Angelic Conflict part 323: Current work of Christ – Eph 2:4-7; Mat 14:26-31; Exo 23:15; Deu 26:1-11.
length: 64:43 - taught on May, 23 2014
So we turn to our final aspect of this in depth look of the kingdom conflict - our Lord’s present and future ministry in resurrected glory.
At least a dozen important aspects of His present ministry were contingent upon the fact of His resurrection.
8. The raising of believers to a new position in Christ. The believer can now be triumphant in his new position.
The old position was spiritual death.
EPH 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
EPH 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,
EPH 2:7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
When Christ raised people from the dead He put their feet back on the ground. This is a depiction and display of the much greater spiritual resurrection unto life with puts us in union with Christ.
It is in keeping with Christ’s present work for believers that they be raised to a new position in Christ. For us to accomplish what He desired His church to accomplish He raised us to a new position by grace that no OT saint ever dreamed of obtaining. From this position we walk in the ministry that God has given each of us individually, as well the ministry of the local assembly that each of us have been called to.
By virtue of the resurrection of Christ the believer can now be triumphant in his new position, no longer being dead in trespasses and sins in Adam, but raised in newness of life in Christ Jesus.
We have noted that even when faithfully following Christ through His word we will at times lose certain battles, Psa 44. How can we lose and still be victorious? Was Christ winning or losing when He experienced His cross? To the world it looked like a terrible and ultimate defeat, but to the spiritual minded man, it is the ultimate victory.
In the Garden of Gethsemane He had tremendous pressure and mental distress, but He did not quit nor did He sin.
Satan desires to call us into the sphere of doubt in our personal victory through Christ when we are defeated in any way.
Satan loves to call our souls into doubt when we lose out in some way. What we thought was to be a for sure victory turned out to be a disappointing defeat. The temptation is to doubt that we could ever win or succeed in the spiritual life. Christ counters in His word with the heralding of victory in Him. "We are already victorious," He tells us, "so even if you do fail, or if you didn't fail but lost anyway, pick yourself up and keep moving forward, for you have won in Me and you will reign with Me forever!"
Peter was very gung ho for the Lord's ministry, but so often he lost battles. Peter is the only other man to walk on water, at least for a step or two, besides Christ, but even with such a great victory, he failed in doubt.
MAT 14:26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.
MAT 14:27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."
MAT 14:28 And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."
MAT 14:29 And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
MAT 14:30 But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"
MAT 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
This is but a minor setback for Peter. There will come a time in his life where he will no longer doubt. The same will be true of all believers who persevere.
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope
9. Christ in His resurrection is the first fruits from among the dead and His Church are the first fruits of the Spirit.
In His resurrection from the dead, Christ fulfills the Old Testament anticipation in the Feast of the Firstfruits in that He is the first to be raised from the dead in anticipation of the future resurrection of all believers.
First fruits were offered the first Sunday after Passover and at Pentecost. The Feast of Tabernacles was a feast that celebrate the fruit of the entire harvest. It is interesting that these three feasts were the ones that required the men of Israel to present themselves before the Lord at the temple.
EXO 23:14 "Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me.
EXO 23:15 You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.
EXO 23:16 Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field.
EXO 23:17 Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord God.
EXO 23:18 "You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; nor is the fat of My feast to remain overnight until morning.
EXO 23:19 You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the Lord your God. You are not to boil a kid in the milk of its mother. [Pagan ritual]
Repeated by Moses as they are about to enter the Promised Land.
DEU 16:16 Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread [Passover is the beginning of this] and at the Feast of Weeks [Pentecost] and at the Feast of Booths [Tabernacles], and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.
DEU 16:17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.
First fruits during feast of Unleavened Bread = Christ, the first.
First fruits during Pentecost (2 loaves) = Church, the second.
Tabernacles, entire harvest (last feast) = All believers.
The two loaves of fine barley that were offered at Pentecost likely pictures both the Jew and Gentile that would become one first fruit of the Spirit during the CA.
CA bels are the first fruits of the Spirit:
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
Notice that first fruits is used in connection with resurrection glory.
In the Church there is no Jew or Gentile, but all are one in Christ Jesus and therefore the two have been brought together into one building - the body of Christ.
EPH 2:11 Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands
EPH 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
EPH 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
EPH 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
EPH 2:15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,
EPH 2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
EPH 2:17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near;
EPH 2:18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
EPH 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household,
EPH 2:20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,
EPH 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord;
EPH 2:22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
The two loaves (leavened) representing Jew and Gentile in the Church will be waved before God at the Rapture when the big genuflex in the sky is witnessed as the body of Christ all in resurrection bodies are forever physically united to the Head forever.
The first fruit offerings were signs of thanksgiving to God for all the bounty He provided.
The Father is thankful for the Son:
"For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
The Son is thankful for the Church:
"I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine;
And so, besides these national offerings the law required that the first of all ripe fruits and liquors should be offered by individuals.
