God foretells. He gives a word and then fulfills that word. As a shepherd watches over his flock, so does our God watch over His promises to fulfill them.
Sometimes it takes months to fulfill a prophecy, sometimes centuries and sometimes several millennia. Many Old Testament prophecies are yet to be accomplished.
Immediately after Adam fell, the Lord gave a promise of a Redeemer to free Adam, and us all, from the consequences of sin. Adam and Eve eventually became a multitude, but still no Redeemer. Centuries evolved into millennia, and still no Redeemer. Did God forget His promise?
Two thousand years or so after God’s pledge to Adam, God found a man through whom He could bring His promised savior. His name is Abraham. As you know, Abraham was willing to slay his and Sarah’s only son, Isaac, at the command of the Lord. An interesting conjecture is that this extreme act of obedience was the requirement for the Messiah to gain entrance into human history, as indicated by God’s promise to Abraham: “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, BECAUSE you have obeyed My voice.”
Abraham found “a ram [male sheep] caught in a thicket by its horns”, and this, instead of Isaac, became the sacrifice unto God. A sheep is a ‘type’ (or model) of Christ. Many sheep have been slaughtered and offered as sacrifices over the centuries, each sacrifice ‘prophesying’ the coming promised Redeemer. That’s why John declared of the Antitype (that which had been symbolized), Jesus Christ, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” No, God had not forgotten His promise.
You know the passover story. Every year since the “pass over” of the protected children of God, the people were instructed to eat a lamb as a memorial of that day. The lamb must be a male “without blemish” because the lamb depicted Christ. Each passover celebration was prophetic, pointing to the coming Messiah.
More millennia passed and thousands of passover feasts were celebrated before (finally!) the promised Redeemer entered humanity. Gabriel announced His birth to a virgin: “You will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” Approximately thirty-three years later, the day before His crucifixion, Jesus was sharing the passover feast with His twelve apostles.
Of all the thousands of passover celebrations, the meal shared by these thirteen men was, by far, more significant and memorable. Historic, actually. For this meal was more than the emblematic lamb “without blemish”. Present was the actual, long awaited “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”, the fulfillment of that which millions of slaughtered and consumed lambs ‘foretold’. The Antitype, with His twelve, devoured the type. Earlier in the day the type (a lamb) was sacrificed; tomorrow the Antitype would be sacrificed. But the twelve were oblivious to the grand significance of the moment.
They didn’t get it.
Two days previous our Lord said to the twelve, “After two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” What is not to understand? And yet….
They didn’t get it.
The twelve didn’t get it, the multitude celebrating Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem two days previous didn’t get it, the murderous pharisees who paid thirty pieces of silver for His betrayal didn’t get it, the frenzied mob screaming “Crucify Him!” didn’t get it. None got it. None discerned the obvious. All had ears, but none had “ears to hear” apparent spiritual truth.
The apostles should not have been fearful and dispirited after our Lord’s death because Lord Jesus told them at least three times He would be raised from death “the third day”.
But they didn’t get it.
Their problem is our problem, is every christian’s problem. What plagued them plagues all – a spiritual denseness hindering us to ascertain spiritual truths. The evidence of this spiritual disease is found everywhere in Christ’s church. One example of many….
Few live in the reality we must give an account to the Lord Jesus Christ. We speak more of accountability to each other than to Him. The enormity of that future day escapes almost all, and because of spiritual denseness we do not detect Scripture’s warnings, such as….
Romans 14:10: We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Romans 14:12: Each of us shall give account of himself to God.
Hebrews 4:13: All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
But we don’t get it. Accountability to Christ our Judge is not an issue, is not reality, is not in our conversation, is rarely preached.
Many such spiritual realities just don’t penetrate the bulk of the church. We are diseased with a sin-bought incapacity that chokes our learning. We have ears, but not “ears to hear” clearly. There are foul spiritual blockages that must be dealt with.
So what’s the answer?
The first step is to acknowledge we really are infected with a spiritual denseness, that we have been slow to learn, that we don’t fathom the easily fathomable, that we don’t perceive the apparent…. that we are not as smart as we think. This calls for real humility. Humility is rewarded with grace, needed grace to overcome spiritual doltishness…. so we can grasp spiritual truths as readily as mathematical or domestic or societal truths.
A primal reason those who don’t get it don’t get it because they don’t want to get it. Desired truth readily gains entrance; truth that upsets the way it is in our lives doesn’t easily penetrate. We must repent of being the lord of our lives, of wanting to be heroic, of self-centeredness.
We have a God-given capacity to strengthen, deliberately and continuously, our bond to our precious Redeemer, “our Passover”, The Teacher. He will make learning a joy.
And He will tell us things to come.