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Passover and Pentecost: Brings Us In (part 2)

Title Post: Daring to Draw Near

Essential to healthy biblical thinking ​is understanding how the reality of Pentecost fulfills the​ ​purpose​ ​of​ ​Passover. There ​is​ ​a crucial connection​ ​between​ ​these​ ​two Spring ​festivals.

Because Pentecost fulfills the purpose of Passover, the second lesson I want you to master is​ ​this; the​ ​LORD ​redeems​ ​​in​ ​order​​ ​to​ ​rule​.

With​ ​the​ ​exodus​ ​from​ ​Egypt​ ​we​ ​have​ ​the​ ​first​ ​mention​ ​in​ ​Scripture​ ​of the​ ​Kingdom​ ​of​ ​God—​​a​ ​theme​ ​which​ ​then​ ​pervades​ ​all​ ​of​ ​Scripture,​ ​right​ ​until​ ​the​ ​final chapter​ ​of​ ​the​ ​book​ ​of​ ​Revelation.​ ​​​God’s​ ​supernatural​ ​ruling​ ​and​ ​reigning​ ​first​ ​exhibits itself​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Exodus.​ ​​​You​ ​have​ ​tangible,​ ​visible​ ​evidence​ ​of​ ​his​ ​kingly​ ​sovereign​ ​power intervening​ ​supernaturally​ ​for​ ​his​ ​people.​

That​ ​is​ ​why​ ​when​ ​they​ ​come​ ​across​ ​the​ ​Red Sea,​ ​Moses​ ​and​ ​Miriam​ ​give​ ​prophetic​ ​praise to God​ ​, declaring​ “the LORD reigns forever and ever!” (Ex 15:18). They​ ​were​ ​not​ ​saying​ ​that​ ​he​ ​is​ ​going​ ​to​ ​be king​ ​in​ ​the​ ​future​. He​ ​is​ ​the​ ​king now, ​ruling​ ​and​ ​reigning evidenced​ by​ ​delivering​ ​us​ ​from​ ​the​ ​bondage​ ​of​ ​Egypt ​and​​ ​protecting​ ​us​ ​from​ ​the​ ​pursuing​ ​Egyptian​ ​soldiers.

In​ ​Ex​ ​19:4-6,​ ​God​ ​states​ ​what​ ​his​ ​objective​ ​is​ ​for​ ​his​ ​redeemed​ ​people.

You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.

Here, ​Israel​ ​is called ​a nation​ (​goy).​ ​But​ ​because​ ​of​ ​God’s​ ​redemptive​ ​and​ ​ruling​ ​power​, they will not​ ​be​ ​an​ ​ordinary​ ​nation. Israel​ ​is​ ​going​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​nation​​ distinct​ ​from​ ​all​ ​the other​ ​nations.​

Yes, ​​God​ ​is​ ​the​ ​Creator​ ​and​ ​Ruler​ ​of​ ​the​ ​whole​ ​world; all​ ​nations​ ​are​ ​his and answer to him. But​ ​by​ ​his​ ​elective​ ​choice, he​ ​took​ ​this​ ​nation​ ​(which​ ​in​ ​some​ ​respects​ ​was​ ​the​ ​least​ ​of all)​ ​and​ ​said,​ “You​ ​are​ ​going​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​holy​ ​nation,​ ​just​ ​as​ ​I am​ ​a​ ​holy​ ​God, and you will be bearers of my image.​ ​​​That​ ​is​ ​why​ ​I​ ​brought​ ​you​ ​to​ ​this​ ​place.​ ​​​I​ ​redeemed​ ​you​ ​because I​ ​want​ ​to​ ​rule​ ​over​ ​you​. And​ ​in​ my ​ruling​ ​over​ ​you,​ ​you​ ​will​ ​be​ ​a​ ​blessing​ ​to​ ​all​ ​the​ ​nations.”

Israel​ ​was​ ​not​ ​elected​ ​for​ ​special​ ​privileges. She​ ​was​ ​commissioned​ ​for​ ​special​ ​service, unique​​ ​unto​ ​God​ ​and​ ​in ​the​ ​earth.

Those of us who’ve experienced forgiveness in Jesus need to take notice of this fact. Listen carefully to ​​the​ ​language​​ ​God​ ​uses here​ ​and​ ​nowhere​ ​else​ ​in​ ​the Old Testament—You shall be to me a kingdom of priests.

​​The​ ​first​ ​and foremost​ ​calling of a priest is​ ​to​ ​serve​ ​God (in​ ​New Testament​ ​terminology​ ​, a​ ​minister​ ​unto the​ ​Lord).​ Priests ​are empowered​ ​to bless,​​ ​teach,​​ ​judge​​, and​ ​bear​ ​witness. He is saying to his people,​ ​I​ ​have saved​ ​you​ ​because​ ​I​ ​have​ ​a​ ​service​ ​I​ ​want​ ​you​ ​to​ ​render.​ ​​​I​ ​want​ ​you​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a nation​ ​unto​ ​me​. One ​that​ ​is​ ​set​ ​apart, that is, distinct​ ​from​ ​all​ ​other​ ​nations.​ Why? ​​​I​ ​want​ ​you​ ​to​ ​bear my​ ​presence​ that I might bless all​ ​the​ ​nations.

In Exodus 19, we see​ ​that​ ​God​ ​came​ ​down​ to​ ​accomplish​ ​his​ ​purpose​ ​for​ ​bringing them​ ​to​ ​Sinai. He became​ ​their​ ​teacher, giving​ ​her​ ​guidance,​ ​direction​ ​, and instruction.

According​ ​to​ ​an ancient Jewish midrash,​ not​ ​only​ ​Israel but every​ nation​ ​heard​ ​these​ ​words.​ The​ ​sages​ ​say​ ​a​ ​great silence​ ​fell​ ​upon​ ​the​ ​earth​ ​when​ ​God​ ​descended​ ​with​ ​fire​ ​and​ ​glory​ ​upon​ ​Sinai.​ Every living thing​ ​stood​ ​silent​ ​because their​ ​Creator​ ​was​ ​about​ ​to​ ​speak.​ ​​The​ ​sages​ also said​ ​that​ ​when​ ​the​ ​voice​ ​of​ ​God​ ​went​ ​forth,​ ​it​ ​supernaturally​ ​divided​ ​into seventy​ ​languages. Why?​ ​So​ ​that​ ​everyone​ ​could​ ​hear​ ​in​ ​their​ ​native​ tongue! (Check out the remarkable connection with Acts 2:1-4.)

Not​ ​only​ ​did​ ​God​ ​come​ ​down​ ​to​ ​teach his people, but he also​ ​came​ ​down​ ​to​ ​dwell​ ​in​ ​their midst.​

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” - Exodus 20:18-19

Notice they​​ ​saw​ ​the phenomenon and​ ​trembled.​ The lesson for every age is we are to walk by faith, not by sight. ​​It is telling that they used the impersonal Elohim for God rather than the covenant name he revealed as their deliverer. ​Notice also how they​ ​stayed​ ​at​ ​a​ ​distance​ ​and​ asked Moses to speak to God on their behalf.

Rather than express anger, Moses tried to help them understand, Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin. The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. - Exodus 20:20-21

The implication of God’s reigning amid the redeemed—his kingdom of priests—is that each one can approach, can draw nigh to serve and be of service. Oh, let it not be true of you that​ ​you​ ​would​ ​rather​ ​hear​ ​from​ ​a​ ​teacher,​ ​pastor​, ​or​ ​preacher than​ ​hear your Holy Father​ ​speak​ ​to​ ​you​ ​himself.​

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. - Hebrews 10:19-25

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This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.

Dwight A. Pryor (1945-2011) was a gifted Bible teacher of exceptional clarity and depth who earned the friendship and admiration of both Christian and Jewish scholars—in the United States and Israel—as well as the respect and appreciation of followers of Jesus around the world. His expertise in the language, literature, and culture of Israel during the life and time of Jesus and the early church yield insights that nourish every area of faith and practice.

Dwight founded JC Studies in 1984 to edify the people of God. Click here to explore over fifty of his audio and video seminars.

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