This is David & Susan Sifford's journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matt 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Category: typology

Our First Fellowship Betrothal

Well, it has been a few years since several of us started living here on the land. When we first got here, all of the children were just that — children. But, after five years, as you would imagine, that’s not exactly the case for all of them any more. In fact, one of our young misses just recently became betrothed — our first betrothal on the land!

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines “betroth” as the following:

BETROTH’, v.t. [be and troth, truth, faith. See Truth, and Troth.]

1. To contract to any one, in order to a future marriage; to promise or pledge one to be the future spouse of another; to affiance; used of either sex. “The father betroths his daughter.’

2. To contract with one for a future spouse; to espouse; as, a man betroths a lady.

“Betrothed?” you might ask? Yes, betrothed. The ideas of “romantic love” and engagement, or even “courting,” are foreign to the Bible; not that there can’t be romance, but it is not the main driver or motivator behind relationships; and in fact, betrothal is what is prescribed in the Bible. Why might it be important to have betrothals instead of typical engagements? First, the Bible prescribes it as the only pre-marriage methodology; and second, it was set up as a picture or “type” of the relationship between Christ and His bride-to-be. In this current reality of time, Christ’s chosen bride, the elect from the foundation of the world, is not married to Christ yet — that happens at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:6-9). His chosen is betrothed, or espoused, as expressed in 2 Cor 11:2 – “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” God instituted the “type” of betrothal to show the unbreakable bond of His chosen bride to Himself based on His volitional, self-sacrificing, and unconditional agΓ‘pe love.

Betrothal of Mark Contra and Tracy Bunker

With Mr. Bunker, Miss Bunker’s father, making the original offer to Mr. Contra, and with Mr. Contra accepting, Mr. Bunker and Mr. Mark Contra formed the contract for Mr. Contra to marry Miss Bunker, with various other agreements between Mr. Bunker and Mr. Contra. Although not absolutely necessary, since an older and hopefully wiser parent, with God’s help, should be able to determine which man would be good for a daughter to marry, Mr. Bunker did first allow for Miss Bunker’s approval of the gentleman in question; and she did approve. πŸ™‚

And so without further ado, here are some moments from Mr. Contra’s and Miss Bunker’s betrothal party:

Mark and Tracy Betrothal Party

Mr. Contra and Miss Bunker:

Mark and Tracy at Their Betrothal Party

Supper time:

Supper Time at Mark and Tracy Betrothal Party

And don’t forget the desserts!

Desserts at Mark and Tracy Betrothal Party

Here are a few more pictures of the fellowship time, starting with the new couple:

Mark and Tracy Around the Supper Table at Their Betrothal Party
Fellowship Around Supper Table at Mark and Tracy Betrothal Party
More Fellowship Around Supper Table at Mark and Tracy Betrothal Party

Here are some sights and sounds:


And some more, including Mr. Bunker’s discussion about the betrothal ceremony and some important parts of the ceremony itself (please forgive the quality of the video as our camera doesn’t film well at night):


We are thankful here on the land to be able to be a part of a couple joining in the way the Bible prescribes. We pray for many more, as the Lord wills, and that He continue to grant us understanding of His revealed will as described in the Bible.

— David

David’s Digest: The “True” Church?

Several years ago in a conversation, a friend cautioned me to be wary of any Christian teacher who talked about there being a “true” Church vs. I guess everyone who calls themselves Christian being the Church. I suppose he was trying to warn me against people who think that they have the only true way. But is everyone who takes the name of Christ a Christian? Is there a true Church, thus implying a false “church”?

First, when I use the word “Church,” I refer to Christ’s bride, those who are or will be saved, and not a place where people go to meet to worship.

Now, using typology in the Bible can help us find answers to the above questions. For review, briefly, typology is seeing the spiritual realm via the temporal.

Let’s start with the people of Israel — God’s “chosen people.” God called them out from among all other nations of people to be His people (Deut 7:6). While God temporily saved the people of Israel out from bondage of Egypt as a “type” (shadow) of spiritual salvation and separating a people (His children, the Church) unto Himself, later on, many of those individuals who were brought out of Egypt perished in their sins (Num 16; Num 14:22-34; Num 21:4-9). How could this be if they were part of the group called “God’s chosen people”?

