Wednesday, 31 March 2021

What About Cremation?

Cremation, as an alternative to burial, is the final disposition of a dead body through burning. In some ancient cultures it is the preferred method of the disposal of human remains, carried out as a respectful and honorable ritual. 

The Bible does not dictate a specific way of disposing of dead bodies, although most recorded accounts are burials, either in the ground or in a tomb. Burning a human body was sometimes done as a punishment or a symbol of punishment or an act of desecration (Gen. 38:24; Lev. 20:14; Josh. 7:25; 2 Kings 23:15-20; Amos 2:1). The dead bodies of Saul and his sons, having already been desecrated by the Philistines, were burned by noble men to prevent further desecration (1 Sam. 31:11-13). 


At death the human spirit departs from its mortal shell; the spirit lives on but the body decomposes to dust (Gen. 3:19; Jas. 2:26). Even a cremated body does not totally disappear, with approximately 2.4 kg (5.3 lbs.) of remains. Whether a human body is consumed in a house fire, is eaten by a shark, deteriorates slowly in a grave or rapidly in a funeral pyre, does not affect what Almighty God has in store for the future. However a corpse disintegrates, the Lord has the power to reunite the human spirit with a renewed, incorruptible, spiritual housing that lives forevermore (1 Cor. 15:35-54; 2 Cor. 5:1-4).


--Kevin L. Moore

 

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Wednesday, 24 March 2021

The Naming of Constellations in Scripture

As Job reflects on the awesomeness of God’s creative power, he acknowledges God as the One “who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south” (Job 9:9, ESV). God then questions Job, “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth [‘constellations,’ CSB, NIV] in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children?” (Job 38:31-32).  

Centuries later, in a pronouncement of judgment against Babylon, using apocalyptic imagery Yahweh declares: “For the stars of the heavens and their constellations [lit. ‘Orion and other constellations’] will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light” (Isaiah 13:10). In a contemporaneous prophecy and lament over Israel’s impending judgment, the Lord is described as “He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night …” (Amos 5:8).


Included among the innumerable stars created and positioned in the heavens (Gen. 1:14-19), “the Bear” (a.k.a. Ursa Major) is a constellation of seven primary stars in the northern sky.“Orion” is one of the most prominent and recognizable constellations, positioned on the celestial equator and named in the secular world after the Greek mythological hunter. “Pleiades” is the designation given by the ancient Greeks to a cluster of seven stars in the eastern sky, the observance of which marked the beginning of navigation season, later applied to the seven divine sisters of Greek mythology. Identifying “the chambers of the south” is less certain, apparently referring to a constellation or larger grouping of stars in the southern sky.


Heavenly Constellations and Earthly Names


The Bible in no way legitimizes the pagan pantheon of luminaries or the practice of astrology, the human attempt to read the stars to foretell the future (see 2 Kings 23:5; Isa. 47:13). The biblical record often uses accommodative language with which its original audience was familiar, enabling them to relate to and understand the intended message.2 No one is certain as to when these names were given to the constellations, although apparently it was before the OT books of Job, Isaiah, and Amos were written.


--Kevin L. Moore


Endnotes:

     1 The Latin name means “the greater she-bear.” There is uncertainty about the specific identification of the first constellation alluded to in this verse, possibly Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus and brightest star in Hyades, or Arcturus (see KJV and Latin Vulgate). The most popular proposal, equating the Hebrew āš in Job 9:9 with ‘ayiš in 38:32, is the Great Bear (ASV, CSB, ESV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, et al.).

     2 See K. L. Moore, “What are the Behemoth and the Leviathan in Job 40-41?” Moore Perspective (27 Oct. 2020), <Link>.

 

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Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Who was Bathsheba’s father?

Bathsheba is probably best remembered as the wife of David and mother of Solomon (2 Sam. 12:24). The Hebrew prefix bath- means “daughter,” therefore her name means “daughter of Sheba.” However, in 2 Samuel 11:3 she is said to be the daughter of Eliam, while in 1 Chronicles 3:5 she is said to be Amiel’s daughter. Sheba, Eliam, and Amiel are all masculine names, so who was Bathsheba’s father?

