Every word of God is flawless;he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
This photo courtesy of lejun. To view his entire stunning gallery of flora, fauna, and landscapes please click here.
Note: What a joy it is to have this web-site. I've been so blessed to meet wonderful people from around the world through it and some have even become participants in writing pages. I'm grateful to Greg Herrin (cute guy in the picture with his two daughters) for his HUGE help in this page.
One of the many consistent themes in the Word of God that runs seamlessly throughout and provides insight into the mystery of the plan of redemption is the replacement of a first or older (person, place, or state) with a second. This continuity exists despite having about 40 writers over a 1600-year period.
Abel’s offering/Cain’s offering - Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. Genesis 4:4, 5. Abel, the younger brother, understood what was pleasing to his Creator. Cain took the easy path that, in the end, resulted in death.
Shem/Japheth – And children were born also to Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder. Genesis 10:21. The lineage of Jesus runs through the second son, Shem.
Abram/Nahor - Now Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and
Haran. Genesis 11:26. Although not obvious from this passage, Acts 7:4 confirms that Abram must have been younger than Haran. Of these two surviving sons (Haran died in
Ur of the Chaldees,) Abram (Abraham) became the ancestor of Jesus.
Isaac/Ishmael – Therefore she said to Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.” Genesis 21:10. Again, the lineage of Jesus runs through the second son, Isaac.
Jacob/Esau – And the LORD said to her: “Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older shall serve the younger.” Genesis 25:23. Yet again, the lineage of Jesus runs through the younger brother, Jacob.
Jacob's Second Wife/Jacob's First Wife – Then Jacob did so and fulfilled her week. So he gave him his daughter Rachel as wife also. And Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as a maid. Then Jacob also went in to Rachel, and he also loved Rachel more than Leah. And he served with Laban still another seven years. Genesis 29:28-30. The second wife, Rachel, was the favored of Jacob over Leah, his first wife.
Perez/Zerah – Now it came to pass, at the time for giving birth, that behold, twins were in her womb. And so it was, when she was giving birth, that the one put out his hand; and the midwife took a scarlet thread and bound it on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” Then it happened, as he drew back his hand, that his brother came out unexpectedly; and she said, “How did you break through? This breach be upon you!” Therefore his name was called Perez. Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand. And his name was called Zerah. Genesis 38:27-30. At conception, Zerah was marked as the elder by a scarlet thread, but he drew his hand back and the younger, Perez, popped out first. It is Perez who is the one in Jesus’ ancestry.
Ephraim/Manassah – But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” Genesis 48:19. When blessing his grandchildren, Jacob crossed his hands and blessed the younger over the elder.
David/Saul – So Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the
Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. 1 Samuel 15:28. God rejected
Israel’s first king, Saul, and the line of Christ came through David.
New Covenant/Old Covenant – In that He says, “A new covenant, ” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:13. This clearly indicates the Old Covenant is made obsolete by the New.
Jesus Christ/Adam - And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45. Jesus was in the pattern of the first man, but He prevailed, living the sinless and perfect life that Adam failed to live. In all things, He pleased the Father!
Gift/Wages - For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23. Death resulted from Adam’s sin and we are all the recipients of the work he wrought. Jesus lived the perfect, sinless life and by faith in Him, we are given eternal life. Accept the gift today….no! Right now!
Spiritual/Physical - However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 1 Corinthians 15:46. Just as Adam was made of flesh and all born after him are of the earth, Jesus came to give us new birth through the Holy Spirit.
Circumcision of the spirit/Circumcision of the flesh - For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God. Romans 2:28, 29. We are no longer under the constraints of the law because Jesus fulfilled them for us. Jews were circumcised as a sign of their obedience to the law. We are circumcised in our hearts and offer praise and worship in spirit and in truth.
New Jerusalem/Jerusalem - for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— but the
Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. Galatians 4:25, 26. - also - Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2. The earthly
Jerusalem was where God dwelt with men, behind a veil and men were in bondage to the law. In the New Jerusalem we will see by the light of God and the Lamb and will rejoice freely in His presence.
Temple of Believers/Temple in Jerusalem - Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22. The Temple in
Jerusalem stood as God’s meeting place with man. However, only one man was allowed access into the Most Holy place, and then only once a year. Today, it is the Christian church where God meets with man, on an individual basis. It is the body of believers who are now being built into the true
Light/Darkness - For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Ephesians 5:8. This pattern begins all the way back in Genesis 1, when God created light. However, not until Jesus Christ came was the Light truly revealed. Take some time today to read John 1 and glory in the work of God in Christ.
New Heaven and Earth/Present Heaven and Earth - Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Revelation 21:1. No more wars, no more bad meals, no more mosquitoes. He will make all things new. Oh yes, it will be wonderful!
