Saturday, May 24, 2014

Isn't this man a burning stick snatched from the fire? - - - Genesis 22:8 - God Will Provide Himself a Lamb for a Burnt Offering

God Himself Provided the Lamb.........  the Lamb of God who came to die for our sins.

God Himself provided a lamb *for a burnt offering*?  Was this 'burnt offering' only the ram caught in the thicket in Genesis 22?

And what of Zechariah 3:1-3, which says, when speaking of Y'hoshua, "Isn't this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?"

Why am I even asking such a question?  Well....

Of late, I've been thrilled to use ScriptureTyper online to help me with re-establishing old memory work which I had done in the past.

In my own life, one of the most foundational books in the Bible has been Genesis.  Way back when my oldest son was in 2nd-3rd grade and we were homeschooling, I had planned on using Greenleaf's Guide to the Old Testament - running through the O.T. quickly with my son.  As it turned out, our oldest son learned deep ideas (very deep for his young years), but not many names of characters, - or even specifics of scripture, if we went too quickly.

So we set aside the Greenleaf Guide to the O.T. and simply started to work through Genesis very slowly.  We went so slowly that we began memorizing quite a few verses from Genesis (in great part to help more of the depth of the ideas he was reading about have a better opportunity to settle deeply into his heart..).

Along the way, we read about Abraham's faith when God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Upon reading verse 22:8, an old sermon from my past came to mind.  Dr. David Cotton was the main pastor from my youth, and he was quite specific in exegetical teaching, going through the Bible verse by verse.  He delighted in lingering on this verse for quite a while.  His delight caught my attention even then.  I have delighted in memorizing and meditating on that verse for a number of years now.

I treasure that delight more every year:

God Himself became the lamb.........

But now that I'm reviewing this verse on my own on a regular basis, the eyes of my heart have been lighting more and more upon this idea that the lamb provided by God was a *burnt* offering........

How might that be?

Was it just the ram in the thicket?

Well, Genesis 22:14 takes the idea of the provision into the future:  "And to this day it is said, On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided."......, not that it *was* provided, but it *will be* provided.

What will be provided?  Was it not that the burnt offering was to be provided by the will of God?

I visited with a friend about it briefly this week, and she responsed simply that she understood that such ideas were only in Catholic literature......  It turns out that one version of the apostles creed (allegedly not the original version?) includes the phrase "he descended into hell".  All I have done thus far in seeking an answer to my various questions on the subject is to have googled for some input from others who have thought about these things online.

What I have found to date is that scripture does seem to indicate some interesting things.  I think that an indepth study of the original text might illuminate things more fully.  In the meantime, at least according to the English renditions referenced below, it appears to be that:

1)  Sometime during the Passion of Christ, our sins were placed on Him.  He became sin, who knew no sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God.  (II Cor 5:21)

2) Luke testifies that at the end of His time on the cross, Jesus commended His Spirit into God's hands and then he breathed His last.  (Luke 23:46)  According to the testimony of John, at about the same time, that is, just before He died, Jesus said, 'It is paid in full', then gave up His spirit.  (esp. John 19:30) .... So, where did His spirit go?  Did His spirit necessarily go straight into God's hands?  Perhaps so.  Did His spirit go through more trial before God loosed Him from the pains of death (see below)?  That is part of the question at hand.  We might not know for certain in this life - - - - but when I consider Genesis 28:8 and 28:12 - in which it says that God, 'Will provide Himself a lamb for a *burnt* offering......' and that 'On the mountain of God, it will be provided,' it seems that perhaps Jesus did carry those sins beyond the cross before God loosed Him from the pains of death.

3)  We do know that the sin which was placed upon Jesus, separated Him, for a short while, from full fellowship with God, His Father.  (Matthew 27:46)

4) After His death and before His resurrection, Jesus descended into the deep (so did His spirit not descend while he was dead?) (Romans 10:7)  This 'into the deep' has almost unanimously been understood to mean the netherworld, the abode of the dead..... That makes sense to me, but I do want to see more in scripture on the matter.  (of course, there is the parable of Lazarus and the rich Luke 16...wherein Lazarus is, or at least seems to be, as much as I understand to date, in sheol; and the rich man is in torment in hades....see vs. 23... and there is a great gulf between those in Hades, and those in sheol, but not in hades..... see vs. 26; there is also the passage in Revelation 20:11-15, particularly vs. 14 that differentiates 'hades' from 'the lake of fire'....)