In Jer 5:25-31, God declares that among His people are found wicked men and false prophets; but how can they be such if they are His people? The Lord goes on further to say in Jer 23:3 that He will gather the remnant of the people of Israel who He scattered to other countries. Why only the remnant? Are they not all God’s chosen people?

During His time here on earth, much of Christ’s ministry was the condemnation of the Jewish religious people of the day (John 8:44; Matt 23:27). They called themselves God’s chosen people, their genealogical father being Abraham; but Christ condemned them; and yet, there were a few around Him of the same Jewish chosen people that had a God-given faith in Him (Matt 16:16; John 11:24-27). How is that possible?

As you can see with these examples, God deals with these two groups within the “people of God” separately, one being false professors of religion, the others being actual (true) followers of God. But what about the heathen as a group? If you look at it high-level, most of who Scripture addresses are the people of God in general, and the heathen are not really dealt with by God or even Christ, other than in their relation to God’s people — all of the Old Testament is generally directed toward God’s chosen people, Christ never really dealt with the heathen authorities, and the New Testament is essentially written to Churches in various locations. And so, it is evident that there are three groups of people in the Bible — the two divisions of God’s chosen people, and the heathen — and not just two groups — the saved vs. the not saved, Christians vs. non-Christians (although those delineations do exist).

This is shown to be true in the New Testament, where Paul states in Rom 9:6 that “…they are not all Israel [spiritual], which are of Israel [temporal].” And he further describes who are the true seed of Abraham (spiritual Israel) in Gal 3:16,29: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ….And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed [spiritual Israel], and heirs according to the promise.” Now, Abraham had his physical seed, which were Isaac and Ishmael — both the seed of Abraham, but yet one not the spiritual seed, as Ishmael was not of the line chosen by God. The same was with Jacob and Esau. Similarly, the Jewish people at Christ’s time were of the temporal seed of Abraham, considered by themselves to be God’s chosen people (from lineage); but the religious leaders of the day weren’t of the spiritual seed, whereas the apostles were — both groups of people known as “God’s chosen people” from Abraham, and yet only some of them being truly (spiritually) God’s chosen people.

As previously noted, these temporal conventions are “types” or shadows of spiritual realities. Spiritually, the heathen are still the heathen; but the people of Israel, those called by Jehovah’s name, were “type” for those who are called by Christ’s name (this is not an argument for dispensationalism or otherwise — it’s simply type and antitype). Now, since there were those in Israel who weren’t godly and those who truly were, the same applies in the spiritual realm, with those who are not Christians even though they call themselves such, and those who actually are Christians. Thus, there are those who are false professors of Christianity, and those who are true Christians (ie. the true Church).

Understanding this then begs the question: how do we know who is part of the true Church? The Bible declares we know them by their doctrine (Rom 6:17; 1 Tim 1:9-11) and their fruit (Matt 7:15-20). Not everyone who claims the name of Christ is saved (Matt 7:21-23), and so having the truth is important, in beliefs and how one lives his life.

May the Lord always give us eyes to see and ears to hear His Word, may He grant us a love of the truth (2 Thess 2:10), and may He grow us in the knowledge and understanding of who He is.

— David

Flurr-ye, Flurr-ye

2009 Texas Snow Flurries
It gets cold here in Texas, relative to what Sue and I were used to in California. The last couple of Winters have been mild compared to second year we were here, which included an ice storm. We’ve had a couple of Winters where there were extended periods (three to four days, and eight to nine days) where it remained under freezing.

Well, this Winter so far started early in November but hasn’t been too drastic. We’ve had at least one or two nights in the teens Fahrenheit, but haven’t had complete days under freezing…yet. πŸ™‚ However, it has snowed here a couple of times, one accompanied with quite a bit of wind, which caused some snow flurries.

Here are a few pictures of that. I know it’s a little difficult to get the effect, and I should have taken a video, but the white fuzziness in them is the snow blowing around:

2009 Texas Snow Flurries
2009 Texas Snow Flurries
2009 Texas Snow Flurries
2009 Texas Snow Flurries
2009 Texas Snow Flurries

Even though I’m not a fan of the cold and snow — in fact, I have a pretty strong aversion to cold — snow is good for soaking the ground and healing the land. Also, out of the Winter, which is a time of death, for plant life especially, comes Spring, and a time of new life — just like out of Christ’s death comes new life for His people.