New Order of Things/Current Order - And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4. I’m ready right now! Come Lord Jesus!
Israel - … to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, Ephesians 3:10. Originally, national Israel was to be the light unto the nations. Now, this job belongs to the church - the Body of Christ. Please note - Israel of today has a specific purpose in God's plan. It will again be the focus of God's attention after the rapture of the Church, which will be soon enough! Until then, it is our duty as Christians to support Israel and pray for them and the peace of Jerusalem.
If you noticed, I positioned the Church replacing Israel last. There are two reasons for doing this.
(1) This is a real sore spot for many. There are two conflicting doctrines in particular concerning this issue. First, that the Church replaced Israel and Israel has no further purpose in God's plan. Second, these two are distinct and separate each having its own place and purpose. To suggest one view to a believer in the other view will immediately cause anguished cries of "apostate" or "heretic."
(2) This is the focus of the rest of this article.
I think both of these views fall short of being correct. Recently, while discussing this issue with a good friend - Greg Herrin, we started suggesting possibilities concerning this issue Greg's insights really stunned me because although I've often contemplated this second/first replacement issue, I'd never considered the points we came up with while bouncing ideas off of each other. With his permission, Id like to share some of what we determined to be a logical parallel of the Church/Israel issue.
Saul was the first King of Israel. However, David was anointed to be king in 1 Samuel 16:13: So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah. This was while Saul was still alive. In fact, Saul didn't die until 1 Samuel 31:4: Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me." But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. This was a great while and many adventures after David was anointed. Even after Saul died though, his crippled son Mephibosheth still lived and ate at King Davids table - And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king's table, and he was crippled in both feet. 2 Samuel 9:13
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I believe this is a picture of Israel of old, the Church, and modern Israel. Just as David supported Saul until the day of his death (and then brought Mephibosheth to his table) the Church/Israel union won't be fully completed until the end of Israel's pre-ordained 70th Week - our current period - representing the time of Mephibosheth eating with King David. Even after Jesus' crucifixion, Israel continued on for 38 years, until AD70 - a parallel to the overlap of David (the Church) and Saul (old Israel). As David said "But the LORD forbid that I should lay a hand on the LORD's anointed." 1 Samuel 26:11. Old Israel (Saul) was given time to accept Jesus' atoning death and repent, but killed itself through rejection - All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!" Matthew 27:25.
Israel even pierced Jesus' side just as Saul pierced himself by falling on his sword. When Israel (fleshly Saul) died, the Church (spiritual David) became the Anointed and filled with the Holy Spirit. Likewise Israel (fleshly Saul) became separated from the Holy Spirit (branches broken off as mentioned in Romans 11.) Having made this comparison, we still need to ponder what the significance of Mephibosheth was. Saul and his sons were killed on the same day in battle. Only Saul's grandson lived. This was Mephibosheth - the son of Jonathan - David's beloved friend. The name "Mephibosheth" has been translated in different ways, but each translation I've read fits well with the current nation of Israel. How fitting that modern Israel (the remnant of Saul on a spiritual level) is spiritually crippled, just as Mephibosheth was physically crippled! Despite this fact, they are accepted by the believing Church. Whether you believe the Church replaced Israel or not, true Christians accept the fact that modern Israel has been divinely ordained. Further, we are not to interfere with God's plans for Israel. He has set them aside for His very purposes - which we don't clearly see. Israel's earthly purpose will not be completed until the end of Daniel's 70th week.
Unfortunately, it's been so long that the Church has been in the spotlight that apathy and laziness and have set in with much of it. Not in the true Church, mind you, but the false church could almost be looked on as being a type of Saul, too. Like Saul, the false church along with all false religion, will reject God's authority and fall on its own sword - in effect, killing itself.
If you've read the account of David and Jonathan, you've noticed that David demonstrated an almost supernatural love for Jonathan and (later) Mephibosheth that could only have been put in his heart by the Living God. This is similar to the supernatural love by the Church toward Israel - a brotherhood that affects us deeply. Despite their current rejection of Jesus, there is still a love that can't be explained - it's a brotherhood thing. Once Israel is reconciled as the Word of God promises, they will walk again - Israel will! At that time, Israel and the Church will be one. There won't be any arguments as to whether one replaced the other or not.
Jesus' Spirit will be poured out on Israel (the remnant of Saul) and they will mourn over the Son that they pierced. At that time, we'll understand fully the mystery of modern Israel and it's relationship to the Church of which Christ is the Head.
And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillmentto bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. Ephesians 1:9, 10
As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
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Photo of the two beautiful children - well, those are my own little dear ones, Tangerine and Thorr, so long ago.
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