Jewish names almost always had special meaning. Like the Hebrew ben- and Aramaic bar-,the feminine bath- indicates more than just immediate parentage (cf. Num. 25:1; 1 Sam. 1:16; 2 Sam. 1:20, 24; etc.). The name Sheba was not uncommon in antiquity,2 but it was not worn by Bathsheba’s father. The Hebrew word has two possible meanings, involving the noun sheba (“seven”) and the verbal shaba (to “swear” with an oath). The name Bathsheba is a combination of bath- (daughter) + sheba (oath?), thus the “daughter of an oath,” perhaps related to the circumstances of her birth. 


Her father had a compound name as well. Eliam (2 Sam. 11:3) combines el (God) + am (kinsman), meaning “God is [my] kinsman.” In 1 Chron. 3:5 the name is rendered Amiel, which is the same name with the component parts transposed: am (kinsman) + el (God), meaning “[my] kinsman is God.”


There is no incongruity in the biblical record. The confusion is simply due to the veiling of meaning in English translation.3


--Kevin L. Moore


Endnotes:

     1 See K. L. Moore, “The Aramaic Patronymic Bar,” Moore Perspective (29 May 2015), <Link>.

     2 This name was worn by multiple persons (Gen. 10:7, 28; 25:3; 2 Sam. 20:1-22; 1 Chron. 1:9, 22, 32; 5:13), as well as a politico-geographical designation (1 Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chron. 9:1-12; Job 6:19; Psa. 7:2:10, 15; Isa. 60:6; Jer. 6:20; Ezek. 27:22-23; 38:13).

     3 Was the false prophet in Paphos (Acts 13:6-10) called bar Yeshua (“son of Joshua”), Barïēsoûs (“son of Jesus”), Elúmas (“wise” or “powerful” one), or huiè diabólou (“son of [the] devil”)? Yes he was!

 

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Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Daniel’s Prophecy of “70 Weeks”

Around six centuries before Christ, near the end of the Babylonian exile, the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple had been in ruins for decades. While confessing Israel’s sins to the Lord and pleading for mercy and forgiveness, Daniel sees a vision in which it is revealed, according to most English translations, “seventy weeks” are determined to accomplish some remarkable things. The prophecy is then broken down into “seven weeks,” followed by “sixty-two weeks,” and then a final “week” (Dan. 9:24-27).  


The Interpretive Challenge


Interpreters through the centuries have attempted to calculate a precise date for the fulfillment of this prophecy, reasoning that “seventy weeks” equals 490 days, with each day representing a year in prophetic history (cf. Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:6). The prophecy, then, was to be fulfilled 490 years “from the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem” (Dan. 9:25).1 The question is, what “word” (ESV), “command” (NKJV), or “decree” (NASB) is in view, and how does one determine which year marks the beginning of the calculation? 


A Complicated History


About 605 BC “word” came to Jeremiah concerning the seventy years of Babylonian exile, followed by a promise of return and the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Jer. 25:1, 11; 29:10-14; 30:3, 18). This was the prophecy that later prompted Daniel’s prayer and the subsequent “word” revealed to him (Dan. 9:2, 23). 


Cyrus the Great (a.k.a. Cyrus II) issued a decree around 538 BC to allow the Israelites to return to their homeland to rebuild their holy city and temple (Isa. 44:28; 45:13; Ezra 1:1-3; 4:3; 5:13; 6:3). This was followed by over nine decades of migrations and further edicts, starting with the first wave led by Sheshbazzar to lay the temple’s foundation (Ezra 1:11; 5:13-16). Next was Zerubbabel’s massive cohort (Ezra 2:2), with King Darius, around 520 BC, mandating the continuance of the temple’s reconstruction, completed approximately five years later (Ezra 4:24; 6:6-15). Another significant effort was led by Ezra about 458 BC, primarily focusing on reforming the Jewish state (Ezra 7–10), while King Artaxerxes sent out an order for the temple’s beautification (Ezra 6:14; 7:20-21, 27). Nehemiah’s group followed about 445 BC to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls, with another decree from King Artaxerxes (Neh. 2:1). 


Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his Seleucid forces pillaged Jerusalem and desecrated the temple around 167 BC,3 fulfilling the prophecy of Dan. 8:9-13; 11:21-39 involving “the abomination of desolation,” which would be repeated by the Romans a couple of centuries later (see below). The Maccabean revolt resulted in the temple’s restoration and consecration in 164 BC, the commemoration of which was ordered by Judas Maccabeus and celebrated annually as the feast of Hanukkah or “dedication” (cf. John 10:22).3 The fight continued until Seleucid control was completely broken and Jewish sovereignty restored in 142 BC. 


The temple was desecrated yet again during the Roman conquest, when General Pompey entered the most holy place in 63 BC and General Crassus plundered the temple in 54 BC. Afterwards Herod the Great ordered a number of building projects in Jerusalem and surrounding environs and began a major reconstruction and expansion of the temple in 20 BC, continuing for another forty-six years into the ministry of Jesus (John 2:20). The Jews rebelled against the Romans in AD 66, sparking the Jewish War that resulted in Jerusalem and the Jewish temple being completely destroyed in AD 70.


So what decree was to initiate the count of Daniel’s “seventy weeks”? Was it the Lord’s, and if so, which one? Was it that of Cyrus, Darius, Artaxerxes, Judas Maccabeus, Herod the Great, or another? Beyond imprecise wording and subjectivity of dating, interpreters who try to literalize the numbers often disregard any period of time that does not fit their preconceived expectations, some even adding “gaps” to Daniel’s prophecy to account for “unreckoned time.” Surely there is a better way to handle God’s prophetic word, not the least of which is avoiding the attempt to be more specific than the biblical record allows.


Prophetic Symbolism


The number “seven” is probably the most recognizable symbolic figure in scripture, signifying perfection or completeness.4 The number “seventy,” as ten times beyond what is required, intensifies the symbolism (Gen. 50:3; Num. 11:16-25; Judg. 1:7; Isa. 23:15, 17), and “seventy times seven” even more so (Gen. 4:24; Matt. 18:22). A period of “seventy years,” particularly if divinely decreed, would appear to have symbolic relevance. The seventy years of Babylonian exile were determined by God to complete the reformation of the otherwise defiant and rebellious Jewish nation (2 Chron. 36:21; Jer. 25:11, 12; 29:10; Dan. 9:2; Zech. 1:12; 7:5). 


According to Mosaic law, every seventh day of the week was set aside as a hallowed day of rest for the Jews (Lev. 23:3), and every seventh year a sabbath rest for the land (Lev. 25:1-7). “And you shall count for yourself seven sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; and the time of seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years” (Lev. 25:8). The year that followed the “seven times seven years” or forty-ninth year was Jubilee,5 a yearlong celebration of liberty, reunion, rest, justice, and redemption (vv. 9-17, 24-28). The seventy years of Babylonian exile thus fulfilled the word of the Lord “until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths. All the sabbaths she lay desolate she kept sabbath to fulfill seventy years” (2 Chron. 36:20-21).


Daniel’s vision of the “seventy sevens” (not strictly “weeks” but a complete unit of sevens)6 is broken down into “seven sevens” (= 49) plus “sixty-two sevens” for a total of 483 sevens (Dan. 9:24-25), leaving one more “seven” to complete the prophecy. It is during this final climactic period that the most extraordinary things occur. The symbolism precludes a literal interpretation of a specific chronological duration. It is according to God’s timing rather than a disclosure of the exact timespan. If the “seven times seven [49] years” of Lev. 25:8 led to Israel’s sacred Jubilee, it follows that the “seventy sevens” of Dan. 9:24 lead to a Jubilee ten times greater.


The Time of Fulfillment


In the book of Daniel there are five parallel visions recorded in chaps. 2, 7, 8, 9, 10–12. In chap. 2 the four-part image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream represents four successive kingdoms immeasurably eclipsed by the kingdom of God (vv. 28-45). History reveals these earthly empires as the Babylonian (v. 38), ca. 606-538 BC; Medo-Persian (v. 39a), ca. 538-331 BC; Grecian (v. 39b), ca. 331-168 BC; and Roman (vv. 40-43), ca. 168 BC–AD 476. In the days of this fourth ruling power (v. 44a), “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never forever be destroyed” (cf. 7:14, 18, 27).7


In chap. 7 the vision of four beasts depicts the same four temporal kingdoms, surpassed by the everlasting kingdom of the Ancient of Days. In chap. 8 the vision of a ram and a goat narrows the focus to the kingdoms succeeding the current Babylonian empire and preceding the fourth. In chap. 9 the prophecy of “seventy sevens” should therefore be understood in light of all that has been revealed thus far, while chaps. 10–12 again focus on what immediately follows Babylonian rule.