Learning to live in colder weather has taken some time to adjust to; but the Lord has granted us better attitudes about being more uncomfortable; and He has allowed us resources for things like polypropylene thermal underwear, which helps immensely; and we have learned to layer and bundle up. Also, we are grateful for the shelters He has allowed us all in the community to have. He has graciously seen us through, and is gracious in helping us continue to learn how to live out here in the country, quite a bit more exposed than we were in the too comfortable city, where the conscience is numbed and heart condition is hidden. You learn a lot when you’re uncomfortable, about God’s providence, His sovereign will, and your true trust and faith in Him.

May God use whatever means He sees best in His goodness, gentleness and firm hand of love to make us more obedient servants of Him; and may we see His glorious attributes in His workings.

— David

David’s Digest: Introduction to Type and Antitype (Typology) in the Bible

This is just an introduction to a large topic, but I wanted to take a moment and talk about it briefly in hopes it might benefit someone as it did me when I first learned about it.

There are two elements of the Bible called “type” and “antitype” (together referred to as “typology”). Types, or shadows, are spiritual “pictures” shown in the Bible that represent concepts or persons. The fulfillment of a type is referred to as its “antitype.” Some have been fulfilled, perhaps in multiple ways (or layers) over time, and some have not. Also, a type may not represent an antitype completely, and the picture may only go so far; and there can be multiple types for one antitype.

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines type and antitype as follows:

type:

A sign; a symbol; a figure of something to come; as, Abraham’s sacrifice and the paschal lamb, were types of Christ. To this word is opposed antitype. Christ, in this case, is the antitype.

antitype:

A figure corresponding to another figure; that of which the type is the pattern or representation. Thus the paschal lamb, in scripture, is the type of which Christ is the antitype. An antitype then, is something which is formed according to a model or pattern, and bearing strong features of resemblance to it.

The following are just a very few, brief examples:

Type

Antitype

Egypt

The world, its systems and culture

God bringing the Israelites out of Egypt.

God separating unto Himself a specific people; the people of God leaving the world (including its systems and culture) to worship God; the salvation of God’s chosen from the bondage of sin and the world

Angel of death passing by those households in Egypt with blood on the door posts

Christ’s blood saving His chosen from eternal destruction

Noah saved in the Ark

Salvation in Christ

Ark of the Covenant

Christ, His humanity (ark made of wood) and His deity (gold); as Christ’s blood for propitiation (blood sprinkled on mercy seat for propitiation)

Sun – too bright to behold its glory; brings life; is the light of the world

Christ, the Son – too bright to behold His glory; brings life; is the Light of the world

Israel of the Bible (physical Israel) – God’s chosen people on earth

Spiritual Israel – God’s chosen people who are or will be in heaven

Moses – the deliverer of God’s chosen people (physical Israel)

Christ – the deliverer of God’s chosen people (spiritual Israel)

Joshua – brought God’s chosen people (physical Israel) into the promised land

Christ – brings God’s chosen people (spiritual Israel) into the Promised Land (heaven)

High priest for Israel and all of his duties

Christ in His office as spiritual High Priest of His people

David – King of Israel; savior of His people against their enemies; shepherd; the least of his brothers

Christ – King of spiritual Israel (and over all); Savior of His people against spiritual enemies; Shepherd of His people; clothed in servanthood and humility

Saul – enemy of David

Antichrist – enemy of Christ (who is the antitype of David)

Goliath – enemy of David and God’s people

Antichrist/Satan – enemy of Christ and God’s people

The animals slain, and skins clothing for Adam and Eve after the fall

Christ’s sacrifice with blood, and the clothing of righteousness for His people

The 12 tribes of Israel (12 is the number of completion) – all of God’s chosen people at the time

All of God’s spiritual chosen people (His elect, throughout time)

High priest entering the Holy of Holies with the names of the 12 tribes (God’s chosen people), and only them, written on the stones put on the shoulders of the ephod (Ex 28:11-12) on behalf of those with whose names he enters (and thus on behalf of only them)

Christ entering the Holy Place with the names of His chosen people, and only them, on behalf of those with whose names He enters (and thus on behalf of only them)

The paschal lamb during Passover

Christ as the sacrificial Lamb

Marriage of a man and a woman

The union of Christ and His bride (the Church)

A woman taking a man’s last name upon marriage, forsaking her own name for his. Keeping her name or any part of it is not forsaking herself to her husband completely

A Christian taking the name of Christ, forsaking their own name for His. Their forsaking of themselves must be totally

