A Land Flowing With Milk And Honey - Part III
Romans 6:14 - “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS RESURRECTION
The apostle plainly told us, “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom. 6:5). That, in essence, says the same thing as Verse 8: “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.”
As is obvious here, everything hinges on the Cross. This is how man is redeemed, which means that he is redeemed in no other way. The lamb in Verse 13 is a type of Christ and what He would do to redeem humanity by dying on the Cross.
However, we must understand, and graphically so, that we can have this resurrection life, which is the greatest gift that God ever gave anyone, providing we understand that it is predicated solely on Christ and what He did for us at the Cross. It is the Cross of Christ that makes this possible.
That’s why Paul said, and I quote him again, “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.”
Now, please understand, even though it has links to the coming resurrection, that’s not exactly what Paul was talking about here.
He was speaking primarily of the life that we live now, calling it resurrection life, which is the greatest life there is.
So, we find in Verses 11 through 13 of Exodus, Chapter 13, that several things are said:
When the children of Israel finally arrived in Canaan, which was the Promised Land, they were to conduct themselves in a specific manner. Unfortunately, because of unbelief, it would take them approximately 40 years to get there.
All the firstborn of both man and beast was to be dedicated to the Lord, and we speak of boy babies and male animals. The firstborn was to represent Christ.
Whenever the first boy baby was born and the first born of an ass, as well, both were to be redeemed at birth by the parents offering up a lamb in sacrifice. As we’ve already stated, this portrays the fact that unredeemed man is worth no more than a dumb mule.
If the animal was not redeemed by a lamb, or in other words, the owner had no lamb to offer, then by law, he was to break the neck of the newborn animal, thereby, killing it. This proclaimed the fact that unredeemed man is destined to die without God.
THE COMPARISON OF UNREDEEMED MAN AND THE DUMB ANIMAL
It is instructive to trace the various references of the “ass” in Scripture. The first mention of this animal is found in Genesis, Chapter 22. From it, we learn two things:
1. The Scripture says, “Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass” (Gen. 22:3). As is obvious, this means that this animal was not free. It was a beast of burden—“saddled.” So too is the sinner—serving diverse lusts.
2. Abraham said to the young men with him and Isaac, “Abide you here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship” (Gen. 22:5). This tells us that the animal could not accompany Abraham and Isaac to the place of worship, and neither can the sinner worship God.
In Genesis 49:14, we read, “Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens.” The sinner is heavily laden as well (Mat. 11:28).
We also find that God forbade His people to plow with an ox and an ass together (Deut. 22:10). This means that the sinner is shut out from the service of God.
FEARFULLY SOLEMN IS THIS
In I Samuel 9:3, we are told: “And the asses of Kish Saul’s father were lost,” and though Saul and his servants sought long for them, they recovered them not. The sinner, too, is lost, away from God, and no human power can restore him.
In Jeremiah 22:19, we read, “He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.”
Pink said, “Fearfully solemn is this.”
The carcass of the ass was cast forth outside the gates of the Holy City.
So shall it be with every sinner who dies outside of Christ; he shall not enter the New Jerusalem, but be “cast into the lake of fire.”
The final reference to the ass is found in Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King comes unto you: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass.”
A most blessed contrast is this. Here we see the ass entering Jerusalem, but only so as it was beneath the controlling hand of the Lord Jesus! Here is the sinner’s only hope—to submit to Christ!
In Genesis 16:12, we have a statement that is very pertinent in this connection, though its particular force is lost in most translations.
The revised version says, and correctly so, “And he shall be a wild-ass man among men; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him.”
Those were the words of the Lord to Hagar. They were a prophecy concerning Ishmael. From Galatians, Chapter 4, we learn that Ishmael stands for the natural man as Isaac stands for the believer, the seed of promise. In full accord then, with all that we have said above, is this striking description of
Of course, we’re speaking of Ishmael. He was a “wild-ass man.”
The Bedouin Arabs are his descendants, and fully do they witness to the truth of this ancient prophecy. We find it in the religion of Islam.
However, solemn is it to find that here we have God’s description of the natural man, and more solemn still is what we read of Ishmael in Galatians, Chapter 4—he “persecuted him who was born after the Spirit” and, in consequence, had to be “cast out” (Gal. 4:29-30).
So, in effect, God classifies the religion of Islam as bogus, a religion of the flesh, and is held by “wild-ass men.” Biblically, that’s a very apt description.
“And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that opens the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem. And it shall be for a token upon your hand, and for frontlets between your eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt” (Ex. 13:15-16).