Daniel 9:24


The metaphorical “seventy sevens” of chap. 9 are not divergent from the other visions but symbolize the prophecy’s complete fulfillment with respect to Daniel’s “people” and “holy city” (vv. 24-27). The following elements are clearly messianic.


To “restrain the transgression, to seal up sin, to atone for iniquity …” (v. 24b). This was accomplished in that Jesus Christ “now, once [for all time], has been manifested in the consummation of the ages for abolition of sin through the sacrifice of himself …” (Heb. 9:26-28; cf. 2:17; 10:12).   


To “bring in everlasting righteousness …” (v. 24c). This was also accomplished, “just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness unto everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:21; cf. 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21). 


To “seal up vision and prophet …” (v. 24d). The Hebrew נָבִיא [nabi] means “prophet” but functions here as a metonymy for prophetic revelation, as does “vision” (Dan. 1:17; cf. Num. 12:6; Isa. 1:1). OT predictive prophecy points to Jesus as the Christ and his atoning death (Luke 24:27, 44; Acts 3:18); he is the ultimate prophet (Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:20-24; 7:37). 


To “anoint a most holy [one]” (v. 24e). While this could allude to a person, place, or thing (cf. Heb. 8:2; 9:8, 12; 10:19), the verbal מָשַׁח [mashach] (“anoint”) corresponds to the noun מָשִׁיחַ [mashiach] in vv. 25 and 26 with reference to an anointed one (messiah), again finding fulfillment in the 1st-century advent of Jesus the Christ (Isa. 61:1-3; Luke 4:14-21).


Daniel 9:25


This particular prophetic revelation has a starting point, “from the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem” (v. 25a), as well as a climax, “until a messiah [anointed] ruler” (v. 25b).8 The period of implementation is then divided into “seven sevens” and “sixty-two sevens” (v. 25c). The “seven sevens” are focused on the rebuilding of Jerusalem (v. 25), followed by the “sixty-two sevens” that merely serve as an intervening period until the final “seven” (v. 26a). The restoration and reconstruction of the city was “even in troubling times” (v. 25d), descriptive of the persistent opposition against the building projects of the 6th–5th centuries BC (Ezra 4:1-24; Neh. 4:1–5:7; 6:1-14).9


Daniel 9:26


After the intervening period of “sixty-two sevens” (v. 26a),10 which included the events foretold in chaps. 8, 10–12 of Daniel, it is time for the seventieth and final “seven” during which “messiah will be cut off, and not for him” (v. 26b). An allusion to death, even a violent death, is evident here (Isa. 53:8; cf. Ex. 31:14; 35:2), as well as its sacrificial nature, whether “not for himself” (ISV, N/KJV) or he is to “have nothing” (ASV, CSB, ESV, NASB, N/RSV).11 In his vicarious death for the sake of atonement, Jesus the Christ was despised, rejected, forsaken, and essentially left with nothing (Isa. 53:3-6; Phil. 2:7-8; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; 1 Pet. 1:10-12).


And the people of the ruler who is to come will destroy the city and sacred [place] and its end with a flood; until the end of the war are determined desolations” (v. 26c). Seeing that the exploits of Antiochus IV Epiphanes would have been accomplished during the “sixty-two sevens” (v. 25; cf. 8:9-13; 11:21-39), the “ruler” (Heb. נָגִיד [nagid], “leader” or “prince”) is a most apparent allusion to the Roman emperor Vespasian or his son General Titus, thus “the people” are the Romans. This occurs within the final “seven” of Daniel’s vision, after the messiah is cut off, viz. during the Jewish War of AD 66-70. The determined “desolations” are further expounded upon in the next verse. 


Daniel 9:27


And he will confirm a covenant with many for one seven” (v. 27a). During the prophecy’s final period “a covenant” is to be confirmed with the “many” who are receptive to it. When Jesus died on the cross, the old Jewish covenant was superseded by a new and better covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Col. 2:14; Heb. 8:6-13; 9:15-17), the contents of which gradually unfolded over the following decades (cf. 1 Cor. 13:9, 12; Heb. 8:13).


