But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law.
When my son was at Bible College a friend grabbed his Bible and tore out one page! It was a blank page.. the page separating the Old Testament from the New Testament. His friend inserted the solitary page into the bible between John chapters 19 and 20.
The vital lesson my son learned, more than compensated for a torn page in his Bible.. the cross is the essential, pivotal point in the history of the universe. The cross is the central focal point within time and through eternity. The cross is the critical spot that separates the times of Israel from the Church.
It is vital to see the cross as the essential, pivotal point in the history of the universe. The cross was the juncture when Christ could say, Telestai – It is finished. The cross was the moment that the powers of Satan were defeated – forever. The cross was the occasion when Christ became Head of God’s New Creation.
The gospels were written about a period of time in world history, that was pre-cross. The life and ministry of the Lord Jesus took place before today’s Church Age started. God sent His Son to the world at the right time – born of woman, born under the law.
John the Baptiser was the last and the greatest of the Old Testament prophets of God. John came announcing the arrival of the long-awaited, promised King of Israel. He came preaching in the wilderness of Judea: repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Matthew 3:1-2
This final prophet of Israel witnessed to the fact that Jesus was the Son of God. The times of refreshing had arrived – all Israel needed to do to repent of their sins – to repent of the nations' apostasy – to turn back to God – to accept her King.
Jesus lived His whole life under the shadow of the Law. During the times of Israel Christ’s teachings were addressed to Israel:- I came only to the lost sheep of Israel. He restated the Law of His coming kingdom – through the sermon on the Mount. He performed the very signs that prophets of old testified as to the mark of the Messiah.
He scorned the false traditions of men that had replaced the perfect Law of Moses. He challenged the Scribes and Pharisees who had corrupted the truth of God’s Law. He claimed His right as Lord of the Sabbath, yet lived in humble obedience to God. Christ exemplified a perfect man – Who lived in spirit and truth and obedience to God.
For many centuries the errant nation of Israel had wandered far from their God. They worshipped other gods and felt God’s rod of discipline on their back in Babylon. They abandoned their mission to proclaim to the nations the One and only true God. They had become proud in their foolish hearts and missed the visitation of their God.
In former times God had spoken to Israel through the prophets, priests, and kings, but Jesus came to announce Himself as Israel’s final Prophet, Priest and King. The God-Man came to Israel as their Messiah to fulfil God’s covenants with them, but they rejected Him and despised Him – betrayed Him and crucified their God.
But God in His wisdom foreknew all that would take place in Israel, 2000 years ago. In His eternal wisdom, God addressed this rejection before the world was founded – God would set Israel aside for a time and continue His work through the Church.
The beautiful words and works of the Lord Jesus are worthy of our regard and study, but we must never forget that His ministry was primarily to the lost sheep of Israel. He was the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world – the Passover Lamb – and with many signs and wonders, He confirmed His credentials as Israel’s Messiah.
He fulfilled biblical prophecy – identifying Himself as the anointed One from God, yet we see an occasional glimpse of God’s future plans for His future church. He was fully God, and He was fully Man but He lived His life as an example to us all. He adhered to the Law of Moses for Jesus lived all of His life before Calvary’s cross.
He came to Israel as the promised Seed of Abraham – God’s anointed King of Israel. He came only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel for He was their great Shepherd.
Let us view the cross as that essential, pivotal point in the history of the universe. Let us view the cross as that central focal point within time and through eternity. Let us view the cross as that critical spot separating the Times of Israel from the Church.
When the cross is seen in its correct historical position, pre-cross and post-cross teachings will be better understood – for if we correctly place the page that separates Old Testament teaching from New Testament doctrine, we will better discriminate between the teaching that was given to Israel and the teaching that is specifically addressed to the church.
Let us study to be approved for the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joints and marrow. And it also cuts between the times of Israel and the times of the church – the pre-cross people of God and the post-cross people of God.
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