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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Cross in the Old Testament Part 1

While in the desert, the Israelites are attacked. During the battle, Moses climbs a mountain and holds up his staff in his hands, and provided his arms were outstreached the battle was to be won.

Exodus 17:8-15 8 ¶ Then came Amalek and fought with Israel at Rephidim.
9 And Moses said to Joshua, "Choose for us men, and go out, fight with Amalek; tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand."
10 So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
11 Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.
12 But Moses' hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat upon it, and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
13 And Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
14 ¶ And the LORD said to Moses, "Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven."
15 And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The LORD is my banner,

There are several things here that I wanted to point out.
  • Moses goes to the top of a hill/mountain to hold up the rod. - Jesus would go to the top of a mountain to hold up the wood of the cross.
  • It is Joshua who defeats the enemy - Jesus and Joshua share the same name, and it is Jesus who defeats our enemy.
  • Verse 12 says that his hands were stead until the sun went down. - Jesus says in John 12:35 Jesus said to them, "The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." (this is in fact in context of the Cross as we will see below.) - I thought it wonderful that the enemy was defeated during the 'light' in both cases.
  • Verse 15 - Moses calls the place 'the LORD is my banner' (the word here for banner can also be sign, or standard.) Keep this in mind while we look at the next example of the cross.
The Israelites once again are being rebellious so God sends firey serpents to bite them and some of them die.

Numbers 21:5-9 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food."
6 Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.
7 And the people came to Moses, and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people.
8 And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live."
9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a standard; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

The word here "standard" stuck me, and I was curious as to other places that it was used, and I was pleasantly surprised what i found.

Isaiah 11:9-12 10 ¶ In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an standard to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious.
11 ¶ In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant which is left of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Ethiopia, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.
12 He will raise an standard for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

Jesus in the New Testament is drawing on this imagery in

John 3:14 4 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;

John 12:32 and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."

Isn't this just what Isaiah said that Jesus would do? So God is saying - if anyone has been rebellious and has been bitten by the serpents, look at this image of a serpent that can't hurt you, because it is just made out of bronze and you will be healed. The same is true with Jesus, the Father says (so to speak) - whoever has been bitten by the devil and has come into sin. Look upon the man on the cross, though while it looks like he has sinned as well, is in fact innocent, and you will be healed.

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