But “in half [the middle of] the seven, he will bring an end to sacrifice and offering” (v. 27b). Before the prophecy has reached its full consummation, the old covenant system of “sacrifice and offering” will have come to an end. From God’s perspective, this was accomplished when Jesus became the once-for-all-time sacrifice at his crucifixion (Heb. 7:27; 9:11-14, 25-28; 10:9-10). Nevertheless, in the years that followed, the temple ritual and sacrificial system continued to be practiced in Jerusalem until its irretrievable end by the summer of, interestingly, AD 70.


And on the wing of abominations will be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation which is determined is poured out on the desolate” (v. 27d; cf. 12:11). This essentially repeats what Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the Seleucids would have done a couple of centuries earlier (8:9-13; 11:21-39), albeit this time much worse (cp. Lev. 26:21). Jesus himself interpreted the “abominations” of “the desolation” of Daniel’s prophecy as the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and its temple (Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:20). This occurred, as divinely decreed, about four decades afterwards (Josephus, Ant. 20.5.1; 20.8.10; Wars 2.13.4-6; cf. Matt. 23:37-39; 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 19:27, 43-46; 20:13-18; 21:5-6).12


Conclusion


The surest meaning of any prophecy is found in its fulfillment. Maybe we should avoid trying to be more specific than the biblical record allows and be content with a more general timeframe. Just as the Lord promised, the prophetic word of Daniel 9:24-27 was fulfilled, in every detail, around six centuries after it was revealed. The sin that separates us from God has been conquered and an everlasting covenant established. “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant and mercy with those who love him and with those who keep his commandments” (Dan. 9:4b).


--Kevin L. Moore


Endnotes:

     1 Unless otherwise noted, scripture quotations are the author’s own translation.

     2 Josephus, War 1.1.1-2; 2 Macc. 5:11-14.

     3 Josephus, Ant. 12.7.7; 1 Macc. 4:36-59; 2 Macc. 1:18-36; 10:1-8.

     4 In chap. 4 of Daniel, the prideful Nebuchadnezzar lost his sanity and kingship until “seven times” passed over him (vv. 16, 23, 25, 32), i.e., a sufficient or complete rather than exact period of time, as long as it took for him to humbly acknowledge the sovereignty of God (vv. 17, 25, 32, 34-37).

     5 The Hebrew יוֹבֵל [yobel], lit. a “ram’s horn,” is often transliterated “jubilee” because the sacred year was marked by the תְּרוּעָה [teruah], a [joyous] “blast” of the שׁוֹפָר [shophar], “trumpet” or “horn” (Lev. 25:9).

     6 Rather than “weeks” (as in most English translations), the Heb. שֶׁבַע [shibah] essentially means “seven,” thus “seven sevens” (cf. EHV, LSV, MSG, NIV). When an actual time period is intended, a qualifier like “evening-mornings” (8:14) or “days” (10:2, 3) makes it clear.

     7 God’s everlasting kingdom (Luke 1:33; Heb. 12:28; 2 Pet. 1:11) gains victory by conquering people’s hearts (Rom. 8:37-39; 1 Cor. 15:24, 57; 1 John 5:4; cf. Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 5:5; 12:11; 15:2; 17:14; 21:7). See K. L. Moore, “The Kingdom of God (Part 1),” Moore Perspective (11 Jan. 2014), <Link>, and accompanying links.

     8 Cyrus is called God’s “anointed” (Isa. 45:1) because he was divinely chosen to fulfill God’s purpose, but as a pagan monarch he was surely not “most holy,” and he lived long before the period to which the “seventy sevens” of Daniel’s vision point. The noun מָשִׁיחַ [mashiach] in Dan. 9:25-26 refers to one anointed, and נָגִיד [nagid] is a leader, ruler, or prince. Cf. Isa. 55:3-4; John 4:25-26.

     9 The completed building projects (v. 25d) were to include רְחֹב [rechob], which could refer to an open space or plaza, and חָרוּץ [charuwts], a trench or moat, or inclusive of public places and streets, variously translated “squares and moat” (ESV, RSV), “streets and moat” (NASB, NRSV), “streets and a trench” (NIV), “a plaza and a moat” (CSB), "street ... and the wall" (N/KJV).

     10 The number “sixty-two” does not appear to have any symbolic connotation, although its usage within a patently emblematic text would preclude literalization. When Darius the Mede received his kingdom, he was about sixty-two years old (Dan. 5:31). No symbolism is suggested here but his advanced age is probably recorded to indicate a comparatively brief reign.

     11 The prepositional ל֑וֹ [lu] (“him,” “to him,” “for him”) is difficult to interpret here and is variously rendered “not for himself” (ISV, N/KJV), “have nothing” (ASV, CSB, ESV, NASB, N/RSV, et al.), “left with nothing” (CEV), “appearing to have accomplished nothing” (NLT), “he will be gone” (ERV), “followers will desert him” (NIRV), “no one will support him” (CEB).

     12 See K. L. Moore, “Matthew 24: the End of the World or Jerusalem’s Fall?” Moore Perspective (8 Feb. 2014), <Link>; also Preterism (Part 3),” Moore Perspective (17 June 2020), <Link>.


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Wednesday, 3 March 2021

REDEEMED

Despite being blind from infancy, Frances (“Fanny”) Jane Crosby (1820-1915) wrote more than 8,000 hymns in her lifetime. Her poem “Redeemed” was set to music by William James Kirkpatrick and published in 1882.

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! 

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; 
Redeemed through His infinite mercy, 

His child and forever I am. 

 

Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus,

No language my rapture can tell; 

I know that the light of His presence 

With me doth continually dwell. 


I think of my blessed Redeemer, 

I think of Him all the day long:

I sing, for I cannot be silent;

His love is the theme of my song.


I know I shall see in His beauty

The King in whose law I delight;

Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps,

And giveth me songs in the night.


I know there’s a crown that is waiting

In yonder bright mansion for me,

And soon, with the spirits made perfect,

At home with the Lord I shall be.


Refrain:

Redeemed, redeemed,

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;

Redeemed, redeemed,

His child and forever I am.


Biblical Basis and Meaning 


A form of the word “redeem” occurs in scripture over 140 times,1 essentially meaning to exchange one thing for another. In ancient times it was a common term used in the market place to purchase an item by exchanging currency for it, or bartering one item for another. It was also a word used in the slave market; a price was paid to transfer a slave from one owner to another.


“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say this” (Psalm 107:1, 2).2


The theme of the book of Exodus is “redemption.” Through God’s providential working in Joseph’s life, about seventy members of Jacob’s family entered Egypt and over the next several decades greatly multiplied (Ex. 1:1-7). There arose a new king who did not know Joseph (1:8), and the Egyptians began to afflict the people of Israel. “And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage …” (1:14). Seeing the oppression of his enslaved children and hearing their cries, Yahweh commissioned Moses to lead them to freedom (3:7-10), or to “redeem” them (6:5-6), commemorated by the Passover celebration (12:1-7, 13, 26-27). Afterwards Moses and the liberated Israelites sang to Yahweh, “You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation” (15:13).


Redemption in the New Testament


About fifteen centuries after the exodus, Jesus is confronted by antagonistic Pharisees in Jerusalem. He warns, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin …” (John 8:21). Then having predicted his death (v. 28) and promising freedom through his word of truth to the descendants of Israelite slaves, the Lord explains, “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin…. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:31-36). 


During the Lord’s earthly ministry the Passover was still faithfully commemorated (John 2:13; [5:1]; 6:4; 12:1). At his final Passover meal, he instituted the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:13-23), declaring, “For this is my blood of the [new] covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28).


The Good News That Followed 


Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons…. Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Gal. 4:3-7). “For you were bought at a price …” (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23). 


Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness (Rom. 6:16-18). 


For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works (Tit. 2:11-14). 


The Christian life is confidently lived, “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18-19).


Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!


--Kevin L. Moore


Endnotes:

     1 This includes various Hebrew and Greek terms for freeing, loosing, delivering, redeeming.

     2 Unless otherwise noted, scripture quotations are from the NKJV.


*Prepared for the Summer Series at Red Walnut church of Christ, 28 July 2017; assigned by my friend Stan Mitchell.

 

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