Having a mind that sees co-incidents and credits luck and chance, we often miss some very important subtleties of scripture. God calls us, from the very first chapters of the Bible, to look for signs and symbols. We are even given a huge clue as to the symbolic nature of this world in the passage of Colossians 2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. What is a shadow, but a representation of something else. I am not my shadow, my shadow represents my form, depending on the exposure of light. In less direct light, my shadow is larger and more prominent than I, but in more direct light, I overtake my shadow and my true form is seen without shadow. The same goes for Biblical truth.
Throughout scripture, and in the created order, we see symbolism of Christ and His sacrifice. The sacrificial lamb of Passover symbolized the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world.
John 1:28-29 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Rev 5:6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
Here, we see that Christ is symbolized by a lamb, but we do not worship a lamb, nor do we worship the image of a lamb, because the direct light of the Holy Spirit shines on Christ and we see Him plainly and His image overtakes the symbology to the point which we are able to see only Him!
Jesus said that not one Jot or Tittle will fall and Paul instructed us in his letter to Timothy that 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
We can understand that no word is wasted in scripture and we have the Bible God has intended us to have. There is no coincidences in scripture.
Having established this foundation, I would like to look a a very obscure passage in the book of Ezra that, under normal circumstances, would not gain much attention, but looking at scripture with a more Eastern eye, as it was written by an Eastern hand for an Eastern audience, we can see a rare gem of truth, seemingly hidden in a mundane list of names.
Ezra 2:2-40 They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel:
Ezr 2:3 the sons of Parosh, 2,172.
Ezr 2:4 The sons of Shephatiah, 372.
Ezr 2:5 The sons of Arah, 775.
Ezr 2:6 The sons of Pahath-moab, namely the sons of Jeshua and Joab, 2,812.
Ezr 2:7 The sons of Elam, 1,254.
Ezr 2:8 The sons of Zattu, 945.
Ezr 2:9 The sons of Zaccai, 760.
Ezr 2:10 The sons of Bani, 642.
Ezr 2:11 The sons of Bebai, 623.
Ezr 2:12 The sons of Azgad, 1,222.
Ezr 2:13 The sons of Adonikam, 666.
Ezr 2:14 The sons of Bigvai, 2,056.
Ezr 2:15 The sons of Adin, 454.
Ezr 2:16 The sons of Ater, namely of Hezekiah, 98.
Ezr 2:17 The sons of Bezai, 323.
Ezr 2:18 The sons of Jorah, 112.
Ezr 2:19 The sons of Hashum, 223.
Ezr 2:20 The sons of Gibbar, 95.
Ezr 2:21 The sons of Bethlehem, 123.
Ezr 2:22 The men of Netophah, 56.
Ezr 2:23 The men of Anathoth, 128.
Ezr 2:24 The sons of Azmaveth, 42.
Ezr 2:25 The sons of Kiriath-arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, 743.
Ezr 2:26 The sons of Ramah and Geba, 621.
Ezr 2:27 The men of Michmas, 122.
Ezr 2:28 The men of Bethel and Ai, 223.
Ezr 2:29 The sons of Nebo, 52.
Ezr 2:30 The sons of Magbish, 156.
Ezr 2:31 The sons of the other Elam, 1,254.
Ezr 2:32 The sons of Harim, 320.
Ezr 2:33 The sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, 725.
Ezr 2:34 The sons of Jericho, 345.
Ezr 2:35 The sons of Senaah, 3,630.
Ezr 2:36 The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, 973.
Ezr 2:37 The sons of Immer, 1,052.
Ezr 2:38 The sons of Pashhur, 1,247.
Ezr 2:39 The sons of Harim, 1,017.
Ezr 2:40 The Levites: the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodaviah, 74
This list is a seemingly random list of people who accompanied the High Priest Jeshua and the royal governor Zerubabel back to Jerusalem from Babylon to rebuild the Temple. What is amazing about this passage, if you can accept that everything in the Bible is written with design and purpose, is the placement of the name Jeshua in this list. Each Jeshua, a real person in his own right, but also relates to a literal Jeshua of note in the History of Israel. We see the same pattern here as that charged to John, Revelation1:19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. John is told to write what was, what is and what will be, and this list gives us a picture of a Jeshua that was, a Jeshua that is and a Jeshua yet to come, in relation to the time that this passage was written.
JESHUA THAT WAS:
When Moses died, God told him to entrust the leadership of the people to a man named Jeshua. Jeshua led the people into the promised land as Moses, representing the Law, could not. We know the first Jeshua by the anglicized name of Joshua, Joshua's name was Hosea but was changed to Jehoshua (God saves) by Moses, when Moses sent the spies into the promised land. The man who led Israel into the promised land was a man named God Saves.
JESHUA THAT IS:
When Israel was released from captivity in Babylon, and allowed to rebuild the Temple, the High Priest Jeshua, helped led the people into the land, along with the man who would be king, had Israel not sinned, Zerubabel. Jeshua is a variation of the name of Jehoshua, meaning God Will Save. In fact, in the book of Zechariah, Jeshua's name is rendered Jehoshua, basically the same meaning. After the people were removed from the land, they returned under the leadership of a man named God Will Save.
THE JESHUA THAT WILL BE:
The next prominent Jeshua we find in scripture is Jeshua of Nazareth. Known to the Western world as Jesus Christ. Jesus was Hebrew, His mother was Hebrew and His given name was Hebrew. His name was not Jesus, it was Yeshua, meaning God Saves. Just as Joshua's name was anglicized, so was Jesus' name rendered in Greek, the common language of the world at the time. At the time of the writing of Ezra, Jesus was still over 400 years in the future. We attribute our salvation to God, incarnated as a man named God Saves.
NAME PLACEMENT ON THE LIST:
Also of note is the placement of the names on the list. There was no natural order to this list, meaning it was not a genealogy, nor was it an alphabetical list. This list has no discernible order, other than it was dictated by God to be written as we see it to represent time. Notice the first Jeshua on the list comes in right towards the top, placing the name in proximity to the beginning of the forming of the nation of Israel, just like the first Jeshua. We do not see the second Jeshua on the list until about 29 lines later, indicating a long period of time period of time passing before the next Jeshua shows up to lead the people to the land. Interestingly, this Jeshua actually represents himself, as this is the literal High Priest Jeshua who led the people out of captivity. Next, after a relatively short period of time, we see the third and final Jeshua appear on the list. This Jeshua represents Jesus, who came on the scene about 400 years after the writing of this passage, a relatively short period time, receiving very little historical coverage in scripture, in comparison to the about 1000 years of Jewish history that most of the Old Testament seems to cover.
The final Jeshua is not a representation of anything, but the genuine Messiah, who leads His people to the Father and ultimately, Heaven, the true promised land.
This passage of scripture took place concurrently with the ministry of the prophet Zechariah, who revealed the name of the coming Messiah to be Jeshua click here to read my blog on this topic
God, our Father, is not a God who leaves things to chance and luck. He is a God of order and design. The plan for the redemption of man through God's becoming a man named Jeshua, was planned from the foundations of the earth and is encoded in scripture for us to find. Ezra shows it symbolically and Zechariah states it emphatically, yet almost all of Israel missed it and the majority of the Gentile world misses it as well. The truth of God's plan is hidden in plain sight and we are told to "seek and ye shall find" so go seek out these truths and be enriched in your faith.
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