This particular punishment served to remind the Egyptians of what they did with those baby boys.

But God is also Israel’s Kinsman Redeemer. He established this kinship by claiming to be Israel’s Father. He told Moses to say to Pharaoh that Israel is My son. If Pharaoh will not let God’s Son go free, then God will kill Pharaoh’s Son.

You see God as Kinsman Redeemer does not pay the slave holder. The human Go’el redeems his kin by paying a sum and buying him out of slavery. God, however, pays no one, since He is sovereign. God redeems by means of vengeance poured out upon the slaveholder. When God acts to redeem His people, we always see alongside of this an act of Divine vengeance directed against their oppressors.

Why is that? Because, just as the redeemer and the avenger are one and the same person. Redemption and vengeance are two sides of the same coin.

In redeeming Noah, God destroyed the wicked. In redeeming Israel, God destroyed Egypt. Redemption and vengeance.

And God said to Moses…

Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.

Exodus 6:6;

Salvation always comes with great acts of judgment. Redemption always comes with Vengeance.

We should take notice too, that bloodshed is fundamental to both. God’s vengeance is by bloodshed.

And so is redemption. Bloodshed if fundamental to both redemption and vengeance. Except that in the case of redemption, it is Christ’s blood that is shed as a Substitute. Since all men are wicked by birth, all men deserve to have their blood spilled under the avenging wrath of God. God graciously has, however, provided a Substitute, Jesus Christ, for His own people.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our Go’el. The First Go’el. The Lord Jesus Christ is our Kinsman Redeemer and he is our Kinsman Avenger.

As I said, in redeeming Noah, God destroyed the wicked. In redeeming Israel, God destroyed Egypt.

In redeeming the world through Jesus Christ, God poured out vengeance on Jerusalem, which had become His enemy and the enemy of His people.

In AD 30, on the cross, we see Jesus, as our Kinsman Redeemer, saving us by his shed blood, destroying the powers of sin and the devil that kept us in slavery. In Numbers 35, the death high priest atones for the land. Jesus was anointed our High Priest by John’s Baptism and his death cleanses the world and sets us free from bondage to sin and the devil. Sets us free from the wrath of God against us. Sets us free being kept away from God’s presence and gives us access to worship him through Christ. Christ our Kinsman Redeemer, just as Boaz did for his bride, saves us and gives us a future.

In AD 70, we see the Ascended Christ, now crowned King of Kings with all authority in heaven and earth, acting as our Kinsman Avenger. The resurrection was a vindication that confirmed Jesus’ identity as the Messiah. But that was a private event seen by no one, his resurrected body was only seen by a few.

But the destruction of Jerusalem was a public event, a public vindication that confirmed Jesus identity as the Messiah. That act of vengeance was the sign that the Son of Man had ascended into heaven and was seated at the right hand of the Father.

Even as Christ moved toward the cross, this act of vengeance was on His mind and He spoke of the destruction of Jerusalem just a couple of days before His death in Matt. 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.

Mat 24:1 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple.

Mat 24:2 But he answered them, "You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down."

And in Luke 21

Luk 21:20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.

Luk 21:21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it,

Luk 21:22 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.

He even spoke of his act of vengeance as He carried the cross.

Luk 23:27-29; And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’

The destruction of Jerusalem was the ascended Christ’s first work as the Kinsman Avenger.

But it was not vengeance for his death on the cross. On the cross he prayed that the Father would forgive them, for they didn’t know what they were doing.

It is vengeance for the shedding the blood of his Spirit filled Bride, the Church.

Remember, what calls up the Avenger of Blood? It is blood shed on the land. This time, it is the blood of two groups.

The first group is the combined blood of all the Old Covenant saints, starting with Abel.

Concerning this, Jesus warns the Pharisees in Luke 11…

"… that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation."

The second group of martyrs is the New Covenant saints that were slain between AD 30 and AD 70, starting with Stephen.

These two groups of saints are pictured for us in the book of Revelation, in Revelation 5, Christ ascends into heaven, the first man in heaven. He is called a Lion and is pictured as a slain Lamb. These two images show him as the Avenger Lion and the Redeemer Lamb.

In Revelation 6, He takes the scroll and begins removing the seals…

Rev 6:9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.

Rev 6:10 They cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"

[THESE ARE THE OLD COVENANT SAINTS, STARTING WITH ABEL]

This is what is meant by the symbolism of the "blood crying out from the ground" in Genesis 4. Abel, was first, and he has been crying out to God for vengeance from Paradise, or Abraham’s bosom, pictured here under the Golden Altar of incense. He has been there the longest, for about 4000 years. But these Old Covenant saints are not to be avenged just yet…

Rev 6:11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

The ones "who were to be killed" are the second group of saints. Those that are killed by apostate Jerusalem who is pictured in Revelation 17 as "Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes… the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus."