Jonah – in the belly of the whale for three days and nights (Jonah 1:17); vomited out from the belly of the fish after that (Jonah 2:10)

Christ – in the grave for three days and nights; resurrected out from the grave after that (Matthew 12:40)

Christ raising Lazarus – he was dead, He gives him life, calls him forth, Lazarus is now able (now that he’s alive) to respond and does so

The beginnings of salvation – the person Christ will call is dead in his sins, He gives him spiritual life (regeneration), calls him forth to Himself, and the person is now able (now that he’s alive spiritually) to respond and does so

God’s people, when most were rebellious, although there were a some righteous, like Joshua and Caleb, or the remnant gathered by God (Jer 23:3; Jer 31:7) after His judgment against wicked Israel (Jer 1-23:2), or His true disciples while He was here on earth vs. the religious leaders of the day

Professing Christians, who are mostly rebels (Matt 7:21-23), although there are some righteous (true Christians), who are the remnant/elect of God, the true spiritual seed of Abraham (Rom 9:6-8; Gal 4:22-31)

Sabbath day rest

Resting alone in Christ’s righteousness (working on the Sabbath breaks this β€œantitype,” in essence claiming our works are our righteousness); eternal rest with Christ in heaven

Learning about type and shadow in the Bible really opened it up to me, especially the Old Testament. I believe the Old Testament events truly happened; but I believe just about everything in it also is some sort of type, mostly of Christ as the anittype. Hebrews talks quite a bit about Christ as the fulfillment of many of the Old Testament types. It’s a beautiful work of wisdom by the Holy Spirit that paints such glories and wonderful pictures of our Saviour and His essence, characteristics, offices, etc.

If you have never heard of type and antitype in the Bible, I really hope you will spend some time learning about them. Here are a couple of starting points:

Also, here are a set of sermons from our teacher, so you can get a better idea of typology. The teachings aren’t about type and antitype, but they use them extensively. Plus, the sermons are spiritually edifying: Darkness and Light, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

We are very thankful to the Lord for His gift of His word, preserved in our language through heavy persecutions; and we thank Him for granting us this understanding of type and shadow that He put in there to help us understand Him and His glory better.

— David

 

David’s Digest: The War of the Weeds

From the moment we got out here, there have been some things that have been ever present, and all around us; and for those of you who have dealt with the soil at all, you understand. Those things are weeds, and they are everywhere.

Here are some things I’ve discovered about them:

They grow without planting. They are just there.

They grow back when you cut them down, especially if you don’t pull out by the root.

They grow in whatever soil, around anything in their way, and through it if possible.

They can often be attractive. Notice here the pretty flowers:


Or the field of green:

They grow even when it doesn’t rain. Here is a picture of one of our garden beds after we were unable to water it. Notice what is green and living:

They grow even where they shouldn’t be able to grow, as this little one was in our root cellar:

It seems that there is no way to get rid of them entirely, and I believe this to be generally true based on the curse (Gen 3:17-19). And it seems like all there is to do is try to control them, and in my opinion, this means WAR. They must be cut, hacked, pulled, chopped, and sometimes even burned in order to get the better of them. Everything must be done to keep them down, and this is a constant struggle, one that I believe won’t end until the Lord returns.

If they are not removed, they reproduce themselves exponentially. One cocklebur plant will reproduce itself many times, as this picture shows:

Other have even more seeds:

We have also discovered that in the planting of “good” seeds (oats, for example), and if they are able to germinate and grow, these new plants will suppress the weeds, keeping them more at bay, and choking them out.

The point is that they need to be combated constantly in order to maintain a footing against them. Otherwise, they take over.

Now here is the important part in all of this. It is our prayer the Lord teach us His ways and His spiritual lessons from the temporal world around us. In watching and pondering weeds, by God’s graces it seemed to me that there is a similarity between them and something in the spiritual realm. And so given the above observations about weeds and the actions necessary against them, we pray, with the granting of the Father, the power in the blood of Christ, and with the indwelling help of the Holy Spirit, that God gives us the desire and strength to wage the battle daily against the weeds of sin in the carnal-man fields of our souls.

Rom 8:13 – “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Col 3:5-6 – “5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:”

For more on mortification, please read this.

With God’s help, we need to give constant attention to our souls, and not only work on mortifying our flesh, but filling ourselves with God’s Word, so that He, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Seed, is the predominant Life that is growing within us.

— David