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Monday, November 24, 2014

Union With Christ # 6

Christ In the Old Testament (continued)

We close with what is perhaps the most difficult aspect and most difficult thing to say, but I believe it is here. This someone was manifested personally in the midst of the nations, that is, in Israel. You will recall the many theophanies, Divine appearances in man-form in Israel, and you will recall that in not a few instances it is impossible to discriminate between the one who is called the angel and the Lord Himself. They are interchangeable terms, synonymous words. Of the same person, first the word "angel" and then the word "Lord" is used. The angel, as it seemed, took up the conflict with Jacob, and he eventually cried, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved" (Genesis 32:30). The angel of the Lord appeared to Abraham and was confessed to be the Lord. The Lord said to Israel, "Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee by the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Take ye heed before him, and hearken unto his voice: provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgression: for my name is in him" (Exodus 23:20, 21). Who is this? Paul said about the smitten rock, that the rock was Christ (1 Corinthians 4). But do you remember this, and this is the point of the whole incident, that when the Lord was giving commandment to Moses about smiting the rock, He said, "I will stand before thee there upon the rock" (Exodus 17:6). It was the Lord who was the rock, says Paul; it was the Lord who was smitten to save the life of His people, and you cannot smite the Lord twice. Once smitten, and, blessed be God, that is enough. Then it is said that the rock followed them (1 Corinthians 10:4), meaning, I think, that the waters of the rock, the values of he rock, the efficacy of the smitten rock, went with them on their way "and that rock was Christ," it was the Lord. "I will stand before ... the rock." So I could gather up many other of these instances, where the identifying of the one called the angel of the Lord  cannot be made without saying that it was the Lord Himself, and, seeing the connections, you cannot but see the Son of God. If that wants proving, go to the last book of the Old Testament, when mention is made of the messenger of the covenant. "The Lord, whom ye seek, will suddenly come to his temple" (Mal. 3:1). That word translated "messenger" is the same word translated elsewhere  "angel". Who is this angel or messenger of the covenant? "The Lord, whom ye seek, will suddenly come to his temple ... But who can abide the day of his coming?" It is none other than the Son of God. But there He was manifested in Israel, again and again personally present, not as yet incarnate, but in manifestation nonetheless.

Well, there is the Scripture. Now, you see, that is the Old Testament. It is shot through, we have said, with expectation, and anticipation. Someone must finally and fully come to answer to it all.

We know that the New Testament, on the other hand, is just brimful of testimony that all this related to and was fulfilled in Christ. The Bible says, in a word: He, Christ, must be made everything of. When we  glimpsed something of His greatness, we are at least in the way of glimpsing the wonder of union with Christ. Oh, what a great thing it is! Surely we can now confirm that with which we started. It is the hope of everything. Everything centers in Him and radiates from Him to the bounds of God's created universe. Union with Christ is the heart of all the revealed thoughts of God concerning man and man's relationship with God.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 7 - (His Place - By the Love of the Father Infinite Divine love the Motive and Power)

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