Every puzzle has a key. We have read again and again the story of the young girl who was distracting the dad, a pastor, as he was busy preparing his sermon for the next day. He decided to solve the problem by keeping the little girl busy with a puzzle. He took a picture of the globe, tore it into small pieces and told the little girl to arrange it back into order. That should take a long time, he thought. But the little girl was done in minutes, to the astonishment of daddy.
How did you manage to get it done so fast, he asked.
It was pretty easy, she said. See, there's is a picture of a man on the back of the sheet. I figured that if the man is put right, the world on the other side would be right.
The girl knew the parts of a man well, and so was done in a few minutes.
The moral of the story? Every puzzle has a key.
'The Scriptures' is a big puzzle, and it needs a key. It is not easy at all to decode it. We easily see this from the testimony of the Ethiopian eunuch who was asked by Philip, “Do you understanding what you are reading?” “How can I?,” He answered, “unless someone explains it to me.” (Acts 8). We also see Peter warn about it in the second letter.
…the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures 2 Pet 3:15-16 NKJV
So we see that the Bible is easy to understanding is not so true after all. It is like the puzzle of the world that the Pastor gave to the daughter to solve… unless, of course, we can identify the man on the back of it, and put him together.
Jesus is that man. Christ is the man. Christ is also the ‘thing’. I say thing at this point because, Christ is more than just a person but is also a spiritual state, and is the sum of all God is doing. Without Christ Jesus, we can't make good sense of the scriptures. Notice that it was through the knowledge of Christ that Philip decoded the scriptures to the Ethiopian.
Everything done by God was for one purpose, and that purpose is Christ. Jesus came for one purpose, to be the Christ brought into manifestation. Christ is the purpose of God. Christ is the fulfilment of the promises and covenants of God. Every single passage of the prophecies of the prophets of old spoke Christ. Every law, every ordinance which the Lord gave to Israel was predictive of Christ. Jesus is the man that is God's Christ.
We must interpret the scriptures with this fact as the foundation, otherwise we will walk all the time of confusion, and the journey of understanding that should have taken only a few days would take forty years. Many people, just like the Israelites in the wilderness, have gone this way because they made something else apart from Christ the key to understanding the scriptures. They see all prophecies as if they spoke of the physical nation of Israel when indeed they spoke first about Christ.
Please follow this trail.
After the creation and fall of man, the whole story of Genesis was written to get to just one end, and that was to explain the birth of Israel as a nation, which was prepared as a cradle to receive the arrival of the Lord's Christ, who is Jesus. The genealogy after Noah was narrowed down to Abraham, who, through his walk with God was His vessel for bringing Christ down. Every other person was spoken of only in passing. You will notice that Moses even slimmed down the curse on Ham to speak as if it was only on Canaan, when in actual fact Noah would of necessity have had to direct the curse to the one who sinned.
Why did Moses’ narrative have to go that way?
Remember Ham had four sons, Canaan was one of them, and Israel was to take the land that belonged to him; for this cause Moses so he gave the spiritual background as it related to Noah.
The story whole story was till Abraham, and from Abraham to the birth of Israel as a nation.
This nation was sent away to Egypt for safe keeping, until the iniquity of the Amorites would be full (Gen 15;16); then they could be exterminated. If this was not done, the people of sin and their sin in the land would have terminated the cradle for Christ which was being prepared, and that cradle was Israel.
How do I know this? The Amorites were the former days version of Herod, who wanted to kill the Son of God, and God also had to send Him into Egypt, until that Herod's cup was full. The word "out of Egypt have I called my Son" (Hosea 11.1) was both historical and prophetic. Israel was God's son in Egypt, according to Moses.
The covenant of Sinai, the journey in the wilderness, the corrections, bondages, liberations, etc, were all to preserve this nation until Jesus came as the Lord’s Christ, and until all the words of the prophets were fulfilled in Him.
Let me quickly point out that He was not coming primarily as the Messiah of Israel but as a Saviour of the whole world. John, the greatest prophet of the former times, said as much when he saw Him. "Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the WHOLE world," was what he said. Israel only saw a part of Him and so assumed He was to be their Messiah alone. But He was much more.
After Jesus came, he manifested Himself as the Son of God and as the Christ, then He said "it is finished."
But what was finished?
So many things.
Sin was finished.
God's plan was complete.
Israel had served its purpose.
Only once after was that God called the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That was in Acts 3, and Peter was there speaking to Jews, who knew Him up till then as such. Apart from this occurrence, from when Jesus rose from the dead, God's titles to His people were limited to things around Christ.
"God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
"God our Father."
God is no longer the God of Israel but the Father of Christ and the people of Christ, and every Israelite who wants to lay claim to Him outside of Christ is only living in the past.
The main problem of the nation of Israel is that they do not accept Jesus as God's Christ.
I have tried to show how Christ Jesus is the key to making sense of the scriptures. That was not common knowledge, even with the first set of Apostles. God had to raise up Paul specially for the purpose of making this known. In Ephesians 3 (see vs 1-5), Paul explained how it was a special revelation which people did not know. Also see this Colossians chapter 1.
Peter had to learn it from Paul.
Christ is the reason Israel as a nation ever existed, and He said they will not be blessed nor will they partake in the promises and prophecies until they say to Him, "blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord" (Lk 13:35)
Israel and many of its prophets had one limitation. They mainly saw the Lord’s Christ as it related to their nation and they thought that was all of Him. But it was only a part. He is the Saviour of the whole earth, Israel being a part of this whole.
All promises are in Christ, and belong to ALL who believe, Jews included. They saw their part but hardly noticed the part that related to other nations.
Thank God for Paul who preached the WHOLE counsel.
I am writing this because I see a lot of our preachers preaching an Israel-centred message instead of a Christ-centred one. They forget that Paul wrote to the Philippians that "we are the TRUE circumcision." He also said "peace be upon the Israel of God" Gal 6.16. He was referring to all saints in Christ Jesus.
Concerning natural Israel, he explained that they are the false circumcision. Jesus said "they call themselves Jews but are not, but rather are a synagogue of Satan." Those were people who rejected Him as the Christ, and persecuted the church.
Yet preachers say that because of Abraham, you need to be good to natural Israel to be blessed. But Paul taught, as taught by Jesus Christ himself, that "do good to ALL (Jews and Gentiles), ESPECIALLY those of the household of the faith (in Christ).
Why? He said all the promises God are confirmed in Christ. Also, the promise was not to Abraham and his seeds, as of many, but his SEED as of one, and that singular SEED is Christ. It is about Christ, and the church is the body of Christ. That is where the blessing is.
Genesis to Malachi, Mathew to Revelation, everything is about Christ.
Christ is supreme to all.
All God's promises are activated by faith in Him.
The Jews saw and had it first, but it equally belongs to everyone, as it written.
"And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus." Eph 3:6
Without understanding this, your exposition of the scriptures, as a preacher and teacher, is defective.
By Enechi Chijioke on 16 Nov, 2016
I really want to thank you sir for bringing a new Light of How the Scripture is to be looked at. For me Understanding the Scriptures has been very hazy but not until I started listening to you then to some other men of God. Now my Understanding of the Scripture is getting better daily. Infact in this recent Post, you enlightened me on the passage in [Mattew 1 -3] I read just early this morning.
By Ezendiokwere Stanley on 18 Nov, 2016
"Jesus, You're the Centre of it all" is the song resonating through my consciousness as i read along.