5)  Jesus spent three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.... (esp. Matthew 12:40-41); which must be reconciled with Jesus having told the thief on the cross that 'today you will be with me in paradise'! (Luke 23:43); which has been explained various ways; e.g. - it has been explained by saying that only His body was in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights....., which is not as much my inclination; it has also been explained by saying that the thief was on the non-hades side of sheol.....; I'm personally inclined to wonder about the definition of 'this day'....., though I seem to be alone on that point....... *blush*; I also wonder about how long it takes for a 'burnt offering' to be directly affected by the fire - that is, how long is a 'burnt offering' on the fire.....)

6)  Jesus likely suffered, or so many argue.... - - - if He did, was it in brief while the thief was in a safer place? (the idea that Jesus suffered when He descended into the deep is debated in some circles, but there's strong inclination to argue that He did suffer - e.g., as in Matthew 12:40-41, Jonah, it is argued, must have suffered in the belly of the whale....).  ///  If, on the contrary, one reads the arguments that Jesus did not suffer, they seem to be based on the idea that the work on the cross was all that the Lamb of God had to do......, that it is the blood, afterall, that is needed for cleansing.  They are inclined to reference verses such as I John 1:7-9, and II Cor. 5:21.  That was my whole understanding throughout my life, and my faith is in Christ's loving sacrifice, not in specific details of what all God did or did not have to do in order to fulfill His plan precisely as He planned.....  However, I wonder at the parallel between the Lamb of Atonement and the Passover Lamb - and Christ.  I do not have those answers, but I do wonder about them.

7)  Whatever one believes about Jesus suffering or not suffering when he descended....., He was specifically not 'abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption'  (Acts 2:27-31)

8)  He was 'loosed (from) the pains of death', and when God 'loosed the pains of death', there was no way that the pains of death could hold Him.... but note, that the pains of death tried to hold Him, otherwise He would not have had to have been 'loosed'...... was He not impacted by the pains of death?  What might the 'pains of death' have been (merely the throws of physical death on the cross, or also the throws of spiritual death)? (Acts 2:24)

9)  He preached to those held captive  (I Peter 3:18-20).  The assumptions are that Jesus either preached redemption, and/or that Jesus declared His triumph over death and the pending judgment, or that Jesus did not physically preach to those held captive (with a reference to Eph 2:17).  Many people reference I Peter 4:6 which states (in the past tense), "For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the Spirit the way God does." to advocate for the interpretation that Jesus, at least on one occasion, gave a second opportunity for redemption to those who were in hades, Jesus having preached to those held captive at that time.  Those who hold to the finality of death, with no further opportunity for redemption, reference Hebrews 9:27 most emphatically. They also reference Psalm 49, though this psalm is addressing a much broader topic....., that of the conflict which the poor and oppressed experience at the hands of selfish, fleshly minded people who 'succeed' in this world - with that theme's main thrust being found in vs. 15.  Others reference the passage in Revelation dealing with the Great White Throne Judgment, in which those whose name is not found in the Book of Life is thrown into the lake of fire...., though that will occur in the future, which is certainly after the time when He preached to those held captive per I Peter 3:18-20.]

10)  He ascended (and is now at the right hand of God the Father - many believe this to be the reincarnated Christ after He showed Himself to the women and the great part because that is what He Himself said to the women at the tomb John 20:17) - (I Peter 3:22); He even ascended high above the heavens (Eph. 4:8-10 - ESV)...... and while doing so:

11) He both led captivity captive and gave gifts to men   (esp. Eph. 4:8-10) - that is, in the ESV, He led a host of captives with Him when He ascended!  (Eph. 4:8-10 in the ESV)

12)  He ended up with the keys of death and hades (not hell, but hades; death and hades will be thrown into the lake of fire Rev 20:13-14).  (Revelation 1:18)

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