The Law required that individuals offer the first of all ripe fruits and liquors.
You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage.
Just as each family would offer a lamb for Passover so each family would offer the first-fruits every year. A portion of the best crops (likely 1/60th) would be marked off as the offering to the Lord until they were ripened. The same would be done in the vineyard or olive grove, pomergranate, figs, etc. Thus, every time the family or the workers entered the field or grove they were reminded that Jehovah blessed them with the fruit of the land. Thus our Lord was the best, set apart as an offering unto God.
I quote mostly from The Temple Its Ministries and Services by Alfred Edersheim.
Of course every family could not always have sent its [family] representatives to Jerusalem. But this difficulty was provided for. In the capital of each district assembled those [like representatives] who were to go up with the firstfruits to the Temple. Though all Israel were brethren, and especially at such times would have been welcomed with the warmest hospitality each home could offer, yet none of the travellers would accept accommodations in the case of defilement caused by a death in the house, which would render them unclean and unfit for service. They must camp at night in the open air. The journey was always to be made slowly, for the pilgrimage was to be a joy and a privilege, not a toil or weariness. In the morning, as the golden sunlight tipped the mountains of Moab, the representative man of the district, who was the leader, summoned the ranks of the procession in the words of JER 31:6.
'Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
To the Lord our God.'"
To which the people replied, as they formed and moved onwards:
I was glad when they said to me,
"Let us go to the house of the Lord."
First went one who played the pipe; then followed a sacrificial bullock, destined for a peace-offering, his horns gilt and garlanded with olive-branches; next came the multitude, some carrying the baskets with the firstfruits, others singing the Psalm; which many writers suppose to have been specially destined for that service, and hence to have been called the Songs of Ascent. The poorer brought their gifts in wicker baskets, which afterwards belonged to the officiating priests; the richer theirs in baskets of silver or of gold, which were given to the Temple treasury. In each basket was arranged, with vine-leaves between them, first the barley, then the wheat, then the olives; next the dates, then the pomegranates, then the figs; while above them all clustered, in luscious beauty, the rich swelling grapes.
And so they passed through the length and breadth of the land, everywhere wakening the echoes of praise. As they entered the city, they sang:
Our feet are standing
Within your gates, O Jerusalem,
A messenger had preceded them to announce their approach, and a deputation from the Temple, consisting of priests, Levites, and treasurers, varying in numbers according to the importance of the place from which the procession came, had gone out to receive them. In the streets of Jerusalem each one came out to welcome them, with shouts of, ‘Brethren of such a place’ (naming it), ‘you come to peace; welcome! You come in peace, you bring peace, and peace be upon you!’
As they reached the Temple Mount each one, whatever his rank or condition, took one of the baskets on his shoulder, and they ascended, singing that appropriate hymn:
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
As they entered the courts of the Temple itself, the Levites intoned
I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast lifted me up,
And hast not let my enemies rejoice over me.
Then the young pigeons and turtle-doves which hung from the baskets were presented for burnt-offerings. After that, each one, as he presented his gifts, repeated this solemn confession:
DEU 26:1 "Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and you possess it and live in it,
DEU 26:2 that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you shall bring in from your land that the Lord your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His name.
DEU 26:3 And you shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, 'I declare this day to the Lord my God that I have entered the land which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us.'
DEU 26:4 "Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord your God.
At these words, he took the basket from his shoulder, and the priest put his hands under it and waved it, the offerer continuing:
DEU 26:5 And you shall answer and say before the Lord your God, 'My father was a wandering Aramean [the area of Syria where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob often wandered], and he went down to Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; but there he became a great, mighty and populous nation.
DEU 26:6 'And the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, and imposed hard labor on us.
DEU 26:7 'Then we cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction and our toil and our oppression;
DEU 26:8 and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders;
DEU 26:9 and He has brought us to this place, and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
DEU 26:10a 'And now behold, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground which Thou, O Lord hast given me.'
So saying, he placed the basket at the side of the altar, cast himself on his face to worship, and departed. The contents of the baskets belonged to the officiating priests, and the offerers themselves were to spend the night at Jerusalem.
DEU 26:10 And you shall set it down before the Lord your God, and worship before the Lord your God;
DEU 26:11 and you and the Levite and the alien who is among you shall rejoice in all the good which the Lord your God has given you and your household.
Therefore, we see further into the ritual of first fruits that a people who were once few went down to Egypt and suffered persecution after which the Lord delivered them [Passover] and brought them to a land flowing with milk and honey of tremendous bounty.
Our Lord descended to the earth and suffered persecution after which the Father delivered Him and raised Him into a new place in heaven and gave to Him the bounty of the Church, the first fruits of the Spirit.
This "procession" was to be a joyous celebration just as when David took the ark of the covenant to sit on Zion and just as it was when our Lord ascended with the OT saints to heaven and just as it will be when the first fruits of the Church is waved before God at the Rapture.