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The Promised Land : Between the Cross and the Kingdom

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The exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt (late to mid-15th century BC) is recognized by most students of the Bible to parallel the cross of Christ in the new covenant.

We recognize that the exodus from the slavery and bondage to a sinful and idolatrous nation was the type / foreshadow of the exodus under Christ in the new covenant from the slavery and bondage to death and sin under the law of Moses.  There are many studies on the parallels of Moses to Christ, and of the release from slavery and from sin. 

But, for some reason the comparisons of the two events seem to stop at the cross of Christ.  The reason may be due to the confusion over the dates of the books of the New Testament, especially that of Revelation. (See additional resource below.)  

Many people do not recognize the parallels of the wandering in the wilderness and that of the entry to the promised land.

At Mount Sinai, God told Moses to ask the people if they would agree to be His people and live according to His commandments.  The children of Israel agreed, and said they would do all He commanded (Ex. 19:5-8).  This was a bi-lateral agreement, with election of both parties to the agreement; the party of the first part – YHWH , the offer,  and the party of the second part – the people, collectively Israel, the acceptance.

Once the agreement was made, God gave His commandments to Moses.  But, the children of Israel set about to break the agreement before the commandments were even brought to them.  They continually went against God, and refused to trust in Him. 

Even though they had first-hand knowledge of His power, even though they had seen the miracles of the plagues brought against Egypt and had crossed over the Red Sea between the walls of water (Ex. 14:21, 29), they were too immersed in the welfare dependent state of slavery to believe fully in Him.

The Holy Spirit recorded that the first generation of the exodus were not allowed to enter the promised land because of their unbelief (Heb 3:16-19).  They had been steeped in a welfare mentality, and had been made dependent upon their masters’ benevolence for food and shelter. 

They did not know God.  They did not trust in God.  We cannot trust anything or anyone we do not know.

This is exactly the same situation with today’s welfare recipients who depend upon our government.  The government has stepped in front of God and has become their “benevolent” provider.  The knowledge of God through His word (the Bible) has been all but removed from the education of the people, and from their consciousness.

After being convinced to take money from the government, the dependents then adjust their living conditions to enable that welfare to continue. The government’s commands (laws / regulations) become necessary to keep that welfare.   The government’s commands are then foremost in their minds; in effect, replacing God in their minds and hearts.  If any of the government’s commands counter those of God’s commands, whose will they obey?  Whose servants will they be? (Matt. 6:24)

This dependence upon someone other than God was / is the basic form of idolatry. 

That was the state of mind of the adults who were the former slaves of Pharaoh.  Their unbelief was the reason that the tribes of Israel wandered in the desert wilderness for 40 years (Num. 14:33; 32:13; Josh. 5:6).

We know from our study of the Old Testament that God has certain patterns that He followed.  We know that Moses was a type of Christ (Deu.18:15; John 1:17).

We know that Pharaoh ordered the death of every son born to the Hebrew women (Ex. 1:22), and that Herod ordered the slaughter of all the children in Bethlehem of two years and under (Matt. 2:16). 

We know that Christ is our Passover lamb (1 Cor. 5:7), taking the place of the lamb that was slain in the exodus to mark the houses that were protected from the angel of death during the last plague of Egypt (Ex. 12:11, 21, 27)

We know that for 40 years God fed the company in the wilderness, providing them with manna from heaven – the corn of heaven (Psa. 78:24).

Deu. 8:3, “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (KJV)

We know that Christ is now our bread (manna) of spiritual life.

John 6:57-58, As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”  (KJV)

We know that God provided them with water from the rock which Moses struck (Ex. 17:6, Num. 20:8-11; Isa. 48:21).  We know that Christ, our Rock (Deu. 32:4; 2 Sam. 22:2), is the source of the living waters of heaven.

John 7:37-38, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.“  (KJV)

With these and many more examples we have a firm basis to rely upon the complete parallel of the heavenly / spiritual exodus from sin and death under the gospel of Christ, which is the anti-type to the earthly / carnal exodus Moses led from Egypt.

The children of Israel were promised a land of milk and honey (Ex. 3:8). Their promised land was the earthly land of Canaan.

What was the promised land given to the disciples of Christ, the first century AD congregation, the Christians?  Wasn’t it the heavenly kingdom of God? 

John the baptizer preached that the kingdom was at hand (Matt. 2:3).  Christ began His ministry preaching that the time was come (fulfilled) and the kingdom was at hand (Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:15).  Christ continually taught the people about the heavenly kingdom all throughout His ministry, providing many parables describing the kingdom, and entry into it.  Almost every page of the gospels speak of the kingdom of heaven. 

The heavenly kingdom of God is that promised land which is the anti-type of the earthly promised land of Canaan of the old covenant congregation.

There are two before and after pictures that we should keep in mind when reading the books and letters of the New Testament.  One that we already know is the Cross of Christ.  We are familiar with the studies of before the cross, and after the cross.

But, there is another before and after picture in the new covenant: before the heavenly kingdom, and after the heavenly kingdom.