The blood of these two groups of saints together call up the Ascended Lord Jesus Christ, The First Go’el, The Kinsman Avenger, and he wreaks complete destruction on the city, on the temple, on the entire Old Covenant Creation and completes the set up the new heavens and the new earth for the New Covenant Age in which we now dwell.

Rev 19:1 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

Rev 19:2 for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants."

NEW COVENANT CHANGES.

What about the New Covenant age in which we now dwell. Where do these Go’el laws fit in?

I will try to discuss this in detail in the Sunday School class today, but let me give a quick sketch before ending my talk.

Since the laws concerning the Go’el have to do with the ceremonial laws of uncleanness, they no longer apply to the New Covenant believer. Jesus’ work in AD 30 and AD 70 fulfills the laws concerning the Go’el. His death cleanses the world according to Acts 10 and so there is no more need for a human Go’el avenge and to cleanse the land.

Rather in the New Covenant, the role of Kinsman Redeemer is now the Church. We are the Body of Christ, united to our Kinsman Redeemer through baptism and we go throughout the world as little kinsman redeemers spreading the Gospel and setting the captives free and leading them into the new cleansed land of the Body of Christ.

In the New Covenant, the kingdoms of this world have now become the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Lord and Savior, Avenger and Redeemer. All governing authorities are now under Christ. They are ordained and appointed as God’s ministers to praise the good and punish the wicked. They fulfill the role of Kinsman Avenger in the New Covenant age. Paul tells us in Romans 12 and 13 that we are to never avenge ourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God and that the governing authorities are ministers of God, the avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrong doer.

This is our New Covenant situation. The growth and development of the Church in history sees progressive manifestations of God’s wrath against His enemies, until the final day of judgment,

At the Great White Throne Judgment, the First Go’el will mete out His final judgment of eternal redemption and eternal vengeance.

Let’s pray.

Psa 94:1 God of vengeance, O Jehovah, God of vengeance O shine forth.

Psa 94:2 Rise up, O judge of the earth; repay to the proud what they deserve!

Psa 94:3 O LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult?

Psa 94:4 They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast.

Psa 94:5 They crush your people, O LORD, and afflict your heritage.

Psa 94:6 They kill the widow and the sojourner, and murder the fatherless;

Psa 94:7 and they say, "The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive."

Psa 94:8 Understand, O dullest of the people! Fools, when will you be wise?

Psa 94:9 He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see?

Psa 94:10 He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke? He who teaches man knowledge—

Psa 94:11 the LORD—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath.

Psa 94:12 Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law,

Psa 94:13 to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked.

 

NOTE:  To hear the audio recording of this sermon, click the link below…

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/97436858/The%20First%20Goel%20-%20Sermon%2010-5%20Shawn%20Jack.mp3

Sermon: Abominations that Cause Desolation
Sunday, May 27, 2012

By Shawn Jack

Jerusalem70AD

Daniel 9:24-27;

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint THE most holy.

Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.

And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.

And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

The title of my sermon this morning is Abominations That Cause Desolation. Growing up in Christian circles, I had learned this phrase “the abomination of desolation” many times and it was associated with the Anti-Christ and the Great Tribulation. I was told that the Anti-Christ would come and commit some sin that would be called the abomination of desolation and then there would be 3 ½ years of untold horror on earth.

It was all very confusing to me, and in all those years no one ever said what the abomination of desolation actually was. It was just a really bad thing that the Anti-Christ was going to do.

My goal this morning is to try and present a biblical picture of what the phrase “abomination of desolation” means.

I should be able to do that because this phrase “abomination of desolation” describes an historical action of God that he does over and over again and is a constant threat throughout the Old Covenant and as we shall see is still a threat in the New Covenant.

When the angel tells Daniel that “on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate” it is not a new thing. It wasn’t a new idea dropped down from heaven. It is certainly not new to Daniel because he knew his bible.

Let’s break the phrase down and take the first word abomination.

There are two Hebrew words in the bible that we translate into English as either abominable or detestable.

Toay-bah and Shik-koots.

Toaybah occurs 117 times in the Bible it is always “abomination”. So I will be using the word abomination for toaybah.

Shikkoots occurs 28 times in the Bible and it has been translated as “abomination” or “detestable.” But I will use the word detestable for it.