These admonitions were given in order that in the days of their prosperity, the children of Israel would never forget the manner of their redemption. What do we mean by that statement?
Prosperity has a subtle influence in leading away the heart from God.
This danger is one to be jealously watched against.
Man’s firstborn is a type of the firstborn of God, in His authority and priestly function among His brethren, and as the object of the Father’s love and trust. In both Egypt’s and Israel’s firstborn, we find the twofold type of Christ and His people.
Egypt’s firstborn died; Israel’s were saved. The death of Egypt’s firstborn burst the bonds of Israel; the death of God’s firstborn, the bonds of His people.
So, the Cross has a double effect: it condemns the Christ-rejecter, and it brings to salvation the Christ-acceptor.
This was to ever be kept before the children of Israel by the sacrifice of a lamb offered up at the time of the firstborn child, a male.
The phrase, “But all the firstborn of my children I redeem,” could be translated, “But all the firstborn of My children I redeem by My firstborn, who is Christ.”
None of this means that the firstborns were automatically saved by virtue of their being born first. They were merely to serve as a type of Christ.
The token was the phylacteries that we have already mentioned, which were to be prominent on the left wrist and on the head between the eyes.
As we’ve already stated, the whole idea of all of this was that Israel not forget how she was delivered.
We should let that be a lesson to us that we not forget the Cross. It must ever be paramount in our doing and in our seeing.
Israel celebrated her deliverance by the keeping of the Passover: We celebrate our deliverance by the keeping of the Lord’s Supper, which is an outgrowth of the Passover.
The difference is, the first was a type of the One who was to come, while the latter is a celebration of the One who has come, namely Christ.
THE LEADING OF THE LORD
“And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt” (Ex. 13:17).
We learn from this passage that God was leading Israel exactly as He desires to lead us presently. They were His people, so He would lead them.
How much does the average Christian seek the Lord as it concerns His leading and guidance?
We know from the Word of God that the Lord desires to lead us, but we have to seek such leading and not take it for granted (Jer. 33:3). In fact, we should pray about everything and ask the Lord for His will in all things.
To be sure, the Lord will definitely answer that type of prayer (Mat. 21:22; Mk. 11:24-25; Jn. 14:14; 15:7).
THE WAY THE LORD LEADS
As well, the Lord would lead Israel in a way that they would not normally go. If one looks at a map, one can see that the nearest route between Egypt and the land of Israel, then known as Canaan, is by the Mediterranean Sea. However, by going this route, before long, they would have run into the Philistines, who were a war-like people, which the Lord knew would be disconcerting to the children of Israel. In other words, their faith wasn’t yet up to this level, and the Lord does not take us beyond our faith. He said, “Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt.”
As a new convert, the Lord is very jealous over us, and leads and directs us minutely; however, He expects us to grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord. Please understand that the Lord is developing us, and, as well, Satan is ever present to hinder that development. To follow Christ means that we understand that all we have from Him comes to us through Christ and what Christ did at the Cross. If we follow the Lord as we should follow Him and place our faith in the Cross, ever making it the object of our faith, the Holy Spirit, to be sure, will see us through.
“But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt” (Ex. 13:18).
This tells us that Israel’s departure from Egypt was not a disorderly rout, but rather an orderly departure. God is never the author of confusion.
The word harnessed could be translated, “the children of Israel went up by five in a rank out of the land of Egypt.” The fact that Israel went forth by five in a rank exemplified and expressed God’s grace, for five in Scripture ever speaks of grace or favor. This probably refers to five large groups.
As well, when they went out of Egypt, even though it is not given in this account, the psalmist said, “There was not one feeble person among their tribes” (Ps. 105:37).
If there was ever a miracle, this was a miracle! Not a single one in all of that vast host was sickly or infirmed, irrespective of their ages.
In fact, the entirety of that verse says, “He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.”
What does this mean to us presently? Does it mean that every believer ought to be wealthy and healthy?
In a sense, I definitely believe that it can mean that and, in fact, does mean that.
The deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage has a double meaning.
1. It refers to our salvation experience.
2. As well, it refers to the believer being led out of bondage into freedom, which means that he understands that Jesus is the source, while the Cross is the means. Consequently, he can now have victory over the world, the flesh, and the Devil. It is definitely not God’s will for anyone of His children to be ruled by the sin nature. It is God’s will that we all walk in victory, and that means a perpetual victory. While the Bible does not teach sinless perfection, it most definitely does teach that “sin (the sin nature) shall not have dominion over you” (Rom. 6:14).
This article is an excerpt from the book, When I See The Blood, by Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart.