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Christ Is The Point
If you don't think so, look at the Exodus of the people of God. It is a collage of Christ. First, there is Moses, a clear picture of Christ: He was sent by God to deliver his people from Egypt. He put the enemy of God to an open shame. He kept the Passover. He was a good shepherd of the flock of God. He did not come on his own, God sent him. Earlier, as a baby, the enemy killed all the boys in a vain attempt to snuff out the life of Moses. Herod did the same. Was Christ placed in a manger? Moses was set adrift in a basket! Yes, Moses was a powerful type of Christ.
Yet, God was not satisfied with that image alone. Moses was a great man and a good man. But he alone cannot present Christ to us. "God, in times past, spoke to us at many times and in various ways..." We shall see there were several pictures of Christ on display in the Exodus, all at the same time. The next image to consider was the rock that accompanied them. Paul says by the Spirit that the rock was Christ. That rock watered a nation, as it is written, "If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink".
Yet, while Moses shepherded them and the Rock watered them, still another prophetic picture of Christ was in their midst: the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was wood covered with pure gold even as the man Jesus Christ was covered by the glory of God. The Ark carried the presence of God, as it is written "when you have seen me you have seen the Father". The tablets were inside the Ark, as it is written, "I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is written in my heart." Aaron's rod that budded? "I am the resurrection and the life".
Now, the Ark was placed in the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was where the presence of God dwelt; Moses would go to the Tabernacle to hear the words of God. Of course, this is a type of Christ, as it is written, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." In this passage "made His dwelling" literally means "pitched His tabernacle".
What else? How about the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night? When the cloud set out, they followed. Did He not say to the disciples, "follow me"? Even as the pillar of cloud stood between the people of God and Pharaoh to protect them, so Christ said "while I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe." Yes, and when the mob came out with murder in mind, He stepped forward, saying "'if you are looking for me, then let these men go.' This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: 'I have not lost one of those you gave me.'" More importantly, who protects you now from the wrath of God? It is Christ our mediator and our intercessor.
There are more pictures of Christ to be seen in this Exodus scene. His mercies were new every morning as the bread of Heaven gently appeared. Like Jesus, it arrived with no fanfare and quietly met their need. He did not raise his voice. He slipped into the Feast unnoticed and unannounced. And, like Christ, they despised it. They chose flesh even as another crowd chose Barabbus.
The next type of Christ for our consideration may surprise some: He was the Promised Land. He is not only the way, but also the goal. As it is written, "That I might win Christ". Not Heaven; Christ. Christ is a realm, as it is written about the Father, "He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him". And, again, "For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves". Why assume this means "the kingdom that belongs to the Son" rather than "the kingdom that is the Son"? It means both, but the point I am now making concerns Jesus as the kingdom. How often are we told we are "in Him"? The benefits of being in Him are the benefits of citizenship in a wonderful kingdom. The Centurion told Paul "I paid a big price to become a citizen". To which Paul answered, "but I was born a citizen." The Kingdom of God is not like Rome. Yes, Jesus paid the price that we might be born again, but that only qualified us for the opportunity of paying the price to remain citizens! Servants stay only for a season; sons abide forever.
What was that rock cut out without hands that destroyed the kingdoms of men and swelled to fill all the earth? Wasn't it the kingdom of God? But isn't it spoken of Christ that He is a "rock of offense" and a "stumbling stone"? "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes." Think of it, the Stone has condescended to be merely the Capstone, allowing us, as lively stones, to become part of the temple. The Only Begotten has graciously become The First Born of many brethren.
This points us to our final image of Christ, one too easily overlooked. The people of God are themselves a picture of Christ - the many-membered body of Christ. For as the body is many parts so also is Christ. We are to be the fullness of Him who fills everything. For, what was it Moses was sent to do? "Out of Egypt I called my son". And what was Moses told to tell Pharaoh? "Let my son go, that he may worship Me." The heart of God was expressed from the beginning concerning Christ, "It is not good for the man to be alone" Yet, if He had been satisfied after creating the bride, then why did He then command them, "Be fruitful and multiply"? It was said of Seth that he was in the image and likeness of Adam. So, it will be said of us that we are in the image and likeness of Christ. We shall see Him as He is for we shall be like Him. Yes, one day we shall awake in His likeness!
The Exodus was a multi-faceted picture of Christ. Yet, these things were not written down for us to puff us up or to make us feel warm all over. These things were written to admonish us! Most of those called out of Egypt died in the wilderness. Christ was all around them, among them. He fed them, watered them, guided them, and protected them. Yet, they still fell by the thousands. "What more could I do for them?", asked the Lord. It wasn't His fault; they're the ones who didn't mix the gospel with faith. It was their disobedience and unbelief that ruined their chance with God.
It can be a terrible thing to be blessed by God. Terrible, that is, if you don't show the benefit of that blessing, bringing glory to His name. For, if land watered by God, "produces thorns and thistles" it "is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned." Of course, God has better things in mind for us. But what is in the mind of God must be expressed in the lives of men. Otherwise God thought it in vain. Be very afraid that you not render the word of God over your life "of none effect"! He has always thrust out such people.
But, if we become the expression of what is in His mind's eye, if we become the joy "set before Him" for which He risked all, well, "no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." Listen to the Queen of the South. She heard enough about the glories of the kingdom of Solomon to come, bearing gifts, to see it for herself. When she arrived, she was left breathless, saying, "the half was not told me!"
Consider! A greater than Solomon has come! Let us also go up, bearing our gifts, even our bodies as living sacrifices. As it is written, "Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage." What does the Word say about those that are faithful and diligent as they pass through this valley of tears? "They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion."
He has promised us fullness of joy in His presence forever. What is a season, even a fine season, in Egypt compared to that? Now that we know something about that which surpasses knowledge, how can we neglect so great a salvation? God forbid! More to the point, you forbid it! Our Father "is always at his work to this very day", therefore let us co-labor with God until we enter His rest.
© Matthew Schilling December 1995
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