The before picture of the wilderness exodus involved a 40 year wandering before they could enter the promised land.   It involved maturing into a knowledge of God’s commandments, and growing to trust in Him.  After the older generation had died off in the wilderness, the younger generation which had witnessed all of the miracles Moses performed, and had learned to rely upon God were able to trust in God.

Just as before, those today who trust in, who have faith in God are the ones allowed to enter the promised land. (Rom. 1:17; 3:25-30; 4:5-20; 5:1-2;11:20; Gal. 2:16-20; 3:7-9; etc.)

The number 40 was used by God as a proving time, a testing time, a time for chastisement, and a time of maturing.  There are several studies on the number 40 as used in the scriptures.  (See resources below.)

The first exodus was a physical removal from physical slavery to a physical promised land.  The second exodus under Christ is a spiritual removal from spiritual slavery to a spiritual promised land.

Before the cross, John called the people to repentance immersing (baptizing) in water to prepare the way for the Messiah, and stating the kingdom was at hand.  Christ came, was manifested on earth bringing the promise of release from bondage and slavery of sin.  His death on the cross paid for all of the sins of the world, and fulfilled – filled up, completed – the old covenant laws. 

The law was changed after the cross (Heb. 7:12).  But, the promise of a new kingdom, the promised land that was still at hand after the crucifixion, had not yet been fully realized.  Just as the promised land of the Israelites in the wilderness was not an immediate reality, the kingdom of God in the new covenant had to wait.

The 40 year proving and maturing time of the exodus wilderness is also seen in the new covenant under the gospel of Christ, and defines the end time of which Christ and the apostles so often spoke (Matt. 24:6; Matt. 28:20; 1 Cor. 10:11; 1 Pet. 4:7).

Just as the children of Israel entered the promised land of Canaan 40 years after the exodus, we can know that the first century AD Christians would receive their promised land, the kingdom of Christ, 40 years after the exodus of Christ, the cross of Christ.

For forty years after the crucifixion of Christ, from about 31 AD to 70 AD, the people had to learn of the new law, the gospel of Christ. They had to grow to depend upon Christ, and mature with the knowledge of the gospel of Christ. 

The gospel of Christ had to be preached throughout all of the world (Matt. 10:6-7; Col. 1:23) for the knowledge of the unity of faith (Eph. 4:13) so that the people could learn to trust in God, to put their full faith and dependence upon Him, just as those of the younger generation of the exodus from Egypt had to learn.  (Click on more stories above for the previous post, “It’s Not The End of The World, Part X.”)

Once that maturity and learning period was fully complete, then Christ came back with His kingdom to judge those who had crucified Him, rejected His sacrifice, and persecuted His church.  His judgment was swift.  It was not delayed.  He certainly was not going to wait 2,000 years to do so.

Just as the judgment of the wicked of the land of Canaan was simultaneous with Israel’s entry into the promised land, so Christ’s judgment of the wicked who had crucified Him was simultaneous with the full establishment of His heavenly kingdom, His spiritual promised land.

Christ had told them that His second appearance to that generation (Heb 9:28) would be:

1) for judgment – Matt. 13:37-42; 22:1-14; 23:33-39; 25:31-46; 26:64,

2) in glory – Matt. 16:27; 24:30; 25:31; Mark 8:38; 13:26; Luke 21:27, and

3) with the kingdom – Matt. 4:17; 10:7; 16:28; Mark 1:15; 9:1; Luke 9:27.

That judgment would destroy the temple in Jerusalem (Matt. 24:1-2) to completely remove the old sacrificial system. That was the end times spoken of in the New Testament books. It was the end of the Jewish world as they knew it.

It was the end of the old covenant, and the end of the animal sacrifices which became profane after Christ’s death on the cross.

Before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, the people were still looking forward to, patiently enduring, and waiting for the promise of His kingdom (Rom. 8:23-26; 1 Cor. 1:7; 2 Thess. 3:5).

That is why all of the books of the NT were still speaking in a future tense voice.  The kingdom had not yet been established when the books were written, and while the temple was still being used by the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9; 3:9) for the profane animal sacrifices by that generation of vipers (Matt. 3:7; 23:33).  The promise of the kingdom was still ahead of them until A.D. 70.

Once the temple was destroyed, once the power of the holy people was scattered (Dan. 12:7, Matt. 22:7), then the promise was completed.  Ever since the cross of Christ, everyone who has been baptized (immersed) into Christ has been covered by the blood of Christ and has put on Christ.  But the promised land, the promised kingdom still had to wait for the destruction of that temple in A.D. 70.

That was the second before and after picture: before the destruction of Jerusalem, and after the destruction of Jerusalem.

All of us on this side of A.D. 70 enter into that heavenly kingdom from the day that we are immersed into Christ.  Christ is the temple (Rev. 21:22), and we are of the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:27-29), the Israel of the New Jerusalem, the city of God, the bride of the lamb (Rev. 21:2, 9-10), the church of Christ which is saved with an everlasting salvation (Isa. 45:17).

See other posts under more stories above for more scriptural evidence of the second appearance of Christ in that first century A.D.  All posts are also at ShreddingTheVeil.

Additional resources:

Dating The New Testament


Significance of the Number 40.


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