KJV is fairly consistent, but newer translations mix the two back and forth so that when you see the word abomination or detestable you can’t be sure which Hebrew word is underneath.

But these two words Hebrew words toaybah and shikkoots, each have a distinct usage in the Bible and I believe that our English translations would serve us better to always use abomination for toaybah, and detestable for shikkoots. So that we can see the differences through their usage.

That’s how I will use it throughout this talk.

If our translations were that precise then Daniel 9:27 would read detestable not abominable. It would say “and on a wing of detestable acts is one causing desolations.”

Now why is that important?

Because the Bible distinguishes between what is abominable and what is detestable to God. And we can find those differences from the book of Leviticus.

We need to fill in some background for these words, use them to highlight a way of God regarding holiness and sin, and bring them to bear on our passage in Daniel.

So first, using Leviticus, I want to define what an abomination is, then describe what a detestable is, then show in biblical history how abominations and especially detestable acts cause a desolation.

ABOMINATIONS

First, what are abominations?

Abominations are persons, things or practices that are abhorrent and hated by God. Abominations are geographical and have to do with the Land.

An abomination is an act of covenantal unfaithfulness in everyday living apart from Temple worship. Abominable acts are social sins, forbidden sexual relations, and law breaking in daily life. The result of abominations is to being spit out of or vomited from God’s holy land.

Lev 18:24-28;

Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.

But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you…

lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.

Notice this very important distinction in this passage; both an Israelite and a sojourner (a God-fearing Gentile living among them) can commit abominable acts.

In general, an abomination is a violation of the last 5 of the ten commandments. Murder, adultery, stealing, lying, coveting.

DETESTABLES

What is detestable are persons, things, and practices that are repulsive to God. Detestable acts are also geographical and have to do with the Temple. Detestable actions are covenant unfaithfulness in the context of worship and will get you expelled from sanctuary worship (excommunication).

Think of the Temple/sanctuary as an inner circle within the Land. In the same way, detestable things are an inner circle within abominable things. God abhors both.  Detestables are an intense form of abominations because they come directly in conflict with the sanctuary worship — they are waved in God’s face.

Now, this is an important distinction, because an Israelite had covenant and legal access to the Temple and worship, only an Israelite can committed a detestable act. The acts in Leviticus that make a person detestable are the ones that apply to Israelites and especially the Levites, the priests and high priest.

The relationship between an abomination and a detestable is this: An abomination, when brought to the sanctuary, becomes a detestable thing. Abominable carries the idea of abhorrence and hate. Detestable is abhorrent and hated as well but a detestable thing also carries with it the idea of disgust, expulsion, throwing away, spitting out. It is more up close, personal and intense.

Spitting out is an important idea to keep in mind because in Leviticus 11 eating an unclean thing is detestable to God. This of course applied to Israelites only, Gentile believers could eat whatever they want. But an Israelite with sanctuary access if they eat forbidden food they become ceremonially dead and detestable to God. There are reasons behind this that we haven’t time to explore this morning, but suffice it to say that eating was symbolic of idolatry in the heart, personal sexual sin, uniting yourself to an unbeliever covenantally (like marriage). A believer, an Israelite, doing these kind of things, because he had access to temple worship and was therefore closer to God, made himself detestable.

In general, a detestable thing is a violation of the first 5 of the Ten Commandments; no other gods before me, do not worship idols, don’t bear my name in vain, commandments that focus on worship.

SO TO RECAP…

Abominations are done in the Land, gets you expelled from the land, general moral violations apart from worship, both and Israelite and Gentile can commit abominations.

Detestable acts are done in the temple sanctuary in God’s face, gets you expelled from the sanctuary, involves violations of idolatrous worship (symbolized by eating forbidden food), only an Israelite can commit detestable acts.

DESOLATIONS

Now desolations. Our passage in Daniel reads “upon the wing of detestable acts is one causing desolations.”

Abominations and detestable acts both cause desolations or an emptying of the sanctuary and the Land. A desolation is an emptying, or a causing of emptiness. Now desolations are of two kinds in the Bible, either God desolates the place by kicking people out, or God desolates the place by leaving the place Himself. If God leaves, then the people left are in big trouble, because that means that an army will come flooding in and destroy the place the God desolated.

Daniel mentions this in our passage as well: “And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.”

Abominations, detestations, and desolations! What a fun topic for a sermon!

Now with these distinctions in our mind let’s survey biblical history and view it through the lenses that the book of Leviticus provides.

Adam and Eve in the Garden. We can tell now that the sin Adam commits there is a detestable act. He is the priest in the garden sanctuary where they meet with God, they eat forbidden food and it is idolatrous and spiritual adultery, they worship the creature not the Creator. They are expelled from the Garden sanctuary and kept out by cherubim. God desolates the Garden on the wing of detestable acts.

Next Cain murders Abel. We can say now that this is an abominable act. It involves violating God’s moral law in the Land, in this case the land of Eden. And Cain is exiled from the Land and sent out into the wider world. Cains sin is an abomination causing desolation. Well, at least Cain gets kicked out.

As we move further, we find that in the wider world, Lamech is said to have committed murder, an abomination. Then the Sons of God intermarry with the daughters of men, in context these are the Sethite believers marrying Cainite unbelieving daughters. Believers uniting with unbelievers is a detestable act according to our categories from Leviticus. Abominations are also being committed continually “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” These abominable and detestable acts fill up the world and it leads to God desolating it. And he does this by leaving and then sending the Great Flood.

Abominations and detestations lead to desolation. God leaves and takes faithful Noah and his family out while at the same time desolating the earth of its remaining inhabitants with a flood.

God desolates the world by emptying it of mankind with a “flood army.” So to speak.

For the rest of biblical history, the Flood is used in the Bible to picture an invading army. The sea of Gentiles wells up and over to flood the Land of Israel because of their abominations and detestations. This is used in our passage in Daniel 9.

Verse 26 says ….

And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.

Flood and war in placed beside each other in a poetic parallel form, describing each other.

Let’s move now to the Mosaic Covenant, there are two occasions I would like to survey briefly. One at the beginning of the Mosaic Covenant and one at the end. We have to go to the Mosaic Covenant because from the Flood to the Tabernacle there was no garden/sanctuary so it was not possible to commit a detestable act!

The first event I want to survey is in front of Mt. Sinai, where a preliminary tabernacle using the mountain was set up. Three days after leaving Egypt, Moses brings the people to the foot of the mountain to meet with God. God is on the top of the mountain manifested in a fiery glory cloud. God has already consecrated them to Himself through Passover and the Red Sea as his chosen people and they are at the foot of the mountain in His presence. After some time, God calls Moses up to the top of the mountain for 40 days and nights. And you know the story, they tire of waiting, they have Aaron to make the golden calf and proclaim it as the god the brought them out of the land of Egypt. They sacrifice to the idol, they eat food offered to the idol, they eat from the table of demons and then the text says they rise up to play, the word play suggesting ritual sex acts.

So was this abominable or detestable according to our categories in Leviticus? The answer is that these are detestable acts because this was done at the foot of the mountain, right in God’s face, it’s disgusting and replulsive to Him.

And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people.

Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”

The Lord is ready to repeat Noah’s flood again. Wipe them out and start over. On the wing of detestable acts is one causing desolations.

But Moses intercedes and God changes his mind, but then another kind of desolation occurs, instead of God emptying the place of detestable people, He leaves. God desolates the place by leaving.

For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you …

Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.

God moved far off from them, on the wing of detestable acts is one causing desolation.

Now let’s move to the end of the Mosiac covenant. Samuel is a little boy in the tabernacle in Shiloh. Eli is the high priest and his two sons Hophni and Phineas they…

… were worthless men. They did not know the LORD.

The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, …

before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw…

And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.”

Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the LORD, for the men treated the offering of the LORD with contempt…

Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

Now, these sins involve eating forbidden food in the context of worship, and sexual sins in the sanctuary, right in God’s face. These are detestable actions! And you know how this goes, Eli, Hophni, and Phineas are killed. God desolated the house of Eli. Then God desolates the Tabernacle and brings in the Philistine army.

The desolation of God from the tabernacle is pictured by the Ark. When the Philistines show up, the Israelite army takes the ark with them. The Philistines defeat Israel and capture the ark. This pictures God desolating the tabernacle. If the ark, Gods throne, is gone then God is gone. All the temple furniture was carried by poles and when each piece was set up the poles were removed. All the temple furniture except for the Ark. It’s poles were always on it, never to be removed. The message was be holy, don’t commit abominations, don’t be detestable because God could leave at any time. And when He leaves, you are left unprotected from the coming flood.

Phineas’ wife confirms this picture of the ark for us, for when she gave birth…

…she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured

The ark never comes back to the tabernacle, God has desolated his tabernacle because “on the wing of detestable acts is one causing desolation.”

God comes back to fill the Temple of Solomon and worship is restored under the Covenant of David.

Are you getting the picture of abominations, detestations, and desolations? And can you see how Daniel would understand this message from Gabriel concerning the end of the 70 weeks of years.

Now let’s fast forward to the end of the Davidic Covenant to Daniel’s and Ezekiel’s lifetime. Jeremiah has been preaching for more than 20 years saying…

If you will put away your detestable things from My presence (4:1).

They have set their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it (7:30; 32:24).

As for your adulteries and your lustful neighings, the lewdness of your prostitution on the hills in the field, I have seen your detestable actions. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you remain unclean? (13:27).

They have filled My inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable idols and with their abominations (16:18).

This is how Jeremiah preached to them. And what are they in danger of? They are in danger of being desolated by God.

A few years later, in Ezekiel chapters 8-11, in a vision, God grabs Ezekiel by the hair of his head and brings him to Jerusalem and shows him all the abominable and detestable acts going on in the city and the temple. They are worshiping idols, they are engraving detestable images on the walls of the Temple, they are worshiping the sun with their backs to God’s House and on and on. Ezekiel writes…

And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary?

At the end of the vision in Ezekiel 11, we see God desolating his city and temple. He says to Ezekiel…

But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord GOD.”

Then the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them.

And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain that is on the east side of the city.

And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me in the vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to the exiles.

“Upon the wing of detestable acts is one causing desolations”

God desolates his people and goes over to be with the exiles in Babylon, with Daniel and Ezekiel and the rest. And then what happens next? Nebuchadnezzar and his army comes in like a flood and destroys the city and the temple. Thus ends the Davidic Covenant!

Now this brings us to the time of our Daniel 9 passage, after 70 years in exile, Daniel remembers in his old age what happened. He remembers God’s people committed abominations and detestable acts and that God desolated His city and temple and sent in a prince and his people and destroyed it. Now he is finding out that in 70 weeks of years, it will happen again!

With all this as backdrop, now listen to Daniel 9 again…

And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.

Now I hope you are more familiar with this language, these kinds of events have happened over and over again in biblical history.

And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of detestable acts shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.

I hope to have shown you that detestable acts have to do with a context of worship and I hope you can now hear it clearly in this verse. It is talking about sacrifices and offerings,… worship. And then moves on to detestable acts. Actions that can only be committed by Jews and especially the priests in the context of worship. Daniel is being told that the anointed Messiah will come and put an end to sacrifices but the Jews and priesthood will become apostate and commit detestable actions that will cause desolation and destruction.

Let’s fill this out some more and fast forward past Daniel to the Gospels.

Jesus in the week before the crucifixion after having twice inspected the Temple for signs of leprosy (idolatry); the two cleansings of the Temple in John 2 and Matthew 21. Jesus had found that the Temple was indeed leprous, and as the True Priest He condemned it to be torn down, in accordance with the Levitical law.

Jesus said in Matthew 23

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!

See, your house is left to you desolate.

For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple.

But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.

And during this discussion with the disciples Jesus says to them…

when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),

then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

Jesus is warning them that he has desolated the temple, that the apostate Jews and priests that have rejected him will fulfill Daniels prophecy and the flood army will be coming in their lifetime.

What were the detestable acts in the apostolic age that caused God to desolate His Temple?

The Lord Jesus Christ was Daniel’s “Prince who is to come”, he is the one who puts an end to sacrifice by dying on the cross. Afterwards, when the Jews rejected Jesus and kept offering sacrifices, they were engaged in liturgical idolatry. Their sacrifices became detestable actions in God’s sight. This was part of the "wing of detestable acts" that took place in the Temple.

In Acts 2, the Spirit of God, having desolated the old covenant temple as we just read, moved into the new temple, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Acts, the apostate Jews attacked the Church and killed Christians in the time leading up to A.D. 70 even killing them in the Temple courts. This was prophesied in the book of Revelation. It was the blood of those saints (Rev. 14) that Jerusalem was made to drink (Rev. 17) to her own destruction. The flood army that came in as a result was the Roman army and they, for the final time, destroyed the Temple and the city because on the wing of detestable acts is one causing desolation!

What about us today in the New Covenant? Does abominable and detestable still apply? Sure it does.

Holiness is the opposite of both the abominable and the detestable. In terms of what God does, God never acts abominably. In terms of what God is in His Person, God never receives anything detestable.

Remember that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Christian is not to act abominably in his outward life. And the Christian is not to permit detestable things into his inner person, into the holy sanctuary of his heart and body, lest he be cast out of God’s sanctuary.

In the New Covenant, the sanctuary is heaven. There are no more earthly garden sanctuaries, no more tabernacles or temples. So detestable acts in God’s face are not possible like they were in the Old Covenant. As a result, the New Testament writings focus almost exclusively on moral sins, abominations. The only opportunity to commit a detestable act occurs when the church is caught up into heaven, liturgically, during Lord’s Day worship. Geographical considerations no longer apply, only liturgical ones, and the only rite specified is the Lord’s Supper. Abuse of the Lord’s Supper is the one detestable act applicable in the New Covenant, just as eating the one forbidden fruit was the only detestable act in the first Garden.

Just as the detestable act of eating forbidden fruit brought death to Adam, and all the detestable acts of the Mosaic covenant brought "ceremonial death" (uncleanness) to the Israelites, so the detestable act of abusing the Lord’s Supper brings death in the New Covenant (1 Cor. 11:30; “That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.”).

Not just individually, but churches can also apostatize, and Christ warned the Seven Churches in Revelation that they too could be destroyed if Christ departed from them. They would be "desolate" and their worship would be "abominable" (Rev. 2-3). Each of those churches could have their lampstand removed. Jesus even warned one church that he would spit them out of his mouth. This is a picture of being cast out of His body, no longer being incorporated into His kingdom.

The destruction of the Temple in AD 70, as portrayed in the remainder of the book of Revelation, was thus a warning to the Seven Churches: If you do the same thing, God will do this to you. Thus, the principles are still in force, and serve to warn us today: If our churches depart from Christ, He will destroy both them and our society, which grew up around them.

That’s all we have time for this morning.

Abominations! Detestations! Desolations!

Remember that Jesus while dying on the cross became sin for us. He who knew no sin became sin, he became abominable and detestable in our place. As a result, the incarnate Temple of God suffered desolation. And he cried out, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me. He suffered the desolation that we deserve.

And what a joy we now have in the promise that he will never leave us nor forsake us, he promised saying I am with you always to end of the age.

Sources:  “Handwriting on the Wall”, “Studies in Food and Faith”, “The Abomination of Desolations, Parts 1-4” all by James B. Jordan.  See www.biblicalhorizons.com.  Definitions from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.

They offered at the dedication of this house of God 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel 12 male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.

Ezra 6:17;

When I first taught through the book of Kings, I ignorantly said that the ten northern tribes were lost to history. The idea that the ten northern tribes that made up the kingdom of Israel were lost to time and history when Assyria took them away is a myth and not biblical. The verse above is one proof text against that myth.  The dedication offered at this time was after the exiles had left Babylon and come back into the Land of Israel.  Twelve male goats were offered, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.  This means that representatives of all twelve tribes were present.  This verse has the same idea…

At that time those who had come from captivity, the returned exiles, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel, twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and as a sin offering twelve male goats. All this was a burnt offering to the LORD.

Ezra 8:35;

 

(A lot of speculation has surrounded the question of what happened to these "ten lost tribes." Some say they are the Gypsies, others that they are the Anglo-Saxon peoples, and others that they are the American Indians. Actually, these tribes were not lost at all, but merged with the two southern tribes taken into captivity by Babylon later on. Representatives from all the tribes returned to the land eventually, after the captivity. For proof, see Luke 2: 36: Anna was of the tribe of Asher, one of the ten "lost" tribes.)

The Bible and the Nations, by James B. Jordan, pg. 11

 

One of the messages of the book of Jonah was that the ten Northern tribes Jonah and the Great Fishwould be returned to the Land. The symbolic message of Jonah being cast into the sea and swallowed by a great fish was that the ten northern tribes would be cast into the sea of Gentiles, swallowed by the great fish of Assyrian believers and then be spit back out onto the Land.  Jonah went ahead a generation earlier to preach repentance and thus prepare a place for them.  When the captures Israelites went over the Assyria, they found God-fearing believers to receive them.

Other Facts to Keep in Mind

The Bible never says that the 10 tribes of northern Israel were lost. When the Assyrians took over northern Israel they did deport some and bring in others but they did not take away every Israelite.  It was mostly the leaders that were taken into captivity. The proof of that is found in 2 Chron. 30:6-11.  A number of years after the deportation, Hezekiah sent messengers throughout northern Israel and Judah to call them to repentance. This was after the Assyrian deportation.

"So couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with letters from the king and his princes, as the king had commanded, saying, “O people of Israel, return to the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that he may turn again to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. (v.9)

A couple of generations later, King Josiah conquered northern Israel and reunited Judah and Israel. This occurred 40 years before Nebuchadnezzar came and conquered all of the land of Palestine.  This is recorded in 2 Kings 23:15-20. Bethel was a city in northern Israel and Samaria was the capitol of northern Israel.  So the remnant of the 10 northern tribes were reunited with Judah under King Josiah and they were there when Nebuchadnezzar came and conquered.

The people that were deported 100 years earlier were from Northern Israel were probably still there along with converted Assyrians who converted under Jonah’s preaching. They were there in the Babylonian empire and probably were a cushion to the new exiles sent over by Nebuchadnezzar.

And finally, at the time of Jesus’ birth a prophetess, Anna came to see Him. She was a member of one of the so called “lost” tribes of Israel.

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher… Luke 2:36;

More Saved than Lost!

Question: How does God save the world?  How is John 3:16 a description of God triumphing in history by saving the vast majority of mankind?

The answer is that the one who was baptized by the Spirit is the risen and enthroned Lord who baptizes His people with the Spirit.  The eschatological gift of the Spirit of God that the prophets of the old covenant longed for has finally come.  Pentecost was the overcoming of Babel, the beginning of a unified race of mankind that speaks a new language, a race of men that will grow and increase until it fills the world, replacing the old humanity and fulfilling the original mandate to be fruitful and multiply.  The new race is Jesus’ body, consisting of a vast multitude of people filled with the Spirit He poured out upon them, and it is through His body and His Spirit that the resurrected and enthroned Messiah works.  It is to that body that He gave the command, "Disciple the nations" (Matt 28:19a), and the promise that He will enable His Church to fulfill His will, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world" (Matt 28:20b).

The Baptism of Jesus the Christ by Ralph Allen Smith, pg. 96

Years ago, I came to believe that by the time of the Second Coming, the vast majority of the human race will have been saved.  The number of the lost compared to the number saved will be tiny in comparison. 

In agreement with this belief, in his book Pastor Smith makes the intriguing point that if the vast majority of humanity is not saved, then the first Adam had more impact on history then the Second Adam.  The Last Adam would then have to be found to be less important for humanity than the first (pg. 99).

I just can’t believe that to be the case.  Jesus will have the victory!  The Last Adam causes grace to super-abound! Romans 5:20.

“In the New Jerusalem, all the glory and beauty of Eden is amplified and expanded.  The jewels that were hidden in Eden’s ground have been polished and made into the foundation for the heavenly city.  The gold has been mined and made into streets.  A river still flows from the center, but it now supplies many trees of life, and the one man and one woman of the Garden have become a multitude that no one can number.  What we look forward to as the eternal city is the fulfillment of the Garden."

The Baptism of Jesus the Christ by Ralph Allen Smith, pg. 97

Daniel Talk Sunday July 24

1. Daniel’s place in Covenantal History

These are the notes from the talk I gave at Cornerstone Reformed Church on Sunday night, July 24, 2011.

Move from Big Picture to Daniel

  • a. The Bible covers history from Creation to AD 70.
  • b. Abram was told concerning the 500 years up to Exodus: Genesis 15:13-16;
  • c. Moses was told concerning the 800 years up to Exile: Deut 29:16-30:5;
  • d. Daniel was told about the 500 years leading up to AD 70: Daniel 2, 7, 9;
  • e. Covenantal Division of History: Daniel is at the beginning of the Restoration Covenant. NOTE: Jer 16:14-16; former time and latter time demarcation.

2. Latter Days of Old Covenant: Restoration Era = the end of the ages and the last days.

  • a. 1Co 10:11; Paul says he was living at the “end of the ages”.
  • b. Heb 9:24-26; Jesus sacrificed Himself at the “end of the ages”.
  • c. Dan 2:28; 10:14; “latter days” –> Acts 2:17;Heb 1:2; “in these last days”

3. Some distinctions of the Exile/Restoration Era

  • a. Bracketed by the destruction of the City and Temple of Jerusalem.
  • b. Divided into 70 years then 70 weeks of years.
  • | 70 years of Exile | <-70 Weeks of Years (490 years) –>|
  • c. 70 Years of Exile = time of Babylon and Daniel 1-6; And the book of Ezekiel.
  • d. Division of the 70 Weeks of Years: 7 / 62 / 1 : Dan 9:24-27;
  • e.The first 7 weeks of years: 49 years, the time of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, rebuilding of the Jerusalem and the Temple.
  • f. 62 weeks: Dan 10-12;

4. The first 70 years and Daniel 1-6 is typological for 70 weeks of years that follow.

i. typology: past events shed light on future events.

ii. Typology is the Biblical philosophy of history. This means that history is under God’s control, not man’s. It means that the successive stages of world history have meaning, a meaning related to the heavenly pattern (or heavenly type!) and God’s purpose to redeem and glorify man and the world progressively.

Daniel 1-6 is a series of messages address to the people living during the 70 weeks of years:

Daniel 1: Reject the covenantal food of Babylon and insist on making a new beginning, victory over worldly educational program, in the world not of it.

Daniel 2: The empires are God’s tabernacle for this era, and the era cannot be understood in terms of any other standard or god, victory over the false wise men. Serve the king.

Daniel 3: God is with His people in the furnace of affliction, you must endure the power-presence of ungodly idolatry, victory over false worship, and false great men. Faithful witness.

Daniel 4: The Imperial rulers are set up and brought down by God, just as Israel’s kings were, victory over the king. These are God’s kings and God’s Kingdoms: Babylonian, Persian, Alexandrian, Roman. Jesus is the Greater Nebuchadnezzar, the Greater Cyrus, The Greater Alexander, The Greater Caesar!

Daniel 5: Apostate kings will attack you but remain a faithful witness and they will be defeated.

Daniel 6: The lion’s den of Babylonian captivity is over; the new day has come.

Daniel’s Time in the sealed Lion’s Den is typological of Jesus time in the sealed tomb, death and resurrection.

Sources:
1.   Handwriting on the Wall by James B. Jordan
2.  The Last Days According to Jesus by R. C. Sproul
3.  Through New Eyes by James B. Jordan
4.  The Last Days Madness of the Church by Gary Demar

yellow_tree The question was asked in Sunday School today: “Why was Nebuchadnezzar made to behave like a beast?”

The answer seems to me to lie in the association that the Bible makes with bad kings and beasts.  When a person fails to rule over himself and gives into sin, and participates in false worship, he becomes beastly.  When a king fails to rule righteously and show mercy to the oppressed, and when he participates in false worship, he becomes a beastly king.

Failure to Worship Leads to Beastliness and to Being Cast Out

First, Adam falls by worshiping a beast, by serving the creature rather than the Creator.  The Tree of Knowledge was a kingly tree that would have advanced him to righteous kingship if he had exercised patient faith.  He is still given rule but he is a beastly king and is then clothed in beast-skins.  You become what you worship.  Worship beasts and you become beastly and you are cast out from God’s presence.  Adam was cast from the Garden.

Next Cain is told to rule over himself and his sinfulness.  He is told this using beast-like language.

‘The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?  If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”’

Sin is crouching like a beast ready to attack and rule Cain but Cain must rule over sin by worshiping the Creator properly.  Cain fails to rule, he fails to worship rightly, and behaves beast-like in killing his brother and is given a mark.  The original mark of a beast.  Cain is cast out from the Land of Eden.

Solomon breaks the three laws of kingship (Deut 17:14-20;1Kings 10-11; ).  Solomon falls, apostatizes into false worship, and becomes a beast-king.  He then oppresses the people (1Kings 12:4;).  The book of Revelation uses Solomon as an example of a bad beastly king.  One of the three laws that Solomon breaks is the multiplying of silver and gold to himself.  He collects 666 talents of gold each year.  The number of the beast-king that exercises authority wickedly in Revelation chapter 13 is the number 666.  The number of an apostate beastly king.  This Revelation beast-king is also associated with giving a mark on those who will worship improperly, which draws from the story of Cain.  While Solomon is not cast out, his son’s rule suffers a kind of casting out or separation from 10 of the tribes.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Beastliness

Nebuchadnezzar repeatedly behaves like a beastly king in Daniel 1-3.  In chapter 1, he places in them in a compromising, life threatening situation.  He directly threatens the lives of Daniel and his three friends in chapter 2.  He sets up false worship and throws Daniel’s three friends into the fire in chapter 3.  I think that this setting up of false worship completes the beast-king pattern in Nebuchadnezzar’s life.  Daniel warns him to repent and to rule with righteousness.

nebuchadnezzarBut Nebuchadnezzar indulges in self worship in chapter 4:30 (probably was doing that in chapter 3 with the golden image connecting to the golden head of chapter 2).  He is worshiping the creature rather than the Creator.  Even though he knows Yahweh, he did not honor Yahweh or give thanks to Him.  So his foolish heart is darkened and Yahweh gives Nebuchadnezzar over to his own beastliness.  Nebuchadnezzar is cast out for 7